The biggest plot holes in video game history

Some video games have great stories. Some have epic plot twists. Others have both! Some video games, however, merely have plot holes, leaving us with far more questions than answers. While some storytelling inconsistencies are barely noticeable, others are just plain inexcusable, and we've rounded up the worst of the worst. Be warned, spoilers abound.

Phoenix Down — Final Fantasy VII

It's safe to assume Final Fantasy VII is most fans' favorite game in the series—hence the demand for a remake. However, one question has nagged even casual fans for ages: why didn't someone just use a Phoenix Down on Aeris? Anyone who's played a Final Fantasy title knows Phoenix Downs are usable items which revive characters whose hit points are at zero. We've used Phoenix Downs hundreds of times over the years…so how come we couldn't just throw one on the murdered Aeris and bring her back to life?

Some might argue that Phoenix Downs can only revive characters who are knocked out, as opposed to dead—but we're not sure we buy that logic. In Final Fantasy games, characters get blasted by lightning, burned with fire magic, sliced and shot in the face with gunblades, eradicated by giant guardian forces or mythical beings, hit in the nose with blitzballs—okay, maybe that last one isn't such a big deal, but you get the point. Do you mean to tell us that getting stabbed by Sephiroth's sword is any worse than getting sliced and shot by Seifer Almasy's gunblade in Final Fantasy VIII, or wrecked by a giant sentient cactus?

Song of Storms — Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time isn't the first game in the series to feature time travel, nor is it the last. With the bending of space and time, however, comes the opportunity for glaring plot holes—most of which the first Nintendo 64 Zelda title was able to avoid. However, there's one paradox that, when you think long and hard about it, makes your brain bleed.

In Kakariko Village, there's a dude named Guru Guru—or, as many people probably know him, the Windmill Man. Link's relationship with this minor character goes something like this: Guru Guru tells Adult Link that he once heard a song from a boy which has stuck in his head for years, then shares the song with Adult Link. Later in the game, you go back in time and, as Young Link, play this song—which you first learned as an adult—in front of Guru Guru, causing it to get stuck in his head. Are you seeing the problem here? Basically, Guru Guru teaches Adult Link, who teaches Young Link, who teaches Guru Guru, who teaches Adult Link—and so on and so forth, creating an infinite loop of sorts.

Now, we're not saying this whole thing is impossible. Perhaps we just don't know enough about space-time theory, and this paradoxical plot hole actually makes perfect sense to the world's best physicists. But to us mere plebs, it sounds a lot like the Chewbacca Defense, in that it does not…make…sense.

Ethan's blackouts — Heavy Rain

Quantic Dreams' cinematic interactive drama Heavy Rain is certainly a special experience, with a great story and a plot twist nobody saw coming. That said, the game is not without flaws. It's full of plot holes, including one very major one we simply can't ignore.

Early in the game, we learn that central protagonist Ethan Mars has blackouts—from which he wakes up in seemingly random locations, soaking wet, holding origami figures—following the death of one of his sons. We first experience these blackouts after Ethan puts his living son, Shaun, to bed, before promptly blacking out and waking up in the middle of a neighborhood street, holding an origami figure—after we've already learned that there is an "Origami Killer" on the loose. Not long after this episode, Ethan blacks out again when at the park, resulting in Shaun's disappearance. These blackouts are a pillar of the game's plot, making us question whether Ethan has some kind of split personality disorder, and if he is indeed the serial killer.

The problem is, after we learn what's really going on—and who's really the origami killer—Ethan's blackouts are never explained. We never learn why he came to on a residential street, holding an origami figurine. We never learn why he has them in the first place. In fact, we never learn anything about his blackouts. As was once pointed out by Kotaku, "the blackouts serve no purpose other than to make us think Ethan is the killer," calling them "a ham-handed attempt at a red herring." Indeed, Ethan's blackouts are the primary indicator that he may be the killer. Therefore, it feels cheap that they're never given any credibility, and—in hindsight—a somewhat disingenuous attempt at throwing us off the trail.

Ethan's blackouts aren't the only plot holes in Heavy Rain, but they're definitely the most glaring.

Immortal Ridley — Metroid

Ah, Metroid. A classic Nintendo franchise everyone seems to know about, but has never actually found mainstream success on the level of Super Mario or Zelda. Nevertheless, the game's premise is awesome: you're a woman in a badass robotic suit that kills aliens. What's not to like about that? There is one problem, though—and it isn't that, throughout Metroid's history, we've apparently killed "the last Metroid" a few too many times. Rather, it's the fact that we've killed space pirate/dinosaur-wannabe Ridley a few too many times.

Even the most adept Metroid scholars have a hard time explaining the recurrence of Ridley, one of the series' most notorious bosses. Those who've played every Metroid may be forgiven for thinking that they've killed Ridley almost a dozen times in Metroid, Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 3, and Metroid Fusion. Apparently, however, he didn't actually die in all of those cases, and has been cloned multiple times—at least that's how Nintendo makes sense of it all.

Sounds like a copout to us. Maybe it's past time for some genuinely new bosses in the Metroid series, and to let poor Ridley rest in peace.

Just nuke 'em again — Crysis 2

In the first Crysis, North Korea invades an island, which a bunch of aliens have basically turned into their own little private resort—scoring some rest and relaxation while planning the destruction of the human race. Naturally, the only logical thing to do, as humans, is to nuke said island back to the Stone Age. Unfortunately, it turns out the aliens actually absorb nuclear energy, making them more powerful than ever. Who knew? (There were warnings, but…) In Crysis 2, then, one can safely assume there will be no nuking of aliens. Right?

