Your enemies have fled in terror; the world has been saved from total annihilation and all that remains is for your hero to cut the head off the snake, so to speak, and put an end to the bloodshed. The generic description is intentional: not every work of fiction begins with an established equilibrium being disrupted and subsequently restored by the tale’s end, but it’s a successful formula – one that’s been reshaped countless times to suit the needs of any individual story.
It goes without saying, of course, that rigidly adhering to said structure doesn’t guarantee that your audience will shower it with praise. Books, film, video games; you name it – no matter how critically and commercially successful a creator’s work is considered, praise isn’t universal. The Dark Knight Rises, for example, is a terrific conclusion to Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but that doesn’t make its muddled ending any less irritating.
Is it all just a case of being overly critical? Not really. As far as this feature’s subject matter is concerned, spotting a negative aspect in an otherwise excellent video game is a like experiencing the feeling of deja vu – it just doesn’t feel right. Closing out a story in a manner that every last player finds satisfying will never be possible (you’ve got subjectivity to thank for that), but some so obviously ignore or neglect what’s expected of their ending, to the extent that they couldn’t feel more out of place.