Sep 21st, 2016

There’s nothing worse than spending hours with a game, enjoying the story and the gameplay until you finally reach the end and come away disappointed by shoddy writing or an ending that doesn’t make sense. Plenty of great games have given us what I like to call that “second-hand regret.” The story ends so badly or abruptly that you regret playing it and you’ve probably already thought up several ways the developers could have handled it better. Here’s the best of those games. We still love them, despite their terrible endings.

6. Assassin’s Creed

While the world may be tired of Ubisoft and its endless obsession with the Assassins creed series, when the game first debuted it was revolutionary. Every surface was scalable and the size of the world was enormous, with several different cities to travel between and areas between those cities to explore.

While the linear nature of the assassination missions led a lot of people to dislike this initial release, what really made the game terrible was the ending that Ubisoft created. Much like Enslaved, it’s obvious once you beat the game that Ubisoft planned on continuing the story.

Al-Mualim serves as Altaïr’s mentor throughout the game. He’s the man who strikes you down from the rank of assassin at the beginning of the game, making the player perform all manner of assassinations to prove your loyalty to the Assassin cause. Except at the end, you find out Al-Mualim is actually a Templar, and you’ve been his personal pawn throughout the whole game.

How I felt when I got to the final fight:


5. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Enslaved was a unique game that took an ancient Chinese fable and adapted it to be told to a Western audience. The game was set in a luscious post-apocalyptic New York City, where we meet the game’s main characters escaping from a slave ship that crash lands. The platforming and fighting elements of the game were satisfying, but the game’s ending falls flat.

You travel to the desert to learn that a mysterious Pyramid organization is responsible for the slave ships that are stealing people away, but then you learn it’s plugging them into a matrix-like configuration to attempt to better their lives. Then one of the characters destroys it all because slavery is bad, mmkay?

The ending for the game put a sour taste in most gamers’ mouths because it felt as though the team expected to create another game within the setting to explain the big surprise at the end. The ending falls flat without that explanation because Enslaved didn’t do well enough sales-wise to warrant the sequel.

How I felt after beating it:


4. Fable 2


Fable 2 is the game most gamers point to when asked the question, “When did you start to lose faith in Peter Molyneux as a developer?” Molyneux was already well-known for his hype of Fable, which didn’t live up to the expectations he set. Somehow, we didn’t learn our lesson with Fable 2, which Molyneux promptly hyped with the following statement:

Obviously there was a lot that we wanted to do in Fable that had to be left out, but we’re putting all of that in Fable 2.

That single statement led to a hype train even bigger than Fable, which means when the game released and the hype train had to crash, it was a pretty big disaster. So what’s wrong with Fable 2? The conclusion and how you play the game have absolutely no correlation. When you get to the end with the big bad, you’re given three options. Revive everyone who has died minus your dog, which the villain conveniently shot about ten minutes before you’re given the choice. Bring just your dog back and screw everyone else, or screw everyone and just get rich.

Three options. All the same. No matter how you play. Hype train derailed, all aboard Peter’s train of disappointing promises that were never kept!

How I felt about Peter Molyneux after playing the game:


3. Borderlands


Noted game analyst Michael Pachter was harsh on Borderlands before it released, stating that Gearbox Software was sending the FPS/RPG hybrid out to die against big juggernaut titles like Dragon Age: Origins and Call of Duty. Pachter was wrong and the game went on to sell millions and warranted a sequel, but the ending isn’t what people loved about the game. In fact, nearly everyone who played the game hated it.

So how does it end? Well, the game starts by telling you you’re part of a team of four Vault Hunters who end up on Pandora seeking a long-lost alien vault that’s said to hold untold treasures and wealth. Everyone you meet in the game goes on and on about how great it’ll be when you find the vault and unlock the treasure, while others are wholly skeptical of its existence.

The final confrontation in the game is the vault itself. When you open it, a giant tentacle monster comes out and starts attacking you. After you finish it, it explodes into a loot piñata and the credits roll. Gearbox eventually made DLC to expand the story and make it worth playing the game, but that ending was the most anti-climatic event ever.

How I felt when I finally opened the vault:


2. Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts


The legendary fame of the Ghost n’ Goblins series extends to this game, but this is the game that taught my young mind just what a cruel joke gaming can be. How does this one end? When you make it to the end of the stage and defeat the giant demon with two faces who shoots lasers and flames, the chick you rescue tells you that you needed to defeat him with a weapon that was never available to you before she gives it to you at that very moment.

Cut to black, the game re-opens and you’re sitting at the start of the game in the first graveyard with your newly acquired weapon that is much more shitty than the game’s default dagger. Yup, you have to play the entire game again, making sure to beat the final boss again, with that shitty, shitty pearl necklace of a weapon.

How I felt after “beating” it:


1. Alan Wake

Alan Wake was Remedy Entertainment’s attempt at creating an atmospheric horror story that seemed like it was ripped straight from the mind of Stephen King. The game centers around author Alan Wake, who is experiencing a sort of writer’s block when strange things start happening around town, Silent Hill style. Of course, Alan investigates.

While the game was supposed to be spooky and atmospheric, the gameplay falls flatter than the convoluted story that somehow ends up in a terrible rendition of Hitchcock’s The Birds. You confront the evil that’s been haunting you the whole game and once its solved, your character sits down to finish his book.

How I felt watching Alan Wake finish his book: