FIRST OFF these are my 11 worst video game endings. I haven’t played every game, so if your personal “worst ending” isn’t on this list, sorry about that. And no, I haven’t played Mass Effect 3, which is why it’s absent from this list.
EVERY VIDEO GAME has an ending. Most games have wonderful, memorable conclusions. When the game finally ends, you expect there to be some closure. You hope to see the heroes succeed. You want to learn where they end up, how the world has changed, and what your efforts have done to shape the course of history. If the ending does its job, there is an emptiness left in your heart. A void. You might even shed a tear or two. It’s over, and you’re left to ponder what happens next.
SADLY, SOME GAMES DON’T end so well. They leave questions unanswered. Worse still, they have random conclusions that don’t shed any light on the events you’ve grown to care about. That is, if you care about them at all. They gloss over character arcs, forget key moments, and simply do not care whether the endings makes sense, or even bother tying up loose ends. Some, like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II- The Sith Lords, simply ran out of time. Others, like Borderlands, leave out major plot elements, and instead leave you with unanswered questions.
IN THIS ARTICLE I choose the 11 games that took a dump on my hopes and dreams, and left me utterly disappointed by the end. Games that left me wondering what the heck happened? These games totally disregard the narrative, and instead of rewarding you for all the hours of game play, they spit in your face with loose threads, vague answers, and random revelations. A lot of it is my own biased opinion, so if I rant on an ending to a game that you love, I apologize.
#11 Super Mario Bros. (NES)
THE PIPES, THE WARPING, the fireball madness! There was no end to the last castle. It was just trial and error, and without the internet to guide you through? You just had to memorize the pipes, and hope you made it though before a pit, flaming blades, hammer brothers, a squid, pipe plants, spitting lava, or a psychotic Bowser with machine gun hammers, took your last life. Unless, of course you were a pro at the infinite lives turtle trick. And after seeing countless “your princess is in another castle”, you come to the end at last. Bowser is defeated and Princess Toadstool is safe. I curb stomped all of Bowser’s henchman into oblivion, and you present me with a new quest?
#10 The Legend of Zelda (NES)
IT LITERALLY TOOK ME YEARS to finish this game. After saved games mysteriously vanished from my wonderful golden cartridge, I eventually waged through a save that didn’t corrupt! Aided by the trusty Nintendo Power fold-out-map, I shoved a silver arrow into Ganon’s face! Whew, cue the heroic theme music, I did it! In her excitement, Zelda praises you with, “Thanks Link, you’re the hero of Hyrule.” Wait, thanks? Just thanks, after all the moblins, and secret waterfalls, and rupee hunting hell I went through?
#9 Shenmue 2 (Dreamcast)
THIS WAS A GROUND BREAKING GAME… that I honestly never played. But! I sat with my brother (who was in love with the game) and watched him play every step of the way. It had an immersive world, a powerful narrative, and it was one of the first games that had you initiate button commands to dodge during fast paced encounters, a mechanic still used today in games like God of War and Resident Evil. There was even a world outside of the main game that you could explore. You needed to make money, have a job, and you could play arcade games. Lucky Hit! I swear that game was rigged. Oh, and collecting the Toy Capsules? Gotta collect em’ all!
OKAY, THE REASON why this is one of the worst endings is because you never confront Lan Di! The story revolves around revenge on this one guy, and you never settle the score? Then, you finally find the dream girl, and it ends. That’s it. Oh, right, that all must have been saved for the sequel. Cool, no issue then. Right? Shemue’s final act was never created. And to this day, it’s just another empty chapter in the hearts of every Shenmue fan.
EDIT: I realize that there is an official Shenmue 3 coming our way soon. Which is awesome! At the writing of this article though, I haven’t played it, and it has not been released, yet. So… my rating still stands.
#8 Devil May Cry 4 (PS3)
I PERSONALLY LOVE Devil May Cry. I played and beat all of them. I couldn’t stand the second one. But 1, 3, and 4 were amazing! They were over the top, campy, and I couldn’t get enough. I enjoyed Dante’s cheesy bravado and one liners. Nero whined too much, but his Devil Arm made up for it.
IN THE END I really wanted to know Nero’s connection to Virgil. After the the events of Devil May Cry 3 Virgil becomes Nelo Angelo, you defeat him in Devil May Cry 1, and that’s all you know. Now, there’s some kid named Nero (Nelo?) with a blue coat, wields the Yamato, and apparently has some kind of demonic blood running in his veins. Hey, that’s really important, let’s never touch on that in the end. Not even an explanation about the Devil Arm?
I HONESTLY DIDN’T CARE about the Order or saving Kyrie. I wanted to know more about Nero, and his past. Instead we’re treated to a god awful exchange that falls flat and means nothing. “Nero, you’re you. And it’s you I want to be with…I don’t know anyone who is as human as you are.” Holy crap. I was hoping all this would be addressed in the next Devil May Cry installment. Sadly, no. They decided to revamp the series. Sigh.
AND ON A SIDE NOTE I have not played the Special Edition. Maybe it sheds more light into my questions? Maybe, maybe not. But if I ever have time I plan to pick it up, specifically so I can play as Virgil and Lady! So much yes!
#7 Fallout 3 (PS3)
UP UNTIL THE END I loved everything about Fallout 3: the freedom, the choices, the morality meter, the perks, the open world exploration! The battle leading to the end was epic. My heart raced, things were exploding, people were dying. It was a final confrontation with the Enclave, and it was brilliant! I was the Savior of The Wastes! Then I decided to sacrifice myself…
AND WE CUT TO NARRATION and still pictures? Instead of allowing me to see how my actions made a difference, instead of alloying me to experience the praise and the new world I’d helped to create, or at least see it (since I’m dead) you give me this schlock? Being told by a disembodied voice –a voice that had no meaning to me– just made the entire game leading up to now mean nothing. There was no celebration, no emotional ending. It just ended. I sat there staring at the screen. I felt nothing. Maybe if it was Three Dog, or someone I cared about narrating my end, it would have mattered a little more.
#6 Dragon Age 2 (PS3)
I BEAT DRAGON AGE 2 on the Templar side, and my wife beat it on the Mage side. We both loved Origins, and we are probably one of the few who enjoyed 2. Well, aside from all the recycled levels, lack of personalizing your companions, limited character creation options, and a lack of Morrigan or Flemeth. It was still a fun ride!
THE MOST DISAPPOINTING THING about the ending was that it never answered any questions. Every event just sort of happened, Origins characters were shamelessly shoe horned into scenes for no over arcing reason, and then the most important story ideas were never addressed. What did that Lyrium Idol even do, and how was it causing everyone to go insane? What happened to Flemeth, and what kind of relationship did she have with the elves? Seriously, what is up with Sandal? There was never any sense of closure.
#5 Bioshock (PS3)
AFTER ALL THE POWERS you obtain and all the hours you spend raising your character, you’re still helpless in the end. You don’t go down as a hero. The battle is taken out of your hands. You watch, frozen on the floor in defeat, as the Little Sisters rally to your aide, and stab the brute to death. And the cut scenes don’t give you any sense of closure for your character, no satisfying end for your epic journey. I mean, aside from the fact that you die of old age. Oh. Instead of focusing on your character, you learn about the fate of the Little Sisters?
MOST WILL AGREE that Bioshock should have ended with Andrew Ryan. “Would you kindly?”
#4 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II- The Sith Lords (XBOX)
THE STORY REVOLVED around you being a wound in the force, with the ability to control the wills of those around you. Awesome! And there was a Sith Lord that could feel the force and kill people from a galaxy away. Epic. “If he joins us on the path to darkness, those who fight alongside him will follow! But if he takes the path of a Jedi, those who join him will feel the vengeance of the dark side.”
THIS NEVER TAKES SHAPE throughout the course of the game. Your companions turn to the dark or light side depending on your character, but it doesn’t matter in the end, because your alignment doesn’t change how the events of the game play out. Then it just ends abruptly. You never get to see what becomes of your followers, or witness the consequence of your actions. Instead, Kreia tells you the fate of all your companions in a mystical, vague bit of dialogue.
ALSO, WHY would you believe her? She’s been lying the whole game, and she tried to commit death by floating light sabers! You also never get to see Revan, which is a huge disappointment, or learn of his fate, or see the true Sith. The player is left with no clear conclusion until the release of Old Republic.
AND TRUTHFULLY I watched videos and gameplay of what happened to Revan and I was just… really disappointed. I would have liked to experience it in a full fledged sequel, and not an MMO. Even though I didn’t play much of the MMO, but that’s because they had that stupid login code that changed everyday, and you needed the app to keep track of it. But when the app crashed and my phone broke? That was the end of my game. Seriously? F*** Old Republic. Sorry, I digress. I’m just bitter. I put some decent amount of hours into Old Republic, but that requirement was just ridiculous.
#3 Skyrim (PC)
THE PROBLEM with Skyrim’s ending was that there was no reason to care about what was going on. Nothing you did changed the course of the story. You were told that you were the only one with the power to change the world, but you never did. After Alduin was dead, or you joined the Storm Cloaks, or saved Dragons Reach, or slayed every dragon you came across…it never had any baring on the actual game play, or the plot for that matter.
ALSO, THE FINAL BATTLE with Alduin just wasn’t that epic. I thought Alduin was going to be a mid boss to an even greater threat! I was expecting something behind the scenes, the true threat! But no. There was nothing satisfying about the ending, and nothing ever happened to make me care about what was going on.
#2 Borderlands (PS3)
MY MISSION TO FIND the vault was an amazing one. I tore through Pandora. I was going to engrave my name in history! The legendary vault and all the riches would be mine. Then you actually find the vault, and it’s a prison for a huge, galactic space monster? Okay. Good twist. I didn’t see that coming. But no explanation of the vault, or why the squidy was in there? Nothing led to these events, or were even hinted at through the rest of the game. There was absolutely no closure of any kind.
AND AFTER THE BATTLE what do you get? You get to explore a Pandora that has not changed. And you don’t get anything worth noting from the vault, which was one of the biggest disappointments. You get a pat on the back, and life goes on.
#1 Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
HOLY IS RELEASED but is unable to destroy meteor, thus the Lifestream shoots out and does the job. All of your actions mean nothing, and the heroes are incapable of saving the day. Then they unleash Deus Ex Machina. That in and of itself wasn’t why it was a bad ending. I would have liked it to end right there.
WHAT GOT ME was when you witness Midgar 500 years in the future. Yes, the world was free to blossom and flourish, but every character is dead. Why do I care about that? I had a very strong connection to my characters, so show me where they ended up, how our actions made a difference to the planet. Not 500 years later.
TO REMEDY THIS Square went and created an entire franchise to make up for that one scene. But at the time, when I first witnessed the ending, VII was a standalone game. There was no further explanation, no Advent Children, no Crises Core.
AND WHEN THE CREDITS finally roll? They turn the dagger by playing Aerith’s theme. It was heartbreaking! And when the credits finally end, the controller buttons didn’t do anything? You’re forced to shut down the system manually, or initiate a forced reset through the controller. That’s just cruel.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading! So what are your worst video game endings? Let me know in the comments below! Keep that imagination kicking! Please take care all, you all rock. Cheers!