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THE PCG Q&A

Sometimes you have to replay part of a game multiple times to get the ‘true’ ending, like in the Nier or Zero Escape series. But other games have endings you can easily miss because of a decision you made 20 hours back, or because you didn’t earn enough magic war points, or because you earned too many magic chaos points. When that happens do you go back for a do-over, or is your first playthrough an unalterable canon even—if you missed out on the golden secret true ending?

Do you replay games if you don’t get the ‘best’ ending?

Here are our answers, plus some from our forum.

(Image credit: Atlus)

Robin Valentine: Thankfully this style of design seems to have largely faded away these days, because it’s one of my least favourite things in games. I find it so hugely dispiriting to find out I’ve crossed some point of no return that means that the last moments of the game will be the equivalent of the developers wagging a finger at me for not doing things properly. I’m far more likely to react by just quitting in frustration right before the finish line and never returning than I am to start all over again. If I get an inclining that a game has a set-up like that, I’ll usually look up some pointers beforehand to make sure I don’t make any ending-ruining blunders—though that usually means having a bunch of stuff spoiled for me, messing up the experience either way.

The way Persona 4 and 5 handle this really wound me up. I love those games, and actually one of the things I like about them is the way they encourage you to not perfectly micro-manage your experience—their structure, which limits how much you can do in a day while giving you an overwhelming amount of choices, pushes you to just go with your gut and roll with your mistakes. What could be more appropriate than that for a series about teenage life? But then they always have some nonsense at the end where if you didn’t do this, this, and this, then you don’t get to see the true ending, and if you don’t do that right you won’t get to see the super secret even truer ending. To add insult to injury, this always seems to mean having to play another 20 hours of super hard bullshit dungeon crawl. It’s like eating your vegetables so you can have dessert, only to find out the real treats are behind a 30-foot wall of cold cabbage. 

(Image credit: BioWare)

Christopher Livingston: Once upon a time I’d probably spend the extra time to see multiple endings. Today, I’ll most likely just fire up YouTube and watch someone else who’s done all the hard work to unlock and record various endings.  I’m always curious about roads not taken, but not enough to experience them myself. 

Plus I find there’s something more enjoyable about playing a game once, sticking with the decisions I made, good or bad, and walking away with just a single timeline in my head instead of multiple versions of what happened.

Wes Fenlon: I don’t think I’ve ever replayed a story-focused game expressly because I didn’t get the full ending. Who has the time for that? Like Robin says, it’s frustrating to play a really long game like Persona 4 only to discover you didn’t do X thing 20 hours ago and thus are locked out of the complete story. Sierra adventure games pulled the same bullshit in the ’80s and ’90s and it sucked then, too! There are definitely games like Mass Effect and BioShock and even the first season of The Walking Dead that I’ve replayed and made different decisions in, but getting the “best” ending wasn’t really the goal.

I have done this with older games like Contra 3, which doesn’t let you play through the final level or so if you’re on easy difficulty. I’m terrible at Contra so I don’t think I actually made it to the end on normal, but I did try! Even if the real ending is just a static screen saying “Good job,” it’s an achievement to shoot for.

(Image credit: Arkane Studios)

Richard Stanton: In my younger days I had the time to play through games multiple times: not now. I dislike a lot of multiple-choice game endings because, although there are honrable exceptions like Disco Elysium, too often they veer between wild extremes of good and bad. In Bioshock you ended up either a hero hippy raising orphans, or a power-crazed flesh-eater about to declare war on the world. Come on. I finished Dishonored and the game gave me a bad ending for killing too many people: a game where you play a character who is basically murder Batman. I hate it when games build these awesome shiv-em-up systems, give you powers like being able to summon rats to eat foes alive, then you do it all and the damn thing turns around and goes ‘tut tut tut Richard, why did you kill all those people?’ Because you are designed to make it feel good, videogame! You gave me the rats and now you turn on me!

Tyler Wilde: Whichever ending I get is the best ending so long as I don’t know there are other endings, so I just try not to know anything about what I’m playing.

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Andy Chalk: Nah, it’s not worth the hassle. Sometimes I’ll take steps to ensure I get the ending I want in “big” games—I used a guide for the Mass Effect 2 suicide mission; for Witcher 3, I used console commands to check out all three endings—but I don’t have enough time to play all the games I want even once, much less replay them to get different endings. If there’s a save right near the final choice at the end of a game I’ll sometimes go back and try different options to see what happens (I just did that with Strangeland, in fact), but that’s as far as I’m willing to go with it.

