You have to beat the game twice? [chuckles] You have to beat the game twice... in a row. That's just great because this time I'm TWICE AS FUCKING PISSED OFF!!! Beat the game twice. I'll show you twice! After all that hard work, who'd want to do that shit again? It's like building a house and right after you're finished, you tear it down just to build it one more time. "Oh yeah, we could have made twelve stages, but instead, let's just make six and make people have to play the game twice".Similar to Fake Difficulty, except that it isn't difficult per se, it just makes the game longer to play. The claim that a game contains 50, 100, or more hours of gameplay is often a sign of this. It may also exist in a milder form where the time-consuming element is part of an optional quest. Note: this doesn't mean that it can't still be fun. Some common ways of doing this include:
- Forced Level Grinding: Some RPGs force you to level up your characters several times before you can move on to the next area.
- Random Drops which may result in a player lingering in an area for a long period of time trying to get the drop.
- Twenty Bear Asses quests which consist of little more than farming randomly-dropped gewgaws. Common in MMORPGs.
- Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequests which consist of hunting for and killing the same type of enemy over and over again. Also common in MMORPGs.
- After sending a hundred of the same enemy at the player, the game introduces a new enemy, which turns out to be the same enemy with twice the health and colored blue.
- Overly Long Fighting Animation (just extending each battle by ten seconds can add hours to a game).
- Overly long Fight Wooshes.
- Having many Unskippable Cutscenes and counting them towards the game length.
- Loads and Loads of Loading.
- Back Tracking.
- Anything which appears at random and requires Save Scumming to get the best result. Often leads the player to spend hours at the Minigame Zone.
- Fake Difficulty, especially Checkpoint Starvation to make the game feel longer.
- Goddamned Bats that take time to get by without taking damage.
- An abundance of Goddamned Bosses, Damage Sponge Bosses, and Goddamned Damage Sponge Bosses that take ages to beat without actually being interesting.
- Marathon Levels with one or more of the following traits:
- Marathon Bosses, especially if the boss has no real gimmick besides being as tough as a planet.
- Copy And Paste Environments; Repeats the same thing over and over and over again.
- Forcing the player to explore side passages of negligible difficulty just to clear an arbitrary obstacle (such as a Locked Door or an Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence) placed in the main path.
- Missing Secrets, intentional or otherwise, when the game puts a large focus on 100% Completion, so you don't know what's really left to collect.
- The Wandering You, especially in a game that doesn't have a levelling system.
- Making the Hub Level unnecessarily huge even though there is nothing to do in it but run back and forth.
- Waiting Puzzles, which are situations when the best result can only be obtained by doing nothing for a set period of time.
- Quicksand Box wide-open worlds that don't mark objectives, leaving you to aimlessly wander around the (beautifully-rendered) 20+ square miles of game world for five hours until you accidentally stumble face-first into a steaming pile of story-quest or desperately look up a walkthrough in your frustration because dammit, you have to get some sleep before work tomorrow.
- Not allowing you to save whenever you want (especially inexcusable with modern technology) so you have to replay from a checkpoint if you need to turn it off.
- Bosses where the player must use trial and error to figure out how to kill them, but where an easy but time-consuming section must be completed before each trial. This can happen either in regular play, or in an Inevitable Tournament where a series of easy bosses must be killed each time before one or more difficult bosses at the end.
- Rewards that are dependent on difficulty level, and only unlock when playing on a particular difficulty but not the ones below it. While negligible for players who choose to start on the easiest difficulty settings, a player aiming for 100% Completion and chooses to skip Easy mode to play Normal or Hard mode will have to go back to the lower difficulty level(s) to get all of the rewards, even if they've demonstrated that they are far more than good enough for those easier difficulty modes. Achievement systems are particularly guilty of this.
- Requiring multiple playthroughs to experience all the content regardless of difficulty, whether by making you choose one challenge/reward or the other or by unlocking certain rewards, challenges or endings only on a New Game+ (or "second loop").
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- The Legend of Zelda
- The Triforce Hunting segment of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is notorious for being very time consuming but not particularly fun. Particularly since it costs so much to have Tingle decipher the maps that you have to increase your wallet size to even start this part. The HD remake reduces the longevity by having only three fragments collected via the maps, as the other five are collected directly in the chests that pointed to their maps in the original.
- Wind Waker also has a very long figurine side-quest. In The Minish Cap, figurines are collected by taking part in a lottery that can be done over and over again through collecting shells that are very easy to find. In Wind Waker, the player has to take a photograph of the NPC/enemy they want a figure of, take it to the figurine maker, who only makes one per game-day (so you'd better get to love the Song of Passing, which moves time forward twelve game-hours, should you want to complete this sidequest; you'll be playing it over and over and over...) Also, your camera only holds three photos. Also, the figurine maker will reject photos if they're not "good" enough. With some photos (such as Tetra's), you only have a single opportunity to take them, and you can't be certain if they're "good" enough until you show them to the figurine maker. Don't save in the meantime. Though still time consuming, this sidequest is significantly improved in the HD remaster; Carlov now accepts multiple pictures in a single game-day, and the camera puts a stamp on pictures he'll accept so you know whether they'll work ahead of time.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, you constantly have to re-visit the same temple to get the next map to go fetch the next Plot Coupon. There's only a handful of waypoints around the temple, so there are levels you will constantly revisit. And no, they don't stay opened, so you have to re-do the puzzles each time (although most, but not all, can be skipped or become much easier with newly acquired items). A Downplayed Trope in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, though, since the Tower of Spirits is frequently revisited but allows you to skip floors.
- In both Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass, collecting train and boat parts can take an absurd amount of time, as in Spirit Tracks you need to collect a large amount of rare treasure — simply getting the Golden Train can take a while, depending on luck.
- For Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks, the sheer amount of time spent on sailing/riding the tracks may have taken up most of the gameplay hours.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is sometimes criticized for this as well, largely due to the vast distances between locations in the sky and the final Spirit Realm challenge near the end.
- Star Control II, hours and hours of flying through hyperspace so you can try to mine a few more metals? Seriously, some hyperspace "jumps" took upwards of ten minutes of just watching your ship fly in a straight line. Of course, once you get the Portal Spawner you can skip around 90% of that (and save a fortune in fuel). Experienced players are sure to do so early on, and it streamlines the entire game. But like many of the sidequests in that game, you will only find out the thing even exists if you investigate cryptic hints and gossip from the dialog trees.
- Games vased on Batman:
- Batman: Arkham Asylum's Riddler Challenges are this. They're not at all necessary, except for the introductory riddle, but give nice juicy chunks of experience to buy upgrades with. Plus they unlock interview tapes of the villains and character profiles, and that extra health tank would be useful against those damn stun baton guys that keep popping up. Many of these require you to backtrack with new gear to older areas just to be able to get them, or require some pixel hunting armed with some fairly obscure Bat-trivia.
- The sequel game, Batman: Arkham City, is just as bad, if not worse than the original. 400 different Riddler trophies to be collected with Batman alone, including physical trophies to find, riddles/puzzles to solve, and combat challenges to complete. Without having all 400, you can't complete one of the bigger sidequests in the game. Some of these are genuinely engaging and fun to hunt down or do, but it can be argued that there's a great deal of tedious filler involved as well.
- There are also the balloons and security cameras that can be destroyed. This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that you can get Riddler information on your map by interrogating specially marked green-hued thugs for Riddle information, and TYGAR security terminals give map information on where the cameras are.
- You had to collect a certain number of "hero points" in between chapters of the second Spider Man: the Movie game. This translates to a lot of purse- and balloon-retrieval. In Ultimate Spider-Man, as Venom, there's a kid holding a balloon in his tutorial; you're supposed to absorb the kid's life.
- TRON: Evolution: Most of the game is excruciatingly long sections of running around Copy And Paste Environments, using Le Parkour to run up and across walls over Bottomless Pits, and fighting an unnecessary number of enemies when you actually get somewhere. The controls are kind of finicky, meaning you'll fall (and die) several times most likely. Boss fights are usually some form of Guide Dang It, and that's if you're NOT looking for the extremely out-of-the-way collectables (mainly, the Abraxas Shards) in an otherwise linear game.
- The original No More Heroes suffered from this: In order to enter into ranking fights with opposing assassins, you have to first perform side jobs and miscellaneous assassination requests to work up the cash needed to enter the fights. It didn't help that most of these side quests were quite tedious. Thankfully, this was improved in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, where you didn't need to pay to partake in ranking fights.
- King's Quest VI has a very mild form of this. At the beginning of the game, you can spend a coin at the Pawn Shoppe on one of four items, and you can always trade in the item you've chosen for one of the other three items. Naturally, throughout the game you'll have to use all four of them, neccessitating some walking back and forth to the Pawn Shoppe.
- Super Smash Bros.:
- The Great Maze in Brawl. By this point, you fought a good portion of the Smash Bros. crew and all of the bosses. Done? Nope! Now you have to travel in a maze that consists of all the areas you went through and have to beat ALL Smash Bros. characters AND the bosses (again!) before you're even allowed to fight the final boss. That one level comprises about 31% of the completion total.
