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Gameplay and Story Segregation

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Really, Niko?

Butters: Aw, he died. I really thought that was gonna work.
Old Mechanic: Nope. That resurrection dirt's only a combat mechanic. Nice try though.

This occurs whenever there is inconsistency in how things work or behave between the gameplay and storyline sections of a video game, the latter of which generally consists primarily of cutscenes and dialogue. While this is generally forgivable due to technological limitations, egregious instances can result in the shattering of the player's Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Typically, it's done to try and make a more interesting game, since simply getting a One-Hit Kill all the time like in that cutscene would be utterly boring, while having a person who can't open doors like in that last cutscene would make the game needlessly frustrating. Accordingly, it's sometimes excused by Acceptable Breaks from Reality, but by no stretch does that justification cover all of the flat-out weird mismatches perpetrated by game makers over the years.

Since large-scale cutscenes and extensive dialogue have only been present in games the last twenty years or so, gameplay and story segregation is far more prevalent from the 16-bit era onwards, especially ones in which the storyline is a focal point of the game. Often times the "gameplay" part is where a genuine Faux Action Girl gets to show her skills and defeat a Big Bad on her own.

A loosely equivalent technical term for this is "Ludonarrative Dissonance," a term coined by Clint Hocking (a former employee of LucasArts). "Ludonarrative" is the portion of the story told through the gameplay ("ludo" comes from the Latin word meaning "play" or "game"), so ludonarrative dissonance is when there are logical inconsistencies between what is conveyed through the gameplay and what is conveyed through the story, or when the gameplay is presenting one message while the story is presenting another. The term as it is used today lies closer to Broken Aesop that comes from the messages of the gameplay mechanics undercutting the messages of its narrative, rather than just continuity conflicts between the story told through gameplay and the actual story.

Gameplay and story segregation is the more egregious half of the Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration. See that article for common templates and examples from the opposite side of the scale: gameplay and story integration. Licensed Games as a rule are subject to this, as there is a preceding story in another medium and its plot elements are often represented in a varied way.

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Forms of Gameplay and Story Segregation include:

    Forms of Gameplay and Story Segregation 

See also The Anime of the Game and New Rules as the Plot Demands.


Other examples:

    Action Game 
  • Action Taimanin has two examples of this when it comes to its playable characters:
    • A character being playable or not isn't dependant on the story in the slightest, only on whether or not the player has unlocked her note . It is perfectly possible to play as Mizuki Shiranui in the story chapters that happen before she joins the Task Force, and Oboro and Ingrid only appear as enemies and bosses in-story, but both are playable (including against themselves if one plays the corresponding chapters)note .
    • Playable characters are, for the sake of balance, roughly in the same power bracket gameplay-wise, which leads to Kannazuki Sora, a teenager (and explicitly not a Child Prodigy) still studying to be a ninja being playable alongside Igawa Asagi, considered the best Taimanin of her generation, or Astaroth, a demon roughly equal in power to the Big Bad of the entire franchise. Story-wise, the power discrepancies are more respected in story chapters and events (the only reason the Task Force survives their encounters against Astaroth is because she's explicitly Just Toying with Them and looking for fun rather than destroying them outright).
    • Asagi's Super-Speed move is, for the sake of gameplay, implemented as slowing down the enemies while she still gets to move at normal speed. This results in some oddities in VR missions where you fight alongside NPCs that aren't affected by the slow effect and if fighting enemies that are immune to slows, which makes them able to keep up with her even if, lore-wise, they don't have Super-Speed.
  • In Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Gaia states that heart is the strongest power of them all. In the video game, heart does nothing. Not that this should be a surprise to anyone.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Red orbs are supposed to be crystallized demon blood, explaining why defeated enemies bleed several of them like a piñata, but even inanimate objects will cough up a few of them once destroyed and simply standing in an out of the way spot (the series especially loves on top of a fountain) will sometimes cause a couple hundred to spawn in from the ether.
    • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening has a minor example. During the ending cutscene, Dante returns the Kalina Ann rocket launcher to Lady. But then we have the playable credits; if Dante had the rocket launcher equipped during the Final Boss battle, he can still use it despite Lady visibly wielding it alongside him.
    • Devil May Cry 4:
      • On higher difficulty modes, Dante will use Gilgamesh, Pandora and Lucifer during his boss fights within the first half of the game, even though he'll only properly acquire them in the second half.
      • When you replay Dante's missions after completing a certain point near the end-game, he sets out to the Opera House to retrieve Yamato despite already wielding it via the Dark Slayer Style. This also applies to subsequent playthroughs via New Game Plus.
      • There's barely any story there in the first place, but Vergil's trip to Fortuna in the Special Edition of this game apparently happens before the events of Devil May Cry 3. Despite this, he already has the Force Edge (which he wouldn't get until the final battle of DMC3) and Beowulf (which he only acquires in the middle of DMC3), Dante is an enemy you must fight (in his DMC4 attire), and Fortuna has not changed in the intervening years (which would be a substantial gap considering he and Dante were only young adults in DMC3 and by DMC4, Dante is a years-long seasoned demon hunter).
    • Devil May Cry 5:
      • Downplayed. Given the sheer ridiculousness of Nero and Dante's physical abilities, there were bound to be some things you'll see them do in cutscenes that you can't do during gameplay, such as some of the more spectacular mid-air evasion moves. However, many of their other over-the-top moves can be replicated in-game, including jumping off walls, sliding across the ground, and even mowing down demons while riding a motorcycle.
      • A more prominent example can be found in Mission 10. The timing given for the mission implies that Dante fought Urizen for over 24 hours before he was beaten in the prologue, when Nero arrives. But in-game, the player can only fight him for around a minute before the mission is forcefully ended.
      • Nico made the Buster Arm Devil Breaker to help bring back some of Nero's power after having his demonic arm stolen from him. Nero gets his Devil Bringer back permanently at the end of the game, but for balancing purposes, it pales in comparison to the Buster Arm's damage output, doing half as much at best. Either Nero recovered less of his power than he thought, or Nico's just that damn good.
      • V grows increasingly sickly and reliant on his cane as the game goes on, but when played, he can leap and sprint around as easily as Dante or Nero, and his flashy finishing moves stay as showy as ever. Aside from a Scripted Event in Mission 14, you never get to feel him getting weaker in most of the missions even if the story keeps on saying that his body is slowly crumbling.
      • Finishing the Son of Sparda difficulty unlocks the "Irregular Full Custom" skill for Dante which allows him to equip all of his weapons. He can freely switch between the Rebellion, the Devil Sword Sparda, and the Devil Sword Dante, which wouldn't make sense in the story because the former two swords are merged to create the third.
      • The three non-DLC playable characters, Dante, Nero, and V, are at roughly similar levels gameplay-wise, though various characters do get plot-related sidegrades that expand their options — this is to the point that the health bar is shared between all three characters, so if you obtain a Blue Orb, max HP increases for everyone. And yet V is depicted as hopelessly outmatched by the other two, in particular running away or hiding from bosses that he could totally deal with in normal gameplay if he fought them.
  • Earth Defense Force:
    • The games' plots generally describe the alien invaders steadily advancing across Earth and the situation getting worse and worse, even though in gameplay, the EDF beats the aliens every time, since you must win missions for the plot to advance.
    • In World Brothers, the EDF generals advise you repeatedly — in dialog and loading screen tips — to avoid getting surrounded. However, most missions begin with the EDF arriving at a location they have been told to go to and discovering that they are already surrounded, since this creates exciting gameplay.
  • Metal Warriors: After every briefing before a mission, you are deployed alongside two or three squadmates, yet they never appear in gameplay.

    Adventure Game 
  • Betrayal at Krondor Starts with Owyn patching up an apparently badly injured Locklear and warning that he isn't sure how good the healing was, yet every character starts with full health, better then is possible without visiting an Inn.
  • The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble: Using the Discerning Formula on the three cup man makes Woodruff realize that the man is cheating, and how he does it. However, up until that point, it is completely possible to win against him by abuse of Save Scumming, which shouldn't be possible if he was actually cheating.
  • The Magnetic Scrolls game Corruption casts the player as a stockbroker who must avoid being framed for insider dealing (and, later, much worse). However, the people framing him, at least initially, do a good job — by the time anything suspicious happens to the character, it's too late. In order to win the game, the player character has to start investigating and setting traps for their colleagues and wife before anything happens to them; meaning that they either know they are in a game with that theme, or are just ludicrously paranoid.. but are quite right to be.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: Multiple:
    • During chapter 4, everyone is locked inside of a funhouse with no food. You can still do free time events, even Akane's, who mentions having lots of food available during some of her events, and the only exceptions are those that take place on specific locations outside of the funhouse. You can also hand out food items as presents after spending time with someone, which they can even reject if they don't happen to like the gift, starvation be damned. But no matter how many bags of chips and cookies you are carrying with you, everyone will keep on complaining about hunger.
    • A gigantic case of this crops up when doing free time events in Island Mode, as lampshaded in the tutorial. In Fuyuhiko's very first event, which was originally scheduled for comparatively late in the game, there's references to his attempted suicide and Peko's death, and you can discuss this while you're on a tropical Monokuma-free idyll in which Fuyuhiko is still in one piece and Peko is very much alive. This also happens in the original Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc's School Mode and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony's Love Across the Universe: Dangan Salmon Team, although in the latter case, Rantaro and Kaede, the first two students to die, have events that are more tailored to the bonus mode.
  • Else Heart Break triggers a lot of trouble by giving the player the ability to "hack" anything in the game or even parts of the actual game mechanics — and having this ability be in-character, so that there are other hackers around:
    • In spite of having seen the neat things that can be done using a Modifier, Sebastian will never have the option to ask anyone about how to get one until someone mentions he'll need one.
    • Modifiers can allow you to trap people in recursive doors, teleport between computers, create drinks that remove the need to sleep, etc, and there are other hackers in the setting who are supposed to be much more experienced; and yet nobody has ever thought to do any of these things themselves nor to secure their systems against them.
    • One of the simplest things to do with a modifier? Alter your bank balance. So, hey, instead of breaking into the factory, why don't we hack ourselves a hundred million dollars and just buy the factory? Hum.
  • Iron Helix: The "Iron Helix" weapon is consistently described as a Synthetic Plague / Depopulation Bomb, but if you fail to stop it from activating, the cutscene shows Calliope exploding.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • In the arcade version of Double Dragon 3, there is a third Lee brother named Sonny, plus three different sibling teams consisting of three brothers each (the Chin, Oyama, and Urquidez brothers). However, only Billy and Jimmy are shown in the opening and ending, and only a single member of each of the other sibling teams are shown in the ending.
  • In Final Fight, you can beat the final boss Belger with any of the three characters or with two characters in the 2 player mode, and the character that gives the final blow (that can be a simple punch or a special move) will throw Belger through the window. However, in Final Fight 2, it is revealed that Cody was one who rescued Jessica and threw Belger out with an uppercut (the final move of his combo). Also, no mook is seen lying on the ground, despite the fact that you fight truckloads of them while fighting Belger.
  • In Justice League Heroes: The Flash, The Flash has to go from city to city to defend each while the resident hero is occupied fighting the robot invasion elsewhere across the world (for example, Superman can't be reached, so Flash goes to Metropolis). You can then summon the "busy" hero to help you in battle anyway.
  • Knights of Valour have Battle Amongst the Flames levels where the environment around you is on fire, and you can obtain a tidal wave power-up that summons a wall of water onscreen, knocking enemies off their feet. But somehow, should you attempt summoning water into burning areas, it'll do jack squat against the fires, only affecting enemy soldiers. Somehow.
  • Punch Quest: In-story, Punchzerker and Smashkyrie enter the fortress at the same time. One character can be played at a time and both do not appear simultaneously in-game.
  • Streets of Rage 3 starts with a cutscene where the five characters decide to shake up the mooks for information. After a few levels of assaulting mooks by yourself, everyone else appears for another cutscene and says "This is useless. No-one told us anything." How could they? I just kicked the crap out of anyone who came close. And where the hell have you been, anyway?

    Card Battle Games 
  • Gwent: The Witcher Card Game:
    • Witchers, professional monster slayers, are neutral cards that can be played with any faction, including monsters. On the other hand, the Witcher code states that they're supposed to be "neutral".
    • Ge'els is in the Monster deck with the other Wild Hunt characters despite the fact that his biggest contribution to the plot of Witcher 3 is betraying the Wild Hunt to Geralt. This is especially notable since Avallac'h, another Aen Elle elf who doesn't side with the Wild Hunt, reflects this by being a disloyal card.
    • Similarly, the Bloody Baron is a loyal Northern Realms card despite the fact that he was a deserter who tried to negotiate with Nilfgaard.
    • Several cards are based on Witcher potions and can be used on any unit, even though anyone without Witcher mutations would die if they drank one.
    • The White Frost card takes this Up to Eleven. In spite of the fact that it is literally the end of the world, it's a neutral card that can be played by any faction, not just the Monsters.
    • All of the bronze dwarf cards are Scoia'tael cards, and most dwarf cards have benefits dependent on other dwarf cards in play. Thus, several dwarves are placed in the Scoia'tael deck when they weren't actually members or even if they actually opposed the Scoia'tael. This includes:
      • Yarpen Zigrin, who considers the Scoia'tael to be just as racist as the humans they fight.
      • Dennis Cranmer, who was captain of the guard for a Temerian Duke, but isn't in the Northern Realms deck.
      • Zoltan Chivay, which is odd since "Zoltan: Animal Tamer" is a neutral card.
      • Brouver Hoog, who is a leader card despite the fact that he decreed that dwarven youths were not to join the Scoia'tael.
      • The latter two examples combined form a double example of Gameplay and Story Segregation: Zoltan is said to have nothing but contempt for Hoog and his policies but serves under him in-game.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • Legacy's deck includes several cards that represent the superhuman durability gained by the current Legacy, which is a bit awkward to justify when the hero variant you're using is Greatest Legacy, who didn't have that durability.
    • Size-shifting alien Sky-Scraper can use Thorathian Monolith to grow to giant size and shelter her comrades. Because Monolith lasts an entire round, and Sky-Scraper can change size after playing it through either her Extremist variant or other heroes giving her free card plays, she can end up sheltering her comrades while the size of a mouse.
    • Luminary has a card to represent his Kill Sat, which has, logically, gone up at some point since WWII. He can use this Kill Sat in the year 1883, in the far future, in mystical realms, or in an extradimensional prison that doesn't have an outside to keep kill sats in. It also has amazingly precise aim; it can manage a direct laser hit on Apostate without charring the sword in his hand, for example.
    • Luminary is also the head of state for Mordengrad. The Mordengrad environment deck has a few synergies with Luminary, but cards that attack heroes will fire on him without hesitation.
    • The fight against Baron Blade starts with having to take out his Mobile Defence Platform. You can do this while on the Mobile Defence Platform, since it's an environment deck.
    • Plague Rat's Infection specifically spreads via the victim's bloodstream. In the Letters Page podcast, they agree that a few heroes should logically be unaffected: Omnitron-X (a robot) and Dr Medico (an energy being) don't even have blood, and Dark Watch Mr Fixer (a ghost possessing his own corpse) does have blood but it's not like it actually does anything.
    • The villain's health has been confirmed by Word of God to represent the overall difficulty of their plan, not the amount of punishment they can actually take. This is how, for example, Citizen Dawn is a challenging one-on-one fight for Fanatic in the Cosmic Contest but takes an entire team to fight in normal gameplay. It also explains how one singular entity, Wager Master, has only 51HP but another one, OblivAeon, has 300 health spread over his second and third phases; WM is a jackass dilettante who's only there to hoard attention and Troll the heroes, OblivAeon is committed. It falls apart, though, when it comes to Iron Legacy, who only has 32HPnote  but is a punishingly hard level four enemy who can crush an entire hero team without mercy in only a few rounds if you don't get the right cards to deal with him.