Phil Savage: Realistically, I’m never going to replay a game with multiple endings. As such, if I get the merest hint that I’m playing something with a canonically good ending, I’ll usually search for a guide—spoiler-free if possible—that lists the main choices needed to nudge myself in that direction. If game endings were consistently better—if the choices made felt like a satisfying conclusion to the character arc the player had forged for themselves—I’d be happier to go with the flow. Too often, though, they feel almost character-agnostic, wrapping up the main story beats with a bit of added “welp, you sure did fuck this up” if you failed to activate the hidden series of flags needed to actually do well. That’s not the satisfying conclusion I’m looking for after spending 30+ hours with a game.

(Image credit: Owlcat Games)

Jody Macgregor:  I guess I’m the weirdo who does this. I’m partway through replaying Pathfinder: Kingmaker, which took like 90 hours the first time, in an attempt to get the secret ending by jumping through some ridiculous hoops. Sometimes I’ll go back to a save from before the divergence point and just replay the back half, which is how I got the Good+ ending of SIlent Hill, but if I really love a game I know I’ll play it again some day, so I might as well engineer the best possible finale to Planescape: Torment or whatever.

Still, even I just YouTubed the full ending of Arkham Knight instead of doing all the Riddler challenges. Fuck that noise.

XoRn: Yep. I know I don’t have to but it feels like the game is judging me, even if the thing that causes the ending I don’t want is practically arbitrary in how it was assigned.

For example, the original Bioshock has a “good”, “mixed” and “bad” ending. You get the good ending by rescuing all of the Little Sisters, and you get the bad ending by harvesting all of them. Any mix of doing both will result in the mixed ending, which is basically the bad ending again, but with different talking going on over it. Point is, if you want the good ending you have to save every little sister.

(Image credit: 2K)

Mechanically, the rewards are basically the same. You get less ADAM (skill currency) for saving the Little Sisters but they make up for it by leaving you goodie baskets once in a while so functionally the decision to do one or the other ONLY affects the ending in the long run. At the time of my first play though, this wasn’t obvious, and I harvested the second little sister I found to test the reward.

This of course locked me into the bad ending (or near enough in my mind) so that when I beat the game and looked up the other endings and realized I didn’t get the good one I had to play the whole damn thing again. Thankfully, it’s a game that plays well the second time around, and you better believe I was ready to club that sneaky f!@#$%^ doctor right in the face this time. (You know the one I’m talking about!)

(Image credit: 4A Games)

Ryzengang: Sometimes I will, yeah. I haven’t done so yet, but I’m definitely going to replay Metro: Exodus because I got the “bad” ending. No problem with replaying, especially since the Enhanced Edition came out and I have a 3080 to run it. Although it’s a whole different tangent, the karma system in Exodus is honestly pretty stupid and I don’t think it should affect the ending at all frankly, but that is a separate discussion.

Pifanjr: I have (painfully) gone through all endings of Mass Effect 3, reloading the safe each time and going through the motions to see each colour. That’s probably as close as I’ve gotten, since it’s rare for me to complete games in the first place, let alone replay an entire game start to finish.

DXCHASE: This is one of those “depends on the game” questions for me. Most of the time…no, I’m usually done with it because I don’t have the time, unless I can save right before making 1 or 2 decisions that will take me in 2 different directions.

(Image credit: STR-MS)

Colif: Normally I play games that have no ending except… Journey. it only lasts 90 minutes but I played it endlessly for months, not because there is a best ending but because everyone was different. Its all to do with the way it matched you to other people, and how they reacted. The game itself was always mostly the same but the play wasn’t. I met people in that game I cannot understand outside of the game. Many from Japan, they were the most fun games.

I hope it still has people playing it on PC. Its not the same alone.

McStabStab: No, I usually just youtube the other endings. One life to live, can’t spend it grinding multiple playthroughs of every forked plot game out there!

Krud: Sometimes, but it depends on the game. It’s one of the reasons why I keep a ton of savepoints in games, especially at what seem to be crucial decisions. But if the different ending is only slight, and the reason for it is largely due to something I did several dozen hours ago, then I’ll probably live with my decisions. If it’s a Bioware or similar game where the choices were largely in the final act, I’ll almost definitely go back to see what happens if I made another choice, regardless of whether I’d already gotten the “best” ending or not.

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

Sarafan: I have a tendency to replay games even if I get the best ending.  But yes, it happens. Usually I satisfy myself by reverting the game only to the point where there was a crucial decision which impacted the ending. The most notable example is The Witcher 3. During my first playthrough I got the worst case scenario and I just couldn’t continue playing the DLCs with it in mind. I decided to replay a big part of the game just to get the best finish.

There are games however where I don’t care which ending I get. I just try to maximize fun by playing them how I want to. For example, I didn’t care which ending I’ll get in Metro: Last Light. I just focused on having fun. The ending was of course bad, but the requirements for getting the good one would strip the game from a lot of fun. Not to mention that it’s a lot harder to get it.

(Image credit: BioWare)

JCgames: Mass Effect spoilers ahead!

