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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 
  • Asset Actor
    An element already established to be something else is re-used for another purpose, usually to save resources, but is still understood to be the new element at that time.
  • Alphabet Soup Cans
    A puzzle with disconnected elements meant to educate the player on certain subjects.
  • Always Close
    The cutscenes that follow a timed mission don't reflect the actual amount of time the player had left to complete it. They always treat it as if the player escaped at the very last second.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit
    Arbitrary requirement that stops you from having too many characters in a party or unit.
  • The Battle Didn't Count
    A defeated boss pulls a Villain: Exit, Stage Left, or worse.
  • CCG Importance Dissonance
    When character lore is quite different compared to the gameplay mechanics.
  • Commonplace Rare
    When a seemingly common item takes an excessive amount of effort to acquire.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!
    Even if you have no time limit in the gameplay, helpful NPCs will constantly remind you that you "need" to keep going.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
    The supposed Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain turns out to be That One Boss, and there's no indication they were meant to be a subversion.
  • Cutscene Drop
    When a cutscene begins, a character may be "teleported" to where the plot says they should be, rather than where they really are.
  • Cutscene Incompetence
    The character can destroy giant monsters in battle, but in cutscenes, they're just normal.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max
    The character is incredibly powerful, but only in cutscenes; in gameplay, their stats are about average.
  • Day-Old Legend
    Even though you just made that item using the crafting system, its flavor text gives it several hundred years' worth of backstory.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?
    You may have saved the world or completed impossible quests, but that won't stop you from being given extremely meager quests and generally treated like crap.
  • Fight Like a Card Player
    The story has almost nothing to do with cards, but a lot of the gameplay revolves around them.
  • Follow the Plotted Line
    You somehow always end up where the plot says you should be, no matter how little sense it makes that you should be there.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
    A boss battle where you get a Game Over if you lose, but if you win, the boss activates his Cutscene Power to the Max and overrides it.
  • I Fought the Law and the Law Won
    The police or other group enforcing Video Game Cruelty Punishment can cough up a seemingly limitless number of redshirts just to take down that pesky protagonist even if the narrative says they shouldn't be able to.
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy
    Enemies in RPGs are given statistics based on how powerful you are expected to be at that point, not how strong that enemy would be based on common sense.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence
    An obstacle that looks as if the player character should easily be able to get across it proves impassable in gameplay.
  • Irrelevant Sidequest
    In RPGs, people have an alarming tendency to entrust powerful items to random strangers for doing the most mundane of things, and regardless of whether the stranger has any meaningful level of skill at the random thing in question.
  • Lazy Backup
    If you're only allowed three out of eighteen party members, and those three are killed, you get a Game Over even though the rest are still alive.
  • Menu Time Lockout
    The inventory menu allows you to pause the game and change your armor and weaponry to immediate effect in the middle of a battle.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules
    The rules of an ostensibly fair competition are applied unevenly to disadvantage the player.
  • News Travels Fast
    NPCs immediately learn of your story progress and react accordingly without needing time for the information to be distributed to them In-Universe.
  • No Cutscene Inventory Inertia
    No matter what weapon or armor you have equipped, you will be shown with specific (often default) equipment in cutscenes.
  • NPC Random Encounter Immunity
    Random encounters will try to kill the heroes if they so much as walk through the park, but NPCs can walk the same paths unimpeded?
  • Overrated and Underleveled
    A character introduced as being really powerful ends up, statistics-wise, as being weaker than the main character.
  • Plotline Death
    All cutscene deaths are final; your "revive" spells and items won't work here. Nor will you be revived if you have extra lives left.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep
    Characters are able to combat opponents in gameplay who would ordinarily wipe the floor with them otherwise, such as an average joe fighting a literal god. This trope is often a Necessary Weasel in any Massively Multiplayer Crossover and/or especially fighting games, due to their need for Competitive Balance.
  • Redemption Demotion
    Upon defeat, a villain joins the party considerably weaker than in the previous struggle. The weakening of the villain is not explained or justified.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character
    The game offers multiple characters to choose from with various backstories, but only the character you choose as your PC ever appears in the game.
  • Selective Condemnation
    The slaughter of a single NPC is a tragedy; the slaughter of one thousand mooks is a statistic. This is especially jarring in RPGs where the Big Bad will be accused of "slaughtering many people." Even though, by the time you reach that point in the game, your party has probably slaughtered more bodies than all of the villains combined.
  • Separate, but Identical/Cosmetically Different Sides
    In strategy games, some sub-factions are said to be different in composition, outlook etc., but ultimately only differ in their color palette.
  • Simultaneous Warning and Action
    Enemy NPCs will always attack you, even when they yell things that indicate they're going to arrest you.
  • Solve the Soup Cans
    A puzzle with bizarre and disconnected elements included in a game purely to serve as an obstacle to the player.
  • Space Compression
    Lores and tales of the world tell about the history of large cities in the size of small villages and vast lands which can be crossed within minutes on foot.
  • Statistically Speaking
    No matter how high your strength, speed, etc. goes, you still will not be able to do certain mundane things, like moving that chair out of your way. It must be glued to the floor.
  • Story Overwrite
    When the storyline ignores, overwrites or retcons one of the player's in-game accomplishments.
  • Take Your Time
    You can take as long as you want to finish your sidequests, and that world destroying meteor will just hang in the sky till you're done.
  • Tenuously Connected Flavor Text
    The flavor text is "story" and is segregated from the mechanics / game world / name of the item, a.k.a the "gameplay".
  • Timed Mission
    When a mission is timed without presenting any reason for it in the story.
  • Took a Shortcut
    You spent all that time going through the dungeon and beating all the puzzles, so how the heck did those NPCs get here first?
  • Underrated and Overleveled
    A character whom the plot provides no reason to be particularly strong turns out to be quite powerful in statistical terms when they join your party.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment
    Enemies you kill by the dozen carry assault rifles, but you have to wait until you find a special crate a few levels in to get your own.
  • Video-Game Lives
    If mentioned in the plot, death is treated as permanent.
  • Video Game Time
    Fake use of a time scale means that empires rise and fall in the time it takes to take the trash out.
  • You Have Researched Breathing
    You have to research things that have no logical reason to even need to be learned.

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

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    Action Adventure 
  • Bomberman 64:
    • If Bomberman revisits a level he has already completed, if he gains or loses a heart, this carries over to the next stage he enters. This includes boss battles, most of whom do not survive the fight.
    • In the first fight with Orion, Bomberman can throw him into the lava, which should be fatal, as he canonically dies by lava at the end of the second fight, in which he is piloting Hades. Yet if Orion is defeated this way even the first time the player reaches this stage, he will still be fought piloting Hades. This can be countered by the fact that in order to get all five Gold Cards from the battle (which are necessary to lock the true ending), one must defeat him with bombs.
    • On the topic of revisiting levels, after unlocking Rainbow Palace, if Bomberman revisits the first fight with Sirius, his dialog changes from the original battle, as he is now replaced with a robot version of himself. Furthermore, revisiting giant boss battles, Sirius will not give you Remote Bombs, this powerup now being inside a bombable box, even though, again, Bomberman wouldn't canonically be able to revisit a single one of these fights after Sirius revealed his true colors.
  • In Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, you start off with one character and can get one of three partners to join you, or finish the game solo. If you have a partner and sign up a new one, the old one leaves. It is also impossible to encounter all three characters during a single playthrough (without a cheat code, anyway). Yet, according to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Trevor fought Dracula with the help of all three of his allies.
  • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, for pretty much for the entire first half of the game, you get warned about how having Jonathan or any other non-Belmont use the true power of the Vampire Killer will drain their life force and eventually kill them if they overuse it. But when you do actually unlock its power in game, you can whip it all day long with absolutely no consequences whatsoever. Justified, as it takes longer than the events of the game for the user's life force to be drained.
  • In pretty much any telling of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, it seems to imply that Richter was the main force going rather than Maria (for instance, the Action Prologue of Symphony of the Night has him fight Dracula alone and Maria only shows up to offer support if the player loses), and most treatments suggest Richter to be the stronger of the two. It makes sense, as he's an experienced monster-slayer and part of the Belmont clan and not a 12-year-old girl, but anyone to have played Rondo of Blood and used Maria can tell you that Maria is ''far'' more powerful than Richter.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In the majority of the games, the dungeons are usually infested with foul monsters and other creatures due to the boss inhabiting the dungeon. It's implied that beating the boss of the dungeon frees the area of its influence, but you can go back in those dungeons and still see the same monsters and creatures you fought before as if you didn't actually accomplish anything. This is especially notable with the Dodongo's Cavern: it's explained that the place had become very dangerous with the sudden resurgence of Dodongos and other monsters, and that Link was a hero for vanquishing them so the Gorons could mine the place in peace, and yet all the Dodongos and other monsters are still every bit as prevalent in the cave, even if you come back as an adult seven years later. The only one that stays dead is King Dodongo, and he hung out in the lowest basement of the cave which was accessed by a hole high up on the ceiling and was impossible to get out of.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The Boots allow Link to walk on water. This would seem like a handy item to have in those battle scenes where could get knocked off platforms by Ledge Bats and fall into the water, right? Too bad, there's precisely one battle area (the Heart Container near the fifth palace) where Link ever uses the boots, and falling into water on the others is just as fatal after you receive the boots as it was before.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:
      • You can't ordinarily use the Flute in the Dark World, but after the second fight with Agahnim Link uses the Flute in a cutscene and the bird comes flying in to whisk Link away to the Golden Pyramid.
      • Zelda's sprite is always depicted with the white dress most often associated with her, though she doesn't actually wear it until the end of the game; most of the time, what she's really wearing is a more plain-looking blue dress.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Lampshaded in the auction minigame. If you lose the auction, you may leave the room and re-enter it immediately, at which point the auction will begin afresh. The auctioneer's preamble will then begin: "Today's lot is... a treasure chart. Yes, this is exactly the same treasure chart we had last time, but for some reason, Anton, who won the auction, has decided to return it."
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: In the final dungeon, Link is rescued by his allies from an arrow to the face and about four mooks, despite the fact that by now Link has destroyed entire hordes of enemies and has been hit by more arrows than a practice dummy.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Fi's comment states that Cursed Spumes, a type of enemy, live in poisonous swamps. In-game, they're only found in the fiery crater of Eldin Volcano.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: There are several discrepancies between the Hyrule Compendium's entries and the actual entities they describe.
      • The Hyrule Compendium's entries each list two locations where their associated enemy, animal, material or equipment is common. In practice, however, the entities in question can be found in several other areas just as commonly, and in some cases — most notably the basic enemy types — have essentially universal distributions.
      • Blue-winged herons are described as living along waterfronts, while pink herons instead favor open fields and grasslands. This doesn't much match where they can actually be found, however — both types are fairly frequent in both kinds of habitat, and it's not rare for mixed flocks to spawn.
      • The Compendium describes bright-chested ducks as having high-quality, fatty meat. In-game they only drop raw drumsticks, the lowest-quality tier of bird meat.
      • According to their Compendium entry, grassland foxes are omnivores that eat smaller animals, insects, and fruits, which is fairly accurate to what real foxes are like. In practice, the foxes will eat fruit if they spot it but will not eat any meat item.
      • Lynels are described as fiercely territorial being that will kill trespassers on sight. However, unlike every other enemy in the game, this actually isn't how Lynels behave. When a Lynel notices you, it will first stand and observe you — if you move closer it will draw its weapon in warning, but won't actually attack until you either get closer still or draw your own weapons.
  • LEGO Dimensions has an inversion of "a whole group is traveling together in the cutscenes, but there's just one playable character and the others disappear in the gameplay". No matter how many minifigs you load the toypad with, the storyline just has Wyldstyle, Batman and Gandalf. Particularly obvious if one of your characters is also an NPC, so for example, the Doctor explains he can't join you because he'd be crossing his timeline, and then does so anyway. (Similarly, the DLC for the Level Pack minifigs assume those characters are on their own, but you can't actually play it like that because you need the basic three's special abilities.)
  • LEGO The Lord of the Rings repeats Gimli's "You'll have to toss me — don't tell the elf" line from the movie during the Battle Of Helm's Deep, which is all well and good... except for the fact that throwing Gimli is a gameplay mechanic (you even defeat a boss using it), and by that point Gimli has most likely been thrown all over the place by all manner of characters.
  • In Mega Man Legends, the Bonne family in the story are loveably incompetent villains who don't pose any real threat to Mega Man (relative to the main antagonists, anyway) and whose recurring battles are more adorably persistent than anything. You'd expect them to be the sort of opponents you fight for a Warm-Up Boss or a Zero-Effort Boss, a Breather Boss at most, and them to go down with comically little effort. In fact, you fight them or their creations throughout the games, and their boss fights are entirely in-line difficulty-wise with the other boss fights—in fact, the Gesellschaft airship is a common candidate for the first game's hardest fight.
  • No Straight Roads has Sayu start using attacks when a member of her creative team is introduced, particularly Remi's art and Sofa's editing. But on higher difficulties, those attacks are used before that member is introduced properly.
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is an interesting example. The Star Wars Legends continuity is very big, and sometimes crazy, and Starkiller (both Galen Malak and his clone) are nowhere near the most powerful in it. But Starkiller's skills with the force and the lightsaber far outshine anything Palpatine, Luke, Anakin, or Yoda (the four supposedly most powerful) have ever done in the films, causing many to label him the most powerful force-sensitive ever. The game's developers and defenders have claimed it to be an example of this trope, but the problem is, the game's narratives actually seem to support Starkiller's insane skill and raw power. Forget canonically and infamously pulling a Star Destroyer out of the sky (technically, he only redirected its fall); he defeated Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader twice, and (non-canonically, but in What If? stories) Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Obi-Wan Kenobi's Force Ghost (seriously), an untrained-but-embracing-the-darkside Luke Skywalker, the Ewok tribe, Chewie, Han, and a fully trained Jedi Leia. The only hint at him having some limits to his abilities are the fact that these fights required boss battles, when judging by gameplay he should have been able to force-lightning or hack them all to bits in an instant.
  • Tomb Raider III: The leader of the Damned, men left horribly disfigured by resident Vain Mad Scientist Sophia Leigh, claims that he and his men are immortal. Yet Lara can lay waste to them using her weakest weapon in-game.
  • Tomb Raider (2013):
    • Throughout much of the first half of the game the story implies that Lara is hanging on and only surviving the hell she's being put through by the skin of her teeth, while the first time she kills another human being is a quite traumatizing event. It's not until around the time of her escape through the shanty town after rescuing her friends that Lara decides she's had enough and actively starts taking the fight to the Solarii. Actual gameplay, however, glosses over Lara's reaction to killing, and she subsequently slaughters mooks by the hundreds after the first time she picks up a gun. The player will also blast their way without effort through encounters that Lara claims to have only barely survived.
    • Some of Lara's equipment upgrades stretch the Willing Suspension of Disbelief to its breaking point. Sure, duct taping two magazines for a machine gun together so you can reload faster is completely plausible in Lara's circumstances, but turning a WWII-era Japanese Type-100 submachine gun into a frelling AK-47 with nothing but a couple spare parts? Many of the upgrades Lara is able to cobble together at camp from random bits of scrap and parts taken from animals she hunts (bow strings or wrapping the limbs with sinew? Believable. A suppressor for a Colt Model 1911? Not so much). would require not only specialized equipment but machining skills as well. Handwaved by Rule of Fun, but still pretty egregious.

    Action Game 
  • 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 specifically supposed to be crystallized demon blood, 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 if he would 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+.
      • 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.

    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.

