With the Mass Effect 3 ending debacle still clearly in gamers’ minds, it makes one wonder if internet hate and response could continue to change endings in this medium. It also makes you think if these games could be redeemed by DLC and other changes brought on by the response. id and Naughty Dog don’t seem to keen on getting new endings out. We’re stuck with ambiguous conclusions and must ponder what they mean until the end, but hopefully our end will be more climactic than the endings presented in these games.
5) Rage – id Software – October 4, 2011
id Software’s first true foray into the next generation of consoles came pretty late in the generation, however the game was well received and was extremely fun. Rage was gorgeous, the gameplay was tight, the story intriguing. A giant asteroid hits Earth and you awaken from your cryogenic pod over 100 years later, with no fellow pod members alive and no idea what’s going on. You are greeted by ferocious attacks from the ghost clan. Luckily a peaceful settlement man is around to save you and take you back to his home. There, you help around and do some odd jobs. Then are sent on your way and are told to find the Resistance, who is battling the Authority on the planet. Long story short, the Authority are fellow Ark Survivors who are led by a megalomaniac survivor who has kept all other Arks from being activated. He feels that he may be challenged should they activate. So the Resistance sends the long Ark Survivor off to deal with the issue, and go to Capital Prime to transmit the Ark activation code. After you defeated hoards of mutants, traversed miles and miles of wasteland, compete in numerous dangerous races and kill many mutants your reward is an extremely short albeit gorgeous cut-scene of Arks opening up all over the planet, then credits, and a touch of rage.
4) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords – Obsidian Entertainment – December 6, 2004
The follow-up to the Bioware’s critically acclaimed opus takes place 5 years after the original game left off. The Jedi are almost dead and you play as an exile from the Order trying to restore your connection to The Force. Your teammates help you do this while you travel around the galaxy either helping or hindering the Republic’s attempt to restore order. Seeing as this is an RPG, it takes quite a chunk of time for you to get your character to the endgame, and with so much time put into playing you would think there would be a great payoff. Nope. If you play light side you are greeted by lots of dialog options, then a quick flyaway into the sunset. If you play dark side you are left with a similar cutscene except that it looks like your character doesn’t escape the doomed planet. Either one were a big disappointed to gamers and Star Wars fans alike. After investing so much time and caring for the characters, you’re then left with a big Force slap on the face and no KOTOR III in sight.
3) XIII – Ubisoft Paris – November 18, 2003
Ubisoft decided to delve into a 1984 Belgian comic book for this first person shooter that was released last gen. Players take control of XIII, who is striken with amnesia and tries to uncover his missing memories as the game progresses. XIII was received favorably by critics, they loved the graphics and story but the game-play was criticized. The game consisted of 13 levels with 54 missions which included FPS game-play which mixed in some stealth elements to the levels. Unfortunately the game was a financial dud, which had to sadden some gamers, seeing as the game ended with “To be continued…” I’m thinking we will see a Beyond Good And Evil sequel before we jump back into XIII.
2) Borderlands – Gearbox Software – October 20, 2009
Years before Gearbox sullied two great franchises they were Take-Two’s golden boys, their new IP was the talk of the town and it definitely deserved it. This cel shaded first person shooter took the gaming world by storm. Tight controls, an RPG element to leveling up, and loot, lots and lots of loot made this game a must have. Throw in the drop in and drop out co-op and Gearbox made a lot of money, they made even more with the sequel. Sadly though the first installment had a very weak ending. After traversing Pandora to get to the vault and fight the massive boss, you enter the vault, then continue trudging around Pandora with nothing else to do, unless you hadn’t completed the DLC yet. Honestly it was as if Gearbox just threw in the towel when it came to an ending, it’s understandable to allow the character to continue to play in the world, but there are better ways to do it. Take Red Dead Redemption for example. The game definitely didn’t end like a dud, it went out with a bang, then allows you the choice to continue on. Gearbox could have had that happen as well, but it seems they just wanted to leave Pandora a bit too soon.
1)The Last of Us – Naughty Dog – June 14, 2013
Naughty Dog’s entrance into the survival horror was one of the best. This game has Game of the Year written all over it, yet the ending was a huge disappointment to some. Everything up to the ending was superb though. The controls were tight and you never died due to a bad control scheme, you died because a Clicker ripped your throat out. The story was the typical zombie one, but with a huge twist, instead of seeing how the virus takes over the world, you are thrust into the world twenty years later. That alone makes it extremely unique, as does the motion capture that makes you really, for lack of a better word, care for the protagonists. You care about Joel and Ellie and the world and how everything is going to hunky dory once they pull the cure from Ellie. Then you find out the truth and Joel takes saving Ellie over saving the world, which is fine too, but it’s how the whole story closed. The final dialogue between the two main characters does nothing to bring closure to this game, instead you are left with a feeling of “what just happened?” Most people don’t like that type of ending, especially after they’ve had their emotions so roller coastered by the entire experience. It brings back to mind the ending of Inception. You never really know what happens or what the future will bring. The fact that both of those will most likely never get a sequel makes me hope that this will be the last ambiguous game ending.
I know not everyone will agree with my opinions on these endings, so tell me in the comments below: what are the worst conclusions to games you’ve experienced?