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The Essentiality of Difficulty in Video Games

Difficulty in video games is something that has, unfortunately, fallen by the wayside in favor of mass appeal and a low barrier to entry. While accessibility is an excellent concept that more core games need to embrace, accessibility at the cost of difficulty is a ruinous trend that only serves to remove the unique immersion that video games provide. Without difficulty and challenge, immersion and true “flow” are impossible to achieve, and as games become easier and simpler, developers have forgotten just how important difficulty truly is.

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panbit861377d ago

The answer to all this, is... *gasp*... "Difficulty SELECT"!
Games have been doing it forever but for some inexplicable reason, moronic elitist behaviour and acting like a brat because more people will claim your "brag rights" of finishing a game, are labelled "Respect to the Hardcore Gaming"...smdh...

KenAdamsNSA1377d ago

I agree, but the problem is that Difficulty Select doesn't always solve the problem. Harder difficulties don't always introduce new A.I. behaviors, and sometimes instead opt for cheap tactics like increased damage and laser-like accuracy. If difficulties actually scaled, as in A.I. got genuinely SMARTER and HARDER to deal with rather than cheap and frustrating, then Difficulty Select works.

Unfortunately, I've found that such a concept isn't exactly common. Until devs invest resources in scalable A.I., Difficulty Select won't solve the problem.

Soldierone1377d ago

That hardly ever does anything. I've played several games on max difficulty where I had to go to the menu and make sure it was on hard. Games are simply getting too easy and too linear.

Some games like Resistance actually make things rather hard, but often times its either still easy or frustrating because all they do is auto lock on you and force you into a really slow and tedious style of play. Shooters will have enemies have auto lock, grenades constantly spamming you, random enemies come up behind you etc... and you can barely peek out to get a shot off before being forced to hide again waiting for health regen.

soundslike1377d ago (Edited 1377d ago )

Not if the level design makes the game difficult. Things like Sen's Fortress wouldn't even exist in a game that was designed for easy modes and then added a hard mode later.

Games have to be designed to be enjoyed as either an easy game or a hard game, in order to truly satisfy either party.

Kyosuke_Sanada1377d ago (Edited 1377d ago )

When a game has a "Prepare to Die Edition", you would think difficulty is their modus operandi........

Conan-O-Brady1377d ago (Edited 1377d ago )

I think you're missing the point, the players choices and play style dictated the difficulty in both previous souls games, to put in a difficulty select would change the games completely...If you need an easy mode these are not the games for you...Not being elitist just being a realist.

Just out of curiosity, have you played the games?

panbit861377d ago

I have and to be honest i can't really understand what all the fuss is about. It's a couple of games with many flaws imo that got so popular based solely on their "legendary" difficulty. As far as difficulty select goes, it's up to the studio's talent and skill to make it work.
My point is that it's totally crazy when gamers want to exclude others from experiencing a game by adding an easier mode when their own "hardcore" playthrough wouldn't be altered at all in any way just so they wouldn't lose their "brag rights"!

Nevers1376d ago

More accessible? Fine!!! I've logged almost a thousand hours in DkS and a few hundred in DeS. I want FromSoft to be successful, more people to play(get over their fear of failure), and more Souls games in the future.

Sure put an easy mode in the next Souls game... just don't let "easy mode playthroughs" get PvP. The idea that someone could potentially get the best weapons for PvP through an easy/quick path doesn't sit well with me. Slap em' in the face with a "You beat easy mode trophy/achievement" called "I'm a delicate flower" or something as well. It shouldn't be just as rewarding to take the easy path as the hard one.

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Fateful_Knight1377d ago

You can't have every game as hard as the Souls series. It would make every experience a slog to get through. Not everybody has the time to endure that, and would like to just settle for something fun and entertaining. There's no shortage of games like that. Sometimes i like games to be short and challenging. Sometimes i prefer long and easier. Depends on the game and my mood at the time.

Bimkoblerutso1377d ago

I agree with you. I don't know why everybody has to assemble some ridiculous laundry list of requirements for a successful game, as if there's one single way to make them enjoyable.

...I love the Souls franchise, but I'm not going to start making ridiculous claims about what games "need" to do to satisfy me when I've also loved games like Heavy Rain and To the Moon.