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Disappointing Last Level / Action Game

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  • Aquaria has a bit of this; it's more on the story level than on the gameplay level, but it's there nonetheless. At the beginning of the game, Naija's natural curiosity, and fear that she's all alone in the world, is a powerful motivator to drive her forward through the exploration-driven plot. However, once she gains a companion, so relieved is she to be rid of the second that she is perfectly willing to settle down with him for the rest of her days and never again concern herself with the fate of these extinct civilizations that she has hitherto been investigating. At this point, the story loses its thread, because Naija is no longer going anywhere because she's curious about what she'll find; she's going there because she's a character in a video game, and there is a cursor telling her to go that way.
  • Everything after the final boss encounter in Batman: Arkham Knight generally comes off as unsatisfying.
    • After Batman stops Scarecrow and finally purges Joker from his mind once and for all, a short ending plays where Bats delivers the final villain to the GCPD lockup and tells Oracle that he is going to initiate the "Knightfall Protocol". However, the ending doesn't actually unlock unless you go back and complete a number of the Most Wanted side missions (if you haven't already completed them). This is a marked change from Batman: Arkham City (where you can complete the game and obtain a definite ending without completing the majority of sidequests), and forces the player to go back and do the Most Wanted missions (some of which become incredibly repetitive) to get a fuller ending. The twist that Bruce Wayne's identity as Batman has been revealed to the world doesn't translate well to gameplay, as the only thing it changes are a few sentences after Batman apprehends each villain and transports them to the lockup. And what do you get for your time spent doing this? Bruce landing the Batwing at the front steps of Wayne Manor while assembled news crews (and Calendar Man) watch, him walking inside with Alfred and initiating "Knightfall", then seemingly blowing themselves up in the house just before a smash-cut to black.
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    • The 100% ending forces the player to go hunting for every single Riddler trophy - fail to find all of them and you won't see the extra content. That's right, all 243 of them - and if you don't have a guide handy, good luck! Your reward for hours of repetitive searching and scouring the map for every Last Lousy Point? A short epilogue that ends on a vague Sequel Hook and sets up more questions than it answers.
  • Beyond Good & Evil has as one of its strong points vibrant, colourful environments filled with interesting characters and creatures. So someone had the bright idea of making the final level a Bleak Level with a grand total of two enemies, before rushing the player into the climax. Somewhat compensated by the exciting penultimate boss and Final Boss, but then swerves back with a Deus ex Machina reveal out of nowhere, and a cliffhanger. Presumably this would have been elaborated on with the planned sequel, but Development Hell meant otherwise.
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  • Brütal Legend: after the battle of Lionwhyte's palace, the story picks up at a nearly uncontrollable pace. The game slams rather suddenly into the final battles with Emperor Doviculus right after defeating Drowned Ophelia's Black Tear army. You never get a proper fight with Drowned Ophelia herself, and Doviculus and the Tainted Coil don't have the due attention that was given to Lionwhyte and Drowned Ophelia. The game has been described as feeling like "two acts of a three-act story." On the other hand, if one looks at the outside circumstances — namely, Activision suing EA and Double Fine to halt production of the game on extremely flimsy bases — this may become explainable.
  • Castlevania:
    • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: The inverted castle, beyond the initial novelty factor, is basically a huge copy-paste of the main castle, only flipped upside-down, and with less narrative and plot than the already fairly bare-bones story of the first half. It doesn't help that the rich musical variety of the first half of the game is largely absent in the second. No fewer than six map areas use the track "Finale Toccata," three use "Lost Painting", three recycle the tracks from their first-half counterparts, and only two have original/unique tracks. Nor does it help that by this point, you have no more mobility upgrades to find. Unlike the first half of the game where progress is defined by slowly unlocking new areas (and thus, the difficulty is linear), the latter half can pit you up against extraordinarily difficult foes before pitifully easy ones, because the order in which you fight them is essentially random. The lower number of secret areas, as well as those present but spoiled due to the resemblance with the normal castle, plus the balancing issues in regards of enemies and bosses, don't help either.
    • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin: Before the last battles, you have to go through four final portraits one after another. These portraits are recycled from all of the earlier ones in the game, and get really repetitive for that reason.
    • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest: Dracula's castle has no enemies, and the obstacles don't put up much of a challenge. Dracula himself leaves himself open for too long at the beginning of the fight, leaving you to throw nothing but flames at him and giving him no chance to fight back.
    • The final areas of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow — the Chaotic Realm and the Abyss — just string together random rooms with a miscellaneous assortment of enemies. Dawn at least gives you bosses, but in Aria the Chaotic Realm is really just a long slog to pad out the game until you get to the Final Boss.
