Rushing to the end = Ruining the end?

I’m starting to recognize a pattern in myself: A game’s story reaches a turning point, starting to gesture at a final boss or grand escape, and for some reason, I jump into “must finish this game within the next hour” mode. No matter how much of the game is actually left, I start to sprint past enemy encounters that aren’t balanced to be sprinted past.

I often end up hating my last couple hours with a game because of this. It’s currently happening in Prey, it happened to me in RE7 (post-house), and I remember a particularly gnarly night in college when I beat Halo: Reach in one day on Heroic difficulty.

Does this happen to anyone else? If so, what games? And is it a problem with my mentality or a matter of game pacing?

I think the worst I ever did was Skyrim.

There was a four for February challenge, a game-rushing theme which challenged participants to take four games from the backlog, and finish all of them in one month. I opted, in bad judgement, to have Skyrim, The Witcher 2, and, I don’t remember the others.

I B-lined through Skyrim, knowing I’d chosen poorly. Main quest only. It was awful. Not difficult, or challenging, just uninteresting and bad. I “finished” Skyrim in I think five hours, and hated it. The story wasn’t compelling. The game wasn’t challenging. The story was dumb. This wasn’t how the games were meant to be played, and it showed. It was terrible.

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I find I do this, I definitely did with Dishonored 2. But usually it’s because on some level I recognise that I’m done, I’m ready for the game to end. Especially in games with open elements, if I start focusing on getting to the end it’s usually a good sign that I’m getting ready to part ways with it.

Not to psychoanalyse, but is it possible that some of the reason you sprint to the end possibly because you were ready for it anyway, and might the issue actually be that some games final acts are just a bit too drawn out?


Ooh, Dishonored 2 is a good one. That last level was totally a sprint for me.

Yeah, I do think all of this is tied up in the “game endings are often bad” argument. In Prey, I feel particularly guilty about it, because my quest log is packed with side missions, but all of my story momentum is behind the main quest. I actually feel like, once I know the ending, I’ll be able to start a new playthrough where I can enjoy the world for its own sake.

I also feel this way about Richard Linklater movies? Like, I enjoy the second watch more because I know where everything is headed. I can recognize all the milestones, so when it seems aimless, I still know what it’s working toward.

I’ve done this before; not necessarily because anything particularly signalled it was time for the end, but because I had misconceptions about how long the game was, and so it was eating up more of the day than I’d anticipated. The game in question was Oxenfree. I wanted to do it in an afternoon, thought it would be 4-5 hours, and ended up taking me about 7/8. By the time 5 hours had passed, I just wanted it to end. Totally ruined it for me. (I have just started a second playthrough however on this reflection, in which I’m gonna just do 2 ish hours at a time and try explore to find all the letters for those trophies)

Ah, that sucks. I went into Oxenfree with zero expectations, basically only knowing about the dialogue mechanics. I did have some annoying crashes that made me repeat middle sections, and I do see how it could run a little long.

In that case though, I thought the quality of that ending erased most of my gripes with the game. Great emotional gut-punch, followed by twisty weirdness. I hope you’re able to salvage the game for yourself!


This totally happens for me. I think it’s probably my biggest issue with the classic JRPG ‘fake-out ending’. For the most part, it has to do with the way I manage my time, in the sense that I often am too busy to just say “oh, this game is going for another two hours? sure, that’s fine”. I only had the amount of time I expected from the game, and when the game goes beyond that, I tend to get frustrated with it.

It’s a weird sort of expectation to put on a game, I guess, that the game communicate clearly how long it will take. Alien: Isolation is probably the best example of this for me, sine it went on for a good 15 hours longer than I thought it would, and by the end I was weirdly angry at the game? Like, how dare it assume I have this extra time? It’s weird.


You said you rushed to the game’s ending, and that in turn hurt your enjoyment with it.
Recently, the opposite happened with me and Bravely Default.

By Chapter 3 (3 of 8) I was absolutely done with the game’s story, because it was so generic and disappointingly structured. More than 5 characters from multiple sides of the conflict knew what was The Big Mystery behind the plot, but instead of saying it to me and solving the problem right away, they made me go through uninspired fights and from one city to another over more than 10 hours until they felt it was time to lay it on me.

That was when I started thinking “okay, I’m done with this game”, and rushed through the main plot as quickly as possible until I was done with it.

I reaaaally dig the combat system in that game, it gives you hundreds of different ways to build your party, and some of them were creative and unexpected, but the writing wasn’t up there too to make me stick to it.

