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Disappointing Last Level / First-Person Shooter

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  • Several games in the Alien franchise have this, in spades:
    • Aliens: Colonial Marines attempts to replicate the final battle in Alien vs. Predator (and Aliens) by having the player character fight a xenomorph queen in a cargo bay. The difference is that while those previous setpieces felt exciting due to their scale, this battle... doesn't. You start off as Corporal Winter in a fairly small cargo bay, and what follows is essentially a puzzle game where you try to avoid the Queen and push four buttons that will activate a piece of equipment that will shove the Queen out the bay door. You have all your weapons, but none of them put a dent in her. She can attack you, but it mostly just causes you to be shoved down for a few seconds while she waits for you to get back up. The final cutscene feels hastily put together and is an obvious Sequel Hook (Hicks kills the android Michael Weyland, then Bishop accesses his body and says that they "found everything"). It ends without resolving what happened to the marines still left on Hadley's Hope, and is generally unsatisfying.
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    • Alien: Isolation loses a lot of steam after Amanda confronts Marlowe onboard the Anesidora and finds her mother's last audio log. What follows is a large amount of padding and a shift towards full-on action instead of the Survival Horror it was beforehand. Suddenly, many more xenomorphs are on the ship (and set up a hive under the reactor), Amanda goes through several increasingly-unrealistic situations like narrowly avoiding an out-of-control elevator and escaping her bonds after she's caught by a xeno before an abrupt and unsatisfying final encounter with the creature. Just like Colonial Marines, it also ends with an abrupt Sequel Hook with little in the way of resolution.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! may have been a little contentious, but it's hard to argue that the game hits a wall with the final story quest, "The Beginning of the End". The previous story quest, "Eye to Eye", contained a showdown with the main antagonist and the real emotional climax of the plot, so all that's left is finally reaching the Vault that you'd been planning to search for before the Lost Legion attacked. Unfortunately, this requires a long slog through two vast areas, Vorago Solitude and Tycho's Ribs, that don't have much except difficult enemies, interspersed with the frustrating RK5 fight, which only occurs because Jack refuses to let you ignore it and continue on past it. Then it's a meandering path through the final area, Eleseer, to reach the final boss, an Eridian construct with seven phases that don't differ very much. To make matters worse, the game's level curve goes crazy halfway through the game, forcing you to exhaust almost every sidequest just to keep pace; completing "Eye to Eye" doesn't unlock very many new sidequests, and the few that it does unlock are out of the way, making it very difficult to grind up and prepare for the final areas.
  • BioShock:
    • BioShock does really well until about 75% of the way through the game. Then a Fetch Quest, frustrating missions, an Escort Mission, and a cheesy final boss await you, as well as the story becoming far more generic. The emotional climax is already passed, and you have to play quite a bit more without really caring about it.
    • Inner Persephone in BioShock 2. Again the emotional climax has already passed, there are no new enemies, the Big Bad doesn't do anything except spout more propaganda at you, and at this point Delta is so powerful every enemy dies in seconds, with the Summon Eleanor plasmid alone capable of turning any fight into a Curb-Stomp Battle in your favor. Sinclair gets a decent swansong, but other than that there's not much incentive to actually continue beyond completing the game.
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    • While the narrative climax of BioShock Infinite is widely praised, the gameplay climax is a mess. Precarious gunship-to-gunship fights where enemies come from every direction and there's no cover or retreat, storming a battleship that should be party central but is just tedious, and a near-universally loathed Tower Defense mission make most players just want it to end already.
    • Ken Levine (creative director for the original BioShock and Infinite) has acknowledged this is a problem for Irrational. He has quite frequently mocked the boss fight in BioShock.
  • Call of Duty games usually feel a bit more slapdash around the end:
    • In the first Modern Warfare, the end boss "fight" comes right in the middle of a huge battle with no forewarning. Also, literally half the Middle Eastern campaign (i.e. everything after the nuke goes off) was cut from the game, which presumably would've balanced out the rushed feeling of the end of the SAS campaign.
