Follow TV Tropes


Surprisingly Easy Mini-Quest

Go To

This is a Video Game trope where it seems like you are being set up for an incredibly difficult, confusing, or frustrating mission or situation, only for the game to subvert that expectation and have this part turn out to be far easier than you would have thought. These generally come in three varieties: the first is a straight Bait-and-Switch, the second being where you are forced to play as an NPC, or the third a situation where the hero is incapacitated, and it seems like it will be difficult situation, only to be quickly resolved.

1) The comedic Bait-and-switch:

Where the sidequest is made surprisingly easy for comedic purposes. Perhaps the task gets trumped up as a daunting one, only for a silly circumstance or intervention to clear out most of the challenge for you. Either way, it's an anticlimactic end, and expect someone to comment on the convenience or strangeness of it all.

2) The supporting character quest:

A unique type of Power Seep where the game designers and programmers decided to take it easy on you. Since they made your life complicated by forcing you to play as a supporting character for a segment of the game, they compensate by either suddenly switching over to weaker enemies, or weakening the AI, or making the side character much stronger than could have been reasonably expected. (And probably more so than that character has ever shown themselves to be if you've ever seen them fight). Of course, when you switch back to the hero, the difficulty jumps right back up to where it was before.

Compare Monster Threat Expiration (although that is generally used for a Big Bad, in this case it applies to mooks and minibosses), the supporting character Taking A Level In Badass.

3) Incapacitated hero:

As with the above example, the hero is placed in what seems to be a tough situation, but like above, the game compensates for it by otherwise making things easier for the player. Either the difficulty gets turned down, the hero will get an 11th-Hour Superpower to help him out, or it will turn out that the plot was on rails and the player will only need to do some simple things in order to get themselves back up to speed. Alternatively, if the player was thrown into jail, it will turn out to be a Cardboard Prison, and almost ridiculously easy for someone as powerful as the hero to escape.

Examples of the comedic bait-and-switch

  • In later games of the Ace Attorney series, Phoenix can find out the secrets of people via the Magatama, manifesting as Psyche-Locks that can be broken by using evidence to prove what they're hiding. The more Psyche-Locks there are, the more guarded the secret is, and picking the wrong options threatens his Life Meter.
    • In the last case of Justice For All, Wendy Oldbag has four Psyche-Locks that you can break just by bribing her with an autograph of the victim, of whom she was a huge fan.
    • In the 3rd case of Trials and Tribulations, Detective Dick Gumshoe tries to hide something from Phoenix. Only one lock shows up, meaning it's very easy to crack him. What makes this even easier is it's extremely simple to figure out what Gumshoe was doing before you caught him. His secret? He was listening to the radio to see if he won the lottery. Once you break his lock, even Phoenix is surprised at how easy it was! This can be a huge life saver if you had wasted most of your energy getting things wrong during the trial before, so it's almost a free health refill here.
    • Later on in case 5, Sister Bikini is depicted as having a whopping five Psyche-Locks when questioned about the victim's true identity. But after revealing only two pieces of evidence (and thus proving the identity), all five break simultaneously.
    • A hilarious version with Edgeworth and Larry Butz. During questioning, 5 locks show up with Larry. Edgeworth's response? "Screw this, I'll see you in court!" Made funnier because Edgeworth had just broken 3 locks in the exact same conversation with Larry.
  • Borderlands 2: After reaching Sanctuary for the first time, Claptrap has a sidequest for you: to find his secret stash, located "very very far from where I currently am", which he will only reveal if you complete a few challenges. After he gives a list of increasingly dangerous and absurd tasks, a wall of junk falls down about 20 feet away, revealing the stash.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has this when Mayhew asks you to accompany her to see if there are burglars in her storage room. Turns out that there are, but they are all extremely low leveled (around levels 1-20) and they are characters you have seen earlier in the game who were all either wacky or a Butt-Monkey.
    • When a player new to the game's item auctions sees House Minymum as one of their opponents, they will almost certainly be utterly terrified, since House Minymum's displayed bidding capabilities are overwhelmingly higher than the player can ever hope to match. But experienced players know that Minymum is basically the auction equivalent of a Fake Ultimate Mook, and almost never ends up winning, because they never use their massive token stores to bid on anything. Seeing Minymum is actually a relief for players experienced with the auctions; it's essentially one fewer opponent to worry about.

