Cliches in Modern Video Games

Here’s one that I’ve been seeing over and over for the last few years.

If it’s a modern FPS, such as Call of Duty or Battlefield, and there is a helicopter it will get shot down. Maybe not immediately or on the opening scene, but at some point it will crash and leave the protagonist stranded.

The tutorial will somehow be integrated into the story in a very transparent manner. For human type sci fi races, this will be described as a “training exercise”. For monster type races, there will be a “lab rat” type mission (First Heart of the Swarm mission).

Opponents can take multiple shots with a pistol, rifle, maybe even a shotgun but a single knife thrust or crossbow bolt will kill them.

You’re better suited for modern combat equipped like a feudal soldier than a US Marine.

At some point, the player will be captured and/or lose all or most of their weapons and be forced to recollect them, or at least relocate their stolen stash.

Some desperately needed resource is sitting right in front, plump and inviting, but the instant you touch it, a horde of enemies will appear behind a hidden door that suddenly opens, will teleport in, etc.

Everything is Brown. Sometimes including clear skies, water, metal, and plants.

What I love about Okami is how they address this. Issun, your companion, talks at first as everything has an “in universe” explanation, then breaks down and tells you plainly. . Like, “Ammy, as you progress through gathering brush strokes, you can use this mirror to hold your progress…basically, if you don’t get what I’m saying…you can save your game on these. OK?”

Cracks me up every time I play it.

Only if it’s a helicopter you may use at some point in the game. Otherwise, you will need to shoot it down the moment you spot a rocket launcher.

Also, someone is always a traitor. You’d think elite forces would have reasonably good background checks, but apparently they are easier to infiltrate than a public library.

If your RPG character doesn’t start as a teenager, it’s quite likely that he (or possibly she) will have amnesia of some sort, whether you realize it or not at the beginning of the story.

Unused bullets are a commodity left everywhere but only picked up by the player.

Vehicles are always equipped with keys.

Strength through constant continuous adversity only. The longer you’ve been in battle, the more powerful you have become. As opposed to tired, wounded, or exhausted (or those would happen only extremely temporarily).

Women must constantly be very warm as even in battle, their cleavage must be showing.

Drop off points are never near targets.

Areas are sealed off naturally with mountainous parts that are slightly more inclined that the other mountainous parts.

NPCs are really solid at blocking doors if they walk in the threshold and refuse to budge if pushed.

Having the floor collapse beneath you and falling/sliding some 50’ down means you’re separated from your team and need to find your way back. Not that both your legs are broken or anything.

And climbing is never an option. Grab hold of that outcropping or shrub and pull yourself up? Nah, if you can’t walk it on two feet, it’s not worth heading towards.

People like to throw money away in the trash can. Searching through trash cans is a great way to make a little extra cash.

A waist-high fence? Your only option is to go the long (probably) dangerous way around, instead of merely climbing over it.

Sniper Rifles always need special ammo, despite basically being the standard rifle with a telescopic sight on it.

Despite being clad in Armour Of Awesome Invulnerability, packing a CityFlattener Nuclear Rocket Launcher and having the ability to render your foes unconscious with a single thought - there will be a point where someone gets the drop on you, at which point you’ll wake up somewhere far away from your previous (and tantalisingly close to your objective) location and probably without your gear (which may or may not be somewhere nearby, if you can be bothered looking for it).

I have to admit that I’ve done this too many times to count, especially in Arcanum. Apparently, used women’s boots are a valuable item in that world, yet they are constantly thrown away. They are prized so highly that any NPCs who are given those boots will immediately equip them, even if they have footwear that is far more protective. Even the male half-ogres will equip these dainty boots rather than the war boots.

If it’s a fantasy setting, if you can’t jump over that waist-high fence, neither can your horse. The same rule applies to chasms — your horse can’t leap any farther than you can. That’s actually one of the things that drove me nuts for a while when I came back to World of Warcraft last year, after taking six months off because I was having more fun playing City of Heroes. In CoH, any level 1 character could make a standing high jump over a 10-foot-high fence. Then CoH got shut down, I came back to WoW, and was constantly frustrated at having my forward progress impeded by picket fences and small shrubs.

Another RPG cliche: Size doesn’t matter. A 2-foot-tall goblin is just as tough as a 10-foot-tall ogre of the same level.

Shopkeepers tend to be unbearably snotty, particularly if they know you can’t kill them.

If you see a waterfall, there’s a good chance that there’s a room or passage hidden behind it.

The less practical looking the armor, the more effective it will be. Spikes, fancy engraving, huge pauldrons, glowing parts; all are good signs that the armor is better than what you have.

On the other hand, they’ll pay you about 45 years of a civillian’s wages to kill a rat in their basement, so you might be a little more forgiving of the attitude.

Also, you can tell exactly where someone ranks in the power hierarchy by how many direct hits with a rocket launcher it takes to kill them.

Resting for a little while will cure nearly any ailment. Or visiting your local church.

Walking through pools of lava and acid are only slightly damaging to your body and can be best considered a mere nuisance.

Shiny things are always valuable, valuable things are always shiny.

In MMORPGs, the terrain is a peculiar mix of interlinked valleys connected by mountain passes. It doesnt matter what the terrain inside is: it will be surrounded by impassible crags. If you look at a “satellite view” of the continents in WoW this becomes obvious. The good thing about Outland is that because there were flying mounts, the zones were a little more “open” and contiginous.