Submitted by CGMagazine 819d ago | opinion piece

Should Games Become More Difficult Again?

There are very few people left that would argue—without intent to troll anyway—against the notion that the videogames of 21st century are easier to play and finish than the videogames of the 20th.

The quarter munching mentality of the 80s arcade dictated that arcade owners only wanted customers to get in a few minutes of playtime before their lack of Uber Skill sent them reaching for more money as the “Game Over” screen hit them in the face. Games had to be hard because an entire afternoon’s worth of entertainment for just 25₵ is not profitable. (Call of Duty, Counterstrike, Culture, Dark Souls, Industry, PS3, Retro, Wii U, Xbox 360)

Chuk5  +   819d ago
There's a smart of doing difficulty and an outdated way. One of the reasons games use to be so brutally difficult, is because they were so obtuse and didn't explain themselves clearly. there was no precedent for clear explanation, and most relied the gamer to through themselves into the grinder and learn. That's before anyone knew any better, but now we know that isn't good game design.

Doing difficulty right in a modern context is hard, but examples like Demon's Souls and XCOM: EU are examples of games that require you to pay attention. Your hand isn't held, but things are explained to those with a willing attention span. Doing difficulty right just requires Devs to set a clear pace for the game and explain the systems along it, and hold the design to its own rules.

After that, they have done their job correctly. Unless it's broken, people that have a problem with the game just don't have the gaming capacity or skill to play it.
jukins  +   819d ago
Well said good sir well said.
Hasanhastam  +   819d ago
If harder difficulty be confusing = no
chasegarcia  +   819d ago
I hate difficult games that have cheating AI.
DragonKnight  +   819d ago
Depends on what you mean by difficulty. Demon's Souls has difficulty right. Relentless enemies, stage traps, and forcing the player to learn as they go through the game. But "difficulty" meaning AI that just have more HP, or Defense, and hit harder is not difficulty. That's just cheap programming masquerading as difficulty. Make the enemy more aggressive, make more of them, or make them spawn randomly in each playthrough so you never have the same thing happening twice.

But things like giving the enemy a dodge move and not the players (i've seen that in Skyrim) or anything cheap like that isn't difficulty.

Games are too easy these days. Thanks to the casual audience and this damned accessibility phase developers are on.
Dovahkiin  +   819d ago
I agree entirely, just changing a few parameters shouldn't always be the way difficulty is handled.
BitbyDeath  +   819d ago
Games should be fun and i did not find Demons Souls to be. Playing for an hour or more and messing up once means you have to start from the beginning all over again is not my idea of fun. So i traded it in.

Difficulty should come in smarter AI like what 'The Last of Us' is doing. Not cheap tricks that make you start all over again or have no idea what you are doing like some of the older final fantasy games that make you reach for a walkthrough every few hours cause it doesn't explain where you are to go next yet you have a giant open world to explore.
#4.2 (Edited 819d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
DragonKnight  +   819d ago
Demon's Souls doesn't have any cheap tricks, and if you think that it does then clearly you just don't get Demon's Souls. The point of dying and starting at the beginning is to teach you to be methodical instead of the ol' CoD mentality of "run and gun." The game is meant to punish you for being stupid and thinking you're invincible. And as for the older FF games, the only one that I remember doesn't explain to you where you're supposed to go is the very first FF game. Any of the other games you have to actually play the game and talk to NPC's.

Man, some people just want to have their hands held in the game all the time.
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ApolloTheBoss  +   819d ago
It depends for me. If it's a story-driven game I like to keep it as easy as possible, because I hate having to start over the same sequences if it's too hard. On the other hand if i'm playing something like a FPS or any multiplayer game I like a little challenge.
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GribbleGrunger  +   819d ago
No, games should just be fun to play.
Theyellowflash30  +   819d ago
I agree to an extent, but today's games are way too easy. Giving players the option for increasing difficulty should be a part of all games. Assassin's Creed is a series that is far to easy in my book. Fable and Assassin's Creed are the worst offenders in my book. I got through both of those games without dying one time. Which didn't challenge me as a gamer. I don't like when shit is too easy.

More games like ZombiU, Dark Souls, and Monster Hunter are never a bad thing. Bring on the difficulty.
akaakaaka  +   819d ago
Yes please but in a smart way,
KILLZONE 2 in elite(amazing AI) plays unique and hard from the regular difficulty modes and that how all others games should be but are not.
Also welcome a global difficulty like in Demons Souls!
WeskerChildReborned  +   819d ago
I would like a really difficult Survival horror game for consoles but i don't know if that will ever happen, hopefully Last of Us is a bit of a challenge with the realistic elements.

I like the challenge in survival horror type games.
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jmc8888  +   819d ago
I believe it should be variable. Some people complain about games being too difficult or too easy, and do so because they are playing at the default setting.

If it's too hard, turn it down a notch or two. If too easy, go up a notch or two.

So ideally what they should have are enough difficulty settings to accomplish the task that the game can be easy enough for the novice user to beat while also having a setting where the hardcore will find hard to beat. Then some in-between those extremes.

There is absolutely no rule saying how many difficulty settings there must be. 3, 5, 10? Whatever it takes to cater to all audiences. They could also go the madden route where you can alter various segments. Maybe AI awareness turned down, but their marksmanship remains the normal, and the boss battles turned up a notch.

There are also some games where the hardest setting is easy, and others where the easiest setting is still too hard.

So really the devs should be better at creating a wide range of difficulty settings, and users should realize more that there are different settings, and that it is okay to have fun at whatever setting you deem appropriate. There's times where some gamers only want to play a game on the hardest setting and think anything else is not worthy, yet aren't very good, so they like an easy hard setting to fool themselves into thinking they were better than they are.

So it really is a complicated issue, and of course like some of the above posters earlier in the thread talking about good AI and difficult tactical situations being different than confusing objectives and near impossible tasks that are more about frustration than skill.

Thus overall I think it doesn't need to be easier or harder, I think we need more games that can cater to both sides of the argument, and people to be cognizant of their skill level as well as their options to change the difficulty.
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csreynolds  +   818d ago
I feel that difficulty balance has lost its way in recent years. It would appear developers' idea of difficulty today is 'smart' (a la, cheap) A.I. that rubberbands and overtakes you before crossing the finish line (racers), has a stupidly large filed of view - spotting you when you're out of sight (stealth games), juggles you until you die (beat 'em ups) or spams you with grenades/rockets/[insert projectile name here] (first-person shooters).

I'm not going to pretend I know how to resolve this issue, but difficulty in games is a subject that needs addressing. A good game provides clear instruction on how to play it, caters to ALL skill levels, from casual to hardcore, and has clear-cut bands of challenge (e.g. Easy, Medium, Hard, Insane etc.) that do not ramp-up the challenge on the fly. Most importantly, a good game should be FUN; if you're not enjoying it on some level, something's not quite right.
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