- Also in Brawl, the challenges for beating certain modes with every single character in the game. To 100% the whole thing, you need to beat Classic Mode, All Star Mode, Boss Battles, Home Run Contest, all five Target Test levels and 100 Man Brawl with all 35 characters. The Target Test levels in particular are worth mentioning since previous games had one level for each character, but this one has all characters doing all of the exact same 5 levels.
- In Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, you have to beat several modes with every single character to beat all the challenges like above. This means beating Classic Mode, All-Star Mode, 10-Man Smash, 100-Man Smash, participating in Target Blast, and placing first in Smash Run with all 48 characters. Fortunately, the Mii Fighters don't count, but that's still a tall order.
- The WiiU Challenges are more difficult and still include a few "all characters" objectives, such as clearing Classic on 7.0, and All-Star (no continues) on Hard.
- Want the full gamerscore from the 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat? Among other things, you need to have played each character — of which there are 27 without DLC — for 24 hours in total. Two of them can only be unlocked by playing through the campaign, which takes another couple of hours.
- The King Of Fighters XIII gives you two options to unlock all the available colors for customization: use each playable character 40 times — and there are over 30 characters — or pay for a unlock key. Other feats, as unlocking the gallery and two additional playable characters, also have requirements as obnoxious as that one, and of course can be unlocked by purchasing a DLC unlock key.
- Getting everything in the story mode of the first Dissidia: Final Fantasy ultimately grinds down to having to do every scenario (of which there are nineteen of them) about three times each for a majority of them. You have to clear it in the first place to unlock the bonuses, interact with every single thing on each map (fight the battle pieces and take the potions, chests, and ethers), and collect all the prizes on the reel in order to reach 100%. Especially for a player who has already played the game, it turns into a whole lot of busywork, and at times basically mandates overleveling in order to be able to wreck everything the way the game expects you to.
- Dragonball Xenoverse 's MMO based structure brings an unfortunate level of Random Number God into the Parallel Quest design. Sometimes you can't trigger an Ultimate Finish even if you fulfill all the requirements for it. Even when you do, it's not a guarantee you'll get that Ultimate Skill or Super Attack you were farming for. Even worse for clothes and Z-Souls, which may also come with certain conditions before you get lucky enough to acquire them. This makes getting 100% Completion much longer than it needs to be.
First Person Shooter
- The remake of Rise of the Triad not only relies on a checkpoint system, it uses very long platforming segments devoid of combat to pad out the game's short length.
- All games in the Metroid Prime series feature a search for Plot Coupons that open the way for The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, which are accused of only existing to make the game longer. Only the third game made an attempt to shorten the task by putting the coupons along your path as you travel the game normally and not requiring every single one to pass to the final area.
- Halo 2 implemented a new mechanic for its "Legendary" difficulty setting. While the foes in Legendary are nowhere near invincible (they're just a bit more challenging), Bungie decided to give co-op mode a 'status link' between the two players; basically, if one of you dies, the game resets you back to your last continue point. In the past the remaining player could retreat and allow his comrade to respawn back in (if they could make it a fair distance from local enemies without being killed themselves), but this is no longer a viable option. Naturally, this means that any blunders can cause you to replay the same room over and over and over again, made much worse by the new health system. After considerable backlash from fans, Bungie restored the old mechanic for Halo 3's Legendary difficulty setting. It also had fake longevity via Fake Difficulty.
- In Far Cry 2 , nearly every single mission in the game is set faaaaar from where you actually receive the missions from, amounting to seemingly endless driving (occasionally spiced with gunfights every time you cross through a guard post) in the process. And while there is Instant Travel possible in the form of Bus Stops, these are so few of those inbetween they don't do much to cut out the filler.
- The Borderlands DLC Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot. Rather than actually create a challenging new clump of story, the designers scratched together three small arenas using leftover textures and models from the game, and make you fight out five rounds in each of them, each round consisting of five waves of about 20 enemies each. So that's 75 waves of enemies to pass a quest that gives you relatively little experience, a paltry amount of new guns, and 10 gamer points.
- If you want the other 115 gamer points you paid for, you have to sit through over THREE HUNDRED waves in the advanced challenges - which still take place in the same three arenas. Even worse, it holds you back with multiple examples of Fake Difficulty, like taking you back to the start of the PREVIOUS wave if you die, and throwing in random modifiers that inevitably leave you with no shields and your health draining away facing an enemy which can only be injured with headshots. Oh, and the waves start 'doubling up' later on, so once you've cleared five of the enemies, another five spawn in. Towards rounds 15-20 it seems like there are about two to three times the amount of enemies per wave compared to the starting waves.
- It's been estimated that overall, the DLC pack takes 12-15 hours to complete (assuming you cheat, in which case it's boring - if you don't cheat it's almost impossible), for 3 maps that each take about fifteen seconds to do a complete lap of. The longevity on this is about as inflated as it can get without bursting.
- The Secret Armory of General Knoxx doesn't fare much better. You spend hours (literally) driving down highways, occasionally leaving the car to infiltrate copy-pasted Crimson Lance toll outposts to deactivate their roadblocks... with the pull of a single lever (Good thing they'll never think about flipping the switch again!). Fridge Logic ensues as you are requested to "remove" two of these roadblocks. If you have to leave your vehicle and take a walking detour between said roadblocks because the road is blocked entirely by debris, how are the rebel trucks supposed to pass through anyway?
- The real Fake Longevity in Borderlands is the amount of time you will spend walking between locations because your car is made of paper and got blown up again.
- BioShock 2 infamously extended the time it took players to harvest ADAM by asking them to perform a prolonged Escort Mission for every single little sister they find in the game. Rescuing/harvesting little sisters (whether you perform to escort mission or not) is literally the only way to upgrade the player's character. And to make matters worse, you are forced to fight a Goddamned Boss after rescuing the last little sister in every level, in addition to the ones guarding every little sister.
- As the index article describes, the vast majority of both free and subscription MMORPGs have this in spades for various reasons. Subscription games traditionally want to keep players online for as long as possible, while free games want players impatient enough to start Bribing Your Way to Victory. On the other hand, more dedicated players have argued that many Real Life tasks have some degree of longevity or tedium and MMORPGs as 'fantasy life sims' should reflect this fact. It is interesting to note that the genre as a whole is moving towards a faster default advancement rate and making the more spectacular grind rewards completely optional. One particular point of contention is randomized loot drops, which means players are forced to kill the same boss over and over again in order to get the gear they want. It can get extremely aggravating if a group manages to kill a boss, only for it to drop a piece of gear nobody in the group can use.
- World of Warcraft used to do this pretty shamelessly. If you wiped in a raid dungeon, you often had to walk for ten minutes only to get back in, and then another thirty to get back to the last boss. Unless the normal enemies started respawning, in which case you have to wait for most people to get back in and kill all of them again. And after some real life days, the entire raid would reset. To say nothing about the "attunements", increasingly elaborate quest chains every player needed to complete to even enter the raid, or the pains of having to buff 40 people individually as a paladin with buffs that only lasted 5 minutes. However, in the expansions these timewasters were reduced severely to make raids more accessible.
- A similar development took place with ingame cutscenes becoming more commonplace even in normal dungeons. Culling of Stratholme contains nearly 8 minutes of talking, most of it at the very beginning, as well as an Escort Mission segment with a rather slow NPC. Trial of the Champion had a similar introduction but was soon changed so players could choose to skip through the majority of it, with Stratholme being changed to the same concept in the next patch. Newer instances changed the design completely so that you can generally just do your thing while the NPCs talk, though some bosses still have some pre-combat banter you need to sit through before you can actually engage them. Even more notorious than Stratholme was the final boss in Tempest Keep during the Burning Crusade. This boss was considered incredibly complicated even by World of Warcraft standards, and featured a 15 minute scripted opening that had to be repeated every time you attempted the fight, even if it was your 10th time seeing the same fight that day.
- Travelling in World Of Warcraft is another form of fake longevity. For the first few levels, you are restricted to base movement speed (most but not all classes get some form of foot-travel aide such as Blink or Ghost Wolf form these days; though they used to come much later). You can buy your first ground mount at Level 20, increasing your speed by 60% of base. You can upgrade it at level 40 to a 100% speed increase. You can buy your first flying mount at Level 60, which is +100% on the ground and +150% in the air. Flying is the quickest and safest form of travel, but Flight Masters often use elaborate, scenic routes. In the past you even had to stop at each Flight Master to pay for the next flight. While some of these problems have been straightened out, even if you're using your own flying mount and the auto-run key it can still take up to an hour to fly the length of a continent, munching scenery all the way. And pray the server doesn't disconnect you for inactivity. It's made more noticable by the way that Zeppellins and Hearthstones are almost instant travel, as are long-distance ships, but you still have to wait for the ship to arrive at the dock (up to ten minutes if you don't want to miss your flight), then wait for it to leave.
- The guild perk which let someone summon anyone in their raid/group to their location has been replaced with a perk that slightly increases the speed when using the aforementioned flight masters. Another guild perk that was removed does this indirectly by halving the duration of flasks thus doubling the number of cauldrons that need to be made for a raid.
