The Five Games I Wish I Hadn't Bothered Finishing

You stare listlessly at the screen. Your forehead contorts into what might be described as a frown, but really this reaction is confusion. What. The. Hell. Did I just watch...

Playing a video game through to completion can be a confusing moment, but it's one we can all understand. Depending on the game, depending on the ending, it can elicit different reactions. You can feel satisfied with yourself, with your achievement. You can feel happy with how the game ended, happy with the game itself...

But then there are those other moments. Negative moments. Is that it? I wasted 15+ hours on that? What about the games that had bad endings?

What about the games that had no endings whatsoever? What about the games you kept playing despite the fact you were actively hating the experience?

Human beings are weird. Video games can be weird. And these are the five games I really, really wish I hadn't bothered finishing. Beware — there will be spoilers!

The Game: Shadow of the Beast

The Reaction: 1989 The Ending: YOU HAVE FREED YOURSELF FROM THE SHADOW OF THE BEAST WHAT THE FUUUUUUU?

Despite only being eight years old, I remember the release of Shadow of the Beast so vividly. There was an advertising blitz I was completely aware of, but only vaguely understood. It occupied the premium ad pages in every games magazine I read — right on the glossy back page. It reviewed incredibly well. I'd look at screenshots and breathe heavily without really knowing why.

It was lust. Product lust. I wanted that game so badly, I wanted it more than anything in the world up until that point. It cost bloody 35 British pounds — extortionate for the time. It came with a t-shirt, but it was too big for me and all I wanted to wear, at that particular point in my life was football strips. My Glasgow Ranger strip to be precise.

Oh but how I played the game. It was revolutionary. 12 layers of parallax scrolling, a chilling soundtrack that haunts me to this day. Production values... off the richter.

But it was difficult. Very difficult indeed. I remember struggling with it to the point of giving up, but the idea of it, the story: getting revenge on Maletoth for the corruption of my human form, for the murder of my father. This drove me ever forward, until the end. The final boss battle.

It was bloody ludicrous in hindsight. The last battle of the game. Essentially you punched the toe of a massive 'beast'. Every few seconds a random club powered in from above in an attempt to crush you. What the hell is this? Am I really going to extract clinical revenge on the man who murdered my father by jabbing him in the toe a few times?

I guess so.

But that wasn't the worst part. Not even close. After hammering away on a giant toe for a while the 'beast' magically disappears. No ending, no reward. Nothing. Just a simple message...

"CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE FREED YOURSELF FROM THE SHADOW OF THE BEAST".

WTFJESUSCHRISTONABIKEYOUCHEAPBASTARRRRRRRDDDDDDDDSSSSS?

The Game: Midnight Resistance

The year: 1990 The Reaction: Watch the sunset from the moon or something after climbing a ladder. It makes no sense!

Midnight Resistance wasn't real good on context. Luckily it was awesome. Nine levels of super creative gunplay, massive boss battles, inventive enemy patterns and music that has the power to actually reverse the aging process. That game is a time machine. Everytime I see or hear any part of Midnight Resistance I am transposed: sherbet, fizzy dizzlers, purple cordial. My teeth melt instantly with the sheer sugary pleasure of it. But the ending. What the hell?

You take down tanks. You take down fighter jets. You climb up a goddamn ladder into goddamn space and then you fight an enormous, terrifying skull that shoots fireballs at your arse. To this day I have no idea how any of it could possibly make any sense.

Then you defeat the enormous terrifying skull. This is where shit gets even weirder...

You climb up another ladder. You don't climb down the ladder — in a weird way that would have made more sense. You climb up another ladder and watch the sunset with the family you just rescued. You are magically back on earth, despite the fact you were just fighting a giant skull, on the moon, with Earth in the background two seconds ago.

My head hurts.

The Game: Naruto: Rise of the Ninja

The Year: 2007 The Reaction: Why did I just spend 15 hours doing fetch quests. WHY?

I think we've all been there. We've convinced ourselves that a video game was fun, purely because we loved the license the game was based on. As a child this was par for the course. I played the terrible Back to the Future game on the Spectrum. I bought an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom game that was barely functional. You'd think as a fully grown adult I'd have learned my lesson.

