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Regenerating Health

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"Medicine became obsolete in the year 2004, when doctors noticed that hiding behind a wall caused human health to regenerate to 100%."

You remember when you'd get a stitch in PE and the teacher would tell you to walk it off, even though that only made it worse? Now imagine them saying that after you've taken five bullets to the chest. Then imagine it working.

That's the technique that a number of First-Person Shooter games since the 2000s use for restoring health; if a player finds himself nearing death, all he has to do is go hide somewhere or dodge attacks until health regeneration kicks in. It's still one of the Acceptable Breaks from Reality, especially in shooters which encourage slower pace, since the character recovering health — even at an unusually fast rate — is only slightly less absurd than him instantly healing by simply touching medikits and implausibly healthy beefburgers. It also has the advantage of avoiding Unwinnable situations where the player literally has no chance to get through the level because he's run out of both ammunition and healing items, but tends to invoke It's Easy, So It Sucks! in the process. On the other hand, in theory you can regenerate from damage but in practice you get mowed down by a wall of lead any time you even dream of poking your head out of cover.

Instead of making the game about conserving the resources of the level (or game) as a whole, the player has to mostly worry about surviving individual encounters. Setpiece shootouts become the order of the day, as does searching for and using cover which is said to lead to a glorified game of whack a mole; pop up and kill a target, pop under cover and regenerate, repeat until you win. Regenerating health is the most common in shooters which fall near the middle of the Fackler Scale of FPS Realism.

Many of these games still use healing items to provide instant energy boosts during nasty confrontations, and some will vary the method of regeneration, by only allowing the player to regain health in specific areas, or by crouching or doing some other action. Sometimes the player can only regenerate a small amount of health, with medikits needed to top it off. Alternatively, the player may have a standard energy bar, but with a replenishing energy shield over the top - or have automatically replenishing health, but with a standard bar representing degrading body armour. The basic principle is ultimately the same though.

A rare variant has health divided into a number of 'blocks'. If a block is not completely depleted it will regenerate, but depleted blocks do not refill without outside assistance.

This trope largely originates from The '80s, with the Fighting Game Punch-Out!! and Action RPG Hydlide being Ur Examples, and Ys being a Trope Maker; MIDI Maze for the Atari ST introduced this mechanic to the First-Person Shooter genre, decades before Halo codified the FPS version of this mechanic.

If this is actually a dramatic ability and not just a gameplay mechanic, then it's a Healing Factor.

A Sub-Trope of Reduced-Downtime Features and Sister Trope to Gradual Regeneration, Regenerating Shield, Static Health, Regenerating Mana. Compare/contrast Resting Recovery.


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Video Games

  • Carrie's Order Up! has a "Friendly Mode" that turns your Sprint Meter into this, expending some stamina each time you bump into a customer or slip on a puddle, and it replenishes fast enough to rarely be an issue. On any other mode, you're a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
  • Devil May Cry: Activating Devil Trigger will make Dante or most other playable characters regenerate their health for as long as it's active. It also works similarly in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
  • Lugaru: The Rabbit's Foot has a system where blunt trauma gradually fades away for the most part, but being slashed or stabbed causes permanent damage. All damage is healed between levels.
  • Mafia II made use of the partial regeneration mechanic, which calls for eating or drinking in order for Vito to fully heal when he takes significant damage, either from sustaining too much gunshots or vehicle-related injuries. While this made the game a tad easier than the original game (in fact, Joe Barbaro jokingly broke the Fourth Wall for indirectly referring to the health system in Chapter 5), it still won't keep the player from getting killed instantly in a gunfight without generous use of the cover system, especially on hard difficulty.
  • Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword does this partially. When you're hit, part of the health lost can be recovered at the end of the battle.
  • Versus Umbra: Health is recovered by 2 points per second. The Regeneration perk, as the name implies, raises it to 3.
  • One of the main complaints about the game X2: Wolverine's Revenge was that you had to spend quite a bit of time hiding and waiting for Wolverine's Healing Factor to kick in. Several other X-Men games (including X-Men 2: Clone Wars) have similar strategies for playing as Wolverine.

    Action Adventure 
  • In Arkistas Ring, the eponymous ring, recieved on a New Game Plus, does this. You're gonna need it in the higher loops.
  • Castlevania:
    • In Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, one of the spells allows you to heal gradually, but you have to stand still for it to work. This costs quite a bit of MP, but you recover MP gradually too—more with a higher Intelligence stat.
    • The Time Heal move from Curse of Darkness also allows you to heal some of Hector's health gradually. You do get to run around while using it, though.
  • This is available to you in the Coraline licensed game. Just as long as it isn't interrupted, just standing around restores your health.
  • Monkey, the protagonist of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, has one of these in the form of a deflector shield built into his gauntlets. He can also buy an upgrade that increases the regeneration rate of his shields, as well as an upgrade that actually regenerates his health. The latter can become invaluable during some of the trap-intensive sequences.
  • Exile (not that one) had it back in the 1980s. You still don't have a whole lot of it and many enemies will deplete it quickly, but at least you just get teleported back to your last teleporter marker (and lose a lot of points) instead of dying. This happens in inFamous if you wait long enough but its easier just to find something electrical and drain it as doing so restores health also (as does grinding on a power cable if you have the relevant upgrade).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo if you can't find or already used a health-pack, just stand or walk around and Neo heals right up.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has certain safe zones in Dark Aether. Not only can they protect you from the corrosive effects of Dark Aether's atmosphere but they also cause your energy tank to slowly recharge which makes them useful, even after getting the Light Suit which is immune to corrosive effects.
    • Metroid: Other M has regenerating health and missiles by using the Concentration technique, which can be interrupted by attacks. You can restore missiles at any time, but to recover energy, your health has to be below a certain threshold (critical status mostly), and that takes longer than regaining missiles. Reserve Tanks allow you to recover more energy and at a higher threshold. This mechanic is vital, since you cannot regain health or ammo unless you use a save station.
  • Very noticeable in Mirror's Edge: you can take an awful lot of machine-gun fire as long as you have somewhere to run after. Hiding behind something works too, of course.
  • Team ICO Series:
    • Ico from ICO doesn't have a health bar but does have regenerating health confirmed in the novel, which explains that Yorda "gives" him health when they're holding hands.
    • Wander in Shadow of the Colossus has no health pickups to restore his lost strength, so he simply has to wait a few minutes for his injuries to heal. Yes, even though said injuries are usually inflicted by falling off enormous colossi several dozen stories tall.
    • The unnamed boy in The Last Guardian has no health bar — you merely limp slowly for a short time after a long fall and then recover.
  • Tomb Raider: Underworld is the first game in the Tomb Raider series where health packs aren't necessary, as Lara regains her health over time.
  • The Uncharted series relies upon this type of healing method. As Nathan Drake takes damage, the graphics slowly begin to lose saturation, and in order to recover his health he must take cover. Word of God says that it isn't actually his health, but his luck - only the last bullet that hits you when your luck depletes actually counts for the kill. In other words, if you die, it is not because you were riddled with lead quickly enough to suffer Critical Existence Failure, but because one single bullet managed to get you when you ran out of luck.