    Fighting Game 
All fighting games fall under this trope to some degree. Due to balancing, no character (except maybe a SNK Boss) is as powerful or weak as the storyline says they should be.
  • In BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, no matter how many times you activate Ragna's Blood Kain in gameplay, it doesn't count in the story until a certain cutscene in the True Ending. And no matter how hard you lay the curbstomping on Hazama/Terumi in Arcade Mode, he is still just warming up.
  • In Dead or Alive, certain characters are shown using weapons in cutscenes that they can't actually use in battle, such as Hayate's bow and arrow or Eliot's niuweidao. A few like Kasumi and Hayabusa even have said weapons as costume accessories, but still cannot use them outside of cutscenes.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - The Hinokami Chronicles, CC2 completely discards the notion that all elements within the Breathing Styles are not actually real, as several Ultimates and specific attacks are clearly inflicting elemental damage on the scenery and the opponent, specific examples being Zenitsu's Thunderclap and Flash — Six-Fold gaining an addition thunder strike as a finisher, and Tanjiro's boss battle against Rengoku's spirit being able to greatly extend the lenght of his sword reach with flames.
  • Dragon Ball Z games: Multiple:
    • Averted rather oddly in Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 with Yamcha. Likely as a Shout-Out to his death in the manga, and a similar death in the story mode, Yamcha is programmed to die instantly during a fight if a Saibamen opponent manages to use its Suicide Attack on him regardless of his health, while every other fighter will survive it if they have enough health. This is also the only attack in the game which will instantly kill the person it was used on like it did in the anime.
    • A recurring factor in any game that has a story mode is that you have to play through most of the fights that happen in the series. The issue is that it's entirely possible that the difficulty won't match what "should" happen: your character should be able to win the fight in their sleep, but it's infuriatingly difficult, only to then continue on like nothing happened; alternately, you win a fight in 13 seconds with a "PERFECT!" rating, only to immediately view a cutscene with your character on the edge of death and the enemy wondering "Is that all?"
    • When he appears in fighting games, Future Gohan always has both his arms, despite the fact that his most iconic trait is him losing his left arm against the Androids. It gets even stranger with cases such as Raging Blast 2, where Future Gohan's fighting style is specifically programmed only to use his right arm (such as performing one-handed versions of his signature attacks, the Masenko and Kamehameha). This is believed to be because of censorship issues in Japan relating to characters losing limbs; various Dragon Ball games developed in America don't have this problem.
    • A related phenomenon is how DBZ games will try to preserve iconic moments from the original manga and anime even if they don't make sense in the context of the games. For example, Gohan's Father-Son Kamehameha was originally performed one-handed because Cell broke his left arm beforehand. Every time the attack appears in a video game, Gohan still performs it with only his right arm, despite the fact that there's absolutely nothing wrong with his left arm, and he can (and will) use it both before and after performing that one attack.
    • In pretty much any game where you fight Freeza as Super Saiyan Goku, he's likely going to be a very tough fight, whether he's the Final Boss, the Climax Boss, or the Disc-One Final Boss. This is despite the actual fight in the series having been a Curb Stomp Cushion at best in Goku's favor. SS2 Gohan versus Cell also does this on occasion, though Legacy of Goku 2 averted this by making that part of the fight a Zero-Effort Boss instead.
    • In the story mode of the first Budokai game, certain characters will transform and will start the fight in that state. However, they can still lose their transformations if they lose enough energy and get knocked down. From a gameplay perspective, this is perfectly normal. From a story perspective, it makes no sense and it makes even less sense when, for a example, a character that entered their Super Mode before the fight starts will still be in that form after the fight is over whether or not they lost that form during the battle.
    • Dragon Ball Fighter Z:
      • The game justifies the Power Creep, Power Seep problems inherent in a competitive fighting game by having the story involve energy waves disrupting the fighters' power. Although Beerus isn't hampered by them in-story despite being a playable character, dialogue implies that he's deliberately holding back; one of his most powerful attacks is a Finger Poke of Doom.
      • One of the major traits of Captain Ginyu's Body Change ability in the original series was that he could not copy the techniques and skills of whoever he was swapped with; doing it to Goku resulted in him being almost crippled because he didn't have the training Goku had put his body through. In-game, a bodyswapped Ginyu has full access to any of the techniques of his opponent and doesn't get any weaker for it. (Of course, this is somewhat modeled by the fact that Ginyu's player may not have mastered those techniques.) Additionally, the person who's been a victim of Body Change can't use Body Change or any of Ginyu's "call in the Ginyu Force"-type moves — this makes sense, as his troops would naturally not follow the orders of an enemy, and Body Change is tied to Ginyu's spirit rather than his body. However, the person who used Body Change can't use those moves either while in a new body. This is likely because it'd result in a post-bodyswap Ginyu being able to use all his best moves and all the opponent's moves, and being severely overpowered as a result (not to mention the question of when his moves share inputs with an opponent's).
      • Vegeta's main trait in the series is that he's a guy who prefers to fight solo, hates teamwork, and is usually the first one to try to get into combat. In-game, he's actually generally best as a support character, throwing out assist attacks from the back row.
      • Some characters, including Adult Gohan and Blue Gogeta, will seemingly power down for certain moves, due to them having been Super Saiyan when they used them, despite having access to much stronger forms.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy:
    • In the cutscene before the final battle, all ten of the heroes line up in front of Chaos to fight him. You then proceed into a three-round, one-on-one battle. Somewhat mitigated in the sequel/prequel, when you enter the battle with four more party members that can take your initial character's place if/when they die, plus one Assist Character, who is chosen at random from the remaining five heroes.
    • In the final chapter of Scenario 013 in 012, the boss cutscenes show the Chaos's warriors being challenged and after a battle being defeated by their Cosmos counterparts. Despite this, you can challenge them with any character and you'll still see the cutscenes. In the first game, this was averted; you had to have the character relating to the boss to get both cutscenes, which means you'd have to memorize who's in what chapter and do it multiple times with each character.
    • During gameplay, the Emperor's ground Flare is a painfully slow, homing projectile, yet in Chapter 4 of the 12th cycle in Dissidia 012, he fires one at Yuna during a cutscene that flies out much faster than usual. If that's how the Flares worked gameplay-wise, the Emperor would easily be one of the most broken characters in the game.
  • In the "Clucking Doom" stage from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (2006), the level's final round has the player and their opponents try to fight each other while jumping across buses fleeing from a giant chicken. In story mode, the cutscene that plays upon beating the level shows Billy, Mandy, Irwin, and Grim on one of the buses regardless of whether or not the player has made it to that part of the level by the time they beat all the opponents.
  • Any time the Gundam franchise has been put into a fighting game (such as Battle Assault or the Gundam Vs Series) this has happened, as weapons that shredded enemy mecha in a single hit in the anime will now simply do a healthy amount of damage. Weapons like Wing Zero's twin buster riflenote , the Double X's twin satellite cannonnote  or the ∀ Gundam's Moonlight Butterflynote  are not only survivable, but can be completely blocked by a mundane shield. The Vs. Series does attempt to retain some semblance of anime-accuracy with its built-in Character Tiers, which makes it so that Mooks like the Zaku II have fewer Hit Points and weaker attacks than protagonist-piloted Gundams, but can respawn more often. However, even low-tier machines can be devastating in the right hands, which is itself true to the franchise's roots (just ask Bernard "Bernie" Wiseman, who, though at the cost of his own life, managed to kill a Gundam with an almost-unarmed Zaku II).
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us: everyone in the game that doesn't already have Super Toughness has their durability improved by Kryptonian nanotech pills, making them as strong as Superman. This should mean that Batman's batarangs and Green Arrow's arrows, for example, should merely bounce off their opponent's body, but they're somehow still able to deal damage. One cutscene even shows the Joker No Selling getting shot by a machine gun, but gun users can still hurt him in-game. And fights that take place before the characters obtain these pills still happen as if they were super strong: in the first chapter, Batman can kick The Joker hard enough to send him flying upwards through several ceilings and walls of a large building (or have the same done to him), and while this does inflict a good amount of damage, the opponent can easily survive this and still be in fighting shape.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle zig-zags this. It does have several unique interactions between certain characters (such as Jotaro using his time-stop to escape from Dio's road roller attack and Kira's third bomb creating a "Groundhog Day" Loop which also resets any transformations his opponent may have undergone. However, it also has many aspects that don't fit canon. For example, everyone can see Stands, even though one of the basic rules of Stands is that they can only be seen by other Stand users. And some characters, such as Kira, Fugo, and Funny Valentine, have attacks which ought to be a One-Hit Kill (the latter two even show the victim being disintegrated during their super moves), but merely inflict normal damage. Conversely, Ultimate Kars (and to a lesser extent, the other vampires and Pillar Men when fighting non-Hamon users) shouldn't suffer permanent damage from anything short of those One-Hit Kill abilities due to their Healing Factor, but this is reduced to a relatively small level of health regeneration.
  • In Kanon, Akiko Minase gets run over by a car. In Eternal Fighter Zero, she can pick up cars and slam them onto her opponents.
  • In Marvel Super Heroes, end boss Thanos will have a brief exchange with the player character before fighting them. If you fight Thanos as Blackheart, Blackheart will talk about wanting to use the Infinity Gauntlet to take the throne of Hell from his father Mephisto... who just so happens to be standing RIGHT THERE in the stage's background.
  • Likewise, crossover games like the Marvel vs. Capcom series often have this. For gameplay purposes, human martial artists (albeit ones with Charles Atlas Superpowers), police officers, and even lawyers can withstand attacks from superpowered characters who can level buildings with a single punch or slice through any known substance in their source material.
  • Melty Blood also has notable balancing effects on the characters due to their remarkable powers in the original visual novel. Shiki Tohno has the power to kill anything with a pocket knife — including a building — but in the game, it's just a regular super move, albeit a damaging one. And he's weak compared to Arcueid, who in addition to having all the benefits of being a vampire without being undead, has a probability manipulation power called Marble Phantasm. At least half the main cast are petrified of her, but again in the game it's just a kinda-good super move. Both characters are balanced against each other. And also against Hisui. Who is a maid.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Vicious killing moves as the main attraction, yet nearly everyone shows up alive and well by the next game.
    • In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Scorpion and Sub-Zero are unlockable as player characters in the Story Mode. Unfortunately, neither of them actually has a storyline and the game just acts as if you're playing as default protagonists Liu Kang and Kung Lao, even when you're fighting Boss Battles against Sub-Zero and Scorpion. The DLC characters in Mortal Kombat 9 play a similar role. While they all have Arcade Ladder endings, none of them contribute to the canonical story (Skarlet cameos in crowds a few times, Kenshi is called to fight at the end of one of the chapters but never directly seen, Rain is given a background cameo in The Cathedral stage, Guest Fighters Kratos and Freddy Krueger add nothing at all to the plot).
    • In Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, after a game of Let's You and Him Fight Superman and Raiden finally put aside their differences, realize there's a greater enemy to face, and turn, together, to fight Dark Khan in unison. You then proceed to fight him alone, your ally having mysteriously vanished without a word of explanation.
    • Some games resolve the problem of fatalities versus story by disabling them in story mode, but other extremely gruesome attacks such as the X-Ray moves and Krushing Blows are still allowed. Some fights are meant to be friendly sparring matches or a minor quarrel between allies, but you can still have Jax break Johnny Cage's spine in retaliation to him hitting on Sonya, or Johnny Cage brutally shattering his daughter Cassie's skull during a practice battle.
    • Mortal Kombat 11:
      • In one cutscene, Scorpion No Sells a sustained blast from Sektor's flamethrower seconds before the fight begins and he suddenly forgets how to be immune to fire.
      • Mortal Kombat 11's story mode revolves around time travel, and it's established that if anything happens to a past version of someone, it will apply to their present-day self, such as past Johnny Cage getting grazed by a bullet and his present self suddenly sporting the scar. Despite this, Johnny can suffer injuries far worse than a grazing shot from a bullet, and his future self will remain unharmed. It's also stated numerous times that Cassie and Jacqui are in particular danger because if their parents' younger selves are killed, the girls will cease to exist due to the resulting Time Paradox undoing their births. Yet none of that applies to the versus mode or arcade ladders where Jacqui can perform fatalities on past Jax with impunity.
      • Geras has Complete Immortality and Time Master powers: one cutscene shows Kung Lao decapitating him, only for him to immediately rewind himself back in time, reattaching his severed head and bringing him back to perfect health. In the end, defeating Geras requires wrapping him in chains and dropping him into the bottomless Sea of Blood. Of course, in any fight outside of story mode, characters can put Geras down for good with a simple Fatality, which he apparently forgot how to rewind himself from.
      • In one story mode fight, Jax and Jacqui encounter Cetrion, an Elder God. The only way they can stand a chance against her is by using Kronika's crown. Outside of story mode, these two fighters (and anyone else for that matter) are evenly matched with the Physical Goddess.
      • The Terminator appears as a guest fighter. A number of fatalities would not, in Terminator canon, be enough to kill the famously resilient Terminator, but nonetheless are enough to finish the match.
  • In the Soul Series, one can unlock the Soul Edge as a weapon for any character. It may have a negative effect like random stats or depleting your HP, but it does not drive you crazy unless your character actually uses it in a cutscene. In some endgame cutscenes, it's possible to watch your character use their Soul Edge that you unlocked to destroy the Soul Edge dropped by the final enemy; or throw their Soul Edge away, pick up the other, and get corrupted.
  • Street Fighter: Multiple:
    • The special moves "Hadouken" (Surging Fist), "Shoryuken" (Rising Dragon Punch), and "Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku" (Hurricane Kick) are moves with the potential to severely injure opponents (Ryu's Shoryuken left Sagat heavily scarred, for example, although that particular incident was exceptional). These moves are toned-down versions of the original "murderous techniques" (which Gouki/Akuma uses and Gouken knows) that can actually kill an opponent (the "Gou Hadoken", "Gou Shoryuken", and the "Tatsumaki Zanku Kyaku"). Since it would obviously be unfair to make any move lethal, all of this is heavily toned down in the games itself. The canonical power of the moves limits their frequency in anime versions, promoting the Hadouken (for example) from "something Ryu routinely throws out fifty times in two minutes" to "final, fight-ending strike of destiny".
    • Lampshaded by the "Shin (True) Shoryuken". It's a massive, destructive super, a good indication of the kind of damage the technique does when the gloves come off.
    • The infamous scarring Shoryuken deserves special mention, as it not only struck one of the least vulnerable parts of the human body (especially for a massive bruiser like Sagat), judging by the length of the scar, it didn't even connect solidly. Sagat would be in considerable pain but shouldn't have been defeated at that moment. In Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, where Ryu's fight with Sagat is seen in the opening, Sagat isn't defeated by the Shoryuken; he charges at Ryu in a rage, prompting Ryu to charge up a Hadoken to finish him.
    • It's worth noting that while they're fairly weak from Street Fighter II onwards, in the first game, the special moves were very powerful, with a successful hit knocking a third of an opponent's health off. Each hit was also rated from one to three stars, and this acted as a damage multiplier; it was entirely possible to one-shot someone with ridiculous luck.
    • Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu attack only seems to kill opponents in the story. This indirectly led to one of the most surreal moments in the series. In the special ending for Street Fighter III 2nd Impact, Gill (who'd just been SGS-ed by Akuma) does his Resurrection. In other words, an attack that doesn't actually kill, but did in that particular instance, was foiled by a power that doesn't actually allow one to return from the dead, but did in that particular instance.
    • Dhalsim and Oro are very powerful according to the storyline. However, that power doesn't translate into gameplay unless a person really knows how to control them. Nobody got it worse than Oni; at least the original Akuma used to be a terror, and even the watered-down playable version had a truckload of combos and a withering pressure game. Oni, supposedly Akuma's ultimate form, has only a few effective combos, does piffling damage, and takes about 50% more damage than anyone else. In his debut. After he got buffed, he became decidedly more effective at doing what he was meant to do (applying suffocating, unrelenting offensive pressure and turning hit confirms into lengthy, showy, and highly damaging combos), but his poor health and stun, generally lackluster defensive options and poor standing in fireball wars, and heavy reliance on meter kept him relegated to mid tier.
    • Ingrid is described as a literal goddess, who can transfer people between universes, and the true master of M.Bison's Psycho Power. In the game, she's an unremarkable character who throws sparkles a lot, and her moves that use magical power are much less effective and powerful than Bison's.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Character reveal trailers tend to portray newcomers dealing with ease against multiple fighters, whereas in-game balancing means that no single character is able to take on a whole crowd of opponents single-handed. The most noticeable example of this is Sephiroth who, while in his series of origin is a borderline Physical God who is infamously hard to take down, in his reveal trailer easily disposes of Galeem, the Big Bad who is an Eldritch Abomination that in the adventure mode's story erased the entire universe and captured the other fighters. In gameplay, Sephiroth doesn't have an easier time taking down Galeem than anyone else.
    • Palutena is a literal goddess, and in her reveal trailer exhibits the use of many powers from her home series as part of her moveset. In her debut as a playable fighter in the Wii U and 3DS games, though, she's considered one of the least competitively viable fighters.
      • Subverted in Ultimate, where she has been greatly buffed and is universally regarded as a viable top- or high-tier character, thus bringing her more in line with her canonical power level.
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: In the cutscene in The Subspace Emissary where Ganondorf takes control of them and turns them against the heroes, the R.O.B. Sentries are seen firing Eye Beams similar to those used by the R.O.B. Blasters. This is the only time when they're shown to be able to do so, and they never use this attack when fought as enemies.
  • Tekken: In Tekken 6's Scenario Campaign mode, you can use any character you want for the gameplay portion. The cutscenes, however, prominently feature both Lars and Alisa, the latter replaced later by Raven.
  • WWE games with career modes fall victim to this. Your status as a face or heel is solely dependent on the choices you make during storyline cutscenes, meaning your actual behavior in the ring is entirely irrelevant. For example, you may play your matches dirty, doing things such as using weapons, removing turnbuckle pads, delivering low bows, and taking advantage of the Easily Distracted Referee, but as long as you make the corresponding decisions during cutscenes, the game will act as if you're a straight-up face. Some games will penalize you by taking away momentum (the stuff that lets you perform special moves) for using tactics that don't match your alignment. However, you can still do them at any time, and the storyline will never acknowledge it. Though losing momentum, especially considering the sheer amount that you lose, is a pretty powerful deterrent to breaking type. Unless it's a complete mismatch, you need those finishers.
