A World Half Full
The author takes care to ensure that dark elements of the universe are balanced out by light elements and a general sense that things have gotten better and will continue to get better. The sequel Legend of Korra definitely showed the results of their works. More Anti Heroic characters may not even bother holding back. Then it's revealed in Overclocked that he is responsible for the Cain and Abel happening because he wanted a Martyr and Murderer while also wanting Cain to atone to him when he manipulated him into killing the brother he loved. Indeed, their implied victory over the Reavers' fleet could even let them spin this into a huge victory and come out in an even better position than before. And yet, there are good people to be found in the most unlikely places, and they always try to do the right thing. Tropes Impossible In Real Life.
Compare In-Universe Examples Only. Do not add or remove any item arbitrarily. On this wiki, the markup [[noreallife]] will display a prominent "No real life examples" warning whenever the page is edited. The former version was being interpreted such that it was nearly impossible to deal with any controversial topic. Pages where Real Life examples are not allowed: Did They or Didn't They? Did You Just Have Sex? Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?
Rape, Divine on Mortal Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male Double Standard: Head-Tiltingly Kinky Hello, Attorney!
Seahorse The Modest Orgasm Mrs. No Blood for Phlebotinum "No. What Measure Is a Non-Human? You need to login to do this. Get Known if you don't have an account. Sex, Sexuality, and Rape tropes. Narrative, Characterization, and Plot Tropes. Although the universe is still a terrifying hellhole where millions of space-faring civilizations prey on each other on sight, Ji Luo and his family get to live Happily Ever After and it's implied that the two worlds will one day work to broker peace with the rest of the galaxy.
The hero's brain is fried from Substance D but that allows him to infiltrate the drug manufacturing facility the rehab clinic he was taken to and gather the evidence needed to destroy the syndicate making the drug.
Tolkien 's works take place. This is especially notable in The Silmarillion , a long series of defeats and bloody infighting with some rare uplifiting moments and a Bittersweet Ending.
Stephen King 's The Stand. A book in which almost everyone on the planet dies, including the main characters, yet it has a happy ending and the planet got better in the absence of all those humans. As for the survivors, they find hope in humanities continued survival with the birth of Peter, and his immunity to the Superflu. In a sense, any ending survival or not is preferable to the consequences of Flaggs victory, which is heavily implied and if The Stand is looked at as a prequel to The Dark Tower , confirmed to be Cessation of Existence.
After all, a world in tatters is at least a world that still exists. The galaxy is corrupt and messy and hostile, people are ungrateful, not everyone can be saved and those who were will die soon enough anyway, nothing will ever last - but it's still worth fighting for a better day, and a difference can be made. Andrew Vachss 's Burke books. Beneath the veneer of civility citizens see is a veritable cesspit of crime, the system is at best apathetic and at worst actively malicious and Burke can't stamp out all crime or save everyone - in fact, each book's villain invariably has quite a few notches on his belt by the time Burke gets to him - but every scumbag he manages to put down means a few more innocents who won't have to be victims.
Terry Brooks ' The Word and the Void. The war between The Word and The Void will never end, the feeders and the demons will always be trying to corrupt people, and there's no real way for the Knights of the Word to do anything more than stave off Armageddon.
Yet in the end, they can save a few people, and that's what really matters. Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds. Things are actually worse at the end of the book than at the beginning, but the characters now know not only how to fix things, but also how to make the whole world better than before.
It's a very long road, but they've taken the first steps. The Harry Potter universe. While Harry might have been the one destined to defeat Voldemort, it's pointed out time and time again that he couldn't have done it without friends.
And even if they've defeated the Big Bad , the world will need lots of support to reduce the power of pure-bloods, limit Wizards-First prejudice , reform the extremely screwed-up Ministry of Magic, and make a more peaceful place altogether. For those who place the ultra-dark, ultra-depressing The Road on the idealistic end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism , the characters of the novel move the world to this category. The victories they win are small and moral in nature, and tend to be along the lines of "not eating people.
