Difficulty is Hard

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Toeys:

ImBigBob:
And this is precisely why Demon's Souls is overrated. I don't want to have to spend 10 minutes trudging through the easy parts only to die again. Yeah, it keeps the tension, but when you die, and when you feel like your death is more luck than skill, why bother to keep playing?

I don't really get why some people think this. In my opinion Demon Souls requires you to think before you act. Of course you end up getting to Flamelurker and he burns you, again and again. But thats more of a hint to go do something else until you're badass enough to take him out. The game has a lot of good old Diablo's mechanics, but when you die you atleast keep your gear in Demons Souls. Most of the challenges i saw as hard were optional. The main story you could avoid dying in aslong as you were careful.

The single player of Black ops has a lousy difficulty though. I'm talking about playing it on "Veteran". The only thing they've done in alteration to the difficulty is telling the AI to use "the force". They basically fire headshots on you while having their backs towards you. It changes between endless respawncorridors to "clear room then proceed to next" type of gameplay. They rarely use cover, cause their autoaim owns both your brain and skills.

It was the same in Modern Warfare 2, but they really cranked it up to a fucked up level in Black Ops.

The part that made me up and quit the game was that mud level where you have limited mobility. I had been playing normally, carefully planning out my path, which is the fun part of the game. But there's a part with one of those big guys with the club who takes several hits to go down, and considering you're knee-deep in mud, you can't roll or dodge, so you just get pummeled. Even when just running through the level at top speed, that guy shows up and kills me before I have a good grasp of the area and my abilities, which just made it all even more frustrating.

Oh, and having to go through that stupid falling puzzle to get to the Firelurker every time was a pain in the ass. And trying to figure out why I don't have access to magic despite being at least a third of the way through the game. And how if I use an item and then screw up, the item is gone for good, so I would have been more productive had I not even turned the game on.

Falseprophet:

Ninja'd. I'll say, the missions themselves are good for placing checkpoints, but if you flub the 100% sync you need to do the whole frakkin' thing again. This is especially fun during the war machine missions, where the mission is "sneak around this complex with hyper-alert guards without breaking cover, then do a multi-stage platforming run, then pilot this war machine with clumsy controls and destroy the bad guys base." All well and good, but the 100% sync criteria is always "and don't get hit while piloting the clumsy vehicle section and getting shot at by dozens of dudes."

Exactly. The sneaking challanges arnt all that hard, and neather are the combat ones. Its just the way it sets them up. I have almost 100% sync on almost all the missions, except the few that are just horribly set up.

Like one where you have to chase down and assassinate this dude. It would be easy, if he wasnt always alerted to you. And the part that makes it broken is that he stays on a wall half the time, which you cant assassinate him on.

ImBigBob:

Toeys:

ImBigBob:
Snip

I don't really get why some people think this. In my opinion Demon Souls requires you to think before you act. Of course you end up getting to Flamelurker and he burns you, again and again. But thats more of a hint to go do something else until you're badass enough to take him out. The game has a lot of good old Diablo's mechanics, but when you die you atleast keep your gear in Demons Souls. Most of the challenges i saw as hard were optional. The main story you could avoid dying in aslong as you were careful.

The single player of Black ops has a lousy difficulty though. I'm talking about playing it on "Veteran". The only thing they've done in alteration to the difficulty is telling the AI to use "the force". They basically fire headshots on you while having their backs towards you. It changes between endless respawncorridors to "clear room then proceed to next" type of gameplay. They rarely use cover, cause their autoaim owns both your brain and skills.

It was the same in Modern Warfare 2, but they really cranked it up to a fucked up level in Black Ops.

The part that made me up and quit the game was that mud level where you have limited mobility. I had been playing normally, carefully planning out my path, which is the fun part of the game. But there's a part with one of those big guys with the club who takes several hits to go down, and considering you're knee-deep in mud, you can't roll or dodge, so you just get pummeled. Even when just running through the level at top speed, that guy shows up and kills me before I have a good grasp of the area and my abilities, which just made it all even more frustrating.

Oh, and having to go through that stupid falling puzzle to get to the Firelurker every time was a pain in the ass. And trying to figure out why I don't have access to magic despite being at least a third of the way through the game. And how if I use an item and then screw up, the item is gone for good, so I would have been more productive had I not even turned the game on.

Well what can i say, i like it HARD ;)

For people who enjoy this topic, I suggest a research paper done by Jenova Chen that talks about what is the perfect balance of difficulty. He called this perfect balance "flow."

http://www.jenovachen.com/flowingames/thesis.htm

Stupid difficulty settings makes me remember Crackdown 2.
You have normal, where after a certain point at least 50% of the enemies (supposed to be a street gang) wield RPGs and dress in power armour, and then a plethora of harder difficulties where the percentage goes up.

Crackdown 2 is for me a good example on how not to do difficulty.
And as Shamus says, much of the problem is how the game is sold.
The game communicates that you are the superman, Wolverine saving the day.
Try saying that to yourself when the combined firepower of Texas comes towards you the moment you peek over a ledge...

Another example (recently installed and even more recently uninstalled) is Settlers 7.
It looked cute and cartoony, and made me remember the good old days spent enjoying Settlers 2.
And for quite some time (first 4-5 story missions) it was just that.
Charming, fun and I could do tings at my own pace.