    • Dracula's Castle in Curse of Darkness is a mindlessly repetitive enemy gauntlet. The first area (of three!) has you go in, effectively, a big circle to get to the interior area, but the nightmare is in the second where it's seven (counting the basement floor and ignoring the seventh floor, which is two rooms that just branch into the third area) floors of effectively going through the same hallway and room full of some enemies over and over again with a rare change of textures. Sometimes. Thankfully the third area (there are three different maps labeled "Dracula's Castle") is just two hallways, a save room, and two boss rooms, but the first two areas very much wear out their welcome, moreso the second one.
  • Dante's Inferno starts off very good: Varied, detailed locales with plenty of action going on in the background and creative use of the scenery to enhance the mood. Then when you get to the bottom levels of Hell, you're treated to...a desert. Not a special torment-filled desert like you'd imagine in Hell, but just a normal, every day desert. In Hell. The final rush to the last boss consists of going through the same exact dull arena room 10 times to complete "challenges" (aka padding completion time). Also, there are some elements of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot with the padding, too. One of the most notable is the Hell for thieves, which could best be described in the original poem as "tag, but half the players are snakes, and if a snake tags a human they switch roles" which is, instead, just another grindy area. Kinda becomes frustrating to think about that wasted potential. This is also the point in the game where the gameplay ceases to be innovative and boils down to kill everything, walk, climb down, rinse and repeat. To make it even worse, all your skills are filled out by this point, so the game screeches to a dull grind.
  • Minor example in Darksiders. Right as you're ready to go kick the Destroyer's ass, the game makes you backtrack to a bunch of places and get a bunch of pieces for a sword. It does have a cool boss fight in the middle of it, but that's the only new thing it adds, and the boss could've easily been placed elsewhere. Said scavenger hunt (hope you remembered to find all the warps in the game beforehand, or else you're in for fun) takes place soon after the game's resident That One Dungeon, the Black Throne, which swiftly became reviled by many players for the sheer repetition and excruciatingly Guide Dang It! puzzles it puts War through. Alternatively, the developers are pointing out "okay, you have all your abilities now - go back through and find the rest of the Heart Containers and bonuses while you reassemble the MacGuffin".
  • The main complaint about Devil May Cry 4 is massive Back Tracking. Specifically, after the character switch, you're going right back through Nero's levels - in reverse, having to do the same levels all again! You fight the bosses in a row, and the only way to get to them is to complete the dice puzzle which gets harder at each "step" of the level. Mission 13, 14, and 19 are truly a crappy couple of levels, especially on Dante Must Die. When you've learned the trick of the dice puzzles, mission 19 becomes one of the most enjoyable levels in the game, becoming a simple Boss Rush (hint: the dice rotates the same way every time).
  • Ecco the Dolphin:
    • The first game is incredible - atmospheric, beautiful, slightly challenging but (usually) fair - and owes a large portion of this to being set in the ocean. Guess what happens when the action shifts to a spaceship. The last few levels have Trial-and-Error Gameplay, hideous environments, enemies that are entirely ripped from the movie Alien, frequent instant death, etc.
    • The PS2/Dreamcast game, Ecco the Dolphin: Defender Of The Future. The "Domain of the Foe" levels are riddled with Fake Difficulty, respawning and unkillable enemies (which rarely pop up in earlier levels), and environments that seem incredibly barren. The latter is likely on purpose, to show what a desolate place Earth has become, but compared to the beautiful, lush environments of earlier levels, the whole final chapter seems like the design crew just stopped trying.
  • In The Force Unleashed, the early levels are chock full of interesting objects to smash, fling, and otherwise ruin with your Force powers. As you progress, though, the levels become less interactive and more likely to just toss you in an arena with some enemies and call it a night. In particular, there's the scene where you pull down a Star Destroyer, which in theory sounds like it's the coolest thing ever, but in practice, it's an annoying mini-game that's constantly interrupted by waves of hard-to-hit TIE fighters.
  • Gungrave:
    • The first game's last level. The first 5/6 stages have you facing off against gangsters, soldiers, and other human enemies in a bunch of cool futuristic urban environments. Stage 6 however starts with a very cheap boss who loves to recover all of his health when he's bored. Still, the boss is kind of a badass, so it's somewhat forgivable. Then it moves to a bizarre climbing-the-tower area, where you fight a bunch of floating pus sacs that spew Demonic Spiders who have a nasty habit of shooting you with a rocket launcher so you fall off the stage. After you make it to the top, you fight a boss who gets swallowed by a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. You end up offing the Big Bad in an interactive cutscene and don't even get to have a proper fight.
