"Medicine became obsolete in the year 2004, when doctors noticed that hiding behind a wall caused human health to regenerate to 100%."
You remember when you'd get a stitch in PE and the teacher would tell you to walk it off, even though that only made it worse? Now imagine him saying that after you've taken five bullets to the chest. Then imagine it working
That's the technique that a number of First-Person Shooter
games since the 2000s use for restoring health; if a player finds himself nearing death, all he has to do is go hide somewhere or dodge attacks until health regeneration kicks in. It's still one of the Acceptable Breaks from Reality
, especially in shooters which encourage slower pace, since the character recovering health — even at an unusually fast rate — is only slightly less absurd than him instantly healing by simply touching medikits
and implausibly healthy beefburgers
. It also has the advantage of avoiding Unwinnable
situations where the player literally has no chance to get through the level because he's run out of both ammunition and healing items, but tends to invoke It's Easy, so It Sucks
in the process. On the other hand Fake Balance
could also come up, where in theory you can regenerate from damage but in practice you get mowed down by a wall of lead any time you even dream of poking your head out of cover.
Instead of making the game about conserving the resources of the level (or game
) as a whole, the player has to mostly worry about surviving individual encounters. Setpiece shootouts become the order of the day, as does searching for and using cover
which is said to lead to a glorified game of whack a mole; pop up and kill a target, pop under cover and regenerate, repeat until you win. Regenerating health is the most common in shooters which fall near the middle of the Fackler Scale of FPS Realism
Many of these games still use healing items to provide instant energy boosts during nasty confrontations, and some will vary the method of regeneration, by only allowing the player to regain health in specific areas, or by crouching or doing some other action. Sometimes the player can only regenerate a small amount of health, with medikits needed to top it off. Alternatively, the player may have a standard energy bar, but with a replenishing energy shield over the top - or have automatically replenishing health, but with a standard bar representing degrading body armour. The basic principle is ultimately the same though.
A rare variant has health divided into a number of 'blocks'. If a block is not completely depleted it will regenerate, but depleted blocks do not refill without outside assistance.
This trope largely originates from the 1980's, with the Fighting Game Punch-Out!!
and Action RPG Hydlide
being Ur Examples
, and Ys
being a Trope Maker
, decades before Halo
introduced this mechanic to the First-Person Shooter
If this is actually a dramatic ability and not just a gameplay mechanic, then it's a Healing Factor
A Sister Trope
to Gradual Regeneration
, Regenerating Shield, Static Health
, Regenerating Mana
. Compare/contrast Resting Recovery
open/close all folders
- Lugaru: The Rabbit's Foot has a system where blunt trauma gradually fades away for the most part, but being slashed or stabbed causes permanent damage. All damage is healed between levels.
- Mafia II made use of the partial regeneration mechanic, which calls for eating or drinking in order for Vito to fully heal when he takes significant damage, either from sustaining too much gunshots or vehicle-related injuries. While this made the game a tad easier than the original game (in fact, Joe Barbaro jokingly broke the Fourth Wall for indirectly referring to the health system in Chapter 5), it still won't keep the player from getting killed instantly in a gunfight without generous use of the cover system, especially on hard difficulty.
- Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword does this partially. When you're hit, part of the health lost can be recovered at the end of the battle.
- One of the main complaints about the game X2 - Wolverine's Revenge was that you had to spend quite a bit of time hiding and waiting for Wolverine's Healing Factor to kick in. Several other X-Men games (including X-Men 2: Clone Wars) have similar strategies for playing as Wolverine.
- In Arkistas Ring, the eponymous ring, recieved on a New Game+, does this. You're gonna need it in the higher loops.
- In Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, one of the spells allows you to heal gradually, but you have to stand still for it to work. This costs quite a bit of MP, but you recover MP gradually too—more with a higher Intelligence stat.
- The Time Heal move from Curse of Darkness also allows you to heal some of Hector's health gradually. You do get to run around while using it, though.
- Monkey, the protagonist of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, has one of these in the form of a deflector shield built into his gauntlets. He can also buy an upgrade that increases the regeneration rate of his shields, as well as an upgrade that actually regenerates his health. The latter can become invaluable during some of the trap-intensive sequences.
- Exile (not that one) had it back in the 1980s. You still don't have a whole lot of it and many enemies will deplete it quickly, but at least you just get teleported back to your last teleporter marker (and lose a lot of points) instead of dying.
- Ico from Ico doesn't have a health bar but does have regenerating health confirmed in the novel which explains that Yorda "gives" him health when they're holding hands.
- This happens in inFamous if you wait long enough but its easier just to find something electrical and drain it as doing so restores health also.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Metroid: Other M has regenerating health and missiles by using the Concentration technique, which can be interrupted by attacks. You can restore missiles at any time, but to recover energy, your health has to be below a certain threshold (critical status mostly), and that takes longer than regaining missiles. Reserve Tanks allow you to recover more energy and at a higher threshold. This mechanic is vital, since you cannot regain health or ammo unless you use a save station.
- Metroid Prime 2 has certain safe zones in Dark Ether. Not only would they protect you from the corrosive effects of Dark Ether's atmosphere but they also caused your energy tank to slowly recharge which made them useful, even after getting the Light Suit which was immune to corrosive effects.
- Very noticeable in Mirror's Edge: you can take an awful lot of machine-gun fire as long as you have somewhere to run after. Hiding behind something works too, of course.
- Wander in Shadow of the Colossus has no health pickups to restore his lost strength, so he simply has to wait a few minutes for his injuries to heal. Yes, even though said injuries are usually inflicted by falling off enormous colossi several dozen stories tall. Justified because he has a magical sword.
