Quests and storytelling are one of, if not the most important aspects of a video game. With the technological advancements and accessibility of more powerful and capable hardware for developers and players, video game storytelling has truly ascended astronomically since the early days of gaming.
The quality of quests in the game can make or break the experience for the players, with most games stitching the majority of interesting and fun quests to the main story and relegating the mundane and often dull quests to the optional side objectives.
It gets really obvious when in the same game, completing a side quest takes a fraction of the time that it takes to complete the main story quest. Some games go the extra mile of making their end quests memorable by extending their length to an hour or more.
Sure, it might seem frustrating to have to invest such abnormally high amounts of time in just one quest, but some games, with their rich narrative and character interactions, make the final act of their story worth experiencing, despite the quest's extended length. Here are five such games that boast a lengthy conclusion to their story.
Note: This article reflects the author's opinions and contains mild spoilers for the games listed.
While final quests are meant to be dense, these take the cake
1) Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Assassin's Creed games have always featured appropriately sized quests, with most missions being the infamous trailing missions to gather intel on the enemy or infiltrating an enemy compound to assassinate a Templar target. These missions are usually around 10-15 minutes long, at best.
But with the most recent Assassin's Creed titles, Ubisoft decided to rework the entire quest structure to suit these games' role-playing framework. With the new and reworked quest design came some lengthy main story quests that saw casual completion times of 20-30 minutes.
The latest game in the franchise, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, features an ending questline approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes long, including some very lengthy cutscenes covering both Eivor's story in the Animus as well as the modern-day story of Layla.
The ending to Valhalla, although fairly lengthy, doesn't fail to properly conclude the narrative of the game, with exciting twists and revelations and even some surprising callbacks to prominent characters from the old games.
2) Death Stranding
Hideo Kojima has a unique and exciting way of telling stories in his games. He rarely follows traditional storytelling concepts and often includes some really fun and intriguing mechanics to covey the plot of his game to players.
It's no surprise that with Death Stranding, Kojima-san opted for a similar form of storytelling. Death Stranding is a technical masterpiece built on Guerrilla Games' proprietary Decima Engine. Death Stranding features jaw-dropping, photorealistic graphical fidelity and animations that make it hard to distinguish the game's real-time graphics from reality.
Kojima's games are often notorious for having some of the lengthiest cutscenes in gaming history. Thus, in keeping with tradition, Death Stranding features some of the longest cutscenes that span beyond the 1-hour mark.
Most importantly, the ending of the game, which is a whopping 2 hours long, includes a chunky gameplay section followed by a movie's length of cutscenes. The story of Death Stranding is not easy to swallow, but the extended ending of the game helps, with answers to many lingering questions regarding the game's protagonist and its world.
3) Final Fantasy VII Remake
From fighting the Whisper Harbinger to then fighting the mighty Bahamut and, to top it all off, a lengthy multi-phased battle against Sephiroth himself, Final Fantasy VII Remake features one of the lengthiest and most engaging finales of the franchise.
Although the quests leading up to the conclusive quest of the game were some of the lengthiest, none holds a candle to the game's final mission. The whole thing is a full hour of non-spot action and cinematic set-pieces.
The finale to this phenomenal remake is around one hour long, counting both the cinematics and the gameplay bits of the quest. The sense of finality as Cloud and his party journey to fight against fate itself is truly immensely gratifying. The whole game was building up to the iconic battle of Cloud against Sephiroth, and the ending greatly delivers on that build-up.
The end to the Final Fantasy VII Remake, without a doubt, is one of the best endings ever created for a role-playing video game, despite its lengthy nature. It will be exciting to see if the next game, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, keeps this quality of storytelling and quest design intact or perhaps surpasses it.
4) Horizon Zero Dawn
The final mission of Horizon Zero Dawn gives players a fitting conclusion to the first arc of Aloy's journey, as she becomes a Nora Huntress and sets the stage perfectly for the Sequel, Horizon Forbidden West.
Throughout the game, Aloy faced some gnarly machines that she single-handedly defeated using her cunning and arsenal of ranged weaponry. The ending, however, sees her battle not just a couple of giant machines but hordes of corrupted machines and a fully functional Deathbringer.
It is a battle of attrition as it requires players to use everything they have in their arsenal to defeat the machines successfully. Aptly named 'The Face of Extinction,' the mission is truly one of the game's most challenging and lengthy quests, clocking in at around 30-35 hours.
Remedy Entertainment does not hesitate to create unique and thought-provoking stories for their games. Be it giving a psychological twist to their noir action title Max Payne, episodic storytelling with Alan Wake, or mixing full-length live-action episodes with gameplay in Quantum Break.
Control in similar veins to Remedy's previous projects exudes the signature creative storytelling and gameplay innovations. Remedy Entertainment games rarely feature lengthy quests, as they mostly develop linear single-player action games.
Control, however, seems to be an exception, as it is the first time Remedy has developed an open-ended game that lets players backtrack on previously explored parts of the map and engage in side quests. Although most quests in the game are not very lengthy, clocking in at an average of 7-10 minutes, the end of Control is massive, clocking in at over 40 minutes.
The finale of the game sees Jesse, the protagonist, battle it out against hordes of Hiss corrupted soldiers to free Polaris, but she fails in her quest, which leads to a fourth-wall-breaking moment with a fake end credit screen. The credit screen is interrupted by a dream sequence where Jesse is stuck in a loop of doing mundane office chores at FBC.
Ultimately, the dream sequence breaks after a few loops of office chores to reveal the actual ending of Control. Jesse harnesses the full potential of Polaris' powers and fights against an army of Hiss corrupted enemies to save Dylan, her long-lost brother. Although a bit lengthy, the ending is truly as unnerving as the whole plot of the game leading up to it.