    • The end-game of the sequel doesn't fare that well either: you're running through some kind of weird spaceship bay...thing, which is actually the second part of a previous level and doesn't have much of any inanimate objects to blow up like the previous eight stages, scooping up the Orgmen and boppin' 'em on the head (and those Rocket-shooting ones? Yep, they're back), then an out-of-place (and annoying) jumping/platform "puzzle", fight Fangoram and kick his ass, then you confront the Big Bad. The boss fight with him is highly enjoyable, though (unlimited D. Shots!).
  • In the PC version of La-Mulana, the game is mostly very, very nonlinear, allowing you to solve puzzles in whatever order you please. Stuck on one tough part? Go find something else to solve, and chances are by the time you get back you'll have something to make it easier. However, as you proceed into the endgame, you start running out of puzzles to solve, new areas to explore, and bosses to fight, and you're just stuck backtracking looking for whatever mandatory item you've missed. And then, before you can take on the final boss, you have to solve the Mantra puzzle, an extraordinarily drawn-out and confusing (even for this game) puzzle that takes well over an hour to do right, if you don't just look up the solutions.
  • Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2 - The game starts promising, and most stages are true to the "gothic", pseudo-medieval flavour of the games in the series, with some steampunk technology introduced to show that centuries have passed in the plot - an enjoyable and credible fantasy setting. Then, the last few stages are set in a pseudo-sci-fi facility that would look more at home in a futuristic FPS than in a Legacy of Kain game. A game where its fun-factor is playing as a vampire, exploring atmospheric gothic/baroque architecture, attacking human guards and knights, is turned into a messing of genres where you have to find the switch to progress in bland similar corridors with little lights on the walls.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Wind Fish's Egg in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is just an endless maze consisting of empty rooms with four exits whose solution is given in the village's library. Then you meet the Final Boss.
    • Onox's lair in Oracle of Seasons consists of three wide-open rooms. You walk up, beat the enemies, walk up, beat the enemies, walk up, beat a miniboss, walk up to find Onox's room.
    • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of a linked Oracle of Seasons/Ages game is just an endless maze similar to the Wind Fish's Egg, with some eye statues directing you where to not go, followed by the definitely final boss and the very definitely final boss.
    • Players expecting a large-scale final dungeon in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask will be disappointed, first because the dungeon segments in the Moon are brief and only require some basic skills from the mask transformations, and second because they're not even required to reach the Final Boss. In fact, completing them by trading all masks will lead to getting the Fierce Deity's Mask, which will turn the final boss into an Anticlimax Boss.
    • The Triforce hunting quest towards the end of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker caused many players to give up and not finish the game. To reach the final area of the game, Link needs the Triforce of Courage, which is broken up into eight fragments. To find out where every fragment is located within the ocean, you have to hunt down the Triforce Charts. Don't assume it's that easy, because not only are the charts scattered throughout the world, you can't even read them. Tingle can decode the maps for you, but at a very hefty price of 398 rupees per chart. The Wii U remake considerably alleviates this quest, with five of the eight shards being found immediately without a map.
    • The final dungeon of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass isn't a new area; it's the Temple of the Ocean King, the resident Marathon Level that you've had to go through after every major dungeon. Since you reached the last floor of the temple during the previous visit, the only new features of this trip are more dangerous enemies. You have the Phantom Sword this time and can get a lot of satisfaction out of finally killing the normally invincible Phantoms with it, but outside of that it's just another backtracking sequence through the same puzzles until you reach the final floor and can enter the final boss's room, collecting the final optional items along the way.
  • For the final level of The Mark of Kri, Rau gets an Axe. If you tested it out on the arenas, you do realize that is indeed a powerful weapon, which lets you kill enemies in few strikes. However, the final level in this game throws away the good stealth mechanic in favor of hacking away hundreds of enemies, which gets boring fast. Most rooms past the first quarter are almost identical and always require you to open a door or to pull a switch, all while dozens of enemies are getting on your nerves. After traveling through the castle (which feels like an eternity), you finally face the boss - which only consists of fighting three waves of enemies. You don't even touch the boss once, he gets killed in a cutscene. It's very evident that the developers ran out of time.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Zero Mission, for 90% of the duration, is an exceptional remake that both honours and goes above and beyond the original game. But after the Unexpected Gameplay Change and the game moves into its climax, the flaw of the game's item placement is revealed: you only get power bombs a few rooms away from the final boss, and you don't even need them to kill that boss, so the only purpose of power bombs is to use them to go back through the game world and get 100%, including more and more power bombs that you won't actually need. It changes the fundamental Metroid principle of stocking up to prepare for the tough final battles, to stocking up for the sake of stocking up; you're not even doing it as preparation for the final boss, because he's almost insultingly easy until you come to him with 100%, at which case he gets a difficulty boost. And getting 100% involves completely ruining the triumphant, climactic mood that came once the stealth section ended, and having you go back and forth through the final area more times than you'd think would be necessary. It also results in a lot of padding that potentially screws up your chance of seeing the best ending, which requires 100% completion in under two hours.
    • Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes both require massive amounts of Back Tracking for artifacts before the final area (although it is possible to preemptively acquire some if you know what to do), putting many people off of getting to the final area. In Metroid Prime 1, the final location itself is also quite frustrating and feels a little thrown together. More annoying, particularly for replays, in Prime 2, since many of the keys are not available unless you get the last upgrade in the game, the Light Suit. So even though you've been through the room where a key (sometimes many times) might be, you likely are not able to get it at the time. By contrast, in Prime 1, you can get 11 of the 12 artifacts before completing the Phazon Mines, and the last artifact is only 4 rooms away from the Omega Pirate boss fight. Add to that the misfortune that Prime 2's world is seriously lacking convenient shortcuts, and has many rooms, particularly in Torvus Bog, that lock you in for a mandatory fight.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, despite alleviating its own final fetch quest, has the final area directly leading to this. Once you head to the final level, you can't go back. On top of this, Samus' suit freaks out from overexposure to the Phazon in the area and forces itself into Hyper Mode, which makes the last area a Timed Mission whose "time limit" is dependent on how many Energy Tanks you collected so far. Because the corruption meter is always building up over time and it rises faster if you get damaged, you literally have to speed run the level without being able to go at your own pace or at least explore. And because there are no Save Point areas in the final level, if you don't make it to the Final Boss in one run, the entire planet has to be restarted completely.
    • Metroid: Other M starts going on a decline right after the first battle with the Nightmare. You're introduced to a new, plot-heavy area with the enticing allure of getting to kill more Metr- nope, Adam goes in and sacrifices himself instead. Then you fight Nightmare again, then fight That One Boss (who is only killed by a method that the game never tells you) which has the only actual Metroids you fight in the game. And after more cutscenes, you then finally get to deal with MB, who is killed by aiming at her. And now the game is finished, right? Wrong. You have to go all the way back through the Bottle Ship to get all the powerups you missed through the first game (which you won't need at this point, anyways) and fight Phantoon, then go through an escape mission, where you have totally different abilities which are used nowhere else in the game except these few minutes.
  • In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor the last level consists of dealing with the remaining two of Black Captains - The Tower and The Black Hand. Unlike The Hammer, who is fought in a proper battle, The Tower is defeated by using only one button. The Black Hand then slits his own throat and is revealed to be Sauron in disguise. The fight with Sauron himself is a short QTE. There is also a fight with your nemesis, which is the Uruk that hates you the most. However, the player gets five warchiefs and their captains fighting by his side, making the fight as easy as the whole end game.
  • Chapters 7 and 9 (of 9) in Mirror's Edge are easily weaker than the rest, and also the only levels where some degree of enemy interaction is mandatory. It's not completely straight though, as 7 is still notably worse than 9 (which at least doesn't completely necessitate fighting, unlike 7), and Chapter 8 is one of the best chapters in the game.
  • No More Heroes has some annoying levels later on, especially #3, when you have to fight waves of enemies on a somewhat cramped bus, #2, where you have to run over a lot of enemies on your bike (it gets very tedious since they just keep coming, and if you fall off, you have to fight a lot of enemies with guns), and #1, where most of the beginning is a bike chase and then there's a forest maze filled with Goddamned Bats. They try to buck the trend of levels full of enemies to kill, and don't quite succeed.
  • The final levels of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle often get a venomous reaction from players. Right after Henry's dream, the build-ups to the next three assassination missions consist, respectively, of an unbearably long, monotonous fight in a parking lot that isn't even remotely difficult, a drive to the spot with the number three assassin - a drive which doesn't have any enemies or obstacles whatsoever and culminates in a weak boss - and an extremely long maze without any real sense of direction to it. And then there's the final level, which consists of a fairly monotonous 30+ minute run through a mall, and nearly endless swarms of Mooks that pose almost no threat to Travis and are just there to serve as a distraction. It culminates with a Nintendo Hard showdown against Jasper Batt Jr..
