Top 20 Video Games Where You Die At The End

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Top 20 Video Games Where You Die At The End

VOICE OVER: Callum Janes WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
We all love the feeling of accomplishment you get when completing a video game, but sometimes your character dies, unable to enjoy any of it. For this list, we'll be looking at games where your player character perishes right before the credits roll. Be warned, there are heavy spoilers ahead. Our countdown includes “Halo: Reach” (2010), “Mafia” (2002), “Outlast” (2013), “BioShock Infinite” (2013), and more!
Transcript
Script written by Johnny Reynolds

We all love the feeling of accomplishment you get when completing a video game, but sometimes your character dies, unable to enjoy any of it. For this list, we’ll be looking at games where your player character perishes right before the credits roll. Be warned, there are heavy spoilers ahead. Our countdown includes “Halo: Reach” (2010), “Mafia” (2002), “Outlast” (2013), “BioShock Infinite” (2013), and more! Did any of these deaths catch you off guard? Which protagonist do you wish had made it to the end? Let us know in the comments below.

#20: “The Stanley Parable” (2013)


“The Stanley Parable” made waves for its emphasis on player choice and how the hilarious narrator reacted to your decisions. But you better be careful because not all of your decisions will lead to positive outcomes. The original game featured 19 different endings, a handful of which would lead to Stanley’s death. One conclusion sees Stanley killed in a nuclear self-destruct while another sees him crushed by a giant machine. You can even die right at the beginning by jumping off a cargo lift. Unless you look it up, there’s no way of knowing which ending your choices will lead you to. But that’s one of the reasons the game is so beloved.

#19: “Assassin’s Creed III” (2012)


While the character you play as for the majority of the game doesn’t die, the one you played as through the present day sequences across several entries does. Desmond Miles was incredibly important for the overarching plot of “Assassin’s Creed.” By the fifth overall entry, it was time for his story to come to a close. Towards the end of the game, Desmond learns that activating a pedestal inside the Isu’s Grand Temple will release Juno and kill him in the process. But if he doesn’t, the world will fall into chaos. Desmond decides to sacrifice himself, despite it freeing the villainous Juno. It's the best call for humanity; all that time in the Animus living through his heroic ancestors’ memories must have rubbed off.

#18: “Medal of Honor” (2010)


This 2010 entry in EA’s military shooter series attempted to follow “Call of Duty” into the grittier, modern day. As such, it required an impactful ending and there’s almost nothing more powerful than killing off the player character. For most of the game, players control a Navy SEAL codenamed Rabbit. During his last mission, Rabbit is gravely injured multiple times from jumping off a cliff, RPG fire, and torture at the hands of insurgents. While his allies are able to rescue him and call for extraction, it arrives a bit too late. Rabbit passes from his multitude of wounds while his allies can do nothing but watch.

#17: “Resistance 2” (2008)


The aliens of the “Resistance” series are nasty pieces of work. Through use of a biological weapon called the Chimeran Virus, they can mutate a variety of creatures. For the first two games, players control Nathan Hale, a US soldier infected with the virus who must keep it at bay while utilizing its useful side effects. Unfortunately, Hale can’t keep the virus under control forever. Throughout the second game, his condition grows more dire, especially following contact with pure Chimeran DNA. By the end, he has fully succumbed to it. With no other option, his ally Joseph Capelli executes him. While Hale is lost, at least his death leads to a cure seen in the sequel.

#16: “Killzone: Shadow Fall” (2013)


Set several decades after “Killzone 3,” “Shadow Fall” follows Lucas Kellan, a covert operative of the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance. As it turns out, futuristic spycraft is filled with just as many backstabs and double crosses as there always have been. In order to stop war between the Vektans and Helghast from causing more death, Kellan disobeys his superior, Sinclair. This comes back to bite him in the end, as Sinclair shoots him and plans to use a bio-tech weapon to destroy the Helghast. Getting betrayed by someone you look up to must sting quite a bit. But that made it all the sweeter when, during a mid-credits scene, we played as Kellan’s ally Echo, who got vengeance on his behalf.

#15: “Heavenly Sword” (2007)


The sword for which this action game is named eventually takes the life of its wielders. But it’s strong enough that people have warred over it throughout the centuries. Players control Nariko, a warrior from the tribe who has protected the sword for years. To stop the oppressive King Bohan from obtaining the sword and using it for his own gain, Nariko wields it herself to protect her people. She’s actually killed by it before the end of the game, though makes a deal with the sword to come back in an attempt to bring peace to the world. She’s ultimately successful, but still has to pay the almighty weapon’s price.

