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Why is the Difficulty of a Game So Important?

Joined
May 11, 2012
Location
Colorado Springs
Lately, all gamers seem to talk about is graphics and difficulty. Why is the difficulty of the game so important? People seem to care about it more than gameplay, soundtrack, story, etc. I just don't understand why they care about it that much. Don't get me wrong I enjoy a good challenge, but not so much that I hate a game just because it's to easy. I think gamers should care more about gameplay and story, and be able to like a game if let's say it has an amazing story and fantastic gameplay, but is easy. Anyway just something I've observed that has bugged me. So what's your take on this? Agree/Disagree? Comment Away!
 
Something many retro gamers have been decrying in recent years is the gradual difficulty decline in the industry. I find myself agreeing with this group. What happened to the days where you were thrust in the original Super Mario Bros. or Legend of Zelda and you learned through both exploration and experimentation? The hand-holding of many contemporary titles often incites anger due to distancing itself so far from gaming's roots. I'm not talking about super guide or some hint movies but tutorials throughout the game, brainless AI, and overwhelmingly linear progression. A major transgressor which comes to mind is Call of Duty with most titles faring equally poorly in the current gaming environment.

Difficulty isn't about the number of times you die in a game, it's about how hard that title requires you to think to progress. While at their basic core I deemed the Super Mario Galaxy games to not be overly challenging, if you wanted to scratch below the surface and reach 100%, precise mental calculations and quick reflexes were needed. That's what creates a hard game. Difficulty may not be the most important element of a game, however, its dissipation over the years is a cause of alarm. Also, due to my categorizing it in league with gameplay, I place difficulty over story.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Location
Wonderland
I agree with with your saying. It shouldn't be a big factor, but to a lot of gamers it is. They don't want a game they can fly by.
But so what is a game is difficult, if the story and gameplay isn't good, its not worth the effort of even finishing it.
I personally don't care about how easy a game is, I look at the bigger picture of the game.
Some people are real challenge junkies.
What I don't understand is why its such a big flaw for a Zelda game to be too easy as well.
 

ShadowDiety

Nanomachines, son.
Joined
Apr 12, 2012
Location
Michigan
I don't care about graphics unless they seriously are just completely horrible. Difficulty doesn't bother me either, Zelda games can be easy but I don't care because I'm in it for the story, soundtrack, and gameplay. A game that's really hard (ex. Zelda 2) doesn't affect my judgement either because I like a big challenge. I don't like it much for another reason, it's too confusing for me.
 
Joined
May 2, 2012
Location
Canada
The idea of a game giving you a challenge, I feel that since I've grown up with the video game industry I kind of evolve over time and the games I grew up playing like Zelda or Mario have become fairly easy.
 
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If a game's too easy, then it's boring. If it's challenging, it's more fun and keeps you interested longer. That could just be what I think, though.
 
Joined
May 10, 2012
When a game is too easy, finishing it feels far less rewarding, when you struggle every obstacle makes you very happy to be beyond it. A good example for me is demons souls, everytime i beat a level i was sooo happy it felt so good to be able to get to the next part of the world.
 
i dont care about the difficulty in games at all, if its too hard then it can be frustrating, but an average and easy level difficulty game is fine with me. I play video games for their stories. You don't get narratives and plots in movies and novels like you do in video games, you don't get the characters or locations or connection either, that is what i want from my entertainment to feel a part of it, which is why im a nintendo fangirl and dont own an xbox360 or ps3.

Zelda is wonderful because it has amazing characters and wonderfully epic stories, i don't care that TP was stupidly easy (as was SS but for some reason people don't complain about that) i got what i wanted out of TP; interaction and an enjoyable story. yes, the game was easy, as are others but for me that just meant the narrative flowed better without massive gaps used up with getting frustrated or scratching my head, i love games that i can breeze through, it does make it a little better if they require skill, but that is just a bonus effect, I'm in it for the story and i don't want it to be interrupted by the inability to progress, some games are just too damn hard. For me i enjoy the resident evil games but i can't complete RE4, which burns me because i want to see more of ada because she's gorgeous and very interesting.

So yeah, difficulty for me, isn't important but i'm sure i'm a minority.
 

Turo602

Vocare Ad Pugnam
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Location
Gotham City
Difficultly is important because it's something that has been quite lacking this generation. Take the Resident Evil franchise for example. Before, Resident Evil use to have puzzles, backtracking, limited saves, limited everything. Then comes Resident Evil 4...Everything is practically spoon-fed to us. Capcom's reasoning for this is that gamers of today aren't like gamers of back then. Really? Really!? REALLY!? So back then, gamers could tolerate difficulty and now they can't? Man, this Call of Duty generation of kids has seriously ruined everything.

