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Cutting The Knot / Video Games

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Cutting the Knot in video games.


  • Traps show up throughout Betrayal at Krondor. Passing through hostile areas will do a lethally massive amount of damage, forcing one to figure out a means of disabling or circumventing them. Or one can cast a shield spell, cheap and available in the first chapter, that absorbs all damage for a few turns and walk right through the hostile traps instead. The shield option usually is quicker even if you know how to disable the trap.
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  • One of these appears as an Anti-Frustration Feature in Batman: Arkham Knight. Batman has to get the code to a door by watching a Joker infectee open it through a mirror. If the player still hasn't figured out the code after a few tries, Batman just punches the console, and the door opens automatically.
  • In Portal 2, there is a point in which Wheatley must "hack" open a door. He tells you to turn around, then smashes the window, allowing Chell to portal herself into there. He does the same thing when attempting a "manual override" on a wall.
  • In Tales of Eternia, the party encounters a gate that will not open unless they figure out how to open it from a riddle. As the party laments that The Smart Guy stayed behind, Max simply rams it open.
  • At the end of Brog's segment of Zork: Grand Inquisitor, he is confronted with a complicated puzzle guarding the Skull of Yoruk. After making a valiant effort to solve the puzzle, the solution presents itself in the form of smashing the cage open with a wooden plank.
    • Also, when stuck on the tech support hotline from hell (literally), you can copy down and work through the complicated set of rules to figure out which buttons to press... or just cast the "Simplify complex directions" spell left over from a previous puzzle.
  • In Enchanter, there is a jeweled egg with all the Gordian handles and buttons needed to open it. There are a few ways to open it, and besides the time-consuming way, you either break the egg to get a shredded scroll, or you can use the REZROV spell on the egg... only for the egg to open and reveal a shredded scroll anyway (don't worry, it just needs repairing).
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    • Later on, you come across a jeweled box with the MELBOR protection spell, bound shut by magical coils of thin Gordian rope that prevent the box from opening (and not even REZROV can open it). You only need a knife to cut the rope, and the only way to obtain the knife is by Human Sacrifice... provided that you have the right kind of spell that can help you cheat death, of course.
  • In Second Sight at the end of the game, the Big Bad hides behind bullet/psi-proof glass. Too bad the frame wasn't psi-proof as well.
  • The fictional Book of Cataclysms from Syndicate Wars featured this passage:
    "When tact is required, use brute force. When force is required, use greater force. When the greatest force is required, use your head. Surprise is everything."
  • From Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, we get this exchange when the duo comes across an upgraded wrench in a glass container:
    Clank: It says, "In case of emergency, break glass with wrench."
    (Ratchet pulls back his wrench to smash the glass)
    Clank: Hold on. (looks at a smaller glass case with a rock inside) This one says, "Use rock to break glass to get wrench to break glass to get rock." Oooh! I love logic puzzles! Let's see, if you break the glass with the-
    *SMASH*
    Ratchet: (has broken open the wrench's case with his own wrench) Solved it!
    (victory music plays)
    • In the same game, while not a real puzzle, Planet Joba contains multiple doors with switches wired to them, but the doors often have enemies behind them, and a smart player will have to prepare themselves with an appropriate weapon so that they can find a switch and react in time in order to defeat the resulting attacking enemies. An even smarter player will just hop on a nearby turret, blast open the door, and then blast the enemies inside.
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  • At the climax of Guilty Gear 2: Overture, Sol has to analyze and deactivate the Key before it can unlock the Cube while his party tries to hold off Valentine. After he accomplishes this, he reveals that even though his analysis was going well, he got bored and decided to just break the Key instead (this also has the beneficial effect of making it so that the same Key can never be used again).
  • Disgaea:
    • You can defeat an enemy Prinny by either stuffing him with physical and magical attacks...or you can simply throw him, causing him to explode upon landing and damaging any adjacent units, and if any other Prinnies are caught up in the blast, they'll explode too. It doesn't matter if it's a Level 1 Prinny with two-digit HP or a Level 9999 Prinny with HP that would not fit on a conventional calculator, a tossed Prinny is a gone Prinny. Downplayed, however, in that you get no reward for killing a Prinny and his comrades in this fashion.