    Hack and Slash 
  • In Drakengard, you're only allowed to take one party member with you into battle, and he doesn't follow along with you on the battlefield, no; you transform into him for a predetermined amount of time. Contrast this to the cutscenes, which show all the party members present in the battles when applicable. Dragonfire kills anything human in a single blow, but not so for some higher-end Mooks in-game. Caim wields a relatively smallish BFS as his default weapon in the cutscenes, but his default weapon in-game is realistically proportioned to be used by a human being. Manah can obliterate armies in cutscenes, but never displays this sort of power when fighting you in-game. And so on in that order. Heck, an important NPC in Drakengard 2 is one of the party members from the first game — who was completely unavailable until you beat the game once and as such never actually joins up with Caim or is even hinted to exist in the path to the ending that the second game follows from.
  • Illogical case in Implosion, there are 2 playable Warmechs in the main story, Avalon (with Jake as the pilot) and Crimson (with Diana as the pilot. Unlockable by collecting medals acquired from accomplishing some missions). Even though you play as Crimson in the gameplay, the cutscenes still shows Avalon only (a.k.a. Jake), while Diana still works as the supervisor in Nightwing spacecraft.
  • In Persona 5 Strikers, the party does most of its shopping by using a shopping app on the protagonist's phone, which delivers instantly, although there are local stores at each city the protagonists visit. The service continues even when the Phantom Theives are on the run from the police in Kyoto, and when Tokyo falls under the Demiurge's sway in the endgame, the latter of which results in the Metaverse merging with the real world.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, even though monsters are said to be growing rarer, you encounter them by the bucket-load at pretty much every single area you go to. This is actually justified, though — the reason monsters are growing rarer (and the need for Witchers vanishing) is that monsters can easily be repelled with even a small military garrison. As the game takes place during an invasion of the Northern Kingdoms by the Nilfgaardian Empire, the armies are focused on the battlefield, allowing the monsters to make a comeback. Tellingly, the most common monsters you encounter are necrophages, which thrive in the conditions the war creates.

    Maze Game 
  • Monster Hunter (PC) has Frankenstein's Monster as enemies, which is vulnerable only to being hit by two flaming torches. There are levels containing fire pit traps, which unload pillars of flames from the floor capable of killing your titular hero while only stunning monsters. Including the Frankenstein's Monster mooks; them getting hit by these flames doesn't do any damage to their health at all.

    Miscellaneous Games 
  • In the mobile visual novel Kisses & Curses, one of the routes involves a love interest accusing you of using a love potion or something on her, because she's interested in you despite herself. You assure her you would never do such a thing! However, to progress the story, you have to pass several checkpoints based around her Affection levels — which you have to raise by brewing potions to increase her attraction to you. Whoops.
  • You'd think Retro Game Challenge averts this, because the story IS gameplay. However, the in-game games have some in-game cheats that don't work in free play mode, even though it's supposedly the same game both times. Most likely this is because in the story mode, you unlock new games by beating their challenges, and the makers didn't want players to miss out on the later games if they can't beat the challenges; but in free-play, you're just challenging your best performance, so cheats would make the scores inaccurate.

  • This trope is pretty much universal and constantly active in MMORPGs — typically in the "infinite-lives bosses", the "what do you mean, resurrect spell?", and the "we desperately need level 1 fighters even though we have level 70 shopkeepers" varieties.
  • City of Heroes has a rather glaring example of this in the Freedom Phalanx. The premier superheroes of the setting, akin to Superman, Batman, Captain America, and other A-listers... sit around waiting to give you quests, and generally do absolutely nothing else, with poor excuses for why they never fight at your side. In the few times you DO team up with them, they're generally as bad as any of the other NPC allies, and die in short order, while their villainous counterparts will kick your butt all over the surrounding environs, generally being some of the most dangerous bosses in the game. Even more confusingly, when you face the same heroes in City of Villains, you can do so in single combat, and they're now, like their counterparts, the hardest bosses in the game. Apparently the only time the game can give these people the powers they're storyline-wise credited with is when they're beating on you instead of random mooks.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online has the explanation that you can resurrect as a side effect of losing your soul at the start of the Main Quest. But you can still resurrect even if you haven't started it yetnote  or have completed it and received your soul back. And of course that doesn't explain why other players can resurrect, as well as any NPC Companions you have.
  • Early on in Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds, you're told that the Guardian Stone is what allows your character/party to fast travel from place to place. When you reach Moneyma'am City, it is stolen from you and sold to a pawn shop and you have to try to raise money to get it back. However, you can still use the fast travel function at will.
  • Star Trek Online: The Engineer class's "Orbital Strike" power suffers rather noticeably from this, considering that it even works deep underground and aboard space stations without blasting holes in the ceiling.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • Companions' roles in combat don't always mesh with their capabilities in the story. This is particularly notable with the healing companions, only three of which have medical training (the rest are slicers, archaeologists, or the like). Melee-based companions for non-force users also suffer from this; Torian Cadera is a sniper when you first meet him, while Tanno Vik is actually a demolitions specialist. The trooper's ranged damage companion also deserves mention; while Jorgan is a former member of the Deadeyes, when he joins he uses... An assault cannon.
    • By the 4.0 patch, they no longer have character-specific specialties. Instead, the player can assign them as a tank, damager, or healer, regardless of whether it matches their background or not.
    • That boss you just defeated and made peace with? You're still gonna have to fight past all her Mooks on the way out.
    • Alternatively, if you have one of the stealth-based subclasses (Jedi Shadow, Sith Assassin, Scoundrel, or Imperial Operative) you can sneak your way to a boss without killing a single Mook. NPCs at the end will still express outrage/fear at you for "killing" everyone on your way in, as if you'd just performed a Mook Horror Show.
    • While dialogue changes depending on whether your character is a human or not, it doesn't always take into account which race you are which can lead to odd moments like a Rattataki Imperial Agent being condescending to your companion of the same race, or a True Sith remarking "Good thing I don't have any Sith blood" in response to Revan's plan.
    • You think just because you're a Jedi or Sith with a lightsaber you'll be able to slice anything in half in one swing? Nope, random mooks tank multiple hits from it even though they should, by all rights, be in little pieces on the ground, and you can't use it to clear an Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence, even if said fence is just a rock.
    • There's also a point in the Jedi Consular storyline where you have the option to use Force Healing on a defeated enemy, even if you chose Jedi Shadow as your subclass, when healing is solely the province of Jedi Sages.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • One of the more nonsensical examples is in the Caverns of Time dungeons, where PCs are sent back in time by the Bronze Dragonflight to various famous incidents in past Warcraft titles. In many cases, most of the current playable races could not have been present for various reasons (Horde characters in particular, but also Night Elves and Draenei). So in those dungeons, those characters get hit with a illusion buff that disguises them as a Human for the duration of the dungeon. You would think this would make it an inversion of the trope, except that it also applies to Blood Elves — who all would have been Alliance High Elves in those days, and so could have been present for all these events. Turning them Human is just odd, when a simple eye color change would suffice. It's especially nonsensical in the Culling of Stratholme instance, where you see a variety of Warcraft 3 units represented at the front gate of the city, one of which is a High Elf Priest. It turns specially weird when you take into account that classes aren't disguised in any way, so you can have Warlocks and Death Knights helping Thrall escape from Durnholde, shapeshifted Druids running about, and Humans casting Shaman spells. But no High Elves.
    • In the game, four playable classes can remove curses and/or cure poisons and cast resurrection spells that will restore to life any player character they are cast on. But in the storyline of both tie-ins in other media and in the stories of the game's own quests, curing each type of disease or poison requires multiple unique components, death is feared like in Real Life, and resurrection (not counting Came Back Wrong) is almost unheard of. For example, there's one quest in Northrend where you find a poor poisoned goblin and have to run around killing giant spiders until one of them barfs up a poison sac. Never mind that at least three classes can easily cure poisons, as well as anyone with high enough first aid has the ability to make antivenom out of those self-same spiders, or (by the game mechanics) if he died, four classes could easily resurrect him, and any engineer would have the ability to at least try. This problem is addressed somewhat in some later quests involving healing NPCs, in which you are given items that can heal their wounds, but also told you can use your healing skills if you so desire.
    • The Cataclysm expansion added the ability for the Tauren race to become Paladins and Priests. That's all well and good, except in the game's lore, they aren't actually paladins or priests. While in Warcraft those classes wield the God-like power known as the Light, the tauren are unique in that their powers come from the literal sun itself, and worship of it. You'd never know in game, however, as they are functionally identical to the other priests and paladins regardless of their lore.
    • In the Nightborne recruitment scenario Alleria, who is connected to the Void, triggers a void creatures outbreak which results in her banishment from Quel'Thalas. However, nobody would raise an eyebrow should the Player Character be a shadow priest, who are very likely to wield a sentient Void-serving dagger well-known for being The Corrupter on the scale it nearly drove an entire civilization to extinction.
  • zOMG!:
    • Your appearance is purely cosmetic. No matter which race you choose to make your avatar (And there are a lot), you'll still be treated as a normal human. The most blatant instance of this is if you choose to make yourself a vampire. Gaia Vampires are weakened by sunlight (though not killed), do require blood (though mostly drink a soy based substitute), and are weak against most of the traditional vampire weaknesses. And yet you can run around in broad daylight killing animated cloves of garlic with no side effects.
    • If you carry actual weapons on your avatar, none of them can be used. This is explained in the prologue "manga" to the game; regular weapons just plain don't work on the Animated. You have to use the rings and their powers to fight them. In the "manga" a powerful and popular knight tried to kill an Animated with "My ANCIENT KATANA!"... and got torn to pieces because it failed to harm it; and yet there's a Ring that creates a katana, which does work.
    • One story from GAIA mentions vampires:
      Sunlight doesn't hurt me, but it does make me really cussy!

    Platform Game 
  • In Banjo-Tooie, when you talk to Bottles through the molehills in Spiral Mountain, his speaking icon is correctly not dead, but he still speaks as if he is.
    Bottles: Or you can press B to return to your important mole-resuscitating mission. Come on, hurry up, it's time to go beat the witch and find a way of bringing me back to life!
  • In Copy Kitty, it's stated that Boki can instantly copy the powers of anything within a thirty meter radius of herself. In-game, however, she has to pick up items dropped by enemies in order to copy their powers, because that makes for better gameplay.
  • In Densetsu no Stafy 4, the Powerful Spin is a spell that can be used by Starfy where he and Moe spin together as an attack. Mattel, who teaches the ability, specifically notes that it's dependent on the strength of Starfy and Moe's friendship. However, Starfy first learns this ability during a time where he and Moe are separated due to them having an argument, and you can still use the move all you like even before you find Moe again.
  • The first level of Gamer 2 takes place on rooftops, and you die if you fail a jump and fall off the edge. However, in a later level the player character falls for almost a minute and lands without taking any damage.
  • In Mega Man X, Zero is able to blast the arm off of Vile's Ride Armor, where X's Buster shots just pinged off. You acquire it normally after beating Vile in Sigma's fortress, but you can acquire it early from one of the Dr. Light capsules...and your shots still do nothing to Vile's Ride Armor in the rematch. X would go on to become one of the poster boys for Cutscene Power to the Max, which kicks a dent in this being to showcase the difference in power between X and Zero.
  • Done both ways in Jet Stingray's stage of Mega Man X4. The plot has you chasing a fleeing unit of the Repliforce, and you do just that in the level: including Jet Stingray, who actively attacks you during the chase. Although difficult, you can land hits on him during the chase and he'll start the boss battle with some damage, and after defeating him, he is absent on subsequent playthroughs. On the other hand, the rest of the fleeing unit is there and fleeing from you each and every time you replay the stage.
  • In Ratchet & Clank (2002) a good part of the source of the conflict between Ratchet and Clank is Ratchet exploring the planets and collecting gadgets and later chasing Qwark instead of continuing their mission to fight against Drek. Gameplay-wise, few exceptions aside you don't have much of a choice, as you need those gadgets to progress: for example despite Clank seeing going to Pokitaru as a waste of time you must go there and pick up Oxygen mask, without which you can't explore Orxon as Ratchet and advance the story.
  • Rockman 4 Minus Infinity:
    • In at least two cutscenes near the end of the game, Mega Man fires a charged shot without having to charge up first, the first time happening when he destroys Kalinka's cell and the second time happening when he shoots down the alien cave projector.
    • The Wish Star adaptor uses up its entire energy bar when used, even after rescuing Kalinka in Wily Stage 3 and she attaches a device to Rush that halves the usage costs of the Rush Search and Rush Cannon adaptors. Even if the player uses the Wish Star adaptor to defeat the Wily Machine, Mega Man is still able to immediately use it again afterwards to destroy Wily's escape pod.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic is pretty much always said to be able to move at the speed of sound—it's in his name, after all. While his top speed has fluctuated over the years, he's never actually been seen moving at mach speed outside of cutscenes, unless one assumes all the games are taking place in Bullet Time (which raises its own issues). In most of the 2D games, he's maybe hitting 30mph. This is largely because a genuinely supersonic Sonic would be nigh-uncontrollable.
    • Sonic is usually said and/or implied to be much faster than everyone else. However, in games where you can select multiple playable characters, he usually isn't much faster than anyone else. In some games he's not even the optimal speedrun choice.
    • In Sonic Chaos and Sonic Triple Trouble, it is implied that Sonic and Tails canonically go on their adventures together. But in game, you can only play as Sonic or Tails for the whole playthrough, rather than an option of Sonic with Tails following him like in some of the earlier games. The same goes for Sonic and Blaze in Sonic Rush Adventure, where after Sonic or Blaze defeats Ghost Titan in-game, a cutscene shows both Sonic and Blaze having delivered the final blow.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic uses a fake Chaos Emerald to warp out of a death trap. The story implies this trick takes a lot out of him, but during the Dark story final boss fight, he can do this repeatedly with no obvious repercussions.
    • In Sonic Generations, the player can revisit any level or boss they have beaten from the world map, when canonically each Sonic only completes them once. You even get extra dialog for extra battles with Shadow, Silver, and Metal Sonic, who seems to truly die when Classic Sonic defeats him. This has led many players to believe that Metal Sonic is still alive.
    • Sonic Frontiers: Throughout the game, Sonic slowly succumbs to digital corruption. While it's reflected in his idle animations and bits of dialogue, it doesn't affect his gameplay. This results in late-game cutscenes featuring a heavily corrupted Sonic in immense suffering, slowly dragging his body forward with nothing but sheer determination keeping him alive... only for him to be able to run and jump around like there's nothing wrong with him at all the second the cutscene is over and gameplay resumes.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman: In Goo Lagoon, the main enemies are lifeguards, who will attack you supposedly because you're breaking the rules by running dangerously fast on the beach. Ignoring the fact that even if that were true, a lifeguard would not at all be justified in assaulting the person, they still yell at you for running and attack you even if you tiptoe as slowly as possible.
  • The Super Mario Bros. series has an odd case of this. From the very beginning, Princess Peach has been the Damsel in Distress... but on almost every occasion she's been playable, she's been quite capable, whether as a fighter, athlete, or go-kart driver, and largely a match for Mario... which raises the question of how she continues to be kidnapped and require Mario to save her when she's as good as him and more than capable of defeating swarms of angry Koopas when she needs to. At this point, Nintendo seems to simply have fun with its artifacts.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, the entire goal of the game is to retrieve magical Shine Sprites which have scattered all over a tropical island. The Sprites are the source of the good weather that gives the island prosperity, and therefore vitally important to everyone on the island. However, most of the Sprites you'll find are being held by random inhabitants of the island who give them to you as rewards for trivial tasks like winning a squid race. One merchant in town happens to possess a full 20% of them. Not a single inhabitant seems to realize that it might be a good idea to return the sprites themselves. To make matters worse, Mario gets blamed and arrested by the authorities for the incident that made the Shine Sprites disappear and has to solve their problem as punishment.
  • According to the instructions manual for the original Super Mario Bros. game, Buzzy Beetles are enemies that act exactly like Koopa Troopas except that they can't be killed with fireballs (though you can stomp them and kick their shells, however). But despite this fact, only one Buzzy Beetle can be killed with fireballs: the Fake Bowser at the end of World 3.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Casual games can be even more prone to this trope than conventional video games. In the Hidden Object game Escape the Museum 2, the protagonist has to find several plot-irrelevant items in order to acquire pieces for a homemade battering ram, then assemble them correctly, in order to bash through a wooden door. One of these superfluous items, which you're not allowed to use for anything? A chainsaw.
  • Love & Pies:
    • Joe's special order to find Freya's cat, Marshmallow, can still be completed even while he's at the baker's retreat, and Amelia wouldn't notice the difference between him and his twin brother Sam if completed while he's visiting during Days 13-15, only doing so when the real Joe comes back just when Sam is about to kiss her.
    • After Amelia's friends leave the romantic date room, she and Joe remark that it's been a while since the last time they've been alone together, and they decide to open it to customers the following day, after their date, even if there are guests in the room.
  • Sometimes in Professor Layton, people might give the titular character a puzzle as a test to see if he's really as good at puzzles as he's said to be. The problem is they believe you even if you stumbled upon the answer by going through more than one answer (or sometimes all choices) to get to the right answer despite how skeptical they might be.
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, players can siege and conquer any town of the map, which allows them to collect income once per month when passing them and using them as a base, but this is completely separate from the story. If they rebel, however, you can't continue with the story if the town in question has the next storyline quest. Since the cities count as mechanical creatures, you can even get the dwarf Kalkus to aid you in besieging his own homeland.
  • The 7th Guest and its sequel suffer terribly from this trope, the reason being mainly that the puzzles Henry Stauf set up throughout his mansion make the plot feel disconnected at times because of how hard, long, and sometimes annoying they seem to be. The cutscenes in the first game can become a clever thought puzzle in piecing together the order in which they occurred during that night, but the sequel had no such events, instead having the puzzles separated by arbitrary fetch quests hinted at from riddles Stauf gives you on the electronic Gamebook.
  • Spelling Jungle: The river is flooding, but it doesn't have any affect on the areas Wali stops at on his journey. Also, Yobi's supposedly too old and frail to make the journey upriver (which is why Wali does the actual traveling), but he's always there for the Spelldown challenge that follows each level.