#14: “Mafia” (2002)


Working for a crime family is a dangerous business, as a plethora of mob movies have taught us. “Mafia” teaches us the same lesson. The story follows Tommy Angelo, a cabbie who is forced into working for the Salieri family in the 1930s. Despite it definitely not being his first career choice, things go pretty well for a while. But betrayals within the family soon come to a head, and Tommy must flee with his family. In order to keep them safe, he testifies against Salieri for a reduced sentence of 8 years. Unfortunately, even witness protection can’t keep him safe. And Tommy ends up being shot by two hitmen on Salieri’s behalf.

#13: “Infamous 2” (2011)


Being a superhero often means you’ll have to make sacrifices. In “Infamous 2,” the sacrifice Cole MacGrath must make is giving his own life. Cole learns of an ultra-powerful Conduit known only as the Beast who will one day destroy the world. In order to stop the Beast, Cole eventually uses the Ray Field Inhibitor, a special device that can take away the powers of Conduits. In the game’s good ending, which has been confirmed to be the canon one, Cole makes the tough call to supercharge the device, killing himself and thousands of other Conduits across the globe, including the Beast. It’s a bit bleak, but it means that humanity has a future.

#12: “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” (2008)


In this fantastic “Star Wars” game, players control Starkiller, the badass apprentice to Darth Vader. Although raised from a very early age to be a Sith, Starkiller struggles with his alignment throughout the game. And his betrayal at the hands of his Master later in the story makes things even more confusing. After defeating Vader at the end of the game, the player chooses between two different endings. The good ending sees him choose the Light Side, resulting in him sacrificing himself to save his friend Kota. While the evil ending has him survive, the game’s sequel has you play as his clone, making it clear that the good ending is the canon one.

#11: “Outlast” (2013)


Investigative journalist Miles Upshurr is completely unequipped to navigate the horrific inside of Mount Massive Asylum. Armed with nothing but a video camera, you’re confronted by things much worse than a creepy atmosphere. In addition to violent patients, the asylum is home to the Walrider, a murderous spirit that has thrown the facility into chaos. Towards the end of the game, Miles must kill a comatose patient controlling the Walrider, but very unfortunately becomes the spirit’s new host. The possession doesn’t last long though, as Miles is gunned down by a military team. From the sound of it, they quickly come to regret their decision.

#10: “Slender: The Eight Pages” (2012)


This indie survival Horror game had the world talking non-stop about the gangly, blank-faced Slender Man. Although fairly simple, being confronted by him was one of the most terrifying moments we had experienced in a game. Players everywhere were seeing how quickly they could collect the 8 pages in order to outrun him and survive. However, even if you do collect all 8 pages, you don’t exactly win. He’ll still get you in the end despite collecting all of the creepy drawings. He’ll pop up just as he always does, only to scare the pants off of you when the screen cuts to black.

#9: “L.A. Noire” (2011)


Much like classic noir films, Rockstar’s “L.A. Noire” is filled with danger and deception. Players control Cole Phelps, a former marine turned LAPD detective. It isn’t long before Phelps is able to move up the ranks, but that success quickly comes crashing down after he has an affair. Following demotion and humiliation, Phelps works hard to rebuild his image through what will be his final case. “Final” being the prominent word here. While Phelps is eventually successful in solving the case and redeeming himself, it comes at the cost of his own life. While inside the LA River tunnels, he’s killed by a massive rush of water due to heavy rainfall. He does get a lovely funeral though.

#8: “Persona 3” (2007)


“Persona 3” is another game with two endings. But unlike “Infamous 2” and “The Force Unleashed,” you die in both. The game’s protagonist leads a group of high-schoolers who have the ability to summon Personas and fight the Shadows, dangerous beasts hungry for human minds. Unbeknownst to them, this causes an extremely powerful being called Nyx to be freed and head to Earth in an attempt to destroy all of humanity. Eventually, you get your two choices. You can choose to forget everything, living a blissfully ignorant existence with your friends until Nyx arrives to kill everyone. Or you can choose to fight Nyx, sealing the being away. Even in victory, the battle takes a toll and your life is sacrificed to save the world.

