All things must come to a end, and they are hard to create because they’re impossible. You attempt to tie up every loose end and create a satisfying conclusion but you know you never can. There will also be fans that are going to complain and there’s going to be holes that you thought you could fill. And since it’s the ending everything has to add up to something or the journey to get there would’ve been for nothing. When the opening sets the pace of what we can expect from a movie, book, or video game it’s the ending that we all strive for and leaves us with a feeling of satisfaction, disgust, or nothing at all. For me a fulfilling ending is necessary to make a game truly great and without one it cannot achieve that monumental level of greatness. These are my top five endings of this generation, and as River Song would say “Spoilers”.
5. The Last of Us
PlayStation 3’s last big release The Last of Us had me on edge throughout Joel and Ellie’s long journey across the United States. When I finally reached the hospital Joel’s hardships didn’t cease, instead he had to make the biggest decision of his life: does he save Ellie from a deadly operation to extract the cure of the cordyceps or sacrifice humanity’s last chance at finding a cure? Joel didn’t hesitate to storm the hospital, killing anyone who stood in his way, and saved Ellie. This wasn’t the end, after waking up from the anesthesia Ellie fell in disbelief. She was haunted with the memories of those who had fallen throughout their journey and doubted that Joel was telling to truth. Seeing Ellie’s eyes shine and the shred of doubt laced in her response and Joel swears that everything he told her about the Fireflies was true all I could think about is whether she believes him or not. And that’s what made The Last of Us such a incredible ending, it gave us closure on Joel and Ellie’s journey but left enough questions to keep us wanting more in case Naughty Dog decides to create a story-based DLC or an entirely new game.
4. Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut
The ending to Mass Effect 3 came so much negative feedback that the developers at Bioware decided to extend the ending to give players a sense of closure after the demise of Commander Shepard. Although I was extremely vexed at the original ending the Extended Cut gave me the closure that I sought and allowed me to see the outcome of my actions after Shepard’s sacrifice. Whether I choose to destroy synthetic life, bond with the Reaper’s A.I., or force the final stage of evolution I was pleased to see that my decisions, that was necessary to ensuring the success of the invasion, weren’t fiddled down three different colored lights. Instead I’ve reached the end of Commander Shepard’s space odyssey and saw that my decisions did have consequences for those who survived the Reapers.
3. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Altair may have started that Assassin’s Creed franchise and Connor ended Desmond’s long journey, but it was in Assassin’s Creed II that introduced Ezio Auditore de Firenze and brought life what was perviously a mediocre franchise. From Ezio’s birth to his death gamers have seen the legendary assassin go through life-shattered tragedies and incredible successes. At the end of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Ezio reaches his goal to enter Altair sacred library, but realizes that he isn’t merely a conduit to deliver a message for Desmond. Rather than being filled with anger, like his younger self would’ve likely done, Ezio gave one final speech before announcing his retirement and giving Desmond his blessing. After three games it was time for this Italian warrior to hand over the reigns to a new hero, but his final moments in revelations left me lamenting on all the adventures that I’ve led this Italian legend through.
2. BioShock: Infinite
BioShock: Infinite is simply the of the greatest game of this generation. During my first playthrough I kept my eye out for every little detail, hoping to uncover the grand secret before it was simply handed to me. Then the twist hit me like a fifty-ton sledgehammer when it was revealed that Booker DeWitt’s was Zachary Comstock and Elizabeth was Booker’s daughter. The level of shock was similar to the original BioShock’s twist, something that I thought I would never experience again. It was an unexpected delight and now I wonder how Irrational Games plan to top themselves after something so spectacular, perhaps with their upcoming DLC Buried at Sea.
1. Halo 4
Surprised? I debated whether Halo 4 or BioShock: Infinite should take my number spot and after watching both endings multiple times I had to choose Halo 4. After experiencing Master Chief life from his forced enrollment into the Spartan-II program until the ending of Halo 4 John has never shown the level of distress than seeing Cortana fade from his view. After willingly sacrificing himself to save Earth from the Composer he was unexpectedly saved by Cortana, despite being fully consumed by rampancy. It was during their final moments together that Master Chief showcased that he still had some humanity, unwilling to let her go and watching his closet companion perish before his eyes.