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Guide Dang It / Wide Open Sandbox

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Want that 100%? You need a guide.


  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • L.A. Noire is full to the brim with this during it's 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 example occurs during the case The Fallen Idol. You're investigate a car crash to see if it was an attempted murder of the driver and her passenger. At the crime scene, you find underwear that were inside the handbag of to the female passenger, Jessica Hamilton (who is a minor) and are ripped. When you interview the driver, you ask her about Jessica, and she says that Jessica has had a rough day, and is something with stars in their eyes who dreams of entering into the world of film, before ending it with "what more can I say?". By this time the player expected to have already pieced together from the highly ambiguous circumstantial evidence (the ripped panties only) that Jessica was raped the prior day, despite there being nothing to even remotely imply this other then the fact that some ripped panties were in Jessica's handbag. The player is then expected to understand that they need to pull this theory out as evidence at this point against the driver and present the underwear. This prompts Cole to accuse the driver of hiding the fact that Jessica was raped because they didn't mention the fact that Jessica raped during their description of Jessica. The only cue to this is the highly ambiguous and vague "what more can I say?" which is supposed to be indicating that they're hiding something but it's incredibly non-intuitive and telegraphed to the player horribly (there is als the usual "I'm lying" expressions of guilty suspects, which typically (but not always) indicate the correct option as "doubt" or "lie" ("bad cop" or "accuse" in the Remastered Edition), but this hardly helps in a scenario like this. As if this wasn't bad enough there's also a giant, and frankly, ridiculously mis-leading red-herring that the game throws at the player in the form of a letter from Jessica's mother that proves Jessica is a runaway. Trying to present this evidence nets the player a failure, even though it should, by all accounts, show that June is avoiding mentioning that Jessica is a runaway, because she is, and as is revealed for a fact later on June knows this, she has been hiding it, and she didn't mention it when describing Jessica. Despite this being the exact same logic behind the rape answer, the runaway answer is not accepted and therape answer is the only correct one. This is despite the player knowing for a fact that Jessicia is a runaway, whereas the entire rape thing is pure speculation the player has pulled out of a wormwhole with zero in-game indication that they were even meant to be doing such a thing. L.A. Noir actually keeps player statistics through the in-game social club, meaning that you can see the player average with who picked "truth", "doubt" and "lie" during interrogations, and thus how many people got the right answer. Under 10% of players correctly made the accusation—the kick in the teeth is that isn't the statistic for players who just got the answer wrong. It's the player statistic for players who had already used an in-game hint option to aid them on getting the right answer and then STILL got it wrong. It is one of the lowest statistic in the game, and for rather good reason, as what the game is expecting players to do; already have a theory of rape on hand then whip it out at that exact moment against the driver, violates intuition, goes against other more plausible theories, and is not at all well telegraphed.
    • Another more subdued example (but that 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 to make for a while multitude of reasons, particularly since it's only a single shoe size in difference. Not remembering properly; this isn't exactly uncommon, the shoes being old ones, him having shoes that don't match his exact shoe size but still fine to wear; again this is far from uncommon, ect. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if it was simply the fact that the player needs to know to play the hard cop and push at the notion of Conviction by Contradiction all the time; in this instance this is not a difficult contradiction to spot. The actual issue comes from the fact that the gameplay system is purposefully set up in a way that makes instances like this misleading for first time players who have not adjusted to this yet, since the player has three options on how to respond to suspect statements: "Truth"/"Good Cop" if you think it's the truth, "Doubt"/"Bad Cop" if it seems shaky but not directly contradictory, and "Lie"/"Accuse" if you can prove with evidence that they're not being truthful. Instances like this are trailer-made for suckering first-timers into thinking too "realistically" and picking "doubt"/"bad cop" instead of "lie"/"accuse".note 
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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