    • WWE career modes every now and then like to have you beat an opponent, and then have them get back up and pin your wrestler in the following cutscene, or some such thing. It should be a normal part of kayfabe, except that you're then stuck with a real loss that goes on your wrestler's statistics record, even though you put in the effort of winning the friggin' match. In the later games, particularly the Smackdown vs. Raw series, the losing cutscene has a requisite that's actually easier than winning a match of that type (cover for a 2-count, set a ladder anywhere pretty close to the belt and climb, etc.). Afterward, the game will say that you lost, but you get the normal reward for a win and the loss isn't counted in your stats; at worst, it's a no-contest. Weird league, weird trope, weird gaming moments.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The BioShock series:
    • BioShock: Multiple:
      • This was the game which caused game designer Clint Hocking to coin the term ludonarrative dissonance. The game is, as per standard in a First-Person Shooter, a very linear and tightly controlled affair. While the game is designed to hide the fact (again, as per usual in the genre), you are essentially walking down a straight tunnel, with little ability to alter your course or direction. This is cleverly justified by the revelation that you are mind-controlled, conditioned to perform any action prefaced with the phrase, "would you kindly". This clever deconstruction of the genre earned praise, but Clint Hocking pointed out the problem in it: Once the mind control is lifted, the gameplay does not change. You should expect to be able to choose any path you now wish, but you're as tightly controlled as ever, despite allegedly being free. In fact, your disposition remains practically the same as in the beginning. You're directed by a supposedly benevolent Mission Control to overthrow Andrew Ryan, except now you're supposed to believe that she really means it for greater good.
      • Hocking's objective went further and into the underlying theme of BioShock: Rand's Objectivism. His objection was that the game's core gameplay, of acting in order to gain upgrades and power for yourself, corresponds exactly to Objectivism. Yet throughout the game's story the player is expected to help Atlas overthrow the objectivist Andrew Ryan — and to do so for no personal reward, which is the opposite of Objectivism. The player can supposedly embody Objectivism in the story by harvesting Little Sisters, reflecting the attitude of doing what is of greatest guaranteed benefit even if it is cruel - but it's Sweet and Sour Grapes; you actually end up with more power by sparing them than Harvesting them, it just comes in the longer term. And the player outright can't refuse to help Atlas, or demand payment from him for their help, or try to gain power their own way within Rapture — even after the mind control is lifted.
      • ADAM is described by NPCs as a substance you need to have injected into you to make plasmids and gene tonics work, and after that regular injections are required to prevent physical and psychological damage. In the game itself, it is simply treated like a currency you use to buy said plasmids and tonics, which cost no actual money besides. The game also features the corresponding EVE, which acts as fuel for the plasmids, and is never touched on in the narrative. One of the Public Service Announcements might be lampshading this: "A Rapture reminder: We all have bills to pay, and the temptation to break curfew to make a little extra ADAM is forgivable..." So, wait, you can pay your bills in ADAM instead of dollars?
      • ADAM is supposed to be overwhelmingly addictive, along with a classic case of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity; most of the splicers attack the player because they think he's someone else, or in the hopes of getting more ADAM. None of these detrimental effects ever affect the player character, despite injecting liters of plasmids over the course of the game. Justified however because Jack was genetically designed to be immune to the secondary effects of ADAM.
      • While the player gets no bad side effects from ADAM, almost no splicers get good effects. While Jack shoots lightning, fire, bees, and ice from his finger tips, only Houdini splicers (who can vanish and shoot flames) and Spider splicers (who can walk on walls) seem to have any rare abilities. The much more common Thuggish splicers and Leadhead splicers all rely on weapons to kill you.
    • BioShock Infinite has a total of 8 Vigors. Several of these vigor containers can be found lying all over Columbia, one even appearing as a component of a game at the Columbia Raffle and fair, but only 3 of these Vigors are used by your enemies, and of those enemies, only a Unique Enemy uses 'Shock Jockey'. Also, the other two enemies who use Vigors, known as Firemen and Crows, have seriously upgraded/modified versions of the Vigor; Firemen can release a blast of flames around themselves which is a kamikaze attack when they're low on health, and Crows, unlike Booker, can turn into ravens but only use them to attack in a cutscene, relying on a sword all other times.
      • Because of the depth of its story, BioShock Infinite also provides an extreme example of a very common dissonance in FPS adventure games: both Booker and Elizabeth talk about their horror and shock at people killed or harmed by Comstock, yet in the action sequences of the game they slaughter many more people themselves with no emotional reaction. This is particularly notable because an early firefight does result in Elizabeth having a horrified reaction at how many people Booker kills in self-defense, and it's touched on again in a few of the later firefights, but overall goes unmentioned. It's almost like the story was written as a movie where only those few action scenes were present, and the bulk of the shooting galleries in the game weren't written to connect to the overall story.
      • There's a plot point about halfway through the game where the Vox Populi's leader recruits Booker to help them gather weapons so they can overthrow Columbia's government, which for anyone who has been paying attention just raises the question of why they don't get guns from the vending machines around every other corner like the player has been doing. The story doesn't acknowledge them because they're The Artifact from previous BioShock games, where nobody would bat an eye at someone casually buying high-powered weaponry in the obsessively-open market that was Rapture; Columbia's government would be much less willing to have a lot of guns in hands they don't have control over, but the player needs some way to buy new weapons and replenish their supplies during the several occasions where there are no enemies to shoot and loot.
  • Blood reveals very late into the game that the reason the Big Bad was after Caleb was that he knew Caleb would become stronger the more beings he killed, to the point of becoming nearly unstoppable, and he wanted to possess Caleb and use his body to dominate the world. In gameplay, Caleb is certainly a capable fighter, but as it's a first-person shooter, his combat skills pretty strictly manifest in the form of guns and temporary powerups. A Caleb at the start of the game who hasn't killed anything yet and a Caleb who's killed hundreds of enemies are exactly the same, barring only their equipment. And no matter where you get in the game, Caleb can (and will regularly) be killed by regular ol' bullets and explosives.
  • Borderlands eventually had to declare the New-U stations non-canon since it didn't make any sense that the cast would worry about dying when they just come back to life, or why the corporation that was trying to kill them would allow the machines they ran to resurrect the cast indefinitely for a pittance. The stations are still around, and they still talk to the player, but no one acknowledges them and they act more like a Greek Chorus.
    • Borderlands: If the player dies in the tutorial area, before, or immediately after, activating the Hyperion New-U Station, they're revived and placed at the point where they left the bus, but still get a financial loss and message like they actually used a New-U Station, even though they didn't. The New-U station doesn't act as the checkpoint for loading into the game, either. The one inside Fyrestone proper is the first one that does that.
    • Borderlands 3:
      New-U Station: We can always bring you back, unless you died in a cutscene.
  • Deep Rock Galactic features a bar in its level hub, where its player characters, being Dwarves, love to get plastered. The effects of drunkenness, which range from mild double vision to near-blindness, aim drift, and randomized staggering about, persist if you get wasted before a level, which ironically makes the Elf-brewed "Leaf Lover's Special" one of the most popular drinks for its instantly-sobering effect despite the characters' outspoken distaste for it. Even then, many players decide to get rid of their drunken haze the Dwarven way and "skip straight to the hangover" with some Blackout Stout.
  • Destiny has the mysterious Awoken, who live on a distant planet and have a strange and alien culture, which the player comes into contact with during the story... but they're also a playable character race. Meaning that if you play as an Awoken, you weirdly have no idea about your own culture or even who your Queen is. (This was later handwaved by the claim that Awoken born on Earth are commonly treated as outsiders, but this doesn't explain why your character wouldn't know about them.)
    • This game also has replaying missions be a regular part of the game, but when replayed they continue to have the same story dialog as they did on the first playthrough. Thus, you may find your Ghost will advise you of a good place to find a warp drive while actually warping to the planet it's talking about.
    • Destiny 2 begins with the villain blocking access to the Traveler, the entity which gives all Guardians their powers. Your Guardian alone discovers a shard of the Traveler which restores his/her powers alone. They are now uniquely placed to save the universe.. until you go to the first multiplayer sandbox map and meet hundreds of other Guardians who apparently all have exactly the same backstory.
    • According to the lore, Guardians all have their roles. Titans are primarily the guards of the Last City and thus spend most of their time there. Warlocks are researchers and are also often found in the City. Leaving Hunters, explicitly scouts and long distance ranger types, as the only Guardians who are normally out adventuring or fighting the Darkness head on. Gameplay-wise, every class has unrestricted leave to go out and, well, play the game. Although, this could explain why most NPCs you meet outside the Tower end up being Hunters.
  • Dinosaur Hunt is about loading maps and shooting waves of dinosaurs. In between maps, the game tells the story of a hidden island, an elite military team, a secret scientific organization, a love interest, and weaponized dinosaurs.
  • GoldenEye (1997) has a particularly jarring example of this. Natalia is supposed to be your ally in the single player campaign. If she's killed at any point during a mission, you automatically fail it. What's more: in the "Cuba" mission, she just learned how to fire a gun and is shown to be a pretty unskilled gunwoman. However, in the multiplayer mode, she's a playable character. Thus, in a multiplayer game, she and you can freely shoot/kill each other until your hearts' content. And her firing skills in the mode are every bit as capable as anybody else's. This is true for quite a few other characters in the game, as well. Even scientists and civilians (who are totally defenseless in the single player campaign) suddenly become ruthless killers when used in multiplayer.
    • Perfect Dark did the same thing but hand waved it by referring to its multiplayer mode as a "Combat Simulator," with the implication that the matches were just computer simulations rather than reality.
    • MindJack had a similar issue with the player being able to transfer their consciousness to any NPC. While it is not unreasonable that a person mindjacked by an experienced marksman would become a good shot as a result, it is slightly odd that every NPC is apparently carrying a shotgun, purely to pull out if they suddenly become the player character.
  • No matter how injured Gordon Freeman gets in Half-Life, he can always be healed by health kits, and Alyx Vance has regenerating health which makes her almost as tough as Gordon. Gordon's healing can at least be hand waved by his HEV suit's life support systems, but Alyx has no logical excuse. Then near the start of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Alyx gets stabbed by a Hunter, leaving her critically injured and apparently comatose. Of course, Gordon has to go get larval extract from Antlions, as neither health kits, a medic, her regenerating health or four Vortigaunts can do anything more than stall her death.
    • Also, the HEV suit Gordon wears occasionally mentions administering morphine as its primary medical treatment but it also mentions injuries including major fractures and lacerations. While pain killers might help Gordon keep going a little longer, there's little reason as to how Gordon can get those wounds multiple times and not literally fall apart.
      • The suit also somehow prevents headcrabs from latching onto his head and turning him into a headcrab zombie, even though it doesn't have a helmet.
  • Halo: has some pretty severe examples, though in this case, it's more like "books and everything else segregation":
    • A common misconception is that the weapons are much more lethal in the books. The plasma pistol melts huge holes in flesh and can kill anything in one hit, and the needler does exactly what one would expect a weapon that fires exploding glass to do. This is not actually the case however; the weapons only act like this one specific novel, and in that case were noted to be modified. In the actual game they're often two of weakest weapons; the plasma pistol usually only good against shields and the needler tends to only become a real threat if you shoot out half the clip into one target. Gameplay-wise, even a standard marine or grunt can take a plasma pistol or needler shot to the face and not be all that harmed by it. This is quite consistent with cutscenes (both in-engine and prerendered) which depicts plasma weapons as somewhat anemic, as well as official films.
    • Canonically, the Spartans in MJOLNIR armor are capable of running upwards of 40 miles per hour in short bursts, jumping 15 feet in the air, surviving both in a vacuum and underwater, (barely) surviving atmospheric re-entry, and punching holes in vehicles. In-game your default speed is about 16 mph, which is pretty fast for a regular pace (and still superhuman considering how much armor you're wearing) but nowhere near that; this would be less noticeable and more justified (as presumably your character's default run speed isn't their fastest sprint) if the games from Reach and onwards didn't specifically put in a sprint mechanic that's only 23 mph in bursts. Also, you die instantly if you fall more than a few dozen meters or go into the deep part of a river, which acts as a barrier against Sequence Breaking and Unwinnable situations. In Halo 3: ODST, where you play as just Badass Normal elite soldiers, the differences in gameplay are very minor. If anything, Master Chief was often derided in the early days of Halo's lifespan for being comparatively unimpressive next to older FPS protagonists who really did move and fight like that. Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians made the effort to avoid this trope, giving the Spartans more in-game superhuman feats like climbing up ledges and natural sprinting, alongside Action Command sequences that let you pry open doors and handle heavy items. You're still relatively slow, though (at least according to two specific books; they pointedly never demonstrate speed on that level in any of the cutscenes or films).
    • Cutscenes tend to override any weapon selection your character may have had prior to it. In Halo 3: ODST, Romeo fires three shots at an enemy, and when gameplay starts, he's missing three rounds. But at the end of that segment, the cutscene has him still wielding a sniper rifle, regardless of whether you kept it with you during gameplay. This is necessary for the Rookie to be able to find the broken rifle later. This is especially odd on occasions where you aren't using a gun of any sort, but perhaps something like a giant melee hammer.
      • Averted in Halo 2, where cutscenes reflect what weapon you were using before you entered them, and whatever weapons your character is given or picks up in a cutscene at the start of a level are what you start gameplay with, in noted contrast to Halo: Combat Evolved where the Chief always had an assault rifle in his hands. However, it is always wielded as if it was the default weapon, causing some weapons to clip into the character model in certain scenes.
  • Bill in Left 4 Dead is stated to have suffered a knee injury from shrapnel during his tour of Vietnam, which makes it hard for him to walk or go up and down flights of stairs. In the game, he can run just as fast as the rest of the survivors. Adrenaline is a heck of an anesthetic.
  • Coach goes through a similar thing in Left 4 Dead 2. Coach suffered a knee injury during college football and he hasn't been the same since then. Admittedly, being a defensive lineman doesn't necessarily require a lot of running, and the other three survivors clearly aren't more fit than he is, even if they're slimmer.
  • The Marathon series consists of nothing more than jumping from one terminal to another while destroying Pfhor or sometimes human enemies with every gun you have, flipping switches and collecting components. The terminals really have no bearing on the plot in hindsight — in fact, the fan-made website "Marathon's Story", with all the terminals from the games, can be read to get the story without troubling yourself to reach each one.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Despite the Metroids being built up as the ultimate threat of the game to defeat, destroying them or even fighting them is completely optional (avoiding them is possible, but extremely difficult). Destroying them has no bearing on the gameplay either, as they simply respawn. In fact, you're better off just freezing them and moving on, since you'll be needing a lot of missiles to fight Mother Brain. Metroid: Zero Mission addressed this by putting a set number of them in the area they inhabit, then requiring you to kill every one in any given room before the doors would unlock to let you progress.
    • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Samus must ultimately find at least 5 Galactic Federation energy batteries in order to activate enough doors on a wrecked cruiser to get a code that unlocks the last area of the game. However, she's working for the Galactic Federation. And at the end of the game, they're waiting on her to do this. Surely, she could just let them know that she needs a few batteries. No, she must scour the landscape of four worlds for batteries from Federation installations, crashed ships, and the like.
  • Overwatch is a particularly extreme case, as its gameplay and lore are treated as two different entities. The matches you play have nothing to do with the actual story and character relations. In other words, the game isn't part of its own canon!
    • Some characters' personalities wouldn't make sense in lore, with gameplay mechanics being the only thing that make it work. In particular, Tracer's playful happy-go-lucky attitude to shooting enemies or planting sticky bombs on them is appropriate to the game where the enemy is simply eliminated and respawns in a few seconds. Imagining her having a similar attitude in the external setting where she would be actually killing people makes her appear quite different...
    • Although most characters in the game have the same skills in the lore and in the game, the exception, for balance, seems to be Reaper, who in the official comics and shorts is seemingly indestructible and is immune to the sleeping darts of Ana.
    • Echo was built by the remorseful Dr. Liao to be highly adaptable to any situation and show that humans and Omnics could coexist in peace, with her specializations implied to be humanitarian in nature by her official bio, such as medical support and construction. This makes it quite odd that, for all her gentle voice, non-threatening design, friendly mannerism and purpose, in-game Echo is a highly destructive Damage hero with sticky grenades and a beam that does more damage when the target is at low health. Echo did start development as a support character, but with Duplicate, her ultimate ability, being considered fundamental to her identity as a distinct character and lending itself to damage, it was decided to change her intended role.
  • Dallas in PAYDAY: The Heist is a chain smoker and is always out of breath, but that doesn't happen at all while you play as him, which is a good thing since you will be running around a lot.
  • The 1998 PC game SiN has this in spades. A number of bizarre gameplay elements include: the main character (John Blade) being turned into a half-naked mutant late in the game, then being changed back to his original human self, weapons, armor, and all; not being able to walk into a testing facility early on because you have police attire on, but the moment you switch into a work uniform, the few employees at the building won't recognize who you are; the opening two levels revolve around an unsuccessful heist to retrieve a document, but if the player finds the item wanted by the terrorist, it is simply an empty envelope that doesn't factor into the rest of the story; walking into a building and being captured, even if you have full health and enough ammunition to waste its entire group of occupants; falling into a trap door in a random room at a secret base that only serves to dump you into a meat cart for the final boss battle, and many other minor infractions.
  • It's a plot point in STALKER: Call of Pripyat that anomalies move. In the game itself, however, none of them ever leave their positions.
  • You will never see anyone firing anything other than the boring 'ol handgun in a Time Crisis cutscene, despite the fact that machine guns, shotguns, and grenade launchers have all been standard equipment for some time. The funniest example would be Giorgio Bruno taking a few shots at a swarm of Terror Bites... this after you've taken out the last wave with a machine gun. Then there's Alicia Winston threatening Jake Hernandez with a handgun and firing a warning shot next to his head... the same head you've blasted several dozen times to get to this point, raising the obvious question of what the hell good one more is going to accomplish.