The world of Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities is a dark and miserable one, and the protagonists Nailer and Mahlia respectively can't do much about that. But as of the end of his book, Nailer has managed to rid the world of his father and has a grateful Nita's promise that she will fix the Wretched Hive he lives in.
Similarly, Mahlia can't stop all of the warlords from tearing the Drowned Cities apart—or even save her best friend Mouse. Yet through her efforts, the United Patriotic Front is destroyed and she leads a small band of soldier boys out of the cities and towards a hopefully brighter future.
There were still many injustices to fight against, and yeah, the protagonists have to deal with three different villains. But still, things will eventually get better The Lassa Ward appears to portray Sierra Leone as this trope.
Yes, the country is ravaged by a decade-long civil war that resulted in it having the lowest life expectancy of any place on the planet, yes, the majority of Sierra Leoneans live in poverty and have no access to the education that would get them out of it, yes, Ross's mentor Dr.
Conteh gets a bridge dropped on him at the end , and yes, medical science knows no more about Lassa fever at the end of the book than when it started, but Ross gets to see that there are kind people everywhere, and that he personally saves at least two lives, and, in real life, Liberia, which started the conflict in the first place, appears to finally be stable again, more than a decade later.
Jessica Darling tends to conclude that she lives in a world like this, at least during the end of each book when she's calmed down from whatever drama it was about.
Life Isn't Fair , death is at once inevitable and random, nothing ever goes as planned and nothing quite lives up to the hype. But at the same time - supposed disasters usually turn out to not be as disastrous as all that , people frequently turn out to have unexpected redeeming features , and there's some fun to be had in between the bummers.
The world of The Hunger Games series is extremely crapsack and cynical; Panem is what would happen when a real-life dictatorship turned Up to Eleven , especially since it seems to be the only state left in Earth basically, if V4V-verse UK met Battle Royale -verse Japan However, there is a saying: When Katniss decides to spare herself and Peeta from the Hunger Games , a flame of hope is ignited in the people, and, though it goes through an extremely complicated and screwed-up process showing the best way to completely break the mind of a year-old teenager, both the dictator and potential dictator are toppled, and Panem manages to finally rebuild in the end.
Similarly, the Divergent series, though the world is admittedly less bleaker than Panem. The society conforms you into living in one of the five factions; if you don't fit, you're either expelled and forced to live in the streets, or worse, being outright killed.
The same is true outside this society, except that it's reversed: Tris, one of those people who can't conform to one of the factions, proceeds to Screw Destiny and goes through a process to end this Fantastic Racism , while her faction-fitting friends attempts to stop people from killing each other, especially due to the situation outside the society mentioned above.
Both succeed, but Tris has to lose her life. The Maze Runner series features an After the End world in which everyone, sans a few hundred, are susceptible to a virus that breaks their mind while they undergo a slow death. To find a cure, some scientists put a few dozen teenagers who are immune to the virus so they can study their genes, while the outer world continues to crumble.
At the end, it's certain that all of these experiments are very much egotistical, uncaring, and ultimately a futile one, and the elders, instead of continuing to torture these immune youngsters, have to entrust the Earth to them. The Anderssons by Solveig Olsson-Hultgren has a good balance between realism and optimism.
The message is basically "things might look hard now, but if you work hard and don't give up, your dreams will come true".
In This Immortal , most of Earth is a nuclear wasteland inhabited by half-human mutants and without a proper government, dependent on help from and trade with the Vegan Combine , with babies being born deformed even in the civilized areas.
Yet Radpol and the Returnist movement work toward making it a better place to live again and towards inciting more humans to come back to Earth. After John Geary is recovered from a century in cryo-stasis, he discovers the war that began with the attack that put him in that situation is still ongoing, the war between the Alliance and the Syndics has devolved into mutual atrocities and Zerg Rush tactics, professionalism has been lost, the Alliance's economy is on the verge of collapse, politicians are terrified of a military coup, and he's been rescued by a fleet that's been lured into an ambush and he suddenly finds himself in charge of it far from home and all by themselves, all while dealing with a mythical reputation he never earned and finds embarrassing.
