Why do good things have come to an end? Especially videogames. Especially these video games. It’s not just because these games are so good that we don’t want the journey to end, it’s also because their endings are so atrociously, unsatisfyingly bad, that it kind of ruins the journey a little bit, and makes you regret even bothering to finish the game.
(Full spoilers for Super Mario Odyssey, Batman Arkham Asylum, Mass Effect 3, Far Cry 2, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla)
Super Mario Odyssey is absolutely fantastic. It’s an award-winning action\adventure game and is the most fun you can have playing as a short plumber man exploring, cap throwing, and triple-jumping across different colorful and uniquely themed lands—until you get to the ending of course.
After literally travelling across the entire Earth and Moon, braving dangers such as molten magma-like soup, a mechanical military coup in the city, surviving an airship crash, multiple dinosaurs, and a FULL-ON DARK SOULS DRAGON; and let’s not forget a planet’s core exploding, Mario manages to save Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser, yet again.
However, Mario still ends up in competition with Bowser for the affections of Princess Peach. The former having done all that stuff I mentioned to save the Princess from the latter, who kidnapped her and tried to force her into marriage.
There literally should be no contest here
Now I get it, she’s not some trophy to be won or prize to be fawned over. But I don’t think its right for her to jack the ship of the guy that she was calling on to save her leaving him for dead in the middle of a lifeless planet with the giant dragon turtle thing that wants to kill him.
I think it’s safe to say maybe Mario deserved a tiny bit more than that.
I absolutely adored Batman Arkham Asylum. It was such a massive leap for superhero-based action games giving a contained but rich, lore-filled game world to explore, unique, tight combat and stealth systems that made you feel like you were the Dark Knight, and a story that was well written and well delivered… Until it got to the very end.
After an intense night in the madhouse, facing against his most vicious foes, Batman goes after the one person that orchestrated this whole thing, his archnemesis, the Joker.
Now how will the caped crusader confront the Clown Prince of crime whose twisted machinations are ever rarely as simp…
Oh, wait he’s just a giant joker now. What? We just have to… punch him a lot of times?
Oh it’s over? Hmm. Uh, ok thanks I guess.
While it may not seem like it now, the Mass Effect series is an all-time classic. Bioware took their penchant for making engaging, evocative RPGs and fused it with a sprawling sci-fi universe and what was then ground-breaking gunplay to make one of the best games of yesteryear.
It’s only until its poorly handled climax that squandered off years worth of build up and anticipation that soured many people’s memories and experience of it.
It was basically the Game of Thrones of Videogames. And Mass Effect 3 is Season 7
Everything else about Mass Effect 3 was the finest in the series, the gameplay had been refined to the point of near perfection, the story had such wonderfully high stakes and had swollen to a crescendo that was intoxicating and intriguing but ultimately was not satisfying in any way.
The fate of the universe basically came down to choosing one of three paths to walk down, like a choose your own ending book. And while there are some slight nuances between the different climaxes, it essentially boils down to: choose your favorite color. That color has now destroyed the universe.
Bioware did try to do some damage control after the fact releasing an extended cut with a new ending but the damage had already been done.
I loved Mass Effect, I was Commander Shepard, but that wasn’t my favorite ending in the Citadel. Not even close.
Far Cry 2 was a huge leap for the series giving the player more freedom to explore the huge African landscape and tackle enemies and problems in whichever way they saw fit. Its environment was always so fun to explore, thanks to its immersive first-person presentation style, dynamic weather and day/night cycles; various vehicles; and patrolling enemies, NPCs, and wildlife. In many ways, Far Cry 2 dictated the direction that the series eventually took to get to where it is today.
Its ending though, as you could have predicted, was a FAR CRY from good.
I remember being rattled when the game came to its final moments back when I first played it. I remember being so confused that first off, my best buddy from the earlier part of the game who I thought was dead was somehow alive? Despite seeing his lifeless corpse being piled on top of me in a shallow grave after our group was gunned down? I guess he got better? What’s this? ALL MY COMPANIONS FROM THE FIRST PART OF THE GAME ARE ALIVE?!
What is going on?
And now my resurrected friends have all apparently plotted to betray me and are now shooting at me.
Great. I should have just let the malaria take me.
We’ve said before that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is arguably the best Assassin’s Creed in years. It is such a joy to run around and explore its gigantic, open-world and run into its many quick, fun, and rewarding encounters. Its long winding story is genuinely entertaining and profoundly evocative at times. Valhalla’s brutal and satisfyingly weighty combat is a definite high note in the entire series and fittingly makes you feel powerful with every hit and killing blow.
That being said, Valhalla is definitely more about the journey rather than the destination. It’s climax is confusing and unsatisfying, leaving you with more questions rather than answers, and ends up feeling like just another note in the story rather than a big emotional payoff—a written constant that has virtually become Assassin’s Creed tradition at this point.
After spending time breaking out of the titular Valhalla program of what appears to be an ancient version of the Animus, protagonist Eivor and Sigurd are betrayed by trusted confidant Basim. The old Altair-era Assassin begins rambling on about revenge for a deceased loved one that neither Eivor nor Sigurd remember but are apparently being blamed for. This plot thread was literally never spoken about nor hinted to before this moment so we’re kind of just blind-sided by this truth.
Basim is then defeated and put into limbo inside the ancient for a few hundred years where series protagonist Layla discovers him in modern-day times.
And then it is revealed that Layla’s discovery of Basim’s consciousness was all a ploy to reincarnate his body into the real world and pull a switcheroo with Layla thanks to the Staff of Hermes…
Pictured above: The audience trying to keep track of all these plot points
If you didn’t follow any of that I don’t blame you. I played 103 hours of the game and I had to take a second to digest it. And I still can’t fully comprehend how crazy it sounds.
If there’s anything that we took away from this article is that it’s really hard to write really good endings. So… uh. .. Maybe we can plug these nice articles we’ve written before like 5 Entirely Different Videogames Inside Other Videogames and 5 Ridiculous Monstrosities Disguised As Videogame Controllers but not 5 Videogames That Should Be Terrible But Were Surprisingly Good because that one’s going to betray you in the end leaving you for dead before your favorite color destroys the universe.
And all was well.
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