QOTW: Jack went down like a chump

I have just spent the last two weeks playing through Mass Effect 2… in French.

That's right: I'm not letting this image die just yet.

It was mostly a torturous affair with the game consisting of three main elements:

  1. A fairly tedious cover shooter that was half-inched from Gears of War
  2. A mini-game in which you watch a cursor go over a spinning globe until there is a visual and audio cue for you to press a button
  3. Dialogue with speech options that offer the same three variations of speech choices:
    • Be an arsehole
    • Be a boring arsehole
    • Be a horny arsehole

I did this for about thirty hours and was unable to figure out why. That was until I got to the last two or three hours of the game in which it proceeded to get very, very good.

After (spoiler alert!) saving the universe I had to take a step back and process what had just happened. ME2 had managed to make me feel deeply invested in those final scenes, such that the culmination of the mind-numbing preceding thirty hours had actually mattered. Things had changed irreparably and it had almost redeemed the drudgery I had put up with.

At the other end of the endings-scale, I actually enjoyed Resident Evil 5 despite all its antiquated game mechanics. Then I was forced to endure a god-awful final boss fight which subsequently ruined all of my fond memories of the game.

So the Question of the Week: what are the endings that have saved/buried games that you otherwise hated/loved?





25 responses to “QOTW: Jack went down like a chump”

  1. GordoP Avatar

    ME 2 resulted in a totally relieved feeling after finishing it, I viewed it as having finally met a deadline and was done with a particularly stressful task until the next stressful task came along. I wouldn't say the ending made or redeemed the game for me, but there was a palpable tenseness which made the ending more enjoyable than the rest of the book.

    I wouldn't say it was the ending so much as most of the boss fights in Batman: Arkham Asylum that tainted the game for me. The repetitive nature of the boss fights were just so tedious. The Killer Croc raft run, the final Poison Ivy flower fight and the final Joker battle are the ones that particularly stand out for me.

    The Crysis games really seem to have a hard time with endings (let alone story), but even though they may be lackluster the endings don't ruin the really enjoyable shooty bits for me.

    I'm pretty sure BC will disagree with me on this but the ending of Far Cry 2 felt like a bit of let down to me. I felt there had been this large build up that was going to end in something tense but it just sort of petered out. Again though, it doesn't ruin the overall game experience but it did spoil it a bit.

    1. oddvorbis Avatar

      So you finally did play ME2 hahaha, took you long enough!

      1. badgercommander Avatar

        Hi my name is Gordo it has been 3 weeks since I talked about Far Cry t-


        I loved the ending of Far Cry 2, I don't want to spoil it but it just felt so aptly pointless and depressing, with that being the gist of Far Cry 2's message (war is pointless) it just worked for me.

        Crysis: Warhead, hmmmm, it doesn't so much as have an ending as much as it just ends and you are left going 'err okay, so I guess that's that'

        Another ending I loved, even though it was rubbish was the ending to Mercs in the arcade. You drive off into the sunset while the credits roll and there is a badass chiptune playing.

        1. GordoP Avatar

          I definitely need some form of intervention for FC2!

          @Oddvorbis: Yup, finally decided I should git'er dun. I enjoyed it more than the first one, but it still isn't nearly close to a game I could love. Problem is, I've already vested so much time into playing the first two, theres really no reason not to conclude my Sherpard's tale and play the third. I really just hope they tune up the shooter bits, I'd be happy with that.

          As for game endings, Sniper: Ghost Warrior has one of the worst endings I've ever experienced in a video game. I mean not that it ruined the already sub-par game, but the ending was just so poorly executed. It made a mediocre game into an awful game.

          Edit: Can't wait for the next Sniper game using the CryEngine!

  2. oddvorbis Avatar

    Too many for me to remember. FF6 had a super long one with a fantastic medley of all the theme songs in the game, which made me look back on all the time played. not really redeeming as that's one of the best rpg ever, but worth mentioning.

    I think the game I liked the most and was most disappointed of the ending was La-Mulana. It's like climbing a gigantic tower of awesome, fighting one of the best boss ever made (though the tactic to beat it is questionable) then you open the last door and find a pug dog wearing a fez. Also, this doesn't take the bonus dungeon into account. I won't get into that. nope.

    Also Metal Gear 1 for the worst twist of all time. When you need to put clones in your stories, it just shows that you hit the bottom of the barrel as a writer. The Mr.President part made me cringe in disgust.

    Resident evil 4 for pedophilia.

    On a more positive note; the final trial of Ace Attorney two was full of tension, is pretty long and really pushes you in a good way. I finished it in a few sessions, but each time, it was almost physically painful to put it down.