    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.
    • Mogworld is entirely based on doing this in the other direction.
  • 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.
  • 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 cane 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 to Kill 'Em All.
    • 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!

    Party Game 
  • Some games, such as the WarioWare series, take this to such a blatant extreme that it starts making sense again by having the gameplay and the story literally have nothing to do with each other.

    Platform Game 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus has a jarring example at game's end. One of the safes containing a page of the Thievius Racoonus can only be opened by defeating the game's final boss, and the level containing the safe must be replayed to actually get to the safe. For some reason, the level is also one of the few levels in the game where Sly encounters Carmelita Fox. Therefore, if the player wishes to collect all of the pages in a game, then Sly and Carmelita have the same conversation twice, with it making absolutely no sense the second time around.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • In 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).
  • 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.
    • 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 the ones associated with getting a Legendary Lord's unique gear, generic missions limit themselves to the vague "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.
    • Khazrak the One-Eye, meanwhile, was hit with the reverse problem in his special quests, since the location they required him to attack was 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 is just as reliable 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) 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).

    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.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Fray, the hero of Alphadia Genesis starts off the story by already having a reputation as a famous Guild member and even wins a local tournament for the very first in-game battle. He starts at level 1.
  • Alpha Protocol:
    • The bosses will enjoy heavily modified laws of biology and physics during their fights, but immediately after the boss, they are suffering nothing more than a few non-lethal headshots and gunshot wounds. One example of this is the fight with Sis; as you're wrapping up the fight against her, she'd be peppered with gunshot wounds and (depending on your fighting style) explosive wounds. The cutscene immediately following shows Sis in seemingly near-perfect condition, as if she was only punched a few times.
    • Enemies you defeat bare handed are always treated injured but alive. Even if the finishing move used against them clearly snapped their spine.
  • Anachronox has the main character in trouble with a local mob boss who he owes a large amount of money to. However, being an RPG you can make huge amounts of money from fighting monsters. Alternately, the next locale you visit has trading robots which you can use to make a fortune with. Problem is, you cannot use this money to pay back the mob boss — the option simply doesn't exist and the debt comes back to bite you later on.
  • At the end of the second part of Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, Lady Shurelia sings Suspend, a spell that shuts down the Tower except for basic environmental and self-maintenance, and Aurica and Misha confirm that they can no longer use song magic. Shortly thereafter they Hand Wave magic as simply "much weaker," but even when you use it in Phase 3 before reawakening the Tower, spells are no less powerful than before and you can still use one that involves painting a target lock for the Tower's own energy cannons.
  • Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings:
    • Many of the character events don't actually involve Lydie or Suelle, but triggering them requires navigating to the area where they take place. This creates the odd effect of whichever twin the player is controlling appearing in the location of the event after it's over, even though it's obvious neither of them were in the vicinity at the time.
    • On the other hand, the events in the Heavenly Flower Garden mysterious painting do very much involve Lydie and Suelle, as well as their father, Roger. There is no cut-scene evidence indicating that any of the other playable characters enter the painting with them, yet all are still present for battles.
    • The stated requirement for the test to earn S Rank is for the twins to pour their passion into a single item of amazing quality to turn in to Mireille. However, all you're actually required to do is turn in an item that's good enough to pass the first line, and if it doesn't, you can just deliver two or three crappy D-level items until you pass the line and then choose the "report" option. Mireille will tell you that just barely passed and to do better next time (though there isn't one) and everything else will play out exactly the same, with Mireille praising Lydie and Sue for successfully reaching S Rank and saying how proud she is of them.
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • In this and other Infinity Engine games, there are a number of resurrection spells and items that can bring your group members back from the dead. However, when the plot calls for a character to die, they die... and the option of resurrection is never even brought up. It is however pointed out at least two times in the sequel that a character is too irremediably decomposed, profaned, mailed or corrupted for any resurrection or healing spells to work.
    • Irritating example: The background fluff claims that lots of people prefer carrying handy little gems instead of weighty gold coins. For the player, the utility is reversed: Gold is weightless and its value is precise, while gems' values are unknown and they clutter up your limited inventory space.
    • In the sequel, after you escape the chapter 1 dungeon, a cutscene will trigger with Imoen casting magic missile, even if she used all her spells while controlled by the player. More silly if the player erased all her learned spells from her mage book.
    • The sequel establishes a canon party that traveled with the protagonist during the first game. Some other characters returning from the first game can be met and the player can ask questions like "didn't you die?", that can sound a bit silly to say to someone in the middle of a conversation, but is a quite reasonable way to manage the dissonance between a character effectively dying during the playthrough and later appearing in the sequel as if nothing happened. However, there is one case that induces a plothole: Imoen is revealed to be a child of Bhaal, thus she can't be normally resurrected, as when she dies, her corpse turns into dust (like Sarevok and Charname) and her soul rejoins the essence of Bhaal, speeding his resurrection. However, in the first game she can die and be resurrected every time the player wants. She could also die at the beginning of chapter 1 and be resurrected after months of in-game time for the final fight. In the expansion Throne of Bhaal the developers seem to acknowledge this dissonance by having Imoen discuss death and resurrection ("tell me, how is dying?" "I'm surprised that you make me this question, silly girl, I would expect you to have a discount at the local Helm's temple" "yes but it's not the same thing, it's like darkness and then you awake elsewhere" — the latter potentially a dissonance itself if she never died during your playthrough).
    • In the sequel you are forced to join one side in the struggle between the shadow thieves and the vampires, even if the character is a paladin who would have big moral troubles in joining any of the parts (although the player could roleplay that it's the only available path to advance to the final goal, the main character simply accepts without questioning, however some companions might argue against specific choices). An undead hunter main character, or a ranger with vampires set as the racial enemy, could even join the vampires without any question. Some modders have created a mod called "Alternatives" which allows for different paths in order to progress the story, for those player who find hard to roleplay certain choices.
    • Speaking of undead hunters and ranger racial enemies, in the Enhanced Edition there is Hexxat that can join the party without any problem from Charname. Even if the player activates the turn undead button, no effect happens. Neither Minsc, who has vampires as racial enemies, raises any opposition at any point in the game.
    • A wizard slayer Charname can freely recruit only magical companions with no one of them ever complaining.
    • A paladin robbing a mansion or paying for gladiatorial combat between slaves? No problem, your status won't drop (in the Forgotten Realms, paladins get their powers from a deity and they lose them if they betray their vow) unless you get caught and kill the guards, thus losing enough reputation.
    • It is perfectly reasonable to just meet a new character at the moment and then bring him/her into an epic final boss battle 15 seconds after joining the party for the first time, without any complaint, he/she even make comments like a seasoned companion.
    • You can murder innocent people, raise your reputation through donations or specific quests, and everybody will forget your crimes and never rise any question.
    • You can behave as a good paragon or an evil bastard, yet choose dialogue lines that are the complete opposite of your backstory. Even silly, you can choose a good line and then an evil line and viceversa, or even choose the same question and answer differently to the same character, ultimately contradicting yourself many times during a dialogue.
    • If you summon monsters or undead in the middle of a city or inside someone else's home, nobody will complain.
  • Used very painfully in Baten Kaitos, where almost all the characters have wings and are shown to be fully capable of flight over reasonably short distances [depending on their wing shape] in cutscenes. There are still a lot of Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence and Broken Bridge puzzles, at heights and distances that cutscenes and battle animations (and ladders in Baten Kaitos Origins) show that the characters are perfectly capable of flying over. The series does have some good moments of Gameplay and Story Integration, but not enough to balance out the wings problem.
  • Chrono Cross has a feature where in New Game+, you can pull all of the characters you had in your party whenever you had previously beaten the game; even the ones who are in contradictory paths. While some might have a special attack or two; they do not interact. (Especially huge is being able to bring Harle back.) Somewhat justified, since the existence of parallel worlds is one of the main story points of the game.
  • Chrono Trigger
    • During the first mandated travel to the pre-historic era, the Gate Key gets stolen and the party has to get it back to travel to various points in time. This includes using a metaphorical hop to the End of Time to swap out party members. Despite the key being stolen, the player can easily swap their third party member (since Crono and Ayla are mandatory members at this point) around at will.
    • At one point your characters' weapons are taken when you're captured by the enemy. Unless you have Ayla in the party, who can fight without weapons, engaging enemies results in automatically being tossed back in your cell, and even then, only characters that have retrieved their weapons will participate in the battle. This completely ignores the fact that most of your party members can use magic, and could quite easily demolish enemies with balls of fire or bolts of lightning in spite of being completely unarmed.
    • Ayla is portrayed as holding a club in her artwork and within the FMVs. She uses nothing but her bare hands to fight within the game itself.
  • In Mobile Phone Game Cutie Riot, the same types of human and elf enemies are fought during quests, when according to quest dialogue the player is fighting goblins and other types of monsters.
  • In Cyberpunk 2077, the main plot of the game is that you are desperately seeking cure for a condition that is killing you. You are given only a few weeks to live and are constantly given reminders of your condition like choking, visual effects, as well as NPCs commenting on your imminent demise. However, a massive chunk of the game is about doing odd jobs for criminals and Fixers that will yield you money you can only spend on luxury items. A lot of gamers rush through the game, expecting to do the side content later, only to find out the story doesn't allow you to do so.
  • From Darkest Dungeon:
    • The game's hunger system is implemented as a random event which forces the characters to consume food or face health / stress damage. Food can also be consumed outside of that to restore health — but the hunger system completely disregards that. You can eat till the character refuses to take any more because they're full, and the next moment their hunger event strikes.
    • The torchlight system is mostly just a straightforward way to manage risk / reward: you're safer in the light, but can get better rewards in the dark. Some of the ways in which it's implemented make sense, like getting better scouting events in the light or being at a bigger risk of an ambush in the dark; some really don't, for example finding more loot in the dark (as if it's easier to find stuff when you can't see it) or having a higher chance of ambushing enemies in the light (somehow it's harder to notice you approaching if you carry a bright torch).
    • When traversing a corridor, it's possible to make the characters walk backwards, towards the door through which they entered. Doing so will prompt them to become concerned that they may be ambushed like that and inflict stress penalties. However, as the game is not programmed to be able to spawn enemies that attack the party from the back, it's one of the few occasions when the party is actually completely safe.
  • Part of the Dark Souls series' gimmick is that when you're killed in the game, your character actually dies and respawns at a bonfire in-universe. This is why your souls end up where you died, why some enemies stay dead after you kill them, and why changes you make to the levels persist (such as opening doors or activating elevators). However, multi-stage boss fights retain their phases, even when this doesn't fit: for example, the final boss of the Ashes of Ariandel DLC has you kill Friede, at which point Father Ariandel flips out and starts trying to beat you to death or set you on fire; when you die, however, you walk into the boss arena and he's obligingly chained himself back down until you kill her again.
    • Some items also don't make much sense. For example, the Undead Legion used the Farron Ring to improve their sword technique...but because the Farron Ring reduces the focus cost of weapon skills, and the Undead Legion's Farron Greatsword doesn't consume focus for its skill (parrying is free), the ring is dead weight on a character using it.
  • Deconstructed in Death end re;Quest with DLC Ripuka. Normally the DLC characters in Compile Heart games aren't that well integrated into the main story. In this case, the playable Ripuka, even if she is suffering from amnesia, is aware of this, that she's been summoned into the world as extra combatant who can't even be seen by the party members or even Arata, which means that she's aware of the Fourth Wall like the enemy Ripuka and the other Ludens. When you're chatting with her, she's directly addressing you, the player. Not only that, her knowing this fact also slowly drives her insane.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II:
    • The Undead are believed to be unholy abominations and are attacked on sight, requiring an undead PC to hide their skeletal body. However, all potential companions and most NPCs important to the main story are fine with it, even if the PC reveals themself as undead in their first conversation ever.
    • Sebille is armed with an absurdly sharp needle that's frequently mentioned in dialogue and can deal One Hit Kills in cutscenes, but is absent from her inventory and from regular gameplay.
    • In the story, Source Magic Is a Monster Magnet that can cause Voidwoken to appear with "just a drop". In gameplay, you can use all the Source you like; Voidwoken attacks, even those nominally attracted by Source, are scripted events or cutscenes.
    • Although Source magic is highly illegal and reviled, and one Sidequest treats a Source spell scroll as incriminating contraband, every major vendor has Source skill books for sale by Act II onwards.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Throughout the games, extended exposure to darkspawn blood is said to cause characters to become tainted. No mechanic for this exists: BioWare considered allowing your non-Grey Warden companions to undergo the ritual after long-term exposure in Origins but ended up not implementing it.
    • Dragon Age: Origins:
      • Blood Magic is a forbidden dark art that can only be learned in-game by bargaining a child's soul away to a demon (barring an incredibly high Coercion score), and it's practitioners are severely persecuted. And while the Player Character using it, even in presence of blood mage-hunters, can be justified since you're a Grey Warden, meaning you're above "normal" lawnote , it's very unlikely that the kindly, by-the-book mage Wynne would be willing to learn and use Blood Magic, but in-game nothing stops you from having her do it anyway.
      • Lyrium is stated to be a highly addictive substance that gradually poisons the drinker over time. Despite this, every mage in your party can gulp down flagons of the stuff without any ramifications. There was originally going to be a "lyrium withdrawal" debuff that got stronger the longer you used it, but it was taken out before release.
      • If you complete various DLC achievements, you unlock special equipment for future playthroughs of the main game, no matter what origin those playthroughs have. Meaning that the City Elf and Dwarf Commoner start out virtually skint, barely having two copper pieces to rub together, even though their inventory contains nearly 350 gold in dragonbone weapons alone. This equipment is also never taken away; even though the Dwarf Noble is arrested, found guilty, and thrown into the Deep Roads with sword, shield, and prison clothes, they won't confiscate the Orlesian-made high-grade leather armour, dragonbone axe, or magical stat-boosting belt (and indeed, if your Strength score is 20 or above the former will be donned automatically as soon as play starts).
      • One of your companions, Sten, is a Proud Warrior Race Guy, who values his personal sword so much that when it got stolen he went berzerk and slaughtered an entire innocent family. He cannot return home without it, even if he completes his mission, because his people will just kill him. You can go on a quest to recover the sword and return it to Sten, to his immense thanks. The sword then becomes an equippable weapon, which you can give to another party member, sell for a quick buck or even destroy in front of Sten. He will not care.
    • In Dragon Age II, Kirkwall is a city on the verge of becoming even more of a Wretched Hive because of the paranoia of the Templars. The Templars can even arrest The Hero's mage sister Bethany. However, you can walk 3 mages, robes and staffs in plain sight, past a crowd of Templars outside the Templar headquarters without anyone batting an eye. Hilariously, at one point, Cullen might tell a mage Hawke that "mages aren't people like you and me". Right after having seen Hawke use magic. One has to wonder how they train Kirkwall's Templars.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition:
      • If you offer the rebel mages a full partnership, Cassandra will defend your actions when your advisors ask you what you were thinking, and if you talk to her afterwards, she'll say she doesnt disapprove and respects that you made a decision when necessary. In-game, however, she greatly disapproves of the decision and it can lower her disposition towards you if her approval score is borderline.
      • Raw lyrium is incredibly dangerous to anyone who isn't a dwarf (and is even risky for dwarves). People who spend extended time around lyrium risk physical and psychological damage, and mages can be killed by direct exposure to raw lyrium outright. The red version is even worse, as just having a small piece of it can drive even a dwarf completely crazy. And yet throughout the game, you can walk your character right up to deposits of both versions, even touch it, with no adverse effects.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest III: After retrieving the Mirror of Ra, the party sneaks into the "king" room at the night and reveal his true shape: a giant troll who suddenly awakens and attacks the party. For a guy who just woke up, though, he's definitely alert throughout the fight.
    • Dragon Quest IV: During the fourth chapter, you have to search for some gunpowder in order to make a loud noise and scare the Chancellor of Palais de Leon. Never mind that Maya already knows a spell called "Bang" that creates a big explosion...
    • Dragon Quest V:
      • In perhaps the oddest example of this trope and a complete inversion of the usual Take Your Time present in this game, a series of events that can take the player roughly a couple hours to get through is implied to take two YEARSnote . This happens at least twice in the game, in addition to normal story time skips. (The last era of the game is explicitly mentioned to have taken two years.)
      • A rather more disappointing example: the hero's son is the legendary hero, so you'd expect his stats would at least notably decent. They aren't. He is outclassed by his twin sister, a mage, in every category but Strength, and dwarfed in every category by his father (who is twenty years older, but come on, they're the same level!).
    • Dragon Quest VIII:
      • At one point you cannot get past a northern checkpoint because the game involves going around with a king who has been transformed into a monster, and they won't let a monster in. However, at this point the hero has learned a spell to teleport him and his party to any city he has been to. If the story treated this spell as existing, he could go through the checkpoint alone, reach the next city, return, then teleport back to the city with the king and party. For that matter, half the stores in the game sell an item that has the same effect (Chimaera wings), so it wouldn't necessarily have to be the hero who could go alone. Heck, they could find a random guy who's been to the city and pay him to transport them there. If the game's plot considered this, though, then keeping borders secure would be nearly impossible.
      • The main plot involving the villain's murder spree, complete with you being forced to sit through a funeral for one of the victims. Instead of, I don't know, dragging the victim back into the church to be resurrected like you did all the times someone in your party has been killed in random battles.
  • In EarthBound (1994), if you play for more than two hours in one sitting, Ness's father will call to encourage him (or rather you, the player) to take a break from playing. The strange part is that this can occur before you get the Receiver Phone, the item that allows you to get (but not make) phone calls anywhere. Since this happens a few hours into the game, it's easy for you to get a call from Ness's father before Ness has a phone able to receive the call.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Recurring examples in the series:
      • The Umbra Sword is described as an evil Empathic Weapon that slowly corrupts and drives mad the person who wields it. The player can use it for the entire game after earning it and suffer no ill effects.
      • Moon Sugar and Skooma are highly addictive drugs, but the player can consume them with no negative long term consequences.
      • "Proper Lock Design", an In-Game Novel appearing in Oblivion and Skyrim, points out that higher-quality locks aren't any good if the chest or door itself is easily broken. Putting this to the test yourself isn't an option; while there are chests and doors placed pre-broken as part of the landscape, you can't ever break one no matter how hard you hit it. Presumably all of the wood-workers on Nirn took this advice to heart!
      • In an example of gameplay-and-story segregation caused by later changes in game mechanics, the plot of "A Hypothetical Treachery" no longer makes sense in Oblivion and Skyrim because magicka now regenerates quickly, unlike in Morrowind.
    • Morrowind:
      • One mission during the main quest requires the player to rescue an Argonian being bullied and threatened by racist Dunmer. The Argonian says they refuse to listen to anything he says because of his race. Despite this, the player character can talk to the Dunmer and convince them to leave the Argonian alone, even if the player character is an Argonian him/herself. The racists don't even mention this.
      • It is possible to become the leader of two Guilds or Factions which hate each other. For example, take the Mages Guild and House Telvanni. One quest for the Mages Guild requires you to root out a Telvanni spy within Guild leadership. You can be the Archmagister of House Telvanni, root out the spy who now technically works for you, and be rewarded by the Mages Guild for your good work. Another example, you may be the Mages Guild Archmage, but a House Telvanni quest will have you get the Mages Guild's monopoly on magical training dropped.
      • Several characters will comment that outlanders are not well liked by the native Dunmer. This supposedly includes foreign-born Dunmer. However, a Dunmer Player Character will still get the standard +10 "same race" disposition boost when interacting with native Dunmer NPCs.
      • Mistress Dratha, the Telvanni lord of Tel Mora, really Does Not Like Men. All of the retainers, merchants, and citizens in her city are female, with one exception: a single generic Telvanni Guard. Justified, as there are no female generic Telvanni Guards, and only generic guards can arrest the player if a crime is committed.
      • An early Mages' Guild questline involves a bet between the alchemist Ajira and the enchanter Galbedir on which apprentice will become journeyman first, with the player helping Ajira gain an edge... but Galbedir is already set as being a journeyman when the game starts, despite the plot treating her as still an apprentice. Oddly enough the game does have the mechanics to avoid this — there are scripting commands to raise or lower an NPC's rank in a faction — it just never uses them.
    • Skyrim:
      • A big deal is made about how Khajiit are strictly forbidden from so much as setting foot in a Hold's capitol city. However, if the player is a Khajiit, they can freely enter and exit even Windhelm (where even Argonians aren't allowed) without any trouble aside from the occasional rude comment. While this can be handwaved after the player goes to see the Greybeards and it's revealed that they are The Chosen One, the player can go straight from the tutorial in Helgen to Windhelm with no trouble at all.
      • The Skeleton Key can unlock much more than just locks, including the mind and Nord puzzle doors. Mercer even collapsed a tower with it. In the battle against him, he also used two of the Nocturnal abilities, one of them constantly, while normally a person can only possess one and it can't be used constantly. In the player's hands, it can only be used as an unbreakable lockpick and can't pick unpickable locks. The player character doesn't see the Skeleton Key the way Mercer does, though.
      • In the Dawnguard DLC, one quest of the vampire questline involves turning the moth priest into your thrall. The player uses vampire's seduction and then feeds on him to make him a thrall. The player can feed on almost any NPC like this, but it never makes a thrall.
      • The College of Winterhold questline involves you enrolling at the local Wizarding School and eventually becoming its Arch-Mage (basically the headmaster). However, you aren't actually required to cast very many spells over the course of the questline and can spend about 99% of it just caving in skulls with a warhammer. What few spells you are required to cast are Novice-level spells anyone can use. Hell, the penultimate boss of the questline uses a staff that drains your magicka, so you'll probably have an easier time caving in his skull than actually having a magic duel with him, even if you're a mage. Regardless, all of the students and faculty will praise your incredible magical prowess by the end of it and declare you the only one fit to be Arch-Mage. Also, despite being Arch-Mage, you still have to pay to get back in if you murder one of your students. Evidently, the position doesn't come with tenure.
      • The Companions questline is basically a reverse of the College. They're a mercenary company of warriors who value physical prowess and frown upon magic. To join them you have to spar with one of their members and will be yelled at if you cast a spell during this sparring match (including summoning a bound weapon). However, once that's over, you can spend the rest of the questline chucking lightning bolts at everything or having your atronachs do all the fighting for you and they will no longer care. And yes, at the end, you are made the new leader of the Companions, because you're such a strong and honorable warrior and not one of those sissy magic-users whatsoever, no sir.
      • The quest Forbidden Legend has you reforge an amulet that was reputed to be powerful and dangerous enough that even split into three it caused problems. This amulet's power? +30 to health, magicka and stamina. Useful, but not that powerful.
      • Hired Thugs have a contract that states that they don't need to kill the Dragonborn, but can do so if they deem it necessary. Hired Thugs will always attempt to kill you regardless of whether or not you fight back, because the engine has no way to allow players to be captured except by scripted events when the story demands it.
  • Eternal Sonata:
    • People who suffer from incurable illnesses develop the ability to use magic. As you advance into the game, you see that in fact everyone in your party is capable of using magic in battle; each character has "Magic" as a value in their stats. Still, the game says that just Polka and Chopin are ill and the only ones in your party that can use magic. Some characters even praise that capacity.
    • It's said that nobody is buying floral powder from Tenuto anymore because of the cheapness of the mineral powder. Yet just about every store in the game that sells items to your party carries healing powers that are described as powders made from flowers from Tenuto. This sort of segregation is probably also the reason why, once your party has a massive amount of Gold, Allegretto and Beat don't hand a bunch of it over to the kids in the sewers so they don't have to live there anymore.
    • This is also the main reason why Allegretto can't stop mocking Beat's obsession with photography, even though 12 haphazard shots of any random monster nets you more Gold than he's probably seen in a year, maybe even his entire life.
    • Even if you go through the trouble of getting Claves back from the bonus dungeon Mysterious Unison, the game basically acts as if she isn't there for any few remaining scenes in which her presence would be a factor, including the game's ending sequence. In fact, the only time this isn't true is in the Updated Re-release exclusive bonus dungeon in which you can get an altered scene with her presence in the party.
  • Caster from Fate/EXTRA states that she's just a normal girl in terms of physical prowess. She's not even heavily skilled in melee combat by normal, real-world standards. Doesn't stop her from physically striking iron-bodied servants that can move faster than sound and actually hurting them.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • The Assassin class is stated to be the worst physical combatant of the various classes, and best for stealth tactics and picking off specific priority targets who can't overpower them (especially normal humans). However, in the game proper, an Assassin is no weaker than any other Servant of the same star level aside from a 10% damage penalty (which they share with the Caster class and isn't much lower than the penalty Archers get). To the contrary, due to the game giving Assassin a Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors advantage over the Rider class, and many giant enemies being Riders, Assassins are somewhat memetic in the fandom for these sneaky rogues, serial killers, and executioners being able to tank the blows of giant monsters and kill them in one shot, while the powerful mages, demigods, and dragon-slayers struggle to do the same.
    • Due to the game's summoning mechanics, it's very possible to have a character who's a major player in the story mode in your party by the time you reach that point. For instance, say you roll Merlin on a banner or use your friend's Merlin through Supports, and then reach Babylon, where you meet a mysterious mage who helps you out. The characters still act shocked when the mage turns out to be Merlin, even if they've been fighting alongside him for some time and know exactly what he looks like. This was given a bandage by a system where many newer Servants are not referred to by their True Name until you reach their part of the story; for instance, if you haven't played Shinjuku and you summon or use Moriarty, then the game refers to him primarily as "Archer of Shinjuku" and even blanks out the name of his Noble Phantasm to avoid making it obvious who he is.
    • Overlapping with Popularity Power, a lot of Servants have rarities or stats that don't correspond to their in-lore power. Arash is Famed In-Story as Iran's greatest hero, but he's a one-star, the lowest rarity, and mostly useless at first glance. Cu Chulainn, who is considered pretty damn powerful in the lore of the series, is three-star, putting him below people he canonically managed to fight to a standstill or outright defeat. Jack the Ripper is considered a "young" Servant and therefore quite weak, but a five-star in-game, the top rarity. And then there's the large number of Servants given out for special events, who inexplicably gain or lose a star and completely change their focus because they're wearing a bathing suit, and all of whom end up at four or five stars.
    • A microcosm of the above oddities is Okita and Nobunaga. In lore, Okita is a pretty weak Servant with no standout traits besides Agility, owing to being only a few centuries old. However, this makes her a natural counter to Nobunaga, who (due to the historical Nobunaga being infamous as an anti-spiritual modernizer) has hefty advantages against older and more legendary Servants but is basically limited to "shoot easily-dodged muskets at it" against younger ones. But in game mechanics, this is reversed. Okita ended up being the five-star for the event that introduced the duo, so she's very strong in general, able to crit for tons of damage and bring down powerful opponents. Meanwhile, Nobunaga is an Archer (class advantage over Saber, Okita's class) who also gets bonus damage against characters with the Riding trait (which Okita has), so bringing Nobunaga along to fight Okita is actually a very good idea.
    • In general, for the purposes of any story event, the game assumes you've summoned whatever Servants are convenient. For instance, the Agartha arc involves the premise that Astolfo, d'Eon, Fergus, Heracles, and Drake have all been summoned by you at some point and their disappearance is significant, even though it's very likely to get to that point in the story with pretty much every character on that list except maybe Fergus absent from your Chaldea.
    • In one of the later chapters of Part II of the story, one of the Servants, Musashi, sacrifices herself to defeat a major enemy, resulting in her ceasing to exist entirely, even from the Throne of Heroes. In the materials accessible in My Room, that Servant's icon is replaced by a blue icon that reads "DATA LOST", and the profile is no longer accessible. However, if the player has successfully summoned the Servant previously, the profile remains accessible and visible from a different menu, and it remains playable.
    • A lot of lore elements end up getting defied by the game's mechanics. Probably the funniest case is Medea's Rule Breaker attack. In canon, it's stated that the ability is Awesome, but Impractical: it's a dagger that can undo most spells and magical contracts, but Medea is a Squishy Wizard and the dagger is fragile, short-range, and unergonomic, so it's not really feasible for her to use it in actual combat. However, since "range" isn't really a factor in the combat system, ingame Medea has no problem just floating up to a giant monster and shanking them in the face. In fact, considering how good Medea is at charging up her Limit Break, chances are good she'll be stabbing people almost every other turn, making it actually the inverse, a Boring, but Practical source of steady damage.
  • Summons or other spells with extensive animations that never affect reality in the RPG world. The earthquake spell never takes out any buildings, Bahamut Zero can fly out of space and zap your enemies even when you're underground, and the most infamous offender, Final Fantasy VII's Supernova, destroys Earth's whole solar system, doing some damage to the characters but leaving them and the planet, which is not even Earth, intact.note  Moreover, the villain can cast it multiple times. On the other hand, Little Girl Rydia summons Titan in a battle-cutscene and creates an entire mountain range.note  Likewise, in Final Fantasy IX summons are pivotal to the plot as the beasts enact massive actions in cutscenes; apparently, their attacks are much more surgically precise during gameplay.
  • Fleuret Blanc:
    • Completing the confrontation associated with a character will let you see their part of the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. Normally, this makes sense, as the subplot and confrontation typically revolves around learning more about them and turning their life in a new direction. However, Masque's confrontation has almost nothing to do with him personally, as it's only the first half of Le Neuvieme's subplot, so it's possible to see his epilogue without understanding any of its significance.
    • When fighting Kant, their quips have the same confident, cocky tone as the other members', despite the fact that they're a terrified, traumatized wreck at that point.
  • In Gene Forge, Shapers are barred from ever making certain Creations, but nobody will comment on you wandering around Shaper cities with a small army of illegal creations in tow. Indeed, you can march right into a city of Drayks and Drakons who are rebelling against the headship or even equality with humans, and go and chat with Drayks about how little they're being respected, and they won't bat an eye if you happen to have a force of obedient cannon fodder servant Drayks at your heels.
  • Genshin Impact:
    • You can have four characters in your party, or five if you get a Guest-Star Party Member as part of a quest, but cutscenes and NPC dialogue will always assume that you only have the Traveler in your party and/or any said Guest-Star Party Member(s). Certain dialogues will cause you to temporarily change to the Traveler regardless of whether they're in your party or not, but most won't, so you could be playing as someone like Amber and the NPC will still treat you as if you're playing as the Traveler.
    • Regardless of what weapon the Traveler has equipped, cutscenes will generally depict them as wielding a Dull Blade, the sword they start the game with, or a Silver Sword, a slightly better weapon that you'll inevitably obtain not long after starting.
    • With the sole exception of the Archons and Childe, the rarity of stars (resulting in naturally more or less high stats) of the characters does not always reflect their true power and/or their role within the story and lore in general. Some classic examples are Diluc (5★) and Kaeya (4★), who can stand up in an equal fight with each other, or Ningguang (4★), who is essentially both the unofficial leader of the Liyue Qixing and one of the most powerful Vision users in the game, has one less star than her colleague Keqing (5★). Likewise, Beidou (4★), a legendary warrior and sailor from Liyue who obtained her own Electro Vision by killing a powerful millennial sea monster, and Hu Tao (5★), a mere owner of a funeral home.
    • Every character's specialty dish has increased effects from the dish that it's based on. This includes the dishes of Lethal Chefs Amber and Bennett, which are described as being improperly cooked but will still restore an additional 10% of a fallen character's health.
  • In the Game Boy Color adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry may have Ron, Hermione, and at one point even Neville following him. They'll never help him out.
  • In Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory they make a fairly big deal out of Neptune not being a CPU in the alternate dimension, and the first chapter of the game is devoted to finding the object that can restore her power. The same is done for her sister, Nepgear, and she isn't playable until she receives the CPU Memory from Vert. However, it's never brought up again, and when Uni, Ram, and Rom join the team at the end of the Good/True Ending route, they're able to flip back and forth between dimensions just fine.
  • In Inazuma Eleven every soccer player can jump almost as high as Saiyans in a soccer match to create supernatural moves, but none of the members in your team thinks of jumping across a small river to get to pieces of wood to create a bridge so that their van can cross, and you have to go around the whole maze-like forest.
  • Indivisible: Dhar had recently led an assault on Ajna's village, burned it to the ground, and murdered her father in front of her in Ravannavar's name. Naturally, when he gets sucked into her third eye and they become stuck together, they are on bad terms. Dhar becomes a playable party member from that point and isn't necessarily being controlled by Ajna, just bonded to Ajna and can come out when he needs. Eventually, Ajna finds Ravannavar and tries to kill him. Dhar can be used in both fights against Ravannavar, despite still being fiercely loyal to him (Albeit unremembered) before he makes his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Jade Empire:
    • The philosophy behind the Open Palm/Closed Fist Karma Meter is explained in quite a bit of depth and is debated in-universe but is closer to Harmony vs Individualism than Good vs Evil, and the Big Bad especially is Open Palm but very evil. In actual practice the game rewards points like it was good vs evil, even though lots of the acts you'll get Closed Fist points for petty puppy-kicking cruelty that are just as bad in that philosophy and a fair few you get Open Palm for are just as good.
    • The player character can not harm spirits with weapon styles and this is explained as just how spirits work in this universe, but none of the companions have this restriction.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Emblem Heartless are said, in the story, to release hearts whenever they are defeated by a Keyblade. In the Organization, only Roxas (and later Xion) can use the Keyblade, making them invaluable to the Organization. In Gameplay, though, the hearts are collected when any of your allies defeat an Emblem Heartless, even if it was defeated by someone without a Keyblade. You also get the hearts if you (or an ally) defeat them with magic instead of a weapon.
      • Going with the above, the story likes to say that Heartless can only be defeated at all with a Keyblade and demonstrate by giving you a mundane weapon early on that has no effect on Heartless until you get the Keyblade, but in game anyone can fight them as if they were regular monster. Even worse, in the first game, you temporarily lose the Keyblade — this does torpedo your Attack and Magic stats, but you're still capable of dealing some damage with the very same wooden toy sword that passed through Shadows at the beginning of the game like they were intangible. Gameplay And Gameplay Segregation?
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, you may have leveled up any or all of the 3 main characters to the point where any of them can defeat Xehanort and/or Vanitas in their numerous boss battles in about 2 seconds, yet they will STILL kick all 3 characters' asses repeatedly during cutscenes both before and after these fights.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II:
      • In Port Royal, Jack Sparrow turns into a skeleton in sections of moonlight after becoming cursed, just like the other pirates. However, he can be damaged when he is non-skeletal form, while the other pirates cannot, and is able to be hurt by mundane means while the Pirates can only be harmed because of the Keyblade's foreign magic.
      • The first fight against Armored Controller Xemnas is one of the few bosses that has a chance to trigger the King Mickey rescue mechanic should Sora die. In a cutscene before the fight, King Mickey is trapped on the other side of the closed Door to Darkness and shouldn't be able to get there. In the post-fight cutscene, however, both Mickey and Kairi are seen in fighting stances and the former congratulates everyone for doing great, suggesting he and Kairi eventually got through.
      • Completion in certain areas, such as the Hundred Acre Wood and Atlantica is not required to clear the game. Despite this, if you beat the game without clearing these areas, you will still see happy cutscenes of resolution in the credits as if you had.
    • Kingdom Hearts III: The Thirteen Seekers of Darkness are comprised of Master Xehanort and his incarnations from across time and numerous allies and former Organization members, many of whom served as either a Final Boss or Climax Boss in their own right. However, in the climactic Keyblade War, they are all fought in groups and none of them display anything close to the amount of power they showed in past games. This is especially egregious with foes such as Ansem, Xemnas, Young Xehanort, and Marluxia, the aforementioned final bosses of past games. Word of God later clarified that this de-powering was deliberate so that a player could be reasonably expected to defeat two-to-three Organization members in a single fight, especially newcomers to the series. The Limit Cut episode from the DLC later added one-on-one fights with each Seeker of Darkness in which they are more powerful than they’ve ever been in past games and regain many of their old abilities and attacks; Word of God elaborated that this is the power level that the Seekers were actually at when Sora fought them in the base game.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, despite the Sith guards on Taris supposedly looking for Bastila, they'll never comment on her presence even when she walks past them in her Jedi robe wielding a lightsaber. Maybe they're just that stupid, which might explain why Malak so quickly opted to destroy the entire planet.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords:
    • Nar Shaddaa is home to the Jekk'Jekk Tarr, a bar that caters to aliens and sports a piped-in atmosphere toxic to humans. When the Player Character goes there as part of the game's overarching story, he/she is informed that a breathmask will be insufficient protection and a full-body containment suit is called for, as the poison can be absorbed through the skin. This will come as a surprise to any player who already completed an earlier sidequest by, yes, putting on a breath mask and just walking around as normal. And when you actually enter the JJT, you walk in, nearly asphyxiate, and then Kreia teaches you a Force power called Breath Control, which makes you immune to poison. But you don't even have to use it if you just... equip a breath mask (despite being told that won't work).
    • Subverted later in the game. The various Jedi Masters you're searching for will act as though your character is still cut off from the Force when you talk to them, totally ignoring something like the possibility that you were mind-controlling mercenaries or blasting entire rooms of people with lightning from your hand right in front of them not five minutes prior. There's a reason for that, though.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, the local Orphanage of Love is burnt down, meaning that its Matron will have to earn ten thousand mira to rebuild it. However, players are never given the option to donate money to her. Even if they're carrying triple that amount.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, this is avoided as much as possible. At one point, Machias and Jusis' and later Laura and Fie's inability to get along even leads to the Tactical Link system breaking. Rean and Alisa's dispute doesn't break the Link system because they get over their issues before they end up in the same party. That said, there are some issues...
    • The story makes a huge deal about how important and battle-changing combat links are but they hardly even make a difference during actual gameplay battles, especially during early and mid game.
    • The story also makes a big deal about how much more powerful Laura and Fie are compare the rest but in gameplay, (barring overpowered skills like Rean's Arc Slash) they aren't too different from any of the other physical-based characters.
      • This is most exemplified during the battle where you play as Fie and Laura vs Rean and Machias, which is arguably one of the hardest, if not the hardest, battle in the game, especially on the higher difficulties.
      • Perhaps as to try to make this more consistent, both Laura and Fie are the only ones to start the game with an S-Craft.
      • To make the hard fight more believable, it was placed after Laura and Fie exhausted their energy in duel.
      • Although you can switch in and out party members in a fight, you're only required to fight with four. Regardless, everyone gains EXP as if they had all participated in the battle. Furthermore, characters will sometimes compliment another character's fighting after the battle and how much they helped out, even if they weren't part of your chosen battle team.
  • Live A Live: The player is first introduced to Hong Hakka running from an angry restaurant owner with great speed. He's the slowest of the chapter's party members.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: The party in A Cause To Daikon For is mentioned to split up to groups of two at most whenever they're moving, yet Gonbe is able to summon his two assist characters wherever he is. This is likely to compensate for the fact that he's a horrible fighter by himself.
  • Neverwinter Nights: Your character tries to get into a palace by claiming to be an emissary from Mulhorand (the local Egypt-equivalent.) The guard doesn't fall for that, as Mulhorandi emissaries are dark-skinned and wear ornate garb. He says this even if your character is, in fact, dark-skinned and dressed ornately.
  • Kaelyn the Dove in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer calls herself a doomguide, but has no levels in that Prestige Class since it wasn't added to NWN2 until the Storm of Zehir expansion. Furthermore, Doomguide, in addition to being used for priests of Kelemvor with special Kelemvor-suited training (IE, having levels in the Doomguide prestige class), is also used as a term for priests of Kelemvor — which Kaelyn the Dove (no longer) is.
  • Lampshaded in NieR. As part of a story event, a smith gives you a broken sword and promises to fix it. He does this again on a New Game+, which carries your inventory over. Nier asks if he doesn't have it already. Weiss just tells him this is how things happen the second time through.
  • Octopath Traveler:
    • As far as gameplay is concerned, the characters are traveling together as a party, dealing with their stories together and helping common folk along the way. Cutscenes, meanwhile, portray them as overcoming these hurdles on their own, often in situations that would make little sense with a full crew of eight people. And then you get to the party banter scenes, where party members act as if they were present during the other's story cutscenes...
    • No matter what a party member's quest is, they'll join up with the others without a word. Especially noticeable in the case of Therion: nearly all the other characters are out to do some good in the world, only to immediately join a criminal on a heist, and Therion will reject other thieves because he works alone and then decide to get help from random passers-by.
    • The side-jobs have no impact on plot or characters. For example Therion will always refer to himself as a thief no matter what his side-job is. There are no interactions between two party member who share jobs (as primary and side-job).
    • Arianna will comment in Primrose's Chapter 2 that Stillsnow isn't far from Flamesgrace. In reality, it's just about the furthest away two towns in the same region can get. The frostlands are one of only two regions where you can't go straight from the Chapter 1 town to the Chapters 2-3 town and then from there to the Chapter 4 town. To get from Flamesgrace to Stillsnow, you have to make a massive detour through the forest to the west.
    • Ophilia's Chapter 4 involves her in a Town with a Dark Secret. The villagers are all hostile to her, and will actually capture her as part of the story. Despite this, they will also do business with her as she can still use the pub, inn and even the weapons shop.
    • Early in H'aanit's Chapter 4, it's mentioned that when Redeye moved into the Grimsand ruins, it caused all the monsters to flee the ruins to the surface. Yet when the Player makes it to the ruin, there will be plenty of random encounters as usual of any dungeon. (Downplayed by many of the remaining monsters being partially petrified — presumably by Redeye's curse — implying they were simply too slow.)
    • With all the sheer amounts of horrible things you can do to townsfolk (see Video Game Cruelty Potential), this barely affects the overall plot, so it will still continue despite that you just beat up an entire village. Sometimes they'll even be considered noble path actions — even if you're beating up pregnant women. It's quite hilarious.
    • Your party can only include up to four of the eight main characters at any given time. But unlike with many other role-playing games, non-cutscene dialogues with NPCs don't change depending on who's in the party. So when you meet NPCs with deep personal connections to one of the characters (such as Tressa's parents), their dialogue remains oddly generic and impersonal even if said character is right there in front of their eyes.
    • During Therion's first two chapters, he has to trick guards in order to pull off a heist. After he succeeds, the guards' dialogue doesn't change, meaning that they'll still say things along the lines of "No unauthorised persons are permitted to enter!" even though your characters can just walk right past them into the place they're "guarding".
  • Odin Sphere: Most prominently when you fight other main characters as part of one character's story; they're several dozen times more powerful than they would be at that point in time in their own story. This is painfully obvious when you're forced to fight Mercedes, who is one of the hardest PC-boss fights, but when you get to her book, she starts as the weakest of the five. Of course, "starts" is the keyword here.
  • At one point in the RPG Odium, your team medic gets attacked and poisoned by an invisible monster, cannot be cured, and dies at the end of the battle (and states that the grotesquely deformed bodies you found earlier are, too, victims of this poison). Near the end of the game, you battle a group of these monsters, but their poison can be cured away and only does minor damage like any other monster's poison.
  • In Parasite Eve Aya can be wielding a shotgun, rifle, machine gun, grenade launcher, or even a damn rocket launcher, but these weapons are never rendered outside of battle. Aya is always shown using a handgun on the overworld maps and during cut scenes.
  • Pathfinder: Kingmaker: The final stage of Valerie's companion questline has her put through a church trial over the circumstances of her quitting the Church of Shelyn. Should you talk your way through to the "good" ending where Shelyn forgives Valerie and removes her scar, the paladin leader will lose his temper and attack you. On tabletop this probably should have cost him his class features on the spot for violating Shelyn's paladin code and/or ceasing to be Lawful Good,invoked but since this is the only situation in the entire game where such a mechanic would be relevant, Owlcat Games probably didn't consider it cost-effective to write code for it.
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous:
    • Using bite attacks, even against explicitly diseased undead who give you disease with a touch, does not subject you or companions to any negative effects.
    • There are times where your character has a mechanically suitable ability that should solve a plot problem but doesn't. For example, a cleric cursed to die a painful death via rats eating him from the inside out if he lets you go into a part of his temple will die even if you possess the ability to remove curses via the appropriate spell. There's neither the ability in dialogue to break the curse, nor does manually using it on him do anything. There are several such cases like this where you should be able to do things but you can't, other times the game will reference your gameplay abilities (for example by letting you heal someone). Even the Aeon-path commander cannot fix this, despite being able to cure the otherwise-doomed corrupted soldiers in Molten Scar.
    • Your character is always treated as having to get around by walking. This is even when you're someone who clearly should have the ability to fly, like a winged Aasimar or Azata or a gold dragon. And characters who can fly can still fall to their deaths in a Bottomless Pit by failing certain skill checks.
    • Taking the Kitsune racial feat that gives you extra tails and spells to go with them does not affect your character's model.
    • The pre-finale Logistics meeting has your advisor tell you the Crusade has no money and will have to requisition, which tanks morale. She says this even if the player has hundreds of thousands of every resource, fully fortified garrisons and multiple army units.
    • Casting spells labeled with the Evil descriptor like Animate Dead will never turn a neutral- or good-aligned character evil, unlike in the tabletop game.
    • Of course in classic videogame fashion, no amount of resurrection spells will let you raise someone who dies from a Plotline Death. And while sometimes the game will let you heal people with a spell or potions, other times people will be too grievously injured to save, but yet healthy enough to have long detailed parting conversations.
    • The Logistics council events in Crusade mode will always talk about how you're running out of resources and funds no matters what your actual campaign finances are like. You can be sitting on hundred of thousands of finance points, and your advisor will be talking about how they basically have to resort to robbery or draconian taxes in Mendev to finance the crusade.
    • Council events will sometimes discuss events that just don't happen. Hal for example will talk about how the good dragons in your army feel awful about repeatedly having to burn down encampments despite those enemies being unable to fight back against the dragons. This never actually is something you see, do or order.
    • Much is made of each mythic path having a "Transformation" where the player fully becomes an Angel/Demon/Lich/Dragon. And while in story this is true, in gameplay (aside from Lich as Lich is a template applied on top of the player's character), the player is never treated as such: They retain their original race, racial abilities, and racial features. In the case of Gold Dragon, their Gold Dragon form can outright be dispelled off them in combat by enemies, as it's treated as a buff, not the player's actual form.
    • Evil characters can still see and hear the Hand of the Inheritor during Act 4 despite the fact they shouldn't be able to.
  • An infamous scene in Persona 2 Innocent Sin involves Hitler and his Last Battalion being summoned to Sumaru City, courtesy of rumors. Even though they take over the city, and presumably the rest of Japan, without much resistance, and despite the fact that said battalion is parading around in mech suits, they don't bother wrecking whatever malls and shopping areas are left (some get wrecked during the game, but before the Last Battalion showed up). This allows Tatsuya and co. to do whatever shopping they need unmolested.
  • A nefarious case in Persona 3 comes when Shinjiro is shot to death by Takaya. No one attempts to heal him (it is still the Dark Hour when it happens, so someone could use a healing spell), revive him (Ken, who is right behind Shinjiro when he's shot, has by this point likely learned a spell that can revive even someone hit by an Instant Death Attack), or even attempt to stop the bleeding normally, despite the fact that the party at this point has arguably gotten far worse injuries in their battles with Shadows and have come out of them without much of a problem. This also mixes with Cutscene Power to the Max — Junpei is also shot and killed by Takaya a month later, dying almost instantly and only being saved by Chidori's Sacrificial Revival Spell. However, when you fight Takaya in battle, his bullets don't do too much damage.
  • Persona 5 has a strange, likely oversight'd moment; by the time you make it to the 7th Dungeon, you know who The Traitor is (Akechi). The 7th Dungeon's "Time is Up" cutscene involves The Traitor invading your hideout. The Traitor is also the last midboss of the 7th Dungeon, and once you beat them, circumstances arise (Namely, Akechi pulls a last second Heel–Face Turn and apparently goes down in a Heroic Sacrifice to save your party from an ambush. His confidant even hits 10 right there.) that remove The Traitor from the story. The segregation arises from the time up cutscene not changing whatsoever after this event. Of course, since the spoilered event in question happens just before you reach the Treasure Room, and you can send the Calling Card the very next day, you will most likely have to go out of your way to view this scenario.
  • In Phantasy Star II; Rolf is unable to use the teleport station in Paseo to go directly to other cities at the start of the game. It's required to visit a city once before you can teleport there from other cities. This creates an odd paradox since he's unable to go directly to Piata. A city he had travelled to in the past, right before a rather important story-related event unfolded.
  • The opening scene of Phantom Dust has a team of espers scorch scores of monsters with single attacks when two of said monsters would be challenging to the player. This may be justified by the fact that some of the monsters look a little more sickly they do in the game proper. Another example is characters performing feats like telekinetically hurling what appears to be half a sky scraper at you when the player, who is easily the most powerful esper in the game, has no such abilities.
  • Pokémon:
    • In FireRed and LeafGreen, there's a ranger on Seven Island who claims that city trainers (meaning trainers from Kanto) "sure are tough". Seven Island is an area that can only be reached after the game has been beaten, so the trainers living there are actually stronger than nearly any Kanto trainer.
    • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, losing against the first rival battle will result in the standard white out instead of the game proceeding, forcing you to win against Brendan/May to proceed. When you return to Professor Birch's lab, he congratulates you for winning "on your first try" even if you lost beforehand.
    • During a cutscene in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, Grovyle blinds several opponents using a Luminous Orb to cover for an escape attempt. The Orb's sole use during gameplay is to reveal the layout of the dungeon floor it is used on.
    • In Pokémon Black and White, N will always say that your Pokémon like you regardless of what their in-game friendship stat says. (In some fairness, having a decent Friendship stat with a team you've been with for any decent period is something you have to go out of your way to avoid.)
    • A counterargument given against Team Plasma's agenda in Black and White is that Pokémon would simply leave their trainers if they disliked them. But having a Pokémon with low friendship contradicts this as it doesn't result in the Pokémon leaving you.
    • In Pokémon X and Y it's stated that Mega Evolution is supposed to be possible because of strong bonds between a trainer and their Pokémon. The Friendship stat (which controls the moves Return and Frustration as well as enabling certain evolutions) has no bearing on the ability to trigger Mega Evolution, so it's possible to activate it on a freshly-caught Pokémon (for example, the Lucario you're handed during the main story) or even one that hates your guts.
    • Also in X and Y, a Big Blackout hits most of Lumiose City apart from the Southern Avenue, and the player cannot move beyond Southern Boulevard until they solve the situation at the Power Plant causing the blackout. However, the whole city is still brightly lit when playing at night, and NPCs freely walk in and out of the "blackout" zone.
    • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Aether Paradise's jamming signal for Poké Balls only affects the battle against Nihilego; they can still be used in Trainer battles (though, of course, the Trainer will block the ball).
    • Despite the series's long-running theme of "Pokémon are friends, not weapons," for a long time, your Pokémon could only be used for fighting and breeding. The latter actually rewards you for churning through dozens of mons, disposing the inadequate ones, until you get one with perfect stats. There is a Friendship stat, but it rarely does anything — it triggers evolution for a handful of mons, increases the damage dealt by Return (but decreases the damage dealt by Frustration), and helps you get certain Cosmetic Awards — and can only be measured by talking to certain NPCs. This didn't change significantly until Pokémon X and Y introduced the Pokémon-Amie pet-care minigame, which was replaced with the similar Pokémon Refresh in Pokémon Sun and Moon.
    • Pokémon whose natures increase their Special Defense stat prefer Poffins or Pokéblocks with a bitter flavor. However, using herbal medicine on such Pokémon will still lower their friendship "due to the bitter taste". Similarly, honey (called Sweet Honey in Japanese) will still attract Pokémon that hate sweet flavors.
    • All Flying-type Pokémon have an immunity to Ground-type moves, meant to be a Logical Weakness for Ground-types due to the fact that a being that flies wouldn't be affected by the moves of a creature that's stuck on or in the ground. However, this applies even to Flying-types that aren't capable of actually flying, like Doduo, Dodrio, Archen and Gyarados. While Gyarados has the excuse that it's able to float in the air and Archen learns to fly after it evolves, there is no such excuse for the ostrich-like Doduo and Dodrio. Additionally, some ground moves should theoretically be able to hit even something flying, such as Bonemerang or Mud Shot, but they still obviously do not work on Flying-types.
    • There's also the inversion: Pokémon who are depicted as flying or hovering but can be hit by Ground-type moves like Magnitude and Earthquake due to them not actually being Flying-types or having Levitate as their Ability. Some of, them, like Nihilego, Magnezone, and Mega Charizard X, even take super-effective damage from these moves. Sky Battles in the sixth generation ban Pokémon that lack either Levitate or a Flying typing, which creates some strangeness when you use Pokémon that explicitly can fly but don't fit the above (i.e. Garchomp).
    • Pokémon with visible flames on their bodies (the Charmander line, Moltres, Magmar, etc) should logically be snuffed out if they're in the middle of a rainstorm or when hit by a water based attack. Despite how certain fire type Pokémon are said to die if their flames go out, said flames never get extinguished. This gets taken to a ridiculous degree in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire where you can send out fire based Pokémon to battle while underwater.
    • Kangaskhan are always shown with a joey in their pouch, even if you've just hatched the parent itself.
    • Poison Is Corrosive is in effect, with acid-based moves like Acid, Acid Spray, and Corrosive Gas being classified as Poison-type. This means that Steel-type Pokemon, which are made of metal and are immune to poison, are unaffected by acid, even though you'd expect such attacks to be extra-effective against them.
    • A lot of the Flavor Text provided by the Pokédex directly contradicts gameplay or Pokémon stats.
