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Something Completely Different / Video Games

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Compare Unexpected Gameplay Change, a version of this trope specific to gameplay.

  • Ace Attorney
    • Normally the only cases that take place entirely as trials are the first case of the game with the others having investigation segments; Case 4 of the third game also takes place entirely as a trial.
    • Case 2 of the third game features you defending a client of theft in the first trail; a murder is not committed until the second trial.
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    • "Dual Destinies" Case 4 is one of the most unique in the series. It begins with a trial instead of an investigation and this trial is interrupted by the events of a completely different case (namely the bombing that occurred in the first one) meaning the days of the case are not consecutive. Additionally the case ends with your client been found not guilty instead of finding the real killer.
    • Case 5 of "Dual Destinies" only has one investigation and trial segment and the case involves finding the real killer of Case 4.
    • "Dual Destinies"'s DLC case has no murder. All deaths are accidental. Also the client changes mid way through.
    • Spirit of Justice has several cases that do not use the normal formula. The second case is, like Case 5 of Dual Destinies above, only made up of a single investigation and trial segment. The fourth case is one of the rare examples of a non introductory case being made up entirely of trials. Case 5 meanwhile features a civil case as its first trial, instead of a murder, though it ends up becoming a murder soon enough; the two trial segments also feature different and completely unrelated crimes.
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  • A Hat in Time is normally bright, upbeat, and about as far away from anything scary as you can possibly get. Even the resident Halloween Town level is only about as scary as an episode of Scooby-Doo and all the "horror" of it is entirely Played for Laughs like a possessed toilet or made to be cute. Then you go into Queen Vanessa's Manor and everything goes to hell: it becomes a Stealth-Based Mission, Queen Vanessa isn't even remotely cute or lovable being a shambling ranting psychotic Yandere Eldritch Humanoid who lurches about hunting for you, and even Hat Kid herself trembles and looks terrified throughout the entire level. For reference, here is the average title card for a mission in this game, and here is the title card for Queen Vanessa's Manor.
  • Crash Bash: The first six game types (Ballistix, Polar Push, Pogo Pandemonium, Crate Crush, Tank Wars, and Crash Dash) have four arenas that all play very similarly to each other with usually a gimmick or two unique to each of the specific levels. However, the Medieval Madness levels all play completely different from each other, the only thing consistent between the four being that all of them take place in a circular arena.
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  • Compared to Remedy Entertainment's other works, Control doesn't really follow a strict storyline and is more of an open world a la System Shock, allowing the player to explore the Oldest House at whatever pace and order they prefer. Control is also their first game to have a female protagonist at the forefront.
  • FIFA 11 allows you to play goalkeeper for the first time. Explaining: even when you play as your whole team, you usually don't get to do much with your goalie since the AI does pretty much all the saving for you. Playing goalie, though, you obviously have to do all the work.
  • Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist: The first act of the game is prepping medicine for townsfolk, then using your mad medicine skills to save the town from various disasters, but after that Freddy returns to his gunslinger roots and all puzzles are solved with gunnery.
  • Hades is the first game by Supergiant Games to not take place in its own Constructed World, with it instead being set in its own take/reinterpretation of Classical Mythology.
  • The Arcade Game Kabuki-Z has three stages of Japanese-themed action, after which the scenery shifts to Medieval European Fantasy and the samurai player character is replaced with a Barbarian Hero.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker heavily changed things up from what had been the standard Legend of Zelda formula at the time; for example, the main hero is The Unchosen One who has to work hard in order to even be deemed worthy of being the Hero rather than his role being destined from the start. It takes place in an Ocean Punk world instead of the sprawling, terrestrial kingdoms of previous games, and has a heavy focus on sailing from place to place rather than riding through an expansive field on horseback made famous by The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. This ties into the central message of the game: That Nothing Is the Same Anymore. And at the end of the game, the protagonists set sail to found an entirely new kingdom after the destruction of ancient Hyrule beneath the waves of the Great Sea.
  • Little Inferno is all about finding right item combinations to burn based on wordplays and other hints in a puzzle game almost as detached from a character perspective as Tetris. Then, in the final segment your house burns down and you unexpectedly start guiding the previously unseen player character from a fixed third person perspective through snowy streets, talking to people and trying to make sense of the past few hours (implicitly months if not years in story time) and your own motivations for playing the game.
  • MacBat 64: Journey of a Nice Chap is a 3D Platform Game featuring a bunch of different worlds to solve puzzles in. Then it has a Mascot Racer level intended as a break from all of the adventuring.
  • There are two moments in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga in which Mario and Luigi are separated and one of them must go through an obstacle course resembling a traditional 2D Mario platformer, looking out for Sparkies and spikes along the way. It is very worth your time to do this: completing Mario's course gives him a piece of equipment that makes his jump attacks go faster, and completing Luigi's course grants a Golden Mushroom, one of the best healing items in the game.
  • Minotaur Hotel: The Hinterlands sections switch the game up from a Hotel Management sim to a Road Trip adventure type game.
  • Mother: The first two games in the series, EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound, star an All-American Boy and his friends saving a fantasy pastiche of America from an Alien Invasion. Mother 3 takes place After the End in an entirely different world, has a message lamenting the encroaching of technology onto the natural world with a heavy dose of Cybernetics Eat Your Soul, and the plot involves the protagonists trying to stop their world from being destroyed in a cataclysm the villains intend to cause.