- There are also the legendary weapon quests, which often require you to repeatedly kill raid bosses in order to collect quest items they drop (and depending on the quest, it might not be a 100% chance). And then once you complete that quest, you might get another one that requires to you farm even more raid bosses. It's not uncommon for a high end raiding guild to spend months getting a legendary weapon.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic:
- The game shipped with at least a couple of notorious bits of Fake Longevity. The first is the infamous Tatooine Jawa balloon, which requires at least 30 minutes riding a balloon to get to a couple of stat-increasing items. This 30 minutes does not include the wait time for the balloon to show up at the one location you can board it. The second problem is the orbital station found at many planets. Instead of being able to land directly on the planet, you're forced to stop at the orbital station and run to a shuttle that will actually take you to the surface. This doubles the number of loading screens you have to sit through to reach your destination. Fan outcry has been sufficient enough to get Bioware patch the game so that players can return to their ships directly from the planet surfaces as well as speeder travel on the orbital stations.
- They also had a special spin on the random loot system with assigned drops in the Normal Mode operation (raid) difficulty. The boss would drop a set amount of loot (2 pieces in 8-man) that on top of being randomly decided, also was pre-assigned to a person who could use it. This was supposedly to prevent loot drama in pick-up groups, but the normal setting was a natural part of the learning and gearing process for organized groups too. This meant guilds could have their tank inquisitor get his third loot token for pants in three consecutive weeks that they had nothing to do with but sell to a vendor, while the healing inquisitor was unable to loot it.
- Add to this the amount of Elitism and Fan Dumb that can occur over these types of implementations and the changes to them (WoW is notorious for having fans cry out over "constant nerfs", asking for Blizzard to make the game harder when in fact they actually wish to make the game less accessible to the mainstream crowd that the game attracted after Wrath of the Lich King launched).
- Before update 15.13, getting Hydroid's parts involved hunting for special units that would only spawn in one place, then hoping they dropped the resources you needed, then finally fighting Councilor Vay Hek. Thankfully, update 15.13 removed that entirely and now Vay Hek can be accessed any time provided your Mastery Rank is 5 or higher.
- Mesa's parts drop from Mutalist Alad V. In order to kill him, you need to first complete the "Patient Zero" quest (which awards you the blueprint required to build the key), then wait for an Invasion that offers Mutalist Alad V Nav Coordinates to show up. Thrice. Then you can finally fight Alad V, but since every Warframe has three components (Helmet, Chassis and Systems) you need to go through the whole ordeal at least two more times.
- Star Trek Online:
- The un-remastered Cardassian story arc. Untouched since game launch, almost every mission in it is a Marathon Level with Loads and Loads of Loading between space and ground maps multiple times per mission, and usually involves a Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest full of Goddamn Bats. And then there are missions with the simple goal to interact with a few objects, except there are usually hordes of Respawning Enemies you have to chew through, and you are forced into Back Tracking through them most times. All the loot including the mission rewards are little better than Vendor Trash. Word has it though that the Cardassian missions will be overhauled with the release of Season 10 in late Spring 2015.
- Most of the original storyline missions were like this, but have since been remastered and streamlines to be quicker, more interesting and fun to play.
- Ghosts N Goblins is one of the biggest offenders, if not the biggest. The game is insanely hard, with a lot of elements that make the game absurdly frustrating and prolonged, but the worst is this: the first time you beat it, you get a fake ending, and you're sent back to level one on a higher difficulty. You're actually forced to beat the game two times in one sitting to see the real ending, which at that point is likely to feel even less rewarding than the fake one.
- Braid has its stars, the first two stars in particular. The first star requires you to wait at least thirty minutes before you can jump on a cloud, then wait another hour and a half before you can get the star. Yes, that's two full hours of doing nothing but letting the game run. You cannot save or restart the level during this time or you'll have to start over again. The second star must be obtained before you complete the second world or else you must restart your game to get it. Even worse, the stars are so well hidden they could double as Easter eggs.
- The indie/freeware game Billy Bob the Cactus Blob 0.5 parodies this with its "crappy invisible maze to extend gameplay".
- In I Wanna Be the Guy, the Koopa Clown Car boss is actually three fights in a row. The third boss is on par with the game's usual difficulty. However, the first two forms are trivial to beat. Essentially, it's an unskippable two minute cutscene every single time you fight the boss. And given how many times you'll need to do that before you finally manage to defeat the third form, those two minutes add up very quickly. There is a save point beforehand which requires you to get the sphere first THEN jump back into the room with the save point which alleviates this a bit.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) contains thirty-second loading screens before and after cutscenes or new areas, the first of which may take less than four seconds; backtracking through almost every level with every team; Fake Difficulty puzzles (billiards, anyone?) and generally schizophrenic controls which add much onto the twenty hours of gameplay.
- Sonic Unleashed does away with the load screens (to an acceptable degree), and has fair gameplay, but takes the completely optional collectable medals in 06 and makes them mandatory to unlock new levels. Collection 120 sun medals to play the final day stage will require either excessive replays, slow sleuthing level runs, or doing a ton of sidequests. Oh, and you'll also need over 100 moon medals as well. And Werehog levels may take 20 minutes to beat, each. And don't even mention Eggmanland. In the 360 and PS3 versions, most of the medals were usually on alternate pathways or required some tricky movements in either type of level. However, given how backtracking is usually impossible, missing an opportunity to get a medal usually means having to replay a level. Meanwhile, in the Wii version you would get two medals for collecting (almost) all the rings/experience points (nothing too hard for most levels)... and the third medal for completing the level again, this time as fast as you could. It's normally possible to take your time to get the medals in the night time levels, but in the daytime levels...
- Sonic Colors has mercifully pared back much of the fake longevity. Yes it can take excessive replays to get the red rings and the S ranks to unlock the Game Land levels and, subsequently, Super Sonic, but they are completely optional. In fact, you can't use Super Sonic in boss battles. Unlike Unleashed (and Generations), Colors didn't allow the player to acquire most of the collectibles on their first run through a stage since Wisps needed to access most of them were unlocked as they progress through the game, forcing players to return to previously beaten stages. This did sometimes allow for different paths to be taken, however.
- The Chao Garden in Sonic Adventure 2 (including the Gamecube version). The amount of rings needed to buy things to improve your Chao are staggering. Even if a 0 was lopped off the end of each price, they would still be too expensive. Got an A-Rank on all five missions in every level of the game? You probably still don't have nearly enough rings. As this FAQ writer says, thank goodness for glitches.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels has four extra Worlds after World 8. The catch? You have to beat the game eight times, with NO Warp Zones and NO powering the system off. Fortunately, the Super Mario All-Stars remake only requires you to complete Worlds 1 through 8 once, and Warp Zones are allowed.
- Super Mario 64 DS has you catching rabbits so you can get keys to unlock minigames. Slight as they are not vital to the plot, but there are a ton of them and there's no way to tell which you've caught. So you could spend 15 minutes going after a rabbit just to find you've already caught it. Also, after a certain point, you'll stumble onto shiny rabbits. Catch it... and he'll say there are around 5 to 7 more. They're hard to find (your best bet is the Castle Grounds with Yoshi) and you need to catch them all to get a key, which unlocks the silent, white door in the character select room to get a Star.
- The Green Stars in Super Mario Galaxy 2. It's Fake Difficulty and Fake Longevity combined. 120 extra stars, which are located in the craziest locations, have no hints on the location save for a very quiet tinkling sound, and are spread out in galaxies people have already completed. For some people, Grandmaster Galaxy was more preferable. Then, after getting all the green stars and beating the regular Grandmaster Galaxy level, you still can't play The Perfect Run until there are 9999 star bits in the bank.
- Super Mario 3D Land has you have to play every single level as both Mario and Luigi and get gold flags (hit the top of every flag pole in the game at the end of the level) to get stars on your game file and unlock the true final level. If you were prepared beforehand it made it slightly less tedious (by getting the gold flag, star medals and initial level completion in one run), if not you had to play every single level at least three times just to complete the game.
- New Super Mario Bros. 2 has two examples, both for otherwise 'optional' rewards. For one thing, to get all the stars on the file select screen, you had to max out the lives counter to the point you got three crowns, otherwise entirely optional in past games and painfully tedious unless you used those infinite lives tricks. Then to get the final rewards? You need a million coins. Then about TEN million coins. That's a good few days of non stop coin rush with the best possible set of levels (30 000 coin maximum per run) if you're lucky, weeks or months if you aren't. All for different title screens.
- Super Mario 3D World. In order to obtain the Character Stamps (stamps of the main character's portraits for use in Miiverse Posts), you needed to beat every level with a single character... just for that character's stamp. In multiplayer, the character has to touch the flagpole for it to count. It gets especially glaring once you unlock Rosalina after having beaten a large portion of the game: you need to backtrack and beat all of the previous levels with Rosalina. And you can't keep track of whether or not you've beaten a level with a certain character until the very last world is unlocked.
- The earlier Ratchet & Clank games had ridiculous amounts of grinding for weapon XP or cash to pay for weapon upgrades. This became even more obvious by the addition of game-show "arenas" (sometimes more than one per game!) consisting of destroying wave after wave after wave of the same handful of enemies.
- Most of Rareware's games are like this. In the Banjo-Kazooie series, you have to find all of the Jiggies, Jinjos, etc. for 100% completion, and in Donkey Kong 64, you have to collect all of the Golden Bananas in order to get the true ending.
