The games industry is an ever complex machine, with many parts and elements that can let down an otherwise promising experience. Some games just let themselves down however. Gaming is constantly pushing to establish itself as a medium that is seen as artistically viable in the public eye, and it attempts to do so with touching stories and multi-faceted narratives. Some games can’t quite sustain such quality for their entirety though, ending in, what can only be described as, a poor effort. Here are ten great stories that let themselves down at the end. This list will, rather obviously, contain huge spoilers.
I absolutely love Catherine, (the game, not the girl) and I think it conveys one of the most gripping stories of the past ten years with the most mature narrative seen yet in a game. Something about the very end of it all left a bad taste in my mouth though. Considering the game seemed like the psychological torment faced by a man dealing with the social constraints and constructs usually associated with committed relationships, I was rather saddened to see the classic Shin Megami Tensei team fall back on their usual plot device of “demons did it.” Think of any game in the Shin Megami Tensei series and you’ll find this familiar plot device. In all honesty, Catherine handled the religious elements well, but it still just felt out of place in a game that seemed more concerned with reality and tradition than the occult.
Shenmue 2 was a game that just kept on giving. Whilst the classic original featured only a handful of locations that needed to be explored by the recently bereaved martial artist Ryo Hazuki, its sequel saw Ryo travel all over the east in search of his father’s killer. Having followed the mystery through Hong Kong and Dobuita, players were excited to continue exploring rural China in search of the malicious Lan Di. Then you discover some really boring woman, learn about some mythical sword and its accompanying prophecy, and then it’s all over. What felt like the beginning to the next chapter of the game was actually little more than a cliff hanger, and one that will never be resolved on account of the series’ poor sales. Let’s hope this commercially underrated franchise gets a third instalment, if only so they can get the ending right this time.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II
Though Obsidian’s sequel to the revolutionary Bioware original is a fun game through and through, it’s story becomes an absolute mess by the end. It starts out mysterious and vague in a classic ancient Jedi way, but never really manages to come to any kind of satisfying conclusions. I’m all for ambiguous endings that leave themselves open to interpretation, but I had no clue what was going on once the credits started rolling. So what happened to my companions then? And you’re meant to be Darth Traya? WTF? If only Obsidian had been given more time to work on this ambitious project, they may have been able to produce a more coherent narrative.