10 unrealistic mechanics in realistic games

Since the early days of the industry, developers have used “realism” to describe their games. To simplify things for broader audiences, they had to find a way to make the games look realistic through presentation and graphics, without making them seem banal and mundane.

Related: Mundane Video Game Tasks That Were Weirdly Enjoyable

We’ve grown accustomed to games that have unrealistic mechanics and often leave out the dissonance that comes from performing impossible feats within a relatively realistic context. Don’t get us wrong: we accept the gaming definition of exaggerated realism because things would probably be a lot less fun without it.


10 regenerative health

The option to heal yourself while being overpowered by a variety of virtual bad guys is a welcome feature, giving you the chance to stay in action for much longer and avoid the pain of pesky loading screens. While older games tended to focus more on health recovery, modern experiences have leaned more towards implementing regenerative health.

After taking a large amount of damage, the screen bleeds a bit and then quickly disappears, along with any accumulated fatal gunshot wounds. Whether it’s Nathan Drake or Soap Mactavish, he’ll soon bounce back good as new with more impressive healing abilities than Wolverine. They say that time heals all wounds, but this is taking that comforting feeling too far.

9 Consume food mid-battle

On the subject of healing, there have certainly been some very interesting ways to heal those pesky cuts and scrapes you accumulate in games. Perhaps the most common is the consumption of food for instant healing and temporary stat boosts.

Related: The Weirdest Ways To Heal In Video Games

We’ve all been there, attacking a fearsome frost troll along snowy mountaintops, then heading to the menus to take a three-second breather and munch on a wheel of cheese. Where someone would find the time to poke fun at a kebab while battling ghoulish and fearsome creatures is beyond us, but by God, they always find a way to handle it.

8 never go to the bathroom

How is it that all these protagonists who perform brave acts spend such an unreasonable amount of time without going to the bathroom? Most of us can’t even go an entire night without multiple trips to the bathroom, and we refuse to believe that the likes of Ezio Auditore and Niko Bellic can spend literally weeks and months putting up with it.

It’s true that some games give you the option to relieve yourself, like in the quiet moments of reflection in the bathroom in Death Stranding or the hilarious poop mechanic in South Park The Stick of Truth. It’s a good start, but more work is needed to follow in the footsteps of the toilet-relieving realism these games are so valiantly seeking.

7 Massive inventories and weapon wheels

Massive inventories have become synonymous with modern gaming, giving you access to ever-expanding weapon wheels and room for multiple armor and full-body outfits. It’s a bit strange to see a character swap his pistol for a huge rocket launcher that seems to materialize right out of his little pockets.

On the subject of awesome storage, what about that plethora of items you have in your backpack? Most games allow you to carry around ridiculous amounts of potions, food, multiple pieces of armor, and dozens of precious resources. Where does it all go? We hardly dare to ask.

6 bullet time

Usually bullet time allows you to slow everything down to a crawl so you can easily dodge incoming attacks. Plenty of games give you access to bullet time, from channeling your inner Neo in Max Payne, firing off multiple headshots using the dead eye meter in Red Dead Redemption 2, or even sliding and jumping to fire a well-placed arrow in Horizon. Forbidden West.

Related: The best uses of bullet time in games

Admittedly, we haven’t tried to pull off any bullet time-related escapades on our own. Still, we find the ability to glide through the air while dodging bullets with the reflexes of a stoned super cheetah not the most authentic representation of a normal human being.

5 You can’t pause real life

Probably one of the most unrealistic but enviable features of the games is the ability to stop time itself, so you can quickly go to the bathroom and maybe grab a snack or two while you’re at it. There’s no better way to break the immersion than to open the pause menu during an intense boss fight. In fact, many developers seem to agree and want to remove the pause screen altogether, like with FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series.

While extremely necessary, pausing the game during points of narrative tension can detract from the moment. Although, with runtimes increasing and hours of non-skippable cutscenes in games, we can see a need to be able to pause. We all have to urinate sometime.

4 double jump

The double jump is perhaps one of the most recognizable and wacky mechanics in gaming history. Defying the laws of physics, the basic premise is that after you jump once in the air, you can jump again, seemingly out of nowhere. What’s more, your character often performs an impressive acrobatic turn as if to say “yeah…that just happened,” with a wink at the camera.

Related: The Best Double Jumps In Gaming, Ranked

When there’s an in-universe explanation, like Devil May Cry’s demon rigs or Titanfall 2’s jetpack, we can accept it for what it is. For games like Doom, Dying Light 2, and Cyberpunk 2077, double-jumping into the air seems a bit overkill.

3 not being able to jump over obstacles

The very antithesis of double jumping is not being able to jump in games at times when it would make the most sense. Players all over the world have felt the frustration of not being able to jump over a small ledge or gap that wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the developer’s permission.

The protagonists of video games are usually very impressive individuals who can pull off magnificent acrobatic feats that would put the nearest circus trapeze artist to shame. It makes it all the more embarrassing for the likes of Kratos, Nathan Drake, or Lara Croft when they can’t get past these small and seemingly insignificant obstacles. Here’s hoping that future heroes of the game will learn from these mistakes and gain the ability to leap to victory.

two carry weight

Whichever genre you decide to play, there’s nothing players can empathize with more than the collective frustration of being a little over your weight.

No one likes to be restricted, and nothing annoys us more than not being able to loot the giant ice-breathing dragon we just killed because of the pink flower petal we picked up a few seconds earlier. Even if you outdo yourself by a hair, your character will limp along at a dramatically slow pace until you get rid of the burden of a couple of wooden bowls and that sparkly candle holder you thought would look nice on your mantelpiece. We want it all!

The most incredibly unrealistic feature of any game is the ability to respawn after dying. We can all pretty much agree that death is final, although this is not the case for our beloved video game heroes.

There you are, trying to take down a towering Thunderjaw in Horizon Forbidden West to get hit in the face with one of its explosive discs. For most, this would be the end of it, but all it takes for Aloy is to shamelessly hit the reset button. Resurrecting after dying is a philosophy that has followed all games since the beginning of the medium. Without it, games would be much shorter and certainly much more boring. Therefore, we say: long live eternal life!

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