#7: “Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII” (2008)


Anyone who played the original “Final Fantasy VII” knew Zack Fair wouldn’t be making it out of this prequel alive. But that doesn’t make his death any less meaningful. Zack’s journey takes him from loyal Shinra SOLDIER to being hunted by that very organization. After learning that he’s been experimented on for years in an attempt to create supersoldiers, Zack and his new friend Cloud abandon Shinra. During the game’s climax, we get to play through Zack’s final stand, defending an injured Cloud from a swarm of Shinra troops with the iconic Buster Sword. It’s an incredibly heroic moment but one that ends with Zack’s tragic demise.

#6: “Mass Effect 3” (2012)


The ending of “Mass Effect 3” has been talked about to death. And speaking of death, it’s pretty unlikely Commander Shepard makes it through any of the optional endings. In the game’s controversial climax, players get three choices: destroy the Reapers, control the Reapers, or merge all synthetic and organic life. Unless you happen to choose the destructive ending after having amassed an EMS rating of 3100 or more, within the “Extended Cut” mind you, Shepard isn’t making it to the credits. Even if they do, that’s just a special treat for those specific players. Canonically speaking, Shepard is dead unless BioWare decides to retcon the decision.

#5: “BioShock Infinite” (2013)


The confusing multiversal nature of “BioShock Infinite” and its “Burial at Sea” DLC makes it difficult to narrow down Booker DeWitt’s overall fate. But the fact remains that the version you play as in the main game dies at the end. During the climax, Booker learns that villain Zachary Comstock is really an alternate reality version of himself. The religious zealot was born out of a baptism some versions of Booker took part in as a way to atone for past atrocities. In order to fully stop Comstock from coming into existence, Booker allows various versions of Elizabeth to drown him so that the decision is never made. See? Confusing.

#4: “Shadow of the Colossus” (2005)


This bonafide classic follows Wander, a young man who will do just about anything to save the seemingly dead Mono. What he does end up doing is slaying 16 breathtaking Colossi at the request of Dormin, an entity sealed inside the game’s temple. But surprise! Dormin isn’t to be trusted. With the quest complete, Lord Emon and his men show up at the temple and stab Wander through the heart for his actions. However, the now-free Dormin possesses Wander’s body and starts rampaging. In a last-ditch effort, Emon performs a ritual to consume Dormin, and Wander’s body, in a whirlwind of light. Although the revived Mono finds what seems to be a reborn infant Wander inside the pool, the man who saved her is definitely gone.

#3: “Halo: Reach” (2010)


This prequel offers a nice connection to the original “Halo” during the ending, but things don’t turn out too well for your character. The game is set on Reach, one of the last Earth-like colonies and the UNSC’s main military hub used to combat the villainous Covenant. The game ends with your character, Noble Six, staying behind on Reach to make sure the ship Pillar of Autumn makes it off safely. Or at least that’s where we thought it was going to end. After the credits roll, you’re given one last objective: Survive. Only, you can’t. Fight all you like, the Covenant forces will always overwhelm Noble Six. Though it’s your actions and sacrifice that secure humanity’s survival.

#2: “The Walking Dead: Season One” (2012)


Despite being set during the zombie apocalypse, seeing multiple characters die, and the fact that it’s based on a series overflowing with tragic deaths, we were still shocked by this one. We follow Lee Everett, who looks after a young girl named Clementine. The bond between the two is beautifully built up over the course of the game, which just makes his demise more devastating. Towards the end, Lee is bitten by a Walker. You get the option to tell Clementine to shoot Lee before he turns or leave him behind. Regardless, Lee’s death is utterly heartbreaking.

Joke #1: “Fallout 3” (2008)


Remember when “Fallout 3’s” nonsensical ending had you die despite there being a very easy solution for you not to? And everyone got annoyed, prompting Bethesda to fix it through DLC? Good times…but let’s get to our real #1.

#1: “Red Dead Redemption” (2010)


Although Arthur Morgan’s death in the prequel definitely deserves some recognition, we have to give the top spot to the original. John Marston was trying to put his past life as an outlaw behind him, living a simple life with his family. Unfortunately for him, government agent Edgar Ross wasn’t having it, and kidnapped his family to make Marston hunt down the members of his former gang. Upon doing so, Marston was met with betrayal; Ross let his family go free but gunned him down, securing his placement as one of the most hated characters in gaming history. It’s an absolutely iconic death scene, though we were more than happy to see John’s son get vengeance in an epilogue.
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