What is the best ending? If you mean while romancing Tali I sided with legion destroying her race and she still loved me, while living happily ever after with benevolent reapers making everyone’s lives better, then No, I got that my first try. It took me two to loose the galaxy as an angry Shep with the only clue to my existence and my girl aria becoming a beacon. At least I know she made it that long. <wink>. In the end I only replay a game if I really love it. Then if I actually make it to the end a second time before ADD kicks in it’s in very rare company. I am not sure ten games are at that level and I’ve been gaming since Pong, (the one with the paddles and a dot, not ping pong balls and cups.) BTW, this one was one of um 🙂

tragadaw: Of course. When I play AC and play the main quest, if not I will repeat it until it’s perfect. And repetition for not just because of the mission, but fun while playing it.

Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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E-Games

Ubisoft DRM Breaks Might & Magic X: Legacy Single-Player, DLC

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A green-ish glowing spider faces a party of adventurers in Might & Magic Legacy: X

Old school role-playing with new school problems.
Screenshot: Ubisoft

On June 1 Ubisoft shut down online services for several popular games. One of those games was 2014’s Might & Magic X: Legacy, an old-school first-person hack-n-slash dungeon crawler with no online multiplayer components whatsoever. It did, however, require a one-time verification through Ubisoft’s Uplay system to activate the game. Without it, players can’t get past the game’s first act. Thankfully there’s a partial workaround for this entirely unnecessary snafu.

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Might & Magic X: Legacy is a game that anyone with a Steam account or access to the Ubisoft shop can purchase and download right now for around $25. As Redditor and outstanding name-haver SensualTyrannosaurus points out, it’s not exactly the best time to buy. Since Ubisoft shut down the game’s network services, players have been unable to get past the game’s first chapter without manually editing their game files, while the game’s downloadable content remains completely inaccessible.

Read More: Back 4 Blood Will Require An Always Online Internet Connection And That’s Terrible

In a post on the Steam forums, user ljmiii helpfully details how to remove four lines from the game’s “LevDialog.xml” file, effectively bypassing the initial ownership check that occurs at the end of Might & Magic X: Legacy’s first chapter. Again, while this workaround does give owners access to the rest of the game’s normal content, it does nothing to enable “The Falcon & The Unicorn” downloadable content.

Kotaku’s reached out to Ubisoft regarding the issue, and will update this post should it respond. Reddit OP SensualTyrannosaurus says they have spoken to Ubisoft support, and that they are aware of the situation.

This is another unfortunate example of the problems with requiring an online component for an otherwise completely offline game. This is not a massive, invasive digital rights management check. It’s just a quick-and-simple check-in with Ubisoft’s servers that’s now causing a headache for legitimate game owners. This isn’t something we should have to deal with. Hopefully, Ubisoft can issue a quick fix—and make the DLC available again—and Might & Magic X: Legacy fans can get back to their worry-free dungeon crawling.

 

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E-Games

Activision Shareholders Vote To Keep Paying CEO Bobby Kotick A Ton Of Money

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Illustration for article titled Activision Shareholders Vote To Keep Paying CEO Bobby Kotick A Shit-Ton Of Money

Photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty Images)

Long-time Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick eked out another lucrative victory today at the company’s annual shareholder meeting with a narrow vote of 54% in favor of maintaining his generous salary and millions in annual bonuses. The win comes after a year-long campaign by CtW Investor Group to rein in what it calls the Call of Duty boss’ “excessive executive pay.”

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“We are pleased that, based on exceptional shareholder returns and responsiveness, Activision Blizzard shareholders again approved our say-on-pay proposal and reelected our Board directors with an average of 96% of votes,” a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard wrote in an email. While shareholders overwhelmingly voted to re-elect the company’s board of directors, only 54% approved of the say-on-pay proposal, the lowest number ever according to the CtW Investment Group.

Originally scheduled to take place on June 14, Activision Blizzard ultimately delayed the vote until today “based on requests from shareholders for additional time.” A say-on-pay proposal is a non-binding vote that lets shareholders either voice support or reject CEO pay terms. As Axios reported, a failed vote would put increased pressure on the company to further reduce Kotick’s pay.

“It appears Activision did just enough arm-twisting for its Say on Pay measure to pass, nearly failing to receive majority support with only 54% of votes cast in favor,” Michael Varner, director of executive compensation research at CtW, told Kotaku in an email. “Such marginal support for Say on Pay votes is extremely rare: fewer than 4% of companies in the broader Russell 3000 index receive support around 50%, with average support in the S&P 500 at 88.6%.”

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War came out at the very end of 2020 and was still the year’s best selling game.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War came out at the very end of 2020 and was still the year’s best selling game.
Image: Activision Blizzard

Despite slashing his base salary from $1,750,000 down to $850,000 earlier this year, Kotick makes most of his money from annual bonuses. Even with the lower salary, he could still be on track to earn tens of millions more, as he has over the last several years thanks to Activision Blizzard’s exploding stock value during the pandemic.

