2012: Bad Year For Video Game Endings?

Have games generally had disappointing conclusions this year?

Posted By | On 28th, Nov. 2012 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @Shubhankar2508


Assassin’s Creed 3 came out a few weeks back, and it was met with great critical response, even here at GamingBolt. When I played the game, I loved it. I didn’t like it on the same level I like Assassin’s Creed 2, or Brotherhood, but I knew it was a really good game. But then, I started to retrospect, picking the game apart piece by piece, and I realized it was way too flawed. I wrote an article about it a few days back. Just as I stated in that article, I still think Assassin’s Creed 3 is a great game, but I also thought it was disappointing, and that it had many flaws. And one of its biggest failings, in my view, was its ending.

Now, I’m not the kind of person who starts hating on a game and denounces it as “disappointing” or “mediocre.” In my view, it’s more about the journey than the destination. A bad ending that takes up 15 minutes of my time cannot overrule the countless hours of enjoyment I got out of a game till that point. But I do want a good ending. So while AC3’s ending didn’t contribute all that much to the game being a disappointment, it was a disappointment in itself, as an ending.

And that got me to thinking about other games that have let me down with their finales this year, which is when I realized that 2012 has been a really bad year when it comes to endgames.

Halo 4, too got bashed for its ending recently. The script itself ended in a very emotional, thrilling scene, but the final mission was a disaster from a gameplay perspective. There was no climactic encounter between Chief and The Didact, and it all just ended too fast, as if it was rushed through by 343. Master Chief’s return deserved a much better finish, instead it just felt like a generic game ending.

And let’s not forget about the big daddy of controversial endings this year- the Lost of video games, Mass Effect 3. We all know just how big a backlash the ending got, but let’s do a recap for those who don’t know/might have forgotten- Mass Effect 3 was released and met with unanimous praise, including us. Then, fans started bitching about the ending. Then, they started a petition, which resulted in BioWare releasing an extended, modified ending for the game for free. This backlash also made the BioWare founders leave the industry altogether.

Now, I personally don’t have many qualms with the ending of Mass Effect 3, and as you can see through the link above, I awarded it a 10/10 in my review and even said I thought the ending was emotionally moving. But then again, I can see why so many fans were mad about it- the ending does leave a lot of loose ends, a lot of questions unanswered, and I can see why people call the entire sequence with the Catalyst a cop out.

Then there’s Dishonored. Now, a disappointing ending isn’t really a big deal here, since the game is more about gameplay, stealth and the element of choice in how you tackle you objectives, and the game does that very well. It’s an excellent game. But the game had the potential to have a really good story, a potential that was largely wasted, and even the ending was a major letdown. It felt as if, in the end, it didn’t matter what you did all throughout the game. Whether you play in a lethal or non-lethal fashion, the ending remains the same.

Even Final Fantasy XIII-2, a game most of us have forgotten even got released this year, had a very, very infuriating ending. It ended in a frustrating cliffhanger, but it wasn’t even that suspenseful- it just stopped. It didn’t end. A lot like Assassin’s Creed 3, in this respect. And what’s worse is that the game itself, while great in its own rights, wasn’t even all that memorable.

It’s been a recurring theme throughout the year. So many games have come and gone, and while most of them have been excellent in general, their finales have been letdowns.

But I’d like to raise another topic, about something I said a few hundred words ago- can endings really be bad enough to ruin an entire game? If you talk to the average gamer on the forums, they will tell you that Mass Effect 3 and/or Assassin’s Creed 3 are absolutely horrible games because of how stupid their endings are. But isn’t that unfair. Mass Effect 3 and Assassin’s Creed 3 are both great games that offer well over 20 hours of gameplay, and are excellent right up until the end.

Sure, the endings were less than satisfactory, but why exactly do we play games? To be provided with countless hours of enjoyment, or
to see excellent, brilliantly written finales? Obviously, I’d prefer my games to have both of them. But if I had to choose between the two, I’d choose countless hours of entertainment any day.

But then again, developers need to start taking the final moments of their games seriously. People say they don’t want to see all the time they’ve invested into the games- franchises, even- go to waste because of an ending that disregards everything and just does its own thing. And I can understand that. I can even agree with that.

So here’s hoping that next year won’t be as bad for endings in video games as this year has been. We’re not asking for the brilliance of Mass Effect 2 and Batman: Arkham City. No. But please don’t give us the mediocre endings we have gotten for the most part this year.


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  • story gamer

    “Sure, the endings were less than satisfactory, but why exactly do we play games? To be provided with countless hours of enjoyment, or
    to see excellent, brilliantly written finales? Obviously, I’d prefer my games to have both of them. But if I had to choose between the two, I’d choose countless hours of entertainment any day.”

    im sorry to say this but you don’t understand people, let alone gamers.

    if you deduce the core reason why all gamers play games is for a few hours of mindless enjoyment, congratulations but you fail to understand what enjoyment means to various individuals. Why do people read books or watch movies? obviously to be entertained of course, but what entertains us is different from one individual to another. the reasons someone would Enjoy the Blockbuster Film Transformers would not be the same reasons one would watch The Godfather. Same with the reasons why people love harry potter are not the same reasons why people love War and Peace.

    in the formers you go for the battles, the explosions the sheer magic of it all simplified into one simple theme of good vs evil, in the latters you enjoy the character development, the emotion, the exploration of the human psych

    Different games have different reasons they are enjoyed by its fans, for a game like Soul Caliber or Call of Duty, the story is at the back of the players mind, hell for the most part reviews of the game barely mention any form of a story. BUT THATS ALRIGHT, because the story isn’t what fans who play those game come for.

    Now when it comes to games like Mass Effect theres a huge difference. THis is a game where the story was one of the main reasons why millions of fans invested hundreds of hours playing multiple playthroughs just to get the perfect character suited for the story they preferred. this is a game where even though game play matter, it didn’t sacrifice story for it.

    the Ending to mass effect flew in the face of all that, science finction writers, bloggers, gamers have all agreed on it’s cop out , lazy, and overall nonsensical nature. the mass effect themes of self determination (not letting another race[reapers] control you, player choice, paragon vs renegade, consequence, were essentially disregarded in favor of…. well nothing actually.

    and the fact that you label mass effect gamers as simply bitching shows why so many gamers have lost faith in the connection once shared by gaming journalism and actual gamers. you misrepresent obvious complaints as mere whining, you refuse to state when the vast majority of gamers found to be so irritating(the one that infuriated me most is that somehow game journalists thought mass effect fans were angry because Shepard didn’t live) and that it’s jsut a game.

    Gaming jornalism showed its true colors the day it decided to label mass effect fans as whining and bitching, instead of reporting on why fans were justifiably angry. In fact the most honest account of this entire fiasco was given by forbes, a largely business centered journal.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2012/06/26/mass-effect-3s-extended-cut-too-little-far-too-late/

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/03/16/story-telling-in-video-games-and-the-mass-effect-3-ending/

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/03/30/six-reasons-why-changing-the-mass-effect-3-ending-wont-threaten-its-artistic-integrity/

    sorry this is more of a rant than i would have liked it to be, please feel free to respond, i would love to continue the discussion of this subject with you


 

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