Opinion: Red Dead Redemption has the best ending of any game ever

Except it’s not the end…

This isn’t Halo 3. Things don’t end of a sentimental, panning grave shot. Instead, there’s a breathless transition that suddenly takes us three years into the future, as a now grown up and stony-faced Jack looks over his parents' graves, obviously having just buried his mother.

Above: Jack's about to go Eastwood in Unforgiven on someone's ass

You’re then left alone in the wilderness with no idea what to do. There aren’t any mission markers emblazoned onto the map with characters' initials blaring out at you. There aren’t any enemies to be shot. There’s seemingly no direction. So, out of pure instinct, you ride to the nearest town. Here you discover Jack’s motivation, as he quizzes a local government official. He’s after Edgar Ross, the corrupt federal cronie who betrayed and murdered his father.

A quick journey to Ross’s wife and brother later and you’re suddenly facing off with your dad’s killer on the banks of Mexico during a raging thunderstorm. The subsequent duel is efficient, quick and deadly. There’s no fanfare. A couple of bullets to the cranium and Ross is floating down the river. The player isn’t offered a triumphant speech or self reflective monologue. Edgar doesn’t suddenly jump out of the water with a health bar that’s now twice as long. Jack simply turns to the camera and the credits roll.

Above: Be strong, gentle reader. Be strong

As endings go, it's minimalistic, poignant and, more than anything, bloody brave. And yes, for the first time playing a game, I actually shed a tear when Marston bought the farm. Sleep well John, we didn’t half stab some bears up the ass together.

What's your favourite game ending ever? Have you ever cried during one? Don't be afraid to share, no one's going to laugh... probably. At any rate, absolve yourselves of all these touchy feely thoughts in the comments below.

June 28, 2010