Examples of the side character/NPC quest type

  • The Onimusha game series is a major offender here.
    • It's downplayed in the first game's Ninja girl sidekick Kaede, who can't harm the demons with her normal weapon, and it's only when she gets a powered Oni weapon that she can do damage instead of just dodging. Fair enough, although her little demon knife packs a hell of a wallop. The rest of the series though...
    • In the second game there are four side characters, and you'll play as at least one of them at one point. Depending on the Relationship Values you have with them, you could wind up playing a section as each of the four. All four take out the mooks with tremendous ease, often needing fewer hits to kill enemies with their normal, non magical weapons, than Jubei does with his charged up demon weapons of doom.
      • The Gunslinger Magoichi has a particularly easy time of it, since his weapons include, for all intents and purposes, a machine gun and a primitive flame thrower in medieval Japan, with practically no enemies who can attack from long range. Can you say slaughter?
    • The third game also has a character with a gun. Although it doesn't have unlimited range, it's easier than hacking at the monsters with a sword.
  • Oh so very much in Suikoden III. Compared to your level 20 main cast, there's a side chapter starring your fortresses' castellan starts who starts at level 1. It's meant to showcase how not everyone in the world is a great warrior (and it does it pretty well - the boss fight of this chapter is a common boar), but it's a tad noticeable how all random encounters are scaled down to make it possible for you to survive.
    • There's also a subversion, of sorts, where you take a couple of kids along for a side quest mainly involving them. They're a way beneath your main characters in levels, and the random monsters haven't been downgraded at all. Until they gain a few levels, they risk sudden death in every single random battle.
  • The Resident Evil games:
    • Resident Evil 2:
      • When you control Sherry, she can't hurt anyone, and she seems to run slower than the other characters, but she has much higher stamina to make up for this. Also, the zombies can't actually grab her, because her smaller animation model would have required a new animation. Their attacks are limited to vomiting bile at you. Therefore it's much easier to avoid them altogether. Trying to avoid the dogs, on the other hand, is an unmitigated bitch thanks to their speed and aggression, and Sherry can't run nearly as fast as they can.
      • Ada meanwhile, gets a gun and plentiful ammo, and fires the pistol so fast that she can take down spiders with ease.
    • Resident Evil 4: Ashley can't attack, but she can duck under things, and the enemies either have no weapons or are slow. Not to mention that the enemies who just moments ago could withstand shotgun blasts at point blank range can now be killed by throwing portable lamps at them. Although it takes three lamps, which is about how many incendiary grenades it takes with Leon. Plus, with creative use of a glitch in the Nintendo GameCube version, Ashley can suplex the hell out of enemies.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn: The player controls a few different armies, averts this trope severely. The start of the game featuring a rag-tag group of rebels is easily one of the hardest parts of the game, whereas battles featuring Ike's powerful army aren't too bad, although they do face larger armies.
    • Played straight later on, when you switch from Ike's band of worldslaying badasses back to said rag-tag bunch of rebels, for a mission where the goal is to hold a line against Ike's band of worldslaying badasses.
  • A variation is done in Final Fantasy XIII where any time the split party focuses on the team without your heavy hitters, the enemies become noticeably weaker. It's especially bizarre during one segment where you're all on the same airship, but your heavy hitter team is fighting elite troops and massive robot enemies, and your support team is fighting... Janitor flans.