Defying all logic and common sense, the military in the Crysis series' second installment orders a nuclear strike on New York City, in an attempt at eradicating the alien threat. W…T…F? Essentially, Crysis 2 pretends the first game never happened. This plot hole is more than significant, as the latter portion of the second game is based entirely around said New York City nuking. It literally makes no sense. None. Zero.

You'd think a failed nuking of an energy-absorbing alien race wouldn't be something the military would forget—but apparently in Crysis 2, that file got lost somewhere.

Jack's life — BioShock

In one of gaming's most epic plot twists, we learn at the end of BioShock that your character, Jack, has a whole lot more going on than we thought. For starters, Jack's actually the illegitimate son of Rapture founder Andrew Ryan, purchased by gangster Frank Fontaine when he was still a test-tube baby. Jack wasn't born so much as we was grown, and reportedly was a super-fit 19-year-old after only one year outside the womb…er…tube, thanks to growth hormones. Sometime in 1958, Jack was smuggled out of the underwater dystopia known as Rapture and sent to the surface, where he lived a presumably normal life in the real world until activated by the presumed-dead Fontaine—causing the plane crash that begins the action in the first BioShock.

All this is well and good, except for the fact that we have absolutely no idea how Jack survived in the real world, between being shot up into the ocean and the plane crash. As merely an infant—at least mentally—how did Jack survive on his own in the middle of the ocean? Someone must've found him, surely, but who? We know the images and memories of his parents were implanted into his brain, but what about everything else that goes into a solid 20-plus years of experience? There's just no way a newborn in a 19-year-old's body could survive simply by being shot up into the middle of the ocean. So, seriously…what happened?

BioShock never fills us in on Jack's life, forcing fans everywhere to just swallow this bitter pill of a plot hole for what it is — a convenient-but-half-assed method of creating an otherwise brilliant plot twist.

Modern Warfare 2

Everyone remembers that controversial scene in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 when you and a group of Russians slaughter an airport full of people in a high-profile terrorist attack. Questions surrounding the artistic merits aside, the level—which has the player doing little more than mowing down scores of innocent civilians with a machine gun—somehow manages to throw in a plot hole big enough to drive an armored SWAT tank through.

At the end of the mission, you're betrayed by Makarov and your terrorist colleagues, who cold-heartedly leave you behind. Since you're American, this provokes a war between Russia and the West. What makes no sense, however, is that nobody was able to identify Makarov as the culprit in this extreme terrorist attack. It's already well-established that Makarov is a high-profile target and internationally known terrorist leader, yet waltzing through an airport, without a mask, and blasting away dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent people isn't enough to identify the man behind the attack? As shown in the loading screen scenes, Makarov's terrorist threats have been published in newspapers, and the C.I.A. presumably has an extensive file on the most-wanted criminal—but he literally walks into an one of the most heavily-monitored public places you can possibly imagine, armed to the teeth, and the presumably hundreds of CCTV cameras are unable to properly identify Makarov's face? C'mon…if you see something, say something.

Storytelling might not be Modern Warfare 2's strong suit—though recent installments in the long-running series are much better, in this regard—but seriously, if you're going to ask players to be a terrorist, at least have it make sense.

Fallout 3

There's nothing quite like a massive plot hole after a 60-plus hour trek through post-apocalyptic nuclear wastelands.

At the end of Fallout 3, you're presented with a choice: your character can either enter an irradiated chamber, or you can have your companion enter said irradiated chamber. Either way, somebody's going to get a lethal dose of X-rays, and it ain't gonna be pretty. Those of us with super mutant companion Fawkes, however, were left scratching our heads wondering: why can't we send him into the irradiated chamber—considering he's immune to radiation? It's not like the fate of the wasted world is at stake or anything, and all that would be required is a stroll through a chamber by someone who's done basically the same thing before. Why won't Fawkes just do what any normal person would do…even if he isn't a "normal person"?

Short answer: Bethesda decided to make Fawkes a super jerk. The giant mutant refuses to enter the chamber, blabbering on about how he doesn't want to rob us of our destiny and offering other lame reasons, none of which excuse the fact that he's immune to radiation. Essentially, Fawkes just takes it upon himself to determine that either you or someone else must die, for no good reason.

Some friend you turned out to be, Fawkes.

Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar San Diego's open-world action-adventure Red Dead Redemption is a master-class in game making, and easily the best Western-themed video game ever made. That being said, it also illustrates the fact that no game is perfect, housing one significant plot hole which really makes us scratch our noggins in bewilderment.

Everyone was bummed out when John Marston died. It was truly one of the most heartbreaking moments in gaming history. Luckily, his son Jack Marston shows up to save the day three years later, doling out some revenge and being an all-around badass—just like his former outlaw father. The problem is, this turn of events poses one major question: how in tarnation did book-readin' intellectual pubescent Jack Marston turn into a total badass, in only three years, with all the same dead-eye shootin' skills as his legend-of-the-west father? John Marston surely cultivated that precision aim and those legendary gunslingin' skills after a lifetime of being an outlaw, in addition to all the shenanigans we actually have control over.

You mean to tell us, Rockstar, that Jack Marston—presumably still in his late teens—acquires every one of his father's talents, without his father around to teach him, in one year short of a presidential term? We're calling bullpucky.