There’s nothing more anticlimactic than tearing through a dozen or more hours of a story only to finally question the ending. Even the most intellectual players who thrive from deep puzzle solving and conclusions open to interpretation sometimes scratch their chins over a few of them. And, while a lot of the time they can prove to be real brain teasers and offer some level of originality — we sometimes find frustration between the lines of the outcome. Of course, that can lead to a Google search expedition and way past the boundaries of a simple yet satisfying ending.
Year after year, developers scout new ways to shock the audience over the run-up to the final curtain. Unlikely betrayals, eye-popping motives, and everything else that makes us question the game as a whole. It’s all there, and we don’t know how to tackle it when it finally oozes from our screens. Love it or hate it, we can’t fault the creativity that pops from some of these studios. But, seriously — these five really do take the cake.
5. BioShock: Infinite
Throughout our Columbian journey as Booker DeWitt, the concept seemed relatively simple. “Bring us the girl — and wipe away the debt.” Fair enough, how could we possibly lose track of a goal as simple as that? Well, locating said girl and discovering her mind-bending abilities to alter time and space sort of played a part in that derailing, to be fair.
However, even with the abnormal powers backing the protagonist, nothing quite made us stop and scratch our heads in confusion more than the final twenty minutes of the story. That was the point that, well — we lost it and flocked to Google in a desperate attempt to try and piece together the conclusion. Elizabeth was…what, exactly? Care to explain, 2K?
At face value, Oxenfree seems like a neat little gem that uses personal choices as the foundations for an original adventure. Dialogue options are plentiful, the characters are pretty likeable, and the story is relatively easy to follow, too. For the first thirty minutes, anyway. After that, your guess becomes as good as mine as to what on earth is actually happening on the sci-fi inspired island.
Oxenfree crams a lot of story into a rather short game, and it tends to ignite several fires rather than sticking to just one solid concept. That’s great and everything — providing you can keep track of what’s actually going on. Though, we do have to admit that Oxenfree is a game that deserves two playthroughs at a minimum in order to complete the full picture. Play it once, and you’ll come to learn that Google and Reddit will be your only hope for painting the canvas.
With a game like INSIDE — everything is left to the imagination. With zero dialogue and little guidance from the get-go, we’re immediately left to shovel through with the hope that things will gradually come together by the time we reach the final destination. Unfortunately, it’s that final stretch that takes all of our personal interpretations of the game and wipes them straight from the table.
Although INSIDE is only a few hours long, it’s still one of the most thought-provoking experiences we’ve ever played. There is a sincere meaning behind almost every puzzle that features along the way, and they all shape up to a conclusion that nobody could’ve dared to predict. It’s ludicrously remarkable in its own unique ways — and I doubt any of its players will forget it any time soon, either.
2. Kingdom Hearts 3
Thanks to Square Enix and their forever shifting carousel of appointed teams, Kingdom Hearts has suffered from plot hole after plot hole. Characters hardly make any sense these days, and the motive for both the hero and the villain has become somewhat meaningless ever since Kingdom Hearts 2. Annoyingly, rather than making amends with the current basket of crooked stories, Square Enix has decided to cross even more wires over its spin-off bundles. Now, we’re more perplexed than ever.
Kingdom Hearts should’ve been a relatively simple concept: a chosen one has the power to banish the darkness by locking Disney worlds with a giant key. That’s all it had to be, and yet, Square Enix made the ultimate decision to start piling in new factions and side stories that just don’t add up in the long run. Organization XIII? Nobodies? Memories? Power of Waking? What’s going on here, Square? Please, just tell us.
1. Silent Hill 2
After trudging through the cloaked streets of Silent Hill, it was only natural for us to expect an ending just as bleak as the story itself. Though, nobody quite expected one of the secret endings to involve a dog with a headset. That’s where we lost the immersion and, well — everything else. None of it made sense, and yet, it somehow managed to wrap up a fantastic game with a comical twist. Sure, none of us expected it — but that’s why we loved it. It forced us to do a second take and retrace our thoughts.
While Silent Hill is famously known for its twisted characters and monochrome palette, it’s also known for its exaggerated storytelling. And, honestly, Silent Hill 2 captures the abnormalities rather beautifully — especially in this secret ending. It’s wonderful, it’s wacky — it’s Konami’s wild card. There isn’t a great deal more we can say about this one, to be honest. We’re just about getting our heads around it even after twenty years.