- Gyromancer has the character return to the mission select screen when he completes an objective for a given stage... after clearing the path that contains more of the map. In this game, 100% completion requires obtaining a sufficiently high score, and your progress is reset back to 0 if you left the stage - requiring you to rebattle monsters that you defeated.
- The browser-based Tetris clone Blockbox requires you to complete 15 levels of Classic Mode before you can play any of the Tetris: The Grand Master-like modes. But a player who is good enough to survive for long in the TGM modes will have this licked well within a half hour.
- The Uru expansion pack The Path of the Shell included a teeth-grating age named Ahnonay, in which a player had to constantly link between the Age's four states of existence (each displaying a greater degree of decay). If that wasn't bad enough, a Relto page hidden in this Age required MUCH more linking than a typical playthrough would. Not to mention, Shell includes, erm, "brilliant" puzzles such as standing in one place for fifteen minutes until a ladder appears. (Thankfully, Myst Online: Uru Live removes a number of the more ridiculous puzzles from "Shell" Ages.)
- The London Life bonus game in Professor Layton and the Last Specter boasts over 100 hours of gameplay. However, most of those hours will be spent grinding cash for the ridiculously priced Golden Gloves. They cost 99,999,999 wealth.
- Some of the hardest levels in Chips Challenge are also among the most prolongued, mostly due to the nearly unlimited amount of block pushing.
- Nearly all of the castles in The Castles Of Doctor Creep require repetition of puzzles or cycling through already-solved rooms, but some are worse about it than others. Castles like Tannenbaum or Carpathia have one-time puzzles in rooms, while others like Baskerville or Romania require the player to visit a room multiple times just to solve its puzzle. Baskerville is particularly bad about this, since to cycle through that castle you often have to re-solve puzzles you already solved once before.
- Mario Kart 7 pads out the requirements to unlock kart parts to the extreme. Every part requires you collecting coins to unlock them. Some parts only need a few hundred coins while other parts can only be unlocked every few thousand coins. One of the final parts will force you to get 10,000 coins or more. Have fun playing the same tracks over and over again since you can only hold 10 coins max per race. The only consolation is that a few select parts can be unlocked (or at least be unlocked a bit faster) by winning races online and successfully connecting to another player with the Street Pass feature. If you lack Wi-Fi and/or don't live in a dense city where you can run into someone who also has their Street Pass turned on, then you will have to resort to coin collecting.
- Forza Motorsport pads out 100% completion with its Driver Titles and Badges, which are snippets of text and avatars displayed next to the user's name in game lobbies. Some are easy, such as reaching 88 miles per hour in a Delorean, while others are obnoxiously long, such as driving 1000 miles in a Toyota Prius.
- R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 advertises itself as having 320 cars to unlock. However, there are only about 16 unique car designs in the entire game (4 tiers of cars * 4 manufacturers), and the number of cars stems from there being four teams with different tuning properties that have access to the same cars and the fact that for the first three tiers, you get one of three variants of a particular tier-manufacturer combo, all of which look exactly the same as each other. Moreover, finishing first in each race grants you only the best car unlocks; to unlock the rest, you have to Do Well, but Not Perfect and place 2nd or 3rd in some races.
- Opening up Classes 2 through 5 of Rage Racer is quite straightforward: Finish the prior class with 3rd place or higher on every track. Class 6, however, requires going through the Extra GP, which is Classes 1 through 5 all over again except with the tracks in reverse. Oh, and the reward for clearing the standard GP, which consists of maxing out your eg counter, as well as all those nice and shiny cars you spent millions of eg purchasing? None of them carry over to Extra GP; back to the basic Gnade Esperanza for you!
- Two of Criterion's racing games are offenders to this:
- In Burnout Paradise, there is an event located at every traffic light intersection, and completing a certain amount will upgrade your license. However, the upgrade will also reset the events you completed to get there and allow you to play them again to contribute to the next license upgrade. This is great if you find a few events you're really good at and/or enjoy, but the final two licenses have such a high count to acquire that you'll almost certainly replay many events multiple times over the course of the game.
- The 2012 Need for Speed: Most Wanted takes this a step further with the cars strewn about the city as well, with events that are associated to the cars themselves. Unfortunately there aren't enough events for a truly diverse pool of events, so completionists will replay the same collection of events up to six times or more on their way to 100%. Despite introducing brand new events, DLC events fall suspect to this as well with the cars they are introduced with.
Real Time Strategy
- Variant example: since it's history-based, Empire Earth advertised "500,000 years of gameplay." 450,000 of those years were in the stone age, which (as you can guess) doesn't let you do much.
- Some RTS games, like Starcraft, have missions which require you to defend a base for a set period of time. Sometimes this requires you to sit around for at least thirty to forty five minutes waiting for the timer to run down.
- Quite a few of the Achievements for Sins of a Solar Empire require you to deliberately stretch a match out in order to attain them. Particularly bad offenders are the destroy 1000 Pirates in a single game, destroy 2500 strikecraft in a single game, finding all the artefacts in a single game, or researching all of a tech tree in a single game.
- DJMAX Online prevented you from playing any songs whose difficulty level was higher than your experience level, forcing you to grind levels to play more difficult songs. This was very frustrating for those experienced with beatmania or O2Jam, which the 5- and 7-key modes, respectively, played very similarly to.
- Gitaroo Man has long, unskippable cutscenes at the start of many stages, which you must watch each time you lose and retry.
- Each Hatsune Miku Project DIVA consumer game forces you to play songs on Normal difficulty in order to unlock their Hard charts, and Hard charts to unlock their Extreme charts. Difficulty unlocks don't carry over from game to game, so players accustomed to Hard or Extreme difficulties have to slog through the two-buttons-only Normal charts all over again to play the four-button charts.
- In NetHack, this is Gehennom. A pain beyond comprehension to map-out the standard way due to the presence of maze-like levels on almost every level, demons and even worse monsters than what was fought above, few lit rooms, the worst traps in the whole game everywhere, all of your good strategies start falling apart (pray for nutrition? hah!), and it just keeps going on for a good half of the dungeon. There are many tricks to making it to the bottom quickly but, once you're done with your business down there, you have to climb back up the hard way. On the soft side, Gehennom is behind a rather long series of random generated dungeons with plenty of interesting stuff, so at least it doesn't have to be tackled too often. On the hard side (that is obviously related to this trope), when trying to climb up from the bottom, one should be carrying the amulet that causes random level teleportations downwards - among other nasty things.
Role Playing Game
- The DS versions of the Digimon World games take this to rarely seen levels. The games are extremely straightforward, following a pattern of running throught simple areas, defeating a boss, then go back to the city and talk to certain characters, follow with a short cutscene and unlock a new area to explore. However, the games have a extremely high random encounter rate, and the bosses will prove to be too strong to the player if he doesn't take a good hour grinding on the areas before the boss. The later areas also have a maze-like design with several dead-ends with no reward whatsoever, wich become extremely tedious and time-consuming to navigate due to the random encounters that can't be avoided.
- Missions that involve talking with more than one NPC in the areas become very tedious because you must talk to them in order, and NPC B will not appear until you have met NPC A. This is especially frustrating if NPC B is set to appear at a point before NPC A, since the first time you go throught NPC B's spot, it will be empty.
- Pokémon battles, especially in the later generations, are so flippin' slow it boggles the mind. It's not even that they take that long — once you get further along in the game, most of your Mons can destroy any basic enemy in one or two hits. And it still takes a frustratingly long time to beat any battle.
- The Fight Woosh is particularly obnoxious, since it can't be disabled and easily accounts for half of the time you spend in caves or tall grass.
- Diamond and Pearl were the biggest offenders, to the point that one of the main features of Platinum is that the game is notably faster. The battles were insanely slow, even when disabling the animations, and you couldn't skip anything with the buttons. In fact, if you wanted to use the buttons instead of the stylus, you had to press them twice. If that's not enough for you, remember that Surfing was as slow as regular walking. In a water route with loads of trainers with several Pokémon each, you could easily get your whole team knocked out in desperation. Thank goodness for Repel...
- And Black and White FINALLY address this by having HP drain being near instant, so battles are now so fast it's been compared to taking a battle in Diamond and Pearl and putting it on fast forward several times over. And without animations, battles are practically just as fast as you can read and push buttons.
- Pokemon Stadium eases the pain by having unlockables that can double and quadruple your game speed when you play in the Game Boy Tower.
- In Generation I, you had to spend a few minutes watching the credits roll through (after beating the Elite Four) before the game was saved. Changed in later games so the game would save before the credits, but every time you would level grind a little against the E4, you would still have to listen to their speeches, which is mindnumbingly boring after, well, once.
- In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, in order to get the National Dex to reach islands 4 through 7, rebattle the Elite Four, and trade with Hoenn you need to obtain 60 of the 151 Pokémon found in Kanto. Nowhere in the game is the number 60 impliednote and without trading with another remake, or catching as many as you can as you go, it will still take a good hour or two to get 60 darn species.
- Of course, 60 is relatively easy if you've been catching things the entire game. You'd have to be trying, or doing a challenge run, to not have 60 or close to that by the end.
