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


My brother got me Eclipse for Christmas a year ago. While my toddler was running around, it took us a couple of hours just to figure out how to set up the board. At that point, we realized we were never going to get through a game that day. We haven’t opened it up since.


Yeah, I love RPGs that buck the trend of the whole “build up your party to kill the foozle” that’s been the standard RPG trope since, well I guess as long as there have been RPGs. Magic Candle and Ultima IV are definitely standouts, but from so long ago! Occasionally you come across the surprise ending, like the option in the ARPG Bard’s Tale (not the old dungeon crawler series) that lets you opt out of the final boss battle and tell the two demigods manipulating you to go to hell. I wish there was more stuff like that.


Fallout 2 had a disappointing finale, but the original Fallout’s ending was great.

Fallout 3 started off with a poor ending, but they fixed it in a patch, and by the time I got to it, I thought it was a nice ending.

Icewind Dale’s ending was predicted by me to my friends, but it was still a good ending, given that there was only one character, the idea that this one character would betray you was predictable to me, but I still liked it.

I can’t think of too many RPGs that I’ve actually finished, come to think of it. Oblivion I finished, and that ending was pretty weak. Never finished Morrowind or Skyrim. The original KOTOR had an excellent ending, I thought. Mass Effect had one of the best endings of all time. As did Fable 2. Mass Effect 2 had a predictable but decent ending. Final Fantasy X’s original ending was excellent ending. Final Fantasy X International tacked on another ending that was pretty bad.


But I still really wish the boss battle with Saren could have been avoided if you had convinced him to shoot himself. Doing that and then getting the fight anyway seemed lame.


I thought Arcanum ended rather well–and you had the ability to talk the big bad out of his plan.


I think the issue is that if you have a power curve, you naturally want the climax to test the party’s place on that curve. You also want it to test the player’s expertise at the systems the game has been teaching them all along.

Well, if the crunchy core of a game and the basis of its power curve is combat, it stands to reason that the climax will involve combat too. Even Garriott hedged here with Ultima IV: the game had wall-to-wall combat and you had to slug your way through a big dungeon before getting to the hoity-toity “What is the axiom of ultimate wisdom” question-and-answer stuff.

To me one of the great unsolved problems of RPGs is to make gameplay systems that are as crunchy as combat but are… not combat. If, for example, persuading people could be as interesting a minigame as a tactical battle, you could potentially build an entire RPG around that, or at least demote combat to a secondary or coequal status. But little pre-written dialogue trees aren’t gonna get it done, nor is that funny “how much does this NPC like me?” gimmick in Oblivion.


No I get why RPGs work that way, and I recognize I’m an outlier in looking for other options, but it can totally be done and done well. You mentioned The Magic Candle, I still remember that game’s quest to contain the demon in the Candle, whose release would end the game - no boss fight, the world would end. But the act of seeking out clues, finding components and magic words and then at the end putting the whole ritual together to recreate the Candle - it was so freakin’ satisfying, in a way a simple boss fight just wouldn’t have been. I wish we saw more of that.

One more thing, one of my dream games that I’ve discussed in other threads, would basically be Star Trek, but more like the shows and movies. Like with actual diplomacy and discussion and way less combat. I just don’t know how to make that as interesting as a gameplay mechanic.


One thing about the 80s is that CRPGs hadn’t yet fully separated themselves out from adventure games, so I feel there was more emphasis placed on puzzles.

Now, I typically hate puzzles in the Lucasarts-adventure mold, but some of the early CRPGs had a nice mix, and it was less about “abstruse logic problem” and more about seeking out hidden information and locations, etc. If you go into Ultima III clean without any hints, for example, it’s amazing how many little sub-tasks Garriott crammed into that tiny world just by tucking away NPCs who would give you driblets of information about where to go, how to find the Lost City of Dawn, or the continent of Ambrosia, or what to do with the Marks, etc.


One of the toughest boss fights ever in my estimation. I have played through the BG games many times and I always have a hell of a time with Mellisandre and all the shit she throws at you.

There probably should be something about “Spoilers Being Present” at the start of this thread. I know I have had to zip past the Fallout 4 posts because I am currently playing that. :)


I liked the fact that during that battle I was summoning things that would have easily wiped my party in BG1. No series quite drove home the full power curve (“from lowly orphan to demigod”) as BG did.


Any game that has a boss ending near the end, that didn’t really have boss fights through the game.

I loved the two rebooted Tomb Raider games, but each of them had some boss fight near the end that just seemed to check off a “yep, has a stupid boss fight” box.

It’s what I loved about err… Uncharted 3? The story just kept going and finished without any of that stupidity.


It made this crabby bastard tear up a little.


I think that’s the whole point: there are no clear winners here, just difficult choices.


I wish this was the case too. I remember thinking at the time how cool it was that a AAA game allowed you to talk the bad guy into killing himself instead of having the generic final boss fight, but then no, he turns into a zombie or whatever and you’re stuck dealing with him and the game’s clunky combat anyway, making all those dialogue choices irrelevant.


Stories Untold. Interesting mechanics, mysterious and compelling storyline. But then, in the second half of the final section, you are required to make a single incredibly stupid decision (to drunk drive) to progress.The lack of choice when confronted with such a moment completely broke my suspension of disbelief, and took me from interested and sympathetic to simply thinking screw this guy, I have no interest in completing this game and following through on his terrible decision.

I stared at the screen for a minute, torn between the completionist instinct and the abhorrence I felt for the next step. Then force-closed the game, uninstalled, and made up a head-canon ending that I could live with.


For years I was trying to find a mod that removes Panzerkleins from SS2.


I would not characterize illogical and short-sighted options as difficult. Just dumb.


Yeah, that was the intent, I’m sure. But they aren’t really choices. The real choice is how to deal with these organizations, and that’s taken from you and replaced with a binary, support them or destroy them. That is the choice you should have been able to make, from a menu of many other options of less absolute consequence.

Of course I realize it’s not likely in a game like this, which is hard enough to create and populate and make work, but I definitely do find the options given the player here very circumscribed, and not in a way that makes me think along philosophical lines, unless throwing your keyboard through the monitor is a philosophy.


I was the one guy that liked them. But the final boss fight sucked.


I’m adding They Are Billions to the list. Absolutely amazing & great game until the final wave. Some may rejoice in the final wave, but after 40 hours of trying various options (@50% - I beat it at 22%), I’m done with it. Others may relish in banging their head against the RNG wall, but I have better things to do with my time.

But it’s in EA, so hopefully they will tune it, although I’m not hopeful as the devs are on record for saying they didn’t implement a save system on purpose because they want permadeath.

So it goes on the list!