Gameplay and Story Segregation

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

This trope occurs whenever there is inconsistency in how things work or behave between the gameplay and storyline sections of the game, the latter of which consists of cutscenes and dialogue. While this trope is generally forgivable due to technological limitations, Egregious instances can result in the shattering of the player's Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Typically, it's done to try and make a more interesting game, since simply hitting One Hit KO all the time like in that cutscene would be utterly boring, while having a person who actually can't open doors like in that last cutscene would make the game needlessly frustrating. Accordingly, it's sometimes excused by Acceptable Breaks From Reality, but by no stretch does that justification cover all of the flat-out weird mismatches perpetrated by game makers over the years.

Since large-scale cutscenes and extensive dialogue have only really been present in games since the 1990s, Gameplay and Story Segregation is far more prevalent from the 16-bit era onwards, especially ones in which the storyline is a focal point of the game.

Forms of Gameplay and Story Segregation include:

  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit
    Arbitrary requirement that stops you from having too many characters in a party or unit.
    • Lazy Backup
      If you're only allowed three out of eighteen party members, and those three are killed, you get a Game Over even though the rest are still alive.
      Worse yet, in some games losing one specific key playable character ends the game, We Cannot Go on Without You style, no matter how many other characters are still alive. For instance, checkmate ends the game the moment the king is dead in chess.
  • Artificial Stupidity
    A character may canonically be a superintelligent master strategists, but make terrible decisions during gameplay due to poor programming.
  • Canon Shadow
    A character or item that seems to be in the party, but other than giving stats, doesn't affect the plot at all.
  • Commonplace Rare
    When a seemingly common item takes an excessive amount of effort to acquire.
  • Cutscene Incompetence
    The character can destroy giant monsters in battle, but in cutscenes, they're just normal.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max
    The character is incredibly powerful - but only in cutscenes; in gameplay, their stats are about average.
  • Day Old Legend
    Even though you just made that item using the crafting system, its flavor text gives it several hundred years' worth of backstory.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?
    You may have saved the world or completed impossible quests, but that won't stop you from being given extremely meager quests and generally treated like crap.
  • Fight Like a Card Player
    The story has almost nothing to do with cards, but a lot of the gameplay revolves around them.
  • Follow the Plotted Line
    You somehow always end up where the plot says you should be, no matter how little sense it makes that you should be there.
  • I Fought the Law and the Law Won
    The game can deploy a seemingly endless number of law enforcement officers to deliver Video Game Cruelty Punishment even if the narrative insists that they're too understaffed and overstretched to deal with the criminal or enemy army problem.
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy
    Enemies in RPGs are given statistics based on how powerful you are expected to be at that point, not how strong that enemy would be based on common sense.
  • Irrelevant Sidequest
    In RPGs, people have an alarming tendency to entrust powerful items to random strangers for doing the most mundane of things, and regardless of whether the stranger has any meaningful level of skill at the random thing in question.
  • Menu Time Lockout
    The inventory menu allows you to pause the game and change your armour and weaponry to immediate effect in the middle of a battle.
  • Overrated and Underleveled
    A character introduced as being really powerful ends up, statistics-wise, as being weaker than the main character.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something
    A form of aversion of this trope, where a story important item also influences the gameplay.
  • Plotline Death
    All cutscene deaths are final; your "revive" spells and items won't work here. Nor will you be revived if you have extra lives left.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character
    The game offers multiple characters to choose from with various backstories, but only the character you choose as your PC ever appears in the game.
  • Selective Condemnation
    The slaughter of a single NPC is a tragedy; the slaughter of one thousand Mooks is a statistic.
  • Separate but Identical
    In strategy games, some sub-factions are said to be different in composition, outlook etc., but ultimately only differ in their color palette.
  • Simultaneous Warning and Action
    Enemy NPCs will always attack you, even when they yell things that indicate they're going to arrest you.
  • Solve the Soup Cans
    A puzzle with bizarre and disconnected elements included in a game purely to serve as an obstacle to the player.
  • Space Compression
    Lores and tales of the world tell about the history of large cities in the size of small villages and vast lands which can be crossed within minutes on foot.
  • Statistically Speaking
    No matter how high your strength, speed, etc. goes, you still will not be able to do certain mundane things, like moving that chair out of your way. It must be glued to the floor.
  • Story Overwrite
    When the storyline ignores, overwrites or RetCons one of the player's in-game accomplishments.
  • Take Your Time
    You can take as long as you want to finish your sidequests, and that world-destroying meteor will just hang in the sky till you're done.
  • Took a Shortcut
    You spent all that time going through the dungeon and beating all the puzzles, so how the heck did those NPCs get here first?
  • Video Game Lives
    If mentioned in the plot, death is treated as permanent.
  • Video Game Time
    Fake use of a time scale means that empires rise and fall in the time it takes to take the trash out.
  • Timed Mission
    When a mission is timed without presenting any reason for it in the story.
    • Always Close
      The cutscenes that follow a Timed Mission don't reflect the actual amount of time the player had left to complete it; they always treat it as if the player escaped at the very last second.
  • You Have Researched Breathing
    You have to research things that have no logical reason to even need to be learned.

See also RPG Anime and New Rules as the Plot Demands.

There are three types listed here; straight examples, aversions (that you could term gameplay and story integration), and back-and-forth examples, where a game includes major straight examples and major aversions at the same time.

Examples of Gameplay and Story Segregation include:

Straight Examples

Action Adventure

  • In Castlevania III, you start off with one character and can get one of three partners to join you, or finish the game solo. If you have a partner and sign up a new one, the old one leaves. It is also impossible to encounter all three characters during a single playthrough (without a cheat code, anyway). Yet, according to canon, all four people were involved.
  • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, for pretty much for the entire first half of the game, you get warned about how having Jonathan or any other non-Belmont use the true power of the Vampire Killer will drain their life force and eventually kill them if they overuse it. But when you do actually unlock its power in game, you can whip it all day long with absolutely no consequences whatsoever.
    • Justified, it takes longer than the events of the game for the user's life force to be drained.

Action Game

Adventure Game

  • In L.A. Noire, the huge twist of the level "Manifest Destiny" is that Cole affair is splashed across the newspapers to distract the media from a LAPD corruption scandal, derailing his career and getting him demoted to arson. But the level itself is a completely chaotic bloodbath, with nearly Cole's entire Marine unit being massacred by the mafia in broad daylight with stolen US army guns, revealing a mob mole inside the LAPD. This makes the "twist" nonsensical, as those murders should have easily taken precedence.

Beat'Em Up

  • Streets of Rage 3 starts with a Cutscene where the five characters decide to shake up the mooks for information. After a few levels of assaulting mooks by yourself, everyone else appears for another cutscene and says "This is useless. No-one told us anything." How could they? I just kicked the crap out of anyone who came close. And where the hell have you been, anyway?
  • In the arcade version of Double Dragon 3, there is a third Lee brother named Sonny, plus three different sibling teams consisting of three brothers each (the Chin, Oyama, and Urquidez brothers). However, only Billy and Jimmy are shown in the opening and ending, and only a single member of each of the other sibling teams are shown in the ending.

Fighting Game

  • The special moves "Hadouken" (Surging Fist), "Shoryuken" (Rising Dragon Punch) and "Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku" (Hurricane Kick) in Street Fighter II are moves with the potential to severely injure opponents (Ryu's Shoryuken left Sagat heavily scarred, for example, although that particular incident was exceptional...) Those moves are toned-down versions of the original "murderous techniques" (which Gouki/Akuma uses and Gouken knows) that can actually kill an opponent (the "Gou Hadoken", "Gou Shoryuken", and the "Tatsumaki Zanku Kyaku"). Since it would obviously be unfair to make any move lethal, all of this is heavily toned down in the game itself. The canonical power of the moves limits their frequency in anime versions, promoting the Hadouken (for example) from "something Ryu routinely throws out fifty times in two minutes" to "final, fight-ending strike of destiny".
    • Lampshaded by the "Shin (True) Shoryuken". It's a massive, destructive super, a good indication of the kind of damage the technique does when the gloves come off.
    • The infamous scarring Shoryuken deserves special mention, as it not only struck one of the least vulnerable parts of the human body (especially for a massive bruiser like Sagat), judging by the length of the scar, it didn't even connect solidly. Sagat would be considerable pain but shouldn't have been defeated at that moment. (In Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, where Ryu's fight with Sagat is seen in the opening, Sagat in fact isn't defeated by that Shoryuken; he charges at Ryu in a rage, prompting Ryu to charge up a Hadoken to finish him.)
    • It's worth noting that while they're fairly weak from SFII onwards, in the first game, the special moves were very powerful, with a successful hit knocking a third of an opponent's health off. Each hit was also rated from one to three stars, and this acted as a damage multiplier; it was entirely possible to one-shot someone with ridiculous lucky.
    • Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu attack only seems to kill opponents in the story.
  • Modern WWE games with career modes fall victim to this. Your status as a face or heel is solely dependent on the choices you make during storyline cutscenes, meaning your actual behavior in the ring is entirely irrelevant. For example, you may play your matches dirty, doing things such as using weapons, removing turnbuckle pads, delivering low bows, and taking advantage of the Easily-Distracted Referee, but as long as you make the corresponding decisions during cutscenes, the game will act as if you're a straight-up face. Some games will penalize you by taking away momentum (the stuff that lets you perform special moves) for using tactics that don't match your alignment. However, you can still do them at any time, and the storyline will never acknowledge it.
    • This may actually reflect a lot of developments from the Attitude Era and subsequent years, and the popularity of superstars such as Eddie Guerrero, who would "Lie, Cheat, and Steal" but still be a fan-favorite because he was amazing in the ring and could convince the crowd to eat out of the palm of his hand.
    • Another, more pernicious thing WWE career modes like to do is every now and then have you beat an opponent, and then have them get back up and pin your wrestler in the following cutscene, or some such thing. It should be a normal part of kayfabe, except that you're then stuck with a real loss that goes on your wrestler's statistics record, even though you put in the effort of winning the friggin' match. Grr.
  • In BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, no matter how many times you activate Ragna's Blood Kain in gameplay, it doesn't count in the story until a certain cutscene in the True Ending.
    • Also, no matter how hard you lay the curbstomping on Hazama/Terumi in Arcade Mode, he is still just warming up.
  • In Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe after a game of Let's You and Him Fight Superman and Raiden finally put aside their differences, realize there's a greater enemy to face, and turn, together, to fight Dark Khan in unison. You then proceed to fight him alone, your ally having mysteriously vanished without a word of explanation.
  • In the cutscene before the final battle of Dissidia Final Fantasy, all ten of the heroes line up in front of Chaos to fight him. You then proceed into a three-round, one-on-one battle. Somewhat mitigated in the sequel/prequel, when you enter the battle with four more party members that can take your initial character's place if/when they die, plus one Assist Character, who is chosen at random from the remaining five heroes.
  • Kinnikuman: Muscle Fight
    • Jesse Maivia has a cutin where Kinnikuman explains Jesse Maivia's weakness to his foe. This even occurs when Kinnikuman isn't his opponent.
    • Stecasse King has a variation of his Jigoku Symphony that doesn't harm his foe because the classical music station is interrupted by the Gyudon Ondo. There's a part where Kinnikuman laughs at Stecasse King and Buffaloman. This still happens even if Kinnikuman isn't Stecasse King's foe.
    • If Atlantis KOs his foe with the Atlantis Driver, there's a cutscene where he proudly displays Robin Mask's helmet. This plays even if Robin Mask isn't Atlantis's foe. He can also use the Devil Choujin Blood Bind technique even though it's supposed to only affect Kinnikuman at that point in story. Also he can use it against Stecasse King, Black Hole, Mr. Khamen, and The Mountain even though they're the Choujin who show up as part of the technique.
    • During the first round, Kinnikuman Great can kick his foe hard during one of his supers. This causes his foe to drop a mysterious chest. If Kinnikuman Great catches it, he recovers a super meter. This is supposed to a reference to Kinnikuman Great attempting to recover Friendship Power from Ashuraman. This can still happen even if Ashuraman isn't Kinnikuman Great's foe.
    • Ashuraman can use the Hell Canvas technique even if his foe is supposed to be among the Choujin sealed in the canvas.
  • All fighting games fall under this trope to some degree. Due to balancing games, no character (except maybe a SNK Boss) is as powerful or weak as the storyline says he/she should be. Take Street Fighter, for example. Dhalsim and Oro are very powerful according to the storyline. However, that power doesn't translate into gameplay unless a person REALLY knows how to control them.

First-Person Shooter

  • The 1998 PC game Sin has this in spades. A number of bizarre gameplay elements include: the main character (John Blade) being turned into a half-naked mutant late in the game, then being changed back to his original human self, weapons, armor and all; not being able to walk into a testing facility early on because you have police attire on, but the moment you switch into a work uniform, the few employees at the building won't recognize who you are; the opening two levels revolve around an unsuccessful heist to retrieve a document, but if the player finds the item wanted by the terrorist, it is simply an empty envelope that doesn't factor into the rest of the story; walking into a building and being captured, even if you have full health and enough ammunition to waste its entire group of occupants; falling into a trap door in a random room at a secret base that only serves to dump you into a meat cart for the final boss battle, and many other minor infractions.
  • In Metroid Prime 3, Samus must ultimately find at least 7 Galactic Federation energy batteries in order to activate enough doors on a wrecked cruiser to get a code that unlocks the last area of the game. However, she's working for the Galactic Federation. And at the end of the game, they're waiting on her to do this. Surely, she could just let them know that she needs a few batteries. No, she must scour the landscape of four worlds for batteries from Federation installations, crashed ships, and the like.
  • In the Halo series, all the weapons are much more lethal in the books. The plasma pistol melts huge holes in flesh and can kill anything in one hit, and the needler does exactly what one would expect a weapon that fires exploding glass to do. In the actual game though, they're the two weakest weapons; the plasma pistol is only good against shields and the needler only becomes a real threat if you shoot out half a clip. Gameplay wise, even a standard marine or grunt can take plasma pistol and needler shots to the face and not be all that harmed by it.
    • Master Chief can dive from the stratosphere in cutscenes, but the game kills him instantly if he falls too far in-game, which acts as a barrier against Sequence Breaking and Unwinnable situations.
      • Chief, and pretty much all the SPARTAN-IIs are a lot faster, stronger, and more durable in the books than ingame, where the Chief (regenerating shields notwithstanding), is only marginally superior to the basic soldiers surrounding him.
      • Although they are shown as being very powerful in the books, the SPARTAN-IIs are more tactical; the energy shields they have are only capable of take a handful of plasma fire, and it overall can only protect you for a short time (although that time could mean the difference between life and death). It's even more apparent with SPARTAN-IIIs, who have no shielding at all and rely on active camouflage for most of their protection. The SPARTAN-IIs demonstrate how incredibly powerful they are with the IIIs however; Kelly managed to take out nearly two teams of them and punched one in the chest hard enough to dent the armour.
    • This was averted in one section in Halo 3: ODST; during a cutscene Romeo fires three shots at an enemy, and when gameplay starts he's missing three rounds. Of course, at the end of that segment, the cutscene has him wielding a sniper rifle, regardless of what he was using instants earlier during gameplay. This is necessary for the Rookie to be able to find the rifle later. Throughout the game, cutscenes tend to show the squad with their signature suppressed SMG rather than whatever they had during gameplay.
  • In BioShock (series), ADAM is described by NPCs as a substance you need to have injected into you to make plasmids and gene tonics work, and after that regular injections are required to prevent physical and psychological damage. In the game itself, it is simply treated like a currency you use to buy said plasmids and tonics, which cost no actual money besides. The game also features the corresponding EVE, which acts as fuel for the plasmids, and is never touched on in the narrative.
    • One of the Public Service Announcements might even be lampshading this: "A Rapture reminder: We all have bills to pay, and the temptation to break curfew to make a little extra ADAM is forgivable..." So, wait, you can pay your bills in ADAM instead of dollars?
    • However, Bioshock also makes the game's inherent linearity and lack of open-endedness a plot point: as it turns out, you were under mind control the whole time, triggered by Atlas saying "would you kindly".
    • In the recorded messages for you to find in the second game, one character taking note of how powerful an addiction everybody has makes a reference EVE, saying "... and everybody is eager to suck on EVE's tit..." in reference that EVE is used to allow you to use your powers, and everybody wanted to use the powers as well as get more ADAM.
  • It's a plot point in STALKER: Call of Pripiyat that anomalies move. In the game itself, however, none of them ever leave their positions.

Hack and Slash

  • In Drakengard, you're only allowed to take one party member with you into battle, and he doesn't follow along with you on the battlefield, no; you transform into him for a predetermined amount of time. Contrast this to the cutscenes, which show all the party members present in the battles when applicable. Dragonfire kills anything human in a single blow, but not so for some higher-end Mooks in-game. Caim wields a relatively smallish BFS as his default weapon in the cutscenes, but his default weapon in-game is realistically proportioned to be used by a human being. Manah can obliterate armies in cutscenes, but never displays this sort of power when fighting you in-game. And so on in that order.

Miscellaneous Games

  • You'd think Retro Game Challenge averts this, because the story IS gameplay. However, the in-game games have some in-game cheats that don't work in free play mode, even though it's supposedly the same game both times. Most likely this is because in the story mode, you unlock new games by beating their challenges, and the makers didn't want players to miss out on the later games if they can't beat the challenges; but in free-play, you're just challenging your best performance, so cheats would make the scores inaccurate.


  • This trope is pretty much universal and constantly active in MMORPGs - typically in the "infinite-lives bosses", the "what do you mean, resurrect spell?", and the "we desperately need level 1 fighters even though we have level 70 shopkeepers" varieties.
  • World of Warcraft is rife with this trope, but one of the more nonsensical examples is in the Caverns of Time dungeons, where PCs are sent back in time by the Bronze Dragonflight to various famous incidents in past Warcraft titles. In many cases, most of the current playable races could not have been present for various reasons (Horde characters in particular, but also Night Elves and Draenei). So in those dungeons, those characters get hit with a illusion buff that disguises them as a Human for the duration of the dungeon. You would think this would make it an inversion of the trope, except that it also applies to Blood Elves—who all would have been Alliance High Elves in those days, and so could have been present for all these events. Turning them Human is just odd, when a simple eye color change would suffice. It's especially nonsensical in the Culling of Stratholme instance, where you see a variety of Warcraft 3 units represented at the front gate of the city, one of which is a High Elf Priest. It turns specially weird when you take into account that classes aren't disguised in any way, so you can have Warlocks and Death Knights helping Thrall escape from Durnholde, shapeshifted Druids running about, and Humans casting Shaman spells. But no High Elves.
    • The game is full of big examples of Gameplay and Story Segregation, but one of the biggest is illness death. In the game, four playable classes can remove curses and/or cure poisons and cast resurrection spells that will restore to life any player character they are cast on. But in the storyline of both tie-ins in other media and in the stories of the game's own quests, curing each type of disease or poison requires multiple unique components, death is feared like in Real Life, and resurrection (not counting Came Back Wrong) is almost unheard of. For example, there's one quest in Northrend where you find a poor poisoned goblin and have to run around killing giant spiders until one of them barfs up a poison sac. Never mind that at least three classes can easily cure poisons, as well as anyone with high enough first aid has the ability to make antivenom out of those self-same spiders, or (by the game mechanics) if he died, four classes could easily resurrect him, and any engineer would have the ability to at least try.
  • City of Heroes has a rather glaring example of this in the Freedom Phalanx. The premier superheroes of the setting, akin to Superman, Batman, Captain America, and other A-listers....sit around waiting to give you quests, and generally do absolutely nothing else, with poor excuses for why they never fight at your side. In the few times you DO team up with them, they're generally as bad as any of the other NPC allies, and die in short order, while their villainous counterparts will kick your butt all over the surrounding environs, generally being some of the most dangerous bosses in the game. Even more confusingly, when you face the same heroes in City of Villains, you can face the same heroes in single combat, and they're now, like their counterparts, the hardest bosses in the game. Apparently the only time the game can give these people the powers they're storyline-wise credited with is when they're beating on you instead of random Mooks.
    • This was mocked/played with on the games forums, when a player asked the developer that plays Positron why he never helps players during Rikti Invasions and they gather at that characters feet in Steel Canyon. He responded that the Rikti 'con grey, so I wouldn't get XP.'
    • For those who don't play, when your character is 5 or more levels higher than an enemy, its name turns grey and you don't get any experience for kiling it.
      • There is another layer of humor to this statement - Rikti summoned during the invasion events always con even-level to whoever is fighting them, regardless of level. Positron's statement is that he's +5, minimum, to even-level enemies.
  • In zOMG!, your appearance is purely cosmetic. No matter which race you choose to make your avatar (And there are a lot), you'll still be treated as a normal human. The most blatant instance of this is if you choose to make yourself a vampire. Gaia Vampires are weakened by sunlight (though not killed), do require blood (though mostly drink a soy based substitute), and are weak against most of the traditional vampire weaknesses. And yet you can run around in broad daylight killing animated cloves of garlic with no side effects.
    • If you carry actual weapons on your avatar, none of them can be used. This is explained in the prologue "manga" to the game; regular weapons just plain don't work on the Animated. You have to use the rings and their powers to fight them. In the "manga" a powerful and popular knight tried to kill an Animated with "My ANCIENT KATANA!"... and got torn to pieces because it failed to harm it; and yet there's a Ring that creates a katana, which does work.
    • Here's some Fridge Logic: It's called "Ancient" For a reason, you know...
    • One story from GAIA mentions vampires:

Sunlight doesn't hurt me, but it does make me really cussy!

Party Game

  • Some games, such as the Wario Ware series, take this to such a blatant extreme that it starts making sense again by having the gameplay and the story literally have nothing to do with each other.

Platform Game

  • The Super Mario Bros. series has an odd case of this. From the very beginning, Princess Peach has been the Damsel in Distress... but on almost every occasion she's been playable, she's been quite capable, whether as a fighter, athlete, or go-kart driver, and largely a match for Mario... which raises the question of how she continues to be kidnapped and require Mario to save her when she's as good as him and more than capable of defeating swarms of angry Koopas or even Samus Aran when she needs to. At this point, Nintendo seems to simply have fun with its artifacts.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, the entire goal of the game is to retrieve magical Shine Sprites which have scattered all over a tropical island. The Sprites are the source of the good weather that gives the island prosperity, and therefore vitally important to everyone on the island. However, most of the Sprites you'll find are being held by random inhabitants of the island who give them to you as rewards for trivial tasks like winning a squid race. One merchant in town happens to possess a full 20% of them. Not a single inhabitant seems to realize that it might be a good idea to return the sprites themselves.
  • According to the instructions manual for the original Super Mario Bros game, Buzzy Beetles are enemies that act exactly like Koopa Troopas except that they can't be killed with fireballs (though you can stomp them and kick their shells, however). But despite this fact, only one Buzzy Beetle can be killed with fireballs: the Fake Bowser at the end of World 3.

Puzzle Game

  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, players can siege and conquer any town of the map, which allows them to collect income once per month when passing them and using them as a base, but this is completely separate from the story. If they rebel, however, you can't continue with the story if the town in question has the next storyline quest.
    • Since the cities count as mechanical creatures, you can even get the dwarf Kalkus to aid you in besieging his own homeland.
  • Casual games can be even more prone to this trope than conventional video games. In the Hidden Object game Escape The Museum 2, the protagonist has to find several plot-irrelevant items in order to acquire pieces for a homemade battering ram, then assemble them correctly, in order to bash through a wooden door. One of these superfluous items, which you're not allowed to use for anything? A chainsaw.

Real Time Strategy

  • One of the cutscenes in Warcraft II depicts a human footman commandeering an orcish catapult and using it to destroy a goblin zeppelin. In gameplay, catapults can't even attack zeppelins, let alone strike them down in one hit.
    • Another example occurs in the Human ending to the "Tides of Darkness" campaign: No matter how you destroy the Dark Portal to end the war against the Orcs, the cutscene will always show the Arch Mage Khadgar using his magic ritual to destroy the portal. This can be quite noticeable, if you decided to use a force of Gryphon Riders to get the job done for the mission, and no Land troops were present on the land mass where the portal resides.
  • Lost Magic has a field day with this; Bosses use special Runes they aren't supposed to have at all' as they're their respective Sage's secret power, Useless Useful Spells work better for the bosses then for you, and then comes the Cutscene Power to the Max. Or not.
  • In Dawn of War 2 one of the areas (an industrial district) is protected by huge and seemingly impenetrable gates that ward off relentless hordes of both Orks and Tyranids. Yet, in the expansion Chaos Rising there is the option to destroy them and can be done with a single satchel charge. Huh.
    • The entire mission is one huge example of this. There is no time limit despite the apparent urgency, it can be failed (all squads incapacitated) multiple times with no consequences, and while the wall is pretty huge not only are there two highly visible holes in it near the edges of the map, but Tyranid Carnifexes (of which there are plenty) are specifically designed to easily ram down such fortifications.
  • Kerrigan is NOT the Queen of Blades. Late in StarCraft's Terran campaign, one of the levels ends with your base getting overrun by Zerg, who capture Kerrigan and turn her into the eventual Big Bad. You can easily have the firepower to make this completely nonsensical.
  • According to the backstory of Defense of the Ancients, some of the heroes should be nearly invincible, and most of them should all already have tons (in some cases, literally eons) of battle experience. Yet they all start at level 1 with almost no spells available.