But nooooo...

Naruto: Rise of the Ninja isn't bad, but it's hardly a game you'd want to invest much of your time into — particularly when there are so many other incredible games in the universe that deserve your time. Rise of the Ninja is about as generic as it gets. A jumble of RPG mechanics, functional fighting and a couple of puzzles here and there. Not bad, not great... but for some reason I thought it made sense to plurge (yes, that's a word, I'm inventing it) through the entire thing, purely because I'm a huge fan of the manga it's based upon.

I finished the game. I looked at myself in the mirror. I didn't like what I saw.

The Game: Skate 2

The Year: 2009 The Reaction: A hollow hole in my heart where hope once lived.

Wait a minute Mark, hold the bus. You wrote about Skate 2 in the games you were proud of finishing. I call shenanigans!

Yes, dear reader whom I have invented as a rhetorical device, correct — I did add Skate 2 to that list, but my Skate 2 regrets have little to do with the quality of the game, or the quality of the challenge. I do not mean to demean a video game I truly loved from the bottom of my heart.

No, my issue comes from the feelings I had immediately after I completed Skate 2. A hollow throbbing vacuum in my chest.

With Skate 2 I made sure to finish everything. Every challenge, everything. It felt like a noble goal at the time, but it was ultimately futile. Upon completion of the last task — a near impossible game of 'SKATE' that I discussed previously — there was no celebration, no message on the screen. I wasn't even congratulated on escaping from the shadow of the beast.

No, nothing. Just an hollow hole in my heart where hope once lived.

The Game: L.A. Noire

The Year: 2011 The Reaction: What have I done with my life...

Okay, I'm bracing myself for a negative reaction on this one — particularly from our designer god-king Ben White, who loved L.A. Noire so much he played through the game twice — but I think that, of all the games I actually played through to completion, outside of games I had to review, I enjoyed L.A. Noire the least.

That's not to say L.A. Noire is a terrible game. It's not. But I didn't enjoy it. Despite this, I continued to play and I have no real idea why. I don't remember being intrigued by the story or compelled by the characters.

I think one reason I continued to play through L.A. Noire, all the way to the end, was because it was supposed to be this significant moment for video games and I wanted to be part of it. I wanted to be part of the discussion.

More than anything, I wanted to be able to dislike it after having played through all of it, to be free of all those 'wait till you get to this part' conversations I would need to have.

In short, all really terrible reasons to keep doing something you don't enjoy.

I have no-one to blame but myself.

These are the five games I'm horribly embarrassed I haven't finished! These are the five games I'm stupidly proud of finishing!


Comments

    Never did get around to finishing Alien Water.

      Iloved the world but I gave up because I hated the gameplay. I also hated the way nothing you did really mattered or seemed to make any difference.
      I then watched my husband play through to the end so I could see what happened.
      I ended up feeling extremely happy with my decision not to continue playing .

        Did you at least play up to the part with creepy Captain Donelly faces???

    Freelancer. Wish I never finished that. I really did love the parts of the game where you were completing missions, but the game just ends without telling you. The end of the game is the missions coming to an end! And it had the worst save feature ever. I lost my save file because it became lost behind my friends auto saves when he started a new game.

      Freelancer was one of the games I don't regret finishing. Loved the story, and played it for that. Perhaps you would be happier with EVE? :P

    Final Fantasy XIII. That is all.

      This so much. Although I didn't technically finish it, I got up to the last boss feeling rather fed up with this stupidly drawn out corridor simulator and after failing to beat the cheaty final boss a few times ended up watching the ending on Youtube.

      That was after giving my xbox a boot in rage and losing all my saves for everything... FUUUUUUUUUUU :/

        You made the right call pal. I don't know what came over me, I knew after completing the first disc on my Xbox that this game wasn't going to go anywhere but yet I got myself through the entire 42-hour game.

        I'm not sure whether it was the 'Final-Fantasy-fanboy' in me but I still felt compelled to finish the game regardless.