    • This is Adell's modus operandi in Disgaea 2. He even lampshades it at one point by solving a complex geopuzzle in no time when he explains that it's not that he can't think, it's that it's usually faster to just beat your problems into submission.
  • In Mass Effect, a sidequest has you trying to stop a rogue AI from self-destructing. You can use your computer skills to disable the AI before the self-destruct finishes warming up...or you can just shoot it a few times. Granted, the brute force approach is the least beneficial option, as while it's guaranteed to work, it deprives you of the large sum of credits the AI had stored in its system.
    • At one point in the sequel, a drell named Kolyat takes a turian hostage at gunpoint. You don't want to kill Kolyat because he's the son of one of your squadmates, and you certainly don't want Kolyat to kill the hostage because preventing him from becoming a murderer like his father was the whole point of the mission in the first place. Renegade Shepard just shoots the hostage him/herself. Granted, the hostage really deserved it.
    Kolyat: All of you, back off! I'll kill him!
    Shepard: No you won't. (BANG) Hostages only work when your enemy cares if they live.
    Thane: Interesting solution.
    Shepard: Now your son can't kill him.
  • Level 18 of Chip's Challenge: You can push water-removing blocks into the moat to build a bridge, or... you can walk all the way around the level to the flippers.
  • Kreia of the second Knights of the Old Republic game has been Jedi and Sith, historian, exile, master, archivist, and teacher. She has seen the constant pattern of the two major Force schools squbble endlessly, hunt down each other to near-extinction, only to have a handful of survivors come roaring back to repeat the Cycle of Revenge. Her idea the stop this nonsense? Kill the Force entirely!
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell:
    • In the ending of Pandora Tomorrow Sam encounters a Time Bomb that will spread smallpox throughout the ventilation system of Los Angeles International Airport when it goes off, and he doesn't have the time to defuse it or get it far enough away from people to not endanger lives. He ultimately just takes it and leaves it in the main terminal building, knowing the bomb squad will show up with the proper gear and training to contain it for him (which they do).
    • In Chaos Theory and Double Agent, locks can either be slowly but quietly unlocked, or Sam can cut through them with his blade. This makes a lot of noise, and enemies are smart enough to know when doors have been tampered with.
    • Also in Chaos Theory, in the "Displace" level, Sam has to get codes from a laptop by accessing it wirelessly. This would require Sam to stalk the men carrying the laptop. Or he could just use his gadgets to take them down by force.
      Sam: Finesse is for the young and the cocky.
  • This is pretty much the defining characteristic of Johnny Gat from Saints Row. Presented with any intelligent, well-worked-out plan, his own suggestion is invariably to simply kill everyone in the general vicinity until the problem goes away. This isn't for ease or effectiveness (although it almost always is effective); he just loves to kill people.
  • Devil May Cry: Dante, while trying to return to town in his section of the fourth game, comes across a board game/puzzle that Nero had to stay and waste his time with previously in the Cathedral's basement. A statue of Dante and the die appear prompting him to play through with it to leave the room. Deciding not to waste his time while poison gas slips through the room, Dante slices the die in two, ending (and somehow winning) the game prematurely.
  • In the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Old World Blues, a challenge/experiment involves securing a document without being spotted by patrolling robots. One solution is to destroy the robots, then start the test. Likewise, a later part of the test involves getting past tripwires in the same test. You can disable those before (or during) the test then walk right through them. The latter two portions of the test can't be cheated, though. For extended knot cutting, if you have a high enough lockpick skill, you can bypass the test entirely, and just get in the final room through the back stairs. Or get to the observation deck above, blast the force field with upgraded Sonic Emitter and drop in the final room below.
    • The Honest Hearts DLC allowed you to do this, although it was not necessarily easier than the alternative, just quicker (and it is morally problematic except possibly for Legion-aligned Couriers to do it deliberately): instead of helping out Daniel and Joshua in exchange for a map of the way back to the Mojave, just kill one of them (or a friendly tribal) and steal the map. You lose out on experience and achievements, but it is always an option if you just want to get back to the Mojave quickly. However, it should probably be noted that Joshua Graham not only has a pistol that does as much damage as a sniper rifle with a high chance to crit, but he also has more DT than even the toughest Power Armor (Daniel is easier to deal with, though he's not a complete slouch with a gun).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
      • Early on in the fifth dungeon, you have to deal with ice by aiming stationary cannons with hidden cannonballs at it, carefully avoiding it, and so on. Later on, you can pull out your Ball and Chain and go to town smashing it.