- Tomb Raider Underworld is the first game in the Tomb Raider series where health packs aren't necessary, as Lara regains her health over time.
- Uncharted: Drake's Fortune relies upon this type of healing method. As Nathan Drake takes damage, the graphics slowly begin to lose saturation, and in order to recover his health he must take cover. Word of God says that it isn't actually his health, but his luck-only the last bullet that hits you when your luck depletes actually counts for the kill. In other words, if you die, it is not because you were riddled with lead, but because one single bullet managed to get you when you ran out of luck.
- The Matrix: Path of Neo if you can't find or already used a health-pack, just stand or walk around and Neo heals right up.
- The Ur Example of the Regenerating Health mechanic was the 1984 Action RPG Hydlide, where health and magic slowly regenerate when standing still.
- Ys is a Trope Maker of this mechanic. In Ys I and II, your HP regenerates when you stand in place outdoors or in cleared Boss Rooms. Once you get the Heal Ring (or the Cape of Holy Spirit in II), you can regenerate health in dungeons as well. Most of the later games also have some type of HP-regenerating item (which sometimes consumes MP).
- In Landstalker the pretty useful healing boots do this, allowing a player with enough patience to avoid paying for inns.
- In the Monster Hunter series, half of the health you lose from hits turns red instead of disappearing. If you can keep from getting hit again, the red portion will regenerate, but no more than that. Of course, potions will be necessary for any consequential amount of healing.
- Scratch Damage (inflicted by all enemies when you have Hero Points left, inflicted by the player characters with machine guns) in Resonance of Fate heals automatically, even during combat, especially during Invincible Action (AKA Hero Actions). Direct Damage (inflicted by poison, regular enemy attacks when in Condition Critical, or the players using grenades or pistols), however, is permanent unless you rest or use a Perfect Aid - it also makes Scratch Damage permanent.
- In Sword of Vermilion, the tricky to find Crimson Armor heals you 8 HP per step taken, but is otherwise rather weak, so its usefulness is debatable.
- In Faria, your health will constantly but slowly regenerate in action sequences once you get the Ring.
- Xenoblade Chronicles slowly regenerates health during battle and regenerates faster after battle. Health-restoring items do not exist because they are unnecessary.
Beat 'em Up
Eastern Role Playing Games
- The Breath of Fire series has armor and items that grand this property: the Life Armor and the Love Bracelet/Cupid's Lyre heal the wearer 1 HP per step taken.
- In Dragon Quest I, you can get a special armor that heals you every time you make a step.
- A recurring ability in Final Fantasy when a certain armor or accessory is equipped, HP or MP is recovered by walking. Also the regen spell which has a regenerating effect when used in battle.
- In Final Fantasy XII, hit points don't regenerate when you run around, but mana points do, so you can cast cure spells on your whole party, then run around until your mana fully refills, before moving to the next screen. Also when combined with other passive abilities that restore your MP (for example, damaging enemies or taking damage), you can regain MP fairly quickly. Areas heavy with Mist will regenerate your MP faster as you run around.
- In Lagoon, Nasir's health regenerates in dungeons as well as in the overworld, depending on how many enemies are around.
- The Medabots game for the GBA, Medabots AX (both versions) had a variant of this: while not regenerating health, standing still for a while triggered an Idle Animation that charged your robot's Medaforce move faster. A whole lot faster.
- In Phantasy Star IV robots (that is, Demi and Wren) regenerate health as they walk around, to compensate for the fact that most healing magic does not work on them.
- In Vagrant Story you regenerate health and lose risk (which makes you more vulnerable but also gives you more attack power) continuously when outside of combat.
- The ability Regenerator in Pokémon allows some health to be regained if the Pokemon is switched out, then returned to the field.
- The Capcom Versus Whatever series has a small part of a character's health bar turn red when the a character takes damage. The red section can be recovered if the character tags out for someone else. A character who comes in as a support character (as opposed to tagging out) has all damage they take turn red instead of deplete, but it takes a long time to recover. Also, when a character tags in, any red health instantly depletes and can't be recovered.
- Punch-Out!!, released in early 1984, is the Ur Example. After a boxer gets knocked down and gets up again, his health generates.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny introduced a variant of this to the Nanoha fighting games. When dealing magical damage to an opponent such as a projectile, some of the damaged part of their life bar will turn to yellow instead of disappearing completely. If you fail to continue damaging them, this yellow life bar will slowly regenerate back to green, giving extra incentive to players to be very good at blocking and/or dodging (to take advantage of the regenerating health since there's no cover) and/or to be very good at making their attacks hit constantly (to stop their opponent from making too much use of it).
First Person Shooter
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2 adds regenerating health to the series, though it occurs much faster in singleplayer. In multiplayer, it happens very slowly, so as to not obsolete the medic class. Hardcore mode removes the regenerating health all together.
- Battlefield 3
- Both players and vehicles have it; however, like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, it takes a while to kick in, it's nowhere near fast enough to protect a player from sustained damage, and there are ways for attackers prevent it:
- If shots are fired close enough to a player (i.e. an almost-headshot from a sniper rifle or a long burst from a machine gun), the player is considered "suppressed" — the screen goes blurry, accuracy goes down, and normal health regeneration does not occur, although an Assault player's medkit (immediate health regeneration for teammates within range of the medkit) will work normally on the suppressed player.
