I thought I was done in March, where the first 5 episodes ended. But now, nearly a whole year from the release of Order of the Stone, the circle now comes around to A Journey’s End? Waiting for this to download and release I am hopeful of ending on a high. A chapter with class, skill, finesse and other positive descriptive terms.
But that isn’t what we got. Instead we get just another chapter which conveniently is the last one. There is no grandeur, no definitive closure, and a suspicious man might say room for them to continue adding episodes. Isolated this is one of the better episodes but as an ending it is far from a good one.
Isolating this episode there are a large number of good storytelling measures and more complex storytelling behaviours that haven’t really been seen before. I was impressed that very minor points of conversation such as me demeaning a guard earlier on came back to bite me quite close to the end with no warning. Supporting characters feel much more unique, each with their own motivations for winning and their own feeling. Some earlier characters have persons which left no impression upon me whatsoever. Episode 8 bring several memorable side characters, such as Facemeat the gym-rat with a rather verbose style of speaking, as well as the two villain Hadrian and Melvia who’s back-and-forth is crafted to sound like cheesy sports commentators.
Yet conversely character use is also quite poor. Axel and Olivia return for mere minutes, being used as simply leverage in a decision with no real significance. Some side characters while sounding and behaving rather uniquely are there for mere seconds. Most notably a character who is desperate to talk to Jesse about his current predicament but then is never seen or heard from again.
The crux of my dislike though firmly sits on this not feeling like a conclusive ending though, and more like a continuation of a marketing decision to bleed out more money. When the primary story arc ended in Episode 4 it felt conclusive and rounded. It felt like a solid ending. A Journeys End? does not give that same feeling. Instead it feels more like the ending in a kids cartoon: Our heroes make it home from some insignificant adventure just fine. I assume the question mark at the end of the chapter title is there because the designers did not know either if this episode was the end.
I can’t deny how solid this chapter is mechanically though. Graphical glitches are non-existent and there was only one piece of speech where the mouth did not move. Nothing more to say on that really; everything does what it should.
Bad news to those who didn’t like the slow increase in quick-time events from earlier on as it has very much gotten worse. While in the nature of the story it is understandable some of the events feel poorly executed; one particular fight scene springs to memory where you have less than half a second to start hammering a key.
And so, after 8 episodes and nearly a year of reviewing them the ending is lacklustre. The focus is not enough on it being an ending and more on it being just another part of the story. The direction was good but there just wasn’t that conclusion needed, dropping the score to a 7.