Gears of War, Halo, Skyrim; they all ham fist their way through the ‘final mission’.
When did selling a game based on a well rounded adventure, with a start, middle and end, get replaced by a couple of good set pieces and a strong marketing campaign?
So many titles seem to end in an ‘unsatisfactory manner’ now.
Mass Effect 3 was widely panned for it’s ‘weak’ ending, with Bioware almost hounded in to the release of a DLC ‘extended cut’ of the finale.
Bouncybhall did a great blog on that particular saga at the time; but in all this Mass Effect 3 seems to have been unfairly singled out to me. Yes, I did feel the ending to the Mass Effect trilogy was a let down after three epic RPG games; but it is far from the first game to crank up the volume to 11, only to finish with a whimper rather than a bang.
Halo, Halo 2 and Halo 3 end with clumsy driving levels amid some mild peril as something is due to explode; forcing you to escape just in the nick of time. Halo 3: ODST was not much different, again ending in a clumsy driving level. Not until Halo: Reach did they dare to break this monotonous formula.
Epic decided it would be fruitful to end Gears of War with a spot of pest control. After three games fighting for the future of your race on Sera, it’s all resolved by killing a big ladybird in the final chapter before a disco ball explodes and the threat of the locusts is gone forever…
In my opening gambit I mentioned Skyrim as well. And that stings the most perhaps, because I bloody love Skyrim. But when it comes to it; the final battle of the main quest felt like something of a damp squib. Yet another ‘was that it?’ ending from a Triple A title.
I’d be inclined to level the same criticism at another of Bethesda’s colossal adventures, Fallout 3, where the culmination of 100+ hours of game play resulted in me turning the tap off…
In fact, as I scan the shelf full of games in front of me at Lolocaust Outpost Delta I can pick holes in the finale of pretty much all of the ‘story driven’ (i.e. not sports games like Fifa or NHL, or stuff like the Lego games which tend to just be ‘fun’ copies of their source materials)
Assassins Creed consistently chose to end with you running round as Gary Neville look-a-like and all round dullard, Desmond.
Even the fantastic Arkham Asylum ended with a ‘boss battle’ which felt like it would have be more appropriate for a Streets of Rage game on the Mega Drive rather than on a ‘cutting edge’ console in 2009.
Interactive set piece machine Modern Warfare 3 ended in the laziest way of all – with a quick time event.
It’s hard not to feel short changed by all of this. ‘We’ level our ire at TV shows that don’t end ‘well’ (see Lost, and the Sopranos for some folk). Plenty of movies have fallen down because they couldn’t find the right finish. As I mentioned previously, Mass Effect 3 was hammered for its ending.
So why do we let so many other games get away with it?