  3. ShaunCG Avatar

    Not that I want to accidentally invoke the spirits of a thousand wailing fanboys (and lo there came a fierce growling and gnashing of teeth) but come on, how can we not mention the total fucking joke that was the 'ending' of Halo 2 right here.

    I'm not sure if there are many games I didn't like which I got to the end of, or games that I liked which I was particularly disappointed by the conclusion to. I may just have lower standards based on the generally low standard of games writing. Hmm. I guess there are a few that might count.

    I could poke fun at a few for inconsistency, especially open world games. Like Crackdown: "oho, you fool, WE WERE THE BAD GUY ALL ALONG AHAHA. Well, if you'd like to keep playing you can keep working for us."

    Everything in the first BioShock after 'would you kindly' was pretty weak. Although I wouldn't have minded if they hadn't thrown in that superb metanarrative twist and then failed to continue delivering at that level. The gameplay was still great, mind.

    Oh, the ending of System Shock 2 were they felt obliged to pop in a potential sequel tease was pretty weak. Otherwise it was good.

    When you finish a tournament in Mario Kart DS you just get a boring little lap of honour. What happened to the cute little animations from the SNES version, eh? LOST YOUR HEART DIDN'T YOU, NINTENDO.

    I was a bit disappointed when I finally finished Realms of the Haunting and was like "…so, we never get to see The Ire? You *pricks*! It's just some fucking mist!" Except when I played ROTH I was very well-to-do and rarely swore.

    Oh yeah, and that moment when you finish an enormous 25-hour playthrough of Sid Meier's Pirates! and you've done and seen literally everything and after you've retired you get that empty feeling. Not that good feeling of "what do I do now without this all-encompassing fascination with one game occupying my life", but rather the hollow "what was all that, again?" feeling.

    Not to be harsh on Pirates!, I really like it, but underneath all the charm it's a bit numbers-go-up isn't it?

    Okay, that's actually quite a few. Signing off now.

  4. badgercommander Avatar

    Agreed, Halo 2 was one of the worst endings in a game that I have ever experienced. I remember ranting about it to a few people at the time, thinking it was a complete joke.

  5. Dylan Avatar

    The ending of Crysis 2 was a huge letdown for me.


    I still think the game as a whole is one of the best FPSs on the 360, but the fight was easy, frustrating, long-winded and dull, the controls for the QTE-bit weren't well thought-out meaning what little drama it had was killed off (for me) by a pointless checkpoint restart, and then the ending scene itself was hackneyed, nonsensical and utterly generic.

    Oh, and, slightly out-there example, but the largely forgotten and quite poor if still much loved and ahead-of-its-time PC action game from the late '90s, 'Die By The Sword' – just do a timing based platformy bit (WTF? Where'd that bad idea come from?), kill a couple of grunts, credits roll. Great.

    1. GordoP Avatar

      The ending was just terrible for C2, far worse than either Crysis or Warhead. I want to replay the game at some point, just right now I'm distancing myself from it because I'm still bit sore about the thing as a whole.

    2. ShaunCG Avatar

      I really liked C2, but now that there is some distance between me and it I think I ultimately prefer C1. I can see how C2 represents an advancement in a number of areas, but in others it has backslid a bit. Also, the big stompy deathmachines that took an inordinate amount of firepower to down represented a real threat, which is rarely the case with the jellynecks in C2… for all that the Ceth in C1 could be boring to fight they were at least different.


      One aspect of the C2 ending that I did like was the nanosuit plot arc, and I guess that's where the influence of Peter Watts and Richard Morgan comes through. Essentially that this piece of hybridised alien technology ends up being a synthesis of technology, body and mind (Ceth, Alcatraz and Prophet respectively), ultimately producing someone that is equal parts all of those. Prophet and Alcatraz are both dead, and the suit never lived, but together the three of them are something else.

      Just the sort of nerdy SF fare that tickles my fancy, you know?

      1. Dylan Avatar

        I agree, I loved the fiction they developed behind the suit and the characters involvement with it. It's a shame the writing wasn't sharper as they could potentially have done excellent things with that story. There's something to be said for how they ran it though – less is sometimes more, I suspect the waters would have got muddy if they'd tried adding to much detail in.