    Action RPG 
  • In Beyond Oasis, as one progresses through the game they get key items that allow this. The pendant restores HP while in sunlight, the ring restores SP when you have no spirit summoned and the amulet restores HP and SP at a quicker rate.
  • Demon Hunter: The Return of the Wings: Enemies will start to heal if not attacked for a while.
  • In Faria, your health will constantly but slowly regenerate in action sequences once you get the Ring.
  • The Ur-Example of the Regenerating Health mechanic was the 1984 Action RPG Hydlide, where health and magic slowly regenerate when standing still.
  • In Lagoon, Nasir's health regenerates in dungeons as well as in the overworld, depending on how many enemies are around.
  • In Landstalker the pretty useful healing boots do this, allowing a player with enough patience to avoid paying for inns.
  • In the Monster Hunter series, half of the health you lose from hits turns red instead of disappearing. If you can keep from getting hit again, the red portion will regenerate, but no more than that. Of course, potions will be necessary for any consequential amount of healing. Certain armor skills speed up the rate at which the red portion regenerates, and in World, the Vaal Hazak armor's Set Bonus allows regeneration beyond the red portion, though that will take some time as the enhanced regeneration (past the red portion) does not benefit from regeneration rate bonuses.
  • Scratch Damage (inflicted by all enemies when you have Hero Points left, inflicted by the player characters with machine guns) in Resonance of Fate heals automatically, even during combat, especially during Invincible Action (AKA Hero Actions). Direct Damage (inflicted by poison, regular enemy attacks when in Condition Critical, or the players using grenades or pistols), however, is permanent unless you rest or use a Perfect Aid - it also makes Scratch Damage permanent.
  • In Shin Kugyokuden, health will slowly regenerate when the player stands still, except in towns and during Boss Battles.
  • In Sword of Vermilion, the tricky to find Crimson Armor heals you 8 HP per step taken, but is otherwise rather weak, so its usefulness is debatable.
  • Titan Quest: For both players and some monsters:
    • At the start of the game, you regenerate 2 health points every second. Various skills and gear can affect your rate by lowering or increasing it.
    • Certain types of Satyrs in the Helos area regenerate health, but not most.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1 slowly regenerates health during battle and regenerates faster after battle. Health-restoring items do not exist because they are unnecessary.
  • Ys is a Trope Maker of this mechanic. In Ys I and II, your HP regenerates when you stand in place outdoors or in cleared Boss Rooms. Once you get the Heal Ring (or the Cape of Holy Spirit in II), you can regenerate health in dungeons as well. Most of the later games also have some type of HP-regenerating item (which sometimes consumes MP).

    Beat 'em Up 

    Card Battle Game 

    Eastern Role Playing Games 
  • The Breath of Fire series has armor and items that grant this property: the Life Armor and the Love Bracelet/Cupid's Lyre heal the wearer 1 HP per step taken.
  • In Dragon Quest, you can get a special armor that heals you every time you make a step.
  • A recurring ability in Final Fantasy when a certain armor or accessory is equipped, HP or MP is recovered by walking. Also the regen spell which has a regenerating effect when used in battle.
  • The Medabots game for the Game Boy Advance, Medabots AX (both versions) had a variant of this: while not regenerating health, standing still for a while triggered an Idle Animation that charged your robot's Medaforce move faster. A whole lot faster.
  • Mega Man Battle Network series: If you activate Wood Style (in second and third games) or use Wood-element Soul/Cross (fourth to sixth games), you can regenerate health while standing on a grassy panel. Along with the equippable Undershirt program, it becomes a nigh Game-Breaker; later games nerfed its potency, making it regenerate health slower when Mega Man's health is critical.
  • Persona: Starting around Persona 3, the Regenerate Skills allow the user to regain HP in combat. These skills also happen to stack.
    • In Persona 3 itself there is Chidori, whose own Persona has the "Wellspring of Life" trait, giving her incredible regeneration, not only for herself, but also to things around her. She later passes this trait along to Junpei to save his life, at the cost of her own.
    • Persona 5 Royal gives us Maria, the Ultimate Faith-arcana Persona. Her "Holy Whisper" passive regains 15% HP and 15 SP per turn, with "Holy Embrace" regaining 25% HP per turn. These also stack with the Regenerate passives, and by passing a certain trait onto her in fusion, these passives double their effect!
  • In Phantasy Star IV robots (that is, Demi and Wren) regenerate health as they walk around, to compensate for the fact that most healing magic does not work on them.
  • The ability Regenerator in Pokémon allows some health to be regained if the Pokemon is switched out, then returned to the field.
  • Prayer of the Faithless: Miasma Charge grants the user regenerating health on top of increased stats and additional effects for their skills. Only Miasma monsters and fully-powered Manna can use Miasma Charge.
  • In Vagrant Story you regenerate health and lose risk (which makes you more vulnerable but also gives you more attack power) continuously when outside of combat.

