Perhaps developers want to make it a trend, final levels that differ largely from the preceding gameplay in an attempt to deliver a last burst of joy to the player. Numerous games have done it and follow it up with a cutscene to distract the player from what just happened.
When I think about the concept it reminds me of a horrific hour long LA car chase. Finally the hatchback pulls into a suburban cul-de-sac and the helicopter gets a great view. But rather than the perp hopping out and then being wrestled to the ground by police, dozens of clowns flow out and proceed to make a mockery of the whole thing. It's unexpected, confusing, and a little hilarious.
Let's begin on a blunder, the wrong way to do an epic final level. Halo ended with a driving scene in a warthog and although a little strange considering the game is well, a shooter, it still worked on a grand scale. Halo 2 was so...well it was a decent game I just don't even remember how it ended. So naturally I expected Halo 3 to blow me out of the water. Perhaps give me something to remember as fondly as I did the original Halo?
But unfortunately the devs at Bungie had grown so tired of working on the series they decided to spit in our eye, sucker punch us, and steal our girlfriends. You are provided a warthog and *gasp* must escape an unfinished Death Sta...Halo via extreme jumping. That'd be well and good but it's the same thing as the original! Not to mention that even though you are committing vehicular homicide through much of the game it is still primarily an FPS. Don't worry an ambiguous cutscene will replace that strange feeling with confusion. Halo has a Marathon connection?! What?
Regardless of your affection or lack thereof for the franchise you have to be a little disappointed with that final level. The game is built on being a cinematic, innovative, larger than life experience and it winds up running out of ideas. Some might have had fun with it but I was so sick of wallowing in another rehashed level I just wanted it to end. If Halo 4 ever gets made, and my declining American dollar says it will, I expect a much better epic final level than Beetle Adventure Racing on steroids.
Now we move to a much more enjoyable, albeit removed from the core of the game, ending. Psychonauts is an amazing game chock full of the kind of humor most Portal fans would love and filled with some of the most artistic stuff I've seen since Jet Set Radio Future. So when I reached the end of the game, an act known as "Meat Circus", I was prepared for the best stuff imagination could produce.
Well Meat Circus is one of the most frustrating levels of a game I've ever played. But after an hour of fury and mouse crushing anger you reach the final boss battle. You've just been through the most grueling part of the game using all the skill you've acquired and now you'll certainly be faced with a supreme challenge. At this point you just want it to end, hopefully you'll be shooting mind lasers and end the whole ordeal quickly. Or...you'll spend half the battle being Godzilla with boxing gloves and the other half running for your life.
This bout of fisticuffs of mammoth proportions isn't exactly fresh but for a psychic game it was hardly expected. After fighting larger than life foes for much of the game you finally get to be giant for brief moments and wail on your nightmares. The battle isn't a pushover but you rarely feel endangered. Overall, the ordeal is quite satisfying. We get a new flavor of play from the game, a good ending, and we don't feel as though the game should have had another few months in production.
Its very interesting how a lot of games feel it necessary to give us a final level greatly different from the others but it does help in making them memorable. Hopefully when games in the future decide to use epic final levels they make them innovative and extremely fun. Because even the best games can be tainted or ruined by a poor conclusion. read