By pure guts, determination, moral courage, Geary begins the process of making things right eventually ending the war, inspiring a revolution within the Syndic Worlds that begins to reform their corrupt system, returning the concept of honor to the fleet, beginning to restore their professionalism, starting to mend the distrust between politicians and the military, and justly earning that legendary reputation.
And he gets the girl. Zombies and Shit ends with Wayne having the zombie-killing device snuck on set within a lawn gnome meant as a zombie-repellant weapon where Scavy and Mr. T plan on amplifying the device's signal, ending the zombie menace once and for all and bringing down the corrupt regime of the Platinum Quadrant in the process. The series starts with the protagonist powerless to prevent the destruction of his home world by the Lawful Evil Alliance and the final defeat of the Independents at Serenity Valley.
Over the course of the series, The heroes face many hardships, and even their few victories cost them dearly, but ultimately, they are able to find it in themselves to carry on. And when the dust clears, they're still flying.
They may not be able to save the galaxy, but they can at least save themselves. And that's a start. By the end of the movie, they've actually unveiled and broken a government human-experiment conspiracy, unlocked River Tam's hidden Badass, inadvertently brought about the decimation of the Reavers, and given the tyrannical government two black eyes and a bloody nose.
Dozens of their friends and two of their crew have died, and they're now on the run for their lives from the government's vengeance, but that wasn't much different from what they had before so it's all good. It is indicated that any government vengeance may very well be passive at worst.
From the Alliance point of view, the crew of Serenity has done all the damage they possibly could. Indeed, their implied victory over the Reavers' fleet could even let them spin this into a huge victory and come out in an even better position than before. It looks like they even helped repair Mal's ship, though that might have just been the Operative using his unquestionable authority to pull strings.
That's not to say they probably aren't still wanted criminals, with a number of enemies even amongst the outlaws, but they're still flying. The Buffyverse , especially Angel , tend to bounce back and forth on whether they live in a half full or half empty world.
Angel himself expresses an existential take on the whole matter; striving for a living in-the-moment application of Good Feels Good despite the bleakness of the big picture. Horrors will still arise and plague humanity on a weekly basis , but at least the heroes managed to defeat one major menace. On one hand you have the Torchwood crew, who at best are able to fight aliens and threats, but find themselves weak when having to fight injustices committed by their own governments.
On the other hand, you've got characters like the Doctor who swoop in and save the day- but can't or don't remain to help deal with the fall-out. In the end, the show is about people, as a whole, deciding to do what's right- whether that's fighting for Ood rights, overcoming corrupt governments, making peace between two races, or something else entirely.
While the Doctor can save the day, it's up to the 'normal' people to keep it safe. Once Upon a Time: In the backstories told, not every storybook character who was meant to get a happy ending got one. There were evil manipulators, savage beast armies, human evil and general misery in all corners of the Once Multiverse.
But at the same time, several characters did get their happy endings at least for a while in the past, and in the present, there are all new opportunities to get them as well. Even as evil rises to corrupt, kill and steal, good people are still there to oppose them, and even some villains start finding redemption as well.
I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry, Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if I won't have to cry no more. Year of the Rat by Badly Drawn Boy seems to think this trope holds water. A lot of Leonard Cohen , especially "Anthem". Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in. When sorrow calls my name I know nothing stays the same. Cormorant seem to examplfiy this trope in lyrical form; shifting from Horrible History Metal and ones that have Downer Endings to songs that are about being peaceful with death and that the world at large would flourish, in one way or another, with or without humanity.
Perhaps why the band goes with a more triumphant and at worst melancholy sound as opposed to a darker, bleaker one that their genres are known for.
