Video games, like most fiction, tend towards happy endings. Once the player has taken on challenges, puzzles, enemies, environments, and bosses, they expect the video game world to get better, the heroes retire happy, the crisis avoided, and in general, to have made things better for everyone. . Sometimes this is not the case.
Sometimes the hero fails at the last second no matter how hard the player tries. Sometimes the hero’s struggle has unintended consequences that lead to further suffering down the line. Other times, the hero’s own selfish impulses caused them to deliberately make matters worse. Anyway, in some games the player just can’t avoid doing more destruction than saving.
ten Sekiro assures Interior Ministry will win
Sekiro, the titular protagonist of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, is a shinobi with one goal: to protect Kuro, his charge. As a result, he will stop at nothing to save the boy once he is kidnapped by the Ashina clan, who hope to use their divine blood as a weapon in their lost war against the ruthless Interior Ministry.
Sekiro demolishes their defenses and kills their greatest warriors, then steals their last hope: Kuro. As a result, the Home Office, the brutal aggressors of war, can attack Ashina Castle and slaughter the defenders, thereby cementing their grip on the region.
9 NieR sees the protagonist cause the extinction of humanity
Throughout the action / RPG Deny, players control the main character who tries to protect their daughter Yonah as the remnants of what appear to be humanity are attacked and hunted down by mysterious creatures known as “Shades”. At the game’s climax, Nier defeats the Shadowlord, seemingly the most powerful shadow.
However, the characters learn that the Shades are truly humanity, who transformed from their human bodies to avoid the plagues that are ravaging the world. Nier and their family are replicants, cloned bodies designed to be inhabited by Shadows once the plagues are extinguished. With his actions throughout the game, Nier made sure the Shades died – and with them, humanity.
8 Dawn of War sees thousands die and the demon is still being released
Set in the dark universe of Warhammer 40,000, a dark end to Dawn of war was not unexpected by fans. Dawn of war sees the player take command of the Blood Ravens Space Marines, led by Captain Gabriel Angelos, as they battle an Ork invasion that turns into a Chaos Plot to awaken a Chaos Demon.
After a fragile alliance with the Eldar, the Blood Ravens are able to defeat the Chaos plot and are ready to evacuate the world of Tartarus before it is consumed by Chaos. However, to be thorough, Angelos shatters the stone containing the Demon with his hammer, seeing it released into the universe to wreak havoc.
7 Everything Gordon Freeman does allows the combine to invade
In the original version Half-life, Gordon Freeman is a simple scientist who is forced to defend himself when his work allows aliens from a dimension called Xen to attack Black Mesa. Throughout the game, he struggles to end the Crisis and ultimately succeeds.
However, he is approached by a mysterious figure named G-Man, who tells Gordon that he has been extremely helpful to his “employers” and that they want to keep him for another job. By accepting, Gordon is kept in stasis for twenty years, as his defeat against the Xen allows the hostile Combine to invade and subjugate Earth.
6 Survive not to starve sees only a new reign
Although it is a survival game, the single player version of Don’t starve in its adventure mode. The player, as the protagonist Wilson, survives and makes his way through many levels of the dimension known as “The Constant” until he reaches the Nightmare Throne, where the antagonist Maxwell controls the world.
Wilson can’t kill Maxwell, however, only takes his place. And it allows Charlie, Maxwell’s former assistant who is now transformed into a monster, to attempt to save him, only to then take the throne herself. With plenty of reasons to dislike the protagonists, and greater power than Maxwell, all Wilson does is set the stage for a worse enemy in Don’t starve together.
5 Darkest Dungeon is an endless cycle that gets worse
The protagonist of Darkest Dungeon is never seen, but they own a dilapidated estate sunk into the ground by their evil ancestor. They assemble an army of adventurers against the monsters that plague the domain, and ultimately make their way through the darkest of dungeons into the heart of darkness, controlling all.
Beating him, however, reveals that they haven’t accomplished anything. The Dark Heart will one day wake up no matter what they do, and it simply feeds on the chaos and death caused by attempts to stop it. The estate falls into disrepair again, and there are fewer living heroes to fight in the next cycle.
4 Every path leads to Caius’ victory in Final Fantasy XIII-2
Unlike the more standard “Kill the God” plot of its predecessors, Final Fantasy XIII-2 instead follows the heroes who try to keep Paradoxes from warping the timeline and fixing things as they’re meant to be.
However, the player’s actions only serve to help the villainous, Caius, who seeks to end all time to prevent his love, the goddess Yeuel, from dying whenever a timeline is changed. No matter how many Paradoxes they resolve and how many Timelines they travel to, the heroes are unable to stop Caius, and he manages to use their actions to unleash chaos and destroy all time.
3 Spec Ops: the line ends with Dubai in ruins, no matter what
In Special operations: the line, Captain Martin Walker and his unit enter Dubai to conduct a reconnaissance of the region, after the desert of Colonel Joseph Konrad’s 33rd Battalion and start a war against their totalitarian regime in the city. In their mission to find out what happened and then apprehend Konrad, they begin to do worse and worse acts, resulting in the use of white phosphorus on civilians.
Once Walker finds Konrad’s corpse, he either goes mad, kills himself, or poses as a villain like Konrad. Whatever happens, it has only made things even worse in Dubai, and it seems likely that everyone there will die of dehydration.
2 Kratos makes things so bad that hope is lost
Kratos was at best an ambiguous hero in one of the God of the war games, mainly motivated by the injustices committed against him, including the death of his family. God of War III sees it at its lowest, mobilizing the Titans to kill the Greek Olympians. Over the course of the game, Kratos brings ruin to Greece by slaying the gods and unleashing plagues, darkness, famine, and worse.
At the end of the game, Kratos attempts to kill himself in order to unleash the power of Hope Pandora’s Box, which has been in him since he killed Ares. However, there’s no one left to feel that hope anymore, as the game’s final scenes show Greece – and possibly the world – inundated, ruined, and deserted.
1 Joel Miller sabotages zombie cure out of fatherly love
In The last of us, grieving father Joel Miller reluctantly approaches Ellie Williams, a young girl immune to the cordyceps fungus that caused the zombie apocalypse. Her mission is to deliver Ellie to the fireflies, who believe they can make a cure for her. However, they have failed several times before and the attempt will kill her as well.
Having learned to love Ellie like a girl, Joel slaughters doctors and anyone who gets in his way, freeing Ellie. The end of the game sees him lie to Ellie and insist that there was no hope of a cure, but it just might have cost all of humanity a way to end the apocalypse.
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