      • The entire gimmick for the Temple of Time is that you have to traverse the temple in order to find a statue, bring it back down to the first level, and position it in the correct place in order to unlock the way to the boss. Going up to retrieve said statue, you have to deal with tedious puzzles involving sliding gates that are controlled by specifically-placed switches. However, once you get the statue, it turns out that it's also equipped with a big honking hammer that you can use to just bash the gates down (along with any other monsters in your path) on the trip back down.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • Shrine puzzles can often be handled in more than one way, not necessarily by tackling the intended challenge. For instance, most fire-based puzzles are intended to be handled with clever use of the bow, but fire arrows and/or a torch completely trivialize them, as does liberal use of Chuchu jelly and metal weapons for electrical puzzles. A lot of switches are meant to be held down by objects hidden in the shrine, but ten apples will do just as well, or you can temporarily lock a pressed switch in place with the Stasis rune. Of course, this kind of experimentation is encouraged, as it doesn't matter how you reach the monk at the end; they praise your resourcefulness, no matter how you get there.
      • The Myahm Agana Shrine features a rather challenging ball-rolling maze similar to the Rollgoal minigame of Twilight Princess, but controlled entirely with the motion controls of the Wii U GamePad or the Switch's control options. Naturally, you can turn the whole maze over by flipping your controller upside-down, and letting the ball roll on the flat underside. That, or tilt the maze so that when the ball respawns, it's dropped into the final stretch rather than the start.
      • Setting foot on Eventide Island starts a challenge where Link is stripped of all his equipment (including materials and food) and pits him against all sorts of monsters, including a Hinox, in a quest to recover three orbs and drop them onto pedestals. You can partially subvert the no-gear part simply by dropping your stuff on your raft you used to get there before you touch the shore, and then pick them up again when the challenge commences. However, upon completing the challenge, whatever you found on the island is lost, including your own equipment that you "scavenged" (although you could just drop them again before you put the last orb in the hole).
  • Done in the Penumbra series, which tends to use a fairly realistic approach to solving puzzles. The most notable example happens early in the game where you need to open a locked chest. You can look for the key...or you can just break it open with your pickaxe.
  • Red Faction was pretty much sold on this premise alone. It boasted a real-time environment damage-modeling system called GeoMod that actually took rocket fights to their logical conclusion, which was completely wasted buildings. It was actually necessary to blow holes in walls with grenades and mines at some points in order to progress. One of the taglines on the back of the box was "Can't find the key? Make your own door." Coming from the world of FPSes where a BFG9000 blast could lay waste to every ounce of organic tissue in a 100x100 room but a series of 10 of them couldn't even put a scratch on a door, a lot of gamers found it refreshing to be able to say "Screw the red key" and blast a hole in the adjoining wall instead.
    • ...and then found themselves feeling ripped off once the game started throwing completely indestructible buildings and doors their way at around halfway through the game.
    • This tactic works pretty well in Red Faction: Guerrilla. Pretty much all buildings are destructible so if you encounter soldiers taking pots shot from a doorway or holed up in a bunker you can eschew FPS convention by approaching the structure from the side and smashing your way in with a sledgehammer. That or drive a truck through it.
    • Relatedly, Battlefield: Bad Company and Battlefield 3 allow this by way of the Frostbite engine, especially in multiplayer; you can either force your way into the building housing an M-COM station, set it to detonate, and keep the other side away until it blows up, or you can shoot at the walls around it with a tank or RPG until the entire building collapses and takes it out.
    • Most FPS clones of Minecraft allow for this, as well. Tired of that sniper constantly killing you and your teammates from a tower you can't take from him? Blow out the floor he's sniping from, or just take down the tower entirely.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, there is a puzzle consisting of two rooms, each with a mixture of fire and ice mephits randomly flying around. Your task is to put all fire mephits in one room and all ice mephits in the other one. You can carefully time openings of the door between the rooms... or you can use an obelisk to kill them all, and then drag their corpses around. You get less XP the brutal way, though.
