Whether the game is five hours long or requires more of your time than a season of Lost (speaking of bad endings), those final few moments are often what players remember the most. A mediocre game can turn into a well-remembered classic thanks to a solid ending and, conversely, a brilliant adventure can shift gears to lackluster if the pieces don't fall into place nicely by the time the credits roll.
Mass Effect is a good example of the latter. Never mind that the series gave gamers dozens of hours of top quality entertainment over the course of several years. A large, vocal branch of the audience was displeased with how Mass Effect 3 ended and, as a result, argued that the entire series had been ruined because of it. I'm not sure how 15 questionable minutes can overshadow 100 glorious hours, but I gave up on trying to understand mankind a long, long time ago.
I've been thinking about endings a lot this past week which, of course, got me thinking about which video game endings really stick out in my mind for being the best. So as not to speak too vaguely about these titles, I'll go ahead and throw up a giant SPOILER ALERT right now. If you don't want to know about one or more of these endings, just skip that section. Otherwise, let's begin. Or end?...Now I'm confused.
Now, I'm not talking about the setting or the games themselves. Chornicles HD combines Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles into a single package, giving them the HD treatment, trophy support and the ability to play with a DualShock or Move controller. Originally for the Nintendo Wii, I never got around to playing either of these games when they were originally released. And even though the stories are pulled directly from previous Resident Evil games, my feelings of "been there, done that" did not stem from the rehashed narrative.
But with the run-and-blast antics of the House of the Dead series on one side of the light gun spectrum and the story-driven Dead Space: Extraction on the other side, Resident Evil Chronicles fell somewhere in the middle; providing neither the over-the-top fun of House or the methodically paced perfection of Dead Space.
It has been months since I last set foot in the snowy land of Skyrim, a land where I adventured for countless hours. In my time there, I saved the world from dragons, became the most powerful mage in the land, lead a group of assassins and even became a werewolf. Like many who ventured to Skyrim, I did nearly all there was to do. And when no more thrills remained, I left.
But now the Dawnguard calls adventurers back to Skyrim to face a deadly threat: a vampire uprising.
A challenge is always welcome when it comes to video games. Regardless of what I am playing, I like being tested, learning the mechanics, and perfecting my reactions to them. I like learning what I'm doing so I can be better at it. What I don't enjoy is a game that tests my patience, as opposed to one that encourages me to improve my skills. This was my problem with Spelunky, a recent addition to the XBox Live Arcade collection that has garnered a lot of praise. The game has its appeal, but unless you're a masochist, and have nothing else to do, I would have a hard time recommending that you play it.
I see message boards complaining about handholding in games, how difficulty is too easy, how developers are only reaching out to casual fans, not the hardcore elite gamer. I've seen enough complaints about how people don't want a real challenge in how they play, they just want to gun through to the next level. By making a game 'easy', players feel bored and unchallenged. A bored gamer is not a pretty sight for anybody.
Over the past several years I've heard many games journos herald the end of portable gaming, stating that mobile was the wave of the future and, with a smart phone in your pocket, who needs a dedicated gaming device as well?
Keeping in mind that I've only been at this smart phone gaming for a week, I'd like to go on the record as saying that I couldn't disagree more. Yes, mobile gaming is on the rise and is absolutely here to stay but, when it comes to gaming on the go, nothing I've played compares to the experiences offered by Sony or Nintendo's portable devices.
How are you enjoying your holiday week? Hopefully you've got an extra long weekend out of the Wednesday holiday. You know what goes well with long weekends? Free games! We've got a few copies of Spec Ops: The Line to give away for Xbox 360, and we're going to make it really, really easy for you. Here's how you enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post on how you game patriotically.
2. Make sure your comment has a way to contact you. It can be email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If we can't contact you, you're disqualified.
3. Wait until Monday morning when we announce the winner.
That's it! Good luck!
"Body looks fresh."
"Even worse, he's 33rd." He was a soldier that had gone missing.
"Who did this?"
"Probably the same people been ghostin' us."
And soon those same people arrived and began shooting their guns at the three of us standing there.