    Racing Games 
  • Jak X:
    • The heroes are on a racing the cutscenes. In gameplay, not so much. Ashelin, at least, is kind enough to warn us that she's going to take it all on herself, but nobody else seems to have much in the way of team spirit either; Jak can get blown up dozens of times by his closest friends.
    • Similarly, your team doesn't make progress unless Jak specifically places. You can have Ashelin and Torn come in first and second and the game will treat that as your team being trampled.
    • You need to rack up wins to earn access to the later races. Other people can just kind of turn up later on. This is perhaps understandable for people like Sig and Kleiver, who have history as Death NASCAR drivers; less so when it's Keira, who finally gets to drive at the last minute and nobody complains.
    • GT Blitz refers to Jak as a "nimble and lightning-quick racer" even if you've been exclusively driving the big, tanky Mighty Glacier vehicles.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • The Battle For Middle Earth II: It's possible to claim the One Ring by locating Gollum somewhere on the map, at which you can then recruit an extremely powerful hero, with the good factions recruiting Galadriel and the evil factions recruiting Sauron. While this makes sense for the Elves and Mordor (and, to an extent, the Goblins and Angmar), it's somewhat trickier to imagine Galadriel showing up as a hero for the Dwarves or the Men of the West, and it's downright weird if you're playing as Isengard, since Saruman's whole motivation in the series is to take the Ring for himself rather than giving it to Sauron. Several mods try to fix this by giving each faction their own Ring hero.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Mission 11 in the Nod campaign involves them destroying a GDI research facility which is then revealed to have been a trap to capture Anton Slavik and his crew. Even if you wipe out every GDI unit on the map instead of going with a sneak attack, the storyline cinematic will show Slavik and Oxanna in chains anyway.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series:
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert: In the Soviet Campaign, the Allies rescue Einstein by Chronoshifting him out of a firing squad execution. However, using the Chronosphere on infantry will make them permanently disappear (a.k.a. die). Even if you put the infantry in an APC, they will still be lost when using Chronoshift on the APC (though this can be disabled in rules.ini).
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2:
      • "Deja Vu", the second Soviet mission in Yuri's Revenge, is about trying to destroy Einstein's Lab and the still-in-development Chronosphere. However, and unlike "Mirage" from the vanilla Allied campaign (the mission it mirrors), the Chronosphere is not only fully operational, but if you get an Allied Construction Yard, you can build your own fully operational Chronosphere.
      • The objective in "Desecration" is to apprehend Vladimir in the White House — and the introduction to the following mission shows him hiding in a drawer. The problem is that your objective is to either capture or destroy the White House, but the cutscene is the same regardless of what you choose to do. How he manages to find an intact hiding spot even in the rubble among the White House is anyone's guess.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: The Soviets point out Einstein being removed from existence hampered Allied prowess, but in-game the Allies still have the Chronosphere, the Mirage Tanks, and several technological edges, most of them hardly checked on release. This is Hand Waved by having these technologies developed by FutureTech instead of Einstein. It goes to the point that the main technology removed was a Soviet specialty ever since the first Red Alert (one in which Einstein was only peripherally involved in developing). The Allied Weather Control Device no longer exists, though.
  • Dawn of War:
    • Space Marines and Imperial Guard are supplied with buildings and troops via orbital or aerial drops, and have abilities to call in artillery barrages, bombing runs, or Orbital Bombardment. All these work just fine even if the current mission is deep underground, or on a space ship.
    • One of the mandatory missions in the second game's campaign requires an industrial district be defended. There is no time limit despite the apparent urgency, it can be failed (all squads incapacitated) multiple times with no consequences, and while the huge and seemingly impenetrable gate is pretty sturdy not only are there two highly visible holes in it near the edges of the map, but Tyranid Carnifexes (of which there are plenty) are specifically designed to easily ram down such fortifications. And in the expansion Chaos Rising, there is the option to destroy them and can be done with a single satchel charge (although the gates had been earlier blown up and they mention that they were recently restored and are thus weaker).
  • Empires of the Undergrowth: it is possible to win a scenario while predators are attacking your nest and even winning. In this case, in the end mission cutscene you might see them rampage on the background while the narrator voice says things like that your colony is strong and fended off all its enemies. This can easily happen if you activated a challenge and special enemies periodically spawn, right from the very first mission (which tasks you to kill only regular enemies).
  • LostMagic has a field day with this; Bosses use special Runes they aren't supposed to have ''at all' as they're their respective Sage's secret power, Useless Useful Spells work better for the bosses then for you, and then comes the Cutscene Power to the Max. Or not.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire:
    • According to the lore, the TEC Rebels, Vasari Loyalists and Advent Loyalists are all hostile and uncompromising, while the TEC Loyalists, V Asari Rebels and Advent Rebels are more open to diplomacy. Yet in the actual gameplay, all six factions are equally capable of forging and maintaining alliances with anyone.
  • StarCraft:
    • In all the games, Carriers and Battlecruisers are huge capital ships in all cutscenes, story sequences and novels, but in gameplay they are the size of a truck and can be shot down by rifle-wielding Marines, although it does take a somewhat appropriately large number of them.
    • Kerrigan's initial capture by the Zerg happens after a massive wave of Zerg appears from nowhere, overrunning your base, and Mengsk refuses to commit resources to an evacuation — except that if the player knows that's coming, it's quite feasible to construct defences that can hold off the assault indefinitely. The cut-scene happens anyway. You can even kill her right at the moment where you win the game and the cutscene will start anyway 3 seconds later, with her asking for an evac apparently from the afterlife.
    • In one cutscene in Episode II, we see half a dozen or so Terran Marines kill at least that many hydralisks before succumbing to their superior numbers; in gameplay Marines are far weaker, and hydralisks have ranged attacks instead of relying on their claws. Note also that Ghosts are never seen wearing any kind of helmet or breathing apparatus, despite their routine deployment in hard vacuum (probably not a case of Batman Can Breathe in Space because cutscene Ghosts are always shown in an atmosphere or pressurized ship).
    • In dialogue and cinematics, the viewer is given the impression that the Terrans wouldn't stand a chance in a straight fight with the Protoss, and that Terran technology is inferior to the Protoss. However, in actual gameplay, the Terrans play like glass cannons who have plenty of firepower to give their foes a run for their money, though you do need sufficient micro management to unleash their potential.

      Even more funny is that lack of certain abilities seem highly arbitrary. For instance the Terran Battlecruiser gained the ability to do a tactical jump (like jumping into hyperspace) in StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void melee mode, and you'd think Protoss capital ships would have something similar considering the Protoss' prodigious knowledge. It's also funny that the Protoss didn't consider using cloaking generators on some of their aircraft — like with the Terran Banshee attack helicopter — and need to rely on cumbersome methods such as a nearby Mothership to provide a cloaking field. However, the Protoss have Strategic Recall from any of their Nexi so they presumably don't need to encumber their ships with a similar warp drive.

      This gets a pass for Competitive Balance however.
    • In cutscenes, Protoss High Templars are veteran Zealots who could probably take down a dozen Zerglings while naked and unarmed, and Tassadar (who, granted, is exceptional even among High Templars) is shown extending his wristblades far enough to cut mutalisks out of the sky. In gameplay, the High Templar is a typical Glass Cannon, who can blanket the world in powerful special abilities, but doesn't even have a melee attack and will lose to a Zergling every time one gets into melee range. Starcraft II did eventually give them a ranged attack, but it's not nearly as powerful as what cutscenes show.
  • Warcraft:
    • One of the cutscenes in II depicts a human footman commandeering an orcish catapult and using it to destroy a goblin zeppelin. In gameplay, catapults can't even attack zeppelins, let alone strike them down in one hit.
      • In the Human ending to the "Tides of Darkness" campaign: No matter how you destroy the Dark Portal to end the war against the Orcs, the cutscene will always show the Arch Mage Khadgar using his magic ritual to destroy the portal. This can be quite noticeable, if you decided to use a force of Gryphon Riders to get the job done for the mission, and no Land troops were present on the land mass where the portal resides.
    • In III, Arthas sells his soul in exchange for power by picking up the runeblade Frostmourne. In spite of this however, he goes from being a level 10 Paladin in the last human mission to being a level 1 Death Knight in the first undead level, leading to a massive drop in in-game stats, including inexplicably losing Frostmourne's Chaos Damage. Similarly, Illidan also sells his soul for power by consuming the Skull of Gul'dan. When he shows up later in Frozen Throne, his appearance has changed and he boasts about how powerful he is... but his stats aren't any different from that of a typical level 10 Demon Hunter.
    • Another blatant one in TFT where Tyrande and Furion sail to Maiev's aid against Illidan. Illidan and Tyrande have dialogue if they meet in battle, but no matter how many times Furion and Illidan are in sight of or attack each other, Illidan is astounded to see his brother during the ending cutscene.
  • Being an adaptation of a tabletop game, Total War: Warhammer, Total War: Warhammer II and Total War: Warhammer III have this in spades:
    • To begin with, and as a rule of thumb, units that were in-lore extremely rare can be recruited as much as the player wants as long as they have the funds (bar very few exceptions). As an example, it's entirely possible to have multiple of your lords lead armies with up to nineteen hydras each, when the fact that the Dark Elf Rakarth once attacked Ulthuan with nine in his army was astonishing (both as a demonstration of his control over beasts as well as the efforts that went into the attack). Likewise, despite The Empire of Man having in-lore only 8 Steam Tanks remaining, the players can produce as many as they want. Presumably in that continuity the plans for more weren't lost.
    • Some quests (generally associated with getting a Legendary Lord's unique gear, generic missions limit themselves to "do X thing to Y faction" without specifying a location) require you to attack/raise/scout/what-have-you a specific region, explicitly in order to harm a particular faction, even if that faction does not own that region anymore.
    • In the first game, Legendary Lords had quests to unlock their equipment that were presented as them accomplishing a task to get them... when their models were very obviously brandishing those weapons and armour pieces already. This was changed in the second game, so that most of these quests are instead about empowering these weapons, renewing blessings/enchantments on them or somesuch. But while some of the quest texts were retroactively updated for the first game's Legendary Lords to reflect this, the voiced speeches they give before the battles were not, resulting in things such as Azhag the Orc telling his subordinates that he gets first picks to choose a "Shiny Bos'Hat" after the battle, but both the quest texts leading to it and his model show him already wearing it.
    • Khazrak the One-Eye was hit with the reverse problem in his special quests in the second game, since the locations they required him to attack were changed to reflect his new start position (in the middle of Bretonnia), but the text was not, leading to Khazrak rampaging around Bretonnia while the text tells us it is directly harming Boris Todbringer, whose city is half a continent away.
    • Many Legendary Lords were given mount options that they did not have in the tabletop and/or the lore. For examples, Lokhir Felheart and Wulfrik the Wanderer, both on-foot duelists characters in the tabletop, were given monstrous mounts (a dragon and a war mammoth respectively). The worst offender is Teclis, a Squishy Wizard par excellence in the game's universe, who was given a horse to ride (in-lore he only does so under extreme circumstances and is quite bad at it) as well as an arcane phoenix mount, when in-lore he swore to never ride any flying animal after two particularly bad experiences, and riding a phoenix would be something only the most skilled of riders could achieve.
    • In-lore, Skaven technology is extremely unreliable, often malfunctioning, backfiring, misfiring, firing in random directions, up to exploding in the user's face in some occasions. In-game, their weapon teams/artillery function just as well as any other race's, because having them risk blowing up with every single shot they take would make for pretty annoying gameplay.
    • Still related to Skaven, and once again to make for a better playing experience: their specie-wide Chronic Backstabbing Disorder is severely downplayed, and as long as you give items/make a Lord win battles every once in a while, they'll faithfully serve you, and bar taking care of some corruption in your provinces, maintaining public order isn't much more complicated than with other factions. If it was accurate to their lore, every single Lord, hero and army unit would have a chance to desert/betray you each turn, you'd get constant rebellions in your territories and confederating other Skaven factions would be almost impossible.
    • Diplomacy can easily lead to this thanks to two mechanics: United Against Us (a faction that the player is at war with can invite any other faction to the war, regardless of if the two faction like each other in gameplay or lore) and the diplomacy bonus given when attacking a common enemy, which can results in Skaven and Dwarfs, both mortal enemies in-lore, being very friendly with each other because both are at war with the greenskins.
    • Markus Wulfhart's "Hostility" mechanic is supposed to represent the Lizardmen becoming more and more angered as he encroaches on their territory, up to sending an army after him when the meter is full. Except that meter will rise whenever Wulfhart's faction fights a battle, no matter if it's against the Lizardmen themselves, against enemies that the Lizardmen (in-lore or in-gameplay) want exterminated from the planet, if the fight happens far away from any Lizardmen territory or any combination of the above.
    • The third game's "Realm of Chaos" campaign requires each faction to invade the realm of each of the four Chaos Gods in order to defeat a champion and take their soul. It makes sense for Khorne to make Skarbrand compete in his challenges. It also makes sense for Tzeentch, a god who screws over his own followers nearly as much as he does his enemies, to have Kairos navigate his maze. But there is little reason for Ku'Gath and N'Kari (Greater Daemons who are straightforwardly favoured by their respective gods) to take part in their masters’ challenges.
    • Part of the third game's story is that Be'lakor took control of the Forge of Souls, a special place within the Chaos Realm. Which makes it odd that Chaos players can recruit Soul Grinders units (as the Forge of Souls is the place Soul Grinders are made at) to oppose his plan, and even moreso that these Soul Grinders unit can take part in the final battle against Be'lakor (when part of the process of making a Soul Grinder involves a Magically-Binding Contract that the newly remade daemon will fight for the owner of the Forge if it is attacked, whoever its opponent is).
    • The Skaven and Ogres races gain meat from defeated enemy armies, even if the said army is composed of etheral ghosts, daemons that dissipate after death or entirely skeletal Tomb Kings. Ogres (who can consume said meat for buffs) also don't suffer any ill effect from eating zombies or Nurgle servants, but they're described as having very strong stomachs in-lore.
    • Being a bloodthristy War God, Khorne only accepts skulls offered if his worshipers were the ones to take them. Despite this, Daemons of Khorne can find and collect skull piles at the sites of battle they did not take part in.
    • Chaos Dwarfs gain Labour from defeated enemies. While it makes sense for nearly all the possible factions (Chaos Dwarfs are perfectly able to use undead workers and can also enslave daemons), in-lore the Chaos Dwarfs never enslave Skaven, executing them on sight instead, since they are tricky enough to make keeping them captive very troublesome, but not physically strong enough to make keeping them as slaves worth it. In-game, Chaos Dwarfs will still gain Labour from fighting the rats.
    • In lore, Cathayan wizards associate the eight main lores of magic with elemental themes that are often very distinct from those that these have in other lands, since most other factions ultimately derive their magical lore from the Old Ones (who taught magic to the Slann, who taught it to the early Elves, who influenced Old World human magical traditions), while the Cathayan dragons had their own preexisting understanding of magic in addition to being overall hostile to the Old Ones and their servants. In-game, however, since creating entirely new spell lists for all eight lores is in neither especially feasible in practice nor very good for game balance, Cathayan wizards use the same spells as their counterparts in other factions. Thus, for instance, astromancers use storm-, wind- and lightning-based Lore of Heavens spells despite Cathay associating it with the element of stone.
    • In the Shadows Of Change Downloadable Content Tzaangors are introduced, complete with a background lore blurb. Said lore includes how they "impale opponents with savage horns and beaks", which the in-game tzaangors don't possess due to cost cutting making the models, despite the DLC's 150% markup compared to earlier Lord Packs.