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • The boss Wrexsoul can be rather annoying to defeat; he possesses a random party member at the start of the fight, and you're intend to kill your characters one by one until he reappears so you can attack him. Or, you can just cast Banish on his minions that he leaves behind. Those minions are supposed to respawn endlessly, but Banish delays their revival script one turn, so if it takes on both of them at once, they die and take a turn longer to revive; the game reads the enemy party as all being dead and you win. Notably, this still works in the Game Boy Advance version of the game; while that version fixed numerous bugs (like Vanish/Doom, and the evade bug), this alternate method of defeating Wrexsoul was left in. As winning the battle in the knot-cutting manner does not give the player loot or experience from the battle (but still allows Cyan to unlock his full potential in Bushido), it's a bit of a trade-off.
    • Number 024. He appears soon after you get magic, and he changes weaknesses at will, giving the idea he's a test of how good you are at magic. The thing is he lacks the same insane physical defense that everything else in that dungeon possesses, so you can just beat the tar out of him with your weapons until he goes down. To make him even weaker, you can demonstrate your understanding of status magic and cast Imp on him leaving him only able to do physical attacks.
    • There is also its Palette Swap, Magic Master. Due to his location, you can only use magic, and you're supposed to use your strongest magic to beat him, and he's also a Barrier Change Boss. Or you can just cast Berserk on him so he can only do physical attacks, which you have any number of ways to neuter to render him entirely incompetent. Also, when he dies he casts Ultima on the party. You're supposed to use Reraise to let him kill you and then automatically revive, or you can use Rasp to drain his MP so he can't cast it. Oh, and if you don't wanna worry about his elemental shifting, don't; by this point your party can easily all have access to Flare, which is non-elemental and out-damages most elemental spells anyway.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: The Children of Etro fanatics in Luxerion hold midnight meetings at the graveyard, with a secret code to be spoken into a ringing telephone outside the gate. They convey this code to their followers via glowing numbers in Etro script painted in four locations across Luxerion, one of which can only be entered at night. Oh, and giving the wrong code has them send out a Pulsian Dreadnought. Lightning (who is learned in Etro script) can hunt down their code and present herself as one of them... or she can insult the fanatics and the goddess they worship, exploit the fact that she's fought Dreadnoughts before, and slip inside before they close the gate.note 
  • In Dungeon Crawl, there are labyrinths that pose a significant threat to under-prepared adventurers. While they feature almost no enemies, the entrance disappears shortly after discovering it, leaving little to no time to prepare for the maze itself. The maze can often be long and elaborate: The autoexplore feature is disabled while you're inside, the game doesn't remember any map tiles for long after you're out of view of them, and the clues to the location of your goal are obscure at best. Worst of all, the maze regularly shifts itself, rearranging and making it that much harder to solve. Finally, while wands of digging do exist, and can be used by a canny player to help reach the goal, they will only have an effect on the weaker rock walls, and not the harder metal and stone walls that compose much of the maze. But it is still possible for a player to cut the knot, with just the right spell: Lee's Rapid Deconstruction can tear down nearly any wall with high enough spell power, allowing you to bypass parts of the maze with a bit of effort.
  • In one mission of SWAT 4, you can choose to enter a building through the back door. However, the door has metal bars on it to prevent its use. Instead of removing the screws, bolts, or whatever held it together, the team simply attaches a hook and rope to a car and the metal bars and have it pulled away from the weak bricks. This is probably Truth in Television given the amount of research and realism the company put into that game.
  • In Minecraft, any block, with the exception of bedrock, can be broken given enough time. This proved troublesome for map makers, because frustrated players would often break through a wall rather than solve a puzzle, so Adventure Mode was added to defy this trope. Of course, it is still possible to change yourself out of adventure mode or use server commands to give yourself TNT, both of these can be stopped with command blocks but then players could teleport to those command blocks and break the redstone wiring (which is breakable even in adventure mode).
    • In Survival, the default game mode, there are temples just sort of lying around in the jungle, with an elaborate series of levers connected to the treasure room. You're supposed to solve a puzzle involving the order in which you pull them, but provided you know how the traps are arranged, and with some care even if you don't, it's much faster to tunnel down to the treasure room and get at the goods. And then break down the traps and steal their materials to make your own.
    • Steve? is an unlockable character in the Nintendo Hard Super Meat Boy and can make most levels extremely easy because he can literally mine through the level to the end.
