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The Silent Hill series is, shall we say, famous for the "logic" of its puzzles, especially on harder difficulties.
- Silent Hill
- In order to get one of the good endings, Kaufmann has to be present during the final battle. For him to appear, you have to meet him in the apartment complex (near the docks) before the Point of No Return. You're told nothing about the detour you have to take in order to get him to appear. Better yet, for the Golden Ending, both Kaufmann and Cybil have to be present. She will most likely not be there due to the plot. The only way to make her appear in the last stage is to get a plastic bottle from the Alchemilla Hospital and fill it with some sort of red liquid spilled on the far end of a room that's otherwise inconsequential, remember you have the bottle after traversing several locations and at least two bosses, and figure out you should spill the liquid over her during a boss battle, which is the only time you can use the bottle on her, and the last time she appears if you don't do so. Then there's the UFO ending, which requires a stone you find in yet another otherwise inconsequential location near the beginning of the game to be used in a group of arbitrary locations, some of which you visit to solve unrelated puzzles and thus possibly you're not really thinking about using the stone there. Oh, but you can't find the stone unless you're playing New Fear Mode, so if you stumbled upon the location in your first run, you'll only find a marginal amount of resources there and thus will be inclined to believe there's nothing else there. Have fun unlocking all endings without a guide.
- Silent Hill 2:
- The clogged garbage chute, which you have to drop a case of soda down to dislodge a critical puzzle item (see Solve the Soup Cans).
- In order to determine which ending you get, the game keeps track of the player's behavior, such as how long you spend looking at certain items in your inventory or how you interact with an NPC character. The fact that the game does this is not hinted at anywhere on the first play-through.
This is made worse by the fact that getting the best ending is more likely by doing some extremely non-intuitive things: allowing Maria to be attacked by monsters or otherwise take damage even though normally this is the exact opposite of what you want to do, avoiding reading the "wrong" memos found in the game, repeatedly examining certain inventory items that are never used to solve any puzzle, and leaving the room before a recording that gives plot-critical information finishes playing near the end of the game. All of these factors combined mean that many people get the worst ending on their first play-through.
The game hints at the methods by a self-help magazine in the first building of the apartments, on the second floor. However, it is only available on the second play through and beyond and even if it is noticed, the player may be puzzled and brush it off as a Red Herring there only to add atmosphere. However, Tropes Are Not Bad, and this ending award system has it's fans due to how unusual it is, and this was the first Silent Hill game where play-style influences the ending.
- Silent Hill 3:
- Let's put it this way. When the game gives you the option to set puzzles to "Hard", it is not joking around.
- The very first puzzle in the game, the bookstore puzzle, is practically impossible on Hard without a functioning knowledge of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. And even then, some of the clues are counterintuitive (e.g. The clue about "a game of turning white to black and black to white"? It isn't referring to Othello.).
- The keypad puzzle in the hospital, where the solution is cryptically explained in a poem about mutilating someone's face.
- The Crematorium puzzle, also on Silent Hill 3's hard mode. Which requires you to know the real life habits of a particular, obscure bird most people don't know of, let alone know the real life habits of. Oh, and that's not to mention the part of the poem applied to this bird seems to identify an entirely different bird based on the poems provided in game. This is made even worse by a string of subtle clues that have been scattered throughout the hospital. The mysterious telephone voice you encounter in the locker room tells you that the psycho who's been leaving you love letters through the whole level so far is dead, and that his new name is number 7. Lo and behold, 7 is the number of the gurney he's lying on, and the accompanying poem very clearly refers to him. And yet, as noted above, the corresponding clue has nothing to do with any of this, instead giving the aforementioned vague bird clue. Apparently you have to be a member of the Audobon Society to survive in Silent Hill.
- The ending is determined by a hidden Karma Meter that tracks how many good or evil points you accumulate through the game. Like in Silent Hill 2, the player isn't aware this is happening, but which actions contribute to which meter are fairly understandable (taking a lot of damage makes it more likely you'll get the bad ending, for example). However, at one point the player speaks to a woman in a confession booth who begs for forgiveness. Forgiving her gives you a massive number of dark points even though it seems like it would be the morally correct choice. If you've been paying very close attention to the game's convoluted lore you might be able to work out what the choice is actually about and why forgiving her is a bad idea: Granting absolution is the domain of God. By forgiving the woman, Heather accepts the mantle of God. This is not a good thing.
- A Guide Dang It on all difficulties: the scene where Heather holds Claudia at gunpoint. If you shoot her, the God will possess Heather, resulting in a Non Standard Game Over. The solution is to ingest the Aglaophotis pill inside the pendant she's been carrying since the beginning of the game. You only know of its existence by examining the pendant, and like in SH1, the in-game hints only vaguely reference its use.
- Let's put it this way. When the game gives you the option to set puzzles to "Hard", it is not joking around.