    Fighting Games 
  • Bloody Roar has partial regeneration as one of the bonuses to transforming into beast mode (except for the fourth game, which had the beast meter act as an entirely separate second health bar, albeit one still charged by taking damage to your regular health). A small portion of any damage taken is represented by a shaded section of the health bar rather than being depleted outright, and transforming allows that portion to regenerate. Landing a Beast Drive from 2 onwards instantly refills the shaded portion.
  • Some of the games in the Capcom vs. series has a small part of a character's health bar turn red when the a character takes damage. The red section can be recovered if the character tags out for someone else. A character who comes in as a support character (as opposed to tagging out) has all damage they take turn red instead of deplete, but it takes a long time to recover. Also, when a character tags in, any red health instantly depletes and can't be recovered.
  • The third Darkstalkers entry has the character's life bars split into 3 colors: Green is remaining life, red is lost life, and white (which can also appear from chip damage). As long as you don't take damage, you will begin recovering the white portion.
  • Fist II: The Legend Continues gives a slow health regeneration when not in combat. The player may opt for a faster healing by visiting a meditation room.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny introduced a variant of this to the Nanoha fighting games. When dealing magical damage to an opponent such as a projectile, some of the damaged part of their life bar will turn to yellow instead of disappearing completely. If you fail to continue damaging them, this yellow life bar will slowly regenerate back to green, giving extra incentive to players to be very good at blocking and/or dodging (to take advantage of the regenerating health since there's no cover) and/or to be very good at making their attacks hit constantly (to stop their opponent from making too much use of it).
  • Similar to some Capcom crossover games, Maribato! also features a Tag Team gameplay, so you can switch characters in the middle of battle, and the soeurs start recovering the red portion of their Life Meter.
  • In The Melty Blood series, as the characters take damage, one part of their life bar is colored crimson red; The games allow to actívate a Heat Mode, provided the Magic Circuit is at 100% or higher, the magic cicuit starts depleting, but your character recovers the red portion of the life bar at a relatively fast pace. Actress Again adds varians of this in their three styles: Crescent Moon is the variant that existed up until Act Cadenza; In Full Moon, the Magic Circuit can only be activated (In Blood Heat Mode) after reaching 300%, but, when activated, the character recovers the red portion instantly; In Half Moon, the character starts recovering health automatically once the Magic Circuit reaches 200% , however, if hit during this time, he/she will automatically activates a Combo Breaker that reduced the magic circuit to 0, and thus, stopping the regenerating process.
  • Punch-Out!!: Released in early 1984 with its first arcade game, this series provides the Ur-Example for the medium. After a boxer gets knocked down and gets up again, the health generates, though never back to full health (with very rare exceptions, such as Bald Bull and Mr. Sandman in the Wii game, when knocked down in their Title Defense rematches). There are also unique instances with certain boxers: Bald Bull in his rematches (he mildly recovers if his health is depleted with a normal punch, only a star-powered uppercut will knock him down properly), Soda Popinski in the Wii game (he drinks soda to recover some health), and Little Mac himself if he's flexing his punches while an opponent is knocked down. Doc Louis can also recover some HP by eating a chocolate in the Doc Louis' Punch-Out!! spinoff.
  • Tekken:
    • Yoshimitsu has a couple of stances where he can restore his health by meditating. That said, he does have a couple of moves and stances where he deliberately injures himself... he's weird like that.
    • The Tag games feature this as a an incentive to tag. In the same vein as Darkstalkers 3, the health bar is divided into three parts: blue (health remaining), red (damage recently taken), and blank (permanently lost health). If a character is tagged out, he will gradually recover the red portion of the health bar. Since the final boss of the first Tag game, Unknown, fights by herself, she recovers the red portion while on the ring, since she can't be tagged out. The same applies to the single bosses in Tag 2, as well as any player who chooses to fight by himself in 1x2 fights.
  • The Touhou Project spin-off game Immaterial and Missing Power has its own health-recover mechanic: As the characters take damage, one part of the life bar is colored crimson red, but it can be instantly regenerated once a character declares a Spell Card, also gaining access to their most powerful moves, potentially turning the tables.
  • Dragon Ball Fighter Z features Sparking Blast, a mechanic allowing characters to actively recover their Recoverable Health, represented in blue in their health bar. They'll also recover said part of their health when switched out.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Due to Eldrid beliefs, the playable Eldrid characters of Battleborn don't use shields like the other playable characters. They instead are capable of passively regenerating health as well as having greater amounts of health.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 adds regenerating health to the series, though it occurs much faster in singleplayer. In multiplayer, it happens very slowly, so as to not obsolete the medic class. Hardcore mode removes the regenerating health all together.
  • Battlefield 3: Both players and vehicles have it; however, like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, it takes a while to kick in, it's nowhere near fast enough to protect a player from sustained damage, and there are ways for attackers prevent it:
    • If shots are fired close enough to a player (i.e. an almost-headshot from a sniper rifle or a long burst from a machine gun), the player is considered "suppressed" — the screen goes blurry, accuracy goes down, and normal health regeneration does not occur, although an Assault player's medkit (immediate health regeneration for teammates within range of the medkit) will still work normally on a suppressed player.
    • A vehicle at half-health is considered "disabled," whereupon they catch on fire and health will actually bleed out unless the vehicle is repaired by an Engineer, or (for aircraft) the Extinguisher is used (this ability immediately restores the aircraft to 53% health, putting it above the disabling threshold; however, if a land vehicle is disabled it needs to be repaired to full health, otherwise it is still classed as disabled and will keep bleeding health.
  • Battlefield 4 handles health similarly to BF3, with the exception that in the campaign the time for it to kick in is reduced, and once it's started up it goes at lightning speed.
  • Certain shields and class perks in Borderlands can regenerate your health since you can't do it by natural means.
    • In the sequel, a few of the classes can get skills that grant this. The Gunzerker's Brawn tree in particular is dedicated to skills that give massive health regeneration, turning him into a "unstoppable tank made of rage and meat".
  • Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway includes a variant of this. In that game, the screen goes more red the more you're exposed to fire, with the red reflecting your risk of actually getting shot, and the screen will eventually go back to normal if you stay in cover. If you stayed without cover for too long and the screen is dark red, you'll die rather quickly when exposed (even from just peeking briefly out of cover). The thing here is that you more or less die from one shot not that you can walk off the damage but the mechanic is somewhat reminscient of regenerating health. It's also possible to suddenly keel over out of apparently nowhere because an enemy got a lucky shot/grenade off. The squadmates generally start yelling about how lucky you are and to get in cover when your screen starts going red.
  • The Call of Duty series starting from the second game does this, with a red outline on the screen that gradually grows more insistent the more damage you take and slowly fades out if you go long enough without taking damage.
    • The third-to-last mission, "Rebirth," in Call of Duty: Black Ops has a portion where damage doesn't heal, as you're wearing a hazmat suit and the enemy dropped Nova 6 nerve gas all over the combat area. If you take too much cumulative damage, your suit is compromised and the Nova 6 kills you. An achievement/trophy requires the player to successfully clear the entire portion while the gas mask is worn without dying.
    • The aspect becomes ludicrous in the multiplayer of Modern Warfare 2 and later, where you can take ten rounds from a 7.62mm light machine gun to the stomach over the course of about forty-five seconds and walk away with no real damage, but die instantly when a thrown knife or a small steel hatchet hits your foot.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and Assault on Dark Athena use a partial health regeneration system. Health is divided up into "blocks" (starting at four, through there are special NanoMED stations that can add an extra block to your max health.) Your health will regenerate only up to the current block. Once a block is completely depleted, the only way to restore it is to go to a health station.
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins handles this the same as F.E.A.R. below: you only regenerate a tiny bit of health once it's below a certain (very low) threshold. Bloodshot switches to a partial-regenerating system, where the health bar is divided into three blocks (with an upgrade available depending on how well you complete a certain level letting you unlock up to one full fourth block), and a block that is depleted requires a medkit before it will regenerate.
  • The Conduit, after Mission 3 when you first get the high-tech alien armor shown on the front cover of the game. Before that, all you're equipped with is a standard Secret Service suit and tie, and you're dependent on picking up medikits for health.
  • Deep Rock Galactic has health regeneration as an emergency when the player's health is critically low. It slowly refills back to about 20% of your maximum health when you avoid taking damage for a while. You still need Red Sugar or using supplies from a Supply Drop to heal up.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution and its companion game, Deus Ex: The Fall: The developers opted to put this in, instead of the health packs like in Deus Ex and Invisible War. The regen system is relatively slow, and even on normal mode will take about a minute to fully regenerate health. Medpacks still exist, but they are more for increasing health when you don't have time to wait for your health to regenerate.
  • This was one of the more controversial features in Duke Nukem Forever, since regenerated health implies hiding to heal up, and hiding isn't Duke's style. Of course, since the health bar is labeled as Duke's ego, the player can make it regenerate faster by killing enemies or permanently boost it by engaging in diversions like bench-pressing, urinating, and ogling strippers.
  • Far Cry:
    • In Far Cry Instincts, Jack Carver is a biochemically altered superhuman who regenerates most wounds very quickly. The rate of healing is proportional to the amount of adrenaline he has, however; if he's overusing his Feral Attack, Feral Run, or Feral Vision abilities, he's stuck with health that slowly creeps back up, while if his adrenaline is full, he can hide behind cover in a firefight and be fully healed in seconds.
    • Far Cry 2 goes for a segmented health bar, where segments will regenerate on their own unless they're emptied, at which point you have to use a healing syrette to recover any lost segments. At the last segment, your health will begin bleeding out on its own, where you will have to use another syrette, or, if you have none, perform an in-field healing action such as ripping your dislocated thumb back into place, pulling a bullet out with a pair of pliers, cauterizing a wound with several matches, etc. Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon, and 4 use the same system, the main differences being that you don't bleed out on your last segment, and you don't start with as many health segments (two in 3 and 4, four in Blood Dragon) but can upgrade to more health slots (up to six in 3 and 4 and sixteen in Blood Dragon) as well as how many bars are replenished both from health syringes and from worst-aid. Far Cry 5, in contrast, goes to straight regenerating health, though still with the ability to heal yourself faster with medkits (the switch being made to compensate for the fact that you can no longer craft them yourself).
  • In F.E.A.R., your health regenerates, but only up to about 25 health (which is only enough to survive 1 bullet, at most). You can use medkits to regain 50 health, and you can carry up to 10 medkits at a time. In the sequel, this was changed - you could only carry 3 medkits, but they restored full health, and your natural regeneration when not getting shot is up to about 40% of your health. But it's played straight in the third game, where your health regenerates to 100% and no health meter is displayed at all (but you do get veiny red ambiance on the edges of the screen) outside of the powered armors. It regenerates pretty fast, too, even before you achieve character ranks to heal faster.
  • Frontlines: Fuel of War has this in much the same way as the Call of Duty games, as taking hits made the screen fade red, and even included your soldier breathing heavily with an audible heartbeat at high damage levels. You could simply find cover and be back to normal in a matter of seconds even then.
  • The GoldenEye (Wii) remake features regenerating health, but in a callback to the original, "007 Classic" difficulty gives you a health meter and armor pickups to stay alive.
  • Goldeneye Rogue Agent has this. One could handwave it as one of the GoldenEye's abilities. Also, it takes a while to kick in.
  • A variation of regenerating health occurs in Half-Life 2 and its Episodes where it's the NPCs Alyx Vance, Father Grigori and Barney Calhoun who have regenerating health, instead of the main player Gordon Freeman who has to rely on health and armor pickups/stations. It helps makes the missions they accompany you in a lot easier because it allows them to stay in a fight, but they can still die if they are overwhelmed by Combine/Zombies/etc. The rebel fighters who accompany Gordon during the later chapters also regenerate health, albeit very slowly.
  • Halo:
  • Knights of Pen and Paper: Warriors have the Taunt passive, which gets them regeneration of 2 Hit Points every turn.
  • A mutation mode in Left 4 Dead 2 called "Healing Gnome" uses this trope. There are no healing items at all; the only way to recover is to hold the gnome from Dark Carnival. In normal gameplay, Left 4 Dead and L4D2 invert this with the temporary health granted by pain pills and the sequel's adrenaline injectors, which slowly ticks away, while regular health granted by medkits stays until you take damage - interestingly, when you do take damage, it's prioritized towards regular health rather than temporary health.
  • The Medal of Honor series of games starting with its 10th instalment, Medal of Honor: Vanguard and onwards feature regenerating health.
  • Much like the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. example, Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light downplay the trope: Artyom's health regenerates painfully slowly, enough that a quick tactical retreat isn't enough to recover from grievous wounds. You will have to use your medical syrettes if you get seriously hurt in a fight that isn't about to end.
  • In the Atari ST game MIDI Maze, released later on Super NES and Game Boy as Faceball 2000, each happy-face character regains one hit point if not attacked for a few seconds. This was released in 1987, long before the formation of Bungie Inc., let alone the realization of Halo.
  • Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath had an odd healing mechanic. The Stranger could stand still and shake all the bullets, knives, and arrows out of his body, healing him, so long as he had "stamina." Stamina is used for nothing else and regenerates automatically.
  • Overwatch averts this and uses Regenerating Shield, Static Health with all of its characters except for one: Mercy. She regenerates her health after not taking damage for 1 second.
  • In Paladins, every champion has regenerating health that activates when they're not taking damage or using their abilities. However, it takes a few seconds for it to kick in and the regeneration isn't very fast, so it's more practical to be healed by a Support champion unless you find a good place to hide. There used to be a Healing item; Veteran, that made this effect stronger, but it was rebalanced to work entirely differently.
  • Pariah has health separated into blocks, which will automatically heal if not fully depleted.
  • PAYDAY 2, like its predecessor, normally uses regenerating armor over a static health bar that can only be replenished by use of medic bags and first-aid kits, but it has several skills and perk decks that allow health to regenerate normally. The Hostage Taker skill lets you regenerate a small amount of health every 5 seconds while you have a hostage, and the final perk in the Muscle perk deck also slowly heals you over time. The Grinder, Infiltrator, Sociopath, and Biker perk decks all have perks that heal you when hurting or killing enemies.
  • In Perfect Dark Zero, Joanna can sustain either "shock damage", which can be walked off, or non-recovering damage. On the Harder Than Hard Dark Agent difficulty, all damage is non-recoverable. In multiplayer, only a percentage of damage can be recovered; being shot may deal 75% in shock damage that can be healed if you take cover, and 25% in permanent damage that accumulates until you die. The developers' motive for doing it this way is that all players, no matter how good, will eventually die even if only by accumulation of Scratch Damage.
  • Portal has a hidden regenerating life meter. Since nobody else had one (especially the turrets, the only harmful things that don't kill you in one hit), it was more a matter of "either the turret kills you or you get past it".
  • Prey (2017) regenerates your health from 1 to 20 as standard. Upgrading your health can raise this regenerating amount to 50. Other neuromods let you regenerate a small amount of health after taking damage.
  • Primal Carnage: Normally not present, but any dinosaur in the vicinity of the Acrocanthosaurus when it unleashes its roar will temporarily be given a Healing Factor (explained in Flavor Text as dispersing pheromones which accelerate immune functions), regenerating ten health per second for several seconds.
  • The Quantum of Solace video game had the "screen turns grey" variant, with a slight variation in that a translucent version of Bond's signature opening gun barrel creeps in.
  • Both Red Steel games use an interesting form of this.
    • In the first game, health regenerates normally in normal gameplay, but sword duels turn off regeneration until you win (since they're typically slow-paced enough that you would be able to recover from every hit and make them unloseable).
    • Red Steel 2 goes for more of an After-Combat Recovery version, where your health is static for the duration of any sort of combat. As soon as the last enemy in an encounter is killed, you recover to full health.
  • Resistance:
    • In Resistance: Fall of Man, the protagonist is infected with the Chimera virus at the beginning of the game but has an inherent immunity to it, granting him the Chimeras' regenerative abilities but not the "horrible alien mutation" part. This isn't a standard regeneration system, but rather, it's an interesting hybrid of the health bar/medkit system and this; you have a health bar in four equal segments, each representing 25% health. Regeneration is limited to the current segment, and the only way to regenerate a depleted segment is to pick up a medkit-analogue. Furthermore, the regeneration ability is entirely absent in the first mission for plot reasons, resulting in the odd effect of the first mission being one of the toughest.
    • Resistance 2 uses the more common system of having you able to fully regenerate health, justified in-universe by the fact that Hale has been infected for longer and is starting to turn into a Chimera. The third game, on the other hand, completely gets rid of this in favor of a more traditional health bar and medkits, again justified in-universe by your character having been cured of the virus before the start of the game.
    • Resistance: Burning Skies uses the same regeneration system as R2, though unlike the second game, no in-universe explanation is given for this.
  • Downplayed in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. Your health recovers as long as you're not irradiated, bleeding, on fire, etc, but even with Gradual Regeneration artifacts, the rate of recovery is rather slow (it takes several minutes, which is hours in game-time, to recover to full health), so it doesn't really do you any good in firefights.
  • Unlike the rest of the classes in Team Fortress 2, the Medic regenerates health automatically, at a rate that varies depending on what items you happen to have equipped and how long it's been since you last took damage. Since he's equipped with a backpack-powered gun that heals teammates, it's reasonable that it would be designed to passively heal its wearer as well.
    • The Sniper can unlock the Cozy Camper, a backpack that lets him regenerate health at the expense of a secondary weapon, along with other benefits.
    • The Concheror for the Soldier provides a passive regeneration effect, again taking up his secondary slot. It provides more effects briefly when fully charged, but the regen is permanent.
    • Any class can purchase a health regeneration upgrade in MVM, providing +2 HP per second. You can buy this up to five times for +10 HP per second, and it stacks with the aforementioned regeneration effects.
  • Tribes: Vengeance has Gradual Regeneration for anyone equipped with a repair pack, with the rate of regeneration substantially increased and with a limited area-of-effect for a short duration upon activation. Tribes: Ascend instead gives everyone regenerating health by default, but with a massive delay of around 30 seconds or so before it kicks in (without perks to reduce the delay), thus it cannot be relied upon in the same sense as most other current FPSs, and carrying a flag disables regeneration entirely. Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2, by contrast, do not have regenerating health at all; the closest thing to it is repairing yourself with the repair pack. Otherwise, any carried medkits are all the healing you get in the field, and their use is rather limited.
  • One of the adrenaline combos in Unreal Tournament 2004, Booster, gives you this for a limited time. Press backwards four times and you'll start regenerating health, then once you reach the maximum of 199, armor as well. The regeneration lasts as long as you have adrenaline, so killing enemies (balancing the regeneration with the fact that enemies can take health away much faster than the combo will give you it) and other things that give you adrenaline allows you to slightly extend it. Getting into a vehicle immediately stops the regeneration, while holding an objective (e.g. carrying an enemy flag) will drain your adrenaline faster, in return for getting half of your adrenaline back if you manage to score a point with it.
  • Justified in Water Warfare-your "health" is based on how wet your clothes are, and not getting hit allows them to dry off.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games 
  • Battlestar Galactica Online has regen, but it only works outside combat. You need to use Damage Control Packs to Heal Thyself in a fight.
  • City of Heroes is somewhat unusual for an MMORPG in that all characters and most-to-all enemies slowly regenerate in combat, even if they don't have any explicit Healing Factor. In addition, characters do have an explicit "Rest" power, intended for very fast recuperation between encounters ("panels")... but it's possible if risky to try this in combat, and certain powersets can make it practical to rest while under direct attack from multiple opponents. This fits in with the rest of the game's design, in particular its intention of avoiding the need for any specific "party balance". In fact, running away from a fight going badly just far enough to be able to rest before pursuers catch up is a pretty effective tactic, even if it's slower than not needing to.
  • In Elsword sitting down in a field (not a dungeon) causes your character to rest, slowly regaining HP. HP also naturally regenerates while visiting a town or rest area. Certain random items or orbs can also create a small area in a dungeon that, when inside the area, regenerates HP.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has regenerating health at all times. The amount of HP that is restored per tick is very tiny during battle. Outside of battle, you'll recover more HP over time. The Regen status effect adds another layer of regenerating health on top of the naturally occurring one.
  • Guild Wars 2:
    • All players regenerate health outside of battle. Certain attack combinations and skills can also give players a regeneration buff for a short time.
  • In Lineage 2 this is the method to regenerate health while Level Grinding for most classes and even most combination of classes. This pretty much means the game gets paused every couple minutes.
  • In The Lord of the Rings Online the health is actually morale, leading to status such as in combat and out of combat regeneration. Although it is always quicker to "heal" using food, potions, of by way of a healer - If you really want to wait for a few minutes you will "heal" just fine on your own.
  • Neverwinter has out of combat regen, which is sped up when near a campfire. You'll need to use potions and other items for combat healing.
  • Onigiri has regen both inside and out of combat, but it's notably pretty small.
  • In Runescape, eating heals your health, but without food, all you have to do is just wander around and stay out of trouble until you get better... but once your Constitution levels get higher, that's really slow (1 life point per 6 seconds, when the max life points a player can normally have is 990). Also, running saps your energy, but even at 0% energy you can just keep walking, and you'll recover your energy...without resting.
  • Star Trek Online has health regeneration both in and (faster) out of combat (in addition to the — significantly faster regenerating — personal shields). Some of the ways to speed it up suggests 25th-century technology is responsible for this.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, health regenerates slowly outside of combat, and every class has a much faster health-regen ability that can be used only when out of combat and standing still. The cartel market also sells regen abilities equivalent to the default ones but with different animations.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • All players regenerate health depending on their spirit attribute outside of combat (trolls keep 10% in combat), but it's a really minor factor at later levels - so much so that trolls later got an additional racial ability to offset the weakness of it.
    • In practice, foods and drinks are this trope, too; they regenerate your food/mana (relatively) slowly, are common, cheap (or free) and requires you to be out of combat.