  • In Magicka, at the end of Chapter Four, you need to enter a barricaded building and are supposed to hold the position while a fuse slowly consumes and finally triggers explosives that blow up the door. Instead of doing that, you can just shoot a fire spell at the explosives and trigger them immediately.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island has Guybrush thrown into the sea tied to an idol. You have ten minutes to escape before Guybrush drowns. There are several sharp objects that could free you just out of reach. The solution: Pick up the idol (which, just moments earlier, you were carrying in your inventory with absolutely no problem) and walk out with it.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution:
    • There's a quest requiring you to sneak into gang territory and identify an item with the side objective (bringing additional XP) of not being seen, which traditionally requires a convoluted path of stealthiness and/or silent knockouts. However, the emphasis is on "seen"; as long as they don't actually see you, nothing prevents you from sniping everything in sight (by that point you're very likely to have either a sniper rifle or a silenced handgun with a laser sight). Or blowing them up with grenades from cover. Or, if it isn't your first playthrough, walking in the building with the loudest, strongest weapon you have, wiping out everyone, and then accepting the quest - nobody to spot you if everyone who could do so is already dead.
    • The Final Boss is shielded by a pane of indestructible glass. The conventional method of defeating them is to use one of several options to lower the glass. However, despite being indestructible, it's still glass and thus transparent, meaning if Jensen is carrying a Laser Rifle, he can simply shoot through the glass and end the fight in less than a minute.
    • In The Missing Link DLC, the player is presented the choice of saving either a credible witness to Belltower's atrocities or dozens of innocent victims from dying by diverting poison gas away from one and towards the other. Savvy players can Take a Third Option by destroying the (well-hidden) pumping mechanism for the gas, saving everyone.
  • In Call of Duty 2, during the Battle of Stalingrad campaign, you get a bunch of Germans barricading themselves in a building. Instead of trying to talk them into surrendering or trying to beat down the door, the commander simply orders you and the others to place charges on the building supports. As the smoke clears, he screams: "That is how you negotiate with fascists, comrades!"
  • PAYDAY The Heist:
    • In the sequel, Bain usually has a "Plan B" for any heist that can be stealthed, which usually involves having their chopper pilot dropping you a thermal drill or some other explosives to breach the door to the safe. There are also several doors that can be blown with C4 or just flat out have their locks shot. You can also either slowly lockpick each and every deposit box...or bring a high powered saw and blaze through them in a matter of seconds. The same goes for mission critical civilians; you can either shout at them to get them to cower and tie them up, move them to a place that can't be seen and then get the item, or you can just shoot them and bag the body (and, in some cases, just flat out shoot them into the water where no one will see their corpses).
  • In Monaco, you ordinarily have two options for getting into a locked room. You can pick the lock, which takes time and is only a temporary solution, or, if the Mole is in your party, you can opt to have him smash a hole through the wall next to the door. Unless you have a Locksmith in your party, this is usually the quickest option.
  • Borderlands 2 invokes this in the "Tiny Tina" DLC. Tina (as the GM of a Dungeons & Dragons-style tabletop game) creates a Rubix Cube type puzzle for the players. You can either attempt to solve it (by pressing the buttons in the reverse order of when they activated when you first enter the room), or you can simply punch the puzzle. Solving the puzzle however unlocks a door where a loot chest is hidden.
  • The Hero of the Quest for Glory series applies this trope liberally, especially as a Fighter. Right in the very first game, a minor subquest easily completed within five minutes of leaving town the first time involves retrieving a ring from a pterosaur nest. You could climb the tree, then slowly walk out on the limb, carefully bend down to collect the ring, then retrace your steps and climb back down. Or just throw a rock or a fireball at the nest and remove the ring from its remains.
    • Locked doors and chests can often be accessed by either picking the lock or casting the Open spell, particularly by characters who take cross-class skills. Or if you're a Fighter (or playing a later game where puzzle solutions are less class-dependent), you can just smash them open.
    • Sometimes you can take this approach, but doing it turns out to be a very dumb idea: It's possible to retrieve the seed from the Spore-Spitting Spirea plants in the first game by hacking apart whichever plant has it. Unfortunately, the dryad you have to give it to in order to learn how to win the game doesn't take kindly to this, and Baleful Polymorphs you into a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • The Elder Scrolls: The recurring in-game book Proper Lock Design talks about this in regards to lock-picking. It recommends using steel locks for maximum security. Anything weaker and the thief will easily be able to smash the lock, while anything stronger is just a waste of money because the thief can always just smash the thing it's locking instead, and in fact would be encouraged to do so if faced with a lock that's Made of Indestructium on a chest or a door that clearly isn't.
