Fallout 3 Has a Terrible Ending
Posted by Ben Zeigler on December 22, 2008
The topic of this post is self explanatory. I’m not going to discuss the details, but if you do not want to hear anything about the ending to Fallout 3, stop reading now.
The first 99% of Fallout 3 is extremely good. It does a great job of presenting you with interesting, impactful choices, which as I’ve mentioned before is one of my absolute favorite things about games. However, there is a specific point in the game (right after the final escort) where the game takes a horrible turn for the worst. The ending in Fallout 3 is infuriating enough to make me hate the game, even though I absolutely loved it. I’m sure my emotions will mellow with time, but Bethesda made a huge mistake in capping off a great game with a crappy ending.
Many games have crappy endings, and as an experienced game player I’m used to it. I wouldn’t be so infuriated without Fallout 3 if it weren’t for the fact that it seemed like it was heading towards having a really good ending. Despite what the paranoid fans were saying, I felt like Fallout 3 did a great job of carrying on the story traditions of Fallout 3. Also, Bethesda had previously stated that Fallout 3 would have a multi-segmented ending with “over 200 endings” much like the first two Fallouts. I had made many shades-of-grey decisions during the game, and I was interested in seeing a vision of the future based on what I had done. The sections of the main storyline immediatly before the ending were fun and exciting, and I felt it was heading towards a climax. When you combine these factors, I had high expectations for the ending.
Those expectations are really what made the ending feel so much like a slap in the face. Well, here are the primary things wrong with the last 20 minutes of the game:
- The total running time of the ending movies is ridiculously short. Mine took about 60 seconds.
- There are actually a very small number of endings, even when you add up all the combinations. From reading the spoilerific wiki page, the choices are 5 event-activated segments (where you only got an ending scene if you took one out of many possible choices), 1 2-choice segment, and 1 3-choice segment. I only activated one of the bool flags (most of them are for doing evil actions for some reason) so most of my ending was completely stock
- The event-activated segments consist of two pictures with no voice over or text. These pictures are just screenshots from the game and must have taken a whole 5 minutes each.
- Many of the screenshots they do show did not apply to my character. For instance, I never found dogmeat but several of them showed him as my loyal companion. They also showed me at several locations I had never been to.
- Prior to the ending videos, you are forced to make an artificial choice. However, given the nature of the choice there are multiple companions who could trivially help you out. You are even allowed to ask them to help you, but all of them refuse with EXTREMELY stupid reasoning.
- Before that, you confront a “final boss” who goes down with one shot and was the easiest battle I had fought in several hours. It’s possible to use diplomacy, but it is difficult and doesn’t tell you anything interesting (basically you saying “You’ve already lost! Because I say so!”).
- You essentially get to choose between doing an evil thing, doing a good thing, and doing nothing. There is an extremely viable neutral choice (cooperating with the “final boss” who isn’t evil at ALL), but the game doesn’t let you take it, for no conceivable reason.
- To get the “good” ending (which again is just a slightly different screenshot with narration) you have to manually remember a specific code. This is fine in theory but there is nothing priming your memory near the end of the game, and I had to search through my logs from 10 hours earlier to pull up a hint for it, which took a few minutes while theoretically time was running out.
It looks like they may revise the ending a bit in future DLC, but if they actually DO that it will be even more frustrating. Apparently to get a satisfying ending to a game, we will now have to spend an extra $10. Bethesda, you’ve somehow managed to make me hate your absolutely brilliant game.
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