As any M. Night Shyamalan movie could have taught you, pulling off the twists and turns of the story is a tough feat. Video games and their narratives are great for writers to flex great and unexpected twists with some of the best narrative games using it. These ten games are among the best in terms of knockout endings or plot reveals. Of metroid and God of the war at BioShock and Knights of the Old Republichere are ten of the greatest bouncing endings in video games.
Before continuing, please know that we are going to discuss major spoilers for all games listed. If you don’t mind being spoiled with great twists, keep reading.
The 10 Biggest Twist Endings In Video Games
10. The Last of Us
Less of a heartbreaking turn and more of a shocking turn of events, The last of us‘ The ending is great. Throughout the game, protagonist Joel makes his way through a post-apocalyptic landscape while escorting a young girl named Ellie, who is believed to hold the cure for the deadly pandemic sweeping the world. Joel eventually leads Ellie to the Fireflies assuming they’ll help, but it turns out that the process of creating this cure involves killing Ellie.
Joel, after forming a close bond with Ellie, has none of it and ends up slaughtering the Fireflies in what is one of the game’s most memorable moments.
Nintendo rewrote the book with metroidthe famous twist ending. Throughout this action-platformer, players assume the role of bounty hunter Samus Aran. Since most video game protagonists at the time were male, players simply assumed that Samus was male as well. As the twist’s ending reveals, Samus was female the whole time. Nintendo went beyond stereotypes and conventions to deliver this great slice of video game history, introducing a now-iconic female protagonist in the process.
8. Nier: Automata
To deny: automata is a complex work as its existential story revolves around battle-ready androids 2B and 9S who watch over a post-apocalyptic Earth overrun by an alien threat. The idea is that humanity has shrunk to a fraction of its population, with the remaining survivors holding out hope. The game’s ending crushes players with the revelation that humanity has in fact been extinct all along, taking its curious android protagonists on a journey of self-reflection and nihilism.
7. Final Fantasy VII Remake
The big reveal at the end of Final Fantasy VII Remake literally redefined the term “remake”. Players assumed it would be a simple tale of Final Fantasy VII, but throughout the game we’re introduced to Whispers, strange specters that weren’t present in the original. When we get to the end, the rug is pulled from under our feet as the Whispers reveal themselves to be guardians of the timeline in an effort to ensure that every event and moment in the original game plays out exactly as before.
Naturally, Cloud and company disrupt these events, leading to a truly bizarre “multiverse” fracture point that drastically spins the timeline off its pre-determined course. Yes, Final Fantasy VII Remake literally redone the story of the original game, seemingly creating a divergent timeline where anything can happen in the future. It’s pretty much a sequel as much as a traditional remake.
6. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Hideo Kojima Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain may have been shrouded in controversy, but the game (unfinished as it was) still managed to produce one of the best – and most controversial – twist endings in video game history. Players start the game by creating a character, which is quite an odd choice considering we’re just playing as Big Boss throughout the game. Or so it seems.
Using hypnotherapy, your character is brainwashed into thinking he’s the real Big Boss when he’s actually just an unnamed doctor who saved him from Ground zeros‘ helicopter crash. In terms of execution, it was one of the most cinematic twists in gaming. Yet it also directly answered a big question left over from the 1990s. Metal Gear 2. The way Kojima pulled it all together was a stroke of genius, depending on who you ask.
5. God of War (2018)
2018 God of the war is a masterpiece of storytelling, spectacle, and big-budget game design, delivering plenty of memorable moments. However, the twist’s lightly but punchy ending saw Kratos’ son, Atreus, revealed to actually be Loki, the Norse god of mischief. We’re given clever hints throughout the game, but nothing could have prepared players for the idea that Kratos’ son was someone so important and potentially incredibly powerful.
4. Silent Hill 2
by Konami silent Hill series delves into its storytelling on many levels, but Silent Hill 2 had a whiplash ending that fit very well with the themes of the game. Protagonist James Sunderland visits the titular town after receiving a letter from his deceased wife, who died of a terminal illness, telling him to come to Silent Hill. James arrives and the city sinks its claws into him, showing its grief and regret through the monsters and people that inhabit it.
In a daring twist, it’s revealed at the end that James was actually responsible for murdering his wife in an attempt to euthanize her. It’s a dark and heartbreaking revelation that recontextualizes the entire game, making the later parts that much more meaningful and tragic.
While some fans might gravitate towards the meatier twist ending of Bioshock Infinite, the twist of the first game also cannot be underestimated. As Jack, players discover the underwater city of Rapture where a mysterious character named Atlas guides you through the labyrinthine utopia via telephone and speakers. Turns out Atlas was an impostor and was mentally controlling you the whole time, using the phrase “would you kindly?” to carry out its sinister objectives. It is an end engraved in the legend of the video game.
Jonathan Blow’s awesome indie game braid tells a story as old as the world: a hero goes on a journey to save his beloved. For most of the game, you fight with the intention of rescuing the princess, but what awaits you at the end completely turns the story around: you are actually the villain of this story, a stalker that the princess tried s ‘escape. The concept may seem a bit obvious today, but braid was the first to succeed, becoming a very influential game.
1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
We finally come to what many consider to be the pinnacle of video game endings. BioWare Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a phenomenal RPG with a great narrative, telling the story of a custom-created character who becomes embroiled in a conspiracy surrounding the Jedi, the Sith, and a mysterious Sith Lord named Darth Revan, a powerful ancient Jedi hero who fell from the dark and seemingly extinct side of the galaxy.
BioWare’s masterful storytelling is on full display here as it’s revealed that the player character is actually Darth Revan, whose memories were erased by the Jedi after they were captured. Knights of the Old Republic can confidently stand like a grown-up star wars RPG, but that well-executed twisted ending made it a masterpiece.