Role-Playing Game

  • In The Elder Scrolls the Umbra Sword is described as an evil Empathic Weapon that slowly corrupts and drives mad the person who wields it. The player can use it for the entire game after earning it and suffer no ill effects.
    • In Skyrim, a big deal is made about how Khajit and Argonians are strictly forbidden from so much as setting foot in a Hold's capitol city. If the player is of either race, they can freely enter and exit even Windhelm without any trouble aside from the occasional rude comment.
  • In Phantasy Star II; Rolf is unable to use the teleport station in Paseo to go directly to other cities at the start of the game. It's required to visit a city once before you can teleport there from other cities. This creates an odd paradox since he's unable to go directly to Piata. A city he had travelled to in the past, right before a rather important story-related event unfolded.
  • In Phantasy Star IV; one of the first characters is hit by an ability which poisons, and eventually kills her. You have to fight the user of this ability later, who... uses the same ability, over and over, on your characters, with no lethal consequences.
    • Semi-averted in this case. You have to use a MacGuffin to be able to crack the boss in question's barrier, and if you don't do that, his attack remains just as lethal as it was the first time you fought him - One shot, one kill. Of course, anyone killed in this manner in this fight can be just as easily brought back, hence only semi-averted.
  • Many RPGs have summons or other spells with extensive animations that never affect reality in the RPG world. The earthquake spell never takes out any buildings, Bahamut Zero can fly out of space and zap your enemies even when you're underground, and the most infamous offender, Final Fantasy VII's Supernova, destroys Earth's whole solar system, doing some damage to the characters but leaving them and the planet (which is not even Earth) intact. Moreover, the villain can cast it multiple times. On the other hand, Little Girl Rydia summons Titan in a battle-cutscene and creates an entire mountain range (long before she learns how to summon Titan, at that). Likewise, in Final Fantasy IX summons are pivotal to the plot as the beasts enact massive actions in cutscenes; apparently, their attacks are much more surgically precise during gameplay.
    • In a bizarre exception that vindicates the rule, Final Fantasy VI has a cutscene where character uses a smoke bomb to escape from a fire.
      • A minor bit of Cutscene Power to the Max here, as in-game a smoke bomb only escapes battle (leaving you in the same location), a Warp Stone is what you use if you want to escape a location.
    • With regard to Super Nova, it's implied/theorised that the spell is actually an illusion, and the damage is caused by Your Mind Makes It Real. This explains why it can be cast multiple times during the fight, and why it only does percentage-based damage (as presumably, an illusion wouldn't be able to actually kill anyone).
  • In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, much of the Level Grinding takes place through a menu-based 'SOLDIER Mission' system, where you undertake various missions for Shinra Inc at any save point. However, you're still able to use this system during the latter leg of the game, where Zack is on the run with Shinra Company hunting him down and gunning for his blood. In fact, it is completely impossible to avoid this segregation by finish all the side missions early. There are missions released only after the Nibelheim incident.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, the player's character gets a regular paycheck from his organization, Seed (based in Balamb Garden), based on his Seed rank. This works fine, until about halfway through disc 2, the player is made the commander of Balamb Garden. You would think that this would give you a pay raise. But no, your rank doesn't so much as rise a single level when you are promoted, and in fact, it is still possible to be demoted and receive a pay cut. Never mind the fact that, story-wise, you're the highest ranking person in the Garden. Even more confusing, after time starts compressing at the end of the game and you are thrown out of time into the future and can no longer interact with towns and most NPCs, you still are paid at regular intervals. That's a pretty impressive banking system.
    • You can even be demoted in the few areas where you only control Rinoa, the only member of the party who isn't working with SeeD, near the end of Disc 1.
    • Anyone remember when Rinoa was fused with Adel for That One Boss so you tried Junctioning Rinoa to absorb an element of your choice, then tried summoning the GF of that corresponding element? Yeah, it didn't work when I tried it either.
  • In the ending to Fallout 3 Project Purity must be activated but the person who does so will receive a lethal dose of radiation. This completely ignores the fact that players, at this point in the game, have enough items/perks to render themselves nearly completely resistant to radiation. Oh and your super mutant and robotic party members (who are completely immune to radiation) and your ghoul party member (who is healed by radiation) won't step in to save the day either.
    • To accommodate the Broken Steel DLC's extended main quest, this was changed such that the radiation only puts you in a coma from which you wake up two weeks later. You can also ask your radiation-immune followers to step in for you, though for whatever reason this still gives you the "selfish" ending cutscene.
      • Needless to say however, both you and Sarah gets incapacitated while the human buddies don't feel a thing.
  • During one cutscene of Atelier Iris, The Stoic swordsman asks to talk with the main character while the cook is making dinner. They go out to the woods where the swordsman "tests" the main's progress by beating him within an inch of his life. They then return to have dinner, and the other characters calmly ask what the two were up to. They accept the response that they were "taking a walk", and no one seems to notice any distress or injury from the character. Given the various common ways one can heal in the game, and the fact that the main character is an alchemist who can produce healing potions, one might generously think that perhaps he healed himself to avoid worrying his friends... except that after the cutscene, he's still at 1 HP. Apparently in this world, no one bleeds when they get hit by swords.
  • Generally, lots of things that the Pokédex in Pokémon says directly contradict gameplay:
    • Drowzee/Hypno are said to live off of dreams; it's their defining trait. Yet they can only learn the attack Dream Eater by TM (or, in later games, via breeding). You'd think they'd be able to learn it by leveling up, but...
    • Abra is said to sleep through most of the day, teleporting away from danger in its sleep, yet the Sleep status affects it just like everything else.
    • Cubone is said to lose its mother as it is born and wears its skull as a memento. Breeding for a Cubone, however, doesn't cause any ill effects for the mother, whether or not it is a Marowak.
    • Evolving Nincada into Ninjask also earns you a Shedinja, but only if you have a slot free in your party and an unused Poké Ball in your bag. For some reason you can't just ship the thing off to your PC like everything else you catch.
      • Not to mention that staring into Shedinja's backhole is supposed to mesmerize and then steal the soul of the victim. All of its player-side battle sprites have the backhole clearly visible, but nothing unusual happens to you when you fight others with it.
    • Ironically, some examples were done correctly. One example is the aforementioned Shedinja actually "shedding" from a Nincada, others could include a Mantyke requiring a Remoraid to evolve. If they were all Hand Waved, one could just assume they kept the games simple...but when half of it is correct, it turns weird.
    • Pichu is said to hurt itself whenever it uses a lightning based attack, however this doesn't happen in the games unless you use Volt Tackle.
      • Unfortunately, it does happen in Super Smash Brothers Melee, and is a significant drawback to using Pichu.
    • The games insist on judging your power by number of badges, regardless of the level of your Pokémon. Mt. Silver should be no problem for a trainer with six Pokémon of levels 80-100, but you can't get to it unless you have 16 badges.
      • Of course, the same argument could be made at that point that getting those badges should be rather easy.
    • Supposedly, Charizard's fire breath is hot enough to melt boulders. Still doesn't have much effect on Rock types. It's also stated that the surface of Magcargo's skin is hotter than the surface of the sun. Somehow, the Earth and everything else around it aren't becoming instant slag. Spiritomb is 108 souls sealed in a stone, but it can breed and create more Spiritomb. Arcanine is renowned for its impossible speed, but there are a lot of mons that have higher Speed stats, including its counterpart, Ninetales. Yeah, this game has Fridge Logic bouncing off the walls.
      • Then again, it has been speculated that at least a few of the Pokedex entries are either exaggerated or made up.
    • Metapod are supposed to be immobile and only know Harden. And ones you fight in the wild do only know Harden. Where this trope comes into play is that a Caterpie you evolve yourself will still know the moves it did before. Pupitar, on the other hand, are flat out stated to be fully mobile Pokémon and Kakuna are mentioned to be near-immobile; their Yellow Pokédex entry hints that they knows Poison Sting.
    • Regice is stated to be so cold that dipping it in magma would not harm it at all and instead freeze the magma solid. Just being near it exposes you to the intense aura of near-absolute zero air surrounding it. Yet its opponents suffer no ill effects from biting it, punching it, kicking it, wrapping their bodies around it, etc. And fire is still super-effective against it.
    • Several Pokemon, such as Venomoth and Beedrill, can clearly fly but are not classified as flying types.
  • The Tales (series) is generally pretty bad about plot-based injuries and the fact that you're usually carrying around a ton of medicine or food items that you can cook with. It's often Hand Waved by the healers, trying First Aid for a couple seconds and going "there's nothing I can do" or "they're too far gone." And then all the games have their own little quirks...
    • The entire plot of Tales of Symphonia occurs because Mithos wants to revive his dead sister Martel in a very complex way that takes about 4,000 years to get right (and is actually criticized by Martel for doing horrible things to revive her) when they could've easily just bought a Life Bottle for a couple hundred gald. Every merchant in the world sells them anyway.
      • Actually, Life Bottles only cure what the manual refers to as being "knocked out" in battle. True, the name implies they can bring people back to life, but there's no evidence of that being the case.
    • In Tales of the Abyss, Guy, one of the protagonists, has a crippling fear of women (to the point that being glomped by one early in the game is sufficient to give him a momentary Heroic BSOD.) This doesn't seem to pop up when in battle, even against female enemies.
    • In Tales of Legendia, once Grune gets her memory back and is revealed to be an all-powerful Physical God, you'd think she'd get stronger now that she actually knows who she is, what her powers are, and how to properly use them. Nope.
      • Although there is some Integration here, as her battle quotes (and even the pitch of her voice!) all change to reflect her sudden change in personality.
  • The World Ends With You: In Another Day, the game takes place in an alternate timeline where Neku, Shiki, and Beat are not part of the Reapers' Game, and do not know each other, yet you can battle like it's any other day. Also, when you unlock the chapter select feature, you can use ANY character on ANY day, even if, in the chapter you select, the character has not met Neku yet or has vanished.
  • Vampire Bloodlines is based on the tabletop RPG Vampire: The Masquerade. Of course, for gameplay reasons, disciplines work differently in the game than in the RPG... except in cutscenes. For example, in one scene, Beckett uses his Protean discipline to change into a wolf, which is a perfectly valid usage in the tabletop RPG but something you can't do even with maxed Protean in-game. Later on, a vampire uses Presence to seduce a mortal: Again, perfectly valid in the RPG, but in the game Presence is entirely useless to you outside of combat.
    • Likewise, an empty dumpster or wooden crate shouldn't be able to stymie your progress toward the end of the game, by which time you have Strength and Potence 5; in the actual tabletop game, you could deadlift a truck at that point.
  • Big one in Valkyria Chronicles after having taken Marberry Shore During this and all other missions your troops can take an anti-tank round to the face at point blank range and be rescued by a medic, but in the cutscene Isara takes a shot in the back and neither the medic nor ragnaid is a benefit. It's all very FF 7
    • It suffers from this in a lot of ways. There's the above example, of course, but there's also the mission where Alicia sprains her ankle and must hobble around the map to find a plant that Welkin can use to gradually heal it. The player can still use Ragnite to heal the wounds she gets during the mission, but it does nothing for the sprain. The teamwork themes occasionally suffer, since the game can't predict whether or not any of Squad 7 may die, so it's likely that many of the player's favorite squad members have no impact on the plot and don't appear in cutscenes. And then there's Alicia after she becomes a Valkyria, when she has an existential crisis over her new ability to kill enemy soldiers and tanks... except she's a powerhouse on the field, and can easy rack up a higher body count than most of your shocktroopers because of her extremely high accuracy and headshot rate, which means she's apparently okay with taking Mooks down execution style, but not with a laser.
  • Dragon Quest IV: During the fourth chapter, you have to search for some gunpowder in order to make a loud noise and scare the Chancellor of Palais de Leon. Never mind that Maya already knows a spell called "Bang" that creates a big explosion...
  • Dragon Quest VIII: At one point you cannot get past a northern checkpoint because the game involves going around with a king who has been transformed into a monster, and they won't let a monster in. However, at this point the hero has learned a spell to teleport him and his party to any city he has been to. If the story treated this spell as existing, he could go through the checkpoint alone, reach the next city, return, then teleport back to the city with the king and party.
    • For that matter, half the stores in the game sell an item that has the same effect (Chimaera wings,) so it wouldn't necessarily have to be the hero who could go alone. Heck, they could find a random guy who's been to the city and pay him to transport them there. If the game's plot considered this, though, then keeping borders secure would be nearly impossible.
  • The opening scene of Phantom Dust has a team of espers scorch scores of monsters with single attacks when two of said monsters would be challenging to the player. This may be justified by the fact that some of the monsters look a little more sickly they do in the game proper. Another example is characters performing feats like telekinetically hurling what appears to be half a sky scraper at you when the player, who is easily the most powerful esper in the game, has no such abilities.
  • Anachronox has the main character in trouble with a local mob boss who he owes a large amount of money to. However, being an RPG you can make huge amounts of money from fighting monsters. Alternately, the next locale you visit has trading robots which you can use to make a fortune with. Problem is, you cannot use this money to pay back the mob boss - the option simply doesn't exist and the debt comes back to bite you later on.
  • Used very painfully in Baten Kaitos, where almost all the characters have wings and are shown to be fully capable of flight over reasonably short distances [depending on their wing shape] in cutscenes. There are still a lot of Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence and Broken Bridge puzzles, at heights and distances that cutscenes and battle animations (and ladders in Origins) show that the characters are perfectly capable of flying over. The series does have some good moments of Gameplay and Story Integration, but not enough to balance out the wings problem.
  • Magneto is one of the X-Men's most powerful foes, who can control all metal at whim. Yet in games like X-Men Legends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and most other Marvel games, he can end up getting his ass kicked (as a playable character or boss) by the likes of Colossus, Crimson Dynamo, Iron Man, Lady Deathstrike, Ultron, War Machine and Wolverine, when story-wise they shouldn't be able to move, let alone fight.
    • Likewise, in nearly every game in which he appears, you can make Juggernaut stop charging and fall over by hitting him enough. Nothing stops the Juggernaut... except a punch or two.
  • At one point in the RPG Gorky Odium, your team medic gets attacked and poisoned by an invisible monster, cannot be cured, and dies at the end of the battle (and states that the grotesquely deformed bodies you found earlier are, too, victims of this poison). Near the end of the game, you battle a group of these monsters, but their poison can be cured away and only does minor damage like any other monster's poison.
  • In the Baldur's Gate series and other Infinity Engine games, there are a number of resurrection spells and items that can bring your group members back from the dead. However, when the plot calls for a character to die, they die... and the option of resurrection is never even brought up.
    • Irritating example: The background fluff in Baldur's Gate claims that lots of people prefer carrying handy little gems instead of weighty gold coins. For the player, the utility is reversed: Gold is weightless and its value is precise, while gems' values are unknown and they clutter up your limited inventory space.
    • Occasionally Justified in-game when the writers can be bothered. If the PC offers to resurrect Khalid at the start of BG2, Jaheira refuses, and will leave the party if the PC tries to insist.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Nar Shaddaa is home to the Jekk'Jekk Tarr, a bar that caters to aliens and sports a piped-in atmosphere toxic to humans. When the Player Character goes there as part of the game's overarching story, he/she is informed that a breathmask will be insufficient protection and a full-body containment suit is called for, as the poison can be absorbed through the skin. This will come as a surprise to any player who already completed an earlier sidequest by, yes, putting on a breathmask and just walking around as normal.
  • In Inazuma Eleven. every soccer player can jump almost as high as Saiyans in a soccer match to create super natural moves, but non of a member in your team thinks of jumping across a small river to get to pieces of wood to create a bridge so that their van can cross, and you have to go around the whole maze-like forest.
  • In the final chapter of Scenario 013 in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, the boss cutscenes show the Chaos's warriors being challenged and after a battle being defeated by their Cosmos counterparts. Despite this, you can challenge them with any character and you'll still see the cutscenes.
    • Tropes Are Not Bad: In the first game this was averted, you had to have the character relating to the boss to get both cutscenes, which means you'd have to memorize who's in what chapter and do it multiple times with each character.
  • Eternal Sonata has an huge one. In Eternal Sonata's world people who suffer from incurable illnesses develop the ability to use magic. As you advance into the game you see that in fact everyone in your party is capable of using magic in battle, it's even worse as each character has "Magic" as a value in their stats. Still, the game says that just Polka and Chopin are ill and the only ones in your party that can use magic. Some characters even praise that capacity.
  • Mass Effect 2: Jack, AKA Subject Zero, is supposed to be the most powerful human biotic alive, which is shown in a cutscene where she one-shots three YMIR Heavy Mechs, which are some of the deadliest foes in the game. In the game itself? She's terrible, and probably the weakest biotic on the team. She only has three abilities (Warp Ammo, Shockwave, and Pull), none of which deal even moderate damage or have any effect on enemies with armor / shields (guess which defenses YMIR Heavy Mechs have?). This is especially noticeable if you bring her on the mission where you actually do fight three of those mechs; none of her attacks do anything to them and she will usually be killed a minute into the mission.
    • Similar to the Knights of the Old Republic example above, the Quarian fleet only allows Tali, Shepard and one other squadmate to board their flagship. You know, the race known for being the most extreme germophobes in the universe? Shepard has to wear his/her helmet at all times, and most of the squadmates do the same - except for a select few (Jack, Samara, Miranda, Jacob) that are apparently able to waltz onboard with nothing more than a breathing mask, walk around without anyone commenting and sit in the middle of the crowd during Tali's exile hearing.
    • Shepard walks around toting an Avenger assault rifle throughout the game - this will occur even if you've been using another primary weapon, never equipped the Avenger for a mission or didn't specialize in assault rifles in the first place.
    • The Krogan treat fighting a Thresher Maw on foot like it's a big thing. In the first game, a sufficiently well-grinded character can defeat like a dozen of them on foot over the course of the game.
  • In Mass Effect 3:
    • During the final confrontation with Kai Leng at the Cerberus Base, it's possible to blow him into nice, meaty chunks using an incredibly powerful rifle (the Black Widow is good for this). Even though he's supposedly been blown apart, he magically appears alive and well in the following cutscene when he struggles to stand up.
    • Shepard will always end up holding a pistol with unlimited ammo in his/her hand after Harbinger destroys the team running towards the Conduit, even if you never bothered to equip him with one. It's pretty clear that the pistol is picked from the ground, among numerous corpses, so it's by no means necessarily Shepard's. The unlimited heatsink is a different matter, though. Some have argued that the unlimited ammo makes it more likely to be just a dream.
    • Shepard listen to people's problems and from them, do assorted sidequests, for which they will reward you with resources and increased combat readiness values. The problem is that the effects are immediate, so the dialog can get a bit weird when you recover a fossil of a Krogan war mount that has been extinct for 2000 years, talk to the guy who wants it that you've got one in your cargo bay, and then three seconds after he's thanked you for your trouble, you overhear him saying they've cloned the things and the Krogan are currently riding them into battle.
  • In Deus Ex Human Revolution, when fighting the second boss, you can tazer her untill she collapses and...then bleeds to death in a cutscene. The third boss you can non-lethally knock out, whereupon he immediately dies for no reason in a cutscene.

Simulation Game

  • In Ace Combat 6, it's possible to spend most of the mission running for your life, calling in Allied Attacks or Allied Cover against all the other planes, and yet reinforcement pilots can still claim that the protagonist was responsible for shooting down everyone.
  • In Syndicate Wars you control your agents from an airship. The last levels are in a space station and on the Moon, but don't mention how you see them.
  • In Airforce Delta Strike You pull several missions that supposedly deal heavy blows to the enemy's logistics network, but their ability to field aircraft, tanks, ships, and wildly powerful contraptions of all manner is unaffected.

Sports Game

  • EA's skate suffers from this trope. At the beginning of the game, your skater gets hit by a bus after skating out into the street, and needs surgery in order to skate again. Later on in the game, however, there is a mission for Thrasher Magazine which requires you to break four bones in order to proceed. This, along with any other time in the game where you break bones is briefly commented on, but your character can get right back up and keep skating right away.

Survival Horror

  • If the plot of the Resident Evil games actually mattered where the gameplay was concerned, the playable characters would very quickly run into a big problem the first time they took damage - since one zombie bite is all it should take to turn one into the walking dead. Amusingly, in Resident Evil 3, one of Nemesis's attacks finds its mark on Jill during a cutscene, which naturally does infect her.
    • Also, one wonders why the characters don't just kick the doors in or shoot the locks.
      • Satisfyingly, Leon does this all the time in Resident Evil 4, shooting or cutting with his knife simple locks or simply kicking the door open. Note that he still requires a key to get past a padlock later in the game, despite the door being so rickety that it collapses as soon as you unlock it.
      • That one can be shot open too, but it takes a LOT of firepower and you've got El Gigante breathing down your neck at the same time.
      • The REmake has an even more obnoxious example: One of the doors is so rickety that after you use it a few times, the knob falls off. Both of the characters are wearing combat boots but can't just kick in the door.
      • At the very least, their inability to shoot the doors is explained in the books as being due to the ever-present risk of ricocheted bullets. Granted, the books exist on a different plane of canon than the games, but this should still hold up. What we should really be wondering is why the mansion doesn't burn down in REmake when you're running around setting defeated zombies' corpses on fire (with kerosene haphazardly poured on them that certainly had to have splashed about) and shooting incendiary grenades at whatever you like... in a mansion built primarily with wood floors, walls, doors... just about everything, really. You'd think they'd all be burnt to a crisp long before the endgame.
    • What about the puzzles? Fooling with the city's power grid ought to cause a few problems.
      • At that point in the story, the city's power is really the least of their problems.
    • In RE 4 you have to escort President's daughter Ashley, and the zombies will try to steal her and carry away. Should they leave the current gaming area, even if Leon is like, two steps behind, game is over. Later in the game Ashley is kidnapped by some flying monsters who carry her in unknown direction, and Leon just...goes further in search for her, like nothing happened.
  • In Dead Rising, but really in every game that involves zombies just about, the zombies can grapple with your character, and if you don't button mash to get way fast enough, they bite you, which has no effect other than lost health. and yet, in cutscenes, a bite is certain infection.
    • Actually It turns out Frank does get infected if you progress to Overtime mode. Though then Gameplay and Story Segregation kicks in in the opposite way: Even if you spend the entire game not getting injured once, you're still infected.

Tabletop Games

  • In the Dungeons & Dragons pencil-and-paper RPG, the character class known as the "Paladin" is granted divine powers by his patron god and will lose them if he commits acts contrary to his god's nature (this is how it's phrased as of 4th Edition - previously all paladins had to be Lawful Good regardless of their deity). Some mechanism to represent this rule is usually present in computer games based on D&D. Even so, one isn't necessarily allowed to bring it up in circumstances in which it would be useful to do so. To whit: In the computer RPG Neverwinter Nights 2 (in which paladins can only be lawful good), there is a sequence in which the player stands falsely accused of slaughtering an entire village and must prove his innocence at a trial. Illogically enough, if the class of the player character is a paladin, one is not allowed to point out that if that if the player character had actually committed this heinous act, he would have lost his divine powers, but since he retains them, he must be innocent.
    • Played with by Order of the Stick in a trial: the prosecution argues that the arresting officer didn't lose her powers, so the defendants must be guilty (though in this particular case, this is specious reasoning, as it would only mean the paladin acted in good faith).
    • Capcom's Dungeons & Dragons arcade game Shadow Over Mystara introduces two new characters to the playable party, and the plot acts as if they've always been adventuring with them from the start. One of them even pulls out a Plot Coupon from the first game that they "stole" to allow the party to access the final leg of stages.
    • The rules book Elder Evils states that the elder evils are so powerful that even the gods would think twice before standing against them, but a comparison of the statistics of some of the elder evils in that book to the gods' statistics in Dieties and Demigods shows that the gods could easily crush the elder evils. Likewise, the Epic Level Handbook's claim that even the gods can't stand up to a certain monster described in that book seems questionable when the statistics are compared.
    • Character example from DnD: Elminster. In the novels, this guy is one of the most powerful wizards in the world, had an affair with the goddess of magic (and is one of her Chosen), and is functionally immortal. However, his character stats as presented in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting... well, let's just say anyone who has a passing familiarity with Dungeons and Dragons can make a better epic-level wizard.
      • Technically, in the lore Elminster and others like him are somewhere between "character" and "fixture of the world". Like Cthulhu. Thus it's same old problem with characters that belong in mythology.
      • Even as mortal magic-users go, it's an eternal struggle to make tabletop rules suck less at reflecting certain features of the setting.
  • The Space Marines of Warhammer 40,000 are always depicted as being near unstoppable and above and beyond every other factions foot soldiers (and sometimes their larger forces) in every single way. In-game, they die rather easily and there are many other basic troops that surpass them in power. Lampshaded by Games Workshop themselves with the "Movie Marines" list, where every marine is effectively a monstrous creature, and every Bolter (their standard firearm) is turned into a tank-shredding assault cannon.
    • Not just the Space Marines, every faction has something like this. Daemons have Greater Daemons, which can often be overwhelmed by a few basic troop Hormagaunts, a basic Guard troop squad can kill a Carnifex with a little luck, and the Necron C'Tan (a Physical God) can fall to a couple shots from a Dark Eldar on a jetbike.
  • The Saga Edition of the Star Wars RPG has far fewer guns on ships than has been previously established. However, this was made as a concession to the fact that if they did, rolling for each individual ship gun/battery would translate into hundreds of rolls, especially with bigger ships like the Super Star Destroyers. Besides, game mechanics are already of dubious canon.
  • In the Pathfinder adventure path Iron Gods one critical source of information needed to progress the plot past the second book is a set of journals by the lieutenant of the second book's boss. This is sensible, except she has a mere 6 intelligence (1-2 is animal, 6 is drooling ogre, 10 is normal human) and the journals have extensive detailed information.

Third-Person Shooter

  • In Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath you play a bounty hunter saving up for a life saving operation. The surgery bid given to you by Doc in the first town says the price is roughly 20,000 moolah (the games currency). You collect this money by exchanging outlaws at the bounty store. However, gameplay wise Moolah is only used to purchase ammo and upgrades. You can collect hundreds of thousands of moolah, or use cheatcodes for infinte moolah, yet Stranger won't be able to afford his operation until he finishes the New Yolk City missions and take the ferry to Doc's Retreat. Of course, you find out the Big Bad's mooks have killed Doc, and you are overtaken by previously easily defeated outlaws. Your equipment is stolen, all of your moolah is taken away, you're hit with a Tomato Surprise, and then Moolah isn't used or mentioned for the rest of the game.
  • In the animated prequel to Dead Space, the zombies cannot go near the Artifact of Doom that was dug up. But when it comes to be your turn to escort the thing, all manner of baddies can come right up to the thing with no issue. And by extension, you.
    • The Valour. Sure, Pulse Rifles are weak against Necromorphs, and maybe the soldiers needed a while to grab their guns, but seriously. One slasher - the weakest type of Necromorph - manages to kill and infect an entire ship stocked to the brim with trained soldiers wielding Pulse Rifles and wearing advanced body armour that is as good or better than Isaac's Level 5 suit. Let me repeat that. One Slasher. An entire freaking SHIP. (In fairness, some of the marine corpses clearly were killed by the crashing of the ship and not a necromorph, plus, according to one of the logs you can find on the ship, most of the marines actually survived until after the valour crashed into the Ishimura and were killed in a running battle against a horde of necromorphs that were attracted to the ship by the crash.)
  • One of the most bizarre examples ever has to be the Play Station 3 game Mind Jack. Basically, the premise is that you're a secret operative going around hacking into people's minds and controlling them. After a few hours of this, in a cutscene, the female lead presents to the protagonist the concept of mindhacking... and he has no idea what that is. Y'know, the thing you've been going around doing for the past four hours. Actually an example of Fridge Brilliance, as it's not that character that's doing the mindhacking.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • Ridiculously silly in the Nippon Ichi game Phantom Brave is how the sweet, kind and innocent Marona who is The Messiah, gains powers for herself and her equipment. She does this by "fusing" her party members (admittedly they're phantoms, so already dead, but still) into herself and her equipment. This results in them having Final Death as far as the game is concerned. The plot completely ignores this.
  • While Advance Wars in general can be bothersome about it, Dual Strike has one case that takes the cake. SEVEN Aircraft Carriers, each loaded with a Stealth, and near a somehow important Black Hole fortress no less. Bear in mind that Aircraft Carriers and Stealths are among the most expensive units in the game AND the Aircraft Carriers are support units, not to mention that (because the units were top secret before) Black Hole does not recognize the ordinance in the first place, so it's a wonder how they got trapped. Then again, because of this suggestion that the Allied Nations is absurdly rich to the point that these units could even be around, let alone top secret, when they have been lucky to have had only ONE Megatank (a unit that isn't as expensive as any of the Aircraft Carriers) in the next mission, never mind that they have been having troubles with having reasonable forces, it's a wonder how the Bolt Guard trashes most of the Allied Nations' facilities in a massive ambush before they could even respond. Most likely they had to contend with the fact that Black Hole was drunk on ridiculous story power. Oh, and guess what? The mission in question is ridiculously easy for the point it is at.
    • Dual Strike has another issue related to the above: when Allied Nations reinforcements arrive (mostly to help introduce new characters, such as when Jess brings Javier to the fight with her), they usually want to see the skills of Jake et al. Ergo, they demand some kind of "practice" match, and while it's vaguely implied that no soldiers are actually hurt, in-game battle scenes clearly show people getting blown away and tanks exploding. This is all ignoring the obvious: the Bolt Guard is destroying the very land underneath them, and there's really no time to clown around. Without these "practice" matches, you'd be stuck fighting against the same few COs for the entire campaign, but later matches have you fighting clones of Drake, Olaf, and Andy anyway.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, dying enemies either turn into crystals or drop an equipment box if they've been dead long enough. In cutscenes, bodies will hang around long after they should have changed into the aforementioned items.
    • Some battles will end when you defeat the boss. If you do this, Ramza will usually tell the other enemies to lay down their swords and surrender. He still says this even if you have already killed every other enemy and had their corpses turn into crystals.
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, it is possible in gameplay to completely wipe out the native flora and fauna. But when the story calls for it, suddenly the fungus stands poised to wipe out your massively powerful post-singularity civilization and only a dose of Applied Phlebotinum can save it.
    • The flora and fauna is said to also live deep underground. It is effectively unkillable, except for the Applied Phlebotinum version and the fact that it is so massive it cannot energitically sustain itself, just like it already happened several times before. And yeah, it also is a Hive Mind.
  • Super Robot Wars uses story overwrites near constantly. Major enemies will never die unless it's part of the mission, your units will display both startling incompetance and skill when you're not in control of them, and characters just suddenly glide to certain spots at the map when necessary.
  • In Fire Emblem Tellius: Radiant Dawn, it turns out that two characters acted the way they did because they were bound by magical contracts that would kill everyone in their respective countries if they disobeyed. The only way to render such a contract null and void is for the physical contract to be destroyed and one of the signers to be killed by a third party. In the endgame, the player gets to kill the man who forced the other characters to sign the contracts; however, it is entirely possible to have him killed by one of the signees which should render the contracts unvoidable, but if this happens, it plays out the same as if he was killed by anyone else.
    • Two characters out of a massive cast of seventy three, mind you.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, a support conversation between Garcia and Dozla has the two talking about their failed attempt to practice archery, including Dozla trying to swing his bow like an axe, and Garcia putting the arrow in backwards. The two decide archery isn't for them. This is ignoring that it's very possible that Garcia promoted to a Warrior by this point, and can use a bow quite competently.

Turn Based Tactics

  • X-COM: Enemy Unknown/UFO Defense intro has Mutons appear as drop troops, apparently like shouting when they attack and generally make a great "Space Orc" impression with those fangs and green suits, then leave by somehow being "beamed up" Star Trek style. They were led by a bossy Muton in red uniform. In the game? All action is contained in the map, there's no retreat except for X-Com troopers if they'll make it back to the transport. Mutons don't scream other than when dying. "Mr. Angry Red Suit", as calls him, does not appear - there are only Muton Soldier, Navigator and Engineer, but no Leaders or Commanders, because Mutons serve the Ethereals.

Wide Open Sandbox

  • None of the protagonists in the Grand Theft Auto series can technically be killed. If one's health bar runs out, he is said to be "Wasted!", and will return to the gameworld outside the nearest hospital. The implication being that the player character can always recover swiftly from any injury, including being trapped inside an exploding vehicle. Furthermore, when pedestrians are killed, they can always be revived by paramedics. Of course, when the plot calls for it, any character can be Killed Off for Real.
    • Pedestrians can't be revived if you kill 'em right. A high-caliber headshot or katana decapitation is just one of several ways of preempting the unquiet dead.
    • In a similar vein, you can go on a mass-murdering destructive rampage, literally killing hundreds of civilians, police officers, SWAT officers, and US military personnel. Whether you get shot down or captured, you immediately get away with it, either by just being released from the hospital or, the even funnier part, being released on bail. Yeah.
      • Vice City at least implies that the police force and legal system are so corrupt that your Mafia ties and crooked lawyer companion get you off. Other games tend not to have a similar excuse.
      • In GTA 2, when you got arrested, you respawned riding in the back of a cop car, and you had to jump out and run away from the cops.
    • In San Andreas, the player can willingly murder hundreds of cops (and get away without even being killed/arrested), yet all cutscenes still portray the player character as innocent. In fact, as the plot goes on CJ is shown in a more and more positive light and seems to be trying to "get away from" all of the illegal activity in order to start a good, honest life...And as soon as these cutscenes finish, the player can get back to throwing hand grenades off a highway overpass to see how far cars can drive before they explode.
      • And even though you can constantly murder police officers in cold blood and get away with it, much of the conflict of the story centers around a couple crooked cops threatening to frame CJ for the murder of a single police officer that he didn't commit. What about the dozens of cops he DID murder?
      • Hell, what about the guy who worked at the pizza place? There's at least a dozen witnesses if you decide to kill him and take his shotgun.
      • There's also the money issue: cutscenes show CJ being poor, dead broke actually after 'Green Sabre', yet you can actually have millions of dollars and a lot of property even at this early point of the game (and without cheating).
        • It's also strange in most of the other games, seeing as how Victor Vance from Vice City Stories, and Niko Bellic and Johnny Klebitz in IV are shown having the same goals and have calm personalities, but sound like ravenous maniacs if you decide to go after NPCs full-force. And this same bloodlust disappears when you start the next mission cutscene.
  • In Grand Theft Auto 4, Niko is portrayed as a jaded individual who is haunted by bad things he has done in the past, and is trying to make a new life for himself in Liberty City. Like in San Andreas, you can wantonly murder all the people you want, and in a way its even more disturbing listening to Niko say things like "Stay down, my friend! I don't want to hurt you!" as he continues to stab an old lady as she writhes around on the ground screaming. Also "I don't want to use this! BAMBAMBAMBAMBAM Don't make me kill you friend! BAM"
    • Saints Row 2 has the same segregation with the Killed Off for Real as NPC allies can be revived by the player and non-allies can be revived by paramedics. The way that you and other characters act is a lot less segregated as shown by Johnny Gat's trial for over 300 counts of murder though that's probably a little low too.
    • Saints Row the Third also has a bit of this, most notably in the final act, where zombies continue to inhabit one of the Luchadore-controlled islands even after you do the mission wherein you remove the source of the virus, and the ability to call in Shaundi, Viola, and Burt Reynolds as homies even if you skip rescuing them from the bomb at the statue to chase after Killbane in the final mission.
  • In The Godfather: The Game, after Sonny's death Don Vito calls a truce with the other four families, saying that unless pushed he will not be the one to break it. This doesn't stop you as Aldo Trapani from continuing your quest to take over businesses for the Corleones and kill enemy mobsters.
  • Prototype is similar. Alex Mercer is depicted as heroic and actually willing to risk his life to protect people during the cutscenes and comic book tie-in and willing to let people live and just tell him what he wants to know, In gameplay, he can do much more than kill people for little to no reason and will just take the information for himself instead of listening to them. Thought you don't have to do this, and you actually get an Achievment for acting humanely.
    • Averted in the sequel, however, where Alex has done a Face Heel Turn and the new main character is aparently not too good either.


Action Game

  • Surprising Aversion in Batman: Arkham Asylum. The tools gained in the game allow Batman to perform every awesome move he performs in the cutscenes easily in-game except for Batman's explosive gel-powered punch.
    • Of course, Batman's explosive gel-powered punch does break his arm, so it's not an ability you'd expect to be able to use multiple times..
  • Brutal Legend. Everything gets an in-universe explanation, from why Eddie is an expert with a battle axe despite never touching one before, why he is able to fly around the battlefield issuing orders, why he is able to build a functioning car from parts dug up out of the ground, to why said car has a radio in it.
  • Iji almost entirely averts this. Nearly everything the player does, from how many enemies they kill to which logbooks are read, has at least some influence on how the story unfolds, how dialogues proceed, and even how characters react to Iji's presence. Indeed, the ending of one subplot (which can only be followed by reading a series of seemingly unrelated logbooks) relies entirely on how the player treats a single specific enemy they have no way of knowing is at all significant at that point in the game.

Fighting Game

  • To show how how accurate Kinnikuman: Muscle Fight is to the original Kinnikuman Manga, the developer Matayan included the following one-hit kills.
    • Prince Kamehame has the 3-count pinfall backdrop. If done correctly, it can KO an opponent instantly. Prince Kamehame even has a special intro with Kinnikuman that lets Prince Kamehame earn an instant victory over Kinnikuman.
    • If the Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan is done on Jesse Maivia, it kills him instantly because the Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan was the move that originally finished him off.
    • If Kinnikuman or Puripuriman does the fart attack in Black Hole's portable dimension, they break out and fall on top of Black Hole, KOing him instantly.
    • If Kinnikuman Super Phoenix performs the Muscle Revenger on Kinnikuman Big Body, Kinnikuman Big Body is instantly killed because the Kinnikuman Big Body was the first victim of the Muscle Revenger.

First-Person Shooter

  • The Half-Life series and its long love affair with No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom is a major element of the plot, representing Gordon's complete lack of control, whether it's because of the GMan, the Vortigaunts, or the player.
    • Half-Life 2 and its Episodes begin with Gordon not at full health, due to him being injured from a scene in the previous game.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the respawn system is canon (according to Poker Night At the Inventory, Heavy recalls it as a series of nightmares). Also, each character's personality, weapons, tactics, and movement style are all closely related, and the relationships between characters in canon are related to how they interact in-game: gameplay nemeses Sniper and Spy are bitter rivals (and Foe Yay targets) out-of-play, and popular in-game team-up Heavy and Medic are confirmed Heterosexual Life Partners and a hinted couple.


  • EVE Online's completely player driven nature averts and/or outright deconstructs many of the things mentioned in the MMORPG examples above.
    • Almost every MMO mechanic is superbly addressed and explained via some very elaborate and convincing-sounding tech lore. How can you constantly die? Clones. How are you singularly operating a ship with effectively no crew? Capsules. The backstory has become so in depth that it has sparked what you could describe as 'lore within the lore;' cloning has caused discussions about transferals of consciousness, and the fact that capsuleers can indefinitely clone has in-game, as well as outside consideration about the fact that since they have clones, can do anything, and cause large amounts of destruction, that capsuleers are effectively immortal, sociopathic, all-powerful demigods.
      • To put it shortly, it's pretty much the most effective, in depth, and descriptive Hand Wave ever.
  • Mabinogi. Player characters, aka Milletians, are presented as spirits from outside the game world, who are temporarily incarnated within it. Because they are not normally part of the world, they do not "die", but simply lose the body they were using, which can be restored by a particular NPC. NPCs are aware of your status, and will casually mention it from time to time. This is actually made a significant story point for Elf and Giant characters.
    • In the semi-prequel Vindictus, The fact that the Giant Polar Bear is such a popular target is referenced in a quest, where it is suddenly attacking more areas than before and you are the prime suspect because you bother, I.E. use it to grind, so much, and are thus demanded to either calm it down or prove that you weren't the one that caused it to get even more angry. you weren't the one who made it mad.
  • RuneScape soundly averts this in most all cases. If your character is in a Cutscene everything about them is there when they are shown. They just place limits on what can be with you on a few.

Platform Game

  • Sort-of aversion: In the original Super Mario Bros., fireballs and thrown shells wouldn't affect enemies that had just walked offscreen, due to technical limits. The manual suggested this was because they were doing something sneaky where you couldn't see.
    • Another Hand Wave aversion: In the manual for Sonic the Hedgehog 3, a gameplay hint suggested that Robotnik had outfitted the environments themselves with inescapable traps that would require you to reset your MegaDrive/Genesis. It then suggested that, to avoid these flaws in the collision engine traps, to not run too fast when under the effect of Mercy Invincibility.
  • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, during the playable credits, you can't use the Spin because the Baby Luma, who originally gave you that power, has gone home.
  • Heart of Darkness; what seems like a simple powerup/magic attack skill for a good part of the game becomes an important plot point later on. The skill stays your most important weapon in gameplay combat, but during cutscenes, the hero and his friends find numerous ways to use it creatively as well.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has it's story being told by the eponymous prince. Whenever you die he basically says "No, that's not how it happened". Dude must be a terrible storyteller, his narrative is full of "And then I fell to my death for the thousandth time. Wait, no, I'm still here..."
    • If Farah dies, he says that she didn't die. She eventually does, but he reverses time. Oddly, he doesn't acknowledge that he's telling this story to Farah herself.
    • If it makes you feel better, interpret it as Farah interrupting with a "bad end" every time you die. She certainly isn't all that helpful during your story, anyway.
  • The first three endings in Demons Crest avert this with generous amounts of Lampshade Hanging. After finishing the first level, you can either fly to the second... or head right for the Phalanx's castle. In fact, you get there so quickly the final boss hasn't even finished setting up the final Death Course, hasn't figured out how to use his crest, and dies after one round. If you go to the last level after the fourth, the level will actually be ready, and Phalanx is stronger, but he still can't use the crest fully. If you go there after finishing all the levels, he'll finally have figured out how to REALLY use it, going One-Winged Angel at long last.
  • In the opening of the GBA version of Donkey Kong Country, Diddy Kong is able to defend the Banana Hoard from Kremlings until a Krusha shows up. In-game, Krushas can only be defeated by Donkey Kong.
  • In Psychonauts, Raz's Super Drowning Skills are the result of a curse on his family which is an important part of the game's backstory.
    • Also, in Psychonauts, if you enter the Mental World of someone with a mental disorder, the gameplay will symbolize that disorder in some way.
      • Boyd has Paranoid Schizophrenia, which causes almost everything in the level to look at you or sneak up on you in some way, which will make some players think that the level is trying to attack them.
      • Fred has Dissociative Identity Disorder, which is shown by his two mental personalities literally being at war with each other.
      • Edgar suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which is represented by a bull that keeps knocking you back to the start of the level, causing you to repeat parts of the world over and over again.
      • Gloria has Bipolar Disorder, and you can change the mood lighting in the world to literally swing the mood of the stage between comedy and tragedy.
      • Even the psychologically healthy (well, healthier) Agents, Sasha Nein and Milla Vodello, have their various mental problems and thinking styles reflected in their stages. Emotionally closeted Sasha, who specializes in turning pent-up emotions into firepower, has a level that consists of a large cube floating in space, with all of his thoughts and memories tucked up inside it. Bubbly, open, caring party girl Milla, one of the world's foremost levitation specialists (according to Sasha), has a level in a wide-open, colorful disco with almost no Censors.
    • The level that takes place within Raz's own head is also insanely difficult. The fact that it's nigh-impossible to solve your own mental problems without outside help is the entire reason Psychonauts exist.
  • Egoraptor goes into extensive detail in this video as to why Mega Man X pulls this off so well. It's gonna blow your fuckin mind.

Real Time Strategy

  • The Corruption level of your team in Dawn Of War 2:Chaos Rising affects both the abilities and equipment they can use and some major plot points, like which of them turned out to be a traitor and the ending.
    • The vanilla campaign has an aversion with Tarkus: his introduction on a loading screen image mentions he was awarded Terminator honors for his performance during the prequel's campaign. This explains how he can pull his Big Damn Heroes moment in terminator armor without the Termintor Honors perk other squads need to level up and unlock first. [1]
  • In Red Alert 2 The Allies use their Chronosphere to send a strike team directly to Moscow, bypassing the Soviet defences. You can then use it during the attack itself to bypass the local defences.

Rhythm Game

  • Elite Beat Agents averts this in that the gameplay IS the story. How well the Agents perform determines how each story's protagonist behaves in the screen above, and how the plot twists until the end of the song. More specifically, music and dance are the only effective weapon against the alien invaders in the last mission.
  • Loco Roco often attempts to integrate cutscenes to be as close to gameplay as possible. In this cutscene, even the 2D world is Lampshaded.

Role-Playing Game

  • The amateur game Sensible Erection RPG features quite a bit of lampshading and parody of the cliches of Japanese RPGs. Before the final confrontation, a party member that had been killed in a cutscene returns as if nothing had happened, and his companion declares, "I used a 1up on him. What's the big deal?" To which the boss responds, "See? I told you, [we live in a] videogame."
  • Crushingly averted in Final Fantasy V, where the party members attempt to use the strongest healing items and spells at their disposal on a character who has been Killed Off for Real to no avail. Fighting at 0 HP rendered him Deader Than Dead.
    • On the other hand, it's possible for characters in that cutscene to try to use Curaga and Raise on Galuf even if they haven't gained a single level in any White Magic-related jobs. Or to use Pheonix Downs even if you don't currently have any in your inventory. As for how they got that far out without white magic...who'd actually try that?
    • Also done in Phantasy Star IV, where party members try various healing items on Alys when Zio poisons her
      • Later played crushingly straight with the same situation, which while a moderately powerful attack, GiRes cures everyone else just fine.
  • Amusingly averted in the intro of Shadow Hearts. Yuri, the main character, fights his way through a dozen or so Imps, shrugging off their scythe-attacks like the minor annoyance they are (they only do something like 10 HP damage). Then he enters a cutscene where the Big Bad sics an imp on him. Who cuts off his right arm. At which point Yuri regrows his arm in a split second, and crushes the imp with his left hand like the annoyance it is, at the same time.
    • This is also partially playing it straight, as that regeneration power of Yuri's never shows up in gameplay.
  • In Planescape: Torment, your Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma scores are useful for far more things than just getting cool spells. A high intelligence directly affects your ability to solve problems and outsmart other characters, for example.
    • Charisma and Wisdom technically don't apply to the trope. The Nameless One is restricted to being a Fighter, Mage, or Thief, classes where those stats really don't matter. However, Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity (normally stats that really only impact combat) do occasionally benefit the player outside combat, just like Intelligence, Charisma, and Wisdom.
  • Similar to Planescape: Torment, Fallout 3 gives you a few occasions where a sufficiently high Strength stat allows you to intimidate certain NPCs into submitting to your will.
    • There is also the Terrifying Presence perk, which gives you the option to frighten NPCs in dialog by reminding them how tough you are.
  • In Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3, the villains pull off many of their plans only because they have the main characters' transforming powers. The game being a Massive Multiplayer Crossover, being able to transform into various Tales characters and bosses and play as them is pretty much the only reason the game exists, and is simply also worked into the Excuse Plot.
    • Tales of Vesperia gives a good explanation for the world's Ghibli Hills and all their Random Encounters; all the towns in the world are shielded underneath giant energy shields that keep monsters out, and only highly trained professionals (like the party members) are allowed outside.
      • Character AI also prioritizes healing based on personality and character relationships. Flynn will spam healing on Yuri. And the Death Seeker Lovable Sex Maniac Raven prefers to heal women over a dog over men over himself.
    • Tales of Innocence implements the Reincarnation storyline by letting the characters transform into their "original" forms for Limit Breaks. This gets a tad amusing when you consider that Angi's previous life was a man. The characters of course mention this in a skit.
    • In Tales of the Abyss, when you use Ion's extension of Luke's first mystic arte, he'll waver and collapse instead of just disappearing. If Anise is in the party, she calls for him, and he stutters "I-I'm... fine...".
      • Additionally, if you don't have Luke and Jade in your party, when Anise uses Final Fury, she yells "I'll kill you bastards!" Instead of the usual "O ravaging tragedy!"
    • A minor but rather powerful aversion in Tales of Symphonia: When Colette loses her voice for plot reasons, she stops Calling Her Attacks in battle as well, and the victory quotes for her aren't shown.
      • Another subtle one is in the AI - Tropers have actually noticed that Kratos actually loves to spam healing and support spells on Lloyd the most - and this isn't an issue of him being the tank; even if Colette is in melee range, he'll use it on Lloyd first. Because it's actually an act of a father-looking out for his son.
  • The influence system in Knights of the Old Republic II is the gameplay manifestation of an ability that the main character is revealed to have. That is, the main character has the ability to subtly manipulate people that they're close to. As a consequence, the more influence you have with a party member, the more their alignment mirrors your own. And vice-versa.
    • However, all situations where you can gain/lose influence do not take that into the considerance - so, during such checkpoint, good party member turned evil by the high influence of the evil player is still going to be displeased when said player commits an evil act.
    • Similarly, the XP system, where you grow more powerful by killing enemies, is revealed to be the result of the main character's "rift in the force" growing more powerful by feeding on the destruction she causes. Pretty rough revelation, for a light-sider.
    • Furthermore, some of your party member's characterization traits turn up as actual abilities in battle. Atton has improved saving throws the closer he gets to knocked out from half health and below, and he can get back up in battle from being knocked out, provided somebody else is still standing, Kreia provides EXP bonuses to the party, Mandalore is immune to mind-affecting powers (the only enemies that use such things are bosses the player character fights solo), and that's just the start.
  • Final Fantasy IX opens with a play: the fight scenes are done using the battle system, and the characters have the battle command "SFX" with the help menu description of "uses powerful, deadly magic", a damage output of zero and no mana point cost. Of course the party leader gets to cause the biggest blast.
    • Further averted with all of the character's classes being highly integrated into the plot. Vivi's ability to shoot stuff with fireballs with black magic becomes very important, the hidden Summons inside Garnet are a MacGuffin unto themselves, and Freya, a dragoon, is able to leap to the tops of roofs effortlessly in cutscenes as easily as she can leap into the sky to use her "Jump" ability. Sometimes even their personality traits become gameplay mechanics; Zidane, the Chivalrous Pervert, has a "Protect Girls" skill that lets him jump in front of a female party member to protect her.
    • Averted further still with at least two battles (one of which is mentioned below) in which the boss is coded to only target specific party members: Your three aside from Dagger in the fight with Black Waltz Number 2 (to the point were he'll cast AOE spells that in every other circumstance would hit all your party members only on those three), and Dagger specifically in a battle with the bounty hunter Lani. The former is tasked with returning Dagger to her mother, and if he succeeds in killing all of your party members aside from her, he'll cast a spell to put her to sleep and the game will end.
    • Also when Dagger loses her voice in the plot. During game-play, her ability to cast spells is impaired: every couple of turns will fail with a "Can't concentrate." She gets better.
      • Most characters will also skip their post-battle victory poses during plot circumstances that concern them in some negative way, including Garnet losing her voice described above.
  • In Lunar 2, Lucia's development of human emotions happens concurrently with her deveoping new tactics in battle. For example, after a plot point wherein she returns to Hiro because she misses him (though she doesn't understand that), she begins casting healing and protective spells on other characters, favoring Hiro, in fact. Prior to this plot point, she would only cast these spells on herself.
    • Lucia is a source of quite a bit of this. When you first get her, she's, well, a Physical God, with absurd stats and the ability to solo any group in the dungeon you find her in within a single turn. Once she's injured by Zophar, however, her stats are reduced to nearly nothing and she spends the game recovering, even in battle.
    • And then there's her mana supply - or rather, the "lack" of it. Lucia is a pure spellcaster, and doesn't possess a physical attack - at the worst she'll chain-cast a single-target damage spell on an enemy. However, her MP supply reads "null", just like any pure physical-damage warrior. And then you realize... oh yeah, she's a Physical God, her mana supply is infinite. The game doesn't bother tracking it because she'll never run out.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Dagoth Ur's rising power doubles as Anti-Grinding, with stronger ash creatures and blighted fauna appearing more and more as you keep leveling up.
    • And likewise, at the start of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can't understand dragons...but later on, they start speaking to you in English. This is actually because as the Dovahkiin, you start learning words of the Draconic language.
  • A rather funny, though subtle aversion occurs in Persona 4. Yosuke is incredibly unlucky, with him getting kicked in the nads within minutes of the game starting for breaking his friend's CD. He ends up falling off of, and crashing whilst on, his bike before he's even named, and to top it all off, his crush gets killed very early on. If you check his stat profile, you'll notice that he has the lowest Luck stat of any of your party members.
    • Chie and Yukiko's friendship might seem like the craziest friendship ever... but of you decide to include both of them on your team (which is inevitable in Kanji's bathhouse), you'll find they work surprisingly well together.
  • The Hero of Dragon Quest V is handled similarly to Yosuke of Persona 4.
  • Setting aside the scene where it cleaves a cliff face in two, never to display that kind of power again, there are two battles in Chrono Trigger where the Masamune displays power that it was said to have in cutscenes and dialogue. In the battle against Magus, the sword, which was said to be one of the few weapons that would allow them to defeat Magus, bypasses Magus's Barrier Shift trick and drops his magic defense stat. Later on, the team uses a red knife to drain Lavos' power out of the Mammon Machine. The red knife then turns into the Masamune. If you use the Masamune on the Mammon Machine when you fight it later, the sword bypasses its defense boost trick and heals Frog, by way of draining the energy from it, just like it did before.
  • No More Heroes as a whole is an interesting example: even though Travis imagines his life as an assassin to be awesome and glamorous, nearly every portion of gameplay outside of the ranked battles shows just how much of a loser he is. Some examples: Santa Destroy is a frustratingly boring place with nearly nothing to do; Travis has to drive everywhere himself; he barely bothers people he runs over on his motorcycle and goes flying if it even so much as touches any solid object; he has to do repetitive, boring and irrelevant jobs in order to earn money; he saves the game on the toilet; he rummages through dumpsters for collectables (including clothes!); and at the end of the day he ends up right back at the same stinking motel he's always lived at.
    • In the second game, during one of the boss fights you find out he still owns the mansion the first boss from the first game lived in. He keeps his giant robot in it. No explanation is given as to why he still lives in the same crappy motel.
  • Wild ARMs 3, oddly for a JRPG, inverts this. The primary motivation behind the first battle with Melody is because Clive gave her a speech on true beauty. In the battle, she will always attack Clive, if he's still alive. Combine this with some liberal use of the Revive spell, and the battle becomes trivial.
    • Similarly, Lani in Final Fantasy IX will exclusively attack Garnet, whom she's targeting in order to get her pendant on a mission for Queen Brahne.
  • In .hack GU, it is told in-universe that the class that Haseo takes, the Adept Rogue (or Multi-Weapon in original Japanese) levels the slowest and is generally all-around master of none, despite being potentially flexible like hax. If you play normally, without crazy grinding, by the beginning of the third game, there's a very good chance that all of your party members have gained access to the final skills of their job, and you haven't. Not only that gaining proficiency for each weapon is slower than ordinary classes, Haseo has three (later four) weapons, so this definitely increases the time required gaining skills.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, the Hero is under a curse so powerful, other curses[2] don't affect him. He is, in gameplay, immune to the "curse" status effect.
    • To even further emphasize this, a Bonus Boss that you can defeat to unlock the second ending has a sort of a "Seal" attack that he starts with. It will not affect anyone except the Hero because he is the one that placed the original curse that the Hero lives with.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Rude of the Turks confesses to his partner (and the player, and the party hiding nearby) that he has a crush on Tifa, one of the heroes. In fights against the Turks, Rude will never attack Tifa, and if she is the only one standing, he'll give up and walk away.
  • Pokémon Black and White make it mandatory to catch your version mascot to move the plot along. The pre-battle dialog says it's testing you, but wants to be caught; accordingly, it's fifteen times easier to capture than a normal legendary.[3] However, the developers didn't account for a certain sequence-break where the mascot can be skipped; even if you do encounter it later than usual, the catch rate of 45 is still there.
  • The Star Ocean series has a tendency to break the fourth wall once in a while. Edge even speaks the words "Item creation" out loud at one point during Star Ocean: The Last Hope. Of course Star Ocean: Till the End of Time reveals that the entire series' continuity takes place in a giant MMORPG called the Eternal Sphere and while the characters are mostly oblivious to this, having access to status menus and being able to make a cake by purchasing a single egg at the shop and invoking a Cooking ability learned by beating up some monsters probably seems perfectly normal to them.
    • The "low luck" stat quirk mentioned also applies to Ashton in the second game, who has abyssmal luck and somehow manages to get the 2-headed dragon he was trying to kill fused on his back: his natural luck stat is a mere 17 regardless of how high his level is, and this is in a game where most endgame stats easily break quadruple digits.
  • Parasite Eve 2 does this for a lengthy cut scene that occurs before the final battle. Aya gets shot during the scene and after the scene ends, her gunshot wound has her current HP lowered to reflect this.
  • Final Fantasy XII has one scene where Fran gets induced with extra strength and near insanity, causing her to break free from her restraints. The fight after this scene reflects this by inducing the Berserk status on Fran.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, in some cutscenes, enemies will strike at you in mid-cutscene. To drive home the point that you're dealing with an entity you don't want to screw with, not only does the game narrate you being hit, your entire party takes damage.
  • In the Touhou fangame Touhou Mother, Yuuka is described as hating high speeds. During a cutscene, you have to fly very fast to reach a certain location, and during the trip, Yuuka is described to have taken "mortal damage." Sure enough, if you check your stats after the cutscene ends, Yuuka will have just 1 HP remaining.
  • Black Sigil actually lets you use white magic to heal all the fallen soldiers during a siege. It costs you MP, of course, but saving them all gets you a reward.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon has an aversion between instalments. Previous protagonist Kiryu Wouldn't Hit a Girl. His boss fight in this game respects that; when Ichiban and co fight him, he will avoid deliberately attacking female party members.

Shoot'Em Up

  • Touhou's use of Bullet Hell is not only the reason everyone in Gensoukyou can be so belligerent without plunging the region into all out war, but also why some of the more ludicrously powerful characters don't simply press the "I win" button all the time, as it is literally not allowed, the Spell Card rules (which manifest as clouds of colourful bullets and lasers and such) turning fighting into a game and responsible for all of the Non Lethal KOs.
  • Seihou has an interesting example: In the Comiket 67 version of Banshiryuu bosses would occasionally pull of a special attack which they were invincible for the duration of. These are SE attacks, and they're also the player's bombs, which work the same way. In the C74 remake, boss SE attacks are closer to Touhou style spellcards, generally not conferring invincibility... but the player versions don't make them invincible either. Though neither game explains why player SE attacks clear enemy bullets.

Stealth Based Game

  • Assassin's Creed takes place in a video simulation, created to allow the protagonist to re-live his ancestor's memories, called the Animus. As such, all the artifices of the video game interface were specifically programmed by the villains to make the simulation intuitive.
    • And in the sequel, the heroes fixed "that water bug" in the first game.
    • A nice bit of this is present in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. In the first game you're using Abstergo's Animus. Whenever the artificiality of the world you see is on display, such as in loading screens or menus, you see blue fog punctuated by white wisps and flickering bits of visual garbage like molecule diagrams or bar codes. In Assassin's Creed 2 and Brotherhood, however, you're using a different Animus belonging to the Assassins, which has a motif of white colors with no visual noise aside from straight lines at 90-degree angles. However, when you enter the Multiplayer menus in Brotherhood, it's back to the blue fog and flickering white garbage symbols. This is because according to the meta-plot of the Multiplayer mode, the games you play are training sessions of Abstergo agents using Abstergo Animi.
    • A recurring element in the series, Eagle Vision (or Eagle Sense) allows the player to recognize important characters and distinguish friends from enemies. It was originally explained to be a feature of the Animus, but later it's revealed to be an ability of those with sufficient Precursor heritage.
  • In the Famicom version of Contra (not the NES version, which had no cut-scenes at all), the cut-scenes will show Bill or Lance depending on the character the player is using. If both players are present, then the cut-scenes will alternate between either character.
  • During Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the hero has his eye shot out. After that, if you go into first-person mode, the far-right of the screen is darkened and your depth perception is off, forcing you to relearn how to aim.

Sports Game

  • In Punch-Out!!! for the Nintendo Wii, you get special damage-reducing headgear after 100 losses. In Title Defense Mode, Glass Joe, who starts the game with 99 losses before you beat him, gets the same headgear for the rematch fight, as he now has 100 losses himself.

Survival Horror

Turn-Based Strategy

  • Micaiah in Fire Emblem 10 (Radiant Dawn) has "Sacrifice", which is a miraculous healing ability in the storyline, and can also be used in-game, though in-game it doesn't have any abilities beyond a simple heal staff, and as the name implies it hurts to use it. It's seen as a miracle because she can heal without being a member of the clergy.
    • In essence, it does have power potentially superior to that of a staff, since she manages to save Lehran (If you managed to get him), who was literally an instant away from dying.; Whereas staves appear to function primarily on healing flesh wounds, Sacrifice uses Micaiah's own life force, whih implicitly, has stronger effects on living beings.
    • In game, Sacrifice also allows Micaiah to heal status effects. Whether or not she can do this for a character at full HP, though... She's never been shown using Sacrifice in this manner in the story, however.
      • She can. In-game Sacrifice can heal status ailments regardless of the fact that the target may not need to recover HP. It's a free Recover staff!
    • In the same game, Sothe returns from the previous game, now as a main character. In the first game, he claims the reason he stowed away on your ship is because he's searching for someone he cares for very much. You find in this game that the person in question is Micaiah. Micaiah and Sothe start the game with an A-Rank Support and Bond; these are the in-game equivalents of two people who have lived with each other all their lives, and have continued to care for each other despite the distance between during Path of Radiance; no other unit in the game begins with automatic supports. In fact, if you keep this support, they marry in the epilogue.
  • In Fire Emblem 4 you can pair off male and female characters in the first half of the game effectively shipping them to your will, however the parents stats and abilities will determine the abilities of their children, who make up many of the player characters in the second half of the game.
  • A mild, but quite clever aversion comes in the DS remakes of the first Fire Emblem games. So in Shadow Dragon, you have to sacrifice one of your units to disguise as Marth and distract powerful enemies come to kill him. This unit is removed from Gameplay the same way anyone who dies normally does; and it's stated that the unit died at the end of the chapter, so everyone figured that they were Killed Off for Real. Word of God has confirmed the fan theory that indeed, Frey is the canonical sacrifice due to his blue hair (making him mistakable for Marth at a distance), and how he was not in the original or even in the remake if one starts at Hard Mode. When the player gets the Aum staff much much later in the game, a lot of peoples' instinct was to use it to revive Frey, because he is the one unavoidable death in Shadow Dragon. Except that you can't, for some reason. Yet the remake of Fire Emblem III on the DS shows Frey alive and well. And his dialogue with the player character states that he was indeed the sacrifice, but upon finding out that they were duped, his captors didn't kill him, they just beat him up and left him for dead and he was later rescued. So in actuality; you couldn't use the Aum staff to revive Frey, because Frey never actually died in the first place!
  • In Fire Emblem 6, Douglass, Lalam's adoptive father, will attack anyone in your army except her in Chapter 16. This makes her very useful for the purpose of blocking him into one of the rooms with only one entrance/exit, enabling you to avoid both accidentally killing him and placing one of your own at risk against his mighty Silver Axe.
  • In a few support conversations, L'Arachel of Fire Emblem 8 is shown to be Born Lucky; ingame, she will often naturally max out her luck stat. On the converse, Knoll (who, when rescued from the Grado dungeons in Ephraim's route, assumes that his execution date was moved up) starts out with zero luck.
  • In Disgaea, Laharl is allergic to large breasts and optimistic sayings. After a cutscene featuring an excess of both, his stats are cut in half for the next battle.
    • In Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, Adell and Rozalin start out having a 0% combo rate on their attacks (which is more or less impossible to get with any other combination of characters), being at this point enemies and utterly unwilling to directly help each other. Their combo rate starts rising as the game goes on and the two grow closer, eventually capping at 99% near the end.
      • In an odd meta example Etna claims she hacked her title so it says "Beauty Queen" instead of "Demon Lord". Titles are programed in such a way that you can indeed make custom titles (rather than give a character another existing title) with a Cheating Device.
      • The game has a feature called "Reincarnate to Atone for Sins", which will remove your felony records. Turns out Overlord Zenon did this, setting the plot in motion.
    • From Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories onwards, particular character traits often manifest as stat alterations. For example, Adell gets a damage bonus against higher-level opponents and Tink gets +2 to movement (for running away, of course).
  • The Potentials in Valkyria Chronicles tie in directly with the characters' stories, and more are opened as you learn more about the character. For example, Freesia starts out with one Potential called 'Desert Bred', marked by how she was raised and has lived in the desert areas for some time. After you learn a little more about her - that she's not used to living for anybody else and doesn't work well when people are counting on her - she gains the 'Under Pressure' Potential, cutting her defence and accuracy is she uses the last CP of your Phase.