- In DPPt you need to see every Pokémon in the Sinnoh Dex to activate Pal Park, which lets you retrieve your old Pokémon from the GBA games. This task basically amounts to "realize which Trainer battles you skipped and spend hours trying to find them.
- One of the Pokémon, Drifloon, can only be seen twice in the game: Once in an optional trainer battle that is lost forever by the time you get to the end of the game, and a wild one that only appears on Friday. In other words, if you don't want to cheat, you could end up waiting six days to open up Pal Park.
- Combee was almost as bad as Drifloon; found on only one optional trainer outside Veilstone City, or you had to take the time to do the Scrappy Mechanic of slathering Honey on Honey Trees in the hopes that Combee appears after waiting a day for the tree to start shaking.
- There is also Repel so you can avoid most wild battles.
- However, Repel works based on the level of your Pokémon on top of your party list VS the general level of the wild Pokémon in the area. If you really want to get to some place without any encounters, put your highest level Pokémon in the top slot. The way Repel works does have an advantage that ends up saving time, however — starting with Pokemon Gold And Silver, some legendary Pokémon would roam the overworld among randomly encountered Pokémon and using a Repel would make it easier to encounter them if they end up in an area with lower-level Pokémon if the top party member was at a level higher than regular random encounters but lower than the roaming Pokémon. Until Diamond and Pearl added the ability to see where they were before running into them (originally they could only be tracked if they're seen once, they run away, and their location is checked in the Pokédex), this made finding them easier.
- To summarize the endgame of Final Fantasy III (both DS and NES version):
- Last Inn, Long Dungeon, Last Save Point, Long Dungeon, Long Cutscene, Difficult Boss, Long Dungeon with 4 bosses, Difficult Final Boss. Die at the final boss and you've wasted 3-4 hours! (you cannot backtrack to the savepoint any time after the first boss in the sequence). It's even worse when you actually get to the final boss and discover it has one attack: Flare Wave (Particle Beam in the remake), which does 2000+ damage to all your characters every round. If you're level 50 (which takes some time), that's more than half your max HP.
- Final Fantasy XII with the absolute waste of time that is traveling on foot from Rabanastre to Archades.
- This part is a subversion of the classic Dungeon-Cutscene-Village formula, first, this is a case of averting Gameplay and Story Segregation, since the characters have a good reason to travel by foot while they have an airship: they are wanted fugitive and their airship is a stolen Archadian prototype, second, if you decide to not do every sidequests, this part is relatively short: the main difference is that this part completely invert the cutscene-gameplay ratio: before you reach Archades, you will see one mandatory cutscene and maybe one optional cutscene, while exploring five to seven regions.
- The Quickenings, while not all that long if only one is launched, really start to become tedious when launching a giant chain of them.
- Mark hunting, though (almost) entirely optional, can be prone to this. Some of the Marks you search for require extensive Dungeon Crawling (or re-crawling), Level Grinding, and searching for hidden items and pathways. Even finding some of the marks can be a hassle (Montblanc's wonderfully vague information on the whereabouts of "Belito" come to mind).
- Barheim passage, for the 'wandering through pointless side passages' to find the gate switches.
- The Path through Giruvegan to the Great Crystal. Getting lost there is all too easy.
- Final Fantasy XI manages to combine this with Forced Level Grinding by having achievements for maxing out each individual class. It can take months to achieve level 75 with one class, there are 20 of these achievements. There's also a 30G achievement for completing a relic weapon, which takes years to do, requiring millions upon millions of in-game currency (or real money, if you're that desperate). All of the achievements, when the game was released, required at least one 75 job to achieve (things like gaining maximum rank for all three nations, completing expansion story lines, clearing several endgame areas), and it can easily take a year for a new player to reach the maximum level, let alone clear all the missions.
The problem was slightly alleviated when the Wings of the Goddess expansion brought with it 250 more points, most of which for things that were actually attainable in a reasonable amount of time for the average player (acquiring a subjob or getting a chocobo license - levels 18 and 20, respectively). Even still, it takes insane amounts of dedication if you really want that 1250/1250 score for Final Fantasy XI. Probably the worst part is that every achievement is secret, meaning that nobody who hasn't already done the things you've done will even know that you did them, removing the entire point of the achievements completely. Game Informer found a guy who had 1250 gamerpoints in the game and interviewed him. He said "It wasn't worth it."
Most of these time sinks were eliminated almost ten years after the game's release with the release of the Abyssea mini expansions which for the first time in the game's history increased the level cap from 75 to 99. A job can now be grinded from level 30 to 99 in as little as 10-12 hours by leeching exp off max level players (if you don't mind being very gimp when you hit 99). Level capped mission fights which used to take tedious amounts of time and effort to get past have had their caps removed making it very easy to solo old storylines. The aforementioned Relics can now be completed in as little as a month if you religiously spend 2 hours every day farming, or just a couple days if you have money to blow. Even travel, which used to be a nightmare, has been trivialized with the introduction of a warp shortcut to almost any zone in the game, several taking you to locations which used to be very difficult to reach. The only real forced time sink left is Mythic weapons which take at least 6 months to complete thanks to requiring repeatedly completing content which requires a key item to enter, you only get 1 key item per day.
- Many of the Dragon Quest games have loads and loads of grinding (1 has been mathematically shown to be unwinnable under any remotely normal conditionsnote until level 17, as the final boss does more damage than you can heal until then). All of them feature hordes of boring random battles that are usually very easy to beat, but take a long time to actually fight (and 8 adds slow and unskippable animations into the mix), endless Big Lipped Alligator Moment style fetch quests, which involve randomly running around trying to find the person you need to talk to (often several), and then figuring out the bizarre and illogical places you need to use Quest items. Thankfully averted in Dragon Quest Monsters, removing all the inane quests, speeding up the battle system, and making the random battles mean something. Joker still has long animations though. Finding all six of the orbs in Dragon Quest III without a walkthrough is near-impossible, as they're scattered all over the world map, and the only hints you have are random tidbits of information from various townsfolk and a flute that you can play to see if an orb is in the area. This can lead to a lot of wandering.
- Wizardry: Tale of the Forsaken Land gets it due to slow combats you can only skip by physically avoiding the enemy, which isn't always possible. Even running will waste about 15 seconds or so each time. Combat rounds often take a minute or more start to finish.
- A minor example is the White SeeD Ship in Final Fantasy VIII. You're given very vague directions: an inlet on a continent that's nothing but inlets. There are no battles or time limit to give this any challenge, you really are just wandering aimlessly until you stumble upon the location where the next bit of plot happens. Or Google a map because you can't be bothered with mindless filler.
- In the original set of .hack// games, Virus Core hunting. You want to crack on with the story? Sorry, you need to go and Data Drain a bunch of trivial enemies in the hopes that they randomly drop the Virus Cores needed to get into the area.
- The final boss of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories has a predictable and repetitive pattern of easy-to-avoid attacks. Unfortunately, you can only hurt him during a small time window at one point in the pattern. And he has four health bars.
- In Super Robot Wars Original Generation, later Bosses often take utterly ludicrous amounts of damage to bring down. In a game where 10000 HP is extremely good for a playable character, bosses can easily have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of HP. And more often than not, they have various energy fields that significantly reduce the amount of damage they take per attack.
- Not to mention the often overly long attack animations. This was especially bad in early installments when they couldn't be skipped.
- The series is kind compared to many games in that each section of text appears all at once rather than slowly scrolling in. However, while you can button-mash through cut scenes, you can't skip them altogether, except in the latest games, and even then it's only the intermissions. You can fast-forward them at least.
- Tales of Symphonia advertises "80 hours of gameplay!" on the box. This is because the actual storyline of the game takes about forty hours to beat on a normal playthrough, and then there's a New Game+.
- Tales of Xillia 2 has an early plot point that involves racking up a 20 million gald debt. Most of the game is spent working this debt off, and once you do, you get hit with an even larger debt! And it's not like you can ignore it, either; you have to pay off a certain amount of debt every so often to continue on with the main plotline.
- Mass Effect is a good example of this. To get all of the achievements, especially the ally achievements, requires no less than 3 playthroughs. And these aren't the "do whatever is necessary to get to the end of the game" playthroughs, but full playthroughs, requiring doing the side missions as well as the required story missions.
- In the first game, 100% completion required visiting a ton of planets which consist of a few square kilometers of rocks, crags, and general time-wasting. Some of them have hidden side-quests that have nothing to do with any of the plots. In the same vein, the Plot Tumor Cerberus, which plays a huge role later in the series, is found this way. Most of their bases are hidden on random worlds.
- And of course, the minutes-long Citadel elevator rides.
- BioWare learned their lesson in the sequel; it's possible to get
allmost of the achievements in one playthrough.
- But expect to encounter this if you want the Golden Ending. You'll need to gather resources and money beyond the basics by planet-scanning, a feature largely panned by the fans. Despite that, it was generally faster than the Mako sequences it replaced.
- The third game boasts a "Galaxy At War", which has a "Readiness Rating." This number determines the quality of your ending. If it's not high enough, no good ending for you. Before a recent patch getting the best ending through Single Player alone was basically impossible, which forced you into the new multiplayer mode. Even worse, as long as your computer is connected to the internet, the rating slowly ticks down.
