5 Great Games With Terrible Endings

Can you name any great games you've played that have terrible endings?


Every so often a game comes along that we love years after we’ve finished. There are others, however, where the ending of the game tarnishes the very memory of the game, leaving a sour aftertaste.

Cultured Vultures spoilers

Mass Effect 3

One of the most widely criticized video game endings in recent history is most certainly the ending of Mass Effect 3. The choices from the first game in the series carried on into the second one, impacting the course of the story, the choices of which can be imported into Mass Effect 3, where major plot decisions again altered parts of the course of the story.

You’d think a game series that puts this much weight on your choices would have a meaningful ending, showing you all the impact you’ve made on the world and characters around you. Sadly, this was not the case, as the final ending has you choose one of three paths, rendering your choices in the last three games almost useless, except for how many of the choices are even available for you.

Despite releasing a free DLC which added more cinematics and scenes that were impacted by the choices, fans of the series were still disappointed by the fact that it was not part of the original game, and probably wouldn’t have been released at all if it weren’t for the outrage the original ending caused.


Life is Strange

Another contender for a game that does not care in the slightest about your choices, the ending of Life is Strange’s final episode has you make a single binary choice that either makes all your choices irrelevant by moving you out of out of the quaint little seaside town of Arcadia Bay, or has you go back in time to one of the first moments of the game and erase all of your choices from ever happening.

In a game which is so strongly rooted in the emotional impact of choices and makes very small choices determine whether someone dies or not already in the first episode, fans of the game expected better. Not only this, but when even parts of the game that could be considered filler build up on the friendship between Max and Chloe, the ending, while presenting a choice that is hard to make, still either erases those experiences from history, or makes the others meaningless.

Unlike Mass Effect 3, Life is Strange had no DLC to amend the ending of the game, which some prefer to the apologetic clean-up style of changing the ending after the game is done simply to please the fans.


Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter

When the first Drawn to Life game came out for the Nintendo DS, it was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Story Development next to BioShock, Mass Effect and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. The game’s core gameplay stayed the same in the sequel, with the main change being the ability to transform into different objects. The story of the first game had a happy ending that didn’t require a sequel, however not only did The Next Chapter have a completely different ending, it also puts a stop to the entire series, ending it on a mediocre note. Not only does it ridiculous tropes more often scene in fan theories than in actual media, but it also endlessly shits on everything you’ve done in both games.

The first game was one of my favourites, and the sequel built on that, improving the formula from the first game in most ways. If it weren’t for the ending, the series would be remembered as one of the many games that creatively utilized the Nintendo DS for unique gameplay, however the ending left many a fan feeling empty, never to return to the games again.


Batman: Arkham Asylum

While Batman: Arkham Asylum is one of the best Batman games of all time, the ending clearly falls flat. After making his way through the titular asylum, Batman comes face to face with The Joker. One of the major plot elements, the Titan formula, is utilized to make one of the cheapest boss fights in the series, one that rivals even the monotonousness of Arkham Knight’s final boss fight. Having you fight several rounds of goons and then attacking the Joker while he turns his back after having thrown bombs at you, it’s not only unimaginative, but is ridiculously anticlimactic, and while the reasoning behind it did give us Arkham City, the best Batman game of all time, it was still a large misstep in Arkham Asylum.

With the rest of the game being fun and interesting, and some of the twists almost giving many a fan a heart attack, Arkham Asylum messed up its ending, big time. For some it might even be surprising that the game even got a sequel with the uncreativity of its ending, although most are definitely glad it did.


Fallout 3

Not many games caused as large of a scandal with their ending alone as Fallout 3. While most other RPGs let you keep playing once you finish the game, Fallout 3 put a stop to all that, only letting you to continue to play the game if you loaded from an old save, meaning that any side quests done between then and the completion of the final mission are null and void.

Not only that, but all the choices made in missions are only reflected in a short cutscene with certain interchangeable scenes before the game ends. This abrupt end was met with strong hate from fans, who had been expecting to be able to finish side-quests after having finished the story, but they were severely disappointed.

Taking the safe road, Bethesda decided to release the DLC package known as Broken Steel which let you keep playing after the ending, raising the level cap and letting you see the consequences of your actions, even if only half-assedly. It was this controversial choice that led to a petition to add such a DLC to Mass Effect 3.

Those were five great games with terrible endings. Do you have other games you’d love if it weren’t for their terrible ending?

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