    • In Call of Duty: Black Ops, the last level feels like a complete retread of "Crew Expendable", one of the intro levels from the first Modern Warfare, before turning into a borderline sci-fi level that would feel right at home in its sequel. Prominent plot threads, such as rounding up the sleeper agents carrying Nova gas bombs, are wrapped up entirely off-screen, as well, and sequel hooks hidden in the intel are completely ignored.
    • Modern Warfare 3, given that half the staff left partway through production, suffers badly from this. After several stunning and memorable levels, Act III extensively reuses assets from previous levels and games. And the entire plotline about the war between Russia and the United States and the rogue Russian military is wrapped up in a single cutscene. Luckily, the actual last level (which is more of an epilogue, really) is pretty cathartic.
  • Sumeria, the final time slice of Clive Barker's Jericho, is a collection of extremely short levels, most of which consist of one boss fight after another, and, unfortunately, they aren't all that challenging (although one level is very good for racking up head-shots and disintegrations for unlocking extras, which is a bonus). The penultimate level is simply one long cutscene (although a rather good one), before it drops you into the final boss fight, which is also unfortunately not very challenging. And then there's the ending... or severe lack of it...
  • Clive Barker's Undying has a fast-paced and well-plotted story for most of the game. Then it reaches "Eternal Autumn", a level that's actually a mystical Dream Land with the hero trying to fight his way back to consciousness. And it keeps going. And going. And going. All the creepy, gothic atmosphere's thrown aside in favor of a prehistoric setting with caveman enemies, there's no story progression at all while you're in Eternal Autumn, and it takes almost a third of the gameplay time just to get through it and defeat That One Boss. And if you're looking forward to getting back to exploring the Covenant estate afterward, your hopes will be dashed... though you weren't warned in advance, Eternal Autumn is both The Very Definitely Final Dungeon and the Point of No Return, and from there it's straight on to the last boss.
  • A common complaint about the final level of Condemned 2: Bloodshot is the sudden jump from fighting crazed hobos with whatever you can find on the ground in frighteningly run-down versions of real-life locales (i.e. a subway, a library, a house just like the one you might be sitting in right now) to shooting and screaming at heavily-armed alien-like dudes inside a bizarre metal structure that looks like "something the Combine might throw together if they were all totally wasted".
  • The first two thirds of Crysis have players traversing a vast open-ended environment populated by intelligent, squad-based human enemies and filled with side missions and numerous possible means of reaching mission objectives, and variable battle tactics that give players various options aligning with either stealth or aggression. Everything changes when the player enters an alien warship in the seventh of the game's ten missions: first they must complete a zero-gravity level, which is frustratingly difficult to control and easy to get lost in (although it's beautifully atmospheric and immerse when you do finally figure out where to go). After that, the player character emerges back into the same open world he had been exploring before; only now the level design is strictly linear, corralling you down a single path with no significant deviations, and all the human enemies are gone, replaced with flying, hard-to-hit aliens who take far more bullets to kill and against whom stealth is practically useless, all leading up to two long final boss fights that essentially amount to shooting a giant target a ridiculous number of times without dying. The game is still decent, but given the drastic, unexpected and above all completely unnecessary change in style, it's easy to see why fans tend not to think highly of the final levels. The expansion, Crysis Warhead, addresses these complaints to varying degrees - such as, for instance, lampshading how awful the first game's flying sequence was instead of rehashing it.
  • Deus Ex:
    • The last level of the first game. You find yourself deep underground in a military base surrounded by combat robots, human enemies, and magical monster generators that won't stop pumping out monsters until you close the vault doors in front of them. All of the more interesting gameplay goes out the window as there are no people to interact with through any means besides combat. There are no interesting secrets to find or interesting atmosphere to enjoy. Just your standard metal-corridors-until-you-reach-the-ending. A large part of this was caused by a lot of the more intricate development and extra touches (including an additional level - the Moon - JC would travel to after completing Area 51) being scrapped during development, and the level feeling very empty as a result. Additionally, two of the three endings require the player to backtrack through a now-devoid-of-enemies zone to get to the required location(s), and are generally much less satisfying (and shorter) than the "Kill Bob Page" finale.