        The main lesson that I took here is that if you're not really not enjoying a game, you're not obligated to finish it. Which was why I quit Resident Evil 6 (another soulless product) after finishing it halfway.

          I'm going to compulsivly bitch about anyone bagging FF13 because I love it, and also I don't mind if people hate me :P

          But I must say i can relate to your comment about RE6. I tried, havign enjoyed prevous RE titles, but I just wasn't having any fun. Who has the time to sink all those hours into an entertainment product they don't enjoy?

            The main reason why I hated Final Fantasy XIII was its story (practically non-existent) and the supporting cast. You basically follow one straight line about nothing only to get to a place where there is nothing (Pulse). Along the way, you meet characters that don't do anything (Sazh, Hope, Vanille), you also meet non-playable characters (Jihl, Cid) that you meet once and then die off for no reason. That's FFXIII. It's a story about nothing. Fair? I thought it'd lacked vision or even a proper focus.

            On the other hand, I enjoyed the music (except the J-pop tunes) and actually enjoyed the battle system. Even the graphics were awesome! But the narrative dragged on for too long. The game should have been 20 hours instead of 40. That would have made this game more tolerable.

              You can't say its story is practically non-existent and then say the narrative dragged on for too long. You said there is no story, so how can that drag? I think a lot of people have hive-minded over FFXIII. It's not one of the best games in the series, but a lot of the arguments I see often go around in circles.

              Maybe it's just different strokes for different folks.

                But isn't it fair to infer that the story is non-existent 'because' the narrative dragged on for too long?

                Secondly, I only played FFXIII only just last year (right before the release of XIII-2) came out and heard all the doom-and-gloom from everyone. It still didn't stop me from buying it on Ebay.

                If you like it, that's fine but you shouldn't generalize that everyone had a 'hive-mind' mentality about this game. Some of us actually played through this entire abomination.

                  I was one of the many who did play through it.

                  No it isn't fair to infer the story is non-existent because the narrative dragged on for too long. The narrative is a story. A story is a narrative. I don't understand how you are separating the two from each other when they are, for all intents and purposes, the same thing.

                  I can generalize even more and say that the hive-mind of not liking things extends far beyond this game. Nickelback are universally hated (it seems) but they still have the ability to write records and make money. All I am saying is that whenever people mention FFXIII it is the people that *don't* like it that come to the front. It's cool to hate on things, but not to like em, I guess.

          It was definitely the final fantasy fanboy in me who desperately wanted to like the game. In the end I wish they had just made it a big CG movie or something because that would have been far more enjoyable! Very little "game" there and definitely not enough to carry a story for so many hours o.0

      I'm sorry, did you miss read the article? He said "5 worst games I've finished", not "5 best".

        He said neither actually. He just said 5 games he wished he hadn't bothered finishing. Not because they were bad per se, but mostly due to the endings being unsatisfying or him not enjoying them in some way.

        Last edited 27/02/13 11:31 am

          Oh I didn't read it properly I guess. Sorry :(

      I agree, the story just never made any sense and I'm like "who is the bad guy and why is he even doing what he is doing", I found out eventually, but it was pretty weak overall.

    There are a couple of games that I have finished out of spite. I refused to let the game win, so I beat it.

    They were Afro Samurai (great sound track, horrible execution), Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (buggy, horribly designed nightmare of a game) and ... I can't remember. Must have been so bad that I blocked it from my mind.

      Force Unleashed gets a pass from me simply because it allows you to fling Jawas into planetary orbit.

        I'm playing Force Unleashed right now - it has some awful checkpointing but it's alright in short bursts

          I finished Force Unleashed 2 a few months ago - if you thought the first game was bad... don't even both with the sequel.

    Probably Dead Island. Just felt like a slog at times.

      I have no idea how you managed to finish that trash. That game was so god damn uninteresting.

    Yeah, by the end of L.A. Noire I just began phoning it in and just kept my laptop next to me with a walkthrough open, just to try and get it done as quick as I could.

    It was an interesting game, but I don't think the mechanics and ideas behind it were interesting enough to support a game of its length.

