Close up of a man looking disappointed
Image via Quantic Dream

10 Bad Video Game Plot Twists That Made Stories Worse

10 times that plot twists hurt a game's story rather than helped it.

Plot twists are high risk, high reward. Doing one well makes a game unforgettable. But a bad plot twist can ruin an otherwise great game, leading to frustration and — sometimes — anger. As such, this list is composed of 10 bad video game plot twists that made stories worse.

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10 Video Game Stories Made Worse by Bad Plot Twists

10. Heavy Rain — Shelby is the Origami Killer

Shelby talking to a man as a private investigator
Image via Quantic Dream

The problem with revealing Shelby as the Origami Killer is that it creates quite a few plot holes. Shelby is working as a private investigator in the game to destroy evidence. But certainly, that comes with its own set of issues. If he’s the first on the scene, talks to the family of the victim, and destroys evidence, then the police are going to put together that this guy shows up first every time. And then there’s missing evidence. Wouldn’t this make him the most suspicious person?

The other issue with this plot twist is that quite a few players were hoping that Shelby would be the one to actually catch the Origami Killer. So, his being revealed as the killer came as a huge disappointment. Altogether, this twist ended up making the story flat, bringing in plot holes and questions, and disappointing players.

9. Detroit: Become Human — Alice is an Android

Rows of androids in Detroit Become Human
Image via Quantic Dream

This was supposed to be a big reveal, but it was so obvious throughout the game that Alice is an android. From what she says and does every time we see her, there’s no way you wouldn’t know she’s an android. Kara raising Alice and learning to be human through her ends up being impossible because Alice won’t grow up. She’s a machine. It doesn’t add anything to the overall narrative, but it also ruins Kara’s narrative. This plot twist would’ve been better left out of the game.

8. Bionic Commando — Spencer’s Wife is in His Arm

Spencer facing a waterfall in Bionic Commando
Image via Capcom

Spencer accepts the bionic arm and agrees to do what’s asked of him with the promise that he’ll be reunited with his wife. Which is technically correct, since his wife is in the bionic arm. This plot twist makes no sense, though. Why did his wife get turned into the brain of a bionic arm? Was there no better way to make this technology? How would you even transfer her into an arm? I think the goal with this twist was shock value, but the logic regarding it is never explained. So, it just leaves you with more questions than answers.

7. The Last of Us Part 2 — Abby Kills Joel

Ellie with a wound on her head
Image via Naughty Dog

The Last of Us Part 2 is all about revenge, and Abby kills Joel because he killed her dad when saving Ellie. It’s also the driving point of why Ellie then goes after Abby. But in a narrative sense, it’s not a good plot twist. Abby doesn’t gain anything from killing Joel. And it wasn’t as if Joel targeted her father because of his identity. He wanted to save Ellie, and from a scientific standpoint, removing her brain wouldn’t have led to a cure or a vaccine anyway. It would’ve made more sense for her to go after Ellie. But this plot twist gets a lot of slack because Abby isn’t meant to be justified in her actions. Nobody is a hero, but the game is still fun to play even if this plot twist didn’t help the story.

6. Final Fantasy 8 — 4 of 6 Main Characters Have Amnesia

Rinoa going to hug Squall in Final Fantasy 8
Image via Square Enix

For a simplified explanation, in Final Fantasy 8, there are powers that — if you’re close to them for a long period of time — affect your memory. The plot twist is that this happened to four of the main characters who lived in the same orphanage because the aforementioned power was near it. So, they all ended up with amnesia and that’s why they conveniently don’t recognize or remember each other. Overall, it’s not a great plot twist. It’s also really playing into the amnesia trope when you have not one but four characters affected.

5. Bayonetta — Cereza is Bayonetta

Bayonetta leaning on a table and talking to a man smoking a cigar
Image via PlatinumGames

Not only does this plot twist add nothing to the narrative, but it’s also so obvious that revealing it is useless. She looks, dresses, and acts just like Bayonetta. Cereza is so obviously Bayonetta that it would’ve made a better plot twist to reveal that she isn’t Bayonetta time-traveling as a child. But this twist also comes with no explanation. If Bayonetta time-traveled as a child, wouldn’t she remember that? She should also be able to recognize herself as a child and remember that she met the adult version of her back then. In the end, this plot twist adds more questions than anything.

4. Resident Evil 5 — Jill is the Masked Woman

Albert Wesker looking offscreen to the right
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Like the Cereza being Bayonetta reveal, it’s also obvious that Jill is the Masked Woman in Resident Evil 5. Of course, RE doesn’t take itself too seriously, but the flashbacks to Jill combined with her skills and figure as the Masked Woman make it obvious that it’s Jill. I think what adds insult to injury with this plot twist is that after Chris and Sheva beat her up, they leave her unconscious in the boss room and figure that another BSAA member will find and get her out, I guess (which does happen in DLC).

3. Fallout 3 — Ghoul Can’t Stop Project Purity

Vault occupants at a birthday party
Image via Bethesda

In Fallout 3, you have a Ghoul buddy who’s immune to radiation damage. Stopping Project Purity means going into an area with high levels of radiation that will kill whoever goes into it. The plot twist is that you have to sacrifice yourself or a companion to stop Project Purity. But it’s a nonsensical plot twist since you should be able to send in your Ghoul pal, stop Project Purity, and everybody lives, including the Ghoul.

2. Mass Effect 3 — The Crucible

Image via EA

Mass Effect 3’s Crucible plot twist uses the Deus ex Machina trope, where there’s suddenly an answer that can solve their biggest problem at the last minute without an explanation as to how or why it works. It also took away the illusion of choice with the biggest decision you make as Shepard. No matter what, you end up dying, even if your consciousness lives on in the Reapers. After a trilogy of fighting against odds, taking suicide missions, and doing everything to rally the galaxy to work together, a massive space battle would’ve felt way more fitting.

1. Super Mario Bros. 2 — None of It Really Happened

Super Mario Bros 2 physical booklet art
Image via Nintendo

The “it’s all a dream” plot twist makes everything feel pointless. Considering the design of levels, enemies, and the style of the game, it makes a lot of sense that it’s all a dream and not reality. That said, Super Mario doesn’t need a lot of logic in a world with flowers that give you the ability to shoot fireballs. But it doesn’t make it less disappointing that the adventure you just went through didn’t even happen in this fantasy universe.

And those are 10 bad video game plot twists that made stories worse. Plot twists can be the highlight of a game. But they also run the risk of ruining a story. From here, check out 10 best games to play like Infinite Craft or 10 best horror games with little to no combat.


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Author
Melissa Sarnowski
Melissa Sarnowski has been working as a gaming writer professionally for two years, having been at GameSkinny for over a year now as a horror beat writer. She has an English degree from University of Wisconsin - Madison. While she focuses on all things horror, she also enjoys cozy games, MMOs like FFXIV and WoW, and any and everything in between.