The setting is an Alternate History Wild West. After the Europeans settled the whole country, a group of Native Americans decided to get revenge, by releasing some Sealed Evil in a Can. Needless to say, the evil is rather indiscriminate. Horrifying monsters lurk in the shadows spreading fear, and a new source of energy, Ghost Rock, has literally fueled a new technological dawn.
Of course, it also has the side effect of driving those that work with it absolutely insane as demons haunt their mind. Still, the heroes can, if they so choose specifically if they are heroes and not merely protagonists , fight back and make the world just a little bit of a better place and less welcome for the antagonists.
Both versions of the World of Darkness tend to be just a Crapsack World. The Vigil , however, casts a ray of light, by allowing players to play perfectly normal humans fighting back against the monsters of the night. Likewise, any game where the DM allows the heroes to make positive changes to the world also qualifies. You are a monster. Your existence is pain. And if you're playing the game as it's meant to be played, you will grow past all of that, past the slings and arrows of misfortune, To Become Human and know the fruits of the soul.
Old World of Darkness Mage: Mages could and would often make notable progress. They were both dark settings, but unlike the relentless progression of evil in the other lines, there was something worth fighting for. The Reckoning was unusually brutal, with only a few signs things might get better, by contrast to its successor game. The Ascension and Changeling: The Dreaming , they appeared at a time when faux despair as an excuse to play barbaric PCs was what most players wanted from a WoD campaign.
Promethean took after Wraith: If you can hold on, if you can resolve everything anchoring you to the world, if you can come to terms with your inner darkness, then maybe you can Transcend. When the eponymous Apocalypse rolls around, the grey guys will probably lose to the black. The Hopeful is all about this trope. The Princesses are trying to be genuine heroes and make their Crapsack World a better place. It's a uphill struggle, to say the least, but they refuse to give up , and the whole point of the game is about proving it's still possible.
Ravenloft , often thought of as the Crapsack World of the game line, turned out to be a World Half Full. Yes, it's a hellish place, but because it's explicitly stated to be Gothic Horror , it is never "Evil triumphs.
Player characters are often the Spanner in the Works which can bring about that justice and make some small part of the world better. The 3rd Edition White Wolf version even digressed for a few pages about how in early Gothic Horror literature, evil may seem overwhelming, but there was always God or some cosmic force which saw it foiled and punished.
Innocents would suffer, but the guilty were damned and would know it. Dark Sun is a Death World where the halflings will eat you, magic drains the world of its life, and having enough water to drink is a sign of power. Neutral characters are kind of the norm, but good characters frequently have the chance to affect some small change for the better.
Players familiar with the Fallout series would understand. Forgotten Realms in its earliest incarnations fit this trope. The world had been ruled and toyed with by one species of Eldritch Abomination after another, and there were whole empires of twisted races as well as cruel empires. However, there were places like Cormyr and the Dales which were the proverbial candles in the dark, the good gods schemed as hard as the evil ones, and most adventures featured chances to save something of value.
Dragonlance has whole races of evil and orders of evil knights. The Big Good has to die to stop the Big Bad and the gods remove their support from mortals for a while. It's still a High Fantasy world where some hero has always stepped up in the Darkest Hour.
Latter adaptations written by other writers tended to miss this element. Planescape has seven independent hells, each infinite, and seven heavens all of which are rather terrifying in their own way. Good is downright terrifying when it isn't pants-on-head stupid. Completely incompatible ideological groups have taken over vast aspects of public life and so are always a hair's breadth from civil war.
Most of the planes are Death Worlds whose mortal inhabitants have come up with ways to survive the various demons and Eldritch Abominations. Yet in just the published adventures, players can cripple the demons and devils forever, prevent the return of a massive Big Bad the trope-naming Orcus , and help free Sigil from its unending strife all before 12th level.
