The Final Boss

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

The Final Boss

The final showdown in games is usually disappointing, because an ending that satisfies everyone is nearly impossible to create.

Permalink

Well hardly a discussion possible here. Because wether a boss fight is good or not is as you said a matter of oppinion.

I fall pretty firmly into "heroic" myself, I'm all about the Dramatic Final Encounter and I figure that the final boss should be the most impressive and interesting encounter in the entire game. The thing is though, while I'm "heroic" having an end boss that is way to easy (see Yu-Yevon in FFX) it can suck all of the drama out of an encounter as badly as having an overly hard end boss can. It's hard to strike that good balance between Drama and Challenge but I feel that Game Developers should be striving for that more than anything, since it rewards both types of gamer.

One of My "perfect" final bosses would be The Boss from MGS3, who was "hard" but was very much worth beating and Lavos from Chrono Trigger who, while hard, was not too hard if you had already trounced the Black Omen. Hell look at Glados, a challenging but narratively charged "final boss" that felt truly awesome. Bosses that really disapointed me was Liquid Ocelot in MGS4, which to me felt like "Press X to Win" sure it was dramatic, but it wasn't "fun" like fighting Solidus was. Colonel Autumn in Fallout 3 was pathetic and I was more disapointed than anything when he didn't put up a fight, but he was neither challenging or dramatically satisfying.

Yeah, I heard (sorry if this is in the article) that the fial boss is usually completed last so It is like that "poorly done last problem on your math homework."

fullmetalangel:

In retrospect, this entire Heroic/Skilled thing is probably why they tacked on the "Epilogue" in Call of Duty Modern Combat.

Although everything you said was true, I feel the need to point something out... Its Modern Warfare

Difficulty levels to the rescue!

The perfect example of a final boss that caters to both types is God of War. On the normal difficulty setting, you can just wail on the Big Bad repeatedly and watch the cool story bits. On the Very Hard mode, a single missed button press will get you killed. Fun for the whole family!

fullmetalangel:

needausername:
Although everything you said was true, I feel the need to point something out... Its Modern Warfare

Wow, thank you very muchly for pointing that out. *Sheepishly goes back to edit*

I look too far into most things, its both a gift and a curse.

Edit: Also muchly isn't a word.

Sad. I thought this would be a thread about MC Frontalot.

I'm heroic though.
Man, I love stories.

Golden Sun 2 last boss: can't be beat.

as long as the boss is at least 30 times my own size then i am satisfied

pantsoffdanceoff:
Golden Sun 2 last boss: can't be beat.

Try him on hard mode... and there's a boss MUCH harder then him in the bonus area, crosbone or treasure isle?

KaZZaP:

pantsoffdanceoff:
Golden Sun 2 last boss: can't be beat.

Try him on hard mode... and there's a boss MUCH harder then him in the bonus area, crosbone or treasure isle?

I didn't think that one was all that hard.. odd, crossbones I think. And how do you get hard mode, is that after beating the game on normal difficulty?

needausername:

Edit: Also muchly isn't a word.

The OED disagrees:

OED; Muchly:

I'm about 0.75 heroic, 0.25 skilled, just to mess with your nice clean black-and-white bucketing system. Its the story I care about, but the story loses its drama if the skill challenge is too easy just as much as it does if its too hard...

Edit: I should have said if its _obviously_ too easy. As you rightly point out, the appearance of difficulty will do, if its well enough done to be believable.

pantsoffdanceoff:

KaZZaP:

pantsoffdanceoff:
Golden Sun 2 last boss: can't be beat.

Try him on hard mode... and there's a boss MUCH harder then him in the bonus area, crosbone or treasure isle?

I didn't think that one was all that hard.. odd, crossbones I think. And how do you get hard mode, is that after beating the game on normal difficulty?

Ya you need to have a clear save or w/e its called after you beat the game.

I rather like how WoW handled it in the Sartharion fight. You can choose to kill the three drakes before you kill him, or you can take him on with the drakes up. Leaving the drakes up makes the fight much more difficult, but it gives the players and option as to the difficulty level they'd like to tackle.