Visual Novel

  • Many examples in Galaxy Angel. Forgetting the Cutscene Power to the Max in the first game, Eternal Lovers gives you missions where you need to destroy the enemy flagship before reinforcements arrive, thus reducing your time limit to 10 minutes instead of the usual 15. Another is after the Elsior was hit by the Chrono Break Cannon from the stolen Unit #7, and thrown into an ambush position immediately afterwards. In this battle, the Elsior starts with 60% HP unlike other battles. Then there's the conditions of your Angels; if the plot demands them to be depressed, expect them to fight poorly and vice versa.

Other games

  • In Demonophobia, a game with a lot of interesting ways to die, you don't 'die and respawn' in the usual way; instead, the protagonist is revived some time later, with no memories of her deaths. This becomes important at the end of the game, where these memories are returned to her.
  • Part of being a good GM for almost any Tabletop RPG is realizing there is no such thing as Gameplay and Story Segregation. Players should have the opportunity to feel that their choices matter within the story, and you should be ready for canny players to save the prince who was supposed to die, steal the data that was supposed to be given to the Corrupt Corporate Executive, or kill the villain you expected to survive a bit longer. A good GM will recycle the work he did on antagonists, introduce a new plot twist or element, and let the fun continue while still allowing the players a moment of feeling awesome. The same holds true when the players fail spectacularly. There's no Nonstandard Game Over, only the players trying to carry on as best they can now that the prince is dead, the data is in the hands of the Big Bad, and so on.
  • In most Grand Theft Auto games, enemies that are said to be wearing armor just have their health super high so you need to put in a ton of bullets in them (this is usually on boss characters). In Grand Theft Auto Sand Andreas, Big Smoke is shown to be wearing body armor in the cut scene before the fight (yet the armor never physically appears on CJ's model if he has armor on). Like with real life body armor, the boss' torso is protected so shooting it does less damage, but shooting him in the head or anywhere else that is not protected will damage him a lot faster.

Non-game examples

Back-and-forth Examples

Beat'Em Up

  • In the NES version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge, almost all the cut-scenes shows Billy Lee, regardless if there's two people playing instead of one or if the player is using Jimmy instead. The sole exception to this is the cut-scene before the final boss battle: if only Billy is present, then it will show him as usual; but if both Lee brothers are present, then Jimmy will be shown as well; and if Billy died before the final stage, then Jimmy will appear in his brother's place. However, the ending is still the same regardless of who you beat the game with.
    • In Double Dragon Advance, most of the dialogue will be spoken by Jimmy if you're using him instead of Billy, but the art in the cut-scenes will remain the same. Alternate art showing Jimmy instead of Billy were drawn for all the cut-scenes, but they were not inserted into the game.

Platform Game

  • Bug in Bug!! has a pair of tiny, vestigial wings, so he is unable to fly in-game. Until you land on the Bug Stop- in which he says a cheesy annoying quote, then flies away offscreen. Then again, the game is part of a movie he's acting out, so it makes some sort of sense.

Role-Playing Game

  • Kingdom Hearts II gets bonus points for having the aversion and the straight example occur simultaneously. When Sora enters a Drive Form in battle and then a cut scene comes up after the fight, Sora will still be in the Drive Form.(Assuming the Form Gauge didn't run out while he was fighting.) That's the aversion. However, it's also played straight because the characters that you supposedly merged with in order to enter the Drive Form are still visible during the cut scene.
    • It's actually played straight in gameplay when you have to fuse with Donald/Goofy to use Drive, which didn't happen the first time Sora tried it (in a cutscene).
    • The Kingdom Hearts series is full of minor or major aversions. For instance, Light and and Darkness are major themes and alignments in the games; in Birth By Sleep, certain bosses will have a defensive moveset, requiring an aggressive beatdown strategy. These bosses are respectively a strongly Light-aligned character, and a villain trying to bring out the Darkness within the PC, which would make sense given that aggression (the necessary beatdown strategies) is generally a negative or Dark attribute—good to counter Light opponents and engendered by villains. Some of the very very Dark-aligned final bosses should be carefully tanked and patiently blocked while searching for an opening—patience and precision being positive or a Light attribute and a good counter to Darkness.
    • Another aversion is the techniques the various playable characters use. Sora, the main character and the first introduced, possesses a large moveset somewhat limited to combos and combo-finishers (and takes When All You Have Is a Hammer). Come the prequel, where Terra, Ven, and Aqua have an extremely diverse set of moves based on it's new combat system utilizing separate special attacks and combos, and extremely customizable. At first, it looks like their techniques are improvements on Sora's in every manner, even though Sora should be similarly skilled. However, closer inspection shows that Sora's been using streamlined and enhanced versions of his predecessor's skills the whole time! So even if Sora wasn't customizable to the extent they were, his practical experience and the obstacles he faced (obstacles which are just as or more dangerous than the prequel trio's, which he took on at a younger age) prove that he is just about on their level.
    • Kingdom Hearts II also brought with it the "Press Triangle to Massacre button, where Sora will inevitably do something over the top. Roughly half of the of the things he'll do are pretty much cutscenes initiated by the Triangle button that do automatic damage. Some of said cutscenes portray his actions up to and including slicing skyscrapers in half and/or using said skyscrapers as barrier breaking attacks (in a low gravity environment, granted) . The other half are neat little auxiliary actions preformed without interrupting gameplay, like a super jump that'll take you up to a Chandelier, a dodge roll, or taking a swing with a stolen enemy sword. The Kicker is, everything the triangle button initiates is something Sora can (currently) canonically accomplish. In fact, some of his regular combo's do in fact rival the things he does with the Action Commands, and Kingdom Hearts 3D is going to top Kingdom Hearts II's ridiculous factor with a similar mechanic, but make it more seamless with gameplay.
    • In general, Kingdom Hearts makes just about every aspect of gameplay justified by the universe's philosophy or pseudoscience. That might not seem like much, but the players are actually given the exact rules of that pseudoscience. For instance, as a way of punishing you for abusing the Drive Forms, you'll occasionally be forced into a somewhat weak Shadow Form. Canonical explanation? Sora's frustration and insecurity building up and occasionally giving rise to dark, corrupted powers, which is an established danger of the KHverse responsible for many an enemy. Frustration and anger is probably what would be happening to Sora (and by extension, the player), if he was continually using Drive Forms just to get by.
  • This trope is THE argument on Mitadake High. If you play normally, you will be called a terrible rper and shunned. If you play well and properly in the character of an Ordinary High School Student then you WILL be killed off fast and laughed at as a noob. The two sides of this argument are rabid.
  • Final Fantasy VII has the infamous scene in which nobody thinks to try using a Phoenix Down to revive Aeris despite the presence of "Death" spells that can be reversed with the very same item. However, you later discover that when Zangan rescued Tifa during the Nibelheim incident, he kept casting Cure spells on her to stop her from bleeding to death. Even later on in the game, however, Cloud's seething hatred of Sephiroth causes his Limit gauge (something that normally represents the character being annoyed at taking gameplay damage) to gradually fill at the beginning of a short battle just quickly enough that the player doesn't have enough time to select anything but his Limit Break command, and if he hadn't learned Omnislash yet... well he has now.
  • Final Fantasy X-2 contains a bizarre straight example in which the party chases down villain-wannabe LeBlanc, who has stolen Yuna's garment grid and impersonates her appearance exactly... despite the fact that every other example of using the grid system, including the exact dressphere she's using, copies the outfit, not the user's appearance. On the flipside, the Dressphere skill/class system is frequently mentioned in cutscenes. And not just in "here's how the game works" exposition either, one of them is actually a McGuffin in the main storyline.
  • Tales of Phantasia averts it multiple times and plays it straight twice: Averted near the start of the game, where Cless is betrayed and captured by a group of soldiers; you are quite weak and have low-powered equipment at the time, so it's very reasonable that you can't fight back as you probably would get slaughtered. Played straight when Cless is poisoned (and knocked unconscious) by an attack from a creature that you killed tons of as fodder just five minutes ago, and they were incapable of poisoning you then. Later, you get captured again, except this time you are much more powerful, as well as having a party, and could probably take them just fine (although they are actually the good guys, so you could assume that the characters just didn't want to cause a fuss). Averted by your encounters with the Big Bad; when you first meet him he is shown literally vaporising people in cutscenes with some sort of laser beam attack and a shockwave explosion, and you are sent away to become more powerful so you can beat him. When you finally do get around to fighting him and are much MUCH more powerful than you were before, he casually throws these attacks around in battle and you can shrug them off just fine (and the storyline gives them no further prominence), although they are still his most powerful attacks and kill you in a few hits. Also averted in various small instances where characters use things like healing spells outside of battle.
  • Geneforge is perfectly integrated in some respects, but not at all in others. On the one hand, you're warned that Upgrade Artifacts can affect the mind, and if you use too many you'll start to go into rages and attack people you could have negotiated with. Very high usage can even get you a bad ending. On the other hand, it's no longer legal to use drakons as Mons, but nobody says anything about it if you have one in your party.
  • In Lost Odyssey, the main character and several other party members are immortal, and revive within a few turns of being KOed. However, cutscenes and background material depict them as completely indestructible, which is not the case in gameplay, and the active party being KOed still results in a Game Over regardless of circumstances.
  • Mass Effect actually has an in-universe explanation for why guns have unlimited ammo. It is also a very good example of why this trope is not bad, since said explanation is rather flimsy and only exists because the developers decided to use simplified combat gameplay. So when players complained and the developers decided to go for more complex combat in Mass Effect 2, they had to tack on another, even flimsier explanation for why you suddenly need to reload.
  • In Dragon Age, the Darkspawn carry a highly-contagious virus in their blood that can easily kill and/or corrupt anyone who contracts it, with the only cure being to become a Grey Warden, who are immune. Despite the fact that your non-Grey Warden party members can get waist deep in darkspawn blood, this is never really a problem for them. In fairness, there were plans to integrate story and gameplay by having the entire party contract the disease and become Grey Wardens for the endgame, but these plans were cut for a number of reasons.
    • Later installments are a bit better about this then the first game. The first game's expansion pack avoids the problem entirely by having the entire party become Grey Wardens. The sequel still has the problem, but you fight darkspawn much less often and therefore there's less oppurtunities for the party to become infected. Also, depending on your choices, one of your party members may get infected, and will die if you can't get help.

Survival Horror

  • In Dead Rising, during the second boss fight an NPC ally can withstand dozens of hits from a rifle that, in real life, is known to be able to tear a man in half with one shot, without dying. In the cutscene immediately after said fight he is shot in the leg with a pistol and unable to walk, and the very next task set for the player is to acquire a first aid kit to treat him - for a fever. Which becomes lethal if you don't find the first aid kit in time.
    • That said, Dead Rising does subvert this trope handily if you go off the rails of the main story. If someone critical to the story gets killed or Frank doesn't perform actions fast enough, a screen comes up saying "The truth has fallen into darkness" and gives you the option to start the story over or keep playing until your chopper comes back. And due to Brad, Jessie, and chopper pilot Ed succumbing to Plotline Death if you follow the story all the way through, this is actually the best way to rescue the most survivors and get the "Saint" achivement.

Tabletop Games

  • In Magic: The Gathering, it's possible to summon storyline characters as Legendary creatures or Planeswalkers. Certain characters actually have multiple cards, depicting themselves at different times of their life, and they can be played at the same time. Early Magic stories explained that the character itself isn't being summoned - it's actually the caster's mental image of that character, made real with magic. (Platonic ideals are heavily referenced). However, this doesn't explain why there can't be two Legendary creatures with the same name in play.
    • Gerrard Capashen manages to defeat Tsabo Tavoc in the storyline, despite three problems: one, Gerrard's card isn't powerful to harm Tsabo's; two, Tsabo can kill Gerrard with ease, both in and out of combat; and three, Tsabo's card is totally invulnerable to legendary creatures, like, say, Gerrard.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance introduces a skill called "Daunt", which lowers the hit and critical hit chances for any opposed units within three spaces of a unit that has it, and appears to work based on making the opponents fear you. In Path of Radiance, it's exclusive to two enemies, both of whom are indeed quite fearsome. And one of them happens to be a Branded, which means that laguz would be uneasy around her even if they didn't know why they're uneasy around her. In Radiant Dawn, however, the player gets a scroll for giving this skill to a unit, and although the conversation that leads to your acquisition of this scroll again suggests that it works through being intimidating, the skill itself can be equipped on any unit, even Rhys, who is considered frail in-story as well as being a priest, or Leanne or Rafiel, who are Actual Pacifists and are generally calm-tempered.[4]
  • Fire Emblem Elibe: Binding Blade has this. In Chapter 11A, Klein will shoot at his sister and seconds later say "Thank goodness you're okay!" But then in Chapter 16, General Douglass will not attack his adopted daughter Lalum, which makes her very useful for blocking him into a closed room with only one entrance/exit so that he can't get himself killed by your automatic counterattacks.
  1. Space Marines are big on Honor Before Reason and wouldn't use said armor without being awarded the privilege first.
  2. like the Baleful Polymorph placed on his hometown
  3. Most legendaries have historically had capture numbers of 3, Reshiram and Zekrom have capture numbers of 45.
  4. Reyson is also an Actual Pacifist, as all herons are, but it's noted many times in-game that having spent so much time living with the hawks, he's become far more Hot-Blooded than most herons.