- Silent Hill 4: The game has four endings, based on combinations of two factors that the game barely hints at. The first factor is what percentage of hauntings Henry exorcised in his apartment (threshold is <80% or 80%+). The second is how much damage Eileen takes while in Henry's care. As Eileen is damaged it is hinted that Walter Sullivan begins to possess her. At the end of the game, when you fight the Big Bad, Eileen will be possessed by Walter Sullivan and will walk to her death, unless the player kills the Big Bad and stops her. The faster she travels, the more damage she took over the course of the game (less damage = higher resistance to possession = slower speed). Note that even if Eileen took no damage throughout the course of the game, she can still die if you fail to save her in time.
- Pretty much what happens in the games.
- A frustrating inversion occurs with the joke UFO Endings, which in most Silent Hill games are intended as hidden bonuses for dedicated players and are therefore very hard to unlock, requiring the player to take a series of non-obvious actions at specific points in the game and are usually only accessible on a second playthrough. The exception to this is Silent Hill: Homecoming, where the UFO ending is no more difficult to get than any of the "real" endings is therefore extremely easy to acquire on your first time playing the game, leading to a nonsensical and unsatisfying Gainax Ending. Particularly bad if the player isn't a Silent Hill fan and isn't aware that the UFO ending is meant to be a joke.
- In all Silent Hill games, you can stomp on enemies to finish them off for good, something you'll generally want to do since they can get back up again and keep attacking otherwise. In some games, however, this is counterintuitive.
- Silent Hill: Origins keeps track of 3 types of kills: melee, ranged and unarmed, and each has its own related Accolade. (Basically an Achievement) If you're going for the melee or ranged Accolades, bear in mind that stomping an enemy to finish it off counts as an unarmed kill, something the game fails to tell you until you reach the end and wonder why you have such a massive number of unarmed kills compared to everything else. In order to acually register a melee or ranged kill, you have to have a weapon equipped at the time you deliver the finisher. Since the game uses Breakable Weapons, this is a lot harder than it sounds.
- In Silent Hill: Downpour, doing this docks you points on the hidden Karma Meter and makes it more likely you'll get a bad ending, even though it's been standard practice for the previous seven games. At no point is it ever hinted that the game is going to judge you for doing this.
- Resident Evil Outbreak:
- Try figuring out how to get all the SP items without a guide, much less try figuring out that they're even there in the first place since it's entirely possible to complete the whole game many times over without ever realising that they're there. And the "set" of items spawned on the map is determined by a random variable and further confusing people, some can only be obtained on certain difficulties and by certain characters. Have fun. Your reward for all of this? Costumes and alternate character models that play identically to existing characters
- A less annoying example but still valid, is that in order to complete the Event Checklist for each scenario and therefore unlock an extra mode, you are required to kill yourself in a specific way on two separate occasions. One isn't so bad to figure out and might be accomplished by the player for laughs or just out of curiosity but the other requires the player to stand around for close to two minutes while nothing happens with no indication that anything even will happen there.
- Resident Evil: Revelations 2:
- Attempting to get the good ending is achieved by switching to Moira in the middle of a Quick Time Event at the end of Claire's episode 3 when the boss (Neil) lands on Claire and knocks the gun out of her hand, resulting it to slide to Moira. In the previous two episodes, the game often drilled it into the player that Moira would never use guns under any circumstances and it generally isn't possible to switch characters in the middle of said QTE's. Only by leaving the tutorial function on and waiting 3 seconds does the "Switch Character" command appear, hinting at the possibility.
- Slightly less irritating are the traps in the first factory area in the same episode arc. You'll often find writings on the wall which are meant to guide you, but aren't always clear enough. Examples include the spiked ceiling to put the eye back on after it breaks a taller statue holding a key then a room full of lasers where you have to follow a set of blue footprints made visible by Moira's flashlight then using the glass eye found there in the first trap area.
- Resident Evil 7: biohazard: The final version of the "Beginning Hour" demo gives a purpose for the Dummy Finger item, as it's attached to a dummy hand, then used in conjunction with several clues to point out the location of murders that took place in the house. The clues themselves aren't too hard to decipher, but the processes for obtaining them can be very unintuitive and oblique. The final clue, in particular, is not only absurdly hard to discover through experimentation alone, but every walkthrough for the demo lists different prerequisites for making it appear!
- In The Last of Us, clickers kill you in one hit & you're told that they use echolocation & can't see. You're not told that if any part of your body (other than your fist) touches any part of their body, they'll instantly kill you even if they're stunned or looking the other way. Good luck not touching an enemy you're supposed to beat to death with a brick.
- There are also achievements/trophies for unlocking all of the shiv doors, which can be easy to miss in the gorgeous sprawling, semi-linear levels with little backtracking as well as collecting all of the comic books, Fireflies pendants, artifacts, and training manuals, some of which are behind the aforementioned shiv doors and those that aren't are in corners of rooms you may not notice you can get to, or past ledges that may not immediately seem traversable. All in all getting all 141 collectibles without consulting a guide is very difficult, especially on higher difficulties where resources are significantly scarcer and more precious.
- In The Dark Meadow, you have to find 10 gems in order to gain additional stats points that will help you beat the White Witch. Good luck trying to find them all without referring to the internet forums.