      It had a lot of problems. An interesting game in concept, but it felt like entire chapters were missing from the story (I mean, we don't see how the affair develops or why Cole had the affair or anything, it's a total blindside on the player and not a good one). It's also annoying that even if you realise in the first murder case that hey, you want to talk further to that bartender, you can't do it. The railroading really sucks.

    I give up on games all the time now. Just don't have the time. The "wait til you get to this part" is irrelevent if everything sucked.

    I thought Rise of the Ninja was fun. Admittadley i borrowed it so my only investment was my time. I enjoyed running aorund Konoha and the Fire Country. I didn't spend 5 hours though. Finsihed in 10 and that was enough for me. I liked it better than soem shooters that only take that long, anyway.

      Yeah, I liked Rise of the Ninja as well, ended up buying the sequel, which was also fairly fun.

        I played and finished both. Then UNS 1. I couldn't finish UNS 2. One person can only handle so much naruto. I'll probably get UNS 3. That is looking mighty fine!

      Yeah, there were some fun mechanics and the super ninja sprinting just felt really good. It's still my only real exposure to Naruto too.

    Bad Company 2; it felt like a chore more than anything. I will give the first one credit, because despite not having faith in a single player battlefield experience, the ending made me smile.

    Assassins Creed 3. I tried to be wrapped in the naval battles, but honestly the majority of the experience wasn't particularly enthralling. Don't know why I bothered, guess I hoped it would get better as you unlocked more gear and became more of a badarse. Ended it completely disappointed :-P

    Final Fantasy 13. Actually scratch that, I jumped off that sinking ship after 2 hours. Best decision of my life. Square died in my heart that day.

      Truly one of the worst games ever made.

        Superman 64 disagrees

          Superman 64 was made a by now-defunct company named Titus Software who also made garbage like 'Robocop' for the Gamecube and PS2.

          Final Fantasy XIII was made by Square Enix who once made games like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII and Xenogears.

          From a developer's perspective, you can't really compare the two companies when you see their background in software development.

            Square Enix made those games? Well I'll be... I thought it was Square Soft who made those games :P

            Ahh, but they also made Titus the Fox. I may never have finished it, but I had a lot of fun.

    Shadow of the Beast was like crack to me. I played it on my friend's Amiga 500 and the soundtrack is still one of my all-time favourites. I never did finish it, mainly because it was pretty hard and I didn't get enough practice in. Sounds like a good thing that I did leave it unfinished :-) But to be honest, a lot of games back in the day were about the journey more than the conclusion. I give you The Last Ninja as another example.

    I listed Shadow of the Beast as one of the games I was proud of finishing. As you noted the game was damn tough, so it was a big "Hell yeah" for me when I finally knocked it over. That wasn't enough for me though, I needed to keep playing it until I could finish it on a single life.

    I played the Atari Lynx version though, which did have somewhat of an ending sequence (it was basically just the dude running through the overworld as the credits rolled). The game was better on the Lynx I thought, it had better level design and an inventory system...although it didn't have the jetpack level so it was a little shorter overall. The final boss was different though...it was a 2 headed dragon that you needed to jump-kick to death.

    I later played the SNES port which was much closer to the Amiga original.

    As for the topic though, I oddly can't really think of too many games that I looked back on after finishing and thought "Well that was a waste of time". Strangely enough the only game that comes immediately to mind is Spear of Destiny (the sequel to the original Wolfenstein). It was basically the same game with different level design. I think I ended up using god mode and infinite ammo cheats just to fly through it as fast as I could.

    Last edited 26/02/13 3:13 pm

    I regret finishing Dragon Age 2. I've complained about the ending to ME3 plenty, but at least ME3 had a great lead up and mostly fun missions. Dragon Age 2 was an exercise in tedium. I learnt to give up on games if they don't wow me inside a couple of hours after that.

    At the other end of the spectrum, I'm glad I gave Dead Space another chance last week. I initially didn't care for it, but after Mark's piece gave it another go. The control sucked, but once I learned to adjust it was pretty awesome.

      Dragon Age 2 for me as well. That was my wake-up game too! Twins.

