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As Magneto once said, welcome to die. Or rather, welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down the top 10 video games where you die at the end.
For this list we looked at games where the protagonist spends the credits in the afterlife. We tried to avoid characters who may be alive according to a game’s sequel, and character’s whose deaths are questionable—we’re looking at you, Kratos. Just as a heads up, this list is full of super duper spoilers and all round sad feels, so proceed with caution.
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#10: "L.A. Noire" (2011)
With a game that uses film noir elements, it’s no surprise that everything ends on a sad note. You play as Cole Phelps, a former marine turned LAPD officer. As Phelps, you move through the ranks of the police department... that is until you have an affair, ruin your reputation, and get demoted. Don’t worry, the final case will surely redeem your character... except for the part where you die in a violent rush of water. At least you’re honored at your funeral?
#9: "Mass Effect 3" (2012)
How To Piss Fans Off: A Mass Effect novella. Everyone knows about the outrage over the ending to the trilogy, so much so that an extended cut was released to make things right. All that aside, the three endings of BioWare’s grand sci-fi adventure still end with the death of lead character, Commander Shepard... unless if you pick a certain ending and have a high enough EMS rating in the extended cut. Still, canonically speaking, Shepard is gone, but he sure did have a good run, saving the galaxy and all…
#8: "Slender: The Eight Pages" (2012)
What are these pages? Why are you collecting them? Why are you in the woods? Approximately none of these questions are answered as you pray that your flashlight doesn’t die, but that’s why creepy, blank faced men in black made sequels, right? But before Slender: The Arrival came to be, gamers were brought on this quest where, even if you get all eight pages and “beat” the game, Slender Man still shows up. So what was the point? To scare the pants off you, duh.
#7: "Persona 3" (2007)
Nothing like spending your school year going to class, making friends, killing shadows, and sacrificing your life to prevent the end of days, but that’s exactly what this silent protagonist does. Even sadder, as you play later titles in the Persona franchise, you’re reminded about this tragic turn of events. However, there is a non-canon ending where you and your friends forget everything and enjoy a relaxing life until the final countdown. You can either die protecting everyone, or die singing karaoke. Your choice.
#6: "Bioshock Infinite" (2013)
We think the Bioshock franchise has something against letting its protagonists live. We lose lead protagonist, Booker DeWitt, in this game, and the female lead, Elizabeth, dies in the expansion "Burial at Sea". And let’s not forget Subject Delta in Bioshock 2. Why all the main character death, Bioshock? However, Booker’s demise is particularly memorable since it’s “for the greater good,” as he is both protagonist and antagonist. Ah, gotta love those alternate realities that allow for an endless loop of misery until you let yourself be drowned.
#5: "Shadow of the Colossus" (2005)
There are tragedies, and then, there’s this game. You have to take out sixteen colossi to revive this girl named Mono, that’s what the disembodied entity, Dormin, tells you. Don’t worry, he’s completely trustworthy, he’s just making plans to possess you at the end of your quest. In the end you’re killed by a lord named Emon and his men, possessed by Dormin, and consumed by a whirlwind of light. The kicker? Mono wakes up afterwards! Looks like Romeo and Juliet got off easy.
#4: "Final Final VII: Crisis Core" (2008)
There’s not a Final Fantasy fan out there who doesn’t know Cloud Strife. As such, all of the fans know about Zack Fair: the guy who gave Cloud that iconic Buster Sword. And boy did he go out fighting. Someone at Square Enix thought: Let's have a game where Zack’s the main character, and to see his life flash before his eyes, we can get even more attached to him before he dies. Right, because we handled Aerith’s death so well, thanks Square Enix.
#3: "Halo Reach" (2010)
“The heroic sacrifice” certainly isn’t a new trope, however, this game was a bit cruel with it. Your character, Noble Six, stays on planet Reach to make sure “the Pillar of Autumn” leaves safely. This is what starts the events of the original Halo, which is where we thought the game would end. Unless you’re playing Legendary, you get to play through that suicide mission with one objective: survive. Spoiler: you don’t. Oh, and this is after the credits roll. We’re supposed to relax after the credits, not die!
#2: "The Walking Dead: Season One" (2012)
You didn’t think this was gonna end on a high note did you? As Lee Everett, you meet a young girl named Clementine after the walkers attack. You two form a bond and... well, you know what kind of list this is, right? In the end, you have a choice in regards to Lee’s heartbreaking ending. You can either have Clementine leave him be, which means he’ll become a walker, or you can have her kill him. We’re beginning to think that Kleenix goes hand and hand with bullets these days.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008)
- Heavenly Sword (2007)
- Resistance 2 (2008)
#1: "Red Dead Redemption" (2010)
Speaking of Kleenix and Bullets, that should’ve been the title of number one on our list. The government promises John Marston that he can see his family again if he kills 16 colossi... err I mean, kills his old gang, sorry, we’re getting our tragedies mixed up. Marston does as he’s told, sees his family again, and... is shot down by the government. Afterwards, control switches to your wife and son, where you ride back home to see the bloody aftermath. At least John’s son gets revenge afterwards.
Do you agree with our list? Is there a protagonist’s death that we should’ve unburied? For more tragic—and not so tragic—Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.