  • Bang-On Balls: Chronicles contains a variation. Normally, your health can only be regenerated by health pickups, but if you only have 2 to 1 HP left, your health regenerates to 3 if you survive for long enough.
  • Banjo-Tooie:
    • Upon returning enough pages to Cheato, he will eventually give you the "HONEYBACK" cheat which, when turned on, will let you recover health at a steady rate.
    • The Snooze Pack ability, learned in Grunty Industries and available whenever Banjo is solo, has him jump into his empty backpack and sleep off any damage.
  • Mega Man X:
    • X3 had the healing helmet upgrade (with the Head Chip), which let X refill his energy (and health tanks) by finding a place to hide. Hooray for those short, empty halls before bosses, huh?
    • X8 lets whichever character is on the bench regenerate health, but only up to whatever portion of lost health is shown in red. If you don't switch out while part of your health is red, the red marks will deplete over time. If you switch back to a character while they still have red marks on their health, the red marks will immediately disappear. One of X's body upgrades converts all the damage he takes to red, so that he can regenerate it all if you switch him out. It's taken from Capcom vs. series.
  • In Psychonauts, Raz gets the ability to regenerate his mental health when he reaches PSI Cadet Rank 90.
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island: The health in this game is a timer that starts counting down after you get hit until you recollect Baby Mario. If the time runs out, Baby Mario gets kidnapped and you lose a life. If the timer is below 10 seconds, it will recharge until it hits that number, though Yoshi can also collect an additional 20 non-recharging seconds for a grand total of 30.
  • Super Mario 64: Since the Oxygen Meter is shared with the Life Meter, you can heal completely by simply finding water over Mario's head and Swimming It Off (except for the chilly water in Snowman's Land). This was removed in Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy.

