Five Rubbish Endings to Videogames
Story (or campaign) modes are the motivation that drives us to play through a game.
Like a good book, when you start you want to see what events will transpire, what will happen to various characters, and learn about the world in which our journey takes place. So when the ending to a game we play is a disappointment, I feel a little cheated at times. It feels like all the time I have invested in a game is a waste. Sure, the gameplay was fun and the character development was interesting, but to have an entire story canon voided with a melodramatic and rushed ending bugs me.
Before I embark on five of the most disappointing endings, I should set up some ground rules:
- Only one game per franchise. The game has to be fairly modern (keep it relevant to the kids!).
- The game should have had some story to it. After all, one could argue that Pac-Man has a rubbish ending. But it has no story to drag down because of it.
Let’s begin! Oh, and of course, there will be spoilers.
5) Assassin’s Creed
The biggest twist in Assassin’s Creed is given away RIGHT at the start. It turns out that your romp through the time of the Crusades, stabbing targets in the neck, is actually a memory that a dude in a metal bed is having so some government dudes can find a magic ball (wait… what?). But what bothers me about the ending is the fact that it seems very rushed. After activating a magic ball, you are awoken from your lucid dream back into the futuristic lab in which you have been napping. Some goverment men talk amongst themselves for a bit, then leave, and you are left to walk around the small lab area with a new ability. You can activate your ‘eagle vision’ and see some strange markings on the walls and floors. Obviously this is relevant to the intended sequel and that is what annoys me most.
The ending is COMPLETELY engineered to set up the sequel. No loose ends are properly tied up and the player is left asking more questions then he was then before he or she started. Another thing? I had to play through this game twice to even get a “complete” ending. Early on in the game you have to pick pocket one of the technicians that is overseeing your memories to obtain a key that lets you access a TON of important storytelling material. I am positive that 90% of players will not have done this. It’s even harder to find than the audio diaries from Bioshock.
4) Mirror’s Edge
Time to do some reflecting on Mirror’s Edge (har har har). Anyway, the ending to Mirror’s Edge is a farce. Plain and simple. Nothing happens. At all. You spend ages climbing a tower, maiming guards, and causing horrific damage to city property. It is revealed that an old ally turns out to be one of the bad guys. Though any half-sentient player will have figured this out long ago. Following this nice little vignette you do a hop, skip and a jump onto a helicopter and Faith kicks this almost irrelevant character thousands of feet to his death. The helicopter then proceeds to crash into a building after Faith and her sister fall on to the roof. Faith hugs her sister, game ends. You still live in a totalitarian Big Brother state. But now all of your friends are dead, or have turned to the dark side, so to speak.
Once again this ending answers no questions. All it does is leave room for a sequel. Assassin’s Creed at least gave you a few more story elements to ponder. The ending coupled with the games notorious shortness gives me a horrible feeling that EA are trying to spread the game over more iterations than it needs. For maximum profit of course!
Mirror’s Edge has had mixed-to-poor reception by most gamers and gaming media. I for one thoroughly enjoyed it, but I can fully understand why many gamers were left disappointed.
3) PokÃ©mon Diamond & Pearl
(Image from DeviantArt user Goce)
PokÃ©mon has a story? Yes, silly. I played through my copy of Pearl and had a good time with all the PokÃ©mon. There is a story attached to this game other than the usual “get all the badges and beat the Elite Four.” Essentially, you have to take down this game’s version of Team Rocket, “Team Galactic”, who are trying to summon some Legendaries to cause a heap of trouble. The issue I have with this is that the climax of this and the point at which you can capture your respective game version’s Legendary happens almost exactly halfway through the game. This leaves the ending to be a boring old Elite Four battle followed by a champion battle. I can appreciate that this is an old formula that has be used many times before. But I felt a little let down after having single-handedly taken down a corrupt organization intent on taking over the world. I say single-handedly, but it was actually the wild animals I had captured then forced to battle with other beasts that took them down.
2) Halo 2
Almost everyone knows why this game is up here in this list. The ending isn’t an ending. There is no boss. No particularly large battle at the end, and absolutely no story progression at all. Once again, this ending is engineered toward the sequel. What bugs me about this most, however, is that they broke a promise. We were told that we would be bringing the battle to Earth. Instead all that happened is that we got one mission in an alien-infested slum right at the start of the game. The ending cinematic shows the Master Chief arriving at earth on a giant alien space ship. Dramatic, to be sure. As this happens, we’re all ready to “finish the fight” as Chief so excitingly puts it.
Then the screen goes blank. Credits scroll and we are left twitching in rage ready to throw our controllers at our screens.
1) Prince of Persia
For those who have played it there is almost total agreement that the ending to this game sucks. In short: you essentially start over again. The prince does something that causes a whole load of shit to hit the fan. Thing is, it’s the same shit you just spent an entire play through cleaning up and the reason you did it was to save someone who didn’t even want saving.
The problem I have with this ending and the reason it is so high up the list is that it retroactively ruins the storyline. All the way up to that point, everything was going along fine. Hopping around making the world all bright and sparkly again then suddenly: “NO, DO IT AGAIN”. I consider this the storytelling equivalent of a sucker punch to the face. It makes any other play through difficult to enjoy from a story perspective as all the work you are doing feels pointless if you are destined to undo it all at the very end. Right when things seem so close to going your way you have the rug of linear fictional progression pulled out from under your feet and you land on your face. Or something like that.
There is a plethora of games that could have gone on this list but didn’t. Can you think of some relevant examples of poor plot finales that piss you off? Enlighten us and vent your rage in the comments!
(Thanks for cheese-packed Mirror’s Edge pun, The_Young_Scot)