      • Supposedly, Charizard's fire breath is hot enough to melt boulders. A Fire-type move used by Charizard on a Rock-type will still deal half damage. (Possibly justified since melting is still much less than what would happen to a flesh and blood opponent.)
      • Metapod and Kakuna are supposed to be totally immobile and only know Harden. Although Metapod and Kakuna (and other cocoon mons) caught in the wild will only known Harden, any such mon evolved by the player will carry its previous moves — String Shot and either Tackle or Poison Sting — forward.
      • Nidorina and Nidoqueen are unable to breed — even the Japanese-exclusive official Pokédex released around the time of the first games confirms it! — but several Pokédex entries talk about how they take care of their young.
      • Drowzee and Hypno are said to live off of dreams; it's their defining trait. The one attack that literally involves this, Dream Eater, is not in their level-up movepool, although they can learn it by TM.
      • Psyduck and Golduck's defining trait is their strong Psychic Powers, but while they're capable of learning several Psychic-type moves their typing is pure Water. In Generation 1 this was justified by having Confusion be the only Psychic move they learned naturally, but later gens continued to add more and the typing was never corrected due to tradition.
      • Abra is said to sleep through most of the day, teleporting away from danger in its sleep. They are not immune to being inflicted with the Sleep status, and are affected by it normally (ie they can't use Teleport).
      • Its evolved form, Alakazam, remembers everything — but can still learn only four moves.
      • Cubone is said to wear the skull of its dead mother, but you can freely breed Cubone without any ill effects on the mother.
      • Many Pokédex entries for the Slowpoke line make mention of Shellder biting onto a Slowpoke's tail/head in order to evolve. Having a Shellder is not required for Slowpoke to evolve, and the evolution can happen on top of a mountain miles away from any ocean.
      • Similarly, Magneton is said to be the result of three Magnemite being linked together by a powerful magnetic force. Three separate Magnemite are not required for obtaining a Magneton. Diglett and Dugtrio are more ambiguous, as the Pokédex entries seem a bit indecisive as to whether or not Dugtrio has three heads or is a case of The Dividual. However, they are often claimed to be triplets.
      • Arcanine is renowned for its impossible speed, but its Speed stat isn't that high and easily beaten by other Pokémon. (Gen 2 did fix this somewhat by letting it learn the rare, increased priority move Extremespeed by level up.)
      • Doduo is stated to be a poor flyer that makes up for it with its fast ground speed. Nothing impedes it from learning Fly, and using that move to travel from one side of the map to the other while carrying a ten-year-old that weighs as much as it does. Vullaby is even worse, being explicitly flightless and still able to learn the move. Meanwhile, there's a lot of Flying-types that seem like they should be able to fly around while carrying a person, but can't learn Fly (Noivern, Gyarados, Scyther, Togekiss, and especially Yanmega, which has has a dex entry claiming it can carry people while flying).
      • Magikarp is claimed to be worthless in terms of both power and speed. Despite this, Magikarp's Speed stat is actually decent by the standards of unevolved Pokémon, at 80. Furthermore, it has the ability Swift Swim, which doubles its Speed in the rain.
      • Unown are supposed to become stronger in numbers, greater than the sum of their parts. Carrying multiple Unown in your party doesn't influence their strength at all.
      • Magcargo's body temperature is supposedly hotter than the surface of the sun. While this should kill everything on Earth, it doesn't.
      • Qwilfish is often referred to as a bad swimmer, but one of its abilities is Swift Swim (which doubles its Speed in rain).
      • Staring into the hole in Shedinja's back is supposed to mesmerize and then steal the soul of the victim. All of its player-side battle sprites have the hole clearly visible, but nothing unusual ever happens to the player character.
      • Regice is stated to be so cold that it can be dipped in magma without harm and can freeze anything that gets near it. Fire-type moves will still harm it and Pokémon can make contact with it without any ill effects.
      • Spiritomb is supposed to be made up of 108 souls sealed in a stone, but it can breed and create more Spiritomb.
      • Wailord is supposedly 14.5 meters tall and is presumably the length of a real blue whale, yet its battle model shows it smaller than its trainer. This is obviously so it doesn't take up the whole screen and force the camera to be zoomed ridiculously far out. Some even say that its Dynamax form is how big it really is normally.
      • Female Unfezant are claimed to be better flyers than their male counterparts (possibly as a nod to how the long flashy tails of some real male pheasants tend to weigh the birds down when they're flying). The base stats for both sexes are exactly the same.
      • The Pokédex entry for Escavalier says it flies around at high speed. Its base speed is twenty, making it one of the slowest Pokémon in the entire game.
      • Goomy's entry describes it as the weakest of all Dragon-types. Stat-wise, that designation belongs to Noibat.
      • Feebas is stated to be a very common Pokémon that flocks in stagnant ponds and is often ignored by trainers due to its ugly appearance and low stats. When it was first introduced, it may have been the single hardest Pokémon to find in the wild at the time. Also, the only place you could find it at was a river, not a pond, and it was highly sought after by players, since evolving it was the only way to get Milotic. Mercifully, it was made much easier to find in later generations, but it's still far from common.
      • Many entries for legendary Pokémon describe them as having various kinds of powers that should devastate the local area or the world (Lugia for example is said to have the ability to cause days-long storms by just flapping its wings). While legendary Pokémon do have high stats in-game, they aren't strong enough to decimate their opponents easily and can be taken down by more common Pokémon. Likewise, legendary Pokémon don't make a dent in the area if you use them in battle.
      • Certain pairings of Pokémon that canonically have a rivalry are able to breed with no issue; Zangoose and Seviper are the most infamous example. Similarly, Mareanie kill and eat Corsola, but they can breed.
    • Similarly, any Pokémon can have any nature, regardless of how its species is described in the Pokédex. Piplup can be Modest. Loudred can be Quiet. Exeggcute can be Lonely. Misdreavus can be Serious. Archen can be Brave. Necrozma can be Docile. Mewtwo can be Gentle....
    • In a similar vein to natures, Pokémon have different "characteristics", which correspond to whatever their highest IV is. Vigoroth is unable to sit still, yet you can have one that "Takes plenty of siestas". Absol dislikes fighting, yet you can have one that "Likes to fight". Slowpoke is quite dim-witted, yet it can be "Thoroughly cunning".
  • If you use a character enough in Recettear, you get their "True Card" which lets you have them in your party immediately in New Game+. This includes having them fight themselves in battles where they are originally antagonistic. Or you could just go on the boss rush with the character that appears at the end (and sometimes the middle) of the rush.
  • In Rune Factory 5, one event has the player and Scarlett hunting down a monster that's been seen in town and frightening the townsfolk. They're later aghast to discover that the monster is a townsperson's pet, and that they've gone so far as to name it. However, taming monsters (and giving them names) is a major game mechanic, and the player can bring their own pet monsters with them around town with no one being bothered by it at all. In addition, the Buddy Battle contest establishes that having pet monsters is totally normal, and nearly everyone in town has a few monster pets.
  • Star Ocean: The Second Story:
    • The battle against Dias at the Lacour Tournament of Arms cannot be won, even if you use a cheat device to max out your level or use an exploit to get the powerful Eternal Sphere (one of Claude's best weapons, with several hundred more attack power than Dias' best weapon at that point in the game). This is supposed to be justified by Dias being a master swordsman, but if you're playing Rena's game and get him, his stats aren't all that great and he's outclassed by many of the fighters on the team once they level up enough/get better weapons.
    • The Bonus Boss and associated dungeon can only be accessed by "searching your memories" via a complicated method (trigger the last save point just before the last boss, leave the dungeon and talk to a random NPC in the gameworld). This method allows you to go back to an area previously destroyed in your dreams, yet somehow, you can obtain items and equipment in that dream-world that transfer over to the other planet. Even the characters themselves don't have an explanation for it.
  • Star Ocean: The Last Hope has one of the most unusual and perhaps bizarre examples ever, after beating the game at least once it is possible to choose to keep Faize in your battle party at the point in which Arumat would normally join. The thing is, he joins your battle party only, everything else about the game's plot and all of the cutscenes proceed as if Arumat was with you, up to and including the fact that a form of Faize is the final boss. This means that it is actually possible to have Faize fighting himself in the final battles.
  • In Superhero League of Hoboken, superpowers comes in two types: the ones that work in fights, and the ones that work in puzzle screens. Even though they show up in the lists of available powers on puzzle screens, combat powers are waved off with a limp "that power only works in combat" message. Even when it's a power that should be devastatingly effective in that puzzle screen, like "put animals to sleep" when the problem you're facing is the villain preparing to unleash a horde of mutant animals.
  • The Tales Series is generally pretty bad about plot-based injuries and the fact that you're usually carrying around a ton of medicine or food items that you can cook with. It's often Hand Waved by the healers, trying First Aid for a couple seconds and going "there's nothing I can do" or "they're too far gone." And then all the games have their own little quirks...
    • In Tales of Symphonia while Colette can fly, her in-battle motion only changes its animation, not its nature. She never uses her flight to bypass any of the random puzzles, even though she does use her flight to pick up a vital key — once, in the game's 40-hour plotline.
    • In Tales of the Abyss, Guy, one of the protagonists, has a crippling fear of women (to the point that being glomped by one early in the game is sufficient to give him a momentary Heroic BSoD). This doesn't seem to pop up when in battle, even against female enemies. It's indicated that he can overcome it given sufficient motivation, like when he grabs Anise's arm to pull her up when she almost falls off a cliff, so it's possible battle is one such case (or else, that he never physically comes into contact with them during it).
    • In Tales of Legendia, once Grune gets her memory back and is revealed to be an all-powerful Physical God, you'd think she'd get stronger now that she actually knows who she is, what her powers are, and how to properly use them. Nope. Although there is some Integration here, as her battle quotes (and even the pitch of her voice!) all change to reflect her sudden change in personality.
    • Tales of Berseria:
      • Regardless of how modest, prim and proper whatever costume you choose to dress Velvet up in might be, certain NPCs will comment on the scandalous nature of Velvet's clothing as if she's wearing her default outfit.
      • Flamestone is said to be increasingly rare due to the global cooling and therefore increasingly valuable. Despite this, the Flamestone Chips you can find lying around as a random treasure specks on the ground sell for only a pittance and always for the same amount.
  • Ultima:
    • Ultima VI: Despite being a Wide-Open Sandbox, not all NPCs respond accurately to what's going on in the game world. Casting your best healing spell on Matt the cook does nothing, nor does it help the wounded soldiers Ed , Artegal, Gertan and Gilron in Cove. Thindle the weaver points to your stomach in dialogue even if you are wearing full armor. Freeing Boskin or other prisoners in Yew will not alter their behavior or dialogue. Solving the Skara Brae murder does nothing in-game. Like most Ultima games, dialogue about other characters being alive will remain that way even when the character has been killed, unless there is a specific flag triggered by that character's death such as Phoenix. Some characters will have different dialogue about each other if another character is in the party or in proximity, but only if scripted to; otherwise moving another character close by will have no effect. Terri mentions silver and copper pieces as standard currency; only gold can be found in-game. Selganor's questions about Mandrake Root prepared with a silver fork, the cap of Nightshade Mushrooms used in spellcasting, and Black Pearls being used as a propellant, are not evident in game, though there are cannons and powder kegs. The Compendium states reagents are prepared at the moment of spellcasting, with descriptions for each reagent which are not reflected in-game. Black Pearls are a one in ten thousand rarity, and only those perfectly formed are suitable or they are worthless. Blood Moss is found under rotting bark. Garlic is washed and ground. Ginseng is reboiled in fresh water forty times. Mandrake Root is boiled and dried. Spider Silk is used by the ounce. In-game, reagents are used as whole items, with no preparation, measured in stones. The Ultima 6 Project fixes some of this.
    • In Ultima VI, one is told by Lord British to be a guest upon the house and dine in the banquet hall and partake of a dinner which is most eloquently prepared and indeed one does so by grabbing the very utensils which one would expect to utilize at that very moment and then all in the area will say STOP THIEF and aggro upon thine ass and then one will regret banqueting upon the very dinner of Lord British and this is referenced later as The Fork of Doom!
    • Ultima VIII: The Plateau is described as having mysterious balls of light. None are found there, aside from the Ethereal Void Mythran's house is inside of.
  • In Uncommon Time, Saki has the second-best HP growth in the game, despite repeated claims that he's extremely frail and sickly. This is mechanically necessary since it would be inconvenient for the healer to always go down first, but it's still quite glaring.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has a bunch of these. The mission where Alicia sprains her ankle and must hobble around the map to find a plant that Welkin can use to gradually heal it. The player can still use Ragnite to heal the wounds she gets during the mission, but it does nothing for the sprain. The teamwork themes occasionally suffer, since the game can't predict whether or not any of Squad 7 may die, so it's likely that many of the player's favorite squad members have no impact on the plot and don't appear in cutscenes. After Alicia becomes a Valkyria she has an existential crisis over her new ability to kill enemy soldiers and tanks... except she's a powerhouse on the field, and can easy rack up a higher body count than most of your shocktroopers because of her extremely high accuracy and headshot rate, which means she's apparently okay with taking Mooks down execution style, but not with a laser. And after having taken Marberry Shore, during this and all other missions, your troops can take an anti-tank round to the face at point blank range and be rescued by a medic, but in the cutscene Isara takes a shot in the back and neither the medic nor ragnaid is a benefit.
  • In Valkyrie Profile, two late-game bosses are directly responsible for two of your einherjar's deaths much earlier in the game. If you bring either of these characters into the battle with their killer, neither will say anything.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines:
    • The game is based on the tabletop RPG Vampire: The Masquerade. Of course, for gameplay reasons, disciplines work differently in the game than in the RPG... except in cutscenes. For example, in one scene, Beckett uses his Protean discipline to change into a wolf, which is a perfectly valid usage in the tabletop RPG but something you can't do even with maxed Protean in-game. Later on, a vampire uses Presence to seduce a mortal: Again, perfectly valid in the RPG, but in the game Presence is entirely useless to you outside of combat. Likewise, an empty dumpster or wooden crate shouldn't be able to stymie your progress toward the end of the game, by which time you have Strength and Potence 5; in the actual tabletop game, you could deadlift a truck at that point. The Unofficial patch actually fixes some of these issues, granting the option to change Protean's final form so you can turn into a wolf and making Presence usable out of combat to seduce mortals.
    • In the climax of the game, if you picked the Kuei-Jin ending, you are somehow unable to defend yourself when Ming-Xiao betrays you, even though the other endings have you tear through ten times the number of minions she uses to restrain you.
    • If the Player Character is a Nosferatu, they look like a ugly vampire and have to avoid being seen by humans in order to preserve the Masquerade. Nonetheless, they can show their monstrous face to most plot-sensitive human NPCs and item vendors without any issue beyond a bit of horrified stammering.
  • The World Ends with You: In Another Day, the game takes place in a parallel world where Neku, Shiki, and Beat are not part of the Reapers' Game, do not know each other as True Companions (which is mercilessly mocked in one plotline), yet you can battle like it's any other day by scanning with your still-present Player Pin. Also, when you unlock the chapter select feature, you can partner with any character on any day, even if, in the chapter you select, the character has not met Neku yet or has vanished. The exception is New Game+ boss battles, which you're required to win to obtain the Secret Reports — you'll be forced to play with the appropriate partner, even if you'd really, really, really prefer to use someone else. It's also averted in the 11-battle Boss Rush challenge, which swaps your partners every few battles to force you to use the partner you had at that point in the story. Built up a fusion attack but didn't use it yet? Too bad, that partner is long gone. (Or you could learn what you're up against beforehand).
  • In NEO: The World Ends with You, Minamimoto agrees to work with Rindo, Fret and Nagi, but rarely shows up to help, resulting in Fret sometimes chiding Minamimoto for his absenteeism. Despite this, Minamimoto always fights alongside the Wicked Twisters and takes part in group meals while he's in the party.
    • On Week 2, Day 6, one of the Support Reapers has a task for the Wicked Twisters- have one of them wear Gatto Nero in order to pass into Dogenzaka. Shoka, who's just joined and wears the brand, remarks that it's easy, but the player will still have to equip one of the party members with a Gatto Nero thread. It's not terribly inconvenient, considering that the Gatto Nero store is in 104, but it's still noticeable
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X tends to give you the freedom to run around and do sidequests whenever you want... even if the story dictates that doing so should be impossible. A good example occurs in Chapter 6: according to the story, your team is trapped by a large monster and can't escape until you defeat it... except that the game goes by Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, meaning that if it kills you, you respawn a short distance away and can resume sidequests and exploring the world at will. Despite this, when you approach the monster to kill it and resume the story, the game will act as if you've still been trapped by the monster the whole time.
  • Similarly, Xenoblade Chronicles 2
    • The game pretty much always lets you travel around Alrest via the Skip Travel system, even though there are multiple points in the story where the characters are trapped on a particular Titan.
    • The Blade drawing system also seems to operate independently of the actual storyline: the plot repeatedly harps on the fact that Blades are their own people and don't just exist for the sake of being used by humans. The gameplay, on the other hand, practically requires you to draw dozens of blades, of which you'll likely only use a handful, either ignoring or dismissing the rest because they're not useful for anything except clogging up your collection.
  • The first Xenoblade Chronicles, to a lesser extent. Often the party may be in a rush, such as saving Juju, and many cutscenes act as if they are immediately after each other, yet there is no timer on this and you are free to explore the open world and level grind or do sidequests as much as you want. Speaking of sidequests, you are often given missions to kill monsters, and it is treated as though killing them on the sidequest is final, even though they always respawn. While it is unknown if Shulk really has this sort of power, you can also change the time of day and instantly teleport to any landmark you have activated.
  • In Xenosaga Episode III, Shion becomes the main pilot of E.S. Dinnah, but Gameplay proceeds to ignore this and has KOS-MOS the main pilot and Shion the co-pilot. Even more strangely, one cutscene in Michtam actually shows Alan co-piloting with Shion, which raises the question of where KOS-MOS even was.
  • Magneto is one of the X-Men's most powerful foes, who can control all metal at whim. Yet in games like X-Men Legends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and most other Marvel games, he can end up getting his ass kicked (as a playable character or boss) by the likes of Colossus, Crimson Dynamo, Iron Man, Lady Deathstrike, Ultron, War Machine and Wolverine, when story-wise they shouldn't be able to move, let alone fight. Likewise, in nearly every game in which he appears, you can make Juggernaut stop charging and fall over by hitting him enough. Nothing stops the Juggernaut... except a punch or two.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: You can catch multiple of one yo-kai despite the fact that many are individuals. For example, the Series Mascot is a cat yokai named Jibanyan. Jibanyan is not a species; he's one specific yo-kai. According to the anime there are hundreds of similar nekomata yo-kai with their own designs. Frostina is also another yo-kai that can be caught several times, however Frostina is a specific individual who died in a snowstorm and looked much the same in life.