  • Mischief Makers. The heroine is attacked by a superpowerful beam that leaves her incapacitated, and for two levels the control is switched to a previously encountered NPC. In a different way to play this, though, you've seen this particular NPC can morph into a big mecha, but for some reason cannot for the levels you play him.
    • He needed to be shaken hard to do it. Maria's incapacitated, so she can't shake him, ergo, he's on his own.
  • In The Longest Journey, all April has to do to obtain the third piece of the Stone Disc from by the Dark People is to tell them of her previous accomplishments. By comparison, getting the first two pieces involved defeating a local equivalent of a troll in hand-to-hand combat, surviving a magical storm, and fulfilling not one but two ancient prophesies. Somewhat earlier, she had to kill a shark armed with nothing but a single spear she'd had no practice with. This occurred simply and without incident.
  • Most of the special missions in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky can be pretty daunting for the most part, but Igglybuff the Prodigy is very easy, thanks in part to Igglybuff already maintaining the badass status he carries as Guildmaster Wigglytuff. He already has pretty high stats to begin with, and on top of that, being below Level 20, he levels pretty quickly, and each level boosts his stats by ludicrous amounts as well. Not to mention, before too long an even stronger Armaldo joins up with you. There are also practically no bosses to speak of in any of the dungeons he explores, either.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, on Peragus you play as T3-M4 for a period. He starts at level 3 or so, and has a powerful shock arm with unlimited uses, making the fighting almost trivially easy.
    • The same thing happens again on Nar Shaddaa later in the game, with T3-M4 taking on 3 very powerful HK-50 assassin droids alone. The 50s themselves can be challenging even late-game thanks to sheer damage output, and T3 doesn't have a saber or Force Deflection to compensate. However, through an earlier sidequest on that system, T3-M4 can pick up an infinitely regenerating shield attachment. In the KOTOR series, every other personal shield in the game is disposable and limited to either 5 or 10 uses (which are time-limited in addition to damage-absorption-limited), and all but the most elite and expensive shields have low number caps on the damage they stop and are limited in the damage types they apply to. T3's shield never runs out of recharges, has a damage cap on par with the best shields in the game, and applies to every ranged damage type possible. This makes T3 essentially invincible to all but melee attacks, which the HK-50s can't use, and gives him all the time in the world to leisurely whittle down their health bars.
  • Destroy the Godmodder has had several. The Shadows Complex and Thunder's Cave sidequests both ended without much difficulty, mostly due to the fact that no further enemies joined, which was unexpected.
    • It is to be noted that they weren't started with their being sidequests in mind.
  • In Robopon, there's the Fetch Quest for Golden Sunny/Silver C-Cell in the first game; all it is is a trading game with the Elite 8. The Robopon you start the trade with is easy to catch and in one of the first areas of the game.
  • Fate/Grand Order: In the The Garden of Sinners crossover event, there is one optional stage in which you face three ghosts, each with 6.66 million HP. Even boss characters will rarely have anywhere even close to 400,000 HP at this point in the game. However, for this stage you are forced to take Saber-Shiki as your Support Servant... and she happens to have a Noble Phantasm that can inflict instant death on enemies it hits, regardless of how much health they have left. Normally the instant death effect has a very low chance of succeeding (which increases slightly as the enemy loses health), keeping the attack from being completely broken, but in this stage it is guaranteed to happen.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age starts with Jenna escaping Venus Lighthouse, the final dungeon of the previous game. All of the endgame monsters Isaac and co. encountered in the prequel have suddenly been replaced by the weakest monsters in the game, giving her a chance to actually proceed instead of getting instantly slaughtered.

