After beating Mass Effect 3 and feeling the same disappointment that much of the internet is talking about, I thought to myself what some actual *good* endings of games have been like. And come to think of it, it's actually hard to think of any games that I've played that have had real, honest-to-goodness, GOOD endings. Here's a few off the top of my head that I managed to think of, in no particular order. Yes, SPOILERS are ahead!
Ryan is right, you really need to play Saints Row. It has two endings, both of which are just absurd and gratifying. First you're on Mars fighting aliens, and while at first this is a shock, it becomes obvious that it's supposed to be a movie set. Either way, it's hilarious. But the other ending, the one that is probably "canon" is much more entertaining and finds the Boss is having to take down a massive flying aircraft carrier as it bombards the city, ending with the he or she calling for succession of his city from the entirety of the United States, creating his own little Saints Row country! I'm looking forward to the craziness that ensues in Saints Row 4.
I love the Hitman games, but until Blood Money, they all were a bit janky. Blood Money hit it right on the head for sandbox-style assassinations for me and I played it multiple times through. The ending can be infuriating, but at the same time, seemed almost like an easter egg that you had to find out about which made it that much cooler. At first, the ending seems like such a downer, with Agent 47 seemingly killed and on a funeral pyre. However, Diana essentially cures you of your death-like coma. As a player, watching the ending credits roll as Agent 47's heartbeat slowly gets faster and louder, you await his ultimate victory... only to go up in flames. If you're like me and put the controller down for endings so you don't accidentally skip them, this can be jarring, but trying it again, tapping the controls to actively get Agent 47 to jump up, grab a hostage and, controlled by you, start killing every single mutha in the room... is SO epic! But hard as heck to achieve.
The Telltale Sam & Max series have had great, funny stories, each subsequent series being better then the last. They accomplish call backs like no other.
Final Fantasy have gone down hill since 6 (in my opinion!). FF6 had a huge cast of characters with interconnecting relationships and problems that could be resolved through side-quests and missions, tons of secrets to find, amassing in an epic battle... that destroys the world! You then need to gather up the troops to make another final push into the final dungeon to conquer evil once and for all and rebuild the planet. Wow, very similar to Mass Effect, now that I type all that, but does it all right!
Where Mass Effect was trying to go when it comes to heroic sacrifice, Red Dead accomplishes in spades. This complete anti-hero who has committed so many atrocities in his life finally gets his family to safety at the cost of his own. He tries so hard to do what seems to be the right thing throughout the game (assuming you play it that way, of course) only to end up in the sights of a firing squad. For someone who avoided all such spoilers, this was an incredible moment! And to suddenly have control of Jack, years later, who can exact revenge. It's just great. Not to mention a fantastic use of a splash title at the end of everything.
I really enjoyed Heavy Rain's story. Again, avoiding spoilers made the big twist get to me with the best impact. It was one of these games with so many branching paths but because of how my particular game ended, I felt no compulsion to try to achieve a different one. In fact, I won't even spoil it here just in case you managed to go this far without it being spoiled for you yet!
Chrono Trigger is a beloved RPG classic that I played the heck out of. It's main ending, while cool, isn't necessarily exceptional, however the fact that the game has 12 OTHER endings is what is so cool. Starting a New Game+ offers you a teleport to the final boss of the game right at the beginning, and allows you to defeat him at any point in the game's main story. Beating the end boss at different points nets you the different endings. Such as...
Beating the game without
, the main character! Or right at the beginning, when you only have two party members! Or the ending where the royal family are all turned into Frog-People! Or the other where everyone on the planet evolved from dinosaur-like Reptile-People! Or how about when Crono takes Magus
' place as an evil overlord? The craziness is too awesome and makes the game that much more fun!
Riven is the sequel to the original Myst adventure game. I was a big Myst fan back when it first came out (like many people were) and was really looking forward to the sequel when I heard about it. Playing through Riven was a big eye-opener for me when it comes to telling a story through an environment. I cite it as one of my main inspirations for wanting to be in the video game industry, and I found it's many, varied endings to be very satisfying. The methods the game uses to not just show you things but to actually teach you something, like the alien symbols for numbers and colors, are very dynamic and helps invest yourself in the world.
The variations in the ending are all very cool to see play out ranging from the player becoming permanently trapped in a prison Age, being killed by Ghen, or even doing everything right except... oops, forgot to let Atrus' wife out of her cage so she's trapped on Riven while it's being torn apart around you. Then of course the "good" ending where you save the girl, reunite her with her husband, trap Ghen, and save the people of Riven.
I'll add more later as I think of them. :) Any suggestions for good endings in games you've played?