  • Ducati World Championship has rider health (which lowers if you fall from the bike) recover slowly during the race. Health damage persists across races, and can be healed by the doctor, but it's usually better to simply recover by starting a new race and being careful not to take damage. Bike Damage doesn't regenerate, and requires driving through the pit if you want it repaired.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Command & Conquer games usually give this ability to any unit that reaches the highest veterancy level. Some units, like the perennial Mammoth Tank, have it by default (though earlier games only allowed it to restore health up to half of the maximum). Other games allow for the player to capture "tech buildings" to give bonuses, including health regeneration for all infantry units if they take over a hospital.
  • All units in Dawn of War II automatically regenerate health over time, but quite slowly. Being in a base or near a relay beacon rapidly increases health recovery, while some hero wargear can increase the recovery rate of that hero at all times. The Apothecary Hero for the Space Marines also has a passive which speeds up the health recovery of allied units in a certain radius, and the Plague Champion's Nurgle worship has a similar effect.
  • EndWar: Units have two life bars - shield and health. The shield bar will refill after a few seconds out of combat. However, the health bar won't. Also, unit performance degrades as it loses health.
  • Starcraft:
    • Zerg units and structures regenerate health albeit at a rather slow rate.
    • In the Wings of Liberty campaign, Regenerative Biosteel is available from the Hyperion Lab as perk, mutually exclusive to the Cellular Reactor perk. The former allows mechanic units to regenerate while the later increases the starting and maximum energy of spell casters. The later is typically recommended however due to the questionably slow regeneration.
    • Terran Reapers from Heart of the Swarm on have the Combat Drugs ability to allow regeneration when not taking damage, much like in an FPS game.
  • Star Ruler has subsystems that enable regeneration. Crew quarters provide a small amount of regen. Repair bays give you more regen. Nano armor repairs itself, but does nothing for the rest of the spacecraft's systems.
  • In Sudden Strike units with moderate damage heal roughly 3/4 of their health on their own, but heavily damaged units' health will actually go down to zero unless they're seen to by a repair unit.
  • Many units in Supreme Commander, including the ACU, support commanders, most of the experimentals and many Tech 3 units, regenerate HP automatically.
  • Universe at War: All hero units are rather tough and regenerate health, which makes them quite handy for tanking damage without having to micromanage repair units to heal them afterwards. The downside is that this might make you place them on the front lines more often where they might die when you're not paying attention.
  • Warcraft:
    • In Warcraft II, the Troll Berserkers can acquire the ability to very slowly regenerate health. The effect is so slow in fact that in a fast-paced match, it's of marginal value, and typically a low-priority upgrade.
    • In Warcraft 3, Human and Orc units regenerate health, but it happens so slowly that they may as well not have it at all. Troll units (part of the Orc faction) can be upgraded to regenerate faster. Undead units regenerate while standing on Blight, while Night Elves regenerate only at nighttime. All heroes regenerate health much faster than regular units do, but it's still usually too slow to make much of a difference most of the time.

