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The Debate Over Difficulty Modes

Super Co-Op Bros Martin Howard discusses a recent experience Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, and examines the debate over difficulty modes in games.

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anast54d ago (Edited 54d ago )

Some games have innate difficulty. Someone has to "break the game" to change the difficulty in Dark Souls and Sekiro. I have around 600 hrs of play time between Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 (New game + 7 is killing me). I got burnt out with Sekiro, I still have to beat it yet. All in all I enjoy difficult games, but I have no problem lowering difficulty modes, if the games have them of course.

ManMarmalade54d ago

I remember putting close to 600 hours on Demon's Souls and got to around NG+7. It was pretty much impossible to do anything at that point. But it was fun trying to lol

GlutenMifflin54d ago

lol, Some games are fun to push through but some make it so close to impossible it's just frustrating!

GlutenMifflin54d ago

I agree. Sometimes the difficulties that they have are insane!

TheCleverPotato54d ago

So, here is my take - on the one hand, I think for many gamers who lack the patience (and perhaps just the innate skill) to complete many games, i think that having a skill level/difficulty level setting is important so that the gaming experience doesn't become so frustrating to that casual gamer crowd that they end up giving up on a game, being frustrated, and perhaps never coming back to it. I think we've all been there at one point or another, and it sucks.

Some games certainly don't warrant a difficulty setting, and many other still are designed without one at all, either because its sort of irrelevant, or the progression of the game is made up by the ever-increasing difficulty (ie puzzle type games, like Tetris or PacMan - as throwback examples.)

On the other hand, you also have some very patient, dedicated and/or skilled gamers, for which having the added challenge of increasing the difficulty is just as important to them as the novice gamer who can't get past a level or a boss. If the game is TOO EASY for them, it can be just as frustrating/boring to feel you aren't getting your moneys' worth.

I think, either way, adding difficulty adjustments does not betray the games essence. Only using cheat codes, etc. really does that. That is a debate for another day!

54d ago
SickSinceSix54d ago

Check the trophy/achievement stats for most games (even highly rated ones) and you'll see whether there's a selectable difficulty or not, a large percentage of people never even finish the campaigns.

I've found this true even for games without a multiplayer mode, which was surprising.

TheCleverPotato54d ago

Yeah, very true, though is this a result of peoples' laziness or the difficulty? Or dissatisfaction with the game? I'm sure it's a mix of those, but there are plenty of games that I started a campaign on and never finished because of the #yawnfactor and not the level of difficulty one way or the other. I can onoy speak for myself, but I find myself being very picky about the games I truly get immersed in and can see all the way through to the end.

warriorcase54d ago

I know right. As someone who tried to complete everything I've started I think most of us in the discussion and forums of games are very much the minority. Watching podcasts and shows with Game executives, industry insiders and game directors have mentioned that on their back end they can see completion of titles and heard multiple times that the completion rate of games by user bases is usually around the 30% mark and if you get 50% then it's doing extremely well.

I'm sure a lot of us have friends in the more casual consumer space that just play GTA as a sandbox game for example or just skip cut scenes for every game and couldn't care less about the story beats, which in a lot of games are the motivation for progressing forward.

BlackTar18754d ago

All the people who complained are the same people protesting for criminals.

Petebloodyonion54d ago

I believe that the normal difficulty should the difficulty that the dev think this how you should play the game.
An easy or super easy mode could be add.

Reason of this is learning that the hard difficulty is how you should play the game piss me off when you learn this after completing the game.

GlutenMifflin54d ago

I like that idea. I think the reason why the developers add even more high level challenges to remove the idea that their game is not re-playable. Devs can immediately increase the idea of re-playability without adding a single bit of added content. That being said, There are many games that do the multiple difficulty modes well, like Far Cry 5.

StarDoggedMoon54d ago

That is how I tend to look at it as well. Problem Is that these games generally do not have a difficulty that specifies what the developers see as the normal mode. Instead the descriptions mostly talk about the player’s experience with these type games.

billmcgill53d ago

This is a debate I am beyond sick of. Play games your way, have fun, that's it. You have fun using cheats and save states? Good! You have fun by playing very challenging games? Also good! Fun is the point of it all. To the folks who put down the 'casual crowd', remember your gaming achievements aren't real and that all you've done is beat something that is designed to be beaten. Have fun.