        1. ShaunCG Avatar

          Yeah, defo. I'd really like to try my hand at game writing in the future – the challenges are so different to writing for anything else. I suspect that Watts and Morgan may've been caught out by this; you may be a great novelist but if you're not intimately familiar with the medium you're writing for…

          1. Dylan Avatar

            As much as I would love to try my hand at writing for a game, my heart would sink if I bounded up to those Crytek offices giggling in anticipation and they said 'Oh, FYI, the lead character of the game can't talk'. Oh…

            They did justify it well, I assume that as Alcatraz's body is just a big lump of basically-dead, he can't do anything that the suit can't do for him, and as the suit has no mouth or chin or tongue, he's mute for that reason. But I would have liked to have seen the other characters acknowledge that his inability to speak is an issue that they consider and have to deal with. Rather than this just shrugged 'whatever' attitude to a point which should have been at least mentioned, or even better, used as a plot point.

          2. badgercommander Avatar

            Thanks guys, you have completely ruined the ending for a game I was never planning to play, thus giving me more reason not to play it.

            As for writing in games, a classic example of good writing but bad writing for games is the angle that the Ninja Theory guys come from. They rambled on about how good Alex Garland was as a writer, but playing the opening for Enslaved you can see how stifling that narrative is on the actual gameplay.

          3. ShaunCG Avatar

            I would hesitate to describe Alex Garland as a great writer, having read The Tesseract. But he's better than me so I can't get too snippy. ;)

            One genre where getting a novelist in worked well was the old point and click adventure – Orson Scott Card wrote The Dig, which was great. Believe Spielberg was also involved. I think Card later went on to write for another game which was panned and bombed about four years ago – Advent Rising or some such.

            Also, Orson Scott Card is a right-wing, homophobic Mormon fruitcake.

          4. ShaunCG Avatar

            Also, I feel like Dylan and I should do something about Crysis 2 as it's yet another recent game we both got on release date but haven't actually written about.

            OTOH the problem with these triple-A titles is that it doesn't take long for pretty much everything to be said. The blockbuster videogame is rarely a dense text…

          5. GordoP Avatar

            I actually found the whole Nanosuit back-story almost too much to handle, for one of the first times ever and in a very Badger Commander way I really wanted to skip the cutscenes because I found most of the story telling so poor.

            I'm also getting very tired of the whole mute / strong-silent type convention. If that suit is capable of making a lump of bruised and broken meat walk, jump and get blown out of buildings none stop, it can also help him to use his mouth and squeek out a few lines. I mean how many monologues must we endure.

            I think one day I will not speak a word and see how well that goes. (Horrible images of a Half-Life 2 type day are popping into my head…"Come over here, Gordon" "Go there and do that, Gordon" "What the hell is the matter with your mouth, Gordon?")

          6. Dylan Avatar

            I don't know, although it makes sense that it COULD have had to power to give him speech, it makes sense that it would never have been designed to facilitate that in the first place. They didn't anticipate the suit keeping the dead alive – that was an unexpected side effect.

            Despite a fictional backstory that I'll defend for no reason other than thinking that it's cool – I agree. The silent protagonist should die off, soon please.

          7. ShaunCG Avatar

            I don't mind the old silent protagonist when the character's supposed to be an everyman/player projection, and Gordon Freeman gets a pass for setting the bar, but I'd lose little sleep were this to happen. So long as we don't have to go back to the wisecracking Nukems of the world… oh, shit.

          8. GordoP Avatar

            I'm being just a little bitter about the whole silent hero part of C2, it hardly makes anything about the game worse off because of it, it just stood out as a strange decision because of Prophet and Psycho's speech ability in the first games. It also seems like something that could have cleared up a few minor issues some NPCs were having with mistaken identity near the start…

            And I do agree about Gordon Freeman. I cannot be described as someone who enjoys the Half-Life series but Gordon Freeman certainly gets a pass as the mute hero. Also, I may not have enjoyed playing the games but I definitely loved having the game saying my name and telling me what to do. I definitely found myself talking to my screen speaking for the mute Freeman, even if most of the time I was being grossly inappropriate.

  6. Dylan Avatar

    Oh wow, DBTS was made by Treyarch? I didn't realise they'd been around and disappointing fans who love them anyway for that long.

    1. GordoP Avatar

      Holy! DBTS! Was that the game that you controlled your sword with your mouse?

      1. badgercommander Avatar

        I played the demo for Die by the Sword over and over again. And yes you used the mouse to control your sword arm.

        Game was really interesting.

        1. Dylan Avatar

          There were lots of ways to control it, I preferred using the num-pad (so 4 then 6 was a swipe from left to right). You could also create 'macros' by recording a certain move and then assigning it to a button.

  7. ShaunCG Avatar

    I vaguely remember playing demos of DBTS and Deathtrap Dungeon at around the same time, and as best I can recall I couldn't decide which I disliked least. :(