    • For Deus Ex: Invisible War, Liberty Island is very underwhelming, especially to anyone who's played the first game. Not only is the level comparatively smaller than its original incarnation, but it's broken up into two sections (caused by the console-focused development). There isn't a whole lot to do on the island besides kill, kill and kill some more, and it's incredibly easy for major characters like Tracer Tong or Paul Denton to be killed off anticlimactically. Also, it doesn't help that the endings all feel unsatisfying and extremely short, with little in the way of resolution or falling action. That said, all the major story twists are resolved in the Trier level. The levels which follow this are all almost entirely action based, without any of the more immersive touches seen in the earlier levels of the game.
    • The prequel Deus Ex: Human Revolution falls into the same issue. The mission hub based design of China and Detroit goes out the window once you hit Montreal due to the developers not having enough time to make Montreal a full hub with side-quests, and the Final Dungeon is basically a zombie avoidance game or a zombie massacre depending on your playstyle, and the final boss is an Anti-Climax Boss especially if you have upgraded your augmentations to be immune to electrical damage. Your only interaction with people in this level is the ability to buy some augmentation upgrades, and to get two of the four choices for the Multiple Endings. The choices you made in all the preceding parts of the game have no effect on the ending except to slightly change the tone of your final monologue.
    • Deus Ex: The Fall: After The Reveal of Ben's former partner, Sam Duarte, being revealed to be a member of the Tyrants, the plot takes a sharp downturn. The final level consists of Saxon running through a hotel he traversed earlier to reach the roof so he can be picked up by Alexandra Vega, and only seems to have been put in for an "exciting finale". There are many more enemies than normal, there's no clear reason why Saxon needs to go through the hotel itself, and the player's reward for doing this is an abrupt and unsatisfying stinger that doesn't answer anything and sets up a Sequel Hook.
    • The trend continues in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. For the first time in the franchise, a level (the final mission) takes place in London... which amounts to a couple of floors in a highrise building in the city. Halfway through the mission, you're forced to make a Sadistic Choice between saving a group of delegates you've only just met and preventing the villain from bombing a nearby apartment complex (which is barely shown on-screen), plus another character who can die unless you have a plot-required item. The choice probably would have had more teeth if the room where the delegates are didn't have a secret tunnel that leads directly to the final boss, a lackluster affair. Much has been made of the fact that Viktor Marchenko is just a Boss in Mook Clothing, who can be effortlessly taken down in a half-dozen ways with no real problem. And then there's the ending itself, where almost all of the lingering plot threads are wrapped up in a newscast. Even with the variation from the aforementioned choice, the game ends with a pair of short conversations (Adam tells Vega to set up a meeting with Janus, while Adam is an Unwitting Pawn of the Illuminati) that are generally seen as unsatisfying. Even now, most reviews of the game highlight the lackluster ending.
  • Doom:
    • The original game ends with you facing a Spider Mastermind as the Final Boss... whose wide size makes her an easy target to hit, she has a chaingun that is easy to interrupt and less effective the further you're away from, and she has less HP than the missile-firing Cyberdemon, making her rather underwhelming in contrast to the latter, especially if you use the BFG, which due to its mechanics allows one to kill her in, at maximum, two hits. Fortunately, the fourth episode added in The Ultimate Doom makes her much more dangerous with the addition of more enemies and a much more tightly-cramped arena to let her do some serious damage. And then in DOOM (2016), she Took a Level in Badass.
    • Doom II's final boss is literally a wall texture whose only attack is to endlessly spit out cubes which spawn in monsters. To make things worse, in order to hit its weak point, you have to ride an elevator upwards and fire a rocket with precise timing, as the elevator goes past said weakpoint. Did we mention that it's set up so that it's only vulnerable to the rocket launcher, and you're completely exposed to the attacking monsters on said elevator?
    • Doom 3 falls in here too. After several excellent levels that bring back the balls-to-the-wall action of the original Doom games, the final area is a short, linear trek to the Cyberdemon, which would be a lot more threatening if he wasn't so absurdly easy to take down. Fortunately, the Resurrection of Evil expansion has a much more climactic final battle with the Maledict.