    Real-Time Tactics 
  • Myth: The Fallen Lords: The ending cinematic cutscene shows an explosion in the site of the final mission and several body parts flying towards the point of view, including the head of Alric - or at least an avatar but he was the only one left at that point. However, the final mission didn't involve him at all, having stayed on the field of the second-to-last mission after teleporting his soldiers thousands of kilometers away, and the sequel shows that he is alive.
  • Myth II: Soulblighter: At the end of Mission 22, the Deceiver kills Shiver who in the process magically explodes, killing also the former on spot. Despite the Deceiver being a major character, his death is not referenced at all in the following briefings. Possibly justified in the case of Mission 23 since it takes place on the same day and the narrator likely doesn't know the outcome of the duel yet; but the level depicts an assault that, according to the briefing for Mission 22, was planned to be launched only after Shiver's death. And there is still no mention in Mission 24 or even the Epilogue.
    Rhythm Game 
  • Due to the generally metaphorical nature of the BIT.TRIP series, this is excusable. Up until the fourth game, there seems to be absolutely no correlation between the storyline and gameplay, save, maybe, for some elements in the background.
  • Dance Central: In the third game's story mode, it's said that creativity (swag) is more important than methodical dancing. In a rhythm game where dancing not according to prompt costs you points.
  • Rhythm Heaven Megamix may be the first game in the series to have a story, but it makes no attempt whatsoever to tie the stages themselves into the story, only that they need to be cleared in order to progress. Considering that the stage can be about anything and can have you playing as anyone and anything (one moment you could be a high school girl performing her cheerleading routine, and the next you could be a cat clapping to get some fish), there isn't really a way to tie any of these together anyway.
  • In PaRappa's playthrough of Um Jammer Lammy the story and gameplay have NOTHING to do with each other. That, combined with the choppy framerate of cutscenes, makes it very easy to assume the game is glitched and skipping over the plot.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Lords Of Thunder allows you command of assorted Elemental Powers, in which you can blast fireballs, thunderbolts and all kinds of attacks on opponents. There's a stage set underwater, and somehow your fire-based powers could work perfectly despite the setting, though it's probably justified because magic.

    Simulation Game 
  • In Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, it's possible to spend most of the mission running for your life, calling in Allied Attacks or Allied Cover against all the other planes, and yet reinforcement pilots can still claim that the protagonist was responsible for shooting down everyone.
  • In Air Force Delta Strike You pull several missions that supposedly deal heavy blows to the enemy's logistics network, but their ability to field aircraft, tanks, ships, and wildly powerful contraptions of all manner is unaffected.
  • In APICO, you're still stuck on March 2, 1994note , the day you arrive on APICO Islands, even if you receive Director Bumblemore's letter about your first rehabilitated solitary bee species several in-game days later, because it's dated on that same day.
  • In Bounty Train, councils will say their city has a "shortage" of [goods] before sending you out to buy more...but if you look at the city's marketplace (which is just down the street from City Hall) it may be positively full of [goods]. Shortest Fetch Quest ever.
  • Growing Up:
    • Certain plot elements in your classmates' routes inexplicably become undone when you start a new generation.
      • Alex's good ending has her buying the Starcade and renaming it Alex's Arcade (or Space Sheep Arcade if you marry her), but it's still called Starcade the next time you unlock it.
      • In Alicia's good ending, the hospital she worked at gets shut down by her father, but it's still unlockable in your next run.
    • When Nate takes you to the animal sanctuary at the end of his route, it's described as an "unrecognizable" place, even if you unlocked it early by specializing in animal biology.
  • Harvest Town features a relationship meter which measures how much the other town residents like you. Obviously, everyone's meter start at 0, and would increase if the player give them gifts or complete specific quests for them. But this doesn't make much sense when you consider that the protagonist grew up in the titular town, and it would seem implausible to imagine that the guy who had only recently moved in the city is equally close to the protagonist as their grandfather's best friend and other honorary uncles whom they grew up with.
  • Hometown Story:
    • Carl is a punctual guy and parts of his story explicitly happen at precise times according to him, but cutscenes usually have a bracket of at least two hours during which they can be triggered. The time at which they actually happen may hence be in contradiction with his dialogue.
    • One of Harvey's cutscenes happens because using his stilts prevents him from holding a potted flower, but he has no problem lugging a bottle of fruit juice half his size halfway across the store during casual shopping.
  • Idol Manager:
    • Random events pertaining to problems with the most recent physical CD released by the agency will still appear for players who release all their singles as digital-only, the latter being the cheapest means to release a song. On the flip side of this, the requirement to have at least a CD out to be able to participate in the quiz show, which is the player's first public event as a group manager, will accept a digital-only release.
    • If the right choices are made, it's possible to get to a point where the agency can be sustained without standard performance revenue. This doesn't prevent random events pertaining to standard performances from showing up. In addition to this, the first event that needs to be played through to unlock Aya Naya's ending involves running into her during one of the group's performances.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist:
    • After the 9th Vertumnalia Festival, you and your friends start noticing that you haven't been seeing Dys and are worrying about him. However, you can still talk to him in the overworld and bond with him since he doesn't actually disappear until that year's Glow Season unless you can convince him not to when you spot him setting up the bomb near the colony walls. On a similar note, at least one random job event mentioning Dys visiting can still pop up after he leaves for sure, or even after he has become a Gardener.
    • The birthdays (technically birth months) of Sol's peers are formally discovered via giving them a gift on the right month, though they can also learn Marz's birthday in one conversation with her about Valentine's Day. This needs to be done separately for a pair of characters known to be twins.
  • My Child Lebensborn:
    • The incident upon which the child steals most of the Christmas savings to be able to buy things for their new friends starts with the Player Character hearing a noise from the house's living room after finishing a task. Nothing is keeping the task from being fishing, which is done quite far away from the house.
    • The journal entry added in response to finding out that the child's father is a baker includes a comment according to which the child must take after their father because they enjoy baking. It's entirely possible to get to that point of the game with the only cake ever baked being the child's birthday cake, which is used for the cooking tutorial. Any other extra baking done by the child is up to the player buying cake ingredients and choosing to cook with them while the child is in the house, but the game is partly a Struggling Single Mother simulator.
  • No Umbrellas Allowed:
    • Despite being a good friend of Nari, Bokho will still erase her signature if you ask him to because it's "Unidentifiable" and thus lowers her artwork's value.
    • Overusing the Private Slots will get you reported for using them to scam customers into buying their items for cheaper, even if you've been using them to hide cards that lower their appraisal value, especially towards customers who refuse to accept them even if they're correct.
  • Papers, Please has a gameplay mechanic where if you break even the slightest rule, accidentally or intentionally, you will instantly get issued an M.O.A. Citation the second you let that person through the checkpoint as if there is some perfect system instantly double-checking your work in real time. If Arstotzka just used this system to monitor the border they wouldn't need you at the desk checking passports and entry permits. Naturally it's an acceptable quirk as the game otherwise wouldn't work.
  • The Sims:
    • You might think this doesn't apply to a game that doesn't really have a story outside of premade neighborhoods, but there are some little things that don't add up, like having everyone in your town be Mayor at once (although that's more Gameplay And Logic Segregation), or events mentioned by chance cards never having long-lasting effects even if they should. One chance card, notably, states that you start a war with another city, but after your active Sim takes his or her punishment, the war is never brought up again.
    • The Sims 4: This tends to happen when the family bios are compared to the actual gameplay. For example, in Oasis Springs, Don Lothario is said to be in a relationship with Katrina while potentially getting involved with her adult daughters Dina and Nina. However, when they are first played he is only acquaintances with all of them. Likewise, in the Strangerville game pack, Ted Roswell is said to be the mayor of Strangerville, but when the household is first played he is unemployed (in fact, if City Living isn't installed the Politics career isn't even available).
  • In Spiritfarer, the quest "I Must Be Off" has Gwen temporarily leaving the ship to be alone, and you must find her across the map. However, finding her in a good mood while shopping doesn't advance the questline because she'll talk to you as she normally would in this situation. She actually went back to her childhood mansion instead.
  • In the Spore Galactic Adventures expansion, when playing adventures in the Space stage, they will be assigned to the locations of un-visited planets. It doesn't take into account the habitability of the existing planet before placing an adventure there, so you can have a planet that claims to be a T0 but ends up being a forested world with lots of wildlife when you actually land. Also, occasionally, player-made adventures will do things such as giving a name to the planet you're on, or being part of a series that assumes you've done the previous adventures, but they leave the captain unlocked so you can play them in Space stage where these details no longer make sense.
  • Stardew Valley: The rivalry between mom-and-pop store Pierre's and megacorp-backed Jojamart drives much of the background plot, with Joja constantly undercutting Pierre with low prices and crazy discounts in order to drive him out of business. You never see those low prices from Joja yourself — on the contrary, their prices are 25% higher than Pierre's, making it a poor choice. The only mitigating factor is that they're open all week (Pierre closes his store on Wednesdays), in case you planned poorly and need stuff on a Wednesday. Arguments have been made that the low prices might only extend to the products that aren't relevant to the player character (when was the last time you bought shampoo, or new shoelaces?) but villagers need for everyday needs, but it still leaves questions.
  • In Sun Haven, it's possible for the player character to marry Darius, Crown Prince of Withergate and during the story quests where they are trying to broker a peace agreement between Sun Haven and that state, no one makes mention of the major political implications of that union. It's especially bad because the ceremony is held in Sun Haven and Darius explicitly talks about the powers the player character has as royal consort.
  • In Syndicate Wars you control your agents from an airship. The last levels are in a space station and on the Moon, but don't mention how you see them.
  • Zeus: Master of Olympus: Asking favours of other cities, especially for military support, rapidly exhausts your Alliance Meter, requiring lots of time and bribery before they'll grant another request. This is true even if the city in question is a military outpost that you yourself established in a previous mission to mobilize against a powerful enemy.

    Sports Game 
  • Scooby-Doo! Big Air: The 2900 message reads "Try not to fall off your board", even if you're playing as the Mystery Machine.
  • skate suffers from this trope. At the beginning of the game, your skater gets hit by a bus after skating out into the street, and needs surgery in order to skate again. Later on in the game, however, there is a mission for Thrasher Magazine which requires you to break four bones in order to proceed. This, along with any other time in the game where you break bones is briefly commented on, but your character can get right back up and keep skating right away.

    Stealth Game 
  • Thief: Deadly Shadows: At some point you get framed for killing a Keeper, and you have to infiltrate their compound to find evidence that you are innocent. During the mission, if you want you can freely kill Keepers when you meet them.
    • The opinion meter with the Hammerites and the Pagan is also only effective in the urban hub. It is irrelevant during side missions and not influenced by your behavior in them. You can max the opinion with one of the factions and travel in the City without ever being bothered by them, even if you killed all of them in one of the missions.

