So what makes a video game good? Most of us are going to say that the style, story, replayability, and how fun it is are going to be big factors. But, what about the game's ending? The very end of a story is what sticks with us, so if it lets us down it has the ability to ruin the entire experience. All of us can agree that there have been good games with some less than perfect endings. Sadly even the best games sometimes have bad endings that leave us a little disappointed. Of course, no matter how much we loved the game sometimes time or writing gets in the way of the ending.
One thing we would like to make clear is that even though sometimes the game is good, the ending can sometimes let us down. Even our favorite games can seem to end suddenly or not give us the closure that we wished that they would have. On the other hand, sometimes bad games have an unsurprisingly terrible ending. It is a staple of bad games to be bad from start to finish. But even mediocre games can sometimes be saved by the story. A good example of this would be Of Orcs and Men, the game was a little boring, but the story was great.
For the sake of keeping this list manageable, we are leaving out a lot of the old school text endings and joke games. So let's see what we came up with. There will be some spoilers.
29 Fallout 3
No matter what your favorite Fallout game is we can all agree that the reintroduction of the series with Fallout 3 was fantastic. Sadly, when huge sandbox games like this suddenly end after the last mission you can not help but feel a little cheated. Thankfully the game could be played after the ending once you purchased the Broken Steel downloadable content. However, when you have to buy an add-on that allows this, you can not help but feel it was unnecessary. Though the DLC itself was very good, the ending without it where you perish just was not the ending we wanted for such an epic game.
28 Batman Arkham Asylum
When you think of Batman, one of the first things you will think of is his nemesis the Joker. So when we finally got a game where Batman had to unravel a very interesting tale of the Joker's momentary victory at Arkham Asylum, we were excited. So when you think about how the Joker tries to best Batman you might think about how he will ambush him or send tons of goons after him. Which all happen in this game, but at the end, the Joker decides to fight you himself, with the help of Venom serum. Nearly all Batman fans feel that this is very out of character of the Joker, but once you win everything is assumed to go back to normal, just like that.
27 Half-Life 2: Episode 2
So ignoring the fact that this is one of the most famous cliffhangers in video game history, this amazing series seemingly comes to an end with one of our favorite characters losing their life. So with such a powerful and saddening ending, it is becoming clear that we may never get to see a continuation of this story.
That being said, this is one of the most disappointing endings of any video game ever.
Though it can still be redeemed if Valve ever completes its series but as time goes on it is becoming clear that they may not be interested in doing so.
If you have played Borderlands you will have great memories of playing this massive game and how interesting the randomized weapon system was, So what was the story again? You are looking for a vault that contains the most powerful weapon that any vault hunter could ever want. Well, with the game's great attention to you interacting with your world with your weapons, having the most powerful weapon ever is very tempting. Especially if you played with friends the weapon you had versus what they have creates friendly competition as you work together. So when you open the vault and your reward is not what you expected, it feels like a letdown.
25 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty
You have to give it to Hideo Kojima, there really are no games out there that are like his. Everything he touches is extremely strange but interesting in ways that you never thought would keep your attention. He loves to mix modern war realism with immersion breaking fantasy and humor elements that seem so out of place. So when you played Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, it had all of these things and more. The game had a Romanian vampire in it... enough said. The ending of the game was, in a word, confusing, and mixed live footage with the exposition of things to come in the series. This all felt very disconnected and after nearly an hour of cutscenes, would leave anyone confused.
24 Super Mario Odyssey
What in the world is this ending? We get it, Bowser has had a thing for Princess Peach for a long time, he has been taking her since 1985. We also can understand that, as the hero, Mario also has a thing for her and will even fight giant monsters to save her. This really seemed like a good time for Peach to just accept that Mario is the good guy, but instead, she just blows him off? After all of his hard work over the years, he is just brushed aside... AGAIN? Then he just gets over it in a split second, back to happy-go-lucky Mario. At least lessen the blow with Peach taking off with Luigi or something! But the game just ends.