- In the first game, 100% completion required visiting a ton of planets which consist of a few square kilometers of rocks, crags, and general time-wasting. Some of them have hidden side-quests that have nothing to do with any of the plots. In the same vein, the Plot Tumor Cerberus, which plays a huge role later in the series, is found this way. Most of their bases are hidden on random worlds.
- Lunar: Dragon Song attempted to extend gameplay in addition to "add realism" by adding an option to gain either experience points or items from battle, adding side quests related to Jian and Lucia's job as Gad's Express delivery men and causing minimal but continuous damage when running. The result of this caused many players to groan because all this achieved was making the game more of a chore by having to fight twice as many battles than necessary to gain both items needed for fetch quests and the experience to level up so you won't die trying (with the reminder of many other Role Playing Games who were perfectly fine length and gameplay-wise with awarding players both items and experience per battle). It's possible to beat the game while skipping the deliveries, bar your first one, but besides selling items they're the only source of money, which may be necessary to grind for in the all too likely event of good items getting stolen or destroyed by Demonic Spiders. At least the battles themselves can be sped up, or even automated.
- Every story enemy in Touhou Pocket Wars has an insane quantity of hit points, and many of them have spammable, repeatable, uncapped "Defense Up" or "Full Heal" abilities. One battle can take an hour, and the A.I. Roulette is the only thing that makes some of them beatable at all without Level Grinding until you achieve a One-Hit Kill.
- Valkyria Chronicles II, in regards to the processes of upgrading troops and researching new weapons.
- Troops start out in a base class. They can upgrade to one of two classes, one of which is a better version of the base, the other a specialization, such as a Scout going to either a Scout Veteran (more HP/movement/evasion) or a Sniper (weaker stats but get a sniper rifle). These two each have their own further upgrades, for a total of 4 level 3 specializations. To convert to a new class, the character has to have acquired a number of credits from being used in various missions, and each of the 4 types of credits (Arms, Attack, Support, March) has 4 different levels (e.g. Arms, Arms X, Arms II, Arms II X). These are randomly distributed at the end of each battle, and while the top 2 performers get more credits than everyone else, they may not get the ones they need, e.g. a troop only needing one more Arms II X instead getting 3 sets of 2 Arms X. While each conversion only takes at most 3 different types of credit (e.g. 3 Arms, 1 Support II, 1 March II X), plus a Certificate or Diploma (distributed like the other credits, but fairly rare for a good portion of the game), it can take a long time to get the right distribution for a good portion of your squad.
- Each class usually has several different types of weapons, with many specializations having weapons that only they can use. For example, Scouts, Scout Veterans, and Scout Elites use regular rifles, Heavy Scouts use advanced rifles, Snipers use regular sniper rifles, Sniper Elites use advanced sniper rifles, and Anti-Tank Snipers use anti-tank siper rifles. Each type of weapon has a base model that goes from level 1 to level 10 and costs just money to upgrade. There's usually at least 2 other versions of this weapon that have special benefits, such as a rifle that fires 7 shots compared to the standard 5, or a rifle that has lower attack power but can confer negative status effects on enemies. There's 10 levels of each of these, as well. To build one of the non-standard ones, you need a part that's unique to that weapon type; a regular rifle needs some type of Rifle Part, while advanced rifles need some sort of Rifle+ Part, a sniper rifle needs a Sniper Scope, etc. You get one, and only one, of these from beating a battle, which can take anywhere from a few to 15 minutes depending on which one it is. Each battle drops a specific part. There are usually 4 different grades of parts (A-D), with higher grades being used on the higher levels of weapon. You also need materials, which have 5 different levels with 4 different grades (harder battles drop higher grades) and which are also somewhat randomly dropped; while each map type generally gives a specific type of material, you could need 5 more Steel 4 Type B and wind up getting a whole lot of Steel 4 Types A, B, and D. While it's not necessary to upgrade all the weapons (most of them aren't very useful, and weapons dropped by special enemies tend to be better), even getting the ones you want can take much longer than it should because of all the randomness.
- There are also some points in the game where you are forced to play the "optional" Free Missions in order to progress the main storyline.
- Fallout 3 has many, many locations only be accessible by going through a subway tunnel. In a couple instances, you must go through at least three tunnels to reach the destination. The subway tunnels are cut and pasted from the same handful of sections with very minimal changes between them. They are also filled with always hostile NPCs. They serve no real purpose, but exist to make quests seem longer. Without the tunnel sections, a lot of quests are about 2 minutes long once you actually reach your destination.
- The subway tunnels are a necessity due to the game's engine. Having all of the game's overworld as a single unbroken cell would go beyond the limits of the 360's hardware (and probably a good number of users on PC). The subway tunnels allow for Washington DC to be split into multiple map cells with rubble blocking the edges, which are then connected via the subways, which are also separate cells. Oblivion didn't have this luxury, and had obnoxious portions of dynamic loading.
- New Vegas was designed with similar tricks, as no-clipping above the map will reveal. Here, the main overworld itself is divided into cells by insurmountable hills or cliffs and connected by limited pathways to allow for dynamic loading. Beef gates are added to many of these passes to discourage sequence breaking. The titular city has gateways connecting its cells, which beats going through subway tunnels.
- The subway tunnels are a necessity due to the game's engine. Having all of the game's overworld as a single unbroken cell would go beyond the limits of the 360's hardware (and probably a good number of users on PC). The subway tunnels allow for Washington DC to be split into multiple map cells with rubble blocking the edges, which are then connected via the subways, which are also separate cells. Oblivion didn't have this luxury, and had obnoxious portions of dynamic loading.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, about every quest requires you to run a tremendous distance which in turn has a probability to meet randomly spawning dragons, or clear a cave, keep or tomb full of random enemies that mostly aren't even related to this quest's story. There's a chance to kill an enemy with a finishing move forcing you to wait for the animation to end. It also requires you to grind lots and lots of ingredients to level alchemy, which is done by combining those ingredients correctly, thus meeting the criteria for Item Crafting, Grinding and Combinatorial Explosion. Since you've discovered all of Skyrim in a short period of time, running through it again may be considered Back Tracking. Most enemies have a Fake Difficulty, killing the player with two hits unless he's got lots of health potions. While its dungeons are more variable than Oblivion's, they still often look and feel the same, especially if it comes to claw riddles. It's overall promise of 500 hours of game time are only to be achieved by this trope. Thank Arkay for fast travel.
- It's most noticable in any quest where a fellow faction member offers to show you to your "quarters", which is usually down a long hallway that they've decided to slowly walk to. Or if a scripted scene has all the essential characters talking and marked "busy". "Waiting" usually doesn't help since these are scripted events.
- Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter would not show all the various plot-expounding cutscenes on the first playthrough. Or the second. No, if you wanted to actually see all of the plot, you were expected to play through the game three full times. This wasn't that the game forced you to pick between seeing two different things to create a sort of branching story, or requiring certain in-game conditions to have been met so that a skilled player could see it all in one go. It would instead just count the number of times you'd played through and would only show you the plot details if you had the required number of completions when you reached the part of the game that would trigger it.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door:
- One segment near the last quarter of the game has Mario seek out an NPC that can help him get to the moon. You travel to the location where he was last seen, only to be told by another NPC that you just missed the guy and they tell you where he went. This repeats several more times as you literally have to travel to every single major location you visited throughout the game and this can span over 30 minutes between the walking and the cut scenes showing your vehicle taking off to another region. There is also a side quest involving the same NPC basically has you repeat the goose chase a second time.
- The scene right before the Final Boss lasts over five minutes and can't be skipped.
- The fourth chapter is very bad about this. When you defeat the chapter's boss, you'll find that you have to go through the Twilight Trail again. And again. You have to go through that trail four times!
- Super Paper Mario:
- You're required by the boss of chapter 2 to grind for a form of currency only she'll accept. You can find an easy way and open her safe which gives you all the money you need (which is, in fact, the correct way), or you can grind away on a wheel or jump for a while to push a block. While not going the aforementioned easy way makes the game Unwinnable because it gives you a Pixl you need, there's nothing stopping you from Money Grinding like this. And even if you do things the easy way, you still have to grind for a while to pay off NPCs in order to get the passwords to open the safe.
- Although it is an optional area, the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials will not give any reward for clearing it the first time. Instead, you are informed that you will be only be rewarded if you complete it again.
- There is a section where you have to punch in a very long block-hitting combination to open a door.
- One section of the game has you go partway through a hundred different opponents, only to have to go through a featureless blank hallway for about three minutes straight immediately following that.
- In the fourth game of the Mega Man Battle Network series, you need to play through the story a minimum of three times to get everything, with potentially no limit on how many additional playthroughs are required depending on which opponents the game decides to match you up with in the Tournament Arc segments. This is made worse by the fact that the different scenarios you get based on your opponents pretty much all require multiple fetch quests and tons of backtracking, and you'll most likely have to repeat at least one of them on every playthrough.
- The first Battle Network, likewise, requires you to constantly run back and forth in similar locations, particularly the Waterworks.