Examples of the incapacitated hero type

  • In Kingdom Hearts, main character Sora gets turned into one of The Heartless, and you can't do anything but walk. You would expect to at least have to run away from the monsters, but the Evil Castle that was crawling with them a moment ago is suddenly abandoned and monster-free. All you have to do is catch up to your friends, and wait for The Power of Love to restore him in a cutscene. Justified in that since you're a Heartless, of course the other Heartless won't attack you.
    • Just a little bit earlier in the game there was a bit where Sora's Clingy MacGuffin sword was suddenly taken away from him by Rival Turned Evil Riku, leaving him practically helpless. However, the game does give you a Big Guy Bruiser NPC to do all the damage for you, and it's not long before he gets it back. (This time due at least in part to The Power of Friendship). Your spell attacks are still at full power, though they may have lost a lot of power if you were using a Keyblade that powered them up. Percentage-based Gravity spells still work fine, though.
    • And in the second game, during the final battle, Xemnas somehow incapacitates Sora, and you have to play as Riku for a few moments to save him— basically running in a straight line while dodging walls and evil missiles. It's not quite as easy as it sounds, because it's a bit of a Timed Mission, but few people fail there.
    • Another case from Kingdom Hearts II: Sora manages to singlehandedly turn destroying an army of a thousand of The Heartless into child's play, mostly because the Heartless army consists entirely of 2 types of Heartless, both with Action Commands that are practically custom-made for taking out large numbers of enemies in form of repeated diving attacks and sweeping lasers. Seriously, it's like they're handing you four or five levels.
  • There are a couple instances in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas where you lose all your weapons, no matter if you never get wasted or arrested (or never save when that happens). The next few missions after each one have the good grace to drop in difficulty until you get your stock up, although it's not a cakewalk.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, you get turned into a bunny if you enter the Dark World without the Moon Pearl. In order to reach the Moon Pearl, you're required to do this at least once. Fortunately the game closes off the area so that in this form, you hardly run into trouble.
  • When first playing Final Fantasy VII, quite a few players were wondering how they were going to get out of Shinra's jail when caught infiltrating the building. Then, about thirty seconds later, Sephiroth busts in and murders everyone for you. Problem solved.
  • Another Cardboard Prison case: in Quest for Glory II, there's a bit towards the end where the player character is tossed into jail, and with practically all of your equipment taken away. However, regardless of which character class you are, getting out of it is absurdly easy. Of course, the Big Bad designed the hero's capture, knowing he'd escape easily, in order to manipulate the hero into furthering his evil plans. He'd try this again in a sequel, except this time you are not forced to be an Unwitting Pawn in order to advance the plot. In fact, doing what he counts on you doing will result in your death.
    • Interestingly enough, a lot of players don't question the situation that occurs in Quest for Glory IV, despite the fact that the incredibly powerful bad guy managed to incapacitate you, it seems only natural that you would have all of your equipment (including, for thieves, their lockpicks...). A certain amount of Fridge Logic, or the aforementioned Game Over, are required before you start realizing what's going on. Except perhaps for the fact that he supposedly taunts you by leaving a stake and hammer (he's a vampire) just out of reach, which you can easily obtain after you break out of the easy-to-escapa manacles. (It turns out to be a Batman Gambit; he wants you to kill his vampire sire.)
  • In Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria, there's a part where you lose all but one of the story-centric characters from your party, and the monsters and boss in the next area are made easier to compensate, which makes sense...except that, aside from the story characters, you more than likely have a legion of Einherjar at your disposal that are just as powerful as the story characters, so you'll end up absolutely mopping the floor with the monsters.
  • NetHack features a borderline example in the case of Vlad the Impaler who lurks in a dungeon sub-branch and guards an artifact needed to finish the game. Instead of the expected titanic struggle, by the time any typical character meets him, they are super-powered death-machines and can kill him almost literally blindfolded with one hand tied behind their back. There is, in fact, a Running Gag in the ''NetHack] community of killing this boss with the weakest weapon you can think of and naming it Vladbane or something of the like. Perhaps the most amusing example: a rusted, corroded can opener, a weapon so weak it'd actually be more efficient to just use your fists.
  • During the Black Bird part in Chrono Trigger, you end up in prison without weapons, items, and other stuff. The monsters, however, are much weaker, and it's not a hard dungeon, especially if you have Ayla, who does not lose her weapon in the group. Earlier in the game, Ayla challenges you to a Drinking Contest that you must win. It involves some serious Button Mashing (unless it doesn't register your button presses.) If you fail enough times though, Ayla gets full from drinking too much and gives up.
  • Near the end of Half-Life 2, the player loses nearly all his weapons while infiltrating the Combine citadel...all except the Gravity Gun, which gets turbocharged by the weapons stripper and can suddenly pick up far heavier items, including people, and throw them across the room with little difficulty... or if that doesn't take your fancy there are also a lot of very handy energy balls floating around in containment fields that can be turned into Hyper Destructive Bouncing Balls. So much for an obligatory stealth section.