The old granddad of the settings, Greyhawk , is another fine example. It's so full of evil forces that they tend to war amongst themselves and suffer Gambit Pileup , but the heroes' efforts can heal some of these woes and make a difference - at least to the extent of overthrowing a few tyrants and preventing a few demons from running amok.
White Wolf 's Scarred Lands setting. The entire world has been torn apart by a Divine Conflict between the Titans and their offspring, the Gods. Although the Gods won, much of the world remains devestated, and still overrun by the Titans' creations. Many of the new nations struggle constantly just to survive, Ghelspad is tormented by the seemingly unstoppable advance of the tyrannical Calastia nation, the Titans' remains corrupt the land, the dark gods scheme and there are many horrors who owe allegiance to neither the Titans or the Gods just waiting to be unleashed.
And yet, the good gods are just as active as the evil ones, and for every source of evil in the setting there are individuals and organizations ready to fight it. It's clear that even in places where evil is powerful, it is never unopposed. It's suggested that in the long run, the land can be healed, the titanspawn can be beaten and the divine races can prosper. Additionally, a trilogy of novels written for the setting ends with the resurrection of an important good-aligned demigod.
Exalted is this trope. The entire point of the game is to beat the shit out of the various world-destroying cosmic forces , preferably in the most spectacularly epic way physically possible. You can, and indeed are encouraged to, solve at least most of the world's problems, but you're going to have to work your ass off to do it. Warhammer is very much like this, if you ignore the fact that it's already doomed.
The world is threatened constantly by all kinds of dark forces - Daemons, the Warriors of Chaos gathering in the north, the machinations of Vampires and Necromancers, Dark Elf slavers, the Skaven burrowing beneath the earth and corrupt cultists within civilized society.
But it's also a world full of heroes, with hope for better days, and they sure as hell aren't going to go down without a fight. The history of the Warhammer World is riddled with great heroes turning back the tide: Lord Kroak fought off the daemons for a thousand years at the dawn of history. Caledor's great vortex drained away the world's raw magic and saved it from destruction. Sigmar founded an Empire, and Karl Franz leads it into a new age of progress and prosperity.
Tyrion and Teclis turned back the Dark Elves on Finuval Plain and taught the ways of magic to men to aid in their defence against the ruinous powers. Warhammer 40, , likewise, has its share of glorious heroes and people who have made a difference. To be a man in such times may indeed be to live in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable, but in the grim darkness of the far future the wars can still be won. Perhaps the largest contrast between Warhammer 40, and its fantasy counterpart is that despite being arguably a far worse place to live in as a whole, it's hinted that the 40k universe still has a chance at reaching a non-terrible ending.
The 8th Edition of the game is shaping up to be this trope. While the Chaos has succeeded in breaching the Cadian Gate, which the fortress world of Cadia exploded from the destruction of its pylons keeping the Chaos at bay, and caused larger numbers of warp storms that eventually formed itself as The Great Rift, Roboute Guilliman woke up and held the Imperium with the assistance of Eldar under an uneasy alliance. Much to Guilliman's disgust over the current state of the Imperium, he set out to reform by having Bellisarius Cawl innovate without obstructions and reorganize the obstructive High Lords of Terra.
Though he left the Ecclesiarchy alone out of pragmatism, he made sure that much of its worst aspects are controlled. Unlike his "father", the Emperor of Mankind, Guilliman is shown to care for individual humans without any form of callous nature or disconnection Warhammer: Age of Sigmar appears to be taking a more direct go at this. Chaos has returned, indomitable as ever, and more than a few forces seeking to save the world are doing so only to rule whatever remains. The Red Blok are fighting for their independence.
The Therians want to conquer the universe in order to preserve it from its inevitable destruction and were responsible for the creation of the humans on Ava. The Karmans are fighting for the balance of the universe. Rocket Age is a surprisingly dark setting given the idealistic tone of the writing. Set in an alternate , the great powers of Earth have conquered great swathes of the solar system while Earth itself is under constant threat of annihilation from the Europans, who have already done horrible, nearly genocidal things to two other species.