  • Ōkami: As opposed to previous dungeons, which have numerous puzzles to solve, treasures to find, and (usually) a brush god to obtain, the Ark of Yamato is nothing more than a Boss Rush and the place where the player fights the final boss. The fact that it's a Point of No Return doesn't help. Also, you can't even challenge the bosses again if you save after beating them, so your only options after beating the last one before the final boss is to shop or fight the final boss.
  • Primal lets you explore multiple dimensions, each with their own story that ties in to a much bigger story arc. It is a big, atmospheric world that won the production team multiple awards. The final battle, with Jen as the force of Order versus her boyfriend Lewis who she was trying to save throughout the entire game as the force of Chaos, is terribly clunky and underwhelming. Your opponent, for one thing, never transitions beyond his Ferai ("Earth") form, even when in water. The final cutscene suddenly has terrible graphics, and the story simply falls dead with an immensely unsatisfying conclusion.
  • In the last level of The Saboteur, Sean climbs to the top of the Eiffel Tower to finally fight and kill Kurt Dierker, the Nazi colonel who killed his best friend (which has been Sean's driving motivation for the entire game). Sounds epic, right? Not quite. By the time you get there, all the Nazi Mooks have been killed and the final boss fight amounts to walking up to an already suicidal Dierker and shooting him.
  • Tomb Raider:
    • The last two Atlantis levels in Tomb Raider: Anniversary: The original game's Atlantis is considered on par with the rest of the game, and even a high point for many people, but not so with Anniversary: at least 75% of the content of the original levels has been cut, and some very buggy jumping puzzles have been added. The general theme is also less interesting (with the feel of being in a living creature replaced by a more standard sci-fi theme). Even people that have no knowledge of the changes from the original game have slammed this section. Although the boss fights and the very few puzzles that do return are improved upon.
    • While Tomb Raider: Legend doesn't really drop in gameplay quality, Nepal, the final "real" location (the last being a boss fight) feels extremely short and is over before it even really gets going.
    • Tomb Raider: Underworld shifts towards this someway around three-quarters in, with the last locations being much shorter than earlier ones, with a shameless example of Copy-and-Paste Environments and the varied colour schemes of the earlier locations being replaced by a mulch of grey and blue. It does just about carry through on the gameplay though, with the end areas still having a few great set-pieces.
    • Cairo onwards in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. While the whole game is set in one country, the earlier parts generally do a good job keeping things varied; Cairo, however, is one of the longest segments of the game and almost universally bathed in the same colour scheme throughout. The ability to swap between levels also gets way out of control, and makes things far more confusing than anything earlier when combined with the samey-looking environment and higher difficulty level. The Valley of the Kings is an improvement, but still weaker than the earlier sections of the game.
    • The final two levels in Tomb Raider III. The game is already Nintendo Hard for the most part, but the last two levels are so notoriously difficult that some may simply either give up or use a cheat code to skip the levels. The 2nd to last level has a ton of deep pits with tricky jumping as you get chased by glowing wasps that can easily push you into them, and there's 4 areas that are mostly a Death Course where you'll be redoing sections of them again and again (and this is made worse on the PlayStation version where saving is limited by how many Save Crystals you have left). The Final Boss in the last level can one hit kill you with its attack, and the whole arena is filled with lava and the mystery goo from the meteorite that will also kill you instantly if you fall in either of them. When you do beat the boss, you have to climb your way up and out of the impact crater to escape and shoot down some flamethrower guys before they can light you up (being on fire is death unless there's water, which there isn't in this example). Once you reach the helicopter, you're treated to an FMV of Lara hijacking it and narrowly escaping. That's it.
  • Uncharted:
    • Drake's Fortune goes into this right at the very end, where there's an enemy who can kill you in one hit (although easy enough to avoid if you learn the pattern) while you fight off waves of other enemies on what amounts to a timer due to destructible cover, and then it ends in a trial and error QTE fest.
    • Uncharted 2's final levels are not nearly up to the standards of quality of the ones before. While some of it is pretty awesome (the opening scenes of Shambala and the fight in the storm drain while it's, y'know, storming), the game starts sending frustrating firefight after frustrating firefight at you as soon as you cross the collapsing bridge in the Monastery and never really stops, feeling like the first game again. The awesome vehicle battles and chases don't return, with the exception of the collapsing rocks in Shambala (but that's for all of 5 seconds). The devs mentioned somewhere that they had a time frame and had to do the last areas more quickly then the first, the final boss especially. This becomes obvious when you consider the train level took the entire dev cycle to make, while Shambala was made in the last two or three months.


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