The way a videogame ends will color your perception of it forever. A great ending can make an average game seem amazing, and a poor ending can make an awesome game feel mediocre. Whether you like these eight games or not, you can’t deny their endings were very disappointing.
We’re talking about endings here, so there will be spoilers!
Alan Wake was a great game – one that almost felt like you were playing through a Stephen King novel. The entire game built a sense of drama and dread, but when the ending rolled around it left us all wanting an explanation. You defeat the darkness only to have a guy in a diving suit show up and tell you that you can’t leave the house because your evil twin is out messing up your life. And that’s it. No explanation, no closure, and no resolution. It was so disappointing.
You’re a Vault Hunter, and you’ve just spent hours upon hours leveling up, gathering weapons, and searching for the Vault. After you’ve completed a mountain of quests, gathered the fragments of the Vault Key, and opened the Vault, you head inside only to find a boss fight. Once you’ve disposed of the boss (which is depressingly easy to do), that’s it. There’s no grand treasure, no story tie-up, nothing. The game just ends. The arrival of the two sequels softened the blow, but had this been a one-off game, it would have been massively disappointing.
God of War 2
Kratos returned in this sequel, and was almost immediately killed in a battle with the Colossus of Rhodes, for which Zeus was responsible. Saved by the Titan Gaia, he sets out to kill Zeus in revenge. But do you ever get to kill Zeus? Nope. Instead, you accidentally impale Athena, find out Zeus is your father, and then just head out, proclaiming the era of the gods is over. It’s a cliffhanger that feels like it was inserted primarily to set up God of War III, and it diminishes the game substantially.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge[em]Monkey Island 2 is a game about pirates and zombie pirates. It’s hard to believe that such a game could go wrong, but it did, mostly because the ending was so strange. First, the zombie pirate LeChuck reveals that the and hero Guybrush Threepwood are brothers, then things get really odd. After a drawn out confrontation involving voodoo dolls, we suddenly see that both LeChuck and Threepwood are just kids at the Big Whoop Amusement Park. It’s a variation on the “It was all just a dream” type of ending that’s so annoying, and it wasn’t any more fulfilling in this case, either.
When Halo 2 hit consoles, it redefined what console shooters were. The combat was solid, it looked great for its day, and of course, it built on what the original Halo had accomplished. All of this came together to make a game that would have been one of the best of its time if not for the ending. We see Master Chief flying in an enemy ship, and when asked what he is doing, he replies, “Finishing this fight.” While that sounds like an awesome setup for a huge, chaotic final battle, it isn’t. The game just ends. To really finish that fight, you had to wait until Halo 3 came out and buy that. It was the gaming equivalent of a “To be continued” screen on a movie.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2
Obsidian had some big shoes to fill with Knights of the Old Republic 2, and most people would agree that they did a pretty damn good job. It’s one of the best Star Wars games ever made, and could have been the best of them all if not for the disappointing ending. It’s a huge game, sending you all over the galaxy. You make friends, recruit allies, and battle your enemies. Once the penultimate moment arrives, instead of a fulfilling finish, we end up listening to a supporting character named Kreia trying to wrap up every single loose end from the over 30 hours of gameplay in one brief conversation.
Mass Effect 3
You knew this one was on the list. No matter what you thought about the controversy surrounding the ending of Mass Effect 3, it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t disappointing. After all, we’ve just spent three games running around the galaxy building alliances, making friends, and trying to save everyone, and our final reward is a choice of colored explosions with little to no story impact? Worse, it was vague in the extreme, leading many to think it was tacked on when EA pushed for the game’s release. Bioware responded to consumer complaints by releasing an Extended Cut DLC, but between the problems with the original ending and Bioware’s response to it, the damage was already done. It colored the entire trilogy for many gamers.
The world of Fallout 3 was ambitious, and it largely lived up to those ambitions – right up until the end. No matter what supplies you had gathered up, or which companions you had along, your character died. You sacrificed yourself to save everyone, and then got to watch a brief cutscene detailing how your actions affected the world. You couldn’t continue exploring the world to experience those changes for yourself, or go back to clear up any quests you might have missed along the way. Bethesda tried to fix this with a retcon in the DLC that came later, but that only served to emphasize just how ridiculous the original ending was. It was the biggest disappointment I’ve seen in a long time.