On the other hand, I remember doing what you said with Persona 1. Some shit was happening, it was all crazy, and I was super excited to see how it would end! I skipped through the dozens or so floors of the last dungeons, and when I reached the final boss I was obliterated due to how weak I was; I should have fought those enemies and gotten stronger :smile:

I had this with the Witcher 3 when I thought I was hitting the climax, but then found out I still had like 10 hours after the mission I was on…haha.

Xenosaga Chapter 1.

If you do a game-long sidequest, you can get a spell that summons a giant robot that does 9999 damage, enough to one-shot anything that isn’t the final boss. Once I got that spell, I would just cast it on every encounter and refill my SP in between fights instead of actually fighting them. Trash mob? Giant robot. Regular boss? Giant robot. Bonus boss? Giant robot.

Honestly, once I got the spell, I was just rushing to the end game. I didn’t really care about actually playing the game once I could break the difficulty curve in half, and I just wanted to be free from Xenosaga’s cutscene prison.

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I don’t have the problem of rushing to endings, but I have had the problems of endings rushing to me. Just a couple weeks ago, I had this happen with Nier Automata. I went to do a main quest, had no idea it would be the last one, and got bulldozed through to the end. Going through the second time, I realized there was a little hint by the quest giver (“If you have other stuff to do first, I don’t mind.”) but that just washed right over me the first time.

I always try to make it a concerted effort for this to not happen to me and exercise constraint. I can sympathize with this though. I think this behavior got etched into me when watching a LP of some game, realizing the LPer came off the experience differently because they rushed things and missed things, and never wanting that to happen to me. It’s kind of forced it’s way into the way I play games now even thought this subconscious worry of mine is not all that deleterious as it may be in reality. Still I recognize this makes me play through games more slowly than most. It may even be becoming a double-edged sword as I’m still not done with Zelda, despite not having the excuse most others have of “I’m currently juggling a bunch of other games right now”, and I’m starting to really get to the point where I want to finish it but not quite able to commit to playing any faster. Maybe because I’m not really pressed on finishing games right now that I feel okay with taking my time. Although I want to get back to Yooka Laylie to figure out how I feel about it, it will definately be another game that I will be unable to rush.

I feel like Zelda: BOTW and Yooka Laylee are games that avoid this in their design, but for wildly different reasons.

In Zelda, taking on Hyrule Castle is constantly built up as this huge challenge that should not be taken lightly. Because of this, you know exactly what goal you’re building toward, and you know that you should take your time getting there.

In Yooka Laylee, you putter around in every level without any real interaction with the villains or incentive to reach the end. Maybe that’s an uncharitable way of looking at it, but I got about 66% into that game and just dropped it, because it doesn’t feel like a game that wants to be beaten.

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skyrim’s main story is already the weakest part of the game even without rushing :,) i have like 200 hrs in skyrim and I’m not sure if i’ve ever completed the main story. my favorite moments came from just wandering up mountains to pick flowers, stuff like that

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i do the opposite, also to negative effect. I might concentrate on the main story the whole time… until i realize it’s ending. Then I take a u-turn and go dabble with side stuff as long as I can. Sometimes making me feel disconnected from the story when I finally return

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I’ve got a slightly different mentality about it. I’ll get to a point where I just want to finish the game and I’ll spend just about however long it takes to power to the end in a evening/weekend. This is especially true of big games like The Witcher 3 where I finally decide that I’m too overleveled to be challenged so I just decide to finish the game.

I did this recently with Pokemon Moon because I wanted to avoid spoilers (I was one of those people who didn’t even want to see what new Pokemon there were) without completely leaving social media for a month. Obviously there’s not as much to do as in the open-world games that are being discussed here, but I definitely regret not taking my time exploring each area and having a relaxing time with the game.

Prey is getting particularly egregious.

I was ready to wrap by the time I reached Alex’s office. Since then, I have been:

  1. Sent outside to scan something surrounded by at least 3 super tough baddies.
  2. Introduced to a BRAND NEW MORE EVIL VILLAIN.
  3. Sent to find that villain.
  4. Sent in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION to find that villain.
  5. Sent BACK TO THE OFFICE WHERE THIS ALL BEGAN, thinking it was finally over.
  6. Made to take out that villain, ONLY TO BE CONFRONTED BY AN EVEN BIGGER VILLAIN.

I still feel like the ending is probably 30 minutes away, but this game has proven me wrong at least 6 times, so what do I know?

I don’t think rushing to the end necessarily ruins it… It can actually be a sign of decent pacing or escalating tension. Dishonored 2 or even Mass Effect: Andromeda are good recent examples of stories that propel you forward in a way that once you start tasting the ending, there’s momentum to finish.

Both of them falter a bit, sure, but when you enter the last acts of those games the story and the character motivations push you to end the injustice or save the galaxy— side quests be damned.