You could easily have something similiar. Maybe the boss has several lieutenants/magic artifacts/etc elsewhere in the final area. You can hunt them down alone for an easier fight, or you can leave them up and they'll assist him in the final battle and make it harder. Scale the difficulty yourself by deciding how many of the lieutenants/devices/shields/etc you leave up on him. Too hard? Kill another! Too easy? Leave one of them up.

I like both types of games. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it :D

A Good example of a Drama over challenge boss fight is The Darkness. Where your ultimate enemy is lying on the floor begging for his life and the Darkness is goading you into killing him so it can finally take over your soul. There's no challenge, but for me it really showed how that it is your character that is your real enemy, and it's too late.

I think I'm in the "mostly heroic, still likes a bit of a challenge" camp here. I want the final boss to be the climax, so I want them to be hard. On the other hand, I can appreciate the last "strike" being easy if it's a multi-stage boss battle. Overall I want the last battle to be an "experience" that at least feels a step away from the rest of the game.

A lot of CRPGs seem to do quite well with final bosses. You're carried to them by the narrative and you -want- to beat them, therefore engaging the heroic element, and they're either (assuming a non-munchkin player) challenging enough or "epic" enough to make you feel like you've accomplished more than just defeating another enemy in your numbers-based murder simulator of choice.

Bad examples are missing one of the points. For example, they set you up to make you want to pummel the villain's face in, then they either make you kill them with a cutscene power or make them so dreadfully weak that you'd find more challenge and pleasure in beating an innocent bunny rabbit to death with the kitchen sink (Fable 2 comes to mind: I want to bash Lucian's skull in, and having come straight from the battle with the Very Hard Yet Generic Looking Minoboss Thing I'm expecting something epic, but it never comes). Or they simply throw a very hard boss at you, so hard that eventually you think "what's the point?" and look the ending up on Wikipedia.

I don't buy or play games for the story, most of the time, unless I really love the world or franchise or fantasy involved.

I have gone out of my way to find difficult and challenging games because they give me the most satisfaction, but many, many boss fights leave me disappointed either way.

I certainly love being the hero, but it really depends on my mood. Honestly, I wish that Twilight Princess had difficulty settings, that Fallout 3 wasn't incredibly easy, that some actual skill was required to complete Kingdom Hearts II.

Granted, all of these games have optional areas to cater to the crowd looking for challenging combat (cave of ordeals, a few sidequests, that 50-round paradox cup...), but it doesn't really feel the same as beating a game with a challenging boss.

It depends what you call "skilled player," really, because when I think of games I want to play for skill, they involve strategy or reflexes, one of the two. Heroism can involve these too, but it doesn't seem to in most games. Granted, I think it'd be unfair if a boss fight was incredibly difficult, because players would have to be of a certain caliber to complete a game, leaving others who were interested simply unable to do it.

Personally, although I like RTS games and tactical combat games, and I love shooters like Ikaruga, when it comes to boss fights, I want the heroic ordeal, even if it does make me feel mediocre afterwards, because I know I'd feel even worse if it took me 30 tries.

If I'm a "skilled" player, I'd be looking for that type of competitive gameplay the whole time, and I'd easily settle for a boss fight that made me feel like a winner rather than another section of the game that's nearly impossible to complete.

I like Final bosses that make you use all the skills you took time to memorize threw the game. Inversely, it annoys me when you beat the final boss by doing the same thing three time.

Good article Shamus, but I must ask, when you referred to Phantom Menace, was that the game or the movie?
I ask simply because although I enjoyed that game greatly myself despite its flaws, I'm yet to find someone else who even remembers it.

Armitage Shanks:
Good article Shamus, but I must ask, when you referred to Phantom Menace, was that the game or the movie?
I ask simply because although I enjoyed that game greatly myself despite its flaws, I'm yet to find someone else who even remembers it.

