It's not like a blockbuster action game has to have a final boss fight, right? Such things were definitely emblematic of the 80s and 90s, but as the industry has grown and become way more cinematic, ending your game on a defining moment or story point can be just as impactful. Hell, The Last of Us' final shot is just someone's face, but it encapsulates the entire journey up to that point.
However, if you're going to go for broke and you are going to pit us off against some all-seeing, all-powerful final foe, it has to be done right.
The entire game has built to this point, we've invested countless hours perfecting its systems, learning methods of attack or tactical options to deploy at just the right moment. If the final showdown is anything less than a cerebrally perplexing test of all these things and more, you've ultimately wasted one of the biggest opportunities to end your respective title on the highest of notes.
Well, for every Ganondorf, Sephiroth or Liquid Snake, there are these stinkers filling out the ranks...
There's a very good reason Uncharted didn't fully take hold until its second instalment; the first was a bizarre hybrid of platforming and third-person shooting, indicative of Naughty Dog adapting an entire new genre alongside the one they'd been practicing for over a decade.
Case in point: Navarro, the forgettable final foe who you took down with a mix of quick-time events and instant headshots. Considering all the preamble to get here, the set-pieces, the fusion of climbing and shooting, the resurrection of the undead Spanish citizens... I wanted a little more out of my final encounter than an awkward, half-interactive cutscene.
Naughty Dog would fair slightly better in the gameplay stakes with Uncharted 2 and 3's Lazarevic and Talbot respectively, but even they fell foul of terribly implemented supernatural components sprucing up their abilities. Here's to A Thief's End finally ending the series in style.