The hardcore still complain that video games are too easy. Realistically, that's not really true. But what do you say?

These days, we have games that run the full gamut, in my estimation. If you're looking for something crazy challenging, you've got the Dark Souls titles. There are also a few well-known indie games that are brutally difficult. But overall, would you say the difficulty in modern games is just about where it needs to be (i.e., just plain entertaining)? Or is it too easy or too hard?

Personally, I think it's just about right. I've never been much of a gaming masochist; if it feels like a massively frustrating chore, I fail to see how that's entertainment. That being said, after beating games like Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry 3 , I understand why some fans get a thrill out of conquering such adventures. You did something few others can do and you're proud of it. Besides, that's a thrilling homage to the days when death in a video game really sucked . These days, death is barely more than a hiccup in the action. If that.

I guess it would depend on which types of games you commonly play, but if you stick to the greats (as I tend to do), I think the difficulty is spot-on more often than not. It starts off relatively simple and gradually gets tougher as the quest progresses. Sure, some developers do a better job with the pacing of that increased difficulty, and other designers have a problem with balancing and stability. That all being said, for the most part, I still get that good ol' feeling of satisfaction upon completing a game. I never feel unsatisfied because it was too easy, nor do I feel overly taxed because it was a little too tough.

Of course, I also don't play games like Dark Souls , so maybe that has something to do with my outlook.

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WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

I think it's just right, if I want a decent challenge I'm fine on normal. Lately though I just slap most of em on Easy. I'm just in it to enjoy the experience and live the story, then put it on the shelf or sell it. I don't want to make a 10 hour game into a 15 hour game where I've lost 5 hours of my life redoing sh*t over and over again. Time is precious!

Amnesiac
Amnesiac
8 years ago

I feel the same way.
Playing a game on hard will usually consist of [instead of 5 enemies there are now 10] and where [most foes took 5 shots to kill now its increased to 8] oh and and less health recovery items too.
In the case of RE6 less ammo on top of it all.

unless I'm missing a key or integral part of the story I'm more than happy playing on normal.

Jawknee
Jawknee
8 years ago

That's a good way to look at it. I spent close to 4 hours simply trying to best the very last(hardest) level in Maro 3D World. It's one of those levels that requires you to learn the obstacles through much trial and error before you can finally finish it.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
8 years ago

I always choose the hardest difficulty possible. I have always done this like a muscle memory kind of thing. Although there are games where hard is just too time consuming for me. A great example is PERSONA 4 GOLDEN, I chose to play hard, but didn't grind enough and this evil monster is now too hard for me. Can't blame me though, it was the first JRPF I've ever played. Also MGS, on the highest difficulty; if you have alerted the guards, its game over. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

You slap'em on "easy"? Now that takes some nuts to openly admit. 🙂

Personally I always go for the default regular difficulty – but there have been times I've temporary dialled it down to easy just to get past some sh*t, but I do feel a sense of shame each time I've done so.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Yup, I admit it. I have a ton of games to play, plenty to manage in real life, and I get frustrated easily in my old age. When I game I just wanna kick back. Now I don't put them ALL on easy, just genres that I don't care to challenge myself with.

telly
telly
8 years ago

More and more as I get older, I'm comfortable with going with a lower difficulty. Beamboom, I also feel so lame when I do it 🙂 But then I remind myself I'm far too old with trying to impress imaginary people who don't even exist to mock my difficulty choices!

Metal Gear Rising in particular is one game I wish I had just played from the beginning on easy. I simply did not have the skill to beat the final boss on normal despite DAYS of trying.

Jalex
Jalex
8 years ago

I'm annoyed by games having the hardest difficulty locked at the beginning, and the easiest setting already unlocked. It should be the other way around, in my opinion, especially for those of us who like a challenge. There will never be a more challenging experience than the combination of playing a game for the first time and playing it on the hardest difficulty setting. Don't deny me that.

xenris
xenris
8 years ago

Agree 100%

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

yeah I don't know why they'd do that but many do.

Underdog15
Underdog15
8 years ago

That is one thing about Naughty Dog games I despise, as well.

Axe99
Axe99
8 years ago

I wouldn't say it should be the other way around (that's just taking your problem and giving it to someone else instead ;)) – but I do think all difficulties should be unlocked at the start :).

Amnesiac
Amnesiac
8 years ago

I want a different experience per difficulty I choose. I feel its a bit of a cop out when enemies give more damage / take less damage model is the difficulty standard.
How about an entirely new game experience that would help tell another side to the story?
Resident evil or silent hill games would be a good example.

Gabriel013
Gabriel013
8 years ago

So if a gamer doesn't have the time to commit to a single game or just finds a game difficult then they can't have access to some of the content? I think not.

Anyone should be able to pick up any game and be able to play from beginning to end and get all the content regardless of what difficulty they wish to play on.

Amnesiac
Amnesiac
8 years ago

Not necessarily Gabriel013.

Assignment Ada in Resident Evil 4 is a good place to start. Albeit not a very long campaign but more challenging than the main storyline.

Overall I believe you're right.
"Anyone should be able to pick up any game and be able to play from beginning to end and get all the content regardless of what difficulty they wish to play on."
—————-
Somewhere I feel there is room to challenge the standard model of how we are playing games.
this was one idea thats all.


Last edited by Amnesiac on 1/15/2014 12:13:41 PM

xenris
xenris
8 years ago

Difficulty is a well difficult thing to balance.

I think most games that just give the enemies more hps, and do more dmg well that type of difficulty isn't well thought out difficulty. It is difficult but it is a boring grind kind of difficulty that is usually just a test of patience rather than skill or timing.

Personally I think every triple A title is way too easy in Normal mode.

I'm okay that it is like this because I always put games in the hardest difficulty mode because I know its not going to be that hard.

Likewise I wish more devs would balance the hard mode properly to make it more rewarding instead of it just being more HP and DMG from enemies.

I do love when games give me a good challenge, I find games boring when they are too easy. Also some games gameplay feels broken in easier modes because you aren't required to use all of the gameplay features in the game. The Witcher 2 is a good example of a game that in easy was just not nearly as good or complex as it was in normal and hard mode.

Amnesiac
Amnesiac
8 years ago

Castlevania Lord of Shadow was the same way for me. There are so many combo moves but never any need to balance them out in a coordinated attack.
Its a button masher even on hard which was sort of a let down.
It would have been challenging/rewarding if the enemy AI would react differently or (more) sophisticated when engaging the hard or hardest difficulty.
I don't blame the programmers maybe games can't be built that way?

xenris
xenris
8 years ago

I dont know, I think it could be a bit of both. I think they should build the games difficult and scale it back for easier modes.

I felt the same way with lord of shadows, it just wasn't as challenging as I wanted it to be and the enemies never really forced me to do anything crazy different from the best combo. I know there were some enemies you had to change things up but it wasn't enough.

It was another case of the enemies just having more HPs and you taking more damage.

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
8 years ago

Games are way too easy nowadays. I grew up with games that liked to punch you in the face, help you up, then do it again. (Battletoads I'm looking at you) Other then roguelike games on PC, most games offer no real challenge compared to ones in the old days. Every game now seems to start in easy mode and forces you to suffer through that to hopefully unlock a harder setting. Add to the fact that most games have a checkpoint system of some sort instead of a set number of lives. Gamers today are too pampered and studios need to take more chances with difficult games instead of worrying about alienating people who aren't fit for the challenge. That's why From Software's Souls series is such a breath of fresh air.

And speaking of the old days, nice to see RBI Baseball returning this Spring after almost 20 years. MLBAM, you better not screw up that classic.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
8 years ago

You can't have the old-school level of difficulty in a mainstream industry. That doesn't work. The vast majority of those who enjoy the hobby now would simply abandon it if it got impossibly difficult.

And let's face it, that's the way those games were then. I don't understand idealizing times when it was massively difficult just to beat a game; there's a happy medium to be found, and I think we've found it.

slow and smart
slow and smart
8 years ago

I agree with Geobaldi,
but maybe not in general:SOME games,take tombraider are just to easy on normal nowadays,
i guess the "normal" has become now the "easy" of the old days.

So also what Ben said,but it was not impossibly difficult in general in those days,some where and some not,take again tombraider,you really had to explore and search more,takes more effort yes but not impossibly difficult in that case and yes i guess too that this is being changed for the mainstream gamers,who don't like to put some more effort into it and don't have enough patience when it takes some more time,mostly[not all] want only action and combined with great Visuals but the gameplay [in my opinion] gets shallow and to easy.

I understand and accept the importance and the influence of the mainstream gamers,but that doesn't mean i have to like it


Last edited by slow and smart on 1/15/2014 2:56:56 AM

xenris
xenris
8 years ago

Games weren't impossible, you just had to LEARN what they wanted you to do then execute that properly with timing.

It was a case of memorizing levels, failing learning what the next part wanted you to do, and then being able to get through all sections without messing up.

Not only is this a great exercise for the brain but it gave a sense of accomplishment.

I think the problem now is that most games are catering to the mainstream lowest common denominator. Which means we get games that basically point you where to go, don't let you fail, help you aim, help you progress, solve puzzles etc.

It would be fine if they let masochists put it on the hardest setting with no indicators, or help whatsoever but most games don't. You have to unlock hard which is not what we want.

Plus its not always enough just having a game be put in hard mode, because in most games the underlying design is so on rails that even in hard mode the core game and levels are designed in a streamlined watered down way in order to make sure gamers don't get stuck. Most games combat is designed in a similar way. Lots of flash, but no real need to use the entire skill set at your disposal.

I think there is a happy medium, but I don't think we have it quite yet.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
8 years ago

Neither of you are getting this.

This is a mainstream hobby now. People don't have the TIME to spend hours and hours practicing and memorizing. They don't have the INCLINATION to play the same game over and over and over until they get to a new level. That is really not what people want to do after a long day at work, and don't forget that this is now primarily an adult (or young adult) hobby. The average gamer's day is a LOT fuller when compared with a kid's day.

Old games today for most people ARE impossible. They're impossible because they don't have the time or motivation required to actually advance in the game. Developers have to make games for the majority, not the minority.

xenris
xenris
8 years ago

I did state that it is because it is a mainstream hobby that games are in general too easy. I don't even care if the core game is easy, but it would be nice if more effort was placed into making hard mode actually hard for the crowd that likes that sort of thing.

Developers don't have to make games for the majority if they don't want to.

The industry started because people made what they wanted to and experimented with creative concepts. Now they just seem to do what works, and what sells best.

Its like saying music is mainstream now and we should only cater to what sells best, which turns out is mostly generic crap. Still interesting for a listen or two but gets old fast.

I work, I coach gymnastics a very physical job, I have a busy day, and I still come home and want a challenging game to play. Its a way of exercising my brain.

I certainly "get" what the industry has turned into, and who the target gamer is, but it doesn't mean that I can't voice an opinion on how I feel games are too easy now.

I'm definitely not saying EVERY game should be at least Dark Souls hard either, but I feel that there needs to be a better balancing act when devs create a hard mode in their game. This way everyone can be happy 🙂

slow and smart
slow and smart
8 years ago

Well Ben then it's good that you get it,right?

while the mainstream is the biggest group of gamers,it does not mean that other,smaller but also big enough group gamers who like more challenge[or who want a game that takes more time to get to a next level] should be totally ignored,they can still earn enough money from this group,look at metro not a really mainstream game but it did good and so will other not-mainstream games

there's more than living in a tunnelvision of mainstream mainstream and mainstream


Last edited by slow and smart on 1/15/2014 4:25:30 PM

slow and smart
slow and smart
8 years ago

also what xenris said,well-spoken

Jawknee
Jawknee
8 years ago

For the most part yes. I just want to have fun. When games are too hard they aren't fun anymore. I do like a little challenge but something like God of War chaos mode I really have to be in the mood for.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
8 years ago

It isn't that bad. Except that three headed dog right before fighting Zeus. What a pain in the ass.

Masszt3r
Masszt3r
8 years ago

Or the trial of Archimedes in Ascension. Or the Kratos clones in the first entry. Those were some raging moments.

Jawknee
Jawknee
8 years ago

Yea it was just certain areas that drove me nuts. My first attempt was the hades fight. Took me a long time to get passed him.

I also told a bit of an untruth. Most of the time I like to just play one normal to have fun but certain games like the last of us. I play it on survival every time now.

Temjin001
Temjin001
8 years ago

If the game play is engaging enough, I like a game to hold me to a higher standard in my quality of play. Games like Halo, Ninja Gaiden, Splinter Cell, stealthy or tactical games in general, are best played on a harder setting. Not hardest, but harder. I think it's lame when games have dynamic playing conventions but are glossed over with free passes to suck. I dont like this because the game player may miss the depth the developers layered into it and never realize it's full greatness.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/15/2014 12:30:27 AM

Temjin001
Temjin001
8 years ago

as for the default difficulty thing. sure. I don't mind how things are. If I like a game enough, like it for it's playing depth I'd probably be compelled to play it through again on a harder setting.
I swear, nearly every time I do that I learn things about the game I didn't catch on my first go around and it does feel more fullfilling, thus a more respected offering in my book.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/15/2014 12:35:21 AM

slugga_status
slugga_status
8 years ago

I'd say normal is fairly easy these days. The only real frustrating part is when you screw up on your own. I like the sense of accomplishment when I've completeda game. Today it's more so story first which there isn't anything wrong with that. But the last true difficult game i played was DMC3..Nothing else had topped that yet

Banky A
Banky A
8 years ago

I seriously did not find DMC3 that hard and I jumped the gun in difficulty whenever it offered me.

That being said I completely suck at Megaman and those retro 2D timing & frames-centric games so you know where I'm coming from 😀

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
8 years ago

I'd say a little bit more difficult for most games on Normal and I'd be happy. Although, that comes tempered with the idea that the difficulty stems more from you having to think about how you're going to react than simple reflexes.

Gabriel013
Gabriel013
8 years ago

I rarely like a challenge in my games so I always play on the easiest setting and that works for me. I get frustrated with games very easily so if I want any chance of playing all the way through and seeing all the content I've paid for then I don't want it too difficult.

Gordo
Gordo
8 years ago

I find I like a harder difficulty for games on the Vita where I have more time to devote to them and an easier difficulty on my PS3 when I am at home relaxing and wanting to enjoy the story.

I like being able to swap difficulty levels mid game also a New Game Plus feature is always appreciated as sometimes you just want to blast through the game again with all the good toys unlocked.

Choice is the main thing here. A lot of JRPGs turn me off as they are a bit old school with their grinding. Eliminate grinding on an easy level setting and I am happy to go along and just experience the story. Persona 4 Golden was a pain for that. Catherine was a nightmare as I gave up after repeating one level for an hour. That was on easy as well…

___________
___________
8 years ago

one of my pet hates with games these days, especially shooters.
theres FAR too big a difference between difficulties.
KZSF for instance the final boss battle i was playing it on medium and died like literally 600 million times!
than said f*ck it, dropped the difficulty down to easy, and finished it first try, no revives, no problems whatsoever!
went from impossible, to a freaking drunk 5 year old in a straightjacket can finish it!
FAR too big a gap between difficulties!

another thing that really annoys me is what changes in difficulty settings.
allot of games the only thing that changes is the amount of damage you can take falls through the floor, and the amount of damage the enemy can take is jacked through the roof!
turning my character into a pansy, and enemies into bullet sponges is not difficulty, thats cheapness!
difficulty should govern the amount of enemies you have to fight, your resources doing so, and the relentlessness of the AI.
not just change how strong, and weak, certain characters are.

one thing i REALLY need to see in next gen games, better AI.
one thing that really impressed me with RAGE, the AI was brilliant!
they were so good at flanking you and pushing forward at the right times, like if you were reloading they wouldent sit in cover and let you reload they would ambush you knowing your defenseless.
or they would hurl a grenade and have someone out in the open to blow your head off as you exit cover, instead of sitting in cover themselves allowing you to run freely.
reaction of the AI was pure gold too, i remember a few times i would shoot a enemy whos about to throw a grenade and they would drop it, everyone would dive away then go off at the guy who dropped it saying would you watch where you throw that f*cking thing!
wish more games were like that.

Masszt3r
Masszt3r
8 years ago

I think you hate everything. I agree with the AI part though.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
8 years ago

Speaking of which, Ben, did you ever go back to Halo 4? After… What happened … ?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
8 years ago

No. Doesn't deserve my time.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
8 years ago

I see.

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

Back in the days difficulty was all a game could offer. Really, that's all there was.
Today a game is so much more, and in particular single player games are nowadays all about the experience, the story and atmosphere.

If I want to do hard gaming that involves lots of practise on the same maps the obvious way to go is to play a multiplayer game. To play against human players are inherently hard by default and so totally much more complex and varied than playing against a pretty dumb and repetitive AI that just follows scripts and compensates the lack of any intelligence by cheating or just being plain overpowered.

One thing though: I think that in shooters the protagonist tends to be able to take far too much beating and regain health far too fast. That particular detail could be toned down. Dumbness should be penalized in all games.

But if you play using your head and do rational decisions you should progress without too much hassle, in my opinion.


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/15/2014 4:16:46 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Dumbness is penalized pretty harshly in Killzone Shadow Fall, and there's a lot of old-school freedom to be dumb. You can even fall straight off ledges just like the old days.

Masszt3r
Masszt3r
8 years ago

You can fall off ledges? That still exists?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Not still, it's BACK!

Beamboom
Beamboom
8 years ago

That's really good to hear. I still remember the sensation of surprise and sheer HAPPINESS the first time I fell down a ledge to meet sudden death in Borderlands.

I was like, "so I actually have to watch my step? Oh YAY!".

Masszt3r
Masszt3r
8 years ago

Awesome!

Masszt3r
Masszt3r
8 years ago

Awesome!

Kiryu
Kiryu
8 years ago

MGS:Ground Zeroes Normal and Hard difficulty only, Vital to MGS