Cheating a bit but I found the last hour or so of Catherine to be particularly excellent.
Other than that I would say Red Dead Redemption is the best ending I've seen in quite some time. Spec Ops was good too.
Darksiders ("No... not alone.", is so satisfying!) is the first thing that comes to mind.
Though "ever" is a very long time, and a huge amount of games. But I can't think of any other game right now that I left with a huge grin. Bayonetta, maybe? Though that end was just nonsense... but... Let's dance, boys!
Anyway, back to Darksiders: And that makes Darksiders 2 probably my most disappointing game of 2012, because it has nothing to do with Darksiders :(
Just off the top of my head:
Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. Driving with a convoy of tanks, assaulting a base, self destructing some Nukes mid-flight, capturing the Ace of Spades alive and netting $100 million.
Mercenaries: World In Flames. You fucking nuke a bunker, go inside, skyjack a Hind while still in the bunker, kill the pilot, fight the main bad guy in the now out-of-control spinning helicopter, knock him out, grab him and jump from the helicopter (which finally crashes and explodes), deliver him to whatever side you helped and then (while hanging out in the main bad guys old Villa) decide to go to India to continue to mercenary it up.
God damnit, EA, Pandemic was amazing, and I was looking forward to a third game.
Giving a nod to some more stereotypical old school answers -
Ocarina of Time still has one of my all time favorite game endings. Halfway just for the amazing music, but it does a wonderful job at closure.
Final Fantasy 9 & 10 both. For pulling at the heartstrings. 9 wasn't the greatest game in the world, but the characters were fleshed out plenty well enough to make you feel keenly invested in them and make the ending where each of them got a large chunk of screentime very satisfying.
From this generation, I have to salute Mass Effect 3 and Halo 4 both. Halo 4 had by far the most satisfying conclusion the franchise has seen yet, and one of the only endings that has stuck with me long after the credits rolled this generation.
This is the best ending to movie, music, game or any entertainment medium:
Damn, i was just about to post this. Snake Eater has such an awesome ending both gameplay and story wise. There's just something about fighting a giant mech/tank while you're escaping in a motorcycle and then going toe-to-toe with the fucking Boss.
Yeah, defintely. Though, the highlight for me was the last 15 minute cutscenes where you find out the true intentions behind The Boss, Eva and the Government. The music, the scene, everything is so well done.
Red Dead Redemption for sure to me.
Not just the story, but the ending, then the REAL ending, and then it was brilliant how it set up the post game. Really perfect.
I think Max Payne 2 is also outstanding.
Batman: Arkham City. Because that was crazy.
I don't get why a lot of people are saying that. It was alright. Nothing that blew my mind or anything, though...
You and me both. Neither of those games had good endings.
I heard Final Fantasy VI has a fantastic ending where every character (even minor) has been given some form of closure. I need someone to attest to this though.
If Return of the King had a video game ending, it would be FF6's ending. It just kept going and going and going.
The character closure and the giant medley of themes made FF6 a real treat. No fancy CG. No rock love ballad. Not really a "They lived happily ever after." Just a small snippet of their lives after the final moments that said, "Hey, everything's going to be just fine."
Knowing that FF6's ending was great soured FF7 for me. Before the internet was around to spoil everything, I thought every FF game was going to have an epic ending. Or at least one that gave a sense of closure.
"Here's Red 13 looking at Midgar"
Angsty 18 year old me was not happy about that!
I've learned to realize that video games in general are horrible at wrapping up their stories. However, Uncharted 2, Portal 2, Bastion, Driver: San Fransisco, Radiant Historia, and Sleeping Dogs are games that give me hope with their endings.
really? It was mad abrupt and just kinda slowed down to a stop.
The ending of Shadow of the Colossus is probably my favorite, but I wouldn't call it satisfying.
So I would say Final Fantasy VI. Nothing is more satisfying than closure after dozens of hours spent in such an amazing game. When I put down my controller, it felt like closing a good book, and that's something very few games manage to do.
First thing that comes to mind is Shawshank Redemption, especially if we're talking pure satisfaction.
Oh god, that ending is the most amazing thing ever. I love witnessing people experiencing the movie for the first time. It's truly an unmatchable feeling when Dufresne puts his hands up.
Arkham City is the best in recent memory. The Joker sings a creepy version of "Only you.." Over the credits. The story played out exceptionally well.
Oh man, thanks for reminding me! I reckon one of Rocksteady's greatest triumphs with the Arkham games is how cohesive the presentation is with stuff like that. It evokes that Batman feeling so well, little touches like that are the icing on a damn good cake. I need to go back through and play Catwoman's story sooooon.
As for mine it's gotta be Metal Gear Solid, the melancholy but hopeful ending cinematic, the phenomenal credits music and footage of the Alaskan wilderness and then the post credits one sided phone conversation? I had finished many games by the time I played MGS, but up to that point I had no idea a story like that could be told in video games. The best ending ever? no. My most satisfying? Absolutely.
Vagrant Story probably has the best ending, in addition to having the best credits music and the best final boss fight. Of course there's a solid argument to be made that Delita's storyline ending is more impressive in Final Fantasy Tactics but that kind of ignores how irrelevant the protagonist turns out to be.
Use your keyboard!
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