23 Gears Of War
Gears of War was a fresh and gory take on the 3rd person shooter genre. It had its faults but was a great game overall. Let's be honest, a chainsaw mounted to a rifle is just plain epic. This is one where the gameplay won out a little more over the story, something about how well it played mixed with its simplicity marked it as something special. However, when you think about the ending, don't your actions seem like a very small victory?
What did you really accomplish?
Even in the sequel, it is mentioned that your efforts in the first game were less effective than they thought.
22 Halo 2
It's not that we hate the Arbiter or his storyline, but we can say with no doubts that Master Chief's story was way more interesting. So when Halo 2 ended with the final level staring Arbiter, we were all a little disappointed. This was only agitated more when we had to wait so long for Halo 3 to come out. It was a cliffhanger to Chief's story before the story even ended! Well, at least we had another hundred hours of gameplay in the form of the online multiplayer, but that was only a small consolation to being left in the dark about one of Microsoft's most cherished character's fate.
21 Dead Rising
Dead Rising is a game that sported 5 different endings. The game itself was a little bit of a "love-it-or-hate-it" title since some of the in-game voice-overs and controls were more or less awful. But they made up for this with creative use of weapons, a much better use of voice talent in cut-scenes, and a fun open-world zombie apocalypse to explore. However, after hours of gameplay and sometimes needing to start over, each ending seemed more ridiculous than some of the enemies you fought in the game. Whether you fought on a tank, raced the clock, or perished miserably, there was no truly satisfying ending.
20 Life Is Strange
When you think of episode 5 of Life is Strange, your mind will take you straight to the stealthy nightmare section. Some games just have a hard time making fun stealth sections in their games. Some of the sections required a lot of precision and were very easy to make mistakes in.
In this case, it all just felt tedious.
But, after that, you get the famous choice. It really is an interesting choice but it leaves a lot of plot points open. What about Max? Wouldn't a massive jump hurt her as well? Regardless, the choice is hard and one ends up being so depressing that it almost ruins the game. The other is such a selfish choice that you can not help but feel bad for making it.
19 Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X was confusing throughout most of its story, but it's a Final Fantasy game so you just roll with it. A giant creature known as "Sin" attacks humanity for its "sins." Guns and robots are bad, who knew? Also building cities over oceans is a no-no too. It turns out that this monster may or may not be Titus' father reincarnated and also transports him in time. But if this sounds confusing, the worse offense in this game is to just make its main character disappear at the end, making you think that he suffered the same fate as his father. But no, they win and everyone is happy. The end. Wait... what?
18 The Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver
What makes a good ending? Well, for the most part, a resolution to the plot is a good place to start. Sadly, for some games, you can just feel the puppet strings of someone behind the creators that do not allow us to have a satisfying ending. But why? Sequels, that's why. No one likes a cliffhanger and especially not a "to be continued" screen. But this is only the beginning. We see our hero plunge himself into an abyss for what seems like the best boss fight in the game, but all we get is a cutscene. It warns us about the ramifications of our next actions then just ends. Way to pull the rug out from under us guys!
To be honest for a moment, the only thing worse then this game's ending was that they only used John Goodman's golden voice for such a small part of the game. The problem with this game's ending is it sets up the game to start getting really good. The game up to that point was mostly "go here, do this" and hid that fact very poorly. So for the final mission to make you feel that this is going to bring the end of the bad guys once and for all, only for it to be the very start of any real difference you have made so far, hurt. It really feels like the game ends in the middle of the story, or more appropriately, right at the beginning of the true story.
16 Knights Of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
If a game has to end with a character explaining what happened or about what comes next, you just know that the ending is going to be bad. But when you take one of the most boring characters in the game and have them tell the story, then it reaches a new level of bad. Kreia tries to explain some mystic power she has, but in the vaguest and boring way imaginable.
She drags on about it for a while too.
This game does not give us any resolution to the story and is extremely anticlimactic. For a game to have such a good and in-depth story up to this point only enhances the devastation you feel when the credits play. KOTOR 2 really did everything right, until the end.