    Survival Horror 
  • Alien: Isolation: Since at the start of the game the Torrens was to orbit the station for at most 24 hours, the entire story is contained within this time limit. After the initial cutscene Taylor gets severely injured by debris during the EVA and can't stand up. Samuels states that he can't move her and she needs medical supplies, which we search for most of the following levels. Taylor gets hospitalized at the beginning of Mission 10, then during Mission 11 we discover that she's gone. Soon later it is revealed that she woke up, released Marlow and attempted to bargain with him without a hussle, only to end up at the Anesidora apparently in health to follow our instructions.
  • Days Gone: There's a series of missions dedicated to getting explosives to collapse a cave entrance, even though the player can craft pipe bombs to use in gameplay. Granted, the dynamite is probably more powerful, but the only limit to the number of bombs Deacon can create is his resources, and he has a settlement to help him.
  • In Dead Rising, but really in every game that involves zombies just about, the zombies can grapple with your character, and if you don't button mash to get way fast enough, they bite you, which has no effect other than lost health. and yet, in cutscenes, a bite is certain infection. It turns out Frank does get infected if you progress to Overtime mode. Though then Gameplay and Story Segregation kicks in in the opposite way: Even if you spend the entire game not getting injured once, you're still infected.
    • The exact population of the town is given in the opening cutscene, and there's an achievement for killing that many zombies, but they'll keep respawning endlessly.
  • The sequel is even more jarring, as the gameplay is still the wacky, build-your-own-weapons and dress like a lunatic style... which clashes heavily with the main plot, and Chuck's tender interactions with his daughter in particular.
  • Dead Space:
    • In the animated prequel, the zombies cannot go near the Artifact of Doom that was dug up. But when it comes to be your turn to escort the thing, all manner of baddies can come right up to the thing with no issue. And by extension, you.
    • The Valour. Sure, Pulse Rifles are weak against Necromorphs, and maybe the soldiers needed a while to grab their guns, but seriously. One Slasher — the weakest type of Necromorph — manages to kill and infect an entire ship stocked to the brim with trained soldiers wielding Pulse Rifles and wearing advanced body armour that is as good or better than Isaac's Level 5 suit. (In fairness, some of the marine corpses clearly were killed by the crashing of the ship and not a necromorph, plus, according to one of the logs you can find on the ship, most of the marines actually survived until after the Valour crashed into the Ishimura, and were killed in a running battle against a horde of necromorphs that were attracted to the ship by the crash.)
    • Necromorphs are, in-story, nearly impossible to kill. The reason you cut off their limbs isn't to kill them, it's to dismember to the point that they can no longer attack. In gameplay, however, shooting them in the chest enough will kill them eventually, albeit using up a lot of ammo and dismemberment deals high damage to them causing them to die if you cut off enough limbs even if some are remaining.
  • Dead Space 2:
    • The Hacker Suit (an Old Save Bonus from Ignition) leaves Isaac's neck and ears exposed. This should cause depressurization problems, as your ears are connected to your lungs. This problem even extends to the following game, when Isaac is wearing a variant of the Hacker Suit (albeit, with no helmet), and gets shot into space soon after when the hull depressurizes and ejects him out just before he can put on the helmet for the EVA Suit. As before, he suffers no damage from the few seconds spent shooting through space before he puts the helmet on.
    • Titan's atmosphere has a surface pressure about one and a half times that of Earth's. On the other hand, Titan's temperature at surface level averages around -180°C, so while pressure wouldn't be a problem, hypothermia certainly would. Eh.
    • No real space suit would have an air supply of 3 minutes or less, but it is good for dramatic moments.
  • Dead Space 3:
    • A particular case that results in content being impressively bipolar in its execution involves the second player character, John Carver.
      • Unlike most optional co-op games, players who use both Isaac and Carvver get unique dialogue and cutscenes if he is present. This includes several exclusive co-op missions that have different visions for the players and different gameplay encounters based on who's controlling who. The problem occurs with the rest of the plot. Despite his presence, Carver won't (or can't) help Isaac during certain cutscenes, in order to keep the continuity of the plot flowing. This is exemplified in one of the early cutscenes, where Isaac is wounded just before Danik drags him to his feet and begins the Marker event — Carver (in co-op) is standing behind Isaac, but the cutscene outright states that Isaac is the only one who survived the ambush on the extraction team. Just after this, Carver is shown standing awkwardly around as Isaac wakes up and rolls out of the pile of bodies he fell into a few moments earlier.
      • The game still finds ways to keep Carver present, if non-participatory, for boss fights in single-player mode, so that his "helper" dialogue (mostly things like "hit its weak point for massive damage!") doesn't seem to come out of nowhere. That said, it also causes problems when the later single-player cutscenes have Carver and Isaac talking to each other like they're close buddies, despite the fact that he only randomly shows up when he needs to deliver exposition (and not at all at other points).
      • This even extends to the opening prologue sequence, where the finale (Serrano executes the soldier before shooting himself) makes no sense if there's a second soldier who happened to be accompanying the first and they both survived.
    • This phenomenon is zig-zagged when it comes to cutscene damage. Isaac's health will go down when he gets punched in the face or crash-lands on planetary reentry, but there are other scenes where he falls off several cliffs or gets a nasty gash to his head and his health bar is unaffected. Notably, when you crash onto Tau Volantis, the suit Isaac is wearing is completely undamaged from the impact — unless you're wearing the EVA Suit, in which case, the armor has noticeable damage (with a unique model), Isaac's face is partially bloodied (and has frost on it).
    • Considering the emphasis Unitology put on preserving dead human bodies in their entirety during Dead Space 2, their liberal use of suicide bombers in DS 3 veers into this trope.
    • Being forced to make use of the SCAF's abandoned gear on Tau Volantis because nothing else is available is a reasonable explanation for the game's new Design-It-Yourself Equipment mechanic when the player reaches the system. It doesn't explain why everyone is using those cobbled-together guns — even Norton and Carver when they "recruit" Isaac on Luna, as well as the Unitologists, an organization so well-organized and funded that, during the opening of the game, they are able to execute a coup d'etat against EarthGov and become the de facto rulers of the human race.
    • During sidequests to Tau Volantis, you can occasionally come across preserved corpses from the Expedition 200 years ago (IE Tucker Edwards). If stomped on, they react like freshly-slain human corpses in terms of spurting blood and such.
    • Despite the segment leading up to its acquisition emphasizing upon the danger of hypothermia, the Arctic Survival suit is not actually required to advance. Any RIG would do, in fact.
  • In Fredbear and Friends, the two best hiding spots — under the desk and inside a bathroom stall — cannot be entered outside of two specific cutscenes, even if the animatronics' inability to bend and disinterest in opening doors would allow Thomas to easily pass the six hours he believes he needs there.
  • Resident Evil:
    • If the plot actually mattered where the gameplay was concerned, the playable characters would very quickly run into a big problem the first time they took damage — since one zombie bite is all it should take to turn one into the walking dead. Amusingly, in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, one of Nemesis's attacks finds its mark on Jill during a cutscene, which naturally does infect her.
    • One wonders why the characters don't just kick the doors in or shoot the locks. The remake has an even more obnoxious example: One of the doors is so rickety that after you use it a few times, the knob falls off. Both of the characters are wearing combat boots but can't just kick in the door. Satisfyingly, Leon does this all the time in Resident Evil 4, shooting or cutting with his knife simple locks or simply kicking the door open. At the very least, their inability to shoot the doors is explained in the books as being due to the ever-present risk of ricocheted bullets. Granted, the books exist on a different plane of canon than the games, but this should still hold up.
    • What we should be wondering is why the mansion doesn't burn down in REmake when you're running around setting defeated zombies' corpses on fire (with kerosene haphazardly poured on them that certainly had to have splashed about) and shooting incendiary grenades at whatever you like... in a mansion built primarily with wood floors, walls, doors... just about everything, really. You'd think they'd all be burnt to a crisp long before the endgame.
    • Resident Evil also has one of the strangest cases of canonical events in video game history. Depending on who you play as the events of the game will be considerably different (to the point of being mutually exclusive of each other), one of the main characters will sit the entire game out in a cell, and either Barry or Rebecca will be a case of What Happened to the Mouse? However, as far as canon is concerned, Chris, Jill, Rebecca, and Barry all explored and survived the mansion, effectively meaning neither playthrough is technically "canon" as entirely different events took place as far as later games are concerned (with the closest we've actually seen of these events being the non-canon S.D. Perry novelization).
    • Leon in Resident Evil 2 gets shot by Annette in a cut scene and passes out from the shock. When he wakes up some time later, he can run around perfectly fine and his health doesn't get lowered from the gunshot wound, despite the fact that Leon was hit in the chest. Leon does collapse from his wound moments later, but he gets patched up with bandages and is fine for the rest of the game.
    • Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis both show the police in cutscenes attacking zombies with strong weapons like shotguns and machine guns, yet the zombies barely flinch as they make their move on their victims. In the actual gameplay, your shotgun can greatly stagger zombies (or make their heads explode with a headshot) and machine gun type weapons can shred zombies in three seconds while pushing them back. Because of those factors, zombies appear to be stronger in cutscenes than actual gameplay. They seemingly go by traditional zombie logic of headshot only, (thought as RE2 remake shows, they can survive up to 11 headshot from 9x19mm handguns). Resident Evil also does this to Barry when he and Jill have their first zombie encounter. Barry shoots the zombie three times with a .44 magnum revolver at point blank range before it slumps over. When you get to use the same weapon for yourself later on, you can kill zombies with just one shot, even on Hard.
    • Resident Evil 4 Oh boy... While some gameplay and story segregation plagued older games, starting with 4, this became a norm for the series right until 7. Overall, there is just so many examples of it that it's easier to provide the Cutscene Power to the Max entries for Leon alone:
      • Leon sprinting in many, many cutscenes, but cannot do the same when you control him in the game itself.
      • Leon can use binoculars when plot wants it only.
      • Leon easily do knife combos and managed to block Krauser's attacks with it skillfully, yet he can only swing it awkwardly in gameplay.
      • Leon can do backflips, roll, jump, duck, dodge enemies slashes... in QTE and cutscenes only.
      • The scene that shout outs the original RE movie in which Leon can even wall run.
      • You have to escort President's daughter Ashley, and the enemies will constantly try to steal her from you and carry her away. Should they leave the current area, even if Leon is two steps behind, the game is over. But when Ashley is abducted in a cutscene, which happens at least twice, Leon just goes on looking for her.
      • The main villain Saddler makes it very clear that his Evil Plan depends entirely upon Ashley being given a parasite and delivered back home alive. With that in mind, you will spend nearly the entire time thereafter protecting her from lethal traps and ambushes, even by baddies who, according to the plot, should definitely know better than to risk harming or killing her. The remake more or less eliminates this, as Ashley can certainly still accidentally die at the hands of Ganados, but the only enemies that deliberately attack her with intent to kill are the Armaduras, which are far dumber than most enemies because they're simply Plagas parasites inhabiting suits of armor, and thus lack a human brain for Saddler to easily manipulate.
    • Sherry in Resident Evil 6 can rapidly heal her wounds as shown in the cutscene where Jake pulls out a piece of metal from her back, which is due to the G-Virus adapting to her body after she received the vaccine. She does not have this ability during actual gameplay.
  • In the game version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the family's grandfather is immobilised in a wheelchair, but has the power to detect victims and pass their locations on to the Family players. Victims can prevent this by attacking Grandpa. There is nothing in the plot to explain the grandfather's apparently supernatural ability nor to suggest that the victims know about it, so within the story, the victims are taking a break from fleeing the house in which they were tortured to stab a defenseless old man.
  • World of Horror:
    • Because some events can trigger regardless of where you are or what mystery you're investigating, it's possible for your character to have their wallet stolen in the middle of a crowded plaza, despite the fact that they're supposed to be trapped in a haunted mansion with only the other guests for company.
    • The mystery solving, which constitutes the bulk of the actions that the protagonists take, is not actually connected to the overarching goal of stopping an Eldritch Abomination from waking up and destroying the world. From a purely Watsonian perspective, the protagonist can only disrupt the summoning ritual in the lighthouse because someone keeps sending them keys to lighthouse's locks, one by one, after each mystery investigation, regardless of how the investigation concluded.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Tabletop games usually avert this trope as much as possible when playing. Nothing irks players faster than an arbitrary screw by the GM; if the mechanics are good for the goose, they almost always are good for the gander. It is after all people interacting with other people, and illogical plot holes and actions can be readily pointed out and adjusted as necessary. A few games even allow players to intercede at the level of narrative, not character, but doing so usually has a mechanic behind it (aside from buying the GM pizza.) However, the mechanics of dice rolling for actions can often lead to bizarre, illogical and frustrating inconsistencies at times.
    • The Grappling with Grappling Rules page details all the trouble with making realistic grappling combat mechanics while still being easy to play.
    • Games with auto-failure parameters for dice rolls can result in characters failing improbably at completely mundane tasks, even within their fields of specialty.
    • On the other hand, games with automatic successes can have characters attempting to pull off impossible actions with a lucky roll.
    • NPCs who should be wiser, more experienced and even outrank the players will constantly defer the actions of the party to the player characters, even when it would make no sense to do so.note 
    • Games which do feature mechanical narrative intervention ("plot points") sometimes have a problem when the fact that these behave as a resource modifies the plot. For example, when a spaceship is approaching a difficult asteroid field, the pilot may swap out with the gunner who knows nothing about piloting because the gunner's player has more plot points. Even though they would likely fail the dice rolls, they can use the plot points to override them thus having no chance of failure, whereas the pilot character would most likely succeed but would not be certain to.
  • The "Unicorn problem" in most tabletop RPGs. This occurs when a particular type of character is rare in-lore, and yet is also available as a choice of player character type. This should mean that the players are constantly encountering groups who are surprised and/or unprepared for that particular rare type showing up, but in practice this usually results in a boring game or serious game balance problems. (For a specific example: lore-wise only 1% of the population are mages in Shadowrun, yet the vast majority of player groups will include one. This means that any antagonists the players fight against must be prepared to face a mage, no matter how unlikely this was — imagine every club bouncer being ready for Muhammad Ali or Floyd Mayweather to show up — or the mage will win easily.)
  • Cyberpunk games tend to have a problem with hacking. To keep the game fun, hacking is usually modelled cinematically: you can hack any system if you're a sufficiently good hacker and can spend a short time frantically typing. This works in films when there's a single protagonist, but, in a tabletop game, NPC hackers will be following the same rules. This usually results in PCs desperately avoiding using any form of technology because it is so easily hacked, yielding the opposite of cyberpunk.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Capcom's arcade game Shadow Over Mystara introduces two new characters to the playable party, and the plot acts as if they've always been adventuring with them from the start. One of them even pulls out a Plot Coupon from the first game that they "stole" to allow the party to access the final leg of stages.
    • The rules book Elder Evils states that the elder evils are so powerful that even the gods would think twice before standing against them, but a comparison of the statistics of some of the elder evils in that book to the gods' statistics in Deities and Demigods shows that the gods could easily crush the elder evils (well, the ones who you can grasp the true form of, anyhow). Likewise, the Epic Level Handbook's claim that even the gods can't stand up to a certain monster described in that book seems questionable when the statistics are compared.
    • Elminster in the novels is one of the most powerful wizards in the world, had an affair with the goddess of magic (and is one of her Chosen), and is functionally immortal. However, his character stats as presented in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting... well, let's just say anyone who has a passing familiarity with Dungeons and Dragons can make a better epic-level wizard.
    • Magic armor and clothing are "one size fits all" in order to keep players and DMs from having to juggle different equipment sizes in addition to everything else. Of course, some common-sense exceptions exist; generally, if there's a size difference of two or more categories (i.e. Small to Large or Medium to Huge), the rule probably doesn't apply.
    • This trope is a common criticism of the fourth edition, which is chock full of effects where the rules text ("crunch") doesn't match the descriptive text ("fluff"). For instance, an inspiring speech that gives you a buff even if you cannot hear it; a One-Hit Kill that deals exactly as much damage as other attacks of the same level; a particular swordfighting maneuver that you can only do once per day for no reason, and can never learn to do twice; an infamous spell that lets you teleport an enemy into hell, but only if you teleport him right back (again, doing exactly as much damage as other attacks of the same level); and numerous archery moves and bolt spells that allow you to shoot at two creatures, but never at the same creature twice.
    • While Charisma would help deal with threatening guards, it's still baffling that the hulking, musclebound, half-orc barbarian has less of a chance then the charming bard at intimidating someone by RAW, unless the DM rules that they can use their strength for intimidation by some means. averted in later editions, which specifically mention using Strength for intimidation as an exemple that a task can be accomplished in different ways by different characters
  • Exalted is terrible for this, with extremely clear statements that many mechanical elements, Essence and Charms in particular, have no in-story meaning, even though many of those elements require characters to know what they are.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • All over the place. While it's mostly understandable that you can summon creatures from hostile factions to your aid without them trying to stab each other, given that you are magically copying them and not calling the original, this turns up with the planeswalkers. To give just a few examples: you can have both cursed!Garruk and Liliana out in a BG deck, even though Liliana was the one who cursed Garruk and he spent most of Innistrad block trying to either kill her or make her withdraw it; and you can call upon planeswalker!Karn and Venser at the same time, even though the latter's death was what gave Karn back his planeswalking spark! You can even have Elspeth and Ajani Steadfast out at once, in the same color, even though the Steadfast-era Ajani is wearing the former's signature cloak as a Tragic Keepsake. There are also a lot of strange interactions between cards, most notably the possibility — in the right deck — of having a snake equipped with a full suit of armour, sword, shield, and even wearing boots.
    • This comes up a lot in the tie-in novels for the game's sets, thanks to the writers only being given a story outline and not the exact specifics of each card. This leads to stuff like Gerrard being able to disembowel Tsabo Tavoc in the Invasion Cycle (and Crovax later being able to kill her) even though her card specifically gives her protection from legendary creatures, and Akroma and Phage fighting repeatedly throughout the Onslaught Cycle even though by the metrics of the card game Akroma should win every clash with Phage thanks to her higher stats and protection from black.
  • Pathfinder: Pretty much every bit of material to involve goblins treats them as basically being the dumbest things around. Every bit of material seems to add another bit of stupidity onto the pile — dangerously pyromaniac, terrified of dogs and horses, thinks writing steals your soul. One would think their stats would give them massive penalties to their Intelligence and Wisdom — but as most of Pathfinder is a reskin of D&D 3rd Edition, where goblins were treated as fairly normal intellectually (if a bit rough-edged and crude), the only mental penalty Pathfinder goblins get is a -2 to Charisma. Even the standard goblin warrior statblock has 10 Intelligence (perfectly average) and 9 Wisdom (a bit below-average but hardly insane).
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • The most obvious is Legacy, who despite being a Flying Brick, has a deck mostly focused on healing and protecting his allies. Interestingly, in the Freedom Four comic, Legacy behaves much like he does in-game, distracting Blade and taking hits while the Wraith, Bunker, and Tachyon do the actual damage to the platform and drill. Iron Legacy, meanwhile, shows what Legacy would be like if he wasn't holding back; Word of God specifies that a lot of Legacy's restraint is instinctive, so Legacy can't just power himself up to Iron Legacy levels by getting pissed.
    • His alternate form, Greatest Legacy, gets this from the other direction. Since only the character card is different, he retains the effects and powers that depend on or otherwise reference Legacy's impenetrable skin — a power that only the current Legacy developed, and which Greatest Legacy wouldn't have.
    • Both Legacy and Haka are supposed to be nearly invulnerable (Legacy has impenetrable skin and Haka is immortal) yet they are vulnerable to most attacks unless they invoke specific cards.
    • Completionist Guise's power allows the players to swap other hero cards out for their variants. Which...doesn't really make any sense, from a story perspective, since the variants are all either the base heroes at different points in time, alternate universe versions, or totally different people taking on the mantle as a Legacy Character.
    • Also with Guise, Santa Guise is able to wrap up cards and give them away, meaning that he can give out boxes containing not just things like guns and robots, but also resilient skin (Legacy), rainstorms (Tempest), explosions (Expatriette), specific combat actions (Haka), backup copies of unique weapons like Absolution (Fanatic), the Hippocratic Oath (Southwest Sentinels), and Big Damn Heroes moments (Stuntman). Try to figure out how that looks on the comics page.
      • Word of God eventually stated that Guise's abilities vary by medium, so his assorted antics that only make sense in the card game only happen in the card game.
    • Plague Rat has Infection cards, which represent his mutagenic, infectious saliva. This affliction canonically has to enter the bloodstream. Even given that No Biochemical Barriers is generally in force in comics (allowing Plague Rat to infect the likes of Tempest, Sky-Scraper and Lifeline), he canonically cannot infect robots like Omnitron-X, energy beings like Doctor Medico, or undead like Dark Watch Mister Fixer, all of whom are as vulnerable to the disease in-game as anyone else (as are both forms of Akash'Thriya, whose body is made out of either stone or Void energy).
    • Luminary's Kill Sat is a bit weird. First, he appears to have one above every location in which he's played. This makes relative sense on modern Earth, where he can presumably use the same satellites, and is perhaps understandable in the Final Wasteland (assuming it lasted centuries up there) and Dok'Thorath (which has an orbital bombardment card), but is a bit weird in places like the Block (which is an extradimensional prison without any "outside" to put an orbital cannon in), Silver Gulch (which takes place 74 years before Sputnik was launched), or the Realm of Discord (which is mystical and weird). Additionally, the Kill Sat in question has really good aim for something being fired from miles above the battlefield, given that it can, for example, hit Apostate without harming his relics, many of which he actively holds or wears. And then Heroic Luminary enters the picture; as an unambiguous hero, the names and Doomsday subtype of any of Luminary's superweapons don't fit, and instead the cards represent things like the lunar prison she used to trap Legacy of Destruction.
    • Luminary is also the ruler of Mordengrad. Nobody apparently told the people in the Mordengrad environment deck about this. Either the lack of a scar is screwing with them, or someone's leading a rebellion.
    • Luminary is also not the Nemesis of Iron Legacy (though they do have unique dialogue in the Video Game), despite the fact that Iron Legacy fell because Baron Blade killed his daughter.
    • A villain's HP represents the trouble the heroes have dealing with their Evil Plan, not so much their actual physical durability. Hence the reason that Citizen Dawn has a mammoth 80 health, yet went down to Fanatic in the Cosmic Contest, and the reason that Wager Master - a singular entity who mortals can barely scratch, and who could be on par with OblivAeon if he cared to start rounding up minions - only has 51 health and Baron Blade's Power Armored flip side has less health than his normal side.
    • Word of God has gone on record saying that they would have liked to have had Captain Cosmic's Requital variant - which has absorbed the power and madness of his fallen brother, Infinitor - add the Infinitor-specific Manifestation subtype to his Constructs if the idea had worked out.
    • Sometimes the card art doesn't quite match up to the game mechanics.
      • The art of Argent Adept's Inventive Preparation — a Rhythm card — has him blowing his Eydisar's Horn — which only affects Melody and Harmony cards.
      • The art and flavor text on Nightmist's Mistbound indicate she's banishing Voss to another dimension and defeating him — the card does no damage, instead blocking a deck from playing any cards, so it can't defeat a villain (although it can certainly make life harder for many of them).
      • Expatriette's Unload shows her gunning down a bunch of Voss's troops with her firearms — including the Gene-Bound Soldiers, who are immune to her projectile damage. (Possibly justified by her variant ammunition, which substitutes damage types.)
      • Tachyon has her flavor text describe Lightspeed Barrage as dozens of punches, but the in-game effect is one chunk of damage.
      • Absolute Zero's Coolant Blast shows him blasting several of Proletariat's clones, but the power on the card is a single-target attack.
      • Kismet's Hapless Strike has the highest HP hero hit the lowest HP hero — but depicts the Argent Adept (24 base HP) hitting Fanatic (31 base HP). (To be fair, Fanatic runs off Cast from Hit Points, so she could easily have burnt herself down to lower than Argent Adept's health).
      • Pervasive Red Dust in the Wagner Mars Base destroys equipment cards — but depicts Visionary, who doesn't have any equipment in her deck.
      • While Thorathian Monolith makes Sky-Scraper change to her Huge card and depicts her as such, it's possible for her to swap to her Normal or Tiny cards while it's still in effect, so that she's still somehow shielding her teammates while she's only a few inches tall.
  • Shadowrun:
    • The sourcebooks are quite clear that, story-wise, the powers of magic-users and technomancers are as different as night and day. Gameplay-wise, however, technomancers practically are magic-users whose powers affect the Matrix instead of the real world. The 5e sourcebook "Kill Code" even outright stated that a technomancer weaving a Complex Form or compiling a Sprite resembles a magic-user casting a spell or summoning a Spirit more than it does resemble a decker using a program or starting an agent.
    • Shadowrun 4th Ed features cyberware which can be hacked through their remote diagnostic connections, in part to give hacker characters a role in combat. Every player naturally had their PC disable all remote functionality on their cyberware and the idea was retconned after observing that any enemy who did not do so just looked ridiculous. 5th Edition then brought this back by giving cyberware enhanced functionality only if it was connected to the Matrix (ie, the Internet), but with there often being no explanation why this should be the case. (Not that it's difficult to imagine an "always online" requirement in a cyberpunk setting, mind you.)
  • Star Wars:
    • Almost no Star Wars game has ever managed to model lightsaber combat in a way that supports the canonical duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader; inevitably one chops the other in half with their first blow because a person's ability to defend themselves is abstracted into their total armor value, and it is established that lightsabers can cut through armor. The Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars RPG abandons any attempt to work this into gameplay and simply states that except in exceptional circumstances any confrontation between Darth Vader and a PC is "You Lose" (the movie duel between Skywalker and Vader, for instance, counting as having exceptional circumstances because Vader was deliberately not fighting at maximum strength)