  • Baroque has you heal over time as long as your Stamina isn't empty, but your Stamina also decreases over time. Once you run out of Stamina you'll slowly take damage instead of healing, so relying on this too much will kill you.
  • The Binding of Isaac doesn't normally have regenerating health. However, you can gain it with the Placenta item... which regenerates at the painfully slow rate of a >50% chance to regenerate half a heart once every minute. It's still a decent pickup, since it can randomly top off your health even in combat and lets you restore yourself to full on demand if you have the patience.
  • Dungeon Crawl generally follows this trope for both players and monsters, but averts it with Deep Dwarves, who have no natural regeneration at all and must rely on items, Vampires, whose regeneration rate is dependent on their blood level (bloodless ones don't regenerate at all, while full ones regenerate at troll-like rate), and skeletons and zombies on the monster side.
  • Moria and games based on that roguelike have health recover over time, also including a rest command that automates the resting period. While there is a hunger meter in that game, it's not too much of an issue as food is still easy to repurchase, or otherwise substituted with the create food spell.
  • This is the primary way your team members can regain health in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, if healing items are scarce or not available. Staying in one spot and holding down the B button to use up your turns also works. The process is slow however, and only heals one hit point a turn or step, though this can be augmented with IQ skills. It's also the main reason why the Poison status is threatening, as while the actual damage it deals is minor, it disables your HP regeneration.

    Simulation Games 
  • Ace Combat series:
    • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon brings this mechanic to the series for the first time, including the reddening screen. Some fans were... most displeased. To offset this though, health regenerates very slowly and you can still be taken down with at most three missiles. Playing on Ace difficulty, however, disables regenerating health. The game also introduces a checkpoint system for the first time. While a welcome addition to long missions, damage taken while in Ace difficulty does not recover to 100% health, only to how much you had before the checkpoint. This very quickly devolves into Unintentionally Unwinnable territory, which is, adding to the entire They Changed It, Now It Sucks! view for this game, is like throwing saltwater, sand, and burning ash to a festering, infected wound.
    • Ace Combat Infinity allows for a minor example with the Extinguisher parts, which (outside of Team Deathmatch maps/events) automatically bring your plane's health back above a certain threshold once it's brought below that.
  • Independence War has a constant auto-repair system on all ships, but it's rather slow relative to the damage that weapons inflict. This is why you want to finish off ships quickly when attacking (firing LDSi missiles if necessary to prevent them running away, taking a time-out for auto-repair to do its thing, and jumping back in), while trying to keep out of range of attack while defending for as long as possible.
  • MechWarrior Living Legendss' battlearmor will regenerate health via their Auto Doc when not exposed to weapons fire for a few seconds in order to compensate for their very squishy nature. All the other vehicles can only be repaired at hangars or Mobile Field Bases.
  • Starsiege has the Quicksilver nano-armor, a tank-exclusive armor that repairs itself if it goes without taking damage for a little while (by taking armor points from less damaged areas to cover up critically damaged parts), and nano-repair packs, a heavy but valuable piece of equipment packed full of Nanomachines that repairs any damage done to your armor or components. Thanks to Competitive Balance, these won't save you if you take too much damage in a short period of time, but they will allow you to recover between engagements or survive long enough to leg it back to friendly territory for proper repairs.
  • Star Wars: X-Wing and TIE Fighter have regenerating shields on top of static hull integrity. The shields recharge rather slowly, though the rate can be increased by rerouting power from the engines or cannons.

    Stealth Based Games 
  • Due to its Framing Device, Altaïr in Assassin's Creed has "Synchronization" instead of health, which is basically how well you, the player, are matching Altaïr's actions (presumably, he never got himself killed, so getting injured reduces your Synchronization). Synchronization can be regained by staying hidden, or completing various goals. It also regenerates much more slowly in combat.
  • Hitman:
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes let you recover health if you're below the threshold for bleeding by crouching or lying on the ground. This only recovers enough health until the bleeding stops on its own; the upsides are that A) you can save on bandages for when you absolutely need them this way, and B) when you do need to use them, such as when the bleeding is giving your position away to cautious guards, you can still recover that little bit of health in this manner.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: Naked Snake can wait out his injuries. The rate of health increase is dependent on how high his Stamina Gauge is. If you can't be bothered waiting for his health to rise like that, you can also knock him out with a sedative mushroom or with chloroform - during his sleep, he recovers faster. You can even save, turn the game off, and come back after a day or so has elapsed on your console's clock. There's also a Cure menu to heal Snake from grievous wounds that cut into his total health (represented by a red section of it); healing from wounds of that nature actually increases his total health slightly.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots does the same with the similar Psyche bar, but with the removal of the Cure system and adding a Stress counter that goes up slowly when Snake is in harsh sunlight or bad weather, and spikes rapidly when he's discovered and/or in open combat, which can cause Psyche to deplete even if he's lying down and not moving.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has full health regeneration, but the regeneration rate is very slow if you're in open combat, and even slower when running or sprinting, though certain upgrades to Venom Snake's bionic arm can speed it up. You can also recover from a Critical Hit by using a first-aid spray or doing some Self-Surgery.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has regenerating health for Emma as an Anti-Frustration Feature since you can't heal her. Letting Emma sit down to rest will have her slowly recover her health.

