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15 of the Best Video Game Endings That Made the Journey Worth It

Shadow of the Colossus

Final Curtains.

 

Halo Reach  video game endings

The Halo series is known for its solid combat, space opera influenced story, and an awe-inspiring soundtrack that helps reinforce the epic setting. However, when it comes to endings the solemn finale to Halo Reach stands above all else as it offers both a sense of dread and hope at the same time. Forcing the player to not only strand themselves on Reach, but then fight to the death against the covenant only adds to the weight of this emotional moment.


Portal 2 video game endings

While Portal 2 was memorable for the various reasons, the ending was something special for those who have been with this cult series since the original. Not only do you come to terms with the sociopathic machine GLaDOS, but you are serenaded by an army of turrets on your way out. It’s touching and finally escaping to the surface was a fantastic way to end this quirky title.


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time video game endings

When it comes to Zelda endings, Ocarina of time is certainly the best in this historic franchise. Not only is the battle with Ganon beautifully paced, but finally sealing him away and having a meeting with Zelda wraps the story up perfectly. Plus, getting to see everyone celebrating across Hyrule is a fun ending that could make any hero of time smile.


Metroid video game endings

One of the most famous twists in gaming as those who fought their way through the entire game they’d learn that Samus Aran was a woman. In a time when female leads were not terribly prevalent in gaming, having this bad ass bounty hunter be a woman was a big deal. It also helps that fighting Mother Brain and escaping the area while a timer ticks down only added to the thrills.


Batman Arkham City video game endings

Batman and the Joker are two of the most legendary characters in comics, yet one of them met a fateful end during Rocksteady’s Arkham City. Not only was this shocking, but pretty much unprecedented in the Batman mythos. His death was not treated as a great victory, but a solemn failure that, for a moment, makes the player feel bad for this psychopathic clown.


The Walking Dead (Season 1) video game endings

Speaking of tearjerkers, the ending to Telltales The Walking Dead is perhaps one of the saddest in recent memory. You spend the entire game developing an emotional connection between Lee and Clementine only to have it robbed from you when Lee gets infected. Adding to this is the fact that Clementine is then responsible for killing Lee, which just seems like rubbing salt in a wound.


Bioshock: Burial At Sea Part 2 video game endings

There are a lot of great endings in the Bioshock series, but we are picking the finale to the last piece of DLC for Bioshock Infinite. Killing Elizabeth off and then finally learning the origin of the famous “Would You Kindly” line was chilling. There’s a sense of foreboding destruction that Bioshock: Burial at Sea Part 2 leaves its players with as they get a brief glimpse of the plane right before the crash. If this is truly the last Bioshock, it wraps up the series in a way that is truly satisfying for those who have been following these games since their initial release back in 2007.


Red Dead Redemption video game endings

Oh boy, when it comes to surprise endings Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption make stand up there as one of the best in the medium. After finally achieving revenge on those who’ve wrong you, outlaw John Marston is then betrayed by the government and gunned down in front of his family. The player is given a brief moment to take out as many as possible, but it’s hopeless regardless of who or how many you shoot. Marston will die regardless of what you do and that feeling of futility is beautifully achieved during this memorable sequence. While you then play as John’s son in a pseudo epilogue, this is the real ending of Red Dead Redemption.


Silent Hill 2

Multiple endings are nothing new when it comes to video games, but Silent Hill 2’s various finales range from absolutely horrific (in a good way) to downright hilarious. While the main ending reveals that Mary was dead this entire time and packed in your trunk, the various gag endings that involved a dog and UFO were equally amazing. For a game about punishing the sins of the past, learning the entire game was controlled by a dog was pretty funny. It was a nice way to end the game for those who went the extra mile and serves as one of the funniest easter eggs in the medium.


God of War 3

After finally killing nearly, if not all the Gods of Olympus players have effectively both freed humanity and doomed them into nothing but chaos. So it’s fitting that in his final moments, Kratos confronts Athena and then plunges his own sword through his chest. In order to truly free humanity Kratos had to end his life, helping signify to the player that even a person like Kratos must eventually pay for his sins.


Mass Effect 2

While Mass Effect 3’s ending caused some serious controversy among fans and critics alike, but the Suicide Mission in Mass Effect 2 stands as one of the finest moments in the series. While not technically the ending, this section is considered the finale for many fans as it will determine who lives and who dies in your party which can be a very traumatic experience. Depending on your choices throughout the whole game some people will live and others will die, but most players didn’t know any of this going into this final mission. BioWare masterfully weaved drama, action, tension, and surprise during this level making it one of the most memorable final levels in pretty much all of gaming.


Final Fantasy VII

While the finale to Final Fantasy X and XV are rather striking, we are picking the ending to one of the most beloved games in the series. Battling your way to Sephiroth only to have a final (all be it hectic) boss fight is memorable unto itself. Yet, the cutscene that follows not only wraps up the story nicely but offers a nice sense of optimism for the player. Stopping the meteor via the Lifestream and then getting once last chance to see Aerith is memorable enough, however, players even get a brief glimpse into the future.


Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is all about slaying giant beasts in order to rescue a sleeping princess, however, the big reveal that you would become a colossus yourself blew many minds. On top of that, you were being attacked as you attempt to protect the princess and save your own life, giving players a brief glimpse into how it must have felt to be one of the mythical beasts you slaughtered. Players are then dragged into the great beyond, but the fact that you directly resist by controlling the young boy is a stroke of genieus. It makes the events more personal than a cutscene and allows users to come to grips that this really is end regardless of how hard you fight it.


Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Winning the award for one of the longest endings in gaming, the long climax to Metal Gear Solid 3 includes a motorcycle chase and a fantastic boss fight. While the ending cutscenes wraps together the story itself, where Snake Eater truly shines is the haunting final fight with The Boss. Not only will this test all of your skills, but when you reach the final blow it’s up to the player to finish her off. This is symbolized by not only the color changes but music, giving this battle a bittersweet taste to it.


The Last of Us

Considered a masterpiece by many, the ending to The Last of Us showcases just how far one will go to perserve the people they love. Once Joel learns that Ellie will die in order to save humanity, he’d rather risk every living soul in order to save her life. Is the choice the right one? No, of course not but it thematically works with Joel as a character and how desperately he wants to cling onto some semblance of happiness.

 

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