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Default How to end a great game?

December 5th, 2017, 14:00
I've been thinking about this a little.

As I'm sure we all have, I've completed many, many games over the years - and I realise that the vast majority of them had end-sequences that weren't really that great.

There's this tradition in gaming that you have to end a game on a "big note" - and a very typical way of doing this is through some over-the-top end fight where the rules you've been accustomed to during the game are more or less completely discarded.

Developers want to challenge you and make the ending "memorable" in some way.

I can't tell you how often I've reached the final boss in an otherwise fantastic game and just given up in disgust - only to take a break and then go back and finish it just because I'd spent so much time with it.

Not because the fight was challenging, but because it was NOT representative of the rest of the game.

Many games also tend to have entire levels of over-the-top enemies and ridiculous platform sequences. I don't have to mention more than Xen and the "The Many" level here, I take it

I've always hated that. Instead of building momentum - these sequences tend to all but evaporate my enthusiasm for the game.

My preferred way to end a game on a big note would be about story and an emotional punch. Don't change the core gameplay - and if you're going to challenge me, do it within reason and within the established rules. In fact, I would probably prefer a "small note" - where I'm motivated to reflect on the plot and narrative.

Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite come to mind, though they both had annoying sequences towards the end - but the endings themselves were delightfully free of over-the-top crap.

What about you?

What kind of ending is "perfect" in your mind - and what games would you consider examples of that?

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December 5th, 2017, 14:33
Dark Souls 3, the last boss is just as painful as the first boss!

For me it depends on the type of game. If the game is mainly story based like the Witcher 3, then I want the ending is about the story. Maybe ask me to make difficult decision without making it feeling like the developer is pulling the carpet under me. Or a big reveal at the end which sort of make you say "ah huh, thats awesome".

If the game is about mechanics, then I want the end to be about that also. This is why I like DS3, the "end" boss is a challenging and memorable fight. At no point you feel the fight is impossible. You don't feel the developer is cheating, in fact the game will give you the impression that YOU have to get slightly better and you can beat the boss! The game is amazing in that regards.
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December 5th, 2017, 14:48
I liked farcry.
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December 5th, 2017, 14:53
Originally Posted by you View Post
I liked farcry.
How does it end? Never played it.
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December 5th, 2017, 14:56
Many games I quit on the final battle. Be it because they restrict the gameplay I've used for 99.9% of the game (Risen 1, Elex), or because it's a multi-phase boss without saves so when you die you have to go through it all again (most JRPGs).

Luckily in this day and age it only means I go to Youtube and watch the game's ending there and imagine I finished it.
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December 5th, 2017, 15:00
Came in thinking hell yes there are billions of great games with "end it" problem… But I guess I've misunderstood the title.

Originally Posted by NewDArt View Post
Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite
Originally Posted by lostforever View Post
Dark Souls 3
Originally Posted by you View Post
farcry
Never heard about those.
In other words, great games my arse.
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December 5th, 2017, 15:06
Originally Posted by lostforever View Post
How does it end? Never played it.
I remember my brother promised to help a friend complete Far Cry - because the end fight on the hardest difficulty was very hard indeed.

But he couldn't do it - so he asked me to do it

It was, indeed, a pretty hard fight - but I think I managed in a few tries. It was back when I was still pretty good at shooters.

However, it's exactly the kind of fight I hate. Then again, I never cared much for singleplayer shooters - though Far Cry was better than most.

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December 5th, 2017, 15:14
I think the ending in what might be my favourite game Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, is fantastic. The choices you made earlier come together to affect the ending. The endings can be very different depending on that. The ending can also be very different depending on who survives the last battle.
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December 5th, 2017, 15:22
You're dealing with more than one ending.

There is the end of the story which should be easily reachable by everyone.

Then there are two ends to the action. Finished all levels and bored of the gameplay.

I think a great game can be played long after the storyline is complete.

The story ending should serve to boost the players ego and in turn make the post-game monsters seem greater just because they're worthy of YOUR attention.

I suppose Nioh is a good example. You win the game, the credits roll, then it's back to the world map with 4 new double-boss challenges and a ship to sail to a new area.

Maybe put the ending in the middle. There's really no limit to the amount of times you can end in the middle. Makes twists easy to come by.
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December 5th, 2017, 15:53
Aside the usual suspects (Last of Us et al), IMHO the best endings I've experienced are these two marvels:

PS:T: (the good ending, mind you) Y'all know what I'm talking about. Great stuff.

Last Guardian: This one is so emotional. No spoilers, just experience it, dammit. Yup, game development has gone a long way since Pac-man.

The bottom line: methinks a good ending gives you satisfaction (it's called "catharsis", for you literally minded). Since today's games are more and more movie-like (that is: story oriented), a good ending closes the story, has an emotional impact and may even show some morale of the tale.
Bonus points for dubious endings that encourage to experience the game once more, from a different perspective (Arcanum)
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December 5th, 2017, 19:02
Been a while since I played but as I remember the last area is very hard but the last fight is trivial
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You get to shoot the mad scientist with a pistol (if you want). Anyway the game is great - ubishit never reproduced the magic of the original farcry. they just took the name and crapped on it.