- A vehicle at half-health is considered "disabled," whereupon they catch on fire and health will actually bleed out unless the vehicle is repaired by an Engineer, or (for aircraft) the Extinguisher is used (this ability immediately restores the aircraft to 53% health, putting it above the disabling threshold; however if a land Vehicle is disabled it needs to be repaired to full health otherwise it is still classed as disabled and will keep bleeding health.
- Battlefield 4 handles health similarly to BF3, with the exception that in the campaign the time for it to kick in is reduced, and once it's started up it goes at lightning speed.
- Certain shields and class perks in Borderlands can regenerate your health since you can't do it by natural means.
- In the sequel, a few of the classes can get skills that grant this. The Gunzerker's Brawn tree in particular is dedicated to skills that give massive health regeneration, turning him into a "unstoppable tank made of rage and meat".
- Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway includes a variant of this. In that game, the screen goes more red when you're exposed to fire, with the red reflecting your risk of actually getting shot. If you stay without cover for too long, you die quite quickly if it's dark red (even just peeking briefly out of cover). The thing here is that you more or less die from one shot, not that he can walk off the damage. But the mechanic is slightly similar.It's also possible to suddenly keel over out of apparently nowhere because an enemy got a lucky shot/grenade off. The squadmates generally start yelling about how lucky you are and to get in cover when your screen starts going red.
- The Call of Duty series starting from the second game do this, with a red outline on the screen that gradually grows more insistent the more damage the player takes. If you take a lot of damage it can be almost impossible to see anything, which tends to just make you die that much faster.
- On Veteran difficulty, they can practically insta-kill you before you even see or hear them. This turns enemies into Demonic Spiders in many situations, particularly where they flank, snipe, or grenade you (which sometimes explodes before you can react). Thank God for ample checkpoints.
- Similar things occur with Soldier Of Fortune: Payback.
- The third-to-last mission, "Rebirth," in Black Ops has a portion where damage doesn't heal, as you're wearing a hazmat suit and the enemy dropped Nova 6 nerve gas all over the combat area. If you take too much cumulative damage, your suit is compromised and the Nova 6 kills you. An achievement/trophy requires the player to successfully clear the entire portion while the gas mask is worn without dying.
- The aspect becomes ludicrous in multiplayer of Modern Warfare 2 and later, where you can take ten rounds from a 7.62mm light machine gun to the stomach over the course of about forty-five seconds and walk away with no real damage, but die instantly when a thrown knife or a small steel hatchet hits your foot.
- Condemned: Criminal Origins handles this the same as F.E.A.R. below: you only regenerate a tiny bit of health once it's below a certain (very low) threshold. Bloodshot switches to a partial-regenerating system, where the health bar is divided into three blocks (with a fourth as an upgrade available depending on how well you complete a certain level), and a block that is depleted requires a medkit before it will regenerate.
- The Conduit, after Mission 3 when you first get the high-tech alien armor shown on the front cover of the game. Before that, all you're equipped with is a standard Secret Service suit and tie, and you're dependent on picking up medikits for health.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution and its companion game, Deus Ex: The Fall: The developers opted to put this in, instead of the health packs like in Deus Ex and Invisible War. The regen system is relatively slow, and even on normal mode will take about a minute to fully regenerate health. Medpacks still exist, but they are more for increasing health when you don't have time to wait for your health to regenerate.
- A rare inversion occurs in Doom 3 on Nightmare difficulty, where the player's health constanly drains at a rate of five HP every five seconds, bottoming out at 25 HP.
- This was one of the more controversial features in Duke Nukem Forever, since regenerated health implies hiding to heal up, and hiding isn't Duke's style. Of course, since the health bar is labeled as Duke's ego, the player can make it regenerate faster by killing enemies or permanently boost it by engaging in diversions like bench-pressing, urinating, and ogling strippers.
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay used a partial health regeneration system. Health was divided up into "blocks". Your health would regenerate only up to the current block. Once a block was completely depleted, the only way to restore it was to go to a health station.
- Justified in Far Cry: Instincts, in that Jack Carver is a biochemically altered superhuman who regenerates most wounds very quickly. The rate of healing is proportional to the amount of adrenaline he has, however; if he's overusing his Feral Attack, Feral Run, or Feral Vision abilities, he's stuck with health that slowly creeps back up, while if his adrenaline is full, he can hide behind cover in a firefight and be fully healed in seconds.
- Far Cry 2, 3, Blood Dragon, and 4 go for a segmented health bar, where segments will regenerate on their own until they're emptied, at which point you have to use a healing syrette to recover it. At the last segment, your health will begin bleeding out on its own, where you will have to use another syrette, or, if you have none, perform an in-field healing action to recover up to two segments. The third game onward also let you upgrade how many segments of the health bar are recovered in this case.
- In F.E.A.R., your health regenerates, but only up to about 25 health (which is only enough to survive 1 bullet, at most). You can use medkits to regain 50 health, and you can carry up to 10 medkits at a time. In the sequel, this was changed - you could only carry 3 medkits, but they restored full health, and your natural regeneration when not getting shot is up to about 40% of your health. But it's played straight in the third game, where your health regenerates to 100% and no health meter is displayed at all (but you do get veiny red ambiance on the edges of the screen) outside of the powered armors. It regenerates pretty fast, too, even before you achieve character ranks to heal faster.
- Frontlines Fuel Of War has this in much the same way as the Call of Duty games, as taking hits made the screen fade red, and even included your soldier breathing heavily with an audible heartbeat at high damage levels. You could simply find cover and be back to normal in a matter of seconds even then.