Despite this, the moment you drop a group of player controlled heroes into the mix, the dark gets pushed back very quickly. The Gathering preaches that while some characters and planes are doomed to being Killed Off for Real or to be overturned into a Crapsack World , a glimmer of hope in the form of small victories exists to show that The Multiverse has a fighting chance to whatever awaits it. Blue Rose has drifted from a borderline utopia in its infamous First Edition into this trope's territory in the new Second Edition.
The kingdom and its society are still clearly fundamentally good, but the players have to fight harder than ever to keep it from collapsing in the face of demonic cults, foreign invasions, religious unrest, greedy merchants, and political intrigue. Avenue Q is a truly terrible place to live — but everyone makes the best of it and keeps on keeping on, knowing they at least have each other. After all, "everything in life is only for now. For a series of games set after a nuclear holocaust in the blasted, irradiated ruins of the U.
Each town has their own ending upon the hero defeating the Enclave. The best route of options to save the Wasteland will involve Modoc being able to feed the people surrounding them with the Slags, The Den becoming a tough-but-honest bar, turning New Reno to a center of education, Redding becoming a mining town with its own say in their affairs, and NCR and Vault 15 beginning their path to rebuild civilization.
This is of course the most morally correct answer, and naturally screwing up is always possible in Fallout no matter what situation you are in. Fallout 3 , however, is a pure Crapsack World. You are raised in a Vault that has a despotic authority over its people, a hotel tower housing a snooty man who views the survivors of the Wasteland as entertainment, Ghouls who will use you left and right for their own aims, towns that condone slavery, and our favorite untrusted government remnant come back to purge the Wasteland of all mutation - which, at this point, is all life that isn't still locked up in a Vault.
Yet in spite of that, you have a father who has an ambitious dream to bring water to the Wasteland it's a pity he gets killed for his dream , a radio station that preaches the hopes of the good fight and the freedom fighters who risk their safety to allow an outsider to free slaves, and for the first time in years, a piece of sanctuary Oasis that won't get purged by the Enclave and hopefully not by you compare that to Vault 13 in Fallout 2 , where the last of the intelligent Deathclaws were killed off along with others.
Despite the player character's father and, without Broken Steel , the player character themselves getting killed, the Capital Wasteland finally has clean water dispersed to the masses, making life easier for everyone involved.
The bad ending averts this and the world becomes even more crapsack as a result. If you choose to poison the same water supply by the request of President Eden, you doom everybody, including yourself. Also, there's Moira Brown, the cheery and at times naive scientist who outright states that the best way for humanity to survive is move on from the past and try to pick up the shattered pieces back together.
She also says that the world will never be the same as before, but that doesn't mean we can't make the world a better place. New Vegas depicts a world in the Southwest which is steadily recovering and may not be that bad to live in. In the Mojave Wasteland, you'll find functional civilizations every several miles, working electricity and plumbing, food and fresh water that won't give you a dose of rads with every bite, and even green trees and plants appear.
Ulysses wants to rain destruction on everything because he thinks the Bear NCR is diseased, the Bull Caesar's Legion will feed on itself, and Vegas has too many ghosts of the past to ever let go. You can however convince him that the world can be saved and civilization built anew - after all, you did it before. Fallout 4 continues the trend from New Vegas. Pretty successful settlements have appeared, and while it is more barren than the Mojave Wasteland, filled with rampaging marauders and mutants, and less-organized at first , it's not a war-zone like it was in D.
In fact, one particular faction's main goal is to do exactly what the above description of this Trope describes: To slowly, but steadily rebuild settlements all over the Commonwealth and help them survive And you can help them achieve this.
While it'll suck time and resources like no other questchain in the game, the end result will be a wasteland slowly reaching the levels of civilization only previously seen in the NCR and New Vegas.