    • In the MINERVA: Metastasis Half-Life 2 mod, you're not playing as Gordon Freeman, so when you go through the weapons stripper, you're left defenseless, and have to spend a surprisingly long time running for your life before finding any replacements. Enemy spawns are located and timed, so if you're going flat out, they'll never quite catch up. It's actually quite thrilling and only surprisingly easy in retrospect.
  • In GoldenEye (1997), you're stuck in a jail cell with all your weapons gone. However, you still have your watch, which is suddenly revealed to have a magnetic function that you can can use to get the key on the wall right across from you. The guard never notices this, and upon opening the door he tends to duck before firing and somehow completely misses you, leaving you free to karate chop him to death when he stands back up. The second time you're captured, things are a bit tougher.
    • Or you can use the watch's magnetic function to pick up some knives from under a grated hole nearby.
    • The second escape from capture is actually easier if you ignore the magnet in the watch. Using it to pick up your gun results in the guards opening fire on you while you try to switch to the pistol, but ignoring it allows you to incapacitate them with judo-chops fairly easily.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there is a point at which Link is captured by the Gerudo, and must break out of jail. This takes less than 5 seconds, due to a convenient overhead wooden beam and the fact that Link is left with all of his gadgets, including the one which can be used to pull him towards anchored wooden surfaces. Not to mention any and all guards can be knocked out with a simple shot with a bow and arrow. note 
  • In Duke Nukem 3D, you get captured at the end of the second level. The next level finds you sitting on a (very slow) electric chair, not strapped in, with a grand total of one enemy standing in between you and a gun. You should have your whole arsenal back within five minutes, minus some ammo.
  • Laguna's segments in Final Fantasy VIII, in which the inept but effective Galbadian soldier never runs into anything more terrifying than an oversize caterpillar ambling through the idyllic, pastoral Winhill. Or crippling leg cramps in the presence of his Love Interest, but those hardly affect gameplay. Even the one Red Dragon he has to fight, while a serious challenge elsewhere in the game, is nerfed down considerably.
  • In the PS 360 version of the game based on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, during the Weapon X facility, Wolverine loses his healing factor. What seems like it should contain some stealth segments or a bunch of wild running is instead a rather peaceful jaunt through a couple rooms with some "Find a way to crawl through the air vent" puzzles and a few baddies that can be easily eliminated.
  • In Cave Story, after getting knocked unconscious and thrown in jail, all you have to do to get out of there is to talk to a prisoner and read a letter informing you about plot developments. As DeceasedCrab noted in his playthrough, you aren't even temporarily stripped of your weapons or anything.
  • In Banjo-Tooie, you get Swallowed Whole by a Chompasaurus in a cutscene which uses the intimidating Boss Battle music, but if you beat a fairly easy ulcer-shooting Mini-Game it will let you go with a Jiggy to boot.
  • Marathon 2: Durandal has the level The Big House. As you can guess, it's a "get out of prison with no weapons" level. It counts as this due to the fact that it literally plays itself, and is over in about a minute: A bunch of guys beam in just after the start to rescue you, and as long as you don't get shot up in the crossfire (not all that hard to do), they will get you out of there and on to the next level with no player interaction at all.
  • In Assassin's Creed II at one point Desmond is suddenly thrown into Alta├»r's memories and finds that the place he's in is full of Elite Mooks, plus he can't seem to switch to his weapons. Oh, Crap!! Except, wait, the mooks don't seem to care that he's there even when he starts running around and doing Le Parkour.
    • Actually you can use the D-pad at least in the Xbox 360 version to pull out the sword (right) and do insta kills on all of them. Not like it matters anyway because in the end it doesn't affect you at all.
  • The Resident Evil series has several examples from both types:
    • Resident Evil has type 2 play out for Chris at least twice; if you get poisoned by Yawn and leave the room, Chris will keel over from the pain and is discovered by Rebecca. You then control Rebecca to get the serum for Chris. Rebecca only has a first-aid spray and a handgun, but she won't run into any enemies unless you avoided them while playing as Chris. Rebecca also refuses to enter other areas. If you managed to escape the Yawn fight without getting hit at all, then you can skip the entire serum sequence.
      • When Chris confronts Plant 42, the monster grabs Chris with its tentacle and Rebecca walks in just in time to see it. You're then tasked with controlling Rebecca and have her create the V-Jolt, which is a poison that will weaken the plant monster. You won't run into any enemies during this time.
    • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is a subversion. Jill gets infected with the T-Virus, which weakens her and leads into type 2. You take control of Carlos to find a cure in a nearby hospital. The puzzles are mildly challenging but can be figured out quite easily, The enemies Carlos faces are mostly the deadly Hunters, and he even can have an optional boss fight.
    • In Resident Evil 6 you're forced into a No-Gear Level in Jake and Sherry's chapter. Sherry's is a nightmare because she has to run and hide, but Jake can kick just as much ass with his bare fists as he can with a handgun and can make quick work of the few J'avo who dare try to aim Uzis at him.
  • Fate/Grand Order has a few chapters that start with the protagonist unable to summon any temporary servants, leaving you with only whatever story supports are provided instead of a full party. All of these battles have you facing much easier enemies than you face later on, even when there's no reason for the enemies that appear to be any different.