According to Guinness World Records, first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops has the best ending in video gaming history.
Guinness polled over 13,000 fans to find the best video game ending to be the latest entry in the Guinness World Records 2012 Gamer's Edition book.
WARNING! Contains massive spoilers, moderate peril and opinion abuse!
WARNING! Contains massive spoilers, moderate peril and opinion abuse!
The top five reads as:
- 5. God of War
- 4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
- 3. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- 2. Halo: Reach
- 1. Call of Duty: Black Ops
When I was originally introduced to this news I felt sick. There's no arguing with the success of the COD franchise. Each year a new entry is released onto a hungry public and each year it sells in it's millions will little to no effort. Sometimes they rock out something new and innovative. Other times it's something they should have kept behind closed doors. So the question is, is Black Ops really deserving of the accolade of “Best Ending Ever?”
Quite frankly, no, no it isn't!
What Guinness have seemingly not taken into account is popularity.
Gamers are a passionate bunch. If they love something, then they'll die defending it. Anyone who's ever perused the Battlefield and COD forums can attest to this. The problem however, is that us gamer folk can become blinded to what's in front of us. If we hold a title on such a high pedestal then are we really the best critics when it comes to judging the negativities of a product? If we're questioned about a certain quality, is there a chance we will remember it more fondly than it really was?
If we're asked what's the best ending ever, is it possible that we may just respond with the name of our favourite game, irrelevant of how captivating or magnificent the ending is?
Endings are not just about the cutscenes that roll before the end credits. They're the events you've put time into coming to a head. They're the final moments of a game, the boss, the emotions, the anger and the despair. They're a sense of completion, knowing that a story you've become invested in has ended.
So try not to think of this as a top five greatest ending ever. I'm sure each gamer has their own thoughts and opinions on what should place within these brackets. Instead, think of it as a selection of five endings that show why Call of Duty: Black Ops is NOT home to the greatest ending in gaming history!
Mass Effect 2
Bioware have a habit for playing with the emotions of fans and while this should seem like a dastardly thing to do, is actually the opposite.
What makes the ending of Mass Effect so interesting and unique is that the ending the player receives is all dependant on their choices made throughout the game.
The renegade ending for example (which is the one I got upon my first playthrough) is filled with tragedy as we watch Commander Shepard and his crew all die trying to save the galaxy.
This is a ballsy move as sometimes killing off characters can feel cheap.In this instance , Bioware do it with such conviction that even though we know Shepard will be back for a third outing, it is still completely believable and heart-wrenching, making it an unforgettable ending while also whetting your appetite for the next iteration in the Mass Effect Universe.
One thing that Fable 2 does faultlessly is to tell a tale. In this tale, the hero has a dog. This may sound insignificant to those who haven't played it, but for those who did, they know only too well the attachment that the four legged companion brings.
During endgame, our faithful pup is put down by the hand (or gun) of Lord Lucien, Fable 2's big evil. This small act spewed such anger and hate that Peter Molyneux himself received death threats (none from me, promise!).
The events that followed the death made up for it. Following the dog's demise players go on to eventually be face to face with Lord Lucien and have the chance to aim up the one of the most satisfying headshots in all of gaming, and in the process end his reign.
After this has all tranSpired (get it?), the Hero is tasked with a making a choice. Bring back every innocent who died at the hands of the Spire, bring back your loved ones (including your dog and sister) or become richer than your wildest dreams!
It's this level of choice, cause and effect that leaves such a lasting impression. Not just because it's shrouded in death, but because you really have to think to make the right choice and even after the choice is made, you still question whether you've made the right one!
Dragon Age 2
Dragon Age 2 is a shining example of how endings should be handled. Meredith, Dragon Age 2's final boss, for all intents and purposes is a tyrant. Throughout the game, the player becomes torn between the notions of whether she is a reprehensible monster or is she justified in her means?
During the final moments, the player learns that Meredith has been driven to insanity, courtesy of a sword that has been imbued with the power of The Lyrium Idol, a relic that is said to be extremely valuable in price but feeds the owners' deepest desires, which in Meredith's case, is stopping, controlling and killing all mages in existence.
What makes the ending so great, other than giving Meredith her comeuppance and saving Kirkwall, is that after the battle, we are treated to the final scenes of Varric's recollection of events, which not only adds a certain amount of mystery and intrigue onto the current whereabouts of the game's protagonist, but also the whereabouts of The Warden from Dragon Age: Origins.
For me, a clear and concise ending in which the big bad is defeated, but leaving room for fans to speculate for the next game, is always the way to finish a game and this is something that Dragon Age 2 does beautifully. The player is left with a feeling of completion and closure but is also left wondering “what will happen next?”
When asked what my biggest gaming accomplishment is, I will always answer playing and completing Super Metroid when it was first released.
For most modern gamers, this may not sound like such a grand feat, but for those of you who share this accolade with me, you know just how big it truly is.
In modern day terms, Super Metroid is the 8-bit equivalent of Mass Effect. Both are sci-fi and both take an age to complete. In fact, at the time, Super Metroid came boxed with a strategy guide due to how long and tiresome the game really was.
So why is this retro marvel on here?
Super Metroid forced gamers to spend hours exploring a vast world, killing baddies and repairing a boken nanosuit. So when the final boss battle came, it had to match up to the standards and expectations the game had inadvertently set for itself.
Super Metroid didn't just match expectations, it blew them apart.
The final boss starts as a simple brain in a jar. Not too fearsome until you let rip on it and it turn into a giant Godzilla-like monster!
As our heroine unleashes everything she's got on Motherbrain, all hope fades as the foe doesn't seem to weaken. That is until a adolescent Metroid, that has been following like a lost child appears to save the day by sucking the energy out of Motherbrain and giving it to the player, before ultimately getting killed.
A super powered Samus Aran, complete with Metroid power, defeats this evil monstrosity. But this is Super Metroid and just defeating a boss you've spent hours, upon hours, trying to reach would be far to simple.
Following Motherbrain's demise a countdown clock triggers. The player then has three minutes to run back through the entire game and make it back to their ship so that that they can escape the planet before it explodes!
It's this sense of fear, excitement and trepidation that's instilled on the user that makes the ending of Super Metroid such a classic. What other game has you so close to a breakdown just to get to the end credits!?
Red Dead Redemption
The ending of Red Dead, for me, will always be one of the single greatest endings ever conceived. In the final acts of the game (excluding the prologue) John Marston realises his luck has run out and his past has finally caught up with him.
What makes this ending special is that in most games, John would best them, stand triumphant and then sail off into the sunset with his family.
Not in Red Dead.
Instead, John resigns to his imminent death and in an act of pure selflessness decides to send his family off via horseback to safety. He then proceeds to open the barn door and fire off a handful of shots in a desperate bid to take a few of his killers down with him.
John Marston is a badass from start to finish, so when John goes down in a blaze of glory, fans are left shocked but also satisfied. Satisfied that he didn't just die for the sake of dying, but that he died fighting for what he held dear, his family.
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