    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 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 prevent 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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 
  • 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.

    Survival Horror 
  • 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, 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.
      • Leon himself is also infected with the Las Plagas parasite, giving Saddler control over his body. However, outside of cutscenes, the parasite seemingly doesn't exist, as Saddler does not just make Leon lock himself in a makeshift cell until his plan has come to fruition.

    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.
    • As a concrete example, Shadowrun 4th Ed featured cyberware which could 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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 also 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.
  • Pretty much every bit of Pathfinder 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).
  • In addition to the example above, the Shadowrun 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.
  • The Star Wars: Saga Edition RPG 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.
    • 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 counting as having exceptional circumstances because Vader was deliberately not fighting at maximum strength)
  • For purposes of game balance, the Star Wars Role Playing 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.
  • Most of the factions in Warhammer 40,000 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.
  • The early days of Yu-Gi-Oh! was 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 
  • In 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.
  • The Retro Lancer in Gears of War 3. 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.

    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 extremely likely 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 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 ingame, 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 used 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. They both land a critical hit on each 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.
      • 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, 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 common 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. 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 a Bonus 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+; 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.

    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.
    • 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 do much more than kill people for little to no reason and will just take the information for himself instead of listening to them. Thought you don't have to do this, and you actually get an achievement for acting humanely.
    • [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.
  • 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.
  • The dialogue rich game Scarface: The World Is Yours has Tony Montana talk about how he wants the Big Bad dead. He does this even after the Big Bad is dead.
  • Watch_Dogs:
    • The game has a surprisingly well defined main character in Aiden with a definitive backstory that feed into the present day story and motivations. Player control means you can be as nice or mean as you want and the gameplay itself has some elements that suggest a karma meter, how you progress through the story reflects how the NPC characters of the city respond to you. But ultimately, even if you try to play Aiden as nice as possible the chaos you cause doesn't quite align with how he is portrayed in the overall narrative.
    • There's a part prominently displayed in the Chip Cheezum LP where Clara is fatally shot in a cut scene and Aiden goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. In the ensuing gunfight you can take bullet after bullet directly to the face and only lose a little hp each time.
  • 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. Some reviewers have even called this Unfortunate Implications, as it seems to imply protests are ineffectual and represent general discontent and not large, organized movements of passionate citizens.
  • 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.

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