A great game is a little like a relationship – it takes up time, effort and often money, it can’t really be combined with other relationships too well, and if it ends badly you’ll feel it for ages afterwards. Now, we don’t want to perpetuate the stereotype that gamers can’t/don’t have relationships, but our point is: The more we like a game, (much like a human partner) the less we want it to end badly.
If you finish games regularly, you know what we mean. If you’re the type who just abandons most games part-way through…ew. So what do we mean? Well, great games sometimes have terrible endings. Inexplicably so, more times than not. We’ve collected some of the worst offenders here.
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1. Far Cry 3
This game has an exceptional open world, beautifully crafted elements and pretty good progression on top of its fantastic gunplay – what’s not to like? Given the topic of this article you may have guessed – the ending.
If you haven’t played this game, you definitely should, but don’t expect too much from the ending. Your ever present goal is to save your stranded friends (this game did NOT endear overseas holidays to us) and when you finally reach them you get a choice – liberate them and go home…or kill them because you’re insane. Those are the choices, and neither is particularly satisfying for a game that spent a minimal amount of time getting us interested in the characters in the first place.
There’s also a first person sex scene that culminates in murder – it just feels like an awkward attempt to wedge in a twist at the end where no twist fits.
Many gamers are still lobbying for another Half-Life game, and if you just look at the first one, it’s easy to see why. Black Mesa is hailed as one of the most intelligently designed locations in any video game of the FPS variety – we absolutely loved getting to play around there.
For some reason though, the ending of the game feels more like a glitch than an intentional continuation. As we progress through the story, we leave Black Mesa behind in favour of Xen. If you can’t remember, that would be the alien platformer part of a game that needed no alien world or badly crafted platforming bits.
For a game as exceptional as Half-Life, we can’t help but be disappointed by the mediocre Quake-knock-off tacked onto the end. Now, we don’t want to complain too much – the ending does have a redeeming aspect and that is the conversation between G-Man and Gordon Freeman. We still hated Xen though.
Gamers love loot right? That is true in almost all possible scenarios, and Borderlands is pretty much built on that premise. Action RPGs that have you looking for better gear, better weapons, maybe a mount or a potion or two are great aren’t they? Humans are pretty simple creatures – as long as we get rewarded it doesn’t matter if it’s virtual.
That makes the ending to Borderlands cruel on top of bad. We spend the entire game looting and hunting for one thing: the vault. We’re told it has the best weapons and infinite wealth – and unlike the candy in a strangers truck, it’s real.
Well, after we’ve spent hours pursuing this particular mythical location, we find it. Yay! And then…after we defeat the last boss…we can’t get in. Defeating the boss closes the vault and has the AI tell us that the key won’t open the vault for another two hundred years. The ultimate cruelty in a game that was otherwise perfectly happy to throw a sheer infinite number of weapons etc at us.
4. Metal Gear Solid 2
Let’s face it, Raiden wasn’t our favourite protagonist, and Emma Emmerich is one of those characters we just want to chuck out of an airlock, but MGS 2 was still an amazing game. It had it’s flaws but the stealth-action title was definitely worth its salt.
We get to sneak around Big Shell taking out Dead Cell creeps as we go, and by the end of it, we’ve had a pretty good run…except the game’s ending is one of those huge no-nos that we get far too often. We find out it all didn’t matter because everything we did was just a simulation, the colonel is a robot AI and the plot…well, it didn’t matter in the end.
We really don’t get why companies would do this – it pretty much never makes for a good (or even okay) ending. All it accomplishes is making the gamer feel like they just wasted hours of their life – that’s not why we play.
5. Fable 2
The Fable series was a fairly early advocate of the moral decision systems that we have since come to appreciate in many other games – apparently at the cost of a decent conclusion. No matter what choices you make throughout though, the end has one huge decision for you to make – either you accept a ton of money and loot, you resurrect your beloved family and pet, or you go for a spell that resurrects all the people that died because of the Spire.
In other words, a spell exists that can resurrect thousands of random people…but not our family, and if we are willing to sell out humanity, we can quite literally do so in exchange for money. Usually that sort of betrayal is a little more subtle, but that isn’t even why we hated the ending – that honour goes to the reaction of the game. If you don’t make the ‘right’ choice, the game vilifies you, thus calling in question the entirety of the whole moral decision thing they had going.
Not cool Lionhead Studios!
6. Mirror’s Edge
The first Mirror’s Edge game did quite a lot of things well – free-running, world design, piracy punishment (the game prevents you from running, thus making it impossible to play) but the story isn’t on the list. Widely called the best free-running game it certainly ran circles around its plot – not to mention the ending.
While we platform our way through the monochrome world we don’t particularly care too much, but the ending definitely leaves a sour taste in our mouths. Essentially, everyone dies except for our protagonist Faith and Kate, and Project Icarus continues on untouched. In other words, what did we accomplish? Pretty much nothing. Great.
The makers decided to follow the game up with a prequel rather than a sequel – that’s how terrible the ending was. That should really tell you all you need to know.