For its part, Activision Blizzard maintains that the amended compensation will result in significant cuts to Kotick’s pay over the next year, and argues he deserves his massive past payouts for helping the company’s stock price balloon.

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“Mr. Kotick, the longest tenured CEO of a public technology company, has transformed Activision Blizzard, achieved record results, doubled the value of the company, and delivered more than $45 billion in additional shareholder value since his employment agreement took effect in October 2016,” a spokesperson for the company told Kotaku. “Under his leadership, he has turned Activision Blizzard into one of the most important and valuable entertainment and technology companies in the world, increased jobs, and led major strategic investments that have enabled the company to far outpace most of its peers.”

The shareholder vote comes after Activision Blizzard announced layoffs across various parts of the company back in March. The number of employees affected was less than 2% of its total staff, or around 190 people, Bloomberg reported at the time. Amidst these and other layoffs at the company, developers within Blizzard have been pushing for more transparency and equity around employee pay. According to documents reviewed by Bloomberg, some junior developers there reported being paid less than $40,000 a year, or less than a fraction of a percent of Kotick’s total 2020 earnings. But hey, Call of Duty machine go Brrr.

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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Is A Good Intro To An Old Series

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rivet in ratchet and clank rift apart

Rivet, a new protagonist, makes it easy to jump into a storied series.
Screenshot: Insomniac

Jumping cold into the latest entry of a long-running series is often a daunting proposition. Catching up with dozens of characters across decades of games? Checking out Wikipedia pages between missions? No thanks! An exception to this rule is Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, released earlier this month for PS5, which doesn’t require even a wink of familiarity to be a good time.

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Despite being a lifelong gamer, I’ve largely missed Insomniac’s iconic space-faring Lombax. (Earlier this year, I played approximately 30 minutes of the 2016 remake before getting distracted by a cascade of newer but not necessarily better games. I haven’t found the time to return.) But I wanted to play Rift Apart, because, well, freakin’ look at it:

When John Walker described Rift Apart as “brain-dazzlingly stunning” in his review, that wasn’t hyperbole. The game also sports the pedigree of a studio responsible for gems such as Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the tremendously overlooked Sunset Overdrive. Plus, it’s supposedly a showcase for the snazzy new features of the PS5—, like haptic feedback and instant loading screens— that bear a ton of potential but haven’t exactly been seen much in action since the console launched last November.

Going in, I fully expected to get a kick out of the gameplay but feel otherwise lost. I figured I’d be up to my shoulders in wiki lore pages, or at least pausing the game every five minutes to beg friends to explain references to me. Instead, I’ve found this game a breeze to jump into. The relationship between the two lead characters comes off as natural and earned, even though I missed its earlier chapters. Clank might be a robot, but he loves Ratchet to the moon and back—and that bond is reciprocated. Dr. Nefarious might be the bad guy, but that’s a blatant result of insecurity, which likely resulted from years of losing at Ratchet’s furry hands. I needn’t be steeped in Ratchet history to immediately grasp these concepts.

Read More: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Is The Best Mascot Platformer In Ages, But There’s Not Much Competition

The ease of entry is further buoyed by the presence of a new character, Rivet, also a Lombax. In fact, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart even comes out of the gate with a cinematic sequence starring Rivet, a creative choice that seems designed to onboard newcomers who might not be up to speed on the decades-old PlayStation mascot. Rivet’s brand new to this fictional universe, just like those of us who haven’t played a Ratchet game before. It’s a lot easier to dive in cold when someone more capable than you is leading the way, even if they are of a species that doesn’t exist.

There’s also the matter that Rift Apart, perhaps more so than any game I’ve played for the PS5, is unabashedly a video game. There’s no need to hand-wave the more outlandish concepts—like the prominence of fully cognizant artificial intelligence, or the species of space beavers that are all individually and inexplicably named Mort—with some pseudo-scientific explanation that may or may not hold up to scrutiny. Much of Rift Apart is nonsensical in a way many video games aren’t these days. The primary upgrade material is called raritarium, for crying out loud. (Note: It doesn’t seem that rare to me.)

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I’ve no doubt that, by coming into Rift Apart with little to no understanding of the series, I’m missing out on various winks and nods that would make the game more enjoyable, at least in the “Oh, ha, I got the reference” way. But missing this stuff hasn’t cut into my enjoyment of the game.

If you really feel like you need to start with an earlier game, you have an easy avenue to play the previously most recent Ratchet game, provided you also subscribe to PS Plus. The 2016 remake is among a set number of well-received PS4 games that are free at no extra cost to PS5 owners who subscribe to PS Plus, and, by most accounts, it serves as a good introduction to Ratchet & Clank. You could start there. In my mind, you don’t need to.

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