Imagine you’re playing a great game. It has it all – story, characters, great controls and mechanics, epic graphics and the perfect storytelling and directing. Imagining it? Great! Now imagine the following ending: A big showdown, a stand-off between good and evil, an action-packed moment….and then it all ends in a big explosion, everyone is dead, no resolution whatsoever. That probably ruined the hundred or so hours you may have put into the game.
Fortunately, games aren’t quite that cruel. There’s still some pretty terrible game endings out there though. They especially hurt when the game itself is really good – we’ve compiled some of the worst endings here. Whether it’s because they let down the whole game/franchise, or because it just doesn’t fit with the rest of the game, these endings did not do their games justice.
If Bioshock had ended a couple hours sooner, we’d have loved it. We still enjoyed the game, but the first title really mucked up the ending. We stumble through an imaginative and fun world, experience things truly unique.
We see an incredible plot twist, a meaningful and surprising ending…except it’s not the ending. We waddle along for a few hours more, are presented with a repetitive and boring boss fight – a prize we have no use for (Adam we can’t use for anything) and after we beat the boss, we get one of three fairly uninspired endings. The ending really let us down – we wish we’d just stopped after our encounter with Andrew Ryan.
2. Final Fantasy 8
The Final Fantasy series is a law unto itself. It tends to divide the minds – people either love it or hate it. While we certainly love the series, and even liked FF8’s story – we couldn’t help but feel let down by a game as complex and imaginative as it was.
What was the problem? Well, the completely obvious cliches for one. We can forgive one or two if they’re well made, but we are hit with undiscovered amnesia, a time-travelling villain, a trip to space, and a boring series of vignettes.
Sure, we learn more about some of our characters and that’s great, but we feel there were many, many ways this could have been executed better – and amnesia is almost never a good plot point, instead it tends to just be a half-witted excuse for why we are on our quest in the first place – it’s up there with kidnapped princesses and revenge for the death of a loved one.
3. Diablo 3
If you think about problems with Diablo 3, the first things that come to mind are probably the issues with the launch rather than the end of the game. Servers down, impossible to log on, hour long waitlists and so on and so forth. When that was finally sorted, people quickly noticed the messed up progression and itemisation – by the time THAT was fixed, the game already had a little bit of a bad rep. It also didn’t help that the story was a bit weaker than the other titles.
That shows oh-so-well in the ending – we suffer through all of the growing pains of this game, and are rewarded with an incredibly underwhelming ending. The story isn’t strong enough to justify the ending or the blindly obvious plot twists that precede it. The most creative thing about the final boss is his name – Lord of Terror. He is as generic as his name, and approximately as fun to fight. We were hoping for better after all the trouble with the game.
4. Mass Effect 3
Cause and Effect is kind of a big deal in the Mass Effect series. You do something, it has an effect on the world around you. You try to sleep with your entire crew, nobody’s gonna like you – not even Kelly. If you refuse to destroy an alien race in one game, you can use them again in a later title. This is great, it’s interesting innovative and at times frustrating.
It’s also perfect as a setup to the best ending imaginable – Mass Effect 3 should, by all rights have an ending created by all the decisions we made throughout all of the games. That would not only increase the difficulty, but it would also really repeat the implied message.
So far for what we’d have liked. Instead, what we got was an ending determined by a few choices on a single dialogue wheel. As if that isn’t enough, almost all ending options are essentially the same. Shepard doesn’t always die, but in most of them he/she does. The Normandy will probably crash and the reapers are neutralised one way or another.
We feel the endings come across as being slapped on at the end – hastily crafted and not at all worthy of a game with complex decision trees.
5. Ghosts ‘n Goblins
This ending is just pure cruelty. After you make it through some pretty difficult stages of this 8-bit platformer, you reach the final stage, square off with the final boss… and then what?
Well, we learn that it was all just an illusion. That in itself is a huge sin when it comes to video game endings. Using the Matrix excuse just doesn’t work any more – and it didn’t for this game either (go figure). So, anyway, you’ve found out it’s an illusion and that’s it right? Not exactly.
Instead, you get ported back to the beginning and get to do it all over again. While handicapped with a useless weapon. And then, when (if) you make it to the end, do you get a satisfying ending? Well no, of course not. You get this:
Probably one of the worst rage-inducing endings we’ve seen.