The 'S' rank victory animation has a touch of this theme, with white doves flying over the devastated battlefield. Part of the game's main plot is that Mickey must stop the Blot and restore the world to its former self.
In the Wild ARMs series a common theme is how the environment will only last a couple more years, so obviously the main characters save it. It isn't very fun for the people in the intervening years, but things do get fixed eventually each time.
In World of Warcraft , the world is a broken mess. Demons and undead are rampant and even the local wildlife requires trained warriors and magicians to kill. Irradiated monsters, oozes, corrupt nobles, more demons, rampant racism, magical addiction, eldritch abominations You can make the world better. The monsters are generally killed off and the really nasty characters are decreasing more rapidly than they appear. Things get worse at the beginning of a new expansion, but generally end up slightly better than they were before whatever catastrophe started the expansion in the first place.
The Burning Crusade introduces outland which is a mess physically. It's the remains of a planet torn apart and the remaining pieces just stuck together at random. Things get better through player actions, though they can't fix the planet.
Cataclysm will start with Azeroth undergoing the cataclysm in the title, thus getting worse before things get better. Its already happening, to a degree. Yes, much of Azeroth was absolutely devastated in The Shattering. However, Desolace is now once again full of plant life, the Plaguelands are slowly recovering from plague toxins due to the Cenarion Circle, Earthen Ring and Argent Crusade, and Duskwood is finally on the road to recovery due to the death of Morbent Fel and the Gilneans bringing the madness cure to the Nightbane worgen, among other recovery efforts Deus Ex , depending on your personal beliefs, any of the endings can fall under this.
The endings of Deus Ex: Invisible War , the Helios endings has the minds of humanity united in one electronic link providing a perfect democracy. Or Illuminati wins and their vision of a perfect world really does work. In the Omar ending, everyone is wiped out but the Omar survive and are able to rebuild humanity their way.
As for the Templars all biomodificatons are purged, and they rule the world in a new Theocracy. The Milky Way in Mass Effect is a dangerous and brutal place to live. Filled with monstrous aliens, pirate fleets, amoral mercenaries and cruel slavers, with the largest civilized government hamstrung by red tape and millennia of tradition and unwillingness to budge, an entire species has been driven from their homeworld and is locked in a year long Hopeless War with their mechanical creations , and every 50,odd years, all technologically advanced sapient life is purged and consumed by Eldritch Abominations.
Yet in spite of this, one person can make an incredible difference, galactic peace can be attained, pirates can be brought to justice, slaves can be freed, the forementioned Hopeless War between the exiled species and their creations can be negotiated to a possible reconciliation, and you can punch out Cthulhu. Stopping the Reapers takes immense sacrifice , but provided you didn't fail to sufficiently unite the galaxy , the overall picture is hopeful: Galactic civilization survived and is already rebuilding, potentially with the aid of the Reapers or the evolution from Synthesis.
The controversy over the original endings was due in part to their much bleaker tone. Even in the Refusal ending, the cycle of destruction is eventually stopped, in part thanks to what Shepard and their allies did in their cycle and the crucial information they made sure to leave behind. Looking at Paragon versus Renegade effects on the galaxy, when Shepard goes Renegade, it's darker and more of a Crapsack Galaxy , but the Paragon route is immensely idealistic.
A Paragon Shepard is constantly appealing to peoples' better natures, urging them to forget their bad blood, giving second and third chances, extensively helping people in exchange for promises and trusting that they will do as they've promised There are maybe four or five points in the whole crowded, sprawling trilogy where a hard-working Paragon Shepard's trust and faith are betrayed.
Everyone else, to paraphrase King Jonathan - "If you keep faith with me, I will keep faith with you. The Sith Lords is this. Either that, or the Exile is merely an Unwitting Pawn. It can be both for a Light Side Exile. Despite how, in the main plot, Kreia is pretty much manipulating everyone all the time, the Exile's actions throughout the Galaxy can drastically improve life for both invididuals and for entire planets though, this being an Obsidian game, a lot of the 'good' decisions can end up having sizable downsides as well.
