An eGamer journalist talks about the common lackluster approach to difficulty settings, and how they should be game changers rather than artificial challenges.
A very good read and I pretty much completely agree with this OP. I personally hope enemy AI to be something that would be changed by difficulty settings too. Simplified example: enemies are dumb on easy, moderately intelligent on medium, very tactical on hard. In most games it seems like enemies are set to dumb mode across all difficulties. Even adding different kinds of behaviors to different enemies (even if they're physically the same enemy as another one) randomly would make a huge difference IMO.
It's been a while since I last played it but I seem to recall the AI in Killzone 2 seemed to be better on Elite mode than in the easier modes. For example I remember playing on Elite and watching a Helghast lay down on the floor to line up a small opening in a door and a small gap in a railing so that he could take shot at me.
The Helghast are punishing on Elite. The train level in 2 on Elite was a real bastard to get past.
I wish the LEGO games actually ramped up the difficulty in some ways. All the LEGO games just seem like a walkthrough experience rather than a challenging game. Why don't they ramp up the difficulty by limiting lives or a rechargable health bar and after it then limiting continues, call it a LEGO Hardcore mode. I would have actually bought far more of these games if this was the case, but sadly for the lack of of a real challenge, I stopped after only buying 2.
This has actually been a pet peeve of mine for years, and its why I play most games (at least the first time through) on normal. I feel normal, is where the game is most balanced. A perfect example is one of my favourite games of all time, Farcry. In normal, a headshot is a kill. A 3 round burst to the chest is a kill. Put the difficultly up a level but, and suddenly you need 2 headshots, (WTF man) and half a clip to the body. This is not a welcome challenge for me, its just an annoyance. I have nothing against hard games, I finished Ninja Gaiden. But the challenge should come from smarter AI and increased numbers which I have nothing against unlike the author, unless it just becomes saturation. I dont like when these artificial challenges change the vibe of the game. Like he said, less health and more enemy damage just force him to crouch behind cover more often. It didnt make the game more fun. And at the risk of being unpopular, I blame online MP gaming, which has no AI. Graphics have come along in leaps and bounds, even over this generation. Sound, control methods, nearly every part of gaming has improved, except IMO (aside from a few exceptions) AI, and I believe MP has alot to do with this. AI is the biggest area with room for improvement and hardly anyone is doing anyting about it, and why would they? Sure the dev will spend year perfecting the graphics, but why waste time on AI when everyones just going to play deathmatch anyway. I mean I still cant believe we have game with friendly AI that just run in front of you while youre shooting. I really see games stagnating in this area, and I hope devs have a different focus soon, but sadly I only see it getting worse.
I wish driving games were harder. This gen with splines and the like really bothers me and arcade racers have become easier as well. I wish there was a racing game with a more organic structure to the opponent AI. Give each AI driver a unique personality so some are strong at defensive driving, some are always on maximum attack, some are unpredictable and some are aggressive risk takers.
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