  • Violence is usually an option in Harvester. Getting annoyed by the paperboy forcing you at gunpoint to give him your newspaper every morning? Just kill him! Don't feel like going on a lengthy Fetch Quest for an item you need? Just find the person who's carrying it and kill them! Tired of those weird "Temple of the Mystery of X" puzzles in the Lodge? Just kill everyone in the room! Granted, there are limits to this, like having a few important NPCs that are off-limits, and if you don't blackmail the sheriff into giving you a "Get out of Jail Free" Card, you'll get arrested and executed for killing anyone outside the Lodge.
  • The FOEs in the Etrian Odyssey series and Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth are absurdly powerful enemies that halt the player's progress in an assortment of ways in each labyrinth. More often than not, the game suggests alternative, lengthier methods to get around each one. While it's suicidal to do so initially, if your party is strong enough, you can simply ignore sidestepping and just beat the FOEs instead.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features a mission where CJ must quickly gather boxes of explosives, with a time limit indicating when the man at the detonator will set them off. Alternatively, CJ can just kill the man, which makes the timer disappear.
    • In a later mission, as part of CJ's preparation for the Caligula's Palace heist, he needs to obtain a keycard held by a female croupier. The standard approach is to date the croupier and going through the standard and time consuming raising of Relationship Values until she gives him the card...or CJ can just kill her, take the keys to her house and get the card there.
  • The survival horror game Obscure has surprisingly realistic solutions to puzzles. Need to get in this room because you want to advance the story? Break the glass; step right on inside.
  • The Witch's House: The "_______" Ending, which involves waiting around on the first map for an hour; the house and flowers will all disappear on their own. Why? Because Ellen simply waits for Viola (in her body) to die, rather than take the direct approach.
  • An accidental example in the Star Trek Online PVE raid "Azure Nebula Rescue". The procedure presumably intended by the devs is to destroy the Tholian ships before deactivating the tractor beams they're using to hold the Romulan ships. But the way the objectives are coded and the activation points positioned means it's perfectly possible, if somewhat difficult, to just sneak up from the other side and turn off the tractor beams without even aggro'ing the Tholians.
  • One of the trial in City of Heroes was the Cavern of Transcendence. With a 90 minute time limit, a team had to travel into the tunnels under the Hollows, fighting their way through the groups of enemies there, to the door of the Cavern. Once they entered the Cavern, to complete the trial the players would have to simultaneously press 8 buttons scattered around a single, massive, room that was full of monsters between the door and the buttons. The obviously intended method of completing the mission was clearing the room of monsters first. On the other hand, if a team had at least one member with some kind of stealth capability (including superspeed) and Recall (able to teleport a teammate to your location), the preferred method of players who wanted the award the easy way was to wait at the tunnel's entrance for their stealthy teleporters to zip through the tunnels to the Cavern door, Recall the rest of the team to the door, then enter the Cavern. Then the stealth teleporters would go to each button and bring one teammate there, not aggro'ing any monsters, and then the buttons would be pressed. Depending on the number of teleporters on a team, you could complete the entire Trial in about five minutes and never enter combat once.
  • In Mercenaries there are several missions where the player character can employ stealth tactics to sneak into enemy compounds in order to accomplish objectives. Or you can run over all the defenses with a tank. Or call in an airstrike to level the place. In this game, Stuff Blowing Up is always a viable solution.
  • In Watch_Dogs, the climactic showdown between Aiden Pearce and Lucky Quinn has Lucky Quinn standing behind a completely bullet-proof glass wall. Not even the most powerful sniper-rifle in the game, the "Destroyer", can pierce the glass, making it seem as if Lucky Quinn can't be killed. For anyone who's played the game up to that point, the solution is actually fairly obvious: Hack Lucky Quinn's pacemaker!