- In Rule of Rose many important plot-points are hidden out of the beaten path, and you can miss the introduction of one of the most important characters in the story if you don't know where to look in the first chapter. Also, you can't get the best ending unless you do the most unintuitive thing imaginable in the final boss fight: give the first and only firearm that you have to the Stray Dog. He will shoot himself dead.
- Ao Oni: Version 5.2 has a puzzle that requires knowledge of counting using a Soroban. This is no trouble for Japanese players, but this isn't the case for western audiences (however, downloading the game provides you with a Readme that tells you to look up a way of deciphering the answer). This puzzle (along with several others) were removed for Version 6.
- Fatal Frame
- In general, completing the Ghost List to 100% is extremely difficult, especially on a first playthrough. Some ghosts don't appear, until you are in a specific place at a specific time and some disappear very fast, making it difficult to take a picture in time.
- Several unintentional examples in the first game. One puzzle is focused around the children's game "Kagome-Kagome", which most Western players have never heard of (fortunately, it isn't too tough to solve by trial-and-error). Another came from the number combination locks on some doors. Even if you knew the combination, the lock had the numbers arranged counterclockwise with "zero" in the top position... and written in archaic kanji. Not a big problem for Japanese players, perhaps, but most Western players get totally stumped by what was intended as a very simple puzzle. Remakes of the game address this by replacing the kanji with numerals.
- Good luck figuring out how to get the various endings in Fatal Frame II New Game Plus without a guide. Contrary to the first game, where you got a different ending by playing on Nightmare difficulty, Fatal Frame II determines your ending by two aspects. Whether you have viewed all three completely optional scenes with Mayu in Chapter 8, which are in locations that nobody would have any reason to enter except for those scenes. And how fast the player defeats the Kusabi or, for some endings, Sae.
- Finding all the tiny dolls in the fourth game is incredibly difficult without a guide handy or knowing where they are beforehand. Some are rather easy to find, like being very noticeable under a desk or upon entering a room. But then there are some stuck in plants or in a small space only visible if you stop in the middle of a staircase.
- Getting the Golden Apple in Hello, Neighbor! Alpha 4. It's not necessary to progress in the game (it just unlocks a cutscene), but the steps to get it are difficult to figure out and there's no in-game hint towards it. The steps are these:
- Find a seed hidden in the Neighbor's house (in a very difficult-to-reach area),
- Plant the seed in the dirt patch in the Neighbor's yard,
- Use a watering can to water it and make it grow (you can fill the can up at the Neighbor's sink).
- Wait four hours (in real time) for the tree to fully grow, at which point the Golden Apple will appear on a very high branch,
- Somehow knock the apple to the ground, and
- Find a funnel hidden outside the Neighbor's property, and use the apple on that to trigger the cutscene.
- Parasite Eve 2 is well-known for this. It has a lot of items and puzzles that can be easily missed.
- A four-part riddle in Dryfield has one clue that has a very narrow window of availability that can only be examined before you trigger a boss fight in the next room. After that, it's gone. Another one of the clues can only be read if you do not turn on the lights in a cellar, for it is written in glow-in-the-dark ink.
- A few factors can influence the score you get at the end of the game, unlocking some great bonus weapons and armor. The game doesn't tell you that these factors including saving items instead of using them, playing on higher difficulties, triggering certain events in the game.
- An entirely optional and missable item in the very first area, the Akropolis Tower, allows you to enter an armory much later in the game.
- Beating a certain boss in under three minutes (not easy to do, at least not on your first game) prevents an NPC's loyal pet dog from dying, which also affects the ending. Fail to save the dog, fail to get the best ending.
- Failing to save another character in the game will also prevent you from getting the best ending.
- In Unturned, a guide is often necessary when attempting to figure out the in-game crafting system. Made all the more difficult due to a limited inventory.
- Alone in the Dark: Too many to count in the original trilogy, as well as The New Nightmare, but some examples:
- Pregzt, the final boss. What in the game hints at burning him with the lamp? Nothing in the game, but the instruction manual has specific directions for what to do, only written backwards, i.e. eert eht fo retnec eht ta ti worht dna pmal eht thgiL. Guide Dang It, indeed, because most people ignore PC game instruction manuals outright, if they got one with the game at all. There's only a painting in the gallery that hints this.
- In the third game, you find a shotgun... but there are no shotgun shells in the entire game. The only ammo is the gold coins that Jim "Lone Miner" Burris carries, which can only be obtained by hitting him with the whip.
- Many of the conditions necessary to unlock secondary objectives in Siren are... unintuitive, at best, and the hints given if you're to replay a mission are typically pretty vague. It's only exacerbated by the fact that these objectives are unlocked for missions that will take place quite a bit later in the game, so it's not like one can make an educated guess on their first playthrough. Some examples include "wetting and freezing a towel so you can later create a distraction by laying it over a gap, putting a ceramic object on it, and waiting for the towel to melt," "knocking over a series of unobtrusive stone markers for no clear reason," and "telling a character you're escorting to hide in a specific place so that she'll find a key which you can't see yourself, because if the character you're controlling were to pick up the key instead of her, the secondary objective wouldn't make sense."