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5 Worst Gaming Clichés of All Time, Ranked

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Gaming has gone through a lot of changes over the last few decades. Even with the graphical improvements though, some things have stayed the same as time went on. There have been a lot of clichés in gaming, some that are worse than others. Thankfully, ones like always saving a princess have become less prominent, giving path to better stories. Others have persisted, however, and are still annoying gamers to this day. Some games are so bad at clichés that players can see the plot twists from hours away. It can be especially annoying when you are trying to find a new game to play, especially with the price tag of newer games.


Being Beaten By the Boss

One of the most common things that you encounter, especially in JRPGs, is being beaten by the boss. This usually happens at the start of the game. This trend has been going on since the early days of gaming. It's even still featured in games like Genshin Impact, where you lose to the Raiden Shogun. You also see it when fighting bosses in older games, such as Bowser in the original Paper Mario. In most instances, there is literally no way to get the boss's health all the way down. If you can, it won't change the outcome of the fight, which is a bit frustrating. Many players wish there was a special cutscene when beating tough enemies early.

This setup is supposed to show how your character must grow in order to save the world. For the most part, though, players feel it's a waste of time that could have been put in a cutscene. After all, a scene usually follows the fight showing the main character defeated. Gamers get that a main boss is supposed to be tough. Games don't need to have you fight them at the start to prove it.


It Was All a Dream

One of the worst clichés in media is, that it was all a dream. This is basically a cop-out ending for most people that invalidates all your struggles. While games have mostly shirked away from this, especially in modern-day times, popular series are still at fault. Even Kingdom Hearts had a whole game based in the dream world. Another popular example is The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. This literally made the trope popular in the gaming world as the whole game wraps itself up as just being Link's dream. This didn't sit well with many gamers who are used to the high fantasy storylines.

Even JRPGs have gotten in on the dream trope, as seen with Eternal Sonata. The game all takes place in Chopin's fever dream during the last few hours of his life. The ending of a game being wrapped up as a dream is generally just lazy. While some games do handle it well, like Eternal Sonata, it's something that should usually be avoided.


The Obviously Evil Character

The obviously evil character trope has always been around. You know the one, the character that is up to no good but acts buddy-buddy with the main character. One great recent example comes from Tales of Arise's boss Ganabelt. Another great example is of Akechi, the detective character from Persona 5. While this isn't always supposed to surprise players, some games take these characters seriously. They will try to convince you to trust a party member who looks just like the main boss. This usually irritates players as the big twist at the end is easy to see. If a party member is going to be the final boss, at least make it a huge revelation.

While this doesn't usually ruin a game, it does run rampant in some games. Many players will just find themselves frustrated that the game won't go ahead and say who the enemy is. Other times, the trope is done well, and it's a guessing game of who is really on your side. One good example of this is the masterminds in the Danganronpa series.


Power Reset

If you play video games, you have most likely encountered the power reset cliché. This happens when a super powerful character is put back to level one. This is part of the plot of the PlayStation 2 game .Hack//G.U., where the main character is returned to level one. Other games like NieR: Replicant allow you to start the game trying out a host of abilities. This, of course, is quickly taken away as you are thrown into the main game.

This game always shows just how powerful you are going to be at the end. The story usually revolves around the character struggling to get their power back for a chance to fight the main bad guy again. While some games do have unique takes on this, many of them will even fall into the defeat by the main boss cliché. For some games, it's best just to work your way up and see how strong you can get on the way.


Useless Armor

The last and likely one of the most famous clichés in gaming revolves around armor. It's not just women's armor we are talking about either. You can literally survive being lit on fire in elegant clothes in Skyrim. Cosmetics in games have always been weird, but there are very few games that take armor seriously. In most games, you can wear wags and still survive a gunshot wound. While most players don't think too deeply into this often, it does destroy the realism of a game. Likewise, there's also the point that female characters usually have bikini armor.

Many outfits may not even be practical to move or fight in. In fact, you may even notice that characters will wear things that should obscure their sight while fighting. It's little details like this that keeps games from reaching a deeper level of realism.


So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there any games we should know about? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

Jessica is a resident otaku and Genshin-obsessed writer. Jess is an industry veteran who takes pride in working with JRPG and indie developers. Along with gaming, you can find them collecting anime figures and having too much faith in Isekai anime.