Your opinion on adjustable difficulty throughout a game.

With most games you choose a difficulty at the beginning and that's it. You can't lower it later on if you are having trouble or pump it up if things are too easy. Although I notice a lot of games don't do this such as Elder Scrolls titles, Dragon Age, Kingdoms of Amalur, and many others. They allow you to go into the options and adjust it whenever you want.

Would you prefer a set in stone difficulty level, or the adjustable kind in your games and why?

I think it's good.

When I get bored I like to stick a game on easy mode and blast through it in half the time. Or if the game is too easy (like FEAR) I stick in on hard mode to give myself a decent challenge.

I got to Point Lookout at level 17. That and Ace Combat 6. It's very useful when there's a level that's badly balanced or when there's glitchy AI or something.

That's why it's good.

Of course it's good, choice is good, variety is good. Can't see why it would be bad.

It lets you shape the experience to your own liking. What's not to like about that?

If a game already has adjustable difficulty, I see no good reason why it SHOULDN'T be adjustable mid-playthrough. Surely, you can't know exactly how hard is TOO hard for you, nor how easy is TOO easy, until you actually play the game.

Considering that Easy, Medium, and Hard (Or whatever) are rarely quantified to you before you pick them, being able to adjust difficulty on the fly is essential.

I'm torn...

I mean, most of the time, its a good thing, for the reasons people have mentioned above.
But at the same time... Playing Halo and MGS games would be a world different if you could adjust the difficulty while playing it. I mean, its not too big a deal when you can select levels, but with a long, drawn out game like MGS, I'd rather it have an unchangable difficulty. I... Can't quite peg down why, but that's what my gut says?

Actually, let me be more specific: with linear action games, I'd sometimes want an unchangeable difficulty, but with RPG or number-based games, you should have the option to at least make a game easier. Nothing's more infuriating than getting 3/4ths of the way through an RPG on its hardest setting only to realize that its nearly impossible to complete it in your current state, and to go back far enough to fix it would be an uncomfortablly long retread or a whole new save file.

I think it's a good option, but I rarely use it. In fact, the only time I've adjusted the difficulty was to get past one frustrating mission in Saints Row 2, a uncharacteristically difficult escort mission (Corporate Meltdown) that was the only thing I had left to do in that game.

However, I don't like the way difficulty sliders are implemented in some games and won't use them if all it does is make your attacks weaker and everyone else's attacks stronger.

A recent example of this is Skyrim in which I only used the default 1:1 setting because anything else doesn't make sense to me, e.g. turning the difficulty up and making a bandit do more damage with an Iron sword than you can deal back with a Daedric sword and higher combat skill, that undermines a lot of the concepts of the game and character development.

Difficulty should make your opponents more skilled (i.e. more able), fight smarter and fight in greater numbers, not simply increase their damage and nerf yours.

I personally don't use it . I see why it's there . But is it really necessary? Is it really that hard to guage your video game skills? I mean really , if you know you suck at rts games go on easy . If you know you are a pro at fps , choose hard . Of you are average , choose normal . What's so difficult about that . Am i just assuming people are smarter than they really are? Do people really overestimate their skill level that much .

Also games with ridiculous difficulty curbs are rare . You are kinda suppose to learn and get better as you go along no? Are you supposed to technically get better while playing ? If you start on normal and get stuck mid-way , isn't that more a problem with the player than the game mechanic? I really don't understand how this supposedly happens so often. Maybe i'm a little jaded because i like my games challenging , but i guess people want to always press A to win , instead of thinking a little and changing their tactic a bit.

SIN Episode 1 had a dynamic difficulty, and it seemed to work pretty well, adjusting enemy hitpoints and such so it was challenging for me, but not "ZOMG Impossible, they one shot killed me!"

I was falling asleep in Halo 3 on Legendary mode, because the tactic I ended up repeating to get past the game was to just duck into cover, peak out, lay a barrage, then take cover again and whittle the enemy down. All because their idea of difficulty was to just increase the enemy hitpoints and damage output, but their AI still seemed to behave the same.

i enjoy most were you are tested before the main story starts...example,path of neo and some call of duty's

I like it a lot. Allows me to change if I'm having too easy/too hard a time. Alan Wake, I curse thee for tricking me into thinking normal was...normal. It's not. Normal is easy.

The only argument against adjustable difficulty is that it might be harder to implement on the developer end. There is often more to difficulty settings than health, damage and number of enemies.
Being able to set the difficulty between levels/missions is easy enough to implement, so I see no reason not to do this.

If you want to "force yourself" to play on one difficulty the whole game, then you go ahead and do that. But I don't want to restart the whole game just because "hard" was too easy (I'm looking at you, all-FPS-games-from-the-last-5-years).

Adjustable difficulty is good and should be available throughout the game if it is implemented the only instance I would say it should not be allowed is if the game offers a substantial different experience on higher or lower levels i.e you use a different character and follow a different story path for instance (of course there would have to be a reason why it is harder with a certain character as well). If all higher difficulty does is change the AI and HP and damage then it should be able to be adjusted on the fly.

So yeah 99% of the time I am for adjustable difficulty.

On one hand, there's no reason not to implement some sort of way of changing difficulty mid-playthrough. On the other hand, the sort of difficulty that can be adjusted during gameplay is almost always fake difficulty.

Ya it should be a standard, but bumping it down must be limited (only unlocked after X deaths in area) otherwise even I sometimes get lazy and just lower it for that one slightly challenging section.