  • NHL Hockey: NHL '09 introduced the "Be A Pro" mode, where you're tasked with accomplishing various objectives to help your team win the game.
  • No More Heroes:
    • The Pure White Glastonberry Extreme segment, coming out of nowhere, being an Unexpected Shmup Level, and having no significance to the plot, just something Travis did with his time on the way to a ranking battle.
    • The battle with Charlie Macdonald in the second game, which is a simplistic 2D mech fighting game instead of the usual gameplay.
    • Mimmy, a Dream Sequence fight had by Henry that seems to serve no purpose other than to fulfill the promise of playing as Henry.
  • No Time to Explain basically lives and breathes this, given the name and all. Most notably the levels where you abruptly change to a new character for no reason other than to suddenly change the gameplay. One level has a pro-football player version of you inexplicably show up in a Hummer and run over your current character, and now you're playing as him with his rocket jumping shotgun, another where you're suddenly playing as a failed clone of the character for no valid reason, and the final level where you play as the regular you and the football player you fused together and dual-wielding their weapons. And of course, true to the game's name, all of these are ridiculously over-the-top and come and go with no explanation.
  • Progressbar 95: The game occasionally has you play a special level with a black background in which no pop-ups appear and you get a lot more points for completing. You can either get a 3D Screensaver level which makes segments come in a way that resembles 3D (but your bar is still 2D) or a Matrix level which makes blue segments dark green and orange segments light green, with all segments falling straight down and leaving trails of letters and numbers above.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon changed the game formula a bit. Instead of the usual "collect eight badges from Pokémon Gyms across the region", the Alolan island challenge involves facing seven trials across Alola's four main islands; the "boss battles" are against Totem Pokémon and the kahuna of each island.
  • The Pokémon community Showderp is this to the competitive battling scene as a whole, with a majority of its teams consisting of things you would never see in standard play.
  • Silent Hill sure likes to have "silly" joke endings:
    • Silent Hill can end with Harry being abducted by aliens, depicted in old-timey silent movie style (complete with dialogue cards).
    • The Silent Hill 2 UFO ending features Harry as a cameo (complete with a Retraux polygon model as opposed to James' more detailed one) to abduct James as well.
    • The Silent Hill 3 UFO ending brings Harry (and James) back, along with an entire flying saucer armada, to destroy the whole town with lasers. (The credits further feature a nonsensical song that proceeds to describe the main characters in completely inaccurate terms, and ends with the singers dying in a hail of machine gun fire.)
    • The Silent Hill: 0rigins UFO ending has Travis hitchhiking his way out of the town (and the Solar System, at the very least) curtesy of a friendly alien and a suspiciously familiar shiba inu.
    • The ''Silent Hill: Homecoming UFO ending has the protagonist and his Love Interest abducted by aliens while the Token Minority character watches on in amazement, exclaiming "I knew it!" And you can blunder into this ending entirely by accident, as opposed to going out of your way to get it, adding to the WTF factor.
    • Silent Hill The Arcade can end with the Big Bad flying away in a UFO, and one of the heroes giving chase in a Vic Viper...zoom out to Robbie, playing on an emulator.
    • Shattered Memories has the biggest Mind Screw UFO ending of all time: Cheryl claims her father was abducted by aliens, saying Silent Hill is really a giant spaceship, then James comes into the therapist's office having gotten the day of his appointment wrong (he's one of Kaufman's couples' therapy patients; Kaufman notes how he hasn't seen his wife recently), then the camera zooms back to Cheryl, who's turned into the shiba inu dog and begins talking about how her mother was a bitch to Dr. Kaufman, who has turned into an alien. James can be seen hiding behind the sofa, and various items from the series are seen on the shelf.
    • Silent Hill: Downpour has Murphy tunnelling his way out of Overlook Penitentiary when he emerges into a darkened room, whereupon the lights come on and "SURPRISE!" is shouted. In the center of the room is a birthday cake and James, Laura, Anne, Sewell, Heather, two Silent Hill 2 nurses, Mary, Ricks, the boy from St. Maria's and Frank Coleridge are present to celebrate Murphy's birthday. Then Pyramid Head emerges from the shadows with his Great Knife to cut the cake, but also slices the entire table in half.
  • No Gear Levels are common in Super Mario Sunshine, with one or two appearing in each level (they all have "secret" in their title) and take place in otherworldly "bonus level" environments. Cue "The Goopy Inferno" which begins with Shadow Mario stealing F.L.U.D.D. and is the only No-Gear Level in the entire game to take place in a proper level.
  • The Total War series allows you to command real life armies and factions from ancient, medieval, and early modern societies depending on the game. Total War: Warhammer, based on the Warhammer universe, is the franchise's first foray into non-historical realms.
  • Ultima VIII is totally different from his predecessors: in addition to being Darker and Edgier, it's far more "arcadey" in style (jumping puzzles are very common), is set in a completely different world (Pagan instead of Britannia) without the usual magic system, the Virtues are not present, and the Avatar is alone, without his usual True Companions.
  • Verdict: Guilty! is a game about crime and corruption on the mean streets of Seoul, 20XX. American agent Reese...has supernatural psychic powers, and his plotline is about chasing aliens and has nothing much to do with the Big Bad or anything else in the game.
  • The "Another Time" ending of Virtue's Last Reward features the player of VLR swapping their consciousness with one of the characters, didn't receive follow up in the next Zero Escape game, and according to Word of God, means that the character the player swapped their consciousness with will show up in our world in 2028.
  • Xenogears sparked something of a tradition in the Xeno series of having the first scenes take place long before the plot of the games themselves, with the connection only being revealed much later on. In this game's case, the opening scene is of a ship that is taken over by a mysterious force that prompts the captain to self-destruct it. A couple scenes later, we're introduced to a painter in a backwater town living peacefully, and things pick up from there. While the ship is relevant to the game's overall plot, the actual relevance isn't explained until much later, and only a couple of the characters from it reappear at all.


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