  • Far Cry throws any semblance of balance out the window in its final two levels. After a series of expansive, yet challenging levels, slowly working you up through larger groups of tougher enemies per encounter, the game designers hit you with the "Volcano" stage, which can only be described as this: One man. Limited weapons and ammunition. Trying not to fall in pools of lava. Every type of enemy (human/non-human). And, despite how often the player was capable of pitting different enemy types against one another in every other level, here they're all trying to kill you specifically. The game throws the unique cover system right out the window, and forces you to run, run and run some more through a gauntlet of enemies and natural hazards. After putting up with that (and running through a literal killscreen that is all but impossible to see in advance), you may think the worst of it is over once you defeat the "final boss". Not so. The designers decided to throw a dozen of the strongest enemies in the game (that is, armor-plated brutes and acrobatic hybrids who can jump to any level at any time - all with rocket launchers) in a small, bland and circular arena that will kill you almost as soon as you walk through the door. And then one of the villains has the gall to tell you that you're cheating when you decide to spam his control center (where even MORE enemies are waiting) with rocket ammo. The only way to survive this intact is with an exploit that props a door open for you to get back to an armory. And that's not even mentioning the ending that lasts less than a minute...
  • In the last twenty minutes of F.E.A.R. you go from being a time-slowing badass fighting really clever AI soldiers, to being in The Grudge and fighting waves of copy and paste "ghosts" whose AI is "See the PC; run directly at PC" and which all die in a single shot while all the guns available to you randomly turn into a single pistol for no reason, making the end section quite tedious despite its short length.
  • Ghost Recon:
    • In Advanced Warfighter, the final boss can often be finished off by your teammates before you even get there. He's standing right out in the open. Would a tank be too much to ask for, or perhaps a panic room that you have to C4 your way into to kill him? The last couple levels before that have many "die, reload, try again repeatedly" moments due to an abundance of hidden One-Hit Kill snipers, unexpected ambushes, lack of surveillance, ECM jammers, Check-Point Starvation, etc. Especially on Hard difficulty, where nearly everything kills you in one hit.
    • Somewhat with Advanced Warfighter 2. Since the AI is amazingly stupid, what could have been a really challenging firefight... isn't.
  • Xen from Half-Life, the former Trope Namer, with annoying jumping puzzles, extremely unbalanced gameplay and extremely unbalanced gameplay during annoying jumping puzzles. Which is unfortunate, as the Xen levels have the best art style in the entire game, enhance the sense of solitude for the climactic final battle that's fast approaching, give a nice look at the alien home world (for too long, however), and if the lack of playtesting had not made it repetitive and boring, it could have been a very satisfying conclusion. Notably, the Fan Remake Black Mesa didn't release with the Xen chapters as the devs wanted to do all they can to make that part of the game less tedious... and as a perfect encapsulation of just how monumental a task that must be, the first teaser only came out more than six years later.
  • Weirdly enough, Half-Life 2 seems to have avoided some of the hate, although it has similar problems. A forced change in weapons makes everything learned in the first 90% of the game somewhat pointless, the environment is very repetitive, and the player is forced not once, but twice, to make the same stupid decision to deliver yourself into captivity. The final "boss" encounter isn't up to much either, and the game ends on a blatant cliffhanger. But man, the supercharged Gravity Gun makes up for a lot of sins...
  • Halo:
    • "Cortana", the second-to-last level of Halo 3, falls squarely into this. After three entire games of action-packed tactical combat against the Covenant army, you end up fighting wave after wave of Flood zombies in pitch-blackness inside the unintuitive, confusing corridors of what's essentially a giant city-sized colon.
    • "Pillar of Autumn" in Halo: Reach has the traditional "escape in a vehicle" sequence... except it's in a Mongoose, which is weak, has no weapons, and has just speed on its side. Compare that to 3 and CE's escape in a Warthog and Halo 3: ODST's in a Scorpion tank. The only obstacles are some landing Covenant troops and two Scarabs that you can't destroy and that don't even attack. Your AI partner for the level, Emile, is useless because he thinks his shotgun has a much greater range than it actually does. Later on the player must defend a landing pad for a very long time, in which Emile "attempts" to help by shooting down enemy dropships with a MAC cannon, except that he aims for all the ones that aren't going to land and deploy troops. However, this trope is subverted when it turns out "Pillar of Autumn" actually isn't the final level. The Playable Epilogue "Lone Wolf" is.
