Sessler's Soapbox: End on a High Note

Posted: August 3, 2010
Sessler's Soapbox: End on a High Note
Adam takes a moment to discuss the highs and lows of how some video games present their finale.

Comments are Closed

  • AbeMonster

    another great soapbox!

    Posted: August 5, 2010 9:27 PM
  • nikolijobes

    Good endings for great games really ends up doubling back to the arguments concerning "Games as Art." No other medium has to balance narrative, visual art, technology, interaction, and market forces in a continually evolving deluge of information quite like the current crop of Video Games.

    Cobbling the perpetual redefinition of interactivity onto the rapidly advancing platforms of technology is a deft trick in itself; in the space of 20 years, we've gone from Sega Genesis to Kinect. At the most basic level, you get Sonic the Hedgehog and whatever dumb digital animal Microsoft throws at us. If the history of Video Games instructs us in anyway, it's that actually adding complicated narratives with emotional investment and payoff is an ancillary concern to the Tech performing and selling well. The "simple" act of publishing a game is an astonishing feat of innovation, compressed into the shortest of time frames.

    As a clumsy analogy, it took Humanity several thousand years of literacy to produce its greatest works; Sessler makes mention of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, but throw in Joyce and whoever else you like, and the greatest literary works are the product of two thousand years of development (I suppose this makes Homer the Grecian Mario and Tolstoy the Russian Nathan Drake).

    Platform cycles last 7 years, if we're lucky. If you want good endings to great games, then pray for technology to hit a wall.

    Posted: August 5, 2010 6:09 PM
  • Questioning_Everything

    I personally liked the Halo III ending. It killed off the main character in a way that leaves hope that he can always be brought back. Personally I dislike when stories kill off a character that i have invested so much time in. Most video games, like movies, are not art and have no place trying to be art. mainly because we the viewers spend our money to get away from depressing BS and we don't need some artist wan a be shoving his ideas down our thought especially when his ideas are as complicated as a prepubescent child (I say this because although most people have some concept of art there seems to be more things in heaven and earth then dreamt in our philosophy):). How did this Splurge about Halo became a rant about nothing.

    Posted: August 5, 2010 3:16 PM
  • GammaShard

    I think sometimes when games are being developed story is one of the last things they look at. The reason behind this is they do not want to bombard the player with cinematics. It is very tricky to keep the player entertained while they are waiting to play the game. Thats why movies might have it a little bit easier is because the audience is in the mind set of just focusing on the story and visuals, where as gamers are waiting to actually be interactive with the story despite what it is. Mass Effect did well in blending it's story with a high level of interaction. I am a huge fan so don't get me wrong in saying did not have alot of gameplay, that is because the story was the gameplay. The combat was just a side-note. This is the reason Mass Effect had such an enriching ending was because they were able to focus almost solely on story. It was a really great game though.

    Posted: August 5, 2010 3:06 PM
  • Loremaster

    Fable 2's ending ruined the game for me. It was way to sudden with a large bass battle an hour before the real ending. In that time you have this weird flashback that kills the mood and then you just run up to the antagonist who gets shoot in the middle of a monologue and falls to his death. Then whoop de do you win and can choose your reward for the part of the game you never play anyway.

    Posted: August 5, 2010 3:00 PM
  • theangrygimp

    How about the original Chrono Trigger ending? That game was far ahead of its time I think. Metal Gear 4 is another one of my favorite endings. I have to agree that when a game has a lackluster ending, it can really scar the perception of the entire game.

    Posted: August 5, 2010 2:46 PM
  • INfamousGodofThieves

    GoW3 did have a disappointing ending. Not horrible, just not up to par with the rest of that epic game. I thought that INfamous had a really good ending. Adam is totally right on this point.

    Posted: August 5, 2010 12:05 PM
  • thejoker959

    I think the best ending to ANY game has to be, and i'm going old school here, zelda orcarina of time. I mean you spend 40 hours playing this game and the end just leaves you with the feeling like you actually saved the world. that's how endings should be done.

    Posted: August 5, 2010 11:15 AM
  • Thogin

    Endings are important to me because that determine if I want to play the game again. The first ending for Fallout 3 ... I wanted to punch my computer, I spent all that time and my charactered DIED!!! Of course then the DLC kinda fixed that... I still felt they rushed the ending for FALLOUT 3, if you played fallout 2 whatever you did in the game... they said a few things about it like if you had a son or not and I was like ya, it basically told me the prologue. Dragon Age Origins: one of the ending where your character dies... eh... but then with expansion lives again. I don't like endings where your main character dies in the game, because you spent all the time trying to keep him/her alive and is basically saying haha your 40 hours you spent well his dead.