Being able to change the difficult part way through sounds good. However, I can safely say that I definitely would have taken advantage of it at some point or another, but I would also have felt like it was almost like cheating. I still feel certain amounts of satisfaction from difficult and taking the easy way out would lessen that satisfaction.

Maybe being able to set the difficulty and set the ability to change it mid-game as well. That would be best of both worlds I think.

It depends on how the difficulty is adjusted, as some games can make significant changes between the different settings.

Sometimes it's just not practical to change the difficulty of a game unless at specific points (between levels/missions) as the types of enemies which are present will change. The Halo series seems like an easy example, and enemies will have different ranks depending on difficulty. On easy, a spot could have a blue elite guarding it; on legendary, it's a red elite. This is in addition to all the numerical changes with a game's difficulty. Sometimes it can mean more or fewer foes as well. If the changes are purely numerical or multipliers, changing the difficulty can be done at any time with ease. Oblivion did this with "you do less damage, they do more damage" as you moved the difficulty slider.

The one time which changing the difficulty shouldn't be allowed is during the middle of a fight, and most games actually do this already. The reasons for this is both practical and to force players to at least try to complete a difficulty higher than they intended. The practical side of things is fairly obvious, it prevents spawning (or despawning) enemies in the middle of the fight and the hassle/glitchy-ness of changing their stats mid-fight (a similar case can be made for many games not allowing for the changing equipment mid-fight); this preserves the game's sense of immersion and it's stability. As for forcing players to commit to an attempt instead of them changing the difficulty mid-fight, it can help them be a better player; it won't prevent reloading of saves and changing it before the fight, but sometimes a little incentive can help. The practical reason probably rules the day here, I imagine.


If a game is going to allow for adjustable difficulty settings, it should be allowed as much as possible (within reasonable constraints). Restricting it to only the start of the game would be silly, unless there's some significant changes which result; even them, it should be adjustable at certain points (namely between levels & missions).

If it's implemented correctly I prefer the game to adjust the difficulty on its own.

If it's implemented correctly I prefer the game to adjust the difficulty on its own.

Like the AI Director in Left4Dead 2?

I hated that, everything would be going peacefully, then the Director decides that it's not hard enough and throws 2 tanks and special infected or two at you.

I really like the option; sometimes a game is just too easy and i want a better challenge, but more often than not it's when i hit a difficulty spike that is.... APOCALYPTIC, at that point i lower the difficulty when i just can't get past that one bit of the game. Afterwords i switch back to what ever i had it at.

If there is a difficulty setting - Id love the option of adjusting it mid-playthough. As others have said, its impossible to know how the designers define "Easy", "Normal" and "Hard" so in-case we had something else in mind, its good to alter it! Ive started new games before on hard, played for a couple of hours, found it to be waay too hard and had to restart on Normal =S Its not a fun experience!

I usually stick to a set difficulty, because sometimes you don't know what the game is going to throw at you. Or what they consider "hard". Sometimes hard means more attacks, sometimes more health, sometimes you get less abilities/hud. Its too random for me most of the time, I don't think I've found a game that does it good.

but that's what my gut says?

Trust your gut. You know it to be true.

I'm definately for adjustable difficulty. Going in, you often can't be certain what this particular game's interpretation of 'Easy', 'Normal', 'Hard' or 'Dude, you're a fucking masochist!' is going to be as well as certain players finding certain tasks, enemy patterns more frustrating than ohters. Plus there are moments in the game where the difficulty capriciously spikes up and I don't want to have to go all the way back to the beggining just because I got stuck on some obnoxiously arduous boss battle at the mid-way point, especially when the game never attains that level of complexity from there on in. Someone above mentioned MGS and that particular example really grinds my gears in this context because the only way for me to get the good ending is to beat that mash the circle button as fast as you can challange which is totally incongruous to the more methodical, stealthy nature of the rest of the game and I can't hit it fast enough on Normal. So instead of giving me the option to switch difficulty for that one section and then switch back, I have to start all over and play through on Easy mode on an already pretty easy game, meaning I'm just waltzing through the entire thing just so I can do that one bloody QTE properly. >.> While in certain scenarios I feel as though the game has bested me when I have to cave in and fleetingly lower difficulty for a particularly tough section, the option definately spares me a lot of frustration in the long run and I'm glad when it's there. :)

I like the adjustable difficulty, though I do try to stick with what I started with at the beginning of the game. But take Modern Warfare 2, specifically: The Favela level where you're running through the streets of a town filled with 3 story buildings and every window/door/roof has at least 4 pissed off south americans shooting at your face. I believe the mission is officially called "The Hornets' Nest" and it's quite aptly named because you're literally getting shot at from all directions. Call me a pussy, but I couldn't get through that level even on frickin' Normal difficulty, I had to bump it down to Recruit which was particularly embarrassing because I had gotten up to this point while playing on Hardened!

So yeah, without adjustable difficulty I wouldn't have gotten past that level and would have had to start the game over. So really I don't see a problem with it.

In most games it is definitely a good thing, but in some games, mostly skill-based ones such as IWBTG, Dark Souls, etc. it is a bad thing because of the huge temptation to make it easier on the fly, which would ruin the enjoyment.

I personally almost never adjust the difficulty but that's probably just my stubborn ways. I can't think of a reason why the option shouldn't be there. If I want a constant challenge I'll just leave the difficulty where it is but if somebody else is breezing/struggling through the game it's their prerogative to adjust the difficulty on the game they purchased. Not like it affects me within my game so I'm always pro-choice


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