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IGN: Difficulty Systems 101

It used to be that finishing any given game in your collection was a big achievement. These days more and more developers are conscious of giving players an accessible difficulty level. A lot of thought and effort goes into the difficulty levels and balancing of the best games on the market to make sure that the intended audience can breeze through, struggle to the end or hit a nice balance in between, depending on the title.

There are occasional innovations in difficulty design, and quite a few examples of crossover between the systems discussed here, but it would be nice to see more developers putting greater thought into how to please different audiences. With the current divide between the so-called casual and hardcore gamers, should games work harder to cater to all expectations of challenge? It's worthwhile to stop and consider how game difficulty systems operate these days, and how developers might work to cater for each gamer's needs and wants.

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