God of War III is this at the end. The world has gone straight to hell due to Kratos killing damn-near every Olympian there is. However, Kratos, in one of his rare acts of selflessness, decides in the end to restore Hope back to the world by sacrificing himself rather than simply handing the power back to Athena. It's still more like "A World Millionth Full", though, when you consider just how many people and creatures he killed For the Evulz.
City of Heroes , heavily inspired by both Marvel and DC , sets out its world like this. The world is filled with criminals, monsters and Supervillains of every imaginable kind, is recovering from an Alien Invasion that's not quite over, and looking at The Multiverse , this is one of the best options. So what stands in the way of evil? Lots and lots of superheroes. At the end, you don't fix the world. But you do make it so that the world has a chance. In a franchise where God is almost always evil or out of the picture , and the heroes never save the day without a huge sacrifice on their part , Persona 4 stands out by having this type of message at the end.
It basically boils down to "Humans can act like assholes, but we can change for the better if we have the courage to accept that fact first.
God is actually good and will accept whatever future you build, even if you mess up big time! God basically trusts you to govern the entire planet , in spite of all the horrible things human beings are capable of. Then it's revealed in Overclocked that he is responsible for the Cain and Abel happening because he wanted a Martyr and Murderer while also wanting Cain to atone to him when he manipulated him into killing the brother he loved.
He's perfectly willing to have his Angels threaten to murder innocents in order to get them to attack the Overlord as well, or just giving up cause humanity won't do what he wants and leave for good. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes place After the End: Hyrule's capital has been left in ruins, and Calamity Ganon is slowly regaining its power in Hyrule Castle.
Nonetheless, there is a functioning society that persists in spite of the destruction Ganon wrought: The world of the Ace Attorney series, though the world's crappiness is much less severe and therefore much less readily apparent than many other examples of this trope. Crime is apparently so common that the justice system's been perverted into a series of all-but-kangaroo courts , the vast majority of prosecutors will do anything to get their conviction, and nobody seems to give a good damn about due process or suspect's rights anymore— nobody, that is, except for the main character and his few but loyal allies, who will willingly walk through fire for the innocent, for justice, and for each other.
The Locust and Lambent are wiped out and the Imulsion is destroyed, but Humanity finally has its future. In the second trilogy, the original , even more badass locust emerge and the world is plagued by firestorm hurricanes, but humanity finally developed advanced killer robots and nanomachine fabricators, so it's an even fight.
By the end of Brood War , Terrans were now mostly under the Dictatorship of Arcturus Mengsk , the Protoss were on the verge of extinction with most of their heroes killed off and separated, the only decent Terran hero at this point, Jim Raynor, has been reduced to a powerless rebel leader, and the Zerg are stronger than ever, led by Sarah Kerrigan , who has at that point been Brainwashed and Crazy into becoming the vilest character in the whole franchise.
By the end of Legacy of the Void , things have genuinely turned out better, with the above mentioned Evil God dead, Kerrigan having become a benevolent Xel'Naga , the Terran Dominion being ruled by Arcturus' son who actually is a good person and the Protoss having rebuilt their civilization. Sigil is filled with criminals and poverty, the multiverse is a dangerous place where bad things happen to good people, and the protagonist deserves to die for his crimes.
But the overwhelming majority of characters are simply good people in desperate situations, and the game is famous for allowing multiple ways to resolve conflict- often before conflict even occurs. There are still happy families, freedom of expression, genuine heroism, and wondrous art- just less of these things. Phantasy Star II is known more for a dark interpretation of the plot, where you destroy your homeland's AI to prevent it from prolonging the False Utopia , and less known for being a tale that runs on strict Black and White Morality.
Your quest is to prevent a series of immediate disasters, which is ultimately for Algo system's greater good.