  • In the Sith Inquisitor storyline of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Xalek's way of passing the final exam of the Sith Academy is to simply let his rival get the tablet he's supposed to be looking for, beat him to death and then take the tablet for himself. The Overseer is absolutely furious at this, since aside from the fact that open murder is forbidden he's not even trying to be sneaky about it. Regardless of your actual opinions on the matter, he's now your new Apprentice.
  • In Dishonored we're given the opportunity to practice this method. Case in point: You can sneakily teleport on the rooftops, through open windows, stealthily avoid the guards, and make your way to the target, then perform a short sidequest involving a plan that will leave that individual to a fate worse than death... or you can just bang your weapon against a wall, gain the attention of all the guards nearby, and then murder every last person in your way until you reach your target, kill him, and murder your way out again. On any difficulty but hard, this is relatively simple, given how common ammunition is, how common and effective healing potions are, how deadly your sword is, and how deadly several of your powers are. Once everyone in any given area is dead, you can search every nook and cranny for loot and items that you need, with minimal interruption. Since there are only three endings, and two of them are reached by a high chaos playthrough, this method is pretty effective if all you plan on doing is beating the game. Of course, unless you've invested in the full power of the Time Stop ability, you're in for a serious Downer Ending.
    • Dishonored 2 gives us the Dust District, in which you're tasked with breaking into a mansion secured with a supposedly unsolvable puzzle lock. In order to learn the solution to the lock, you have to get involved in the complicated politics in the Dust District, either taking sides in an ongoing gang war or playing both sides against each other. But in reality, the puzzle is merely difficult, not actually unsolveable, and there's nothing stopping you from solving the puzzle, waltzing straight in, and skipping 90% of the level.
  • Dawn of the Dragons has an instance where You and your the party are traversing a dungeon laden with traps, one of which is a corridor rigged with a number of spears shooting from the walls at set intervals. You spend time studying the trap, trying to work out its pattern. Roland simply cuts the spears down and walks through.
  • In Flashback, a scenario has Conrad blowing up the current level you're on and you have to escape in time before it goes off with Conrad. Normally you're supposed to run like crazy to the escape point. However, you also have a portable teleporter with you. So instead, you could just throw the teleport beacon near the exit, continue on like normal, set the charges, and teleport.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Noah of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is a Barrier Change Puzzle Boss which also reflects physical attacks and resists almighty ones, forcing a player to play by his rules. However, a combination of Freikugelnote  and Piercenote  allows the player to skip all that tedium and defeat him in about half the number of turns.
    • Like its predecessors, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse's battle system is all about exploiting enemy weaknesses to do as much damage as possible, and reap extra turns from them so you can continue damaging them. Or, just go do either of the "neutral" routes, unlock Nanashi's Awakened Power which makes all of his attacks bypass resistances (and boost his damage output, just to add insult to injury), and blast everything with Charge- and Concentrate-buffed endgame attacks of your choice.
  • In keeping with the phantom thief theme of Persona 5, all of the major boss battles bar the fifth and seventh ones involve the player performing "special orders" that serve to debilitate the boss in a more efficient manner. A good idea in practice, but some brute force render the orders virtually useless for the second and third bosses, while the orders for first, fourth, and final bosses are not optional at all. To elaborate on the former two:
    • For the second boss, if you let Shadow Madarame transform back into his four-portraits form a third time, you can order a party member to slather him in the same Weaksauce Weakness-inducing paint that he throws on you. A sufficiently leveled party on lower difficulties can defeat him before he transforms for a third time, and even if he does, it takes a nonsensical four turns for a sent party member to perform the order (the paint is in plain sight of the group a few feet away; the other orders at least had the person sneaking in and attacking above or below the boss), and the portraits never revive on full health anyway.
    • For the third boss, you can stop Shadow Kaneshiro's robot's March of the Piggy attack one of two ways: distract him by throwing an item, or hit him enough times (he rolls on top of the robot for the attack) to knock him off. Since he only gets distracted by valuable items that your party cannot easily obtain (namely SP-healing items), the distraction method comes off worse than intended.
    • Played with, in a way, for the sixth boss. You can't brute-force your way past Shadow Sae's cheating roulette game, but you can bypass the Special Order to have a party member snipe the pane of glass that causes the cheat in the first place by only having the protagonist fighting her. When the boss cheats for a second time, Futaba will call her out for cheating, triggering the second half of the boss battle. Also doubles as Developers' Foresight.