- The GoldenEye Wii remake features regenerating health, but in a callback to the original, "007 Classic" difficulty gives you a health meter and armor pickups to stay alive.
- A variation of regenerating health occurs in Half-Life 2 and Episodes 1 and 2 were the NPCs Alyx Vance, Father Grigori and Barney Calhoun have regenerating health instead of the main player Gordon Freeman.
- Halo: Combat Evolved used regenerating shields with a limited health bar beneath; Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 just has the player regenerate both health and shields while not being hit (though no 'health bar' is shown, you can still take quite a bit of punishment without the shield before you actually die), via automated biofoam injectors. Critical Existence Failure is still in full effect despite it.
- In 3, the first level is titled 'Walk It Off', in reference to Master Chief walking off falling two kilometres from a crashing spaceship. Still upset about that stitch?
- Surprisingly, Halo 3: ODST rolls back to the original health system in this regard. Just replace "Shield" with "Stamina". This roll back is justified, as you're not playing as a Super Soldier in this game. Your stamina protecting you just as well as a Spartan's Powered Armor and Deflector Shields...not so justified.
- Halo: Reach (which is set before Combat Evolved and the aforementioned auto biofoam injectors) returns to the health pack system. It still includes some limited health regeneration, but only up to the nearest third of the lifebar. Unless you're playing as an Elite in multiplayer, in which case this trope is played straight with their health, albeit at a much slower pace than most examples.
- A mutation mode in Left 4 Dead 2 called "Healing Gnome" uses this trope. There are no healing items at all; the only way to recover is to hold the gnome from Dark Carnival.
- Much like the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. example, Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light downplay the trope: Artyom's health regenerates painfully slowly, enough that a quick tactical retreat isn't enough to recover from grievous wounds. You will have to use your medical syrettes if you get seriously hurt in a fight that isn't about to end.
- It's Older Than They Think. In the Atari ST game MIDI Maze, released later on Super NES and Game Boy as Faceball 2000, each happy-face character regains one hit point if not attacked for a few seconds. This was released in 1987, long before the formation of Bungie Inc., let alone the realization of Halo.
- Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath had an odd healing mechanic. The Stranger could stand still and shake all the bullets, knives, and arrows out of his body, healing him, so long as he had "stamina." Stamina is used for nothing else and regenerates automatically.
- Pariah has health separated into blocks, which will automatically heal if not fully depleted.
- Payday The Heist uses a similar form of limited regenerating health. Your character portrait has a white outline that is easily depleted with a few bullets or one sniper shot, but regenerates quickly, sort of like a really weak Halo shield; this is supposed to represent your armor. There is also a green background to said portrait that represents your actual health and will not regenerate unless a health kit is used or certain objectives are met, and also changes color from yellow to orange to red to reflect your condition. Additionally, as you take damage to your health, your total amount of armor will also decrease.
- In Perfect Dark Zero, Joanna can sustain either "shock damage", which can be walked off, or non-recovering damage. On the Harder Than Hard Dark Agent difficulty, all damage is non-recoverable. In multiplayer, only a percentage of damage can be recovered; being shot may deal 75% in shock damage that can be healed if you take cover, and 25% in permanent damage that accumulates until you die. The developers' motive for doing it this way is that all players, no matter how good, will eventually die even if only by accumulation of Scratch Damage.
- Portal has a hidden regenerating life meter. Since nobody else had one (especially the turrets, the only harmful things that don't kill you in one hit), it was more a matter of "either the turret kills you or you get past it".
- The Quantum of Solace video game had the "screen turns grey" variant, with a slight variation in that a translucent version of Bond's signature opening gun barrel creeps in.
- Inverted in Rainbow Six, at least in the first three games. Getting shot even once will kill most characters. The absolute hardiest, wearing the heaviest body armor, can survive a single hit, but are strongly impaired until the end of the mission and will have to sit out several more to recover from it. Lockdown and Vegas use this system, however, but with a variation that the amount of punishment you can take before you die and your movement speed are still dependent on the weight of your armor and inversely proportional to each other, and you still take less damage to die than most contemporary FPS protagonists.
- Both Red Steel games use an interesting form of this: in normal gameplay, health regenerates if you don't take damage for a few seconds, but since sword duels are much slower-paced (which would thus make it basically impossible to lose them), damage taken during them does not regenerate until you win.
- Justified in Resistance: Fall of Man. The protagonist is infected with the Chimera virus at the beginning of the game but has an inherent immunity to it, granting him the Chimeras' regenerative abilities but not the "horrible alien mutation" part. It should be noted that this isn't a standard regeneration system, but rather, it's an interesting hybrid of the health bar/medkit system and this; you have a health bar in four equal segments, each representing 25% health. Regeneration is limited to the current segment, and the only way to regenerate a depleted segment is to pick up a medkit-analogue. Furthermore, the regeneration ability is entirely absent in the first mission for plot reasons, resulting in the odd effect of the first mission being one of the toughest.
- Resistance 2 uses the more common system of having you able to fully regenerate health, justified in-universe by the fact that Hale has been infected for longer and is starting to turn into a Chimera. The third game, on the other hand, completely gets rid of this in favor of a more traditional health bar and medkits, again justified in-universe by your character having been cured of the virus before the start of the game.
- Resistance: Burning Skies uses the same regeneration system as R2, though unlike the second game, no in-universe explanation is given for this.
- Downplayed in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. Your health recovers as long as you're not irradiated, bleeding, on fire, etc, but even with Gradual Regeneration artifacts, the rate of recovery is rather slow (it takes several minutes, which is hours in game-time, to recover to full health), so it doesn't really do you any good in firefights.