  • Kingpin: Life of Crime has its last level take place in a skyscraper with the final boss at the end. While the level design was declining steadily after the first episode (Skid Row), at least the other levels are fairly open and feature lots of NPC and sidequests as well as interesting architecture. The skyscraper, however, throws all of that out of the window and is just a series of bland rooms and hallways with ammo and health stashes alternating with groups of mooks.
  • Blood Harvest and Swamp Fever, in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 respectively. It's difficult to both see and evade any attacking infected, as well as being darker than a lot of other campaigns due to the lack of lighting. Blood Harvest also features some of the toughest crescendo events in the game (with the port to the sequel throwing in some even worse gauntlets to boot), and Swamp Fever has a fairly difficult finale featuring two Tanks attacking at once.
    • The finale of The Sacrifice comes off as disappointing and underwhelming to many people because of the level design. Storywise, the map makes sense since it's where the survivors are last seen and are seen again in the same area in The Passing in Left 4 Dead 2. Gameplaywise, you have to start up 3 generators to get the bridge to work and every generator summons a horde of zombies and a Tank, so you spend the the final level just fighting for an extended period of time. The actual sacrifice itself is also underwhelming because, due to limits on the Source engine, the character who sacrifices themselves is shown to be knocked down by a rock thrown from an off-screen Tank and lies there helplessly as the zombies rush in to pounce on them. Assuming they actually make it - since the finale requires exactly one character to leave safety, run out into the open and then hit the generator, it is all too easy for the entire finale to be lost simply because a Tank spawned close enough to block that player's path to the generator.
  • Many players complain about the final level of Medal of Honor: Airborne, which is an entirely fictional campaign (an assault on a Flak Tower, which was never actually attempted by the Allies) that introduces extremely unrealistic enemies (Gas Mask Mooks with rocket launchers, and ridiculously unrealistic Super Soldiers who wield heavy machineguns and can survive a couple dozen bullet hits before dying) in a series which otherwise tries to be at least reasonably historically accurate (the worst inaccuracies were crediting American forces for having a hand in battles they were not involved in, but at least actually happened in reality).
  • Compared to the previous areas, Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi's last area is much more boring than the others; the design is a jumbled mess that's much less interesting than the other environments and is overly long and drawn out. The enemies are also less difficult and scary, as their spawns are less logically placed and instead boil down to various random enemies just standing around in the middle of rooms, and if you've gotten all the upgrades you can mow through everything with ease. And, for some reason, after you find the last family member you can just skip past half the area straight to the anticlimactically easy final bosses. You won't miss much.
  • Perfect Dark starts out as an upgraded version of GoldenEye (1997) (shooter with some degree of stealth) with more weapons, more interesting levels and the freedom associated with having an original story instead of a movie's plot. The last two levels are essentially backtracking-laden missions on an alien ship and an alien homeworld in which Joanna shoots her way through many enemies and eventually fights the final boss.
  • Rainbow Six:
    • The final mission of the original game, "Mystic Tiger", takes place in a massive biodome (where you must stop the Phoenix Group once and for all). Unfortunately, the fact that it consists of long, repetitive hallways and massive open areas without any cover whatsoever means that your team(s) will be forced into a linear path filled with snipers and open rooms. Yes, you can and will lose most of your team in this mission, and for no good reason. The cover system so deftly executed throughout the game is completely tossed out.
    • Vegas rehashes the "Mystic Tiger" mission with the climactic "Secret Labs" mission, where you must take a circular route through a dam to get to an underground lab and stop Irina Morales. Whereas many of the preceding levels featured expansive, open areas, you (the player) are once again locked into a linear path. Coupled with a vague Sequel Hook and ending dialogue (three characters stand around having a conversation that amounts to nothing more than "well, that's done... what's next?"), it quickly approaches "That One Level" status.