15 The Order: 1886
First of all, what a massive waste of great potential. This game is almost more of an interactive movie than a game at all. With elements like still-living knights of the round table and fighting werewolves in 19th century London, how can you go wrong? Jack the Ripper is even in this game but they somehow manage to make even that boring. The game as a whole could be described as a slow burner, but the game is kind of short. The ending act allows you to see a bigger picture of what is going on but fails to deliver any actual end. It is easy to feel that the game ended just before its resolution and does not leave an easy way into a sequel either.
14 Assassin's Creed 3
The Assassin's Creed series has a very interesting problem for a lot of us. We love the historical mixture with the mythological and age-old war unfolding in front of us. Sadly, the game halts its momentum and tries to make the modern-day parts feel special, but fails horribly. Every game seems to pull us from the interesting story and leave us with Desmond Miles, the games' deus ex machina for learning about the past. At the ending of Assassin's Creed 3, we are given a moment where we are meant to care about Desmond's fate. However, it did not come across as a powerful moment from a hero making a good choice. It's rather, an obvious choice he makes.
13 Far Cry 5
All politics aside about the game itself, this game and ending seemed rather silly. Of course, there is a better ending to the game, but it is boring. If you did not know, Far Cry 4 had a joke ending in which you just saw your mother's grave and left, you did not get involved with the story at all. Far Cry 5 continues this by giving you the chance to just leave and not come back. Which is the option most of us would have taken upon seeing how crazy this area is. However, the true ending has you do basically the same thing, but you have been... Infected? Cursed? With some of the crazy cult's hypnotic magic suggestion. Just, what?
12 Mass Effect 3
The Mass Effect games are epic. They took their time to set up a great story and built the legend that was Commander Shepard. They gave you the freedom to make Shepard the character that you wanted him/her to be. They even did a really good job making you feel like your choices made a difference. With all that said, where did they go wrong with Mass Effect 3's ending?
Well to give them some credit, the story had to come to an end somehow.
Similar to Fallout 3, the ending did not show you the consequences of your actions. They did sort of fix some of this with DLC but that does not excuse the abrupt ending. Perhaps Andromeda was meant to fill the gaps but it struggled just being a game.
11 Far Cry 3
There are a few criteria to be a true Far Cry game. You need an interesting and almost likable villain who turns out to less of a bad guy then you think. You need people in need of saving. And you need an ending that hints that you are ruining all your hard work. In the case of Far Cry 3, you get the choice to save your friends or turn feral. Sure, if you decide the latter you get a spicy cutscene, but is that really worth sacrificing your friends? No matter what you choose you do not get to feel like you really were a hero in this story. It is implied that Jason will have a hard time just going back to normal but the other ending is just psychopathic.
10 Fable 2
There is just something about the Fable series that makes it feel complete but unpolished. Maybe it has something to do with mostly communicating almost solely with body language and farts. Never-the-less, these games hold a special place within the hearts of many of us since they take RPG games to a strange and new place. For Fable 2, we get to see a story of revenge and becoming a powerful landlord... err, hero. You get to decide if you are good or sinister and every action slowly affects your looks. However, at the very end of the game when you feel that you may get to throw away your mission for power someone makes the decision for you! What if we wanted to join the sinister guy? Or at least take his place?
9 Bioshock 2
So what exactly do you look for in a game with a morality system? Well, one of the most important things is having a neutral grey area so players do not have to feel like a paragon or a monster. Sadly, for this game, you are really more or less one or the other when it comes to the end. In case you have never played the game, your morality stems from how ok you are with harming little children.
Especially since you can wave your hand over them and cure them.
BUT, if you do not save all the children you still get a cutscene where you are mean to them! Sure, you do get to pick if the crazy lady lives, but think of the children.
8 Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
If you have played this game to its finale you probably asked yourself what on earth you just saw. Do not feel bad, we all looked up an analysis on it at one point or another. It is always a strange feeling when the main character of a story passes away, but this takes it a step farther. If you pay attention to the text that passes the screen before the missions you will notice that your character never survived to become a cyborg. So who's memories are these? Taylor's? If the main character didn't survive, why are we seeing anything? Well, if you can be happy with the "the story was all just a dream" trope then that is the ending you get. What a cop-out.