- Unlike the rest of the classes in Team Fortress 2, the Medic regenerates health automatically, at a rate that varies depending on what items you happen to have equipped and how long it's been since you last took damage. Since he's equipped with a backpack-powered gun that heals teammates, it's reasonable that it would be designed to passively heal its wearer as well. The Sniper can unlock a backpack that lets him regenerate health at the expense of a secondary weapon. There is also a backpack for soldier that provides a passive regen of 2 health per second. There are also many weapons that heal on doing damage.
- Tribes: Vengeance has Gradual Regeneration for anyone equipped with a repair pack, with the rate of regeneration substantially increased and with a limited area-of-effect for a short duration upon activation. Tribes: Ascend instead gives everyone regenerating health by default, but with a massive delay of around 30 seconds or so before it kicks in (without perks to reduce the delay), thus it cannot be relied upon in the same sense as most other current FPSs, and carrying a flag disables regeneration entirely. Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2, by contrast, do not have regenerating health at all; the closest thing to it is repairing yourself with the repair pack. Otherwise, any carried medkits are all the healing you get in the field, and their use is rather limited.
- Water Warfare justifies it—your "damage" is based on how wet your clothes are. As you move, they dry off some.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games
- Battlestar Galactica Online has regen, but it only works outside combat. You need to use Damage Control Packs to Heal Thyself in a fight.
- City of Heroes is somewhat unusual for an MMORPG in that all characters and most-to-all enemies slowly regenerate in combat, even if they don't have any explicit Healing Factor. In addition, characters do have an explicit "Rest" power, intended for very fast recuperation between encounters ("panels")... but it's possible if risky to try this in combat, and certain powersets can make it practical to rest while under direct attack from multiple opponents. This fits in with the rest of the game's design, in particular its intention of avoiding the need for any specific "party balance". In fact, running away from a fight going badly just far enough to be able to rest before pursuers catch up is a pretty effective tactic, even if it's slower than not needing to.
- In Lineage2 this is the method to regenerate health while Level Grinding for most classes and even most combination of classes. This pretty much means the game gets paused every couple minutes.
- In Runescape, eating heals your health, but without food, all you have to do is just wander around and stay out of trouble until you get better... but once your Constitution levels get higher, that's really slow (1 life point per 6 seconds, when the max life points a player can normally have is 990). Also, running saps your energy, but even at 0% energy you can just keep walking, and you'll recover your energy...without resting.
- In The Lord of the Rings Online the health is actually morale, leading to status such as in combat and out of combat regeneration. Although it is always quicker to "heal" using food, potions, of by way of a healer - If you really want to wait for a few minutes you will "heal" just fine on your own.
- Star Trek Online has health regeneration both in and (faster) out of combat (in addition to the — significantly faster regenerating — personal shields). Some of the ways to speed it up suggests 25th-century technology is responsible for this.
- World of Warcraft:
- All players regenerate health depending on their spirit attribute outside of combat (trolls keep 10% in combat), but it's a really minor factor at later levels - so much so that trolls later got an additional racial ability to offset the weakness of it.
- In practice, foods and drinks are this trope, too; they regenerate your food/mana (relatively) slowly, are common, cheap (or free) and requires you to be out of combat.
- Guild Wars 2:
- All players regenerate health outside of battle. Certain attack combinations and skills can also give players a regeneration buff for a short time.
- Final Fantasy XIV has regenerating health at all times. The amount of HP that is restored per tick is very tiny during battle. Outside of battle, you'll recover more HP over time. The Regen status effect adds another layer of regenerating health on top of the naturally occurring one.
- Optional in Banjo-Tooie — upon returning enough pages to Cheato the spell book, he will eventually give you the "HONEYBACK" cheat, which, when turned on, will let you recover health at a steady rate. Alternatively, the Snooze Pack ability, found in Grunty Industries and available whenever Banjo is solo. He jumps into his pack and ''sleeps it off’’.
- Mega Man X:
- X3 had the healing helmet, which let X refill his energy (and tanks) by finding a place to hide. Hooray for those short, empty halls before bosses, huh?
- X8 lets whichever character is on the bench regenerate health, but only up to whatever portion of lost health is shown in red. If you don't switch out while part of your health is red, the red marks will deplete over time. If you switch back to a character while they still have red marks on their health, the red marks will immediately disappear. One of X's body upgrades converts all the damage he takes to red, so that he can regenerate it all if you switch him out.
- Super Mario 64 had what was either by design or a good bad bug: Since the air meter was shared with the Life Meter, you could heal completely by simply finding water over Mario's head and Swimming It Off (except for the chilly water in Snowman's Land). This was removed in Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy (the Updated Re-release also removes this).
- Ducati World Championship has rider health (which lowers if you fall from the bike) recover slowly during the race. Health damage persists across races, and can be healed by the doctor, but it's usually better to simply recover by starting a new race and being careful not to take damage. Bike Damage doesn't regenerate, and requires driving through the pit if you want it repaired.
Real Time Strategy
- Command & Conquer games usually give this ability to any unit that reaches the highest veterancy level. Some units, like the Mammoth Tank, have it by default (though earlier games only allowed it to restore health up to half of the maximum).
- All units in Dawn of War II automatically regenerate health over time, but quite slowly. Being in a base or near a relay beacon rapidly increases health recovery, while some hero wargear can increase the recovery rate of that hero at all times. The Apothecary Hero for the Space Marines also has a passive which speeds up the health recovery of allied units in a certain radius, and the Plague Champion's Nurgle worship has a similar effect.
