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Guide Dang It / Wide Open Sandbox

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Want that 100%? You need a guide.


  • In Dead Rising there are tons of survivors in the game. Now while they aren't essential to the plot, to get 100% completion you need to rescue (practically) ALL of them. Not only are they completely stupid and horrible at following you, some of them AREN'T shown to you by Otis and you have to find them yourself. However you don't even have all the time in the world to look for them as they have TIME LIMITS when they spawn and despawn. And the final Guide Dang It! catch? There can only be 8 possible survivors at once and no more will spawn if the mission will push the survivors over 8. This mechanic was never explained or hinted at in the game.
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  • Dwarf Fortress suffers from this at times. The controls are easy enough to pick up once you get used to the UI, but the in-game help is sparse and erratically updated. The wiki, the forum and a third-party strategy guide form the majority of the game's actual documentation.
  • Endless Ocean:
    • Finding all the species of fauna to complete the Marine Encyclopedia in either game, or all of the salvage items, especially because their locations are randomized in the original game.
    • The tasks to unlock the various dolphin partners in the sequel don't open up until you do some dolphin shows for Finley, which might throw people used to the original game's "just pet them a lot" rule for a loop.
  • In The Godfather 2 there are several Made Men waiting for hire around the cities who start with two specialties compared to the one of most and better levels of weapons training. The problem is that the places they can be found are usually not obvious.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
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    • Some of the various collectibles spread throughout the games are so tucked away and well-hidden that locating them all by oneself seems like a near-impossible task. One egregious example appears in San Andreas, which has a sidequest in which you must take pictures of photograph icons spread throughout the game. While several of these are damned well-hidden, the most ridiculous one is located on the roof of a random, innocuous building. You can only see the photograph icon by flying an airplane on the roof itself, and not from on the ground or from any nearby buildings, although a player in the know can take the picture itself from the ground. It gets even worse with Grand Theft Auto V in which, due to the size of the game world - which includes large underwater areas - finding items such as peyote plants (in the enhanced version) and other collectables is virtually impossible without a guide.
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    • Some of the properties you buy in Vice City have associated missions that you need to complete in order to make them profitable. You're never told how to make the strip club profitable. It requires you spend $500 on a dance in the back room. Not only does this mean putting down the controller and doing nothing for several minutes, but it also makes no narrative sense- why does this suddenly make the club start generating money?
    • Grand Theft Auto V has the first dog in the series, Chop. He is only trainable through the iFruit app for iOS and Android, and his enormous piles of doggy poo can only be cleaned via said app. The only hint the game gives you of how to do that is a short info bubble in the upper left of the screen, very much a blink and miss it situation. To make matters worse, very few devices using the latter OS can run the app. Have an Android device that can't run the app? Tough luck.
      • The game also doesn't tell you that you can rob stores for money, or how to do so. Since this is actually your main way to make spending cash between heists with big payoffs (which are few and far between in the game, unlike previous titles in the series), it can leave many new players struggling with cash.
  • Just Cause 2, which has thousands of items, hundreds of locations, a thousand square kilometers, tons of quests, and far too many collectibles/destructibles that AREN'T documented in any way (identified as "something to do" in a settlement, etc.). It's almost impossible (if not flat out impossible) to 100%-complete this game without any sort of guide or 3rd party mod tool for the PC version. Made more fun by the fact that, at least in the PC version, it's impossible to get beyond 99.95% completion because of two things: a missing water tower, and a bug that does not reward you any items upon completing the final optional faction mission (no matter what that mission is). Fortunately, there's a mod available that will restore both the tower and the missing item boxes.
  • Kerbal Space Program has a number of Easter Eggs scattered around the solar system. Everywhere else, you'll find little more than colorful-yet-desolate landscapes, so the "anomalies" are popular places to visit... if you can find them. The game provides no hints as to where they might be, and while the universe is scaled down slightly from reality, it's still really damn huge. Good luck searching Kerbin's 4.5 million square kilometers for whatever may or may not be there, then doing the same on several other worlds of similar size. Most anomaly-hunters either install a mod that lets you scan for them from orbit, or just look up their locations on the wiki.
  • L.A. Noire is full to the brim with this during its interrogations. Typically it's an issue with the game expecting players to understand that they need to purposefully ignore logical fallacies, side-step away incomplete deductive process, and purposefully aim for tropes such as Conviction by Contradiction. All of which can be incredibly non-intuitive, particularly during the early cases. There is also an issue with the game often expecting players to treat circumstantial conjecture as evidence, and even a couple of moments where Cole will use Insane Troll Logic to make a correct answer work within the context of the questioning.
    • One of the most striking examples occurs during the case The Fallen Idol. You're to investigate a car crash to see if it was an attempted murder of the driver and her passenger. At the crime scene, you find ripped underwear that was inside the handbag of to the female passenger, Jessica Hamilton (who is a minor). When you interview the driver, you ask her about Jessica, and she says that Jessica has had a rough day, is someone with stars in their eyes who dreams of entering into the world of film, before ending it with "what more can I say?". Apparently that sentence was supposed to indicate she was hiding something, namely Jessica was raped the prior day, and they need to pull the underwear out as evidence and prompt Cole to accuse the driver of hiding the fact that Jessica was raped because they didn't mention it during their testimony. As if this wasn't bad enough there's also a giant, and frankly, ridiculously misleading red-herring that the game throws at the player in the form of a letter from Jessica's mother that conclusively proves Jessica is a runaway. Trying to present this evidence nets the player a failure, even though it uses exact same logic behind the previous answer—namely, that June was hiding it by not mentioning it. Arguably it's worse since there's pretty damning evidence for the runaway theory (teenager running away from home to become famous actress), whereas the rape thing is pure speculation on Cole's part. L.A. Noire keeps player statistics so one can see the percentage of players who picked "truth", "doubt" and "lie", and under 10% of players correctly made the accusation - this was after using an in-game hint, by the way. It is one of the lowest statistics in the game, and for rather good reason.
