Games you love at first, but then come to loathe in the last act


I’m seeing a pattern with many games in the past year where I’m initially enthralled and really enjoy. I love it & tell all my friends it’s great, but then the game just makes some horrendous decisions that make the end-game so unpalatable, that I will turn so violent against it, putting up negative reviews and telling people to stay away. This can happen with games I’ve played over a 100 hours with. Some examples:

The Division - great, awesome game with friends and even solo - but then I hit level 22/23 and couldn’t progress. Hit a brick wall. Uninstalled, came back when they promised big changes to solo play but it was even worse than before.

FallOut 4 - fantastic world, great gameplay, even loved spreading & building my settlements but then I hit a part of the story that just killed it for me (found out my son is an evil bastard) . Haven’t been back since. (although I’m not as violent against it - telling people of the mod they must play with to avoid this part of the story)

Radiant Defense - this was a really promising TD game that got so difficult in the final levels that it required you to abandon any semblance of variety & only had a limited set of solutions. Ugh.

Divinity Original Sin 2 - this probably hits me more than any other game because so much of this was so much fun & it was great, but you get to the 4th act and there are a few battles that are just stupid hard / gamey where the developer just doesn’t value my time. It’s a great game with so many flaws that can be overlooked, but then these flaws accumulate and it felt like the developer is trying to say “only the best can finish our game” where the difficulty and/or frustration just goes through the roof.

For games that I start out loving so much, I’m finding that my venom is 2-3x over games where I dismiss early on and abandon. I will speak out so much loudly against the above games than middling or otherwise weak games that I routinely dismiss. Perhaps it’s because I have invested so much that it’s like a relationship that goes sour.

Is this normal? Do other people feel this way or had games they turned against in the final act?

Bomber Crew demands that you help him, help him, help the bombardier

Was that before or after the end of the campaign? If you treat it as a non-service/live game, I think the last act is fine.


Great idea for a thread. For me, it’d have to be Elite Dangerous. I was so jazzed about the game at first. It seemed like the universe was my oyster. Combat was fun, the in-ship feel was great, and flying around was so fun.

Then I reached the top of the grind wall. Had a nice ship and a good deal of money, looked out from the top of the wall…and saw more walls. I began to see that…nothing in the game really matters. There’s no dynamic economy. The background simulation such as PowerPlay is so background that it feels as if it’s not even there. The missions just feel like I’m doing the same thing for more money.

This may have been great in the 90s, because Privateer was quite similar, but these days I feel like we should get more, rather than this empty shell of a “game” this thing is. Once I began to realize this, I just got more and more sad about it. I have a lifetime license, and now I feel I’ve wasted both my time and my money on this thing.

Hopefully they can fix the thing and make gameplay compelling, but it might be a long time until they get there.


I have reached the conclusion that for me, lots of games are just too damned big. I love a game that gets in, does its thing, and gets done with it, like a good two minute punk song - the way Portal did it was just a thing of beauty. Unfortunately many people seem to subscribe to the idea that they need a certain price per hour ratio to be met or they aren’t getting their money’s worth, so games are more packed with stuff.

Now that might sound like I’m advocating for all games to be shorter, or have less going on, but that’s not the case. A game should be as long as it can sustain the fun, which I leave to more knowledgeable designers to determine. I just think more games should be open to trimming down a bit. I still like Witcher 2 better than 3 because it had more focus, less open world, and it worked for what they were doing. Why didn’t Mafia 2 even have an exploitable world? There was nothing going on in it!


Well there’s your problem right there, Elite Dangerous isn’t an MMORPG. There’s nothing to grind for, no bosses to kill, no raids to run.


I think I’m stumped. The only games I can think of right now that fit this criteria are MMOs. When I got into them, I marveled at the world I could explore, but then I realized that in terms of gameplay I was just doing the same thing over and over and over. Something cons yellow or orange, you attack it using your abilities bound to 1,2,3,4, etc, it dies, you change target to the next thing, etc. The moment I realized that, I stopped playing MMOs.


Loathe may be too strong a word but I really dug Dragon Age II and though I understood the criticisms leveled at it, I did not think it deserved such low review scores.

Until the final 3rd of the game which I did not like. Ok, I loathed it. The story just takes some illogical turns that left a bad taste in my mouth.

An oldie: Loved the PSone game One. Great Bladerunner-esque environments in the first couple of levels, exciting music, good pacing and explosive action. Then there was the 3rd or maybe 4th stage (it’s been a while, it was definitely a Canyon level) which had an insane amount of jumping where a miss would mean death and starting the level over. I think there was no shadow visible so it was hard to gauge where you would land which made an already difficult game impossible. Never finished that one but threw my controller in disgust a dozen times before I gave up. Same with Psygnosis’ G-Police - there was one impossibly difficult mission I just could not get through.

I don’t understand this type of game design - it’s like they don’t want you to see the rest of their game.


I won’t say loathed, but certainly bored with Pillars of Eternity. I think it sort of peaked too soon. Or I did.


Yeah, there are no stars to shoot for, ultimately, which is SO weird.


It was before end-game. I think end game was level 30 where it again levels out & PUBs are easy to hook up with (and you start getting into PVP) whereas the first 30 levels are PVE.


I can’t think of anything either. None of the games I’ve hated ever made it above the “liked it” level.


Freemium mobile games, especially those that groom you to check in with the game over certain time intervals. Is there a term in the DSM-5 for the type of self-loathing a junkie feels? I’m pretty sure I’ve had Puzzle and Dragon dysphoria.


When I got to the ending of KOTOR2 and found it was basically nonexistent I was pretty mad. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I love that game so much that I’m willing to forgive anything, even the lack of a proper conclusion.


Did you play Divinity Original Sin 1? I had the same experience with that one, it was a supreme chore to get through to the end, and the ending was not worth it IMHO. Because of that I was able to easily resist the hype for 2 when it came out.


So you should probably erase your response to my Steam ED review then. You were so mesmerized back then. Now you are ONE OF US ;)

But ED is a great call. So many dreams when I first piloted my Sidey into the Pill back in Beta. Years later, it’s essentially the same game, but with a bunch of half-implemented cruft stacked on it.

And to be honest, ED is really the only game I can think of right now when I went in with a huge hard-on, and then just ended up loathing.


Yup. I expect it to be a fully-fleshed out game around the same time Star Citizen is released.




I usually forgive games for having bad endings, if I’ve had fun along the way. One that comes to mind is Divine Divinity. The last act was pretty weak but what preceded it was so great that I didn’t care too much.

I will also preempt the inevitable Half Life callout by confessing that I… liked… Xen!


That explains so much. :)


Gimme a big hug!