- Even End War has this to a limited extent. Units have two health bars- shield and hp. The shield bar will refill after a few seconds out of combat. However, the hp bar won't. Also, unit performance degrades as it loses HP.
- Both played straight and inverted in Sudden Strike - units with moderate damage heal roughly 3/4 of their health on their own, but heavily damaged units' health will actually go down to zero unless they're seen to by a repair unit.
- Star Ruler has subsystems that enable regeneration. Crew quarters provide a small amount of regen. Repair bays give you more regen. Nano armor repairs itself, but does nothing for the rest of the spacecraft's systems.
- Many units in Supreme Commander, including the ACU, support commanders, most of the experimentals and many Tech 3 units, regenerate HP automatically.
- In Warcraft II, the Troll Berserkers can acquire the ability to slowly regenerate health.
- In Warcraft 3', Human and Orc units regenerate health, but it happens so slowly that they may as well not have it at all. Troll units (part of the Orc faction) can be upgraded to regenerate faster. Undead units regenerate while standing on Blight, while Night Elves regenerate only at nighttime. All heroes regenerate health much faster than regular units do, but it's still usually too slow to make much of a difference most of the time.
- Universe at War: All hero units are rather tough and regenerate health, which makes them quite handy for tanking damage without having to micromanage repair units to heal them afterwards. The downside is that this might make you place them on the front lines more often where they might die when you're not paying attention.
- Baroque has you heal over time as long as your Stamina isn't empty, but your Stamina also decreases over time. Once you run out of Stamina you'll slowly take damage instead of healing, so relying on this too much will kill you.
- Almost all Roguelike games (like NetHack and Angband) are like this. One exception is Incursion, where you only regain health when you rest for the night, and only if your rest isn't interrupted by an ambush; rest in the Trauma Inn is guaranteed to not be interrupted, but after a while the game forces you to rest in the dungeon instead
- Dungeon Crawl generally follows this trope for both players and monsters, but averts it with Deep Dwarves, who have no natural regeneration at all and must rely on items, Vampires, whose regeneration rate is dependent on their blood level (bloodless ones don't regenerate at all, while full ones regenerate at troll-like rate), and skeletons and zombies on the monster side.
- This is the primary way your team members can regain health in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, if healing items are scarce or not available. Staying in one spot and holding down the B button to use up your turns also works. The process is slow however, and only heals one hit point a turn or step, though this can be augmented with IQ skills. It's also the main reason why the Poison status is threatening, as while the actual damage it deals is minor, it disables your HP regeneration.
- However, in Gates to Infinity, this is averted if the weather isn't Clear and you're not wearing a Weather Band.
- Ace Combat: Assault Horizon brings this mechanic to the series for the first time, including the reddening screen. Some fans were... most displeased. To offset this though, health regenerates very slowly and you can still be taken down with at most three missiles. Playing on Ace difficulty, however, disables regenerating health.
- That being said, the game also introduces Checkpoint System for the first time. While a welcome addition to long missions, damage taken while in Ace Mode do not recover to 100% health, only to how much you had before the checkpoint. This very quickly devolves into Unwinnable by Mistake territory, which is, adding to the entire They Changed It, Now It Sucks view for this game, is like throwing saltwater, sand, and burning ash to a festering, infected wound.
- Independence War has a constant auto-repair system on all ships, but it's rather slow relative to the damage that weapons inflict. This is why you want to finish off ships quickly when attacking (firing LDSi missiles if necessary to prevent them running away, taking a time-out for auto-repair to do its thing, and jumping back in), while trying to keep out of range of attack while defending for as long as possible.
- Battle armor in MechWarrior Living Legends will regenerate health when not exposed to weapons fire for a few seconds, courtesy of their built-in Auto Doc, to compensate for them having tiny amounts of health.
- Star Wars: X-Wing and TIE Fighter have regenerating shields on top of static hull integrity. The shields recharge rather slowly, though the rate can be increased by rerouting power from the engines or cannons.
Stealth Based Games
- Due to its Framing Device, Altaïr in Assassin's Creed has "Synchronization" instead of health, which is basically how well you, the player, are matching Altaïr's actions (presumedly, he never got himself killed, so getting injured reduces your Synchronization). Synchronization can be regained by staying hidden, or completing various goals. It also regenerates much more slowly in combat.
- Justified in Crysis as the nanosuit is what is doing the healing and recharging its energy reserves for the armor.
- Hitman: Absolution has regenerating health, but it only regenerates part of your health. To fully heal you need to use a first aid station.
- Metal Gear:
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater's Naked Snake can wait out his injuries. The rate of health increase is dependent on how high his Stamina Gauge is. If you can't be bothered waiting for his health to rise like that, you can also knock him out with a sedative mushroom or with chloroform - during his sleep, he recovers faster. You can even save, turn the game off, and come back after a day or so has elapsed on your console's clock. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots does the same with the similar Psyche bar, but also adds a Stress gauge that goes up when Snake is in harsh sunlight, bad weather, and/or the middle of a heated battle, which can cause Psyche to deplete even if he's lying down and not moving.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes let you recover health if you're bleeding by crouching or lying on the ground. This only recovers enough health until the bleeding stops on its own; on the plus side, if that bleeding is giving your position away to cautious guards, you can apply a bandage and then crouch or lie down in your hiding spot to recover that little bit of health anyway.
- Eternal Darkness does this with its magic system. Just walk around the room to recover your magic power.