7 Resistance 2
As we mentioned in the last entry, it is a rough thing to see your main character's story come to its final end. However, if you are going to go down this path, there HAS to be some attempt to make it sad or worthwhile. For Resistance 2, they make almost no effort to make it feel that you perished as a hero. It almost feels like they took a page out of The Walking Dead. Your character gets the alien zombie virus and after doing all that you can to fight you crash your escape ship and lose all control. Your teammate just says some cheesy line and puts you down like a dog. Well so much for you, thanks for all the hard work.
To be perfectly fair to this game, there really was not much of a story to follow or complete in this game. Your main goal in the game is basically to wipe out the gangs in the city. It was like Saints Row 2, but without the comedy and you are a cop.
But, at the very least, we could have seen the fruits of our labors!
Once you reach the final mission you are a hardened veteran and can take on anything. But when you finish the level your commander basically just says "hey you defeated them all! Good job" then the credits start to roll. Really? We couldn't have seen how the city was better off? Even just the main character taking off his armor and looking over the city and seeming happy? Nope.
5 No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky could very possibly be one of the biggest let downs of our generation. Was the game bad? No, it was great. Did the randomly generated animals and worlds feel organic and unique? Yeah, they were beautiful and worth exploring. So, as you know, it must be the ending that caused all the rage among fans. Well, as you learn, your goal is to make it to the center of the universe to discover all of the secrets of life. So what is there? A god-like entity that basically restarts your game. Its all about the journey right? Well not after the massive amounts of grinding it isn't! Do you know what we went through just to open that portal!?
4 Shenmue 2
Though it is adored by its fans, this game has a "bad" ending that really kicks you in the teeth. When we say "bad" ending here we mean you took too long to beat the game, so start over.
Yeah, let that sink in, you took too long. Game over.
But even the good ending is a huge let down as well. Basically, you find a sword, your friend's father's letter gives some exposition, and the game gives you some hints for the next game. All to be treated with a text screen reading "the story goes on." Man, you just have to hate cliffhangers. At least you can find out the rest in the next installment, right? Good thing you were not looking for any resolution to the story.
3 Kane And Lynch 2: Dog Days
This story had so much potential hidden behind its terrible gameplay. Things got super hardcore so fast that you really wondered what was going to happen next. More or less the plot boils down to someone is mad at your secondary character since he did something bad. How bad? Well, he accidentally ended a mob boss' daughter's life in some crossfire. So what do you do when a mob boss wants you mounted on his wall? Well, you run away and fast. But this gets amplified by a million after some brief pain involving a box cutter, you know things are serious. Then how do they end the game? Well, you just run away and leave everything behind. The end.
2 Jurassic Park: The Game
Really quick, RIP Telltale Games. You will be missed.
Telltale Games had a very interesting up and down track record of making amazing games next to some mediocre ones. Well, Jurassic Park was one of the more forgettable titles in their history. As most of their games tend to do, they introduce you to some interesting characters and some that are easy to dislike. In that way they always capture the feeling of real life, you can't like everyone. But after hours of prehistoric running and fighting what do we get at the end?
The survivors were the people that nobody liked! Not one of their awesome characters lived! It actually sounds like some of the more recent movies actually.
1 The Lion King (SNES)
This game is proof that not all video games based on movies have to be terrible. Similar to the Aladdin game that came out for the Super Nintendo, the gameplay was really fun and followed the movie very well. Of course, you have to make levels from the iconic scenes, which is normally easier said than then done. But, when it came to the ending it fell flat pretty hard. The movie showed the land regaining its color after the fight but all we really get in the game is Simba roaring after Scar's defeat. Sure we get the feeling of the victory, but we lose all significance that the movie showed us. Even if we got a little text to tell us that Simba turned things around, but nothing, just a victory.