    Survival Horror 
  • In Penumbra, Philip can go from "I can't feel my arms and legs" to "I'm as fit as can be expected" in a matter of minutes, though this isn't fast enough to help much in the middle of combat.
  • Resident Evil 2 (Remake): On the lowest difficulty, health will recover from Danger to Caution. Recovering from Caution to Fine still requires healing items.
  • Since Resident Evil 6 is essentially a hybrid of Call of Duty and Survival Horror, the developers decided to combine regenerating health with a health bar. Your health is divided into 6 segments. As long as you don't lose an entire segment, it will regenerate in time. However, if you lose an entire segment or more, it doesn't regenerate and you need to take a health tablet to restore it.
  • Silent Hill 4 provides regeneration for the player while he is in his apartment — but only in the first part of the game.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Crackdown let you walk off damage to both yourself and your shield. But enemies also regenerate health, and they do it quicker than you. On normal difficulty, this isn't a big deal, but higher difficulties force you to plan strategies around killing generals before they can hide and heal back to full health.
  • Gears of War:
    • The game has an opaque, bloody red gear encircling a skull appearing in the middle of the screen; once it becomes fully visible, the player is down and begins bleeding out helplessly (in the sequel, a character can crawl to safety, or if they're holding a grenade, detonate it to take their enemy with them if they're close enough). Being curbstomped or having more ammo put into them will cause their death, while an ally helping them up will let them get back into the action. Regeneration occurs when the player is undamaged for a period.
    • When an ally helps a player get up it's generally accompanied by the player being told to walk it off or some equivalent. Failing that the downed player will usually boast about how they are too badass to be killed or proclaim that they are now angry.
  • The Getaway allowed characters to regain health by leaning against walls for a breather. This is perhaps the earliest example of regenerating health in the common modern sense.
  • Kane & Lynch uses a similar system to Gears of War in single player, down to the use of cover, though if the player is knocked down too many times in too short of a period, they'll OD on the adrenaline shots administered to revive them.
  • kill.switch, one of the earliest games to use a cover mechanic, also had a regenerating health bar. Taking heavy damage over a short period of time, however, could cause the bar itself to shrink, reducing your maximum health and making you increasingly vulnerable until you found a medkit to restore it to its original length.
  • In Lost Planet, Wayne has a device called a "Harmonizer" on his right arm. It takes the Thermal Energy he finds throughout the world and converts the energy for use in his body.
  • Max Payne:
    • In the original Max Payne, using a shootdodge efficiently allows Max's pain meter (life meter) to fill up entirely without killing him. He then limps for a bit as the meter slowly empties to a certain point, at which point he's fine. Normally, it's pretty cool. Abused, it allows Max to do things like dive into a grenade blast and walk it off. Then it's really cool.
    • Max Payne 3 has a downplayed example. If the red in the pain meter reaches the head and you manage to get back into cover before dying, Max will regenerate just enough health to get it back below the neck.
  • In Second Sight, John Vattic can recover his health by using his psychic regenerative powers. This does have the trade-off of leaving him unable to attack psychically for a while, however.
  • While Sniper Elite had a static health bar, Sniper Elite V2 had this trope in full force. Sniper Elite III split the difference, dividing the health bar into five sections. Partially-depleted sections of health regenerate to full, but any fully-depleted sections stay empty until you use a bandage or health kit to refill them.
  • Splatoon has damage represented by how much enemy ink is covering the Inkling, with the sides of the screen will also getting covered as well. Spending some time out of fire will slowly "clean up" the Inkling, but doing so while swimming in their own ink significantly speeds this up. The Octarian enemies in the single player campaign can also regen by staying out of the fire, but only a handful of them are capable of swimming in their ink to accelerate it. In Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion, Agent 3 also gets this — painful when you first fight them, incredibly brutal in their Optional Boss fight.
  • The Videogame-movie-tie-in Terminator Salvation has regen health but it won't trigger until you defeat all the enemies in the area. In theory this means that you can't hide behind a rock, you've only got a limited amount of health. However you could just run away from the battle area and recuperate.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron uses the block system. The sequel, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, uses Regenerating Shield, Static Health.
  • Warframe normally uses Regenerating Shield, Static Health, but Nidus has no shields, and thus relies on this to survive. On another angle, there is the Rejuvenation Aura Mod, which allows your team to gradually heal over time.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Disgaea: Disgaea 2 introduced Wood Golems, which could regenerate 20% of its Max HP per turn (and due to the Lovers mechanic, it could go as high as 45%). Disgaea 3 subsequently nerfed it to 10%, but also introduced the Fixed Innocent called Sweet Tempter, which recovered 50% HP per turn. Sweet Tempter was then nerfed to 5% HP per turn as of Disgaea 5, but there was also an Evility that allowed for 5% HP recovery per turn.
  • Phantom Brave: The Knight and Behemoth units having Healing Steps as an innate skill, allowing for a percentage of health to be recovered per turn depending on the level of the skill.
  • Prismata has two variants. Normal units regenerate to full at the end of every turn. Then, there are 'fragile' units that avert this, but some fragile units double-avert it by regenerating a fixed number of health every turn anyway.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: In Enemy Within, units gene-modded with Adaptive Bone Marrow will regenerate 2 health points per turn if brought below their natural maximum health (armor doesn't count). They'll also recover from wounds at base three times faster. As it's cheap and available by default when you build the Genetics Lab, it's a good investment early in the game when body armor only provides +1 HP and enemy attacks all hit for at least 2, and you really can't afford to have your best units benched for weeks; after you develop more advanced armor with much bigger HP bonuses and the aliens start deploying harder-hitting units that can one-shot a soldier that only has their base health to spare, it falls by the wayside in favor of Muscle Fiber Density.