But then it decloaked and appeared before me as it really is.
A game made for mentats as an exercise in logistics, supply chains and balancing on the head of a pin. They should have renamed it "Adam Smith: Atlas Shrugging!"
And a game where you also have to be fast about it, since the CPU (knowing better how to play the game) will build itself into the equivalent of the Third Reich unless you rush.

Say a game is hard, hardcore or 1337, and sell it to those who think or feel they are.
But I hate it when a game turns out to be something completly different (and difficult) than it sells itself to be.

I didn't mind the fact that you didn't die in Prince of Persia. In fact, I was always falling off ledges and losing fights, so the fact that the girl comes in and saves my ass simply works the exact same way as the quick load button. As an anti-frustration mechanic, I think it worked really well.

I hadn't played the previous games much but I liked a lot about Prince of Persia 2008. Sure the fights were poor, the gameplay was far too repetitive, the ending was an annoying cliff hanger, and the game did not get progressively more difficult, but I liked the art style, the characters, the setting and the music (especially the music).

Shamus, did you just ran out of characters? Did you have something to do urgently? I mean, that article ended quite abruptly, almost in mid-sentence, and I know you'd have many more things to say on topic. I know I would. You guys have some word or character limit to these columns too? It just doesn't make sense. I mean, if you have something to say in your own column, say it. I would've liked to hear some more from you on ramping and difficulty in general. Ah, well...

Shamus has said a lot in the past that I've disagreed with, but this was no such thing. I think that you perfectly describe my ideal failure consequence in most games. If I'm playing a game that is intended as a more long-term simulation, like Minecraft, I don't mind a little more penalty (although I think that Minecraft's is a little ridiculous) but if you make me re-do the easy stuff, or worse re-do some hard stuff as I seem to recall some Devil May Cry games doing, then I'm just going to get impatient and tell my friends that your game is repetitive.

"...Difficulty, if you'll pardon the expression, is hard. Here's to the game designers who take the time to get it right."

Very few - if any - of them do. I cannot understand what the problem for the developers is here. Is it really beyond the wit of modern developers to provide both an 'Easy' experience for the nervous and inexperienced (where 'easy' does actually mean easy) and an 'Insane' experience for those who consider themselves well above such trivialities?

As a player who likes to play on 'easy' most of the time, I find that some games (actually, many games) seem determined to p*ss me off from the start, as quickly as possible. Their sole job, it seems, is to underline and exaggerate my own inadequacies as a player, whilst doing their level best to deter me from playing at all. But I'm getting wiser. Now I understand that the moment a game (any game) kicks me out of the experience back to the 'menu' or 'game over' screen it is the game that has failed me, not the other way around; after all, I came to the game wanting to play, wanting to stay engaged, and I would have stayed if the game hadn't thrown a fit of pique and ejected me. Sometimes repeatedly.

Developers have to understand that being sent to the 'game over' screen is an antiquated, clumsy device that has no place in modern game design. The job of the developer is to keep the player engaged by hook or by crook. Keep the player entertained and in the game! Punishing mistakes by ejection from the experience is thoroughly counter-productive and in the end (with enough repetition) will encourage player abandonment - and how may times have we heard developers bleating on about wanting players to see the 'whole game'?

Do us a favour, fellas, and walk the talk. I want to finish every single game I purchase; I realise talented and highly creative developers have put years of hard work into filling these games with content and gameplay. But I look at my (dwindling) games collection and feel nothing but frustration that so many of those titles will never be completed, never even wholly seen by me. I'm not willing to be kicked in the balls for trying - all for the lack of a helping hand from the developers to make progression seamless and, while challenging, never impossible.

Developers need to change their mindsets regarding difficulty. They can cater very well for both 'sightseer' gamers (like me, who just want to go along for the ride most of all, but who need to feel they will always be able to get to the end of the game) and their vocal (minority) of hardcore 'madgamerskillz' players (who will always shout the loudest on forums - half the problem, imo), so why don't they?

I know this is a month old, but im pushing it up anyway.

Why have diffauclties and ACTUALLY PLAYTESTING THE DIFFAUCLTIES gone out of fashion? DOne properly, its a way to ahve a game accesiable to everyone, with some diffaculties that will push the hardcore to their limits (please not, make the game hard, not tedious) and maybe an ultra hard mode so people can boast about beating something view people have,without making the rest of the game an excerise in sadism.

Streets of Rage 2. Easy mode is easy. Normal mode is challenging, but you can get through it with practice, hard mode is actually but not tedious or pointlessly cruel (its not a Nier style sheep take 10 hits to kill, the ai is more aggresive, the enemies hit harder, they have more health, but only enough to make them stay a bit longer, not drag on when they cant hit you) and mania mode is hardcore. And thats how I derived years of enjoyment from the game and belive it owns the crap out of any other brawler.

Diffacutlies levels. NOT THAT HARD. Just give us a few less 3d graphics or something and use that budget wisely. AND DONT HALF ASS ON PLAYTESTING WE WILL NOTICE

This is the exact problem I have with the grandmaster galaxy in super mario galaxy 2. I die a bazillion times on the final 3 parts of the level, and I want to retry that part of the level. But then, the game sends me back to the beginning of the level. THANK YOU GAME, BUT I'VE ALREADY PROVEN I CAN BEAT THIS PART A THOUSAND TIMES. I just want to retry the part where I died, not the entire level. Because of the fact that you get thrown back to the beginning of the level, the time between you making a mistake and trying that same place is too long. By the time you get back to the part where you died, you've forgotten what you did wrong, so you can't try a slightly different approach. Because of this, I have still haven't beaten the level.

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