    • Vegas 2 starts on this with the penultimate level. Since story-wise your teammates have to go help the previous game's protagonist, you're left entirely on your own for it, with a useless NSA agent who isn't even on the ground with you as your only support, trying to shoot your way through massive groups of enemies who cannot be stealthily picked off and will instantly kill you if you get up out of cover for more than a few seconds to find and shoot them. On at least one occasion the level forces you into an intense shootout in an area with almost no good cover and four paths for the enemy to flank you, with more enemies spawning in every time you try to make five feet of progress past the opening room. The final level starts getting back on track, with you having not only your full team again but even getting support from a second team for the first time since the prologue... but then dumps itself right back into this trope in the last five minutes, right as one of your teammates gets incapacitated by a bomb on a door before he can disarm it. Four guys with shotguns immediately fast-rope into the tiny room you're in, right next to you and your remaining teammate, ready to instantly kill you if you don't react in the correct way within three seconds. Four more guys wait on the floor above overlooking the room, ready to plug you when you head out to help your downed teammate. Bishop demands to fight the Big Bad on their own once you get past this room, and for the trouble you get an old fashioned trial and error Puzzle Boss battle with fifty guys and a helicopter gunship.
  • While Rambo: The Video Game is a pretty poor game in general, you might be able to have some mindless fun by breezing through most of the campaign, which shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. And then you come to the final mission, based on the climax of Rambo III, which suffers from extreme amounts of Fake Difficulty, including dozens upon dozens of enemy units, nearly always accompanied by "commander" enemies who double the damage output of their fellow units and allow them to easily slaughter Rambo if he comes out of cover for just a couple of seconds too long (with their endlessly repeating the phrase "Fight harder, comrades! He's a man, not a god!" grating all the while), together with heavy artillery that can easily inflict a One-Hit Kill on Rambo, and Check-Point Starvation.
  • In Shadow Warrior 2, after a climactic boss fight with a humongous mecha piloted by Zilla himself, Zilla survives the battle but for some poorly explained reason both you and Zilla agree to stop the real Big Bad from trying to unseal the demonic gate. After getting the penultimate sword from him, you rush to the final quest in which you just need to fight Ameonna, residing on Kamiko's demonic corrupted body, in a fight that much is much easier than the first boss fight against said demonic corrupted body (let alone the preceding penultimate boss fight) due to your upgraded arsenal and powers and generally less movement from the final boss itself. This is followed by an abrupt Gainax Ending that barely explains anything.
  • In the last 3 levels of Soldier of Fortune: Payback, enemies receive a massive spike in the damage they do, so that they can kill you in just 1 or 2 shots, compared to the rest of the game where you can soak more than a dozen hits before dying. This turns the game from a standard action movie-style shooter to a frustrating Nintendo Hard crawl with lots and lots of having to reload from the last checkpoint.
  • The last three levels of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl strip away the open, organic world of the rest of the game while suddenly raising the difficulty well past its normal (already high) level. The run to the sarcophagus is just a straight line filled with enemies. The building itself is entirely made of cramped corridors that force the player into crossfires where all of the enemies have the game's most powerful weapons and armor equipped (that's six people on each side, who only need three shots to kill you). Tactics are less relevant than exploiting AI glitches. Finally if the player picks the true ending they have to follow yet another linear path filled with enemies, though it does have a much more interesting look.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Elite Force. After a fairly competent shooter in reasonably diverse environments, you've gone nearly the entire game without ever running into a cliched boss level. Then, right outside the final room, you find a charge-up that arbitrarily increases all of your ammunition counters to 999. That's... not good. What follows is one of the most tedious boss fights ever designed: the boss is a huge, generic tentacle monster which is incapable of moving, and the only way to defeat it is shoot it until it dies, which uses up nearly all of your ammunition. To cap it off, you're treated to one of the cheesiest final cutscenes ever written - Tuvok praises your actions, and Janeway responds "Why, Tuvok, is that a note of pride I detect?" Tuvok emotionlessly responds "Captain, there is no need to insult me." All onscreen characters: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA."
  • In System Shock 2, the level design takes a nosedive once you reach The Body of the Many. The level itself is incredibly linear, devoid of most enemies until the very end, and has long periods where the player is being carried somewhere while listening to monologues. It gets even worse in the next (and final) level, being little more than a copy-paste of the previous game's textures into the environment of the training levels and a boss fight that can easily be beaten in moments.


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