Can’t Get No Satisfaction

The title of this article was actually going to be “When I slog my way through hours of BioShock Infinite to get to the end and discover it’s a bit wank, I can’t get no satisfaction” but I thought that it was a bit too wordy. Nevertheless, I should make it clear that, despite the fact that the inspiration for this article is undoubtedly BioShock Infinite and its last few minutes, I do actually quite like Infinite. I just walked away from it feeling almost robbed. To me, the most important part of a game is the end. It’s the climax, everything that you’ve been working towards, and when those credits begin to roll it should be a deeply satisfying moment. I can still remember the first time I ever finished a game and the warm glow of success and satisfaction that came with it. It was a brilliant feeling.

Since then I’ve finished a few more games, and although some of them have had pretty lacklustre endings, many have had powerful, enjoyable ones – just look at the ending to Batman: Arkham City. I promised myself that I’d never admit to it, but I think the time has come: I cried during the ending of Arkham City. And there really is no coming back from that statement; I should just leave now in shame. The reality of the situation is that I was genuinely impacted by that ending. It felt like the perfect way to conclude that story, and it was exactly in line with the characters that were developed and the traits that they had shown. Sure, it was late when I finished it and, sure, I was exhausted, but the point stands; it was a powerful, emotional climax to Batman’s tale.

There must be something about Batman, because the most recent game that, for me, had a wonderful conclusion also included the gruff hero, along with a few others of the super variety. Injustice: Gods Among Us has a story mode that takes a lot from the widely lauded Mortal Kombat, and tells a tale that wouldn’t be at all out of place in a film (albeit a bloody long one) or comic book. What truly impressed me was that, despite toying with themes that could be hugely complicated, Injustice strips everything away to ensure that the real heart of the story is conveyed and, by the end of it, you’re invested. And then the ending hits. The final cinematics are powerful, emotional and completely and utterly satisfying. It feels like everything that you fought for has turned out alright, and it that it was almost worth it. There is triumph, there is sadness, and there is a real feeling that it is done.

Those might just be two examples, but they prove just how emotive and satisfying an ending can be.  To me games are, to a degree, a storytelling medium – even with games that aren’t necessarily story driven, like Injustice – and when they create such a wonderful effect, to the point of bringing me to tears, then they’re doing something right. Something that BioShock Infinite isn’t doing. That sounds like a harsh thing to say but, for me personally, I walked away uninspired, which is vaguely surprising considering that my favourite part of the original BioShock was the story.

Like I said, I quite like Infinite, but at the same time they made some choices which, for me, made completing the game a deeply unsatisfying experience. I don’t want to delve too far into it (because SPOILERZ) but, essentially, it felt to me that when the credits rolled nothing had been resolved. It felt like there were still loose ends to be tied up, and those ends weren’t unimportant ones.

For me, in many ways BioShock highlighted a distressing trend, because when I sat down and actually thought about it, I couldn’t really think of all that many genuinely excellent conclusions to games – and their stories in particular. All too often it feels like the end of one game is simply preparation for the sequel, or is just somewhat lacklustre. Obviously there are exceptions that prove the rule – most of them are Batman related, apparently, but there are some that Batman doesn’t feature in as well, and they are the games that I’ve enjoyed over the years.

A great ending, in my view, is truly what makes a good game superb, whether it is something deeply satisfying, or a moment that makes you sit straight up in shock. More please?

Last five articles by Keegan



  1. Edward Edward says:

    I know you’re not much of a point and click player, but for my money, two of the three best endings in games in year for me were Daedalic’s Memoria and Goodbye Deponia, although the latter requires you to play through the first two parts to truly appreciate it.

    That being said, Infinite was also in my top three endings this year, so your milage may vary, I guess.

    Ooh, also Foul Play and Saints Row IV have great endings, but Foul Play moreso. Also Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies.

    So, plenty! Haha :D

  2. Mark Mark S says:

    Can’t say I’ve ever cried at the end of a game (I’m a cold heartless man) but I did tear up a little at the end of Red Dead Redemption.

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