    If you play The first "Legacy of Kain" great game by the way on PS1. There was a choice where he can either die or rule the world.... I was like what kinda stupid choice is that.... I picked rule the world the second time because I didn't know he was going to die if I picked saved the world.... I was like I don't care about the world my character is going to live. And that is how the other games came to be by developers since they said most of the players picked that ending we will make the next crappy games of Kain that his a evil character... but whatever i am ranting


    Posted: August 5, 2010 9:25 AM
  • Spybreak

    Very well said sir. Like my US History teacher said back in high school in relation to writing essays, "You have to leave a good taste in my mouth". I never understood until then how much a conclusion paragraph really sold and secured the rest of the essay.

    On to video games and of course Mass Effect 2. What a great ending mainly due to player choice! I felt like Fable II's ending was pretty cool but when I learned that people would just turn their systems off after deciding the ending to grab all the achievements I was shocked. I would have never thought of doing this because I would play the game from the start with my different choices.

    Back to ME2, I just finished my 3rd playtrhough the other night, after mainly playing around with DLC with my first playthrough (allowing to continue to play the game after the ending is key cough Fallout 3), and I lost 4 squad mates. With my third playthrough I wanted to go 50/50 Paragon/Renegade and choose the middle option in the dialog. After doing that and loosing almost half my squad I really felt the ending which before I thought was epic already.

    Shadow Complex also has a good ending (a memorable one at least) and again like Mass Effect 2 feels Epic as in you're preventing what could be a full scale invasion. Games need that extra layer on the cake to complete the overall investment of your time while movies alllllwaaayys leave room for a sequel. Not even going into the creativity chasm of the movie industry.

    Posted: August 4, 2010 11:05 PM
  • RyokoWins

    Yeah I think Bioshock (the first one) suffered from this problem greatly. I was expecting some great epic final fight; what I got was very disapointing. The final boss could only attack in straight lines and I could dodge everything as long as I kept strafing in circles, and it didn't even take very long. It didn't help that by that time I had ammo coming out the wazoo and enough EVE to kill 3 Fontaines. It just didn't feel finished.

    Posted: August 4, 2010 8:12 PM
  • power-o-pwn

    Halo 3 and Bioshock 1 and 2's endings were amazing Halo 3 was an incredible mix of nostalgia and the feeling like I made the Covenant my bitch also the drama felt right. they could of left the series right there and it would STILL been epic but I'm glad they didn't :P and the Bioshock sense of happiness and sadness in the end left me sitting there thinking. The only game endings I didn't think were that good were alan wake (simply because I didn't get it) and dead space because you were sad about your girlfriend dying and out of the blue you get scared s#@%less into a cliffhanger. Dead space ending = Bad mtv practical joke.

    Posted: August 4, 2010 6:40 PM
  • ADHR26

    Zelda Ocarina of Time is how to make an amazing ending

    Posted: August 4, 2010 6:19 PM
  • sgtOOX

    I love Sessler reviews/soapboxes, an intelligent and thoughtful discourse on video games.
    very excellent

    Posted: August 4, 2010 5:46 PM
  • Sevyn_Syns_of_Eyte


    Posted: August 4, 2010 2:54 PM
  • insomic

    one of the most horrible endings in a game i ever played MW2 i just didnt feel like i accomplished anything i just kinda sat there thinking wow this sucks

    Posted: August 4, 2010 1:43 PM
  • Bast500

    In regards to end boss battles, i think sometimes the developers try to make it "too epic" for no reason. Take Batman: Arkham Asylum, its a fantastic game and i love it, but the whole game you cant wait until you go one on one vs The Joker but when you get there you get this gimicky fight vs some steroid boosted joker. I wish they would have kept it simple for that fight, Batman vs Joker fist fighting would have been a greater "end boss battle" imo.

    Also i agree with a previous poster that mentioned Fable 2 ending, its terrible, it ruined the whole game for me. I was getting close to the end on my first play through and i was already thinking of what type will my 2nd character be. I went after the legendary weapons, got ready for a great end battle and ending.. and then nothing, It was a huge disappointment.

    Posted: August 4, 2010 1:06 PM
  • Wozman23

    I have to agree with a lot of endings being bad, but I think Resistance 2 was pretty solid, Sure the gameplay wasn't quite as strong but that last cinematic blew me away, which doesn't happen much with me since story is usually on the back burner with me. There are many worse games that lack any type of battle altogether, like Singularity, Wet, and Alone in the Dark.

    In my opinion, boss battles have become too cliche. It seems like developers thing you have to have one centralized powerful foe, and constantly want to try something no one else has. It often just feels odd. I always felt like Uncharted's last bosses seemed a bit out of place. I'd much rather face a hoard of enemies and make the entire last level feel hectic, than just be thrown a bullet sponge to fight.

    Posted: August 4, 2010 11:06 AM
  • Freezerbabies

    I think The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past had a great ending in it's time, and still rivals the endings of many games made today.

    Posted: August 4, 2010 8:42 AM
  • Tsuiyo

    That's how I felt during the ending for the first FFCC. You finally defeat the demon that eats everyone's memories and the miasma disappears. And then...nothing happens. The ending sucked terribly. All the work I put into defeating Raem, they could AT LEAST have given a good ending.

    Posted: August 4, 2010 8:17 AM