    Western Role Playing Games 
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim adds regenerating health to the series for the first time. It is extremely slow, and food and rest still exist to replenish it more quickly. "Histskin" is a racial power of the Argonians, allowing them to, once per day, massively speed up this health regeneration rate to the point of it being a Healing Factor. Two notable exceptions to this are vampires (in sunlight) and werewolves (in wolf form).
  • Fallout:
    • The RPGs have the player and his NPCs slowly regenerating health (and in the latter case stamina) over a surprisingly realistic amount of time, but it takes so long that a more practical route is to hide off to a safe area and use the "fast forward time" menu to... well, fast forward time. If badly wounded, however, this could take a lot longer than you wanted (to the tune of months), especially considering you're on a Timed Mission...
    • Additionally, the Fallout games had the First Aid and Doctor skills, which let you gain some experience for healing yourself, and heal crippled limbs without paying a doctor. They could be used a limited number of times per day, however, even without the kits.
    • In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, there are several Perks and implants available to more or less slowly regenerate health over time. Both games have the Solar Powered perk, which lets you regenerate health in sunlight, and New Vegas also has the Monocyte Breeder implant, which slowly regenerates health over time (including time spent sleeping and waiting).
    • In Fallout 4, in addition to the return of Solar Powered, there is also the Life Giver perk, which alongside increasing maximum Health, the final rank adds a passive regeneration that's only active outside of combat. Another perk involving this is Ghoulish, though it's unique in that it requires the player to become "infected" with radiation to a certain degree for the regeneration to occur.
  • Interplay's Lord of the Rings allowed characters to heal by eating beans or using plants, then walking around until their health got back to normal.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect has regeneration for some character classes. The rest can get it as an armor upgrade.
    • Mass Effect 2 gives this standard on all characters, combines it with generally reduced health. Particularly at higher difficulty levels, battles mainly consist of popping out of cover for a few shots, almost dying, then ducking back down and waiting a few seconds to completely heal. The in-universe explanation is that your armor has an onboard computer that detects injuries and releases small quantities of medi-gel to compensate.
    • Mass Effect 3 uses sectioned health, where sections regenerate unless depleted, at which point must be recovered with medi-gel.
  • In Mount & Blade this is the only way to heal, it's very, very slow that it didn't recover in battle, and it took hours of in game time to recover to full health.
  • In New Horizons, this mechanism is present, but very slow even with perks. Player can notice it by accelerating time. Relying on it during combat instead of popping potions or using bandages is one of the quickest ways to get killed.
  • SEED: Rise of Darkness... although it's painfully slow and usually easier to use a Trauma Inn anyway.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
    • The player is a vampire and thus has supernatural healing powers as standard. However, he can drink blood (from packs or people) for a quick boost and special attacks such as fire or electricity take longer to heal. Regeneration is painfully slow and barely noticeable, and will only fully heal you from near death if you've got over an hour of time to sit around and do nothing. Unless, of course, you happened to pick up the helpful "mummywrap fetish" item in Andrei's mansion, which makes healing a LOT faster.
    • There's also a Dummied Out power which rapidly converts stored blood into health, which at least one of the major fan supplied patch chains restores.
    • And finally, completing one sidequest grants you a Tzimisce artifact that collects blood as you kill enemies, which can then be converted into quick health.
  • In Fallout's spiritual ancestor Wasteland, the Medic and Doctor skills only worked on seriously wounded characters. Normal hit point damage could only be healed by waiting, and the game would tell you so.
  • In Your Bizarre Adventure (a JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Fan Game), the player's health regenerates slightly over time. This can be upgraded through the Tech Tree, while posing substantially increases its potency as long as the player keeps it up.
  • Might and Magic VIII added the Regeneration skill, which granted this trope to the character with it (slowly at first, but increasingly faster the higher the skill rank and skill tier). Not every class could gain it, with the undisputed master being the Troll class.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • While third-party game mods allowed for similar functionality in earlier games, it wasn't until Grand Theft Auto V that Rockstar Games introduced a regenerating health system into the series. This game allows any of the player characters to regenerate health up to a maximum of only 50%, and only if they stand perfectly still and avoid taking damage for a set period of time. It was basically a compromise between the original GTA gameplay and that of modern shooters.
  • The Godfather game combines this with the Healing Potion system. There's the olive green part of Aldo's health bar which represents his fixed health, a light green part which can regenerate and turn olive green, as well as a black part which he can't regenerate past. To be honest, though, it doesn't do much against sustained attack. The sequel made it a full regeneration system, but keeps the health potions for when you really need an instant pickup.
  • Just Cause 2 has a limited form of regenerating health; it will only regenerate a certain amount of health after Rico stops taking damage. Anything beyond that cannot be healed without a medkit, which instantly raises your health to full. To get an idea of whether or not your health will be fully regenerated, observe how much the green cross indicating the health meter pulsates; the more it does, the closer your limited regeneration is to its limit.
  • L.A. Noire plays this straight as an arrow, which can be rather jarring for a game trading mostly on gritty realism. Needless to say, if somebody gets shot during a cutscene they're not going to be able to walk it off.
  • Minecraft:
    • Health works this way as long as your "food meter" is nearly full. When the food meter is completely empty, the exact opposite happens.
    • Playing on Peaceful difficulty grants you regenerating health at all times. Potions of Regeneration and Golden Apples also grant temporary health regeneration.
    • The Enderdragon mob also has this when you fight one. However, this can be stopped by destroying the Ender Crystals, which actually HARMS it.
  • Parameters: In Gradual Regeneration style, for you and your enemies. The enemies' stop when they die.
  • [PROTOTYPE]. However, only the lower half of your Life Meter will be regenerated, after which it doesn't regenerate any more. The sequel includes upgrades that let you regenerate to 100%.
  • Red Dead Redemption plays it straight, with John Marston being able to walk off a cougar attack like nothing happened, but then subverted in the prequel; in that game, you (and your horse) have a "health core" that determines how fast, if at all, your health regenerates. The health core empties out overtime or as you take damage and is refilled by eating foods and drinking tonics. You can also consume certain foods to bolster the core's regeneration.
  • Red Faction II has a restoring health meter, thanks to your character's nanomachines, in addition to health packs that are expended when the meter completely drains. The regenerating health in Red Faction 2 is noticeably slower than in most modern shooter games, and is more for avoiding a Unwinnable situation where the player is stuck in the middle of a level from not having enough health to progress, rather than quick healing in the middle of a firefight.
    • The sequel Red Faction: Guerrilla took a step backward, with very fast regeneration and no story explanation.
  • Roadwarden: Zigzagged. Your health indeed regenerates, but generally only if your hunger bar is full and you’re getting proper rest at an inn or other lodgings.
  • The Saboteur features this, although with a Modern Warfare-style reddening of the screen. Annoyingly, if you're badly wounded and climb into a vehicle, as long as the vehicle is being hit you will neither recover nor take damage - meaning you have to try and escape the Nazis through the streets of Paris while being completely unable to see where you're going.
  • From the same developer, Saints Row has regenerating health, although the player will heal very slowly if they don't complete diversions that increase the rate of healing. And if even that isn't fast enough, the player can also stop fighting for a second to chow down on a cheeseburger or donut and instantly regain at least half their total health.
  • Subnautica: Your health will automatically recover... very very slowly. In nearly all situations it's probably better to just use a health pack rather than wait for the obnoxiously long time it would take to fully refill your health bar.
  • Terraria had small red rings that slowly regenerate your HP at a point a second that stacked with one another, and was one of the only ways to regenerate your health without consuming an item, dying, or using a nurse. However, the game now has health that slowly regenerates after not taking any hits for so long, and gradually increases to about 3-4 HP points a second, and the bands of regeneration are somewhat obsolete, but still in the game and used by some for that little extra boost.
  • Many mods for the X-Universe series (which normally uses Regenerating Shields, Static Health) allow ships to regenerate their hull on the fly. One mod makes Boron ships capable of autonomous regeneration, another allows you to put your marines (normally used for boarding) to work mending the hull. Xtended has the R6 ship system, which can enable automatic repairs on corvettes and capital ships, at the cost of draining your credits while repairs are in progress.

Other media

Fan Works

  • This Bites! deconstructs the One Piece setting as a World of Badass. For the locals, it's considered normal to heal minor injuries like cuts and rope burns in mere hours... which makes the protagonist, Cross, who comes from our world and has a more "realistic" healing process, look like some kind of frail weakling. One doctor suspects he has some kind of degenerative condition due to inbreeding (his cover story is that he comes from a small, very isolated community hidden on the Red Line). Thankfully, proper food, exercise and Training from Hell manages to bring him up to standards in fairly short order.


  • Cretan Chronicles, unlike most gamebooks of it's type whose measurements of the player's life is tallied in numbers, instead had it's hero's state of being alive tallied in stages, ranging from HEALTHY to CRITICALLY WOUNDED to DEATH. If the player defeat an enemy, their lives are reset to HEALTHY on the very next page.


  • Deadworld Isekai: One of the stats available is the regen(eration) rate for Hit Points. A rate meaning that such regeneration is over time and repeating.
  • During his fight with Israel Hands in Treasure Island, Jim is wounded in the shoulder (by a dirk that was already dirty with another pirate's blood, no less). But even though the wound made him bleed freely, it wasn't mentioned again even when Jim next saw Doctor Livesey.

Professional Wrestling

  • Some positioning or camera work combined with with a medical adhesives (glue) can lend the appearance of this trope in professional wrestling.(Wasn't he cut by the steps five minutes ago?) To think they used to employ tricks to make people bleed more, because blood was not coming out enough. Like many other secrets, this was given away by Vince McMahon, who had the adhesive applied in plain view during his "WWE INC" era (a.k.a. the rated PG era).

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The fourth edition rules introduced "healing surges" which follow the spirit of this trope. Unlike previous editions where players were dependent on finding healing potions or having someone play a Cleric, players could instead while out of combat take a short rest to regain a certain number of lost hit points for a limited amount of times each day. The Gamma World spin-off took it even further with players automatically regaining their max health as long as they were alive after a combat encounter.
    • The earliest editions had it so having a Constitution above 20 or so led to this trope. Health simply regenerated over time. There were also magical powers that granted this ability as well as monsters who had a Healing Factor.
    • At 18th level, the 5th Edition Champion, a subclass of the Fighter, gains the ability to regenerate health at the start of each of their turns as long as they're at half health or lower but still conscious.
    • The standard rules for 5th edition have characters regain full HP after a long rest, with variant rules for how much characters regain, how long a long rest is (normally 8 hours spent resting or not fighting), etc.
  • Warhammer 40,000 features several rules that allow a model to either gain back wounds at the start of a player's turn, or roll dice and attempt to recover lost wounds (those that have wounds to spare anyway). The Tyranids are renown for having this as an optional trait for most of their larger units.

Web Original


  • The Cyantian Chronicles: Some genetically-enhanced hunters in this setting have regenerating health, but only when they are walking/running. Takes the "Walk it off" to a whole new level.
  • Return to Player: All players can regenerate to some extent. It is also possible to greatly increase the regeneration.

Real Life

  • A certain species of jellyfish, namely Turritopsis dohrnii, is known to be able to regenerate in adverse conditions.
  • Planarian flatworms are just as capable of doing so, too.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Walk It Off


Vicar Amelia

When her health starts getting low, she'll start praying and gain Regenerating Health. However, she's in the middle of prayer when you first encounter her.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / RegeneratingHealth

Media sources: