Friday, March 23, 2012

The Pain of Disappointing Game Endings

Well look what I found under this pile of dust, the Strange Moments in Gaming blog!  It has been far too long since the last update, so it's time to fire up the gaming consoles once again and deliver another article.

I'll admit, I haven't finished Mass Effect 3 yet.  I'm thoroughly enjoying Commander Shepard's last attempt to save the galaxy, and I find that I'm trying to do as many side missions as possible, while avoiding the main missions.  One of the main reasons I'm taking my time heading to the conclusion of the series is the fact that so many "gamers" are whining about the disappointing ending.  The fact that people have gone so far as to host a fundraising petition to get Bioware's attention is not very encouraging.  On a side note, if you're going to petition something, how about petitioning to stop developers from ruining franchises by milking the cash cows to death (do we really need a new Assassin's Creed game every single year??).

Petitions make Shepard cry.
All the hating on Bioware has got me thinking about other disappointing endings to games I have played.  So here we go!  It's time to re-live the pain.

The Cliffhangers of Halo 2 and Halo 3

Now that we've all played through Halo 3 and know how the series concludes, we can somewhat forgive Bungie for the Halo 2 ending.  But the uproar of angry gamers has been ringing in my ears since 2004.  At the time the ending felt like a slap to the face, almost as if Bungie ran out of time and had to cut the game short.  Things were just getting good in the story; the Elites had joined forces with the humans, the Covenant were about to invade Earth, not knowing the Master Chief was a stowaway on their ship, and we were ready to kick some ass.  But sadly, what we got was a short cut-scene of the Master Chief saying he was ready to finish the fight, followed by the ending credits (goodbye Halo 2, hello years of waiting for Halo 3 to be developed!).  Now that I think of it, maybe I haven't forgiven Bungie as much as I thought.

The ending of Halo 3 was almost as bad, because at the time this was supposed to be the last game in the main series.  Once again Bungie hit us with another cliffhanger.  The Master Chief is stranded out on the edge of the galaxy, and as if that wasn't bad enough, a gigantic Death Star-like object approaches the Chief's location, leaving us with  more questions than ever.

Could this be the beginnings of a Star Wars/Halo crossover?

Deus Ex: Invisible War

Sadly this game is a letdown in many ways.  The original Deus Ex had incredibly deep customization of character skills which allowed for each play-through to be mostly unique.  In the sequel, Invisible War, most of this had been cut out, making the entire game feel dumbed down in order to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.  I only experienced a couple of the possible endings in Invisible War, but each one had me shaking my head in disappointment, muttering "that's it??"  For such a story-driven series, the endings of Invisible War are incredibly brief and barely showcase the consequences of your choices/actions throughout the game.  You are left wondering what has become of this world you have immersed yourself in, and it's not like you get any answers in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is a prequel to the first Deus Ex.

Honorary Mention: Grand Theft Auto IV

Ok, I know that the GTA games are mainly about enjoying the large sandbox world that Rockstar always gives us, but damn was this ending depressing.  You are given two options towards the end of the game, and each option results in someone close to Niko getting murdered.  There's no feel-good GTA San Andreas ending here, just a short cut-scene of Niko reflecting on the murder, making us wonder why Rockstar didn't cut the poor guy a break after his struggles throughout the game.

And that wraps up this entry about disappointing game endings.  Which games have set you up for disappointment in the past?


  1. Good post - I am in the same boat as you. playing and thoroughly enjoying ME 3 a ton, but the talk about the ending has me a bit worried.

    Hard to say which endings jump out to me as disappointing. really for me, almost any ending is okay as long as it is a real ending. some games do little more than punt you some credits and call it good, and those always annoyed me.

  2. Hey Chalgyr, we just have to hope for the best, maybe the ME3 ending has gotten blown way out of proportion.

    I agree that games that basically cut right to the credits are unsatisfying. Strangely I've found the endings to Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine to be pretty satisfying even though all they do is fly through each level in the game. I guess it's because it shows the journey you've taken to beat the game.

  3. That was exactly my thought when you mentioned 64 and sunshine - I have played a handful of games that sort of 'take you through' your prior adventure, and that was acceptable, at least in older games.

    The primary complaint I hear about the Mass Effect 3 ending, without having experienced it myself yet, is two-fold:

    - choices made throughout the series have almost no effect on the ending. Most people say the ending is incredibly similar no matter what you do

    - that the ending is in many ways very vague, and leaves you with a handful of unanswered questions.

    I've made some really good progress on the storyline, so I should have a genuine opinion of my own on the matter pretty soon.