5 Saddest Game Endings with Maximum Feels

The Last of Us ending

You’ve put a lot of hours into playing the game and growing attached to the characters. You’ve literally been allowed to walk a mile in their shoes so when you get to the end of a game only to find things don’t always end happily ever after there’s only one thing to do: cry. A lot. When games this sad exist, there’s no shame in admitting you shed a tear or two.


5. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

MGS3 snake eater
Source: dualshockers.com

This instalment of the classic stealth franchise by Hideo Kojima packs an emotional punch. Snake Eater pushed the limits of the PlayStation 2 graphically and was the founding father of more open world orientated games. As you cruise around the jungle fully enjoying this love letter to the espionage of the Cold War era, you can’t help but be amazed by the sheer scope and ambition. But this is so much more than a stealth/action game.

Snake starts off as the idealistic war hero. You feel bad for the guy as he gets betrayed by his master, the poor guy even loses his eye but it’s at the very end that Kojima plays his emotional trump card. Cue the emotional vocal/piano music and just let those tears fall. After battling his former master to the death in a field of gently swaying white flowers that turn a beautifully symbolic bloodstained red as she utters her final words of wisdom to Snake, he returns from his mission a changed man.

He is disillusioned by any form of loyalty to his country and he realises there can be no heroes in war. He attends a ceremony to celebrate his military accomplishments but finds it leaves a rather bitter taste in his mouth. He feels ostracised and alone. During the course of the game, he has lost everything and everyone he once had faith in and as we watch him place flowers on the gravestone of ‘A Patriot’ as he lets dignified tears flow, we can’t help but feel a little empty and sad at what’s become of Snake. Kojima never treads lightly when it comes to human emotions and complex philosophy and in this case it makes for a very powerful, emotional ending.


4. Kingdom Hearts 2

Kingdom Hearts 2
Source: YouTube.com

This ending can’t possibly be sadder than the first, can it? Poor Sora was torn apart from his two best friends and thrust into the unknown alone with a really sad Utada Hikaru song playing. It can’t be worse. Well, yes and no.

After battling through Disney worlds once again, Sora is finally reunited with his friends Riku and Kairi. But all is not as it once was and even with the prospect of a brand new journey ahead, Kingdom Hearts 2 is an ending packed with a bittersweet punch to the gut.

Kingdom Hearts 2 begins with a new protagonist, Roxas. Through various confusing plot developments (especially for those that didn’t own Chain of Memories for Gameboy), you realise that both Roxas and Naminé (a white witch who helps Sora and Roxas) are not in fact ‘real’, for lack of a better word. They are in fact the Nobodies of Sora and Kairi formed when Sora sacrificed his heart to save Kairi in the previous game. They cannot co-exist. With this knowledge, we prepare ourselves for the inevitable tragic ending.

After battling and saving the world again, Sora and Riku finally make their way back to their home and Kairi. Our trio are finally reunited on the beautiful sunset shores of Destiny Island as another Utada Hikaru tearjerker plays in the background. Happy endings all round, right? Not content to end things too happily, we are reminded of the not so lucky Roxas and Naminé. Roxas and Naminé are both interesting, well-rounded characters, which makes it all the harder knowing that we have to say goodbye to them.

Once Sora’s memories are fully restored, they were no longer needed, but as Naminé mentions in an earlier scene:

“I may not know it’s you, and you may not know it’s me but we will meet again.”

As Kairi takes Sora’s hand and they smile at one another, we see a brief glimpse of Naminé and Roxas appearing within both of them. Kingdom Hearts doing what Disney and Square Enix do best: making grown adults sob uncontrollably like babies.


3. Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus
Source: IGN

A game this visually beautiful couldn’t end anything but tragically. It’s the typical tale of boy meets girl and then girl dies, boy must slay huge beasts to resurrect girl. Well. so far it seems like a version of your typical fairytale.

The Prince gets to rescue the Princess and they ride off into the sunset, right? You know like Prince Charming and Snow White, Mario and Princess Peach, Zelda and Link etc.? No is the simple answer to this. With beautiful ethereal lighting and perfect musical scoring just looking at this game brings tears to the eyes, but it’s the tragic end that’s the final twist of the knife.

Our protagonist, Wander, after going through hell to be reunited with his beloved, finally succumbs to the dark power of the demigod Dormin who both disappear into a pool. With the agreements met, Mono awakens alone and discovers a male child in the pool who we know to be the baby Wander. She carries the child in her arms as they enter a shrine. Roll credits. Cue excessive crying.

Wander sacrificed everything for Mono, knowing the entire time that he would need to sacrifice his own life. True love at its finest. Even Shakespeare would be proud of this one.


2. The Last of Us

The Last of us ending
Source: YouTube

Well there wasn’t much hope of a happy ending from the get go, was there? The tragic death of a young daughter during viral outbreak at the beginning of a zombie apocalypse. Not a good start. Joel, who is embittered and hardened to forming any attachment to other people, simply lives to survive. But then he meets Ellie, a young, tough teenage girl who, over the course of their relationship, develop a beautiful bond.

Amidst all the death and zombie attacks, Joel slowly learns how to be a human again and they develop the tenderest of surrogate father, daughter relationships. What we have in store at the end of this masterpiece of post-apocalyptic gaming is something much subtler and perhaps more harrowing than character death.

Joel is faced with the choice to save humanity by sacrificing Ellie. He chooses the selfish but definitely the most human option of damning humanity by saving the girl he has come to love as a daughter. Joel isn’t a hero and he isn’t a villain: he perfectly portrays the ambiguity of the ordinary man. Joel couldn’t face losing another daughter and in a beautiful tender moment between the two, Joel lies in order to protect Ellie from the horrible truth which she probably already knows. It’s sad, it’s beautiful and it’s heart-warmingly human.


1. Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy x ending
Source: bytexplosion

Square Enix are the masters of their art: beautifully crafted RPG’s that tug at the heartstrings. We’re literally spoiled for choice when it comes to emotionally charged moments from the series, but the ending of FFX takes it to another level.

You’ve watched Tidus and Yuna grow closer and overcome every obstacle in their path. Yuna, calm and collected, and Tidus, cheerful and impulsive. Sharing cheesy dialogue and MTV best kiss worthy moments together, you can’t help but love these two. After journeying on their pilgrimage to finally face Sin, the final battle arrives and it takes all of Yuna’s inner strength to not only defeat Sin but to say goodbye to the one she loves. Not even a phoenix down will be able to resurrect you after this ending.

Yuna and Tidus are separated by ‘minor’ factors of 10,000 years and a little matter called reality. After Yuna performs the final sending where we essentially have to watch all of her Aeons die, we also are forced to watch as she is separated from Tidus, forever. He is from a ‘dream’ world and in order for peace to be restored in Spira, he must disappear. In one of the saddest scenes in game history, Tidus embraces Yuna one last time before diving into the clouds and disappearing. In Yuna’s own words:

“And those friends we lost. We must never forget them.”

Sad video game endings leave a certain impression on you that can’t be changed no matter how many times you replay. All those hours that you grind to gain XP and all that time you spend immersed in these characters make it different from simply watching events unfold on screen. For those hours, we are that character and as they experience hardships and loss, so do we. Let’s hug it out.

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