The Last Battle

Thank you Mario!

I have a ridiculous habit. I will play through a game relentlessly until my fingertips go numb and my eyes bleed, all the way up until the last dungeon – maybe even to the final encounter.

Then I’ll quit.

Which means that there is a rather lengthy list of rather notable games that I have, err, rather not beaten. That’s right, I have not beaten Final Fantasy VIII or IX. Or II or III (the Japanese ones, of course I’ve beaten FF IV and VI). I also haven’t beaten Fallout III, any Halo game, Morrowind, and, well the list goes on.

I’d like to think there’s some method to my madness. I tend to play games for their plot, like they’re some bizarre book with moving pictures that I can interact with. And let’s face it, even with the best books and movies out there, the endings aren’t that hard to figure out. It’s the path the story takes to reach that ending that engages us me.

Once I reach the final dungeon, I’ve traversed the path of the story. The rest is just loose ends.

Ok, I admit it, there’s more than a little laziness, and probably some bizarre, medically unexplained psychosis, involved as well. Final dungeons and last bosses are typically far more grueling than anything you’ve dealt with up to that point. It’s a grind. And, as I’ve mentioned numerous times previously, I loathe grinds.

The obvious solution is for me to put on my big boy pants and man up. But what if – and this is crazy – but what if I’m not in the wrong here? What if all those archvillain lairs and the archvillains themselves were made a little bit more accessible?

…hmm. Didn’t I just make a post on making games more difficult? Why yes, yes I did. But more accessible doesn’t have to mean easier, it could instead mean that the last dungeon is no longer three times larger than the average dungeon in the game. Or if it is, maybe add something to break it up – Breath of Fire II had a nifty little town in its endgame dungeon. And you might have even been able to teleport there (ha – I dare you to prove me wrong : D ).

And I haven’t even touched on final bosses. In the interest of keeping this post a reasonable length, suffice it to say that I have found that last bosses come in three varieties: stupifyingly easy, brutally difficult, or the ol’ “If you get lucky and he doesn’t use that one move, you’ll win.” None of these varieties are particularly satisfying.

Now, let’s all bear in mind that this annoying habit is probably the result of being dropped on my head as a child. And now I return to avoiding playing through the final mission in Deus Ex.

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