- You really have to wonder about the Dracoid Cemetery and Dracoid Ruins in Lands of Lore 2. In the cemetery, you'll find glass orbs lying around. You need to charge these at three different machines, which turn them white, blue or yellow, to open the crypts in the cemetery, which will only accept specific colors of orbs. Inside the crypts you'll find new orbs to charge. Two of the machines are underneath the cemetery, another is in the ruins, which is a huge level. When you've opened all the crypts, you'll have to fulfill quests for two dracoid ghosts which once again involve traversing those enormous ruins, which mostly consist of empty space. It's a very drawn-out and tedious sequence in an otherwise fun and immersive game.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 has fragment collecting. Some of them come from fun bosses or interesting side quests. Others don't:
- Starting with the one the internet is fixated on, there's filling out the bestiary. This can actually be fairly fun at times, if you have the fragment skills that manipulate encounter rate and chances of getting rare encounters, as you'll come across some interesting enemies you might have missed otherwise, and it gives a sense of purpose to the grinding you'd be doing to take on the bonus bosses. But then there's all the time you'll spend wiping out ludicrously out-levelled enemies waiting for a rare one to spawn. Or having to go through the already annoying final dungeon twice.
- One fragment requires winning 7777 coins through the slots. This can take hours and is barely interactive.
- Captain Cryptic requires you to track him down at random location in a large and twisty map repeatedly. Even if you know all the possible locations (and let's face it, anyone that's going for 100% Completion in this game is using a guide) it still takes far too long.
- A number of important items are hidden in extremely out-of-the-way treasure spheres that can only be reached by a perfectly aimed moogle throw. Beyond just the trial and error required here, Mog takes forever to return after each try. Some of the trickier ones can take minutes to get.
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has Hard Mode + Unskippable cut scenes. Unlike Normal Mode, if you mess up and die, you get sent back to the title screen and have to go through the whole sequence before the fight without any way to skip it.
- Bravely Default gets pretty ridiculous with this, because part of the plot involves the characters getting caught in a loop and returning to the beginning of the game, necessitating revisiting all of the main dungeons and fighting the bosses again. In order to get the Golden Ending you need to go through this process FOUR TIMES. One of the features touted for the Updated Re-release was the cutting of around 40 hours of gameplay, not by removing content, but by streamlining the endgame and adding the ability to speed up and skip battles.
- The sidequests in Xenoblade, there are literally hundreds of them, a lot of them are just Twenty Bear Asses or Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest. There are also the collectibles in each area, there are dozens for each area, they spawn mostly randomly, and they don't do much unless you like grinding for Relationship Values, which is another thing that makes the game longer.
- The Golden Sun series is infamous for its needlessly long and wordy Unskippable Cutscenes. Especially annoying for the final boss of the first installment, which had two forms and was preceded by an incredibly long dialogue scene. At least it allows saving anywhere, and with the E-shop rerelease, you don't need to worry about your GBA's batteries running out during your battle anymore...
- The most common accusation leveled against The Sims 2: University is that getting a Sim through college is a needlessly long and tedious project. Really, the same thing could have been achieved with two semesters instead of eight.
- All of the Animal Crossing games do this when you have to pay off your house. Each upgrade to the house has a bigger price tag than the last, which will resort to you farming fruit, bugs, fish, and fossils for quick money and collecting random junk you receive from neighbors in order to sell them for money. There are also the stalk market (selling turnips for a profit) and planting money bags with the Golden Shovel in order to make a one time money tree, but those are generally risky and could make the player lose out on everything they invested.
- You could just input an item code in Tom Nook's shop for 300 Turnips each day. Much like forgery, this can get you money very quickly. Unlike forgery, you will never be penalized. Unfortunately, this only removes money as a pad, there's still fishing, insect catching, and making your town "perfect" for the illusive Golden Tools.
- Air Force Delta Strike plays this straight with the Stand-By missions. Fortunately, they're skippable.
- Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns annoyed long-time players of the series by limiting farm upgrades to once a month, then making it so that storyline requests (like clearing the tunnel between the titular towns) take priority. Ditto for tools. It can take more than three in-game years to upgrade your tools and farm. Did we mention there are two farms - each of which has equipment the other doesn't? And you can only work on one of those farms at a time? 100% Completion can upwards of eight in-game years (In most other HM games, this would take five at the most).
- The Rune Factory series need a measure of Stat Grinding to win, but Rune Factory 3 adds a unique one —- it only lets players complete a maximum of three tasks per day. Said tasks take minutes to complete, normally, and are essential to making friends/courting villagers.
Stealth Based Game
- The Assassin's Creed series is a notorious offender:
- Assassin's Creed was probably the strongest example, with the flag collection and Templar killing side quests/achievements. 420 small flags spread across the game, which are not always easy to see, let alone reach. They do not appear on any in-game maps, and there's no player-accessible method of keeping track of which ones have been obtained. Even using a guide, if the player has collected any flags and hasn't kept careful track of where they were, the player must revisit every location just to make sure. In addition, 60 Templar Knights are also spread out and hidden around.
- Starting with Assassin's Creed II and in every game since, the large quantities of collectibles (usually treasure chests, though Unity also has "artifacts", "cockades", "sync points") are still out there, but they emit a helpful sound when nearby, they appear on in-game maps, and they disappear from the map once collected, making it much easier to keep track of them and avoid having to visit each location more than once. They still qualify, though: The time spent collecting them all will add hours to gameplay time, potentially even doubling it for gamers who only did story missions during their playthrough.
- Metal Gear Solid: Long cutscenes, at times annoying bosses, eternally lying around until the ward gets in the right position to shoot him? If it was a mere hit and run game it'd be done in two or so hours, just rushing through and killing whatever gets in your way. (you can skip cutscenes and even run and gun your way through everything, but the game doesn't reward this though. Having to backtrack for things, however, is an example of this, and Snake even lampshades it).
- The Gamecube remake made backtracking mercifully shorter. Instead of going all the way to the armory for the sniper rifle, just hit floor B1 in the Nuke Storage Building (which you'd be going through anyway). There's a tranquilizer version of the sniper rifle, which is more than good enough to take on Sniper Wolf. There are even hints that it will be there shortly before your fight with Mantis - the ammo for it shows up before the weapon itself does.
- There's also a section near the end of the game where you're required to input three cards to deactivate a weapon. The only way to get the two cards you don't enter with is to travel, manually, back to previous sections of the game and wait there until the card changes into the required one. Again, a quicker option was included in the GameCube version that involves shooting at steam and coolant pipes to quickly cool down or heat up the card.
- While it may be an optional thing, collecting all the Dog Tags for a perfect game on the Gamecube version, much like the sequel, requires you to play through all five difficulties. If you miss one, play it again. Thankfully they're only for bragging rights.
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was notoriously bad for utilizing this. Hope you like or at least tolerate doing Vehicle battles, because in order to get everything in the game (such as design specs, your own vehicle units, and even emblems supplying you with bragging rights), you are definitely going to need to do this about fifty times, if not more. In fact, the only real challenge in regards to sneaking missions is the Hold Up and Perfect Stealth Extra Ops missions. And to get Mother Base and its sections to full capacity, you need to do some firing and recruiting either directly or via AP scanning, and the only chance you have at actually getting a random ranked soldier is to do AP scanning, and even then, only via the Recruit option, as most of the soldiers on the map have the exact same stats. You also need high stats just to get the Mother Base to full status.
- Several weapons designs require an S-rank. Also, several of them also require specific jobs to even be developed. Several of the goodies (namely items such as uniforms and design specs) are randomized in the Outer Ops missions, meaning that you are most likely going to have to do several retries just to get them. Fortunately, if you reset the game when you get it, every time it still rewards you, which proves to be quite beneficial (although still annoying at times) if you want to reset because you lost some of your men.
- Trying to actually develop new weapons proves to be quite a chore, since they usually take quite a while to develop, especially if the levels match exactly. It gets even more excruciating when trying to develop weapons and equipment that require a tech level/med level/soldier level/intel level/mess hall level of 99, in which the level of progress is between 1% and 2%, maybe 3% if you are really lucky, meaning you have to have at least 33 missions to accomplish, if not 50 or 100 missions. It can also prove to be longer if a member of a unit required for a weapon/equipment's development has to call in sick, and don't even think about firing them while it is still in development.
- You also have to obtain several emblems for your player name. Most of them also require time in CO-O Ps and Versus mode. The single player emblems also are not exempt from the difficulty. With items that indicate doing multiple things, you usually have to do them 50-250 times, maybe over 1000 to get an emblem for undetected stealth, Monster Hunting, and the like, of which you also have to get three emblems each with an increasing rank just to get them, and you have to master in all of the weapons of a category to get emblems relating to mastering a specific weapon, again some necessitating the use of CO-O Ps to even level up easily, as otherwise they are difficult to level up (or in the case of the Human Slingshot Band, downright impossible in absolutely every sense of the word). Some of the emblems even require that you do several missions to get, and also these same emblems will also not count missions such as weapons training missions, perfect stealth (in the case of undetected stealth) and others. One emblem even requires you to pretty much undo all the hard work you did in building up Mother Base and the development of MSF by firing most of the males, putting the key male characters in storage, and then replacing them with an almost entirely female crew. Some emblems can only be unlocked by getting a certain amount of emblems or codenames. To get Mother Base Master, you need to not only build Mother Base's up completely, even have all of the teams at the 99th level, but you also need to procure or develop absolutely everything. The only good thing is that procuring Uniforms doesn't count under that requirement.