    • Star Wars Armada: Quasar Fire Carriers are an exclusively Imperial vessel, even though both examples from canon are Rebel ships.
    • Star Wars: Saga Edition has far fewer guns on ships than has been previously established. However, this was made as a concession to the fact that if they did, rolling for each individual ship gun/battery would translate into hundreds of rolls, especially with bigger ships like the Super Star Destroyers. Besides, game mechanics are already of dubious canon.
    • Star Wars Role Playing Game: For purposes of game balance, the game doesn't allow Jedi to deflect blaster bolts with their lightsabers, something they do all the time in the movies. You can buy the Reflect talent, which negates some of the damage from a blaster attack, but buying enough levels to completely negate even a simple blaster pistol bolt would require mastering several lightsaber combat talent trees. Padawans regularly deflect blaster bolts in the movies. Deflecting something like a speeder bike's repeating blaster is pretty much out of the question. Luke deflected several shots from one in Return of the Jedi.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Most of the factions have, according to the lore, a vast array of abilities and assets that would make them virtually unstoppable. A single Space Marine is a veritable One-Man Army, protected in nigh-impervious Powered Armor and firing what is essentially am armour-piercing semi-automatic grenade launcher. Eldar have reaction times so fast that humans appear to be moving underwater, and technology that makes the rest of the galaxy look like Stone Age nomads. Necrons are as advanced compared to the Eldar as Eldar are compared to everyone else. Tyranids have almost literally limitless numbers. Orks can take absurd damage before dying and are more numerous that any species in the galaxy except for the Nids. Followers of Chaos bind daemons into weapons, vehicles, even themselves, providing tremendous power. And daemons themselves not only warp reality around them and corrupt people by their very presence, but are also largely invulnerable to conventional weapons. But aside from a bare few exceptions none of this is represented in the mechanics, and those that are present are nowhere near as powerful as the lore suggests.
    • Games Workshop once introduced campaign events in which players could send in their battle results and affect a franchise's narrative. Unfortunately they fell victim to this trope, which is probably why GW hasn't tried any in a while.
      • The Third War for Armageddon event for Warhammer 40,000 was a bit of a disappointing stalemate, but the Eye of Terror campaign produced more dramatic results, with the forces of Chaos overrunning the defenders of the pivotal fortress world of Cadia, the Dark Eldar getting soundly defeated to the extent of having their capital sealed away in another dimension, and Orks and the Tau expanding all but unopposed. Yet for years subsequent material this attack from the Eye of Terror is only discussed in conjectural terms — the campaign occurred in the final days of the year 40,999... until the Gathering Storm books advanced the narrative, starting with the fall of Cadia and the Eldar being overrun in several places. Then in the Fall of Medusa V campaign, Games Workshop declared the Space Marines the winning faction even though they failed their objectives (the allied Imperial Guard were the actual winners and the Marines piggybacked on them), causing fans to accuse GW of favoring its mascot faction past the point of reason.
      • Worse was Warhammer's Storm of Chaos event, in which Chaos warlord Archaon launched a cataclysmic assault against the Empire. This was supposed to culminate in the dramatic siege of Middenheim, except the forces of Disorder spent the first weeks failing to overcome the first miserable backwater hamlet in their invasion route, forcing Games Workshop to blatantly overwrite the battle results and say that the place was quickly trampled. The grand finale wasn't much better, and involved an orc character showing up, curb-stomping Archaon, and then just as suddenly leaving along with all the other invaders. In the end, the whole event was rendered Canon Discontinuity.
    • One of the odder examples from fantasy (and later Age of Sigmar) is Valkia the Bloody. Going by lore she's Korne's favorite Daemon Prince and consort, worshipped as a minor deity in her own right by his followers. In actual game terms she's a fairly unremarkable human warlord.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The early days of the game were positively laden with monsters whose flavor text contained lines like "nothing can stop this creature's rampage" or "a master swordsman and a veteran of a hundred battles" or "this creature rules a dimension of darkness." In the game proper, none of these monsters have effects, and the majority have terrible statlines.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls: Toko Fukawa can still somehow comment on things even when you're playing as Genocide Jack. You can even trigger a cutscene as Jack, only for her to be Toko during it, and go right back to Jack afterwards.
  • Gears of War 3: The Retro Lancer. According to the story, it was abandoned because of the bayonet's tendency to break when used, or its inability to pierce armor. Gameplay-wise? The bayonet never breaks and that armor part is solved by the bayonet charge. In fact, it was considered a top-tier weapon, due to its excellent mix of ranged damage, accuracy, and capability to counter the infamously overused Gnasher shotgun.
  • In Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath you play a bounty hunter saving up for a life saving operation. The surgery bid given to you by Doc in the first town says the price is roughly 20,000 moolah (the games currency). You collect this money by exchanging outlaws at the bounty store. However, gameplay wise Moolah is only used to purchase ammo and upgrades. You can collect hundreds of thousands of moolah, or use cheatcodes for infinite moolah, yet Stranger won't be able to afford his operation until he finishes the New Yolk City missions and take the ferry to Doc's Retreat. Of course, you find out the Big Bad's mooks have killed Doc, and you are overtaken by previously easily defeated outlaws. Your equipment is stolen, all of your moolah is taken away, you're hit with a Tomato Surprise, and then Moolah isn't used or mentioned for the rest of the game.
  • Warframe:
    • "The War Within" and "The New War", major storyline quests, both involve Teshin as an important character. But at the time you're able to do these quests, all Teshin can do is manage the game's Pv P modes (he later runs the Steel Path Honors shop, but that's only unlocked long after these quests). These game modes are notoriously unpopular, to the point where most players never even touch these modes, and thus it's possible, even likely, that you'll never have spoken to Teshin more than once to see what he does. And yet, these quests will always have you and Teshin acting as if you know each other very well.
    • The Syndicate system involves managing Alliance Meters for six different factions, each with their own goals, values, and methods which put some of them at odds with one another. Some of these Syndicates are specifically noted to be non-violent, namely Cephalon Suda (an Artificial Intelligence who loathes destruction and wishes to preserve knowledge) and the Perrin Sequence (an alliance of merchants who reject the Corpus' violent capitalism in favor of more diplomatic problem-solving). Despite this, all Syndicates work exactly the same way in practice, with you passively gaining Standing with them by doing your own missions, or by doing their Syndicate missions and trading in medallions you find, with all Syndicates offering the same types of mission. If your Standing with a Syndicate falls into the negatives, they will also sometimes send death squads after you during missions. This means that the aforementioned Cephalon Suda can ask you to go on an Exterminate mission for her, and the Perrin Sequence may send swarms of killer robots after you. This can make one wonder why they hate each other so much if they all end up doing basically the same thing.
    • Speaking of Syndicates, some quests involve allying yourself with a particular Syndicate. For example, "The Silver Grove" has you working with New Loka's leader to protect Earth's forests. You can do these quests even if you've become enemies with the Syndicate who offers them, and doing so will not affect your standing with them.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Fire Emblem:
    • A recurring one in the series is "Matthis Syndrome", a reference to the iconic example in the first game: Matthis can only be recruited by having his sister Lena talk to him, at which he'll have a Heel Realization and switch sides. His battle quote when he engages a unit is about how he only wants to see his sister again. You'd expect from this that Matthis would avoid attacking his sister. You would be wrong. In fact, since she's a Squishy Wizard, it's not at all impossible for him to kill her outright! There are many other examples of this throughout the series of characters attacking their siblings, lovers, parents, or children, because the game didn't bother to code in an exception to their AI.
    • Endgame S-rank weapons tend to have very extensive backgrounds, talking about how they've been used in all kinds of epic conflicts in the distant past, or been held in the possession of an active and powerful royal family. But the franchise is also one of the iconic cases of Breakable Weapons, meaning a weapon with their history should have been exhausted a long time ago. Some games do make the Lord's weapon indestructible, if only because these weapons tend to be effective against the final bosses and not doing so might make the endgame unwinnable, but "lesser" ones like the Regalia, the Sacred Twins, and the Legendary Weapons can break in as few as twenty to thirty hits. It's especially odd in cases where characters have tried to seal them away in some capacity, either for the ridiculous power of the weapons being too destructive, or to keep the weapons from being used against them, when simply smacking the weapon against a tree for a few minutes would probably do the trick.
    • Several games feature a limited-use item capable of reviving a dead character — and given that the series uses permadeath and has characters who died in battle be counted as dead in-story, the usual excuse with such items of it merely healing them from being knocked out or disabled doesn't really fly. Naturally, you cannot use said item to resurrect anyone who perished due to a Plotline Death. This does have the mild justification in that it's suggested such items only work on someone who died fairly recently, but oftentimes these deaths occur right around when you get the item in question (e.g. the Valkyrie Staff in Genealogy shows up in the same chapter as the death of Eldigan, and two chapters before the deaths of Quan and Ethlyn).
    • Due to the very high difficulties present in modern games and the accompanying inflation of enemy stats, it's not at all uncommon for generic enemies to be bizarrely powerful relative to the characters you're controlling. In the DS games, this can result in the strange circumstance where you can tell a character is recruitable because their stats are much worse than those of their comrades, even if the character in question is supposed to be an elite warrior.
    • And on the other end, characters can reach a point where they realistically would win a battle in gameplay, but are shown to be struggling in cutscenes. An example of this would be in Fire Emblem Fates. When Corrin is protecting Kana in their paralogue, they're shown taking out several enemy units, before tiring and eventually taking a few hits. Even if Corrin is ludicrously overleveled, or in a class with the weapon triangle advantage, the cutscene will always play out the same way.
    • In pre-battle cutscenes, the protagonists and the boss of the chapter might be speaking with each other from a few few feet away, but when the map starts, the boss will often be on the other side of the map as your starting point.
    • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, despite being told that only Naga's power (and therefore only Julia) can beat Julius, you can kill him (or at least land the killing blow) with anyone, even your dancer. Although good luck doing that, considering that Julius's Loptous tome gives him a lot more defense by lowering your attack before the battle. The Book of Naga negates the entire effect.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, we're told by just about everybody that the Black Fang, the main villain organization, is a small, fairly tight-knit group of elites that specializes in assassination and have managed to keep their operations on the down-low for a while. This is exactly what we don't see from the Black Fang in-game, which have an endless supply of manpower, abnormally weak troops when compared to the Bern footsoldiers in the last game, and tend to be decidedly unsubtle in their operating methods, usually taking over entire towns and manning what look to be fortresses. There's a loose implication that their numbers are bolstered by Morphs, but the parts in the game where you're fighting actual Morphs tend to have standard troops be considerably tougher than the parts where you're fighting the Black Fang. It's especially evident in "Battle Before Dawn" — supposedly, it's a few agents of the Black Fang infiltrating a castle under cover of darkness to kill the crown prince and two other assassins who went rogue (only one of the above is any kind of real threat). However, playing the actual map reveals that the Black Fang sent at least 33 people into the building, not counting reinforcements, and they've completely taken over a large chunk of the castle.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:
      • A support conversation between Garcia and Dozla has the two talking about their failed attempt to practice archery, including Dozla trying to swing his bow like an axe, and Garcia putting the arrow in backwards. The two decide archery isn't for them. This is ignoring that it's very possible that Garcia promoted to a Warrior by this point, and can use a bow quite competently. (Admittedly, the scene was added for the English translation, as the Japanese version had them instead go out drinking.)
      • Both Tana and Vanessa have supports focusing on the fact that they are pegasus knights who ride winged horses: for instance, Vanessa's entire support with Lute revolves around Lute being fascinated by Vanessa's pegasus and nerding out about them. This is despite the fact that either of them can promote to wyvern knights, which don't ride pegasi.
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn:
      • It turns out that two characters acted the way they did because they were bound by magical contracts that would kill everyone in their respective countries if they disobeyed. The only way to render such a contract null and void is for the physical contract to be destroyed and one of the signers to be killed by a third party. In the endgame, the player gets to kill the man who forced the other characters to sign the contracts; however, it is entirely possible to have him killed by one of the signees which should render the contracts unavoidable, but if this happens, it plays out the same as if he was killed by anyone else.
      • Micaiah uses her Sacrifice ability to bring Lehran back from the brink of death, if certain conditions were met first. Afterwards, Yune mentions that Micaiah is too weak to fight in the next battle. Yet she doesn't appear to be exhausted with no changes to her at all. It's a mistranslation, as the line in the European version is, "Micaiah is exhausted. Give her a chance to recover before the next battle."
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening:
      • In the overall series your chance to land a critical hit is usually displayed during battle. In this game, during the scripted battle between Khan Basilio and Walhart, each has a 0% critical chance. Each of them lands a critical hit on the other.
      • Thanks to Awakening's extensive reclassing system, dissonance will pop up when you reclass your characters and they still talk as if they're in their base class — for example, Kjelle begins as a Knight (a defensive class with heavy armor), and many of her supports and tile conversations mention it. She will still talk about it, even when reclassed as, say, an Assassin. This particularly applies to Cherche, a Wyvern Rider with a very affectionate bond to her wyvern, Minerva. Minerva tends to join her in her supports, and her six-plus stat increase level up quote refers to Minerva as well. This will always happen, even if she is reclassed as a Cleric (no mount), a Troubadour (rides a horse), or promotes into a Griffon Rider (Exactly What It Says on the Tin).
    • In Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, Draug's supports all revolve around his status as a Mighty Glacier whom people respect because he protects them on the frontlines and is near-invincible. In-game, though, his Mighty Glacier status owes entirely to the high base Defense of his Knight class, with his "personal" base in that stat being a flat zero — reclass him into literally anything else, and he becomes the opposite, an extremely frail Fragile Speedster.
    • Fire Emblem Fates:
      • Takumi is said to be about as skilled of a swordsman as he is an archer, to the point at which he defeated Ryoma during a sparring match in their A support. As an Archer, he has no sword proficiency unless he reclasses. Additionally, he needs an A+ or A support to even use a sword as his base classes are Archer and Pegasus Knight.
      • The plot repeatedly insists that Corrin doesn't kill anyone in combat, with multiple plot points hinging on Corrin's refusal to use lethal force and characters joining Corrin due to being spared. This isn't shown at all in-game, where Corrin functions just like everyone else as a combat unit, hacks their way through the enemy in the same fashion as any other warrior, and shows off plenty of lethal-looking moves in their animations.
      • In some of the cutscenes of Revelations leading up to his betrayal, Gunter is depicted as mowing down squads of enemies and keeping pace with the Famed In-Story royals. In the actual campaign, Gunter is a Crutch Character and an abnormally weak one at that (to the point that the most common recommendation is to stick him in a pair-up and avoid combat with him altogether), and the royals are Purposefully Overpowered super-units that are frequently far stronger than him at base level with a lot of room left to grow. The idea of him fighting as a peer with units like Camilla and Ryoma is flat-out silly; Ryoma has literally triple his Speed upon joining, and on higher difficulties, all but the most heavily-invested Gunters will struggle to even survive in those chapters. This might be foreshadowing his Face–Heel Turn and subsequent boss fight, but it's not indicated that this level of skill is abnormal for him, and he keeps his old bad stats after rejoining from his boss fight, suggesting it's not a case of him holding back.
    • In Fire Emblem Heroes, the starter Original Generation characters, Alfonse, Sharena and Anna, as well as the allies they meet in each story arc, will often make comments after clearing a story chapter as though they participated in the battle, even if an entirely different team of characters was used to clear the chapter.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • It's stated in story that Byleth's Divine Pulse can only rewind time back by a few moments at most, hence why they were unable to prevent Jeralt's death. In gameplay, your units can be seconds away from defeating the boss after an hour-long battle, and you are capable of Divine Pulsing all the way back to the beginning of the battle with no issue.
      • The Crests are stated to be a major thing in-universe, being the underpinning of the Fantastic Caste System in the setting, and there's many remarks made to the effect that a person with a Crest is inherently a lot more dangerous than a person without one, with factions engaging in human experimentation to empower their crests. In gameplay, Crests provide fairly minor benefits, almost all of which are dependent on luck (i.e. a 10-20% chance to get in an extra attack, or a 10-20% chance to not spend a use of healing magic). The practical difference between a unit with a crest and one without is very small.
      • The Relic items are shown in-story to be highly restricted in who can wield them; in one early scene, a character is corrupted and turned into a demonic beast just from wielding one when he didn't have a Crest, and even having an incompatible Crest is treated as a serious problem. In gameplay, the Relics are all E-rank weapons, meaning literally any character can use them — they take 10 damage if they fight with one, but most characters can survive the hit (it's the same damage you take from using a Devil weapon) and if they have any kind of Crest, they don't take the damage at all. The only thing that having a compatible Crest does is let you access the weapon's unique ability. This is somewhat in opposition to prior games, where similar legendary items were either character-locked or required an extremely well-trained user just to wield. One particularly strange case is the Sword of the Creator, which changes its stats to the point of being basically worthless if anyone but Byleth is using it, which actually is fairly accurate to how it's described in-story, even if it lacks the self-damage effect for some reason.
      • In the battle with Lonato, Catherine declares that she will be the one to strike him down. However, in the actual fight, her AI is programmed to avoid attacking him, and will usually stop outside his attack radius. It can be actively difficult to make Catherine the one to make good on her threat.
      • In the opening to the chapter "Reunion at Dawn", it's heavily suggested by the characters that they don't see the whole thing as much of a challenge: just clearing out a few scattered bandits who have moved into the monastery. Claude says that he sees it as more exercise than a major commitment. Actually playing said chapter reveals it to be That One Level, with highly powerful enemies, very limited troops to work with that are poorly positioned, and very little room to prepare, far from the Breather Level the game seems to suggest it is.
      • In the Battle of Gronder Field, it's claimed that the poor intelligence and visibility causes the battle to devolve into a chaotic Mêlée à Trois, and the sides involved "won't be able to tell who is friend and who is foe." Even the opening cutscene shows that the field is covered in mist. So you'd expect this to be a Fog of War battle where you can't make out the enemy locations and have to fight whatever emerges from the fog, right? Nope! The battlefield is completely visible at all times, and it's always evident who is on what side.
  • Nintendo Wars:
    • While Advance Wars in general can be bothersome about it, Dual Strike has one case that takes the cake. SEVEN Aircraft Carriers, each loaded with a Stealth, and near a somehow important Black Hole fortress no less. Bear in mind that Aircraft Carriers and Stealths are among the most expensive units in the game AND the Aircraft Carriers are support units, not to mention that (because the units were top secret before) Black Hole does not recognize the ordinance in the first place, so it's a wonder how they got trapped. Because of this suggestion that the Allied Nations is absurdly rich to the point that these units could even be around, let alone top secret, when they have been lucky to have had only ONE Megatank (a unit that isn't as expensive as any of the Aircraft Carriers) in the next mission, never mind that they have been having troubles with having reasonable forces, it's a wonder how the Bolt Guard trashes most of the Allied Nations' facilities in a massive ambush before they could even respond.
    • When Allied Nations reinforcements arrive (mostly to help introduce new characters, such as when Jess brings Javier to the fight with her), they usually want to see the skills of Jake et al. Ergo, they demand some kind of "practice" match, and while it's vaguely implied that no soldiers are actually hurt, in-game battle scenes clearly show people getting blown away and tanks exploding. This is all ignoring the obvious: the Bolt Guard is destroying the very land underneath them, and there's really no time to clown around. Without these "practice" matches, you'd be stuck fighting against the same few COs for the entire campaign, but later matches have you fighting clones of Drake, Olaf, and Andy anyway.
    • Several COs, including Kanbei and Colin, are treated as flawed at best as commanders in cutscenes and in-story, with Kanbei being a borderline Genius Ditz and Colin having almost no combat experience. This is in contrast to their in-game skills, where, distant to the contrary, they're both regarded as Game Breakers. It can be rather curious to have Colin open a mission uncertainly claiming that he's going to try his best, only to then steamroll it with endless free Neotanks.
  • Nippon Ichi:
    • Ridiculously silly in Phantom Brave is how the sweet, kind and innocent Marona, who is an All-Loving Hero, gains powers for herself and her equipment. She does this by "fusing" her party members (admittedly they're phantoms, so already dead, but still) into herself and her equipment. This results in them being Deader than Dead as far as the game is concerned. The plot completely ignores this.
    • Disgaea 2: Adell is the only human being in Veldime! Except for, you know, those humans that his sister summoned. But they don't count, nor are they turned into Demons by the Curse.
    • Justified Trope in Phantom Brave and Makai Kingdom, where certain characters' shadows join your party as phantoms; while they themselves do not. (Lampshaded by Ash in The Hermuda Triangle; in gaining the future astrally projected soul of Castille who is stuck in Makai Kingdom. "Um...won't this affect the future?")
    • Soul Nomad & the World Eaters: If you beat him as an Optional Boss, you can get Median the Conqueror as a party member. Even if you can only summon him for battles, his presence on the battlefield should have a massive impact on the plot and should prompt immediate reactions from numerous characters, yet is totally ignored. And, of course, you can use him to fight his future self.
    • ClaDun's character create system/editing allows you to have any NPC as the main character or Player Mook, even the one who died in story.
    • Many N1 games have ways to grind your units, including the heroes, to levels well beyond what you need to beat the game. Then you get to watch your level 1,000 heroes quake in fear of a level 95 Final Boss who cannot inflict any damage at all when it comes time for both sides to fight.
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, several of the leaders are programmed to behave similarly to how their personalities appear in the story snippets, the prequel novel and their quotes, and are all banned from using a part of Societal Engineering that conflicts with their faction's ideological goals. That said, there are some inconsistencies.
    • None of the faction leaders are banned from researching any technology or constructing any Secret Project: Deidre can construct The Merchant Exchange despite trying to avoid the wasteful consumerism that ruined Earth's ecology, Yang can construct The Planetary Datalinks despite creating an insular society focused on self-perfection, and Lal can fill his bases with Genejacks despite his faith in liberal democracy.
    • The Future Societies Societial Engineering options are open to all factions. Lal can use Thought Control to create a state in thrall to a permanent overclass that hold an iron grip on all aspects of society, or Yang can decide to turn his collectivist utopia into an Eudamonia.
    • Miriam, the leader of the Lord's Believers, has a sharp divide between her story behaviour contra her in-game behaviour. In the novel and in her quotes, Miriam is the Unity's psych officer and creates her own faction after all the other leaders in the crew have irrevocably fallen apart into ideological factions, and does this by bringing together the sick and refused members of the Unity's crew through religion, and her quotes tend to question the morality of late-game technological advances as the settlers of Planet are becoming something not quite human any more. In-game, Miriam is The Fundamentalist and The Berserker; a warmonger who will gleefully pick fights with anyone and anything that makes contact with her and usually fight them to the death, and will seldom live long enough to last into the mid- to late game when her story quotes begin becoming dominant.
  • Super Robot Wars uses story overwrites near constantly. Major enemies will never die unless it's part of the mission, your units will display both startling incompetence and skill when you're not in control of them, and characters just suddenly glide to certain spots at the map when necessary.
  • In the PSP Updated Re-release of Tactics Ogre, there is a function called "The World System", similar to New Game Plus; it lets you take your characters back in time to any decision made and lets you pick a different choice and follow a different path. This allows for situations where you can have characters who joined your party in one timeline help you kill their alternate selves who opposed you in another in gameplay. Plotwise, though, you'll grieve the death of a character even with them still in your party.
  • In Tears to Tiara 2, before your final encounter with them, battles with Izebel and/or Laelius always have a timed survival or some form of escape as the winning condition, with defeating them being a bonus option. But no matter whether or not you defeat them, the story always pretend you took the escape option.
  • In Telepath Tactics, Sarn Kamina states multiple times that she cannot go into the mines, but she remains a useable party member even after you enter them. She also still offers you a chance to resupply when you enter the mines, even if you managed to get her killed in a previous mission.
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
    • Special codes in Valkyria Chronicles II can let characters like Maximilian, Selvaria, and Isara join your party; despite being on the other side and/or dead from the first Valkyria Chronicles. There isn't even a handwave justifying this. Naturally nobody reacts to the previous Imperial Prince and his champion fighting for Gallia.
    • There's also other characters from the first game; who are explicitly stated by the plot to be staying out of the Gallian Civil War to prevent a diplomatic issue; but that's a smaller wonk than the above.
    • Even without codes, after you get enough medals, Juliana and Leon join your party, and they died in game. You can even use them to fight themselves.
    • In the first game, Squad 7 has a trio of medics who can recover any downed unit and heal them so quickly that they can be back out in the field at least 2 turns later. It doesn't matter how far behind enemy lines they fell, either; As long as another allied unit can reach them, one of the medics can swoop and retrieve them instantly. So of course, when Isara is fatally shot during a cutscene, nobody in Squad 7 even bothers to call one of these medics over as they crowd around to watch her die.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Eldar are supposed to have the most powerful psykers, with the possible exception of Chaos. In Rites of War, however, the Eldar have the weakest psykers. Eldar psykers have to get to level 8 before they can use all four Eldar psyker powers, but Space Marine librarians can use all four of their psyker powers at level 1, as can Tyranid magi, zoanthropes, and hive tyrants. Granted, once an Eldar psyker has been leveled up, the four Eldar psyker abilities are comparable in power to the abilities of the other factions. Also, arguably justified since the Eldar are the player race, at least in the campaign mode. Still, it's a little weird, since you eventually get to recruit Space Marine librarians, which are more powerful at level one than your own psykers are at level seven.

    Visual Novel 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In general, it's somewhat common for the player's client to still get a Guilty verdict even after it's been decisively proven that they couldn't have done the murder. While this is usually because the true murderer still hasn't been found, it occasionally results in situations where even after the defendant is cleared and another suspect is being tried, running down the penalty bar will still result in your client getting a Guilty verdict. Examples include 2-4 (namely, after De Killer falsely testifies that Adrian Andrews hired him and 3-5.
    • In The Great Ace Attorney, it is possible to change costumes for Ryunosuke Naruhodo, Susato Mikotoba and Herlock Sholmes for the second game, giving the former two more Western-style clothing instead of their school uniform and kimono with hakama, and givng the latter a Japanese outfit instead of his Iconic Outfit. This ordinarily doesn't cause too many problems, except for the first case. In that case, Susato is disguised as a man, "Ryutaro Naruhodo," in order to defend her friend Rei, and temporarily changes clothes accordingly. Her unlockable costume does not conceal her gender at all, but no one notices if the player has her wear it (granted, her father, Rei and even the judge were in on it, but the prosecutor and witnesses weren't).

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
This is inevitable in any open world game with a well-developed, linear story. The wide array of things to do in the sandbox will inevitably result in the player engaging in actions contrary to the character's beliefs, personality, or motivations according to the story.
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man, one mission has the player investigating a bank robbery, which leads to the capture and arrest of Felicia Hardy (Black Cat). Depending on how late the player does this mission, one could conceivably finish it, and then find out seconds later in an e-mail that Hardy has not only broken out of custody, but somehow found the time to rob a pawn shop and write a letter to Spider-Man instantaneously.
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has the mission 'Gatekeeper', in which Ezio and Bartolomeo scout the French fortress, with Bart stating that the walls cannot be climbed and that the fortress is thick with French troops. Immediately after the cutscene ends, the player is able to scale the walls with relative ease and walk around the fortress in full Assassin armor without raising any attention to himself. Couple this with the fact that Ezio is also a One-Man Army and Bart's statement becomes completely null and void.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, according to the storynote  the only things that demons can't bust through are semi-molten rock and raw adamantine, since that's what the gods used to trap the demons in hell. However, once you release the demons from hell, walls made of anything will stop them short (even walls made out of soap).
  • Endless Sky: The Heliarchs prohibit the ownership of weapons and combat ships by their civilians, but in‑game they'll never enforce such restrictions on your ships in their space, even after you are granted citizenship by them, except for limiting sales to civilian technology only.
  • In The Godfather: The Game, after Sonny's death Don Vito calls a truce with the other four families, saying that unless pushed he will not be the one to break it. This doesn't stop you as Aldo Trapani from continuing your quest to take over businesses for the Corleones and kill enemy mobsters. In the sequel both the Corleones and the enemies will continue to belittle and mock Dominic even after you've mowed down whole Families.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • None of the protagonists can technically be killed. If one's health bar runs out, he is said to be "Wasted!", and will return to the gameworld outside the nearest hospital. The implication being that the player character can always recover swiftly from any injury, including being trapped inside an exploding vehicle. Furthermore, when pedestrians are killed, they can frequently be revived by paramedics. Of course, when the plot calls for it, any character can be Killed Off for Real.
    • You can go on a mass-murdering destructive rampage, literally killing hundreds of civilians, police officers, SWAT officers, and US military personnel. Whether you get shot down or captured, you immediately get away with it, either by just being released from the hospital or, the even funnier part, being released on bail. Vice City at least implies that the police force and legal system are so corrupt that your mafia ties and crooked lawyer companion get you off. In GTA 2, when you got arrested, you respawned riding in the back of a cop car, and you had to jump out and run away from the cops. The other games have no such justification.
    • In the story of Vice City, it's said that Tommy Vercetti spent 15 years in prison for homicide, being released at the beginning of the game. However, even if you disregard the potential rampages made by the player in the sandbox mode, several missions require Tommy to straight up murder people in broad daylight with no consequences at all.
      • The final conversation between Tommy and Big Bad hints that Tommy could have easily avoided the Noodle Incident that put him in prison for 15 years if he hadn’t been betrayed by the Big Bad. After all, Vice City’s opening scene has Victor Vance as well as Harry and Lee get gunned down, yet there is no indication whatsoever that the police even find out about these deaths, instead other characters seek their own revenge. Truly, the police in Vice City is completely useless, so much that Tommy can freely abduct police officers for their uniforms or break out criminals out of the police station without any long-term consequences.
    • In San Andreas, the player can willingly murder hundreds of people (and get away without even being killed/arrested), yet all cutscenes still portray the player character as innocent. As the plot goes on CJ is shown in a more and more positive light and seems to be trying to "get away from" all of the illegal activity in order to start a good, honest life. And even though you can constantly murder police officers in cold blood and get away with it, much of the conflict of the story centers around a couple crooked cops threatening to frame CJ for the murder of a single police officer that he didn't commit. What about the dozens of cops he DID murder? Even if the player doesn't go on their own spree (which is unlikely), there are many storyline missions that seem to canonically involve CJ murdering people out in the open.
      • There's also the money issue: cutscenes show CJ being dead broke after 'Green Sabre', yet you can have millions of dollars and a lot of property even at this early point of the game (and without cheating).
      • It's entirely possible for a patient player to win the gang war with the Ballas and Vagos before 'Green Sabre'.
      • CJ's attributes (weight, certain skills, etc) are mostly for the player's benefit and have no impact on the cutscenes, so you can get something like a morbidly obese CJ trying to get away from enemies or jumping over a fence with no issue. However, CJ's physical strengths/weaknesses come into play for two specific missions that won't let you start them if you don't meet the requirements; one mission requires a lot of swimming and diving and if your swimming skills are not high enough, CJ tells his contact that he doesn't know how to swim. In the other mission, you're required to use a jetpack to sneak into a military base and if CJ is too fat, the contact for the mission won't let you start it until you lose weight because the belt strap wouldn't fit around CJ's gut. These two missions are the only times where CJ's stats are taken into account for the gameplay and story instead of making them separate.
      • In the Final Boss fight, CJ calls out Big Smoke for wearing body armor, implying only wimps rely on it while true hardcore gangsters don't need it. CJ will say this even if you have him wear body armor, which most players will do considering how valuable body armor is in Grand Theft Auto games in general.
    • In Grand Theft Auto IV, Niko Bellic is portrayed as a jaded individual who's haunted by bad things he has done in the past, and is trying to make a new life for himself in Liberty City. Like in San Andreas, you can wantonly murder all the people you want, and in a way it's even more disturbing listening to Niko come off like a Faux Affably Evil sociopath saying things like "Stay down, my friend! I don't want to hurt you!" as he continues to stab an old lady as she writhes around on the ground screaming, or "I don't want to use this! Don't make me kill you friend!" while shooting relentlessly. This was called out by an episode of the web series Dorkly Originals, which provides the page image.
      • Victor Vance from Vice City Stories and Johnny Klebitz in GTA IV are also shown to have similar goals and calm personalities to Niko, but will sound like ravenous maniacs if you decide to go after NPCs full-force. And this same bloodlust disappears when you start the next mission cutscene.
      • Also in GTA IV, it's possible to the player to kill Luis Fernando Lopez in the mission "Three Leaf Clover" without failing it, which creates a huge Plot Hole considering that Luis is the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony (which takes place after this mission), and also makes Luis' appearance in "Museum Piece", a later mission, completely illogical as well.
    • Grand Theft Auto V attempts to justify the series' trademark rampages with Trevor Philips, who's exactly the kind of unhinged lunatic who would go on a wild killing spree. Unfortunately, there's no such excuse for Michael De Santa and Franklin Clinton, who are more typical normal, down-to-earth GTA protagonists.
    • Several of the GTA games have missions involving recurring NPCs that end with you dropping them off somewhere and them leaving. During the brief period after dropping them off, when the mission is considered complete but before they actually disappear, you can do anything to them, including killing them, and nothing will happen — and they'll be back for the next mission. This becomes surreal when Trevor can thank a lady for a date by blasting her in the face with a shotgun after dropping her off, causing her to collapse in a pool of her own blood, and she'll not only be fine next time but won't remember it and will date him again.
      • BioShock Infinite lampooned this: if you attempt to follow or hang around the Luteces after one of their scripted speeches ends, they'll explicitly say that yes, they are going to stay still until you stop looking at them and then disappear... and there's even an in-plot reason why they can do that.
  • In L.A. Noire the huge twist of the level "Manifest Destiny" is that Cole's affair is splashed across the newspapers to distract the media from an LAPD corruption scandal, derailing his career and getting him demoted to arson. But the level itself is a completely chaotic bloodbath, with nearly Cole's entire Marine unit being massacred by the mafia in broad daylight with stolen US army guns, revealing a mob mole inside the LAPD. This makes the "twist" nonsensical, as those murders should have easily taken precedence. The game justifies this by having the upper echelons of the LAPD focus on Cole's issues rather than the case because he was getting too close to uncovering their corruption. In theory, the case would still be investigated, and later cutscenes make it clear that Roy is now heading the investigation, but because Roy's the one who brought up the affair in the first place, it never actually goes anywhere. Which is exactly what the LAPD wants.
  • [PROTOTYPE] is similar. Alex Mercer is depicted as somewhat heroic and willing to risk his life to protect people during the cutscenes and comic book tie-in, and willing to let people live and just tell him what he wants to know, In gameplay, he can kill people for a sliver of health or just for fun, exclusively gathers info by eating people instead of just asking around, and generally never seeks a non-mass-murderous solution to his problems. Indeed, most of the unarmed moves and combos have zero practical purpose and are just there to let Mercer beat on civilians in amusing ways. The sadism is so blatant that the writer of the sequel (who wasn’t involved with the first game) interpreted him as The Sociopath and made him a supervillain, which was not the original game’s intent.
    • [PROTOTYPE 2] takes this even further since Heller is more overtly heroic. Many cutscenes will have him fuming with rage at Blackwatch using civilians for their experiments, right after he's spent an hour turning civilians into hand grenades and throwing them at each other. Maybe he just hates science? Humorously, the game lets you avert this with the Zombie Heller skin, which (aside from making him a zombie) turns all his dialogue into unintelligible hissing and growling, leaving his motivations more up for interpretation.
      • The sequel also has an example that creates an actual Plot Hole. At one point Blackwatch creates a cure to The Virus called Whitelight, but by the time they deploy it Mercer has already sabotaged it to spread the virus instead. In cutscenes it’s clear that the tainted Whitelight turns people into Evolved - infected superhumans who are hooked up to the Hive Mind but are still sentient, individual people - indicating that Mercer genuinely is trying to evolve and unify humanity. But in gameplay when you bash barrels of Whitelight open it turns people into mindless zombies, making Mercer’s plan a lot less coherent and more cartoonishly evil.
  • Red Dead Redemption — John Marston is seeking redemption and to leave his criminal past behind, but is allowed in the game to go on a rampage and gain infamy points through criminal action. In cutscenes however, none of his in game bad behavior is mentioned nor does it affect his character development.
  • Same for its Prequel Red Dead Redemption II. The honor system in this game actually has an impact on the story, positive honor means Arthur dies peacefully, negative honor means Micah kills Arthur. Arthur can blow people up, throw them off cliffs, tie them up and let them get run over by trains, rob them, starve the gang, and more but he will be seen in the game as someone who is a decent guy underneath it all. As long as your honor is net positive (which is pretty easy to do even if you go on killing sprees, you can just go fishing and throw your catches back or add small increments to the gang's coffers for easy honor), you get the good ending. Though in the inverse, Arthur can confess to a couple of the girls at camp that he's been killing people for the hell of it, even if you're very high honor and don't kill anyone you don't have to.
  • Saints Row:
    • Saints Row 2:
      • Allies can be revived by the player and non-allies can be revived by paramedics. The way that you and other characters act is a lot less segregated as shown by Johnny Gat's trial for over 300 counts of murder, though that's probably a little low too.
      • This trope can make the leader of the Brotherhood, Maero, look Too Dumb to Live because the scenes of the game don't change depending on what the player has done before. If you play the Brotherhood mission first his offer of 20% of Stilwater is not only reasonable but extremely generous considering that the Boss just woke up from a 5 year coma and the Saints are down to 3 gang members. However, if the player instead takes out the other two gangs first Maero instead looks like a total moron because the Boss has already claimed that much of the city and then some almost entirely by themselves, which with all the chaos it takes to get to that point logically Maero should already know about.
    • Saints Row: The Third, most notably in the final act, where zombies continue to inhabit one of the Luchadore-controlled islands even after you do the mission wherein you remove the source of the virus, and the ability to call in Shaundi, Viola, and Burt Reynolds as homies even if you skip rescuing them from the bomb at the statue to chase after Killbane in the final mission.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours
    • Being a dialogue-rich game, Tony Montana will talk in ambient dialogue at several points about how he wants the Big Bad dead. He does this even after said villain is dead.
    • During the first conversation with Jerry (the bank teller who has now been promoted to branch manager), the latter will stress that he's trying to run a legitimate and above-board bank, and that he simply will not let things work the way they were before (to the extent of nickel-and-diming the player anytime they deposit their dirty money). That doesn't extend to the "exotics" catalog that is distributed through the bank for their most "discerning" clients, which (among other things) allows you to purchase henchman (including an arms dealer, an enforcer and an assassin!), one of several boats that expressly have automatic weapons mounted on them, and in one notable instance, the remains of two deceased characters (that being Manolo and Gina Montana. Being a sandbox game, this discrepancy is excused due to Rule of Cool.
  • Watch_Dogs: It's a misconception that the story portrays Aiden Pierce as more sympathetic and heroic than he acts in gameplay. Word of God is that Aiden was inspired by Walter White and is meant to be a seriously morally ambiguous hypocrite at best. His Blood Knight tendencies are made explicit, and lead to Character Development in his chapters in the third game. His actual standards of Never Hurt an Innocent are reflected in the game's Karma Meter. Still, despite his vigilante persona, a surprisingly portion of the game's side content has him doing errands for criminals for cash, which is only vaguely Handwaved early on with his Jordi assuring him that these are not as bad as other contracts he could be taking. The story and in-game media can also only reference violent mayhem Aiden was involved in if it was the only way to complete the corresponding mission, even if the game doesn't actually penalize going into all but a few enemy encounters guns-blazing until you have an arsenal and bodycount to rival Frank Castle.
  • Watch_Dogs 2: In the game's cutscenes, the Bay Area's Ded Sec is consistently portrayed as ethical hackers, primarily concerned with taking on government overreach, pushing back on corporations that invade privacy, etc. In gameplay, however, Marcus is perfectly capable of stealing money from innocents, causing violent mayhem, "Swatting" people, and generally being the exact kind of black hat monster that invited the crackdown in the first place.
  • The sandbox, mechanics and world-building of Watch Dogs: Legion together paint a very confusing picture of the state of Albion-controlled London. Almost all the game's world-building is about how Obviously Evil the game's antagonists are, and the game's central mechanic is that you can recruit almost anyone to Dedsec, a group of violent revolutionaries believed to be mass-murdering terrorists for most of the game by helping them with some problem they're having with London's new de-facto totalitarian/corporatist government. But this makes the game's central premise of exposing the villains seem rather redundant, as it appears almost every Londoner already hates them and will sign up to fight them with a little prodding, and makes the <25 limit on your number of active operatives baffling, since Dedsec should be able to rally enough people to Zerg Rush all the villains soldiers and bases. But not even turning every London district "defiant" changes the world or the story.
    • World-building and characters repeatedly reference Albion brutalizing protesters, but there are protests on almost every street corner in the sandbox, providing set-dressing and unique recruits, that Albion troops seem uninterested in despite such brazen defiance being antithetical to their supposed totalitarian ethos and legal carte blanche.
    • Randomly-generated trivia about NPCs is a staple of the series, but being able to play as any of these people means you can have an operative deaf in one ear or with congenital insensitivity to pain without gameplay being affected.
  • Yakuza:
    • Kazuma Kiryu has never killed a man... in the storyline. Story-wise, that is the one Moral Event Horizon he never crosses no matter what and has successfully followed through across seven games. If a villain he encounters dies, he's never the direct cause of their death. In-game, it doesn't matter how much he brutalizes the bad guys, even when guns and vehicular destruction are involved. It seems they all seemingly survived whatever he throws at them.
    • In Yakuza 0, Majima's internal conflict stems from his desire to get back in with the yakuza but is reluctant to kill someone when ordered to do so. But in gameplay, like Kiryu, Majima's fighting style is absolutely brutal, and there is no way most of his attacks aren't killing someone. You can't just snap someone's neck non-lethally.