Originally Posted by NewDArt View Post
I remember my brother promised to help a friend complete Far Cry - because the end fight on the hardest difficulty was very hard indeed.

But he couldn't do it - so he asked me to do it

It was, indeed, a pretty hard fight - but I think I managed in a few tries. It was back when I was still pretty good at shooters.

However, it's exactly the kind of fight I hate. Then again, I never cared much for singleplayer shooters - though Far Cry was better than most.
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December 5th, 2017, 20:29
To me, Fallout had the most memorable ending I can think of. It's stayed with me all these years; the way my jaw fell open, the feeling of shock and betrayal. That's pretty awesome for a game to have such a long lasting effect.

EDIT: But as for how to end a great game? I don't know if I have an answer for that, but I know the answer is not a big bad boss that entirely changes the feel of the game, as others have said.
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December 5th, 2017, 21:34
… also let's not to forget those rare games having what I call "layered endings".

Case in point: Shadow of Destiny / Memories (Xbox, PS2, PC, PSP)
This light adventure game has six endings, each one is a HUGE TWIST on the tale.
But the biggest achievement is that each of the endings complement each other. A huge storytelling feat, I'd say.

Nier tried to pull off something similar, and mostly succeeded.
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December 6th, 2017, 02:11
Few great endings in videogames:
  • Spec ops the line. How strange that a military shooter would be even mentioned in this kind of list, but man this game had a thought provoking ending(s).
  • From more traditional rpgs, the ending in Plancescape torment has definitely stayed me.
  • Mass effect 2 was an other game which really ended in a great note. Huge emotional impact which I wasn't fully prepared at all. Loved every minute of it. Powerfull stuff.
  • Hitman bloodmoney. Such a clever way to end a videogame. Packs an emotional punch as well. If only videogames had more endings of the same caliber as Hitman bloodmoney.
  • Mafia 1: An other story heavy game which ended in a great note. Fantastic story and really worthy ending.
  • Mark of the ninja: For this kind of arcade game, I wasn't expecting an ending this great.
  • And ofcourse last, but not least, each one of the wither games delivered a powerfull ending.
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December 6th, 2017, 02:22
The ending for Prey was unexpected and made me think. I liked that.
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December 6th, 2017, 03:34
Classic white knight ending lover here. I want to vanquish the evil, rescue my love interest, live happily ever after etc.

Even in a grim world you can make the ending successful. Metro games, Child of Light, etc. Doesn't have to be all rainbows and butterflies and skittles.

Don't plot twist me at the last second and make the PC evil, or kill me off in some stupid event, or make all my choices count for naught at the last 10 minutes(Mass effect bastards) etc.


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December 6th, 2017, 03:46
I actually like a big, challenging boss fight at the end.
What I don't like is the tendency to go over the top storywise at the end. Like a "hellish" level I think to remember from Drakan back then. Or the Gods-Crap in Pillars of Eternity. The Lava-Stuff in Divinity: OS 1 and so on.
Furthermore I like a "real" ending with some follow up scenes. I always like it if you have some kind of summary what happens in the near future, some consequences of your decisions and so on. Doesn't need to be extensive, but Fallout 4 for example was a big disappointment in that regard.
In the Civ Games I always liked the replay at the end. Not having that in the latest iterations was a big downer and takes some of the fun out of winning.

Some games with the fondest memories:
Hexen 2 final boss. Horrible from todays perspective, but somewhat impressive back then.
Dark Sun final battle.
Half Way Ending. Which was very "humble" but especially the scene after the credits made me want more of it
Lands of Lore - Also not incedribly exciting but back then I loved that you basically saw all the monsters again coming out like in a theatre play.
Kings Quest 6 - loved the cheesy and very extensive ending in which they put a lot of effort. My first "gold standard" for a good ending.


So there are lots of different aspects about the ending and ideally it's a nice mixture of all of them. But I agree that changing the mechanics for the last fight certainly is not a good practice (Xenonauts and Massive Chalice come to mind, which didn't completely change the mechanics, but just enough that you will probably die on ironman and have to start over, while the rest of the game was always manageable).
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December 6th, 2017, 10:27
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
The ending for Prey was unexpected and made me think. I liked that.
Have you played SOMA?

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December 6th, 2017, 10:33
Lots of interesting insights - thanks for those

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December 6th, 2017, 11:13
Originally Posted by Dez View Post
Few great endings in videogames:
  • Spec ops the line. How strange that a military shooter would be even mentioned in this kind of list, but man this game had a thought provoking ending(s).
  • From more traditional rpgs, the ending in Plancescape torment has definitely stayed me.
  • Mass effect 2 was an other game which really ended in a great note. Huge emotional impact which I wasn't fully prepared at all. Loved every minute of it. Powerfull stuff.
  • Hitman bloodmoney. Such a clever way to end a videogame. Packs an emotional punch as well. If only videogames had more endings of the same caliber as Hitman bloodmoney.
  • Mafia 1: An other story heavy game which ended in a great note. Fantastic story and really worthy ending.
  • Mark of the ninja: For this kind of arcade game, I wasn't expecting an ending this great.
  • And ofcourse last, but not least, each one of the wither games delivered a powerfull ending.
I second the Mafia ending. It was really well done in my opinion…

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