Obviously, there are games like Bioshock… and Bioshock: Infinite, but what made me think of this was Steamworld Dig 2.
Now, I really enjoyed the game overall, but I didn’t enjoy the last boss, at all. I think some of it had to with the fact that I was playing on the Switch with the joy-cons instead of a “normal” controller and so it was a little harder to do moves with finesse, but still not a fan.
So what about you?
Fable 2. Not really a final boss, but a final enemy encounter. It’s the moment where you confront the evil man who has engineered horrible tragedies in your life for his own gain and amusement. You have the option to shoot him, but he’s in the middle of the evil guy rant. And then Reaper shoots him to death, robbing you of your character’s vengeance and your own satisfaction. It is a terrible moment which bugs me to this day.
I think Mass Effect 2 is the classic example of this, yeah? Where you fight Terminator Baby just because in the middle of an absolutely fantastic ending.
I mean, for me personally, that boss fight still doesn’t keep the rest of the ending down, but for so, so many people it seemed like it was just a terrible way of ending the game.
Infamous. After the first level it automatically set me to Hard, and I didn’t change it out of pride. I got through it mostly fine, though I came to greatly resent the enemies that could snipe me with an automatic rifle. Then I hit Kessler and he disintegrated me in under a minute. I tried and tried, but just couldn’t get anywhere in that fight. I had to turn down the difficulty and it still kicked my ass. That game has a really weird difficulty slider. The sequel felt way better.
Honestly I’ve come to expect weak final bosses as the norm, rather than the exception. This year Horizon Zero Dawn and Breath of the Wild come to mind as games that weren’t able to give themselves a satisfying conclusion in gameplay.
Horizon used a a turret sequence followed by a rematch with the least interesting “powerful” machine, the Deathbringer, supported by some basic adds. Zelda’s final boss had a decent first phase, then finished with what felt like an unfinished Divine Beast attack sequence. A final boss doesn’t have to be the hardest part of a video game, but it was completely at odds with the world-ending powers that the preceding cutscene promises.
Looking at last year it wasn’t so hot either. Doom, Banner Saga 2, Hyper Light Drifter, Uncharted 4, and Dark Souls III all had final bosses that felt like they missed the mark. In most cases, it wasn’t because the fights were badly designed or easy, but more to do with how the game had not given them adequate buildup. Being surprised that something was the final fight is never a good thing.
In defence (well, “defence”) of Bioshock 1, the entire back third of that game is mostly wasted space (when people say that game has pacing issues, I think it’s basically all actually in the later parts). The progression towards collecting the parts you need contains one memorable bit of character work but is otherwise just walking through what becomes endless “lava/fire zones”. The game ran out back there and we’re just here until the credits roll and you try to forget about the last few hours.
It’s a terrible, pointless boss fight. But it’s absolutely in keeping with the last few hours of the game - a pointless slog that lacks any of the things that made the earlier game so good.
You know, I thought this about Steamworld Dig already, tbh.
I don’t feel like having a Final Boss Fight suits what the game is, frankly. It felt weird. Like, I don’t think it was a “bad” boss fight (I don’t really remember, to be honest) I just felt like, why is there a boss fight at all.
To give the game a climax, I suppose.
I don’t have specific examples but in general I don’t like boss fights. They often come down to grossly overpowered enemies and very repetitive, methodical gameplay. Often boss fights make me anxious and irritated, hardly ever satisfied when I complete one. Honestly I think they’re thing from the past together with high scores and cheat codes. Just make the game gradually become harder as you learn to apply all the skills you picked up along the way
Both MachineGames Wolfenstein games have bad last levels and bad last fights.
I’ve said it before, but Guacamelee’s final boss is total garbage.
Mass Effect 2 is near the top of the list but personally for me it’s topped by Bioshock. Instead of ending the game at the climax they make you keep playing for another hour or two and fight a 20s gangster made of living fire.
Which could be amazing! But it was super boring and didn’t fit with the rest of the game in the slightest.
Man, between that and the eye-roll inducing final cinematics where you’re either super saint family man or underwater Skeletor, Bioshock may have the worst ending of any game that is otherwise extremely good.
Recently it was Ghost Recon Wildlands. The game sets you up to track down this tattoo-covered bad ass called El Sueno and I played the game trying to find the fastest route to unlock to get to him. In the end, I never even got to fight him since there was no boss battle. All they gave me was a cut-scene.
Last year’s Doom had a meh final encounter. Like someone else said it’s biggest problem is that the boss felt undersold.
Batman Arkham Asylum might be my biggest worse boss even more than Bioshock. They gave the big bad the exact same mechanics as (by then) a run of the mill special mob. It didnt feel different to beating any of those more regular enemies.
Wolfenstein’s The Old Blood had a let down final encounter too but I wasn’t too invested.
Path of Exile’s Kitava is the new end of story boss and he’s a lot less interesting than previous bosses because he’s set up as a now mindless devourer god which is a bit of a let down given PoE’s history of cool charismatic boss encounters. Like the clockwork mummy of Emperor Izaro in his Eternal Labyrinth, Dominus and the true face of his god, Malachai and his nightmare realm, or The Shaper.
I actually completely forgot there was a final boss in that game because I felt like the ridiculous rush of enemies that happens right before that was a better send-off to the game.
Definitely. It was by no means bad, but it was frustrating and unnecessary (like all the boss fights in my opinion) and seemed to only be there to give the game, like you said, a climax.
I wouldn’t say it left a bad taste of my mouth, because the journey was so effing memorable, but Uncharted 2: Among Thieves’s (that’s a word right???!?!) boss fight was frustrating. Waiting for Lazarevic to run by blue sap wasn’t exactly “epic” like the rest of the game was. In fact, I feel it actually slowed down the pace of the finale and almost hurt its climax.
Condemned 2 had a terrible final fight, where the boss slowly walks around the stage and in order to beat him you just walk up and do one QTE three times. The second half of Condemned 2 was bad but that definitely was the cherry.
Totally agree, fighting steroid Joker felt like a betrayal of who the Joker, as a villain, really was. It felt like they just needed someone for Batman to beat up because a lot of video games at that time ended with boss fights. Moreover, most of Arkham Asylum’s bosses were merely punching bags and 95% of them weren’t unique or even fun to interact with. I’m a big fan of Arkham City’s boss fights though, especially that Mr. Freeze one.
Oh by the way, wondering how you felt about Wolfenstein The New Orders final boss. I thought it was fine, nothing too grand but the way it ended wasn’t satisfying because he took control and agency away from you in a way.
Wolfenstein The New Order was the first thing that came to mind. Really garbage, and it’s always been a thing that has kept me from replaying the game because I know I will get to that boss eventually.