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Simply put, the path that will offer the most or the best of the game (ideally, both). Sometimes the Golden Path also leads to the Golden Ending in Multiple Endings games. Golden Paths can also be very rewarding in single-ending games. Developers can try to avert this by creating unique content to each possible player choice.
See Guide Dang It if following this path isn't intuitive or requires the player to do everything in a specific way. Compare Hundred-Percent Completion for which this path is almost always a necessity.
- Like many RPGs, the Mass Effect series features many sidequests, but what makes this one special is the ability to import your character from the previous game to the next, along with all the data on the decisions and quests completed, which allows the player to experience follow-up quests that would not be there if you hadn't imported the character.
- In Mass Effect 2, the way to earn the best ending is to upgrade your ship's armor, shields and weapons, recruit all the possible squadmates and complete each and every one of their loyalty missions before boarding the derelict Reaper, then doing the last loyalty mission for the squadmate found there, then going through the Omega-4 relay immediately after your crew is abducted. During the final mission, you'll have to pick the best squadmate for each task and leave the toughest characters behind for the Final Boss, in order to keep everyone alive. Doing so will net you the "No One Left Behind" achievement and the longest ending in the game.
- In Scratches, at one point the main character must call the bank while impersonating someone in order to get information, the outcome doesn't affect the ending, but with the right dialog choices its possible to learn some very insightful information.
- Final Fantasy X 2, full stop... if you want Hundred-Percent Completion without having to resort to the built-in New Game+ feature. The choices made and sometimes the order of the areas visited makes a difference.
- In Persona 3 and Persona 4, it is possible to max out all you social stats and social links in a single playthrough. This is nearly impossible in 3 (you have no leeway at all), slightly less ridiculous in FES, and still not that easy in 4.
- The Mega Man games are prime examples of this; More so in the early games in which it was not possible to replay a robot master's stage, and there were items and power-ups that were only accessible using a certain weapon or ability the player may not have possessed yet.
- In the first Knights of the Old Republic game, its best if you complete either Tatooine or Kashyyk first and save Manaan for your third adventure and leave Korriban last. Because on the first two planets, the characters HK-47 and Jolee Bindo may join your party and you'll have more chance to know them better, there's also a sidequest that involves Jolee on Manaan, Bastila will stay in the ship when doing Korriban, but the fact that she will be captured after completing three planets reduces the impact of her absence to zero, at least there.
- In addition, The Reveal will occur after finishing the third plot planet, which will gives you more dialogue options. Leaving Korriban for last will make the level much more interesting.
- The Grow series from Eyezmaze.
- It's usually a good idea to go to the mage tower first in Dragon Age because not only will you be able to pick up the designated party healer right away, but you will also be taking full advantage of the numerous, permanent stat bonuses that you can get there. In addition, it will also allow you to Take a Third Option when facing The Sadistic Choice later on in the game.
- Valkyrie Profile Lenneth is a rather obnoxious example. The game boasts 3 endings! Except... One of the endings is nothing more than a fancy Game Over, the normal ending bypasses a lot of the interesting stuff, and is about 2 lines long ("Congratulations! Go to sleep; BTW, this game has more stuff") and the good ending which is both the Golden Path and Guide Dang It. Averted in Silmeria, which has only one path, and Convenant of the Plume, in which all 3 paths are satisfying (well, the A Path ending was kind of rushed...) and need to be played for the full experience.
- In King's Quest VI, after resolving the Beast subplot, Alexander can either head straight for the Castle of the Crown, or get there by a longer path which involves retrieving Cassima's parents from the Realm of the Dead. The long path is required for the best possible ending, of course.
- Fahrenheit (2005 video game) includes the possibility of an interactive Optional Sexual Encounter with your former girlfriend if you make the right choices at one point of the game. After that, its Lost Forever.
- In Digimon Rumble Arena 2, after each match, the player can choose between two different settings for the next match with different difficulties. If the player primarily chooses harder matches, they unlock some of the best digimon in the game, including Malomyotismon. If the player chooses primarily easier matches, they unlock weaker characters or a new stage.
- Frozen Essence has multiple paths, but the only one that solves the mysteries of Mina's lost memories and dreams and explains a lot of things that show up in other paths is the Water Path, which is unlocked only if the player doesn't fulfill the requirements for any other path. Interestingly, the game's proclaimed "True End" is actually on another path (the Life Path) but explicitly states that Mina never regains her memories, hence still leaving the player in the dark about much of the game's backstory.
- Fire Emblem Fates has Revelations, a DLC-only whole game that has the Avatar refusing to choose between Hoshido (which unlocks the Birthright game) or Nohr (which leads to the Conquest game). Instead, he or she runs the HELL away from both kingdoms with only the Team Pet Lilith, their best friend Princess Azura and either the butler Jakob or the maid Felicia (depending on whether the Avatar is female or male) on tow, in a desperate bid to avert an upcoming war. As the story follows, people from both realms will join his or her cause, and ultimately the two armies reunite as they march into the Invisible Kingdom of Valla, where the Bigger Bad awaits.