- Codenames are also just as bad, and usually there is absolutely no way to even know about how to actually get these emblems as they are mostly random, and you can't really even tell how much of a specific type or range of weapon you've actually used under which category of disposing the enemy. You most likely also have to hunt for the same codenames again just to increase their rank.
- Try getting all the parts for Metal Gear ZEKE, including the Custom's heads. The closest thing to a consistent definition is that you don't damage the parts beyond 90 percent, and even then, actually getting certain parts (most notably the armor, though the boosters, rail gun, radome, PW legs, and especially the AI heads would qualify as well) is completely random. You might never hit any of the parts and yet still not unlock it. The AI chips are also of no exception, as they are completely randomized, and you can't even hope to get them all under a one minute time limit, and a few times you might not even find any new chips in there.
- In order to get the phone call, you need to accomplish every single mission in Extra Ops, Main Ops, and possibly Outer Ops. Yes, that means you also have to do the dates with Paz and Kazuhira missions, the latter of which is also quite a turn-off for several people due to the...implications in that mission.
- This is all just stuff in the actual game as well. Don't even get started on DLC content, which not only is shown to have a hard time trying to get due to server problems in certain stores, but even when you do somehow unlock the DLC content, the soldiers that come with the items generally have horrible stats, and sometimes if you download the content from the internet, for some reason it just never downloads.
- Do you like the Monster Hunter missions? Do you? Do you also like or at least tolerate Grinding? Well, you certainly won't if you are intending to get certain pieces of the monsters themselves to get the design specs for certain weapons, as they will at the very least be an annoying chore, and at worst will also be nightmarishly long and induce a huge amount of swears. Also, trying to get S-ranks in those missions to gain certain uniforms will also prove to be quite a chore, because not only do you need to tranquilize the main monsters in question, but you also have to do so under a certain time limit, and unlike the Vehicle commanders, there is absolutely no way to tell if the anesthetic rounds are having any effect on the monster or even how much stamina overall you actually took away.
- The first three entries in the Silent Hill series never take a very long time to replay; much time will be spent checking which doors are open, locked, or unable to be opened period, checking the map, and figuring out Guide Dang It puzzles. The bonus features are usually somewhat reasonable, except in Silent Hill 3; it wants you to play the game at least eleven times, including ten times on Harder Than Hard difficulty, to get a ten-star ranking and the final bonus item.
Third Person Shooter
- Jet Force Gemini forces you, right before the final level, to rescue every Tribal on the game. You must rescue them all in one go for each level you attempt; if you miss or let but one of them get killed, you must restart that level. They have an annoying habit of running around in the middle of crossfire and some Drone soldiers are specifically programmed to held them hostage and kill them the moment they spot you. You must also rescue those on out of the way Bonus Worlds. Have fun.
- The Gears of War games are absolutely insane about this. To get 100% Completion for the achievements requires: hosting (not just playing) one hundred matches, getting one hundred kills with each weapon, and getting a total online body count of ten thousand (Gears 1); racking up one hundred thousand kills across all modes and reaching level 100 (Gears 2); and earning every onyx medal, which requires (among others) six thousand kills with various weapons in versus modes and six thousand matches in each versus game type (Gears 3).
- Warframe. Farming bosses in the hope of getting blueprints to craft new Warframes or weapons is a tedious thing not helped by the recalcitrance of the Random Number God. Or you can go Bribing Your Way to Victory... and that doesn't work if you want a Primed variant, which requires taking on special missions in the Void that can only be accessed by either buying keys with real money, or grinding for them.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Saints Row:
- The first two games are big offenders. While they are Wide Open Sandbox games, they also require you to do side-missions or other activities to earn "Respect", which is spent in order to play the main story missions, essentially making the game seem longer than it really is. This was done away with in Saints Row: The Third, as respect is used instead to unlock upgrades for your character and you can do story missions any time you want.
- Many missions in the first two games require you to go to a specific location to start the mission, only to have the action take place across town. Failing the mission early enough meant you got to repeat the (often completely unremarkable) drive between the arbitrary mission start and the actual action. The third game does away with this by having the NPC giving the quest call you instead of demanding to meet in person.
- Both Endless Ocean games are big offenders. The first asks that you find each animal on three separate dives to complete the encyclopedia, and the second requires you to save a million of the ingame currency to re-open the last area.
- Red Dead Redemption has a habit of quests requiring you (for various reasons) to finish quests on the opposite side of the map from where you started them. This usually results in double Fake Longevity as you are forced to follow an NPC from the starting point, across the map to where the mission takes place, and then, once the mission is complete, to run all the way back to the original starting point in order to start the next mission.
- Crackdown also fits into this with 800 orbs and mini challenges like races to tour the 3 districts.
- Just Cause and its sequel are major offenders. The first game had over 40 sectors, each with about 7 bases on average that Rico had to conquer to claim the sector for the resistance and allied gang. THEN there were the loyalty missions and collection sidequests which were essential in ranking up two different faction alliances that gave you better request drops. Each faction mission gave 30 faction points, and the maximum rank required at least 7000. The game itself had less than 30 main missions. The sequel is even worse. Over 300 Bases, hundreds of upgrade collectibles, 300 collectible tokens (underwater supplies, tribal skulls, and drug cases), and at least 50 faction missions and 50 racing challenges. The number of main missions in Just Cause 2? SEVEN.
Role Playing Game
- The MOTHER series
- In EarthBound, your party will automatically win and gain EXP and money from enemies that they can realistically defeat just by breathing on them. Such monsters will also run away from the party, and sneaking up on them from behind when they do this makes it even easier to get an auto-win. However, by exploiting this fact and grinding in areas where the enemies run from you, it breaks the game wide open. That's why...
- In MOTHER 3, monsters you can easily kill will also run away from you, and if you dash into them you'll knock them aside instead of triggering a battle screen. However, you don't get any EXP or money from them.
- MOTHER 1, on the other hand, has Fake Longevity in spades. The rate of the random encounters is so high you can usually expect to run into one two steps from the previous fight. Worse yet is that you'll need all that XP and much more to beat the game.
- Some Suikoden games also feature the auto-win mechanism similar with what's described above. The party can obtain the ability to slaughter cheap mooks quickly, keeping all the (negligible) EXP and items while not wasting time.
- Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, while having a rather egregious example of Fake Longevity (see above), also allows you to skillfully avoid encounters, and getting the drop on enemies significantly weaker than you instantly awards XP without a battle.
- The Paper Mario series has the ability to skip easy battles with a badge. Unfortunately, the badge cost valuable badge points. You can also avoid battles.
- The Super Robot Wars series often uses overly long attack animations that after a while can add a sense of fake longevity. Though the newer games have attack animations so awesome to watch and visually appealing that you no longer mind sitting through them over and over (these can be turned off, skipped mid-attack and fast-forwarded).
- The World Ends with You utilizes Preexisting Encounters that you activate by using the scan feature and touching Noise symbols to begin battle. As a result, the only battles you need to fight are plotline battles and when an objective requires it (i.e. making the Gatito brand the #1 brand, which you make so by fighting enemies with the Red Skull Pin equipped). However, if you decide to avoid battles, prepare to be bit in the ass when you face later bosses.
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion both averts the trope and plays it straight at the same time. On the one hand, the sandbox world allows an awesome degree of exploration and many side-quests to find. On the other hand, the main quest/plotline is about four hours long. And to make things even more confusing, partaking in the length-enhancing activities is optional and does not contribute anything to your ability to complete the main quest. In fact, due to a lopsided case of Rubber-Band A.I. and Empty Levels, it is easier to finish the game if you do so as early as possible and without distractions than it is after some secondary adventuring. The end result is that there is a lot of longevity present, but it is only "fake" when taken in the context of the main plot. And you need to clear multiple oblivion gates to beat the main quest, of which there are only seven maps. On top of it, they are 99% empty of rewards with a lone Randomly Drops sigil stone at the end.
- Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis and its sequel allow you to defeat weak enemies instantly by slashing at them with your sword. You don't get EXP but you do get items so it's worth it.
- Shadow Hearts Has a near subversion, one of the side quests is the Man Festival in what appears to be a 100 level dungeon of nothing but fights. After the 26th battle you skip to the 89th. A title card explans how the party fought through the previous 63 levels.
- Similar to the above example, Super Paper Mario also subverts this with an area where it appears you will have to fight 100 Sammer Guys in a row to get the Pure Heart. Then Mimi shows up around number 25, and stalls you with a boss fight. After that, the remaining Sammer Guys will immediately surrender so you can get to the Pure Heart (with explainations ranging from, "While I maintain that we should fight to preserve our honor, I will respectfully back down and allow you to obtain the Pure Heart." at the beginning to "Just go!!" at the end) and then THE ENTIRE WORLD IS DESTROYED. You still survive though (somehow).
- In Tales of the Abyss, there are a few seciton(s) where you have to basically go across the world. However, this couples with Anti-Frustration Features - as the game asks "Would you like to immediately travel to ____?"
- Crimzon Clover has a cutscene of the player ship taking off in Stage 1 that is at first unskippable, but a very cheap purchase in the shop (as in, playing the first stage all the way will generate enough credits) allows you to skip it with a button press.
Non-Video Game Examples