        Me three. I finished this as a part of a private 'name your shame' competition. What an exercise in tedium and futility...

    I wish I never started "Just Cause 2" or "Stacking". Evenbody was raving on about how Just Cause 2 was the "gamers game", the game you buy to tell everyone that you are actually a gamer and not a Dudebro playing CoD. The game got so boring so quick. I was glad when I got the last acheivement and traded it off.

    Stacking was mainly from a developer I like, but that game was just boring. I was smashing the hint button to get the puzzles over with rather then figuring them out. At least I got that half off.

    There are a few games but those two are my main ones.

      I think the problem with Just Cause 2 is that you were playing for 'cheeves. I thought it was more of a 'farting' around simulator. I haven't finished it by the way.

        I wasn't playing it for achievements. I was playing it and experimenting with the different ways you can play with the game. But majority of the time you do the same thing as everything is too finicky.

        The main missions had some decent moments, But that was over too quickly. Everything else was just boring and repetitive. I tried everything to mix up how I destroyed different places, from limiting myself to C4 only, to only using jets. Jets were the biggest letdown as there's nothing you can do with them, too hard to control and there were no opposition.

          On reflection, I didn't really try to finish the game, so I can't say whether it was a waste of time to try to do so. I suspect you are correct.

      I can't imagine playing Just Cause 2 long enough to knock off all those achievements. I thought it was fun but getting repetitive by the time I beat the game, with well and truly less than half the locations in the game "cleared". Clearing them all would have been a hell of a grind.

    I don't even finish half the games I enjoy. So this isn't a problem for me.

    Metal Gear Solid 2. I kept playing to try and find out what all the fuss was about with this series, and regret spending so much time with this game. I just do not understand the pull of the Metal Gear games... But at least I can say that as an informed person who actually bothered investing in it, to find out I hate it.

      That was probably the worst MGS to start with. The original was great, but a bit dated now. MGS3 is the one to play :)

        i would have to say the metal gear solid game first out on psp cant recall the name but it was a trading card style game i finished it and i regretted wasting so much time on that.

          I think the main pull of MGS is its relatively unique gameplay and history intensive multi-plot story, yet I find what endears the series to me most (and I'm guessing most metal gear fans can agree) is the series has so much character.

          The subtle (and obvious) humour being a major example here. There's just so much content packed in to each game along with so many hidden trinkets, unlockables and just "cool" things.
          That said, MGS2 is probably the weakest in the series (I love it to bits though :P), MGS3 is really the crowing jewel of the series.

          I think that was Metal Gear Acid from memory. The less said about that the better haha. Cudos for finishing it though. I dont know anyone who has played it let alone finished it.

    I'll have to say FFXIII too. By the end of the game I was tired of generic emo immature characters, I haven't touch any JRPG since then.

    Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean on the GameCube was the game who's ending pissed me off the most.
    The game had a good core concept but poor poor execution and a beyonded cliched story but then they pull this utter bullshit ending of "it was our world all along and the player was part of the game world and acknowledged by the PCs".
    I almost through my controller through the tv when the credits rolled.

    Skyrim's end game was also pathetic because you neat the big bad and nothing in the world really changed. No acknowledgement or greater reward. Just a painfully easy fight and back to wandering around being ganked by everything that you pass.

    Skate 2 did just sorta end with no fan fair and all the characters just left aswell. So in the end I was left in a city of far too much orange controlling the suns rize and fall as I skated up and down the city trying to find spots I'd missed. Then Skate 3 came and only had one Skate Park and I was sad.

    Ico ... I'd slogged through the hours long escort mission hoping that something would catch my interest, because all my friends raved about it and they couldn't be wrong ... but the credits rolled and I'd thought I'd just wasted a day.

    The remake of Altered Beast - Just a poorly designed game and the finale to it bored me to tears.

    Doom 3 - Hooray for running around in circles from a cyber demon waiting for a one hit kill weapon to charge.

    Alien vs Predator - The game in general was kind of meh, but the final boss battles for all 3 campaigns really were a let down and the game didn't really do anything fun with the universe.

      ICO kind of sucked. I liked the character art. I didn't care for the environmental art. The gameplay was total crap.

