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How important do you consider difficuly in games?

Pocketim

Member
Verified Member
Games have been getting easier and easier, with only a few series such as Dark/Demon's Souls, Bayonetta and Ninja Gaiden still providing a real challenge. As such, difficulty in games is often debated about a lot, as to if games should be easier or harder right now.

Rather than ask what difficulty games in general need, I thought it would be more interesting to ask how important you personally consider difficulty to be, and share what you like or dislike about challenging games.

Personally, I don't mind lower difficulty too much, with one exception that I'll get into later. I feel that most games can stand on their own merits and still be fun even if they're easy. Adventure games can still be fun even if they're easy as long as that sense of adventure is still there. Most of the Zelda games are cakewalks but they're still enjoyed for that very reason.

The exception? I think action games really need to be challenging, hack & slashes in particular. Not every game has to be as challenging as Devil May Cry 3 or Ninja Gaiden, but the difficulty is a huge part of what makes most action games so intense. Similarly, shooters with a focus on fast-paced action like Serious Sam and Painkiller also need to be fairly challenging. Without that difficulty, the action can often become mindless, and start to feel like little more than button mashing. So with action games, I think difficulty is very important. Once again, doesn't have to be infuriatingly difficult, but difficult enough to require some focus, at least!

Your thoughts?
 

JamestheFreak

New Member
All games need to be challenging, but sadly with all these casuals these days devs keep dumbing down the difficulty for them.
 

FyreeTSG

Banned
growing up when i grew up--most games were preset difficulty, and the only way they got easier was by PLAYING them to death...

i enjoy moderate difficulty--but nothing to where I'm slamming my controller down in anger.

I often think back to my favorite racing trilogy: Cruis'n USA/World/Exotica for N64--which had 3 levels of race difficulty, depending on the course....games like THAT, where certain levels are freakishly easy, and as you get further into the game they get more and more difficult===are perfect.

But then again, I also enjoyed using Game Genie, Game Shark, and AR to make games easier....
 

Jason Alan

New Member
Verified Member
It depends on the game. Difficulty levels help to make games accessible to a slightly wider audience (so they can finish the game at their leisure). For me, I enjoy difficulty levels of all ranges, simply because some games being easier doesn't detract from their fun (say Flashback: The quest for Identity, or Crash Bandicoot: Warped) while for others it can work out better. I tend to be neutral all around because as long as I'm having fun, I don't quite care about the difficulty level, but for things like Contra III, Streets of Rage 2, and IWBTG, I'll tend to play on the highest difficulty as a challenge. Obviously not Impossible for IWBTG but you get the point :V
 

FyreeTSG

Banned
and some games are a pain in the a** even when they say they're easy...

I'm always up for a challenge though, but games, as we've advanced so much in the past 20 years, are more tailored to MULTIPLAYER---and gamers like me, who play solo 99% of the time, like games that aren't going to make them lose their sanity.

Not to say I won't play games by myself--as sometimes it's more rewarding to play a whole game SOLO--but still.
 

Bear28

New Member
I'm an old school gamer too. I cut my teeth on those classic NES games we all know and love. For the most part, I prefer a moderate difficulty level, but sometimes it is fun to use a cheat and just walk through a bunch of enemies or access rewards that are insanely tough to get... at least in the short term. If I can't complete a task within a dozen or so tries, it's just getting frustrating by that point. But I also think a game is best when you do have to work at it for a little while to meet your goal. So, all in all, difficulty is pretty important, but not the most important part of a game.
 

JackitK

New Member
If you're playing a game for just the sake of relaxing, that is one of the few times I feel easy games are better. Games like Kirby Epic Yarn have almost no challenge unless you're going through ranks, yet it works with the game since the environment of the game acts as a more lay-back environment to begin with basically wanting you to have fun interacting with its world and not focusing on challenging you to beat it.

It is beneficial to work the gameplay style to be into the environment of the game. I think Kirby's Epic Yarn is a good example on the easy, laid-back end. While FE: Awakening is a good example on the more challenging end of the spectrum. It's a game that you really have to think about everything and it just feels like it's environment fits that. The preparing before a battle theme I could associate as a "thinking theme" as much as the Jeopardy theme song.

There are games like Eryi's Action are exceptions to this. However, if you seen the game, it's a game that plays off your expectations to screw you over. So the game's environment fits the visual style despite being a "hard game" in a visually cute world.
 

aboleth_lich

New Member
Verified Member
It is of critical importance that a game strike the right balance and find a happy medium in terms of its difficulty!

In the extreme case of a game being far too easy, to the point that a newcomer could easily finish and even master it in an afternoon or two: one isn't really getting their money's worth!

The other extreme of an unfairly difficult, borderline impossible game that even the most talented gamer would almost have to resort to cheating using the likes of a Game Genie or an emulator's tricks to beat is far too frustrating of an experience! One would nearly be tempted to throw their controller at the TV in rage!

Games should be challenging, but they should be a reasonable challenge that motivates players to continue playing and affords pride upon completion! Neither of the above extremes achieve this!

Moreover, the nature of what makes a game difficult is also of critical importance! There's a world of difference between a game that offers true challenges via complex puzzles and strong enemies versus a game that is hard because of atrocious control of the character(s) and/or camera! The former is a motivating and rewarding experience, the latter is controller-tossing frustration!

Furthermore, being a child of the S(NES): I do indeed generally feel that fewer modern games offer the same challenge as the games of my youth.
 

Wilbo

New Member
Verified Member
I agree with the whole balance aspect. For me, games like Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Tropical Freeze hit the mark with that...some might argue that they were at times too difficult, but for me it reminded me of how games used to be which is what I loved so much about them.
 

Erik

Active Member
Verified Member
Moreover, the nature of what makes a game difficult is also of critical importance! There's a world of difference between a game that offers true challenges via complex puzzles and strong enemies versus a game that is hard because of atrocious control of the character(s) and/or camera! The former is a motivating and rewarding experience, the latter is controller-tossing frustration!
I couldn't agree any more about this paragraph. Too many game designers resort to simply increasing the health of enemies and the amount of damage they do to increase the difficulty. In my opinion, game difficulty should change the effectiveness of the enemy AI and nothing else. For example, when they decide to take cover, where they decide to aim, how well the enemies work together against you. Of course this type of difficulty setting is much more difficult to code for which is why developers often take the lazy way out and just play around with a few variables to make it harder. If the controls and camera are bad though, I wouldn't even want to play the game at all!
 

genevb

New Member
Verified Member
Difficulty might play a decisive factor when it comes about picking games. First there are people who just give it up when they can't seem to advance in a game. Then there are the gamers which will make it through one way or another. This is why most of the games gives you the option to select difficulty level before you start, if it is too easy one might get bored if it is to hard then some people might quit playing it.
 

JessiFox

New Member
Verified Member
It depends on the game but if I had to make a blanket statement about it, I'm not happy with them making them easier and easier. For me the difficulty and challenging aspect is a lot of the fun of a game, and making it too easy is a surefire way to lose my interest quickly. There are some games where you can have mindless fun or play against friends and it's okay if they're not very difficult, but even then, it's more fun when it's a challenge to me.
 

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