  • Late in the second Fairune game, you're faced with a statue-pushing puzzle, which is seemingly impossible. It is, the loose statue is a red herring. You're supposed to turn into a Dramos and step on the statue's podium.
  • At the end of Tony Hawk's Underground, your former friend Eric challenges you to a skate-off for a video tape of an otherwise career-making stunt you performed, which Eric stole. Normally you are forced to accept the challenge, but if you've beaten the game before, your character just punches him out and takes the tape.
  • The final boss fight in the optional "Me and My Nemesis" sidequest in Kingdom of Loathing is preceded by a rather brutal stepping stone puzzle situated directly in the heart of a volcano. Getting stuck will prompt you to "Swim Back to Shore," and will cost you a decent amount of health points each time this option is taken. Doing so enough times will eventually reveal a new prompt, labelled "Skip this Bastard Maze."
    "After getting stuck and swimming across boiling hot lava back to the beginning of the maze several times, it occurs to you that you could shortcut this whole stupid sonofabitch by simply swimming to the goal. However, your adventurer's instincts kick in, telling you that your final rewards will probably be lessened if you take the easy way out."
  • Super Mario Sunshine has several such examples, excluding ones achieved via glitching:
    • Pianta Village can be accessed right at the beginning of the game via careful use of the Hover Nozzle rather than having to wait to get the Rocket Nozzle after finding 25 shines.
    • The Runaway Ferris Wheel expects you to climb the rear side of the titular attraction, which is crawling with electro-koopas, to take out a mecha-koopa that's making it run wild. It's also possible, and much easier, to climb the attraction in front of the ferris wheel and glide with F.L.U.D.D. right to the top.
    • It's possible to cheese The Goopy Inferno in about a minute if your balance is good. Rather than navigating the arduous path beneath the village you can run along the fences and make one Leap of Faith to F.L.U.D.D.
  • The Freaky Fun House in Killer7 has a game called Squeaker's Attack, in which you have to shoot all the rats that pop out of the holes in a giant spinning wheel of cheese. You could take the time to shoot each rat individually while Heaven Smiles keep spawning and attacking...or just switch to Mask and use his dual grenade launchers to blow the cheese wheel to bits.
  • In La-Mulana, there's a particular block puzzle in the Twin Labyrinths that is impossible to solve. You get around this by simply jumping up to the shop door that would've served as the reward for solving the puzzle. However, the remake defies this trope: the puzzle is now solvable, and attempting to jump up to the door without completing the puzzle first will get you hit with a Bolt of Divine Retribution.
  • Meta example: The Halo 2 map "Backwash" suffered from severe lag on the Xbox 360's backwards compatibility - this was resolved by simply pulling the match from online matchmaking.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers: During Igglybuff's Special Episode, Igglybuff and Armaldo come up to a giant stone door blocking their progress. Armaldo points out that this is clearly a puzzle to open it, pointing out the features around the room that would need to be arranged a certain way or from which trap could be sprung to punish failed attempts. Igglybuff listens to this with a nod, walks up to the door and then cheerfully blows it off its hinges.
  • In the final chapter of Bendy and the Ink Machine, Allison gives you a list of items she needs to open the door to the Ink Demon's lair, before Tom decides to take things into his own hands:
    Allison: I'll need three gears, a crowbar... hmm, some kind of counterbalance.
    [Tom walks over to the door and punches it open]
    Allison: Huh. Well, that works too... I guess.
  • All the minibosses in the Run N' Gun levels of Cuphead can just be dashed through with the Smoke Bomb upgrade or, if they're spawn animation is slow, you can run right past before they appear. Not only does this save you having to actually fight them, but it's also the only way of getting the Pacifist rating in these levels.
  • The properties of the boss weapons mean that there are a lot of platforming challenges in 20XX that can be rendered easier by using the right one, especially in the later levels. The Splinterfrost disables fireball traps, the Force Nova shuts down laser beams, the Flameshield can tank an arbitrary number of ice trap shots, and the Shadespur can lock in holographic platforms. This means that, for example, a difficult platforming sequence of moving platforms criss-crossed with laser beams can instead become a much easier exercise with no laser beams with 1-2 well-placed Force Novas, or a gruelling gauntlet of fireball traps can instead become a morning stroll thanks to a Splinterfrost shot.

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