      SotC was a massive improvement.

    At the risk of having my gamer credentials revoked, Half Life. You beat the Nihilanth after an epic journey and then effectively the credits roll in the (metaphorical) shape of a middle finger. No closure for you! There are other titles but they have been scrubbed from the annals of my mind so history may never know of my secret shame. I have the same problem as Mark does though (RE. LA Noire). I'll play games I find uninteresting just to be "in on it", or to see what the big fuss is about. I'm kinda having that feeling with Revengeance at the moment but I have faith Platinum won't disappoint.

    Alan Wake.
    Level after repetitive level of gameplay where the only thing that changed about the enemies was how long they took to wear down with a torch.
    But I thought maybe the story will pay-off at the end and make it all worth it. How wrong I was.

      This exactly. I felt the exact same, the gameplay never really improved from the start, or changed and was very repetitive, and the story had a really sucky ending. Apparently, the story continues in the DLC's and it has a better ending, but i didn't want to waste my money on it.

      Loved Alan Wake, the supernatural story and tense atmosphere was awesome and there were some very cool moments leading up to the conclusion, which admittedly wasn't very strong, but did fit with the Stephen King vibe and opening quote. The DLC was fun but doesn't really resolve his situation or progress the story at all.

      I actually really liked the ending. It was ambiguous, but in what I thought was a good (David Lynch) way.

      Yeah it wasn't really an ending was it!! Still I enjoyed the gameplay - EXCEPT for the last level with the words, I get why they did that but it really pissed me off for some reason, but I found the story compelling, kind of like Lost, thoroughly enjoyable but all Tease and no Reveal!

      Yeah, loved it all... But I, too, am a wanky, self-absorbed writer, so there you go.

    LA noire was a game i nearly forced myself to finish. Right around the time you sleep with the Kraut i stopped playing it. Cole just wasnt likable.
    Dead Island i wish i never finished. Don't get me wrong i enjoyed the start of the game on the tropical beach resort, with Miami Horror blasting through my speakers, but once that was over i literally forced myself through it. In the end i was just running through mobs to quickly finish the mission.
    Resistance 3 was a let down big time for me. The first two games had such a build up of 'how on earth are we going to defeat this enemy'. I remember saying to a friend - "it better not be a cop out bullsh*t ending like you sneak into some base and blow something up which kills everything"....yup.

    I really hated the ending of Darksiders. The game wasn't that bad but the ending ruined it for me.
    Alan Wake also had an ending I didn't like. I'm seeing a pattern here. I hate endings that are just a prelude to the sequel. You don't get that closure or pat on the back you feel you deserve. It's why I've refused to play Too Human after picking it up for $8. I just don't want to waste my time.

      Interesting, Darksiders probably stands as one of the single best game endings of this gen in my opinion, I personally didn't feel it was just a prelude to the sequel, it concluded the narrative it was telling and gave War closure on all relevant points, then gave an awesome little teaser of 'Now here's where the sequel is going from here!' Then.... Darksiders 2 happened.... actually while I could name plenty I'm going with that, I pretty much continued playing Darksiders 2 in the hopes the later parts of the plot would actually become important and interesting and involve another epic ending, despite spending most of it wondering why they felt the need to turn an amazing zelda cum god of war experience into 3rd person diablo. What I got was probably one of the worst endings and not just from this gen, bah I get bitter just thinking about it.

      Also Mass Effect 3.

        I'd say I hate the ending to Darksiders, but I don't think it even had one. You find out who betrayed you, but that was a small, almost petty issue in the grand scheme of events. It was like the game stopped in the second act.

        I agree totally about darksiders II. I remember thinking "what do all these charcters and places have to do with the first game?" ....... then you finally get to the end and the answer is ...... nothing really just passing time.

        Exactly! Darksiders had a terrific sequel-hook ending! That ending left me pumped for Darksiders 2!

        Unfortunately, instead of picking up where Darksiders left off, Darksiders 2 is basically a side story and the ending was incredibly predictable and unexciting. The game itself was less interesting too, simply because you already know what happens to War.

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