- Since Resident Evil 6 is essentially a hybrid of Call of Duty and Survival Horror, the developers decided to combine regenerating health with a health bar. Your health is divided into 6 segments. As long as you don't lose an entire segment, it will regenerate in time. However, if you lose an entire segment or more, it doesn't regenerate and you need to take a health tablet to restore it.
- Silent Hill 4 provides regeneration for the player while he is in his apartment - but only in the first part of the game.
- In Penumbra, Philip can go from "I can't feel my arms and legs" to "I'm as fit as can be expected" in a matter of minutes, though this isn't fast enough to help much in the middle of combat.
Third Person Shooter
- Crackdown let you walk off damage to both yourself and your shield. Justified in that your character is a cyborg with nanomachines. But enemies also regenerate health, and they do it quicker than you. On normal difficulty, this isn't a big deal, but higher difficulties force you to plan strategies around killing generals before they can hide and heal back to full health.
- Gears of War:
- The game has an opaque, bloody red gear encircling a skull appearing in the middle of the screen; once it becomes fully visible, the player is down and begins bleeding out helplessly (in the sequel, a character can crawl to safety, or if they're holding a grenade, detonate it to take their enemy with them if they're close enough). Being curbstomped or having more ammo put into them will cause their death, while an ally helping them up will let them get back into the action. Regeneration occurs when the player is undamaged for a period.
- When an ally helps a player get up it's generally accompanied by the player being told to walk it off or some equivalent. Failing that the downed player will usually boast about how they are too badass to be killed or proclaim that they are now angry.
- The Getaway allowed characters to regain health by leaning against walls for a breather. This is perhaps the earliest example of regenerating health in the common modern sense.
- Kane and Lynch uses a similar system to Gears of War in single player, down to the use of cover, though if the player is knocked down too many times in too short of a period, they'll OD on the adrenaline shots administered to revive them.
- Kill.Switch, one of the earliest games to use a cover mechanic, also had a regenerating health bar. Taking heavy damage over a short period of time, however, could cause the bar itself to shrink, reducing your maximum health and making you increasingly vulnerable until you found a medkit to restore it to its original length.
- In Lost Planet, Wayne has a device called a "Harmonizer" on his right arm. It takes the Thermal Energy he finds throughout the world and converts the energy for use in his body.
- Red Dead Redemption has regenerating health, but in single-player you can buy medicine that, when used, instantly regenerates all of your health.
- In Second Sight, John Vattic can recover his health by using his psychic regenerative powers. This does have the trade-off of leaving him unable to attack psychically for a while, however.
- The Videogame-movie-tie-in Terminator Salvation has regen health but it won't trigger until you defeat all the enemies in the area. In theory this means that you can't hide behind a rock, you've only got a limited amount of health. However you could just run away from the battle area and recuperate.
- In the original Max Payne, using a shootdodge efficiently allows Max's pain meter (life meter) to fill up entirely without killing him. He then limps for a bit as the meter slowly empties to a certain point, at which point he's fine. Normally, it's pretty cool. Abused, it allows Max to do things like dive into a grenade blast and walk it off. Then it's really cool.
Western Role Playing Games
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has this although it is extremely slow, you can speed it up with potions or food.
- The RPGs have the player and his NPCs slowly regenerating health (and in the latter case stamina) over a surprisingly realistic amount of time, but it takes so long that a more practical route is to hide off to a safe area and use the "fast forward time" menu to... well, fast forward time. If badly wounded, however, this could take a lot longer than you wanted (to the tune of months), especially considering you're on a Timed Mission...
- Additionally, the Fallout games had the First Aid and Doctor skills, which let you gain some experience for healing yourself, and heal crippled limbs without paying a doctor. They could be used a limited number of times per day, however, even without the kits.
- In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, there are several Perks and implants available to more or less slowly regenerate health over time. Both games have the Solar Powered perk, which lets you regenerate health in sunlight, and New Vegas also has the Monocyte Breeder implant, which slowly regenerates health over time (including time spent sleeping and waiting).
- Interplay's Lord of the Rings allowed characters to heal by eating beans or using plants, then walking around until their health got back to normal.
- Mass Effect:
- Mass Effect 1 has regeneration for some character classes. The rest can get it as an armor upgrade.
- Mass Effect 2 gives this standard on all characters, turns it Up to Eleven and combines it with generally reduced health. Particularly at higher difficulty levels, battles mainly consist of popping out of cover for a few shots, almost dying, then ducking back down and waiting a few seconds to completely heal. The in-universe explanation is that your armor has an onboard computer that detects injuries and releases small quantities of medi-gel to compensate.
- Mass Effect 3 uses sectioned health, where sections regenerate unless depleted, at which point must be recovered with medi-gel.
- In Fallout's spiritual ancestor Wasteland, the Medic and Doctor skills only worked on seriously wounded characters. Normal hit point damage could only be healed by waiting, and the game would tell you so.
- SEED: Rise of Darkness... although it's painfully slow and usually easier to use a Trauma Inn anyway.
- In Summoner, the instant you exit back to the world map, whether from a random encounter or a major dungeon area, your health and action points are restored to full, no matter how hurt you were. The only thing it doesn't cure is death. Somewhat justified in that main character Joseph learns at least the basic healing spell pretty much immediately, action point restoration is just a matter of time, and world map travel is assumed to take much longer than it "actually" takes - in theory, everyone could be healed up and all action points regained in the time it takes to take one step on the world map.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
- Justified, as the player is a vampire and thus has supernatural healing powers as standard. However, he can drink blood (from packs or people) for a quick boost and special attacks such as fire or electricity take longer to heal. It should also be noted that in this game, regeneration is painfully slow and barely noticeable, and will only fully heal you from near death if you've got over an hour of time to sit around and do nothing. Unless, of course, you happened to pick up the helpful "mummywrap fetish" item in Andrei's mansion, which makes healing a LOT faster.