  • According to the backstory of Defense of the Ancients, some of the heroes should be nearly invincible, and most of them should all already have tons (in some cases, literally eons) of battle experience. Yet they all start at level 1 with almost no spells available.
  • Flight: Cutscenes always show the default plane model, even if it was upgraded to a higher level or customised.
  • League of Legends:
    • Much like Overwatch, LOL's gameplay is not in canon with its lore, explaining why you can have a team consisting of characters who have canonically never met, are deadly enemies, or are Eldritch Abominations that everyone else should want to kill. For example, having Nasus and Renekton working together, evil supports like Thresh and Tahm Kench behaving themselves and working to benefit their team, and most Void champions not trying to devour their teammates.
    • Boots have a weird thing where they integrate the story only some of the time — champions can only own one pair, and snake-tailed Cassiopeia can't wear them at all, but there are a lot of other champions without proper boot-able feet, like Anivia (a bird), Vel'koz (a floating eye with tentacles), Volibear (a vaguely humanoid bear), Kog'maw and Rek'sai (vaguely bug-like monsters), and Lillia and Hecarim (a cervitaur and a centaur), Nami (mermaid), Sejuani (who rides a boar), Corki (flies a plane), and Yuumi (a cat riding on a floating book), and they can all gain benefits from boots that really shouldn't fit them, and even if they have multiple legs, can only have one pair.
    • Equipment also introduces a lot of weirdness when it comes to things like wielding three melee weapons at once, decking yourself out in two suits of armour and so on. A late-game Kled can have the Black Cleaver (an axe), Titanic Hydra (an axe), and the Blade of the Ruined King (a sword) all at once, which he is somehow wielding from the back of a cowardly, hard-to-control lizard. Presumably he ties them together with string.
    • Power discrepancies between champions can get crazy- champions like Aurelion Sol and Kindred are downright Powers That Be, while many others are demigods or people with earthshaking magical powers. They still fight evenly with Badass Normal champions like Miss Fortune, Jarvan IV, and Garen. On the most extreme end, Aurelion Sol, a cosmic dragon who has forged stars, loses hard in lane against Teemo, who is, essentially, a less-than 3" tall furry humanoid with a blowdart.
    • Then there's the Units Not to Scale thing. Malphite is a big dude, but he's not notably larger than someone like Sion or Mordekaiser, both of whom are just bulky undead humans, while in Malphite's splash art he is the size of a building and should, by rights, have a hard time moving around Summoner's Rift.
  • The WarioWare series takes this trope to its Logical Extreme. Each stage has a main character, an intro cutscene that sets up their goal for the stage (which range from standard video game fare, like Ashley fighting her way to a demonic overlord, to the weird, like Wario trying to escape from a boombox he merged with, to the mundane, like Dr. Crygor using the toilet), followed by several microgamesnote  in quick succession. Said microgames are Non Sequiturs to each other and the problem at hand and star either a First-Person Ghost, a Flat Character specific to that microgame, a Recurring Extra, or a character from a completely different video game. In-universe, these microgames are the creations of the employees themselves. But it doesn't really make sense why failing at them causes them to fail their task, or vice-versa. The only game to avert this is Get it Together, in which the gang must enter their games themselves to hunt down and eliminate bugs.

Alternative Title(s): Story And Gameplay Segregation, Game Play Story Segregation, Gameplay And Story Separation, Canon Shadow, Ludonarrative Dissonance