As Zelda titles have grown to be more narrative-based, the pressure for something beyond the expected payoff has grown. No longer is the simple triumph of good over evil enough to satisfy fans’ at the end of their adventures; we need something that provides closure after a hard-fought victory. We’re not always left feeling fulfilled, however, and some games are worse at handling the closing chapter of our journeys than others. Suffice to say, this topic will be fraught with spoilers, so steer clear (or skim) if that’s something you’d rather avoid.

While there are entries that end in an unsatisfactory way, it’s not unfair to look at their conclusions in light of sequels they spawned. Take Ocarina of Time, for example. I’d argue that the style it used to end the game, an ambiguous conclusion, was pleasant, but the circumstances surrounding the finish were far from fulfilling. Considering that it spawned two sequels, one direct and one indirect, not to mention its role as the only split in the official timeline, and this ending somehow comes to be more acceptable. That same ambiguity comes to represent the many branching paths the land of Hyrule takes following the quest of the Hero of Time.

On a related note, it’s much harder to forget the frustration brought about by the finales of the sequels themselves. Twilight Princess stands tall as the prime culprit for this kind of dissatisfaction. Although the true evil is defeated at the end of the game, the mystery opened up by the introduction of the realm of twilight and its returning princess leave a lot to be desired. Furthermore, while a final goodbye is not in and of itself distressing, the way in which Midna leaves unnecessarily leaves loose threads behind, turning a tearful adieu into a tease. Then again, that would be befitting of her character.

Whether it’s one of the aforementioned titles or any other, I’m sure many of you have set down your controller at the end of an otherwise satisfactory journey with a larger than usual hole left behind. Did you expect more of the title? Did it feel like it ended too early? Was it simply not the finish you expected? Which title had the least satisfying conclusion to you, and why? Join the Daily Debate!

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