I was thinking of the movie. Never played the game.

thenumberthirteen:
A Good example of a Drama over challenge boss fight is The Darkness.

I usually just cast magic missile at him . . .

What?

80% heroic, 20% skills, for the record.

Shamus Young:

Armitage Shanks:
Good article Shamus, but I must ask, when you referred to Phantom Menace, was that the game or the movie?
I ask simply because although I enjoyed that game greatly myself despite its flaws, I'm yet to find someone else who even remembers it.

I was thinking of the movie. Never played the game.

Ah, well the game involved running into Maul's lightsaber a good 15 or so times before finally beating him.

More than anything, this article has made me realize that, while I greatly enjoy stories in games AND sadistically difficult challenges, I'm too well adjusted to the quirks of video game narratives colliding with gameplay to care that the story has been "ruined" by a inconsistency caused by my characters temporary death. No matter how great a game's story, there is very few ways they could capture the same emotional arc of a two hour movie without throwing gameplay completely out the window and basically ending the game with a two hour movie. Thankfully, I think many people are capable of editing their game experience in their heads, cutting out the inconsistent parts and appreciating the progression of the game had it been completed flawlessly.

I like final bosses to take me a few tries, as long as I feel like I'm doing better each time. Drama is important also, but gets ruined by an easy boss.
As an example, Ganondorf from Zelda: Twilight Princess. Looks at you, says something along the lines of "you call that little thing a sword?", then pulls out an awesome, badass-looking sword about twice the size of yours, and proceeds to deal...
1/2 a point of damage with it.
Fail.

I think skilled players might want tits occasionally too....

I think I'm mostly Heroic, but I'll lean Skilled on some occasions.

As for the endings, some do it well.

I'm a little of column A and a little of column B, I like having a challenging final boss because if it isn't the end of the game feels rather meh, but I hate it when it's frustratingly difficult and will just move on to the next game if it annoys me too much. I like games with good stories but I also go back to games that have given me the best kick in certain gameplay types.

Personally the most annoying thing about final bosses though is that they have a habit of being too detached from the rest of the game. The example fresh in my mind is one of the games I recently completed - Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 (twas on sale on steam). The last challenge was roughly difficult enough to be good, but it failed completely in my eyes because it took everything you've learned in Vegas and threw them out of the window - it was too different compared to the rest of the game.

I consider myself a casual gamer. Reason being that between my job and my family I just don't have the time to devote myself to games anymore.

For this reason I'm 100% heroic. More than once I have played a game right the way through to the end boss or last level, only to give up in frustration and never see the final cutscene.

For this reason games like COD4 and FEAR have endings I find great.

And its the same reason automatically adjusting games like Midnight Club: LA drive me mental. I prefer to always have the difficulty just a little ways below what I know Im capable of. That way I can enjoy the storyline and have it finished in a timely manner and get onto other things.

I consider myself Heroic, but the game ending that disappointed me more than any other, that of KOTOR2, was neither heroic nor skillful. The final boss was pretty easy (your mileage may vary), but the story wrap was terrible.

heroic to the bone also i like this "new" section of the escapist at least new to me :P

Personally I like the final boss fight to be a "final exam" of sorts that incorporates as much of what I've learned from the game as possible, maybe with a new twist or two. I don't see it as a major dramatic problem to have a few or even a few hundred player deaths between encountering the final boss and rising victorious. To me that is the story.

But yeah, I get how that can be a total mood killer.

Heroic. I love to feel the immersion of getting to interact with characters and story. Gameplay is a consideration, but its secondary.

Challenge is alright when killing time, but in those cases I'll pop in a puzzle game.

Most disappointing final conflict was KOTOR 1. I realized that my lvl 20 female rouge turned Jedi diplomat was sorely underpowered to get past the final boss. I quickloaded and tried to fight him a dozen times; each repeated effort was met with a three hit kill. I still don't know how the game ends as I don't feel like replaying the entire game all over again just to see if i can manage to be more successful at the one part.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here