- There's also a Dummied Out power which rapidly converts stored blood into health, which at least one of the major fan supplied patch chains restores.
- And finally, completing one sidequest grants you a Tzimisce artifact that collects blood as you kill enemies, which can then be converted into quick health.
Wide Open Sandbox
- A justified variant in Destroy All Humans!, where Crypto is a One-Hit-Point Wonder with a Force Field; if you go about seven seconds without being hit, the shield will regenerate even if completely destroyed.
- While third-party game mods allowed for similar functionality in earlier games, it wasn't until Grand Theft Auto V when Rockstar Games introduced a regenerating health system into the series.
- The Godfather game combines this with the Healing Potion system. There's the olive green part of Aldo's health bar which represents his fixed health, a light green part which can regenerate and turn olive green, as well as a black part which he can't regenerate past. To be honest, though, it doesn't do much against sustained attack. The sequel made it a full regeneration system, but keeps the health potions for when you really need an instant pickup.
- Just Cause 2 has a limited form of regenerating health; it will only regenerate a certain amount of health after Rico stops taking damage. Anything beyond that cannot be healed without a medkit, which instantly raises your health to full. To get an idea of whether or not your health will be fully regenerated, observe how much the green cross indicating the health meter pulsates; the more it does, the closer your limited regeneration is to its limit.
- L.A. Noire plays this straight as an arrow, which can be rather jarring for a game trading mostly on gritty realism. Needless to say, if somebody gets shot during a cutscene they're not going to be able to walk it off.
- Health works this way as long as your "food meter" is nearly full. When the food meter is completely empty, the exact opposite happens.
- Playing on Peaceful difficulty grants you regenerating health at all times. Potions of Regeneration and Golden Apples also grant temporary health regeneration.
- The Enderdragon mob also has this when you fight one. However, this can be stopped by destroying the Ender Crystals, which actually HARMS it.
- Prototype. However, only the lower half of your Life Meter will be regenerated, after which it doesn't regenerate any more. The sequel includes upgrades that let you regenerate to 100%.
- Red Faction II has a restoring health meter, thanks to your character's nanomachines, in addition to health packs that are expended when the meter completely drains. The regenerating health in Red Faction 2 is noticeably slower than in most modern shooter games, and is more for avoiding a Unwinnable situation where the player is stuck in the middle of a level from not having enough health to progress, rather than quick healing in the middle of a firefight.
- The sequel Red Faction Guerrilla took a step backward, with very fast regeneration and no story explanation.
- The Saboteur features this, although with a Modern Warfare-style reddening of the screen. Annoyingly, if you're badly wounded and climb into a vehicle, as long as the vehicle is being hit you will neither recover nor take damage - meaning you have to try and escape the Nazis through the streets of Paris while being completely unable to see where you're going.
- From the same developer, Saints Row has regenerating health, although the player will heal very slowly if they don't complete diversions that increase the rate of healing. And if even that isn't fast enough, the player can also stop fighting for a second to chow down on a cheeseburger or donut and instantly regain at least half their total health.
- Terraria had small red rings that slowly regenerate your HP at a point a second that stacked with one another, and was one of the only ways to regenerate your health without consuming an item, dying, or using a nurse. However as of a recent (as in not many updates ago) now has health that slowly regenerates after not taking any hits for so long, and gradually increases to about 3-4 HP points a second, and the bands of regeneration are somewhat obsolete, but still in the game and used by some for that little extra boost.
- Many mods for the X-Universe series (which normally uses Regenerating Shields, Static Health) allow ships to regenerate their hull on the fly. One mod makes Boron ships capable of autonomous regeneration, another allows you to put your marines (normally used for boarding) to work mending the hull. Xtended has the R6 ship system, which can enable automatic repairs on corvettes and capital ships, at the cost of draining your credits while repairs are in progress.
Non-Video Game Examples
- Discussed in Cracked:
- In Warhammer40000
- The tabletop game features several rules that allow a model to roll dice and attempt to recover lost wounds (those that have wounds to spare anyway). The Tyranids are renown for having this as an optional trait for most of their larger units.
- Dungeons & Dragons fourth edition introduced 'healing surges' which followed the spirit of this trope. Unlike previous editions where player's were dependent on finding healing potions or having someone play a Cleric, players could instead while out of combat take a short rest to regain a certain number of lost hit points for a limited amount of times each day. The Gamma World spin-off took it even further with players automatically regaining their max health as long as they were alive after a combat encounter.
- Some positioning or camera work combined with with a medical adhesives (glue) can lend the appearance of this trope in professional wrestling.(Wasn't he cut by the steps five minutes ago?) To think they used to employ tricks to make people bleed more, because blood was not coming out enough. Like many other secrets, this was given away by Vince McMahon, who had the adhesive applied in plain view during his "WWE INC" era (AKA the rated PG era).
- A certain species of jellyfish, namely Turritopsis dohrnii, is known to be able to regenerate in adverse conditions. Planarian flatworms are just as capable of doing so, too.
- Cytanian Chronicles: Some genetically-enhanced hunters in this setting have regenerating health, but only when they are walking/running. Takes the "Walk it off" to a whole new level.