    • Another more subdued example (but still underlies the main issue with the game's interrogation system) comes when Cole asks the husband of a murder victim what size shoes he wears. The husband responds by saying, "size nines, I think". The player needs to press "lie", to prompt Cole to accuse the husband of purposefully lying to him, then present the work shoes Cole found in his bedroom, which are size eights. While not on the level of Insane Troll Logic it's still a ridiculous assumption as there are plenty of other valid reasons for quoting the wrong size: bad memory, they were an old pair, the shoes still fit so the guy doesn't care... in this instance the Conviction by Contradiction is not a difficult one to spot, but the issue comes from the fact that the game treats this logic as cast-iron when in Real Life this would be shaky at best; most people don't make a point of remembering their shoe size.
    • The game frequently gives the player several possible leads to follow up at various points. However, sometimes one lead will provide evidence that can trap a suspect in a lie in a later lead; if you follow the leads out of order, you may be unable to challenge a suspect's lies. The game never warns you, it falls entirely to the player to figure out in advance, which is sometimes nigh-impossible without psychic foresight or a strategy guide. Luckily, neither the game nor any individual case becomes Unwinnable by botching an interview.
    • When trying to find any of the collectibles, this becomes Guide Dang It! The Game. Every single one of the collectables are impossible to find without a guide: such as the Gold Movie Reels that are so out of the way you can go the entire game without finding one and Landmarks that only appear if you happen to drive by them. Though this is nothing compared to finding all 95 vehicles, where aside from 15 secret cars located on your map, they are pretty much left up to luck finding them. It also doesn't help that most of them look the same.
  • Minecraft in general. Just figuring out how to start is a bit of a problem, as people expect you break stuff by mashing left click when you actually need to hold it down (mashing does nothing). You aren't told how to make tools or other crafted items, nor are you told using a bed changes your spawn point after you die. The Xbox 360 version, as well as an update to the PC one, eases this slightly by showing you what items are needed to craft other items and what their functions are. Figuring out how to beat the game, however—technically optional, but if you don't you miss out on some special items including wings and portable chests—remains a nearly hopeless task without third-party guides. Nothing in-game suggests that arranging obsidian blocks (one of the most difficult items to obtain, as it rarely occurs naturally and can only be mined with a diamond pick) to form a 5x4 doorframe and using flint&steel on it creates a portal to Fire and Brimstone Hell, and that's just the first of many steps in the process.
    • Later updates introduced features to combat this trope, such as the crafting book introduced in 1.12 and the Ruined Portal structures to make it more obvious how to reach the Nether in 1.16.
  • Saints Row IV: If you've done the Loyalty Missions and sidequests but still haven't gotten the "do everything for your Homies" Achievements to unlock, well, you need to Romance them too.
  • Saints Row: The Third:
    • Assassination Missions:
      • One requires you to drive up on a specific location in "a muscle car," but doesn't tell you which models are considered "muscle cars." (If you're wondering: Bootleggers, Hammers, Hammerheads, and Phoenixes count.)
      • Another Assassination mission requires you to attack a ho to get the target to appear. The game specifies that his hos are the fat ones...and fat hos spawn rarely. The real Guide Dang It! is that this doesn't actually matter, because the game doesn't differentiate between fat hos and skinny hos.
    • The Collectible Finder ability doesn't reveal the locations of Stunt Jumps or Barnstorms. Fortunately, doing those are not needed for Challenges or Achievements/Trophies, and they only give cash and Respect that can be earned elsewhere.
  • Saints Row 2 has "Revelation", the mission where You find Julius, and he explains why he attempted to kill the Playa at the end of the first game. To unlock this extra mission, you must go to a specific room in the city police station, and interact with specific objects in said room, after which Julius will call you and unlock the mission. The only real hint towards this is a line in an early-game mission where Johnny Gat nudges you to "swing by the station and say hello", which could easily be interpreted as Johnny wanting to stop by to try killing Troy again. This hidden mission is also required for 100% Completion. Thankfully, when unlocked, the mission itself is pretty straightforward, and not too difficult.
  • Terraria does its best to avert this for early game players. If you show your Guide an item, he will tell you what can be crafted from it. In addition, the game will also tell you what is necessary to qualify a structure as a house for NPCs, so more of them can spawn. However, some mid- and late-game events can be hard to figure out without a peek at the wiki.
    • Finding the Floating Islands is often so ridiculously time-consuming that many players simply cheat by downloading a map viewer. For those who view this as against the spirit of Terraria, good luck. Floating Islands can spawn anywhere above a certain altitude, and it's incredibly difficult to tell where they can be found without building a skybridge (which takes a ton of resources) or flying around in the sky with a Gravitation Potion.
    • Water Bolt, a spellbook hidden in the dungeon. It's hidden on the bookshelves in the dungeon, of which there are dozens, with nothing to draw attention to it at all. The only hint you get to its existence is that, if you're right on top of the shelf containing it, your mouse cursor will change when you mouse over it.
  • Way of the Samurai is infamous for this. For example, to get the Golden Ending in Way of the Samurai 4, the hospital and English language school need to be open, while the casino needs to be closed. Then, when you start a New Game+, you need to choose the right dialogue options and, during a certain fight, attack two cannoneers, who can't be directly targeted and therefore easily mistaken for a background event. Only then will you be able to achieve the game's happy ending.

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