Whenever difficulty is experienced in a game, it feels much more accomplishing, when complete. But then again, were video games ever supposed to be hard? I mean, everyone associates the 8 and 16 bit era of gaming with difficulty. But were they ever trying to be difficult? Most likely not. For the terrible games, it was poor development, and for the good games, it just worked best that way in that time. Now days, developers focus on trying to make games accessible to everyone. Easy to pick up and get into. But that doesn't mean video games can't or shouldn't be difficult. Like I mentioned before, trial and error gives us a sense of accomplishment. A game without a challenge is just not fun at all. It always feels much more kickass whenever you need to think your way out of an obstacle.
 
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Ventus

Mad haters lmao
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Difficulty is far more important to me than soundtrack/story in video games nowadays because most games of this generation are far too easy and they bore me. I don't like playing ridiculously easy games, because there is no challenge and I don't get the feeling like I accomplished anything. Compare Adventure of Link (NES) to Skyward Sword (Wii). Which is harder? The unanimous answer unless you've been rather masochistic will be AoL. Which do you feel more accomplished when finishing? My answer is AoL, because it's a massive beast that requires both brains and brawn to successfully tackle to the ground.

So yeah, I don't want to be bored when I'm playing a game. The game may play exceptionally well, but if it's boring, who the heck cares?
Difficulty isn't about the number of times you die in a game, it's about how hard that title requires you to think to progress.

A major transgressor which comes to mind is Call of Duty with most titles faring equally poorly in the current gaming environment
Oi, this isn't completely correct. Difficulty is actually a combination of both and a little more, the little more of which I won't delve into. Death count: Try playing any Touhou Project game. You'll die a lot, and therefore it's hard. Correct? Yes. Thoughts: Majora's Mask first time playthrough without previous Zelda experience, 'nuff said. Hard? I'm pretty sure it will be if you're not particularly good at puzzles -- it was hard for me.

Err, what? CoD has linear progression what with the objective always being pointed out, but the AI definitely isn't brainless in the harder difficulties. Oh, that's something I might as well point out, separate from this discussion within a discussion.​

To remedy the hate for newer games that older players have, if developers would put in difficulty modes, you know, Easy Normal and Hard, every player would be pleased by the product. We wouldn't get bored if, in Skyward Sword for example, there were more enemies whose AI dictates to them to use brute force, or if one of the bosses was replaced by a Dark Link-esque enemy. Of course, those who want to go to the baby version of SS are free to do so with the Easy Mode, but the more challenge-savvy players will go with NM or HM. It's really that simple -- all you ahve to do is point to some actors in the game code when programming HM/NM.
 

Emma

Eye See You
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I wouldn't say it's super important. I'd say this issue is how little importance game developers have been giving it. Many games have been dumbed down and made very easy to appeal to casual gamers. Nintendo is the worst offender. But I see them trying to turn that around a bit. Skyward Sword was more difficult than the current trend said it'd should have been. But it could have been more difficult.
 

MW7

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Jun 22, 2011
Location
Ohio
If there's anything I've learned from my time on this site, it's that people play video games for an extremely wide range of reasons. I'm sure there are plenty of people who can't stand to play a game without truly feeling challenged. I'm not quite like that but enjoy a challenge. Gameplay is definitely at the top of my list by a very large margin, and difficulty does factor into the quality of gameplay to some extent. For instance super easy games like Wind Waker are still very enjoyable for me, but I would have appreciated more of a challenge.

Could not disagree more. Difficulty options are for flash games and are a cop-out substitute for crafting a decent difficulty curve. Console game companies have no excuse for implementing something like this as they have the time and resources to flesh out the difficulty transitions properly.
I feel like that's a little extreme. Difficulty options can be a way to flesh out difficulty transitions properly. Goldeneye 007 is by far the best example of this I can think of. The missions naturally get harder as the game progresses, and the difficulty levels add additional required content which also increases the difficulty. Once you master the game you unlock 007 mode and creative players made new difficulty levels out of this option. To this day as far as I'm aware (15 years after the game's release) the most devoted players still haven't finished Silo on dark license to kill difficulty. So basically a four-year-old could "beat" the game by playing on agent mode, but a thirty-year-old who has literally devoted half his/her life to the playing the game still is being challenged by it. IMO Goldeneye 007 has the greatest difficulty curve ever designed, and difficulty options are a big part of it.
 

Ventus

Mad haters lmao
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Difficulty options are for flash games and are a cop-out substitute for crafting a decent difficulty curve.
This made me laugh. Fire Emblem has difficulty options. If you play almost any game (excluding FE8, FE9 and FE10) without ToV/grinding/arena abuse, the game will have a difficulty curve that is rather steep depending on what characters you use (oh, don't use Jaigen-types either). Still, it had difficulty options. They made the game significantly different in playstyle(srsly, compare Eliwood Normal to Hector Hard Mode -- you'll get the difference. It's far worse when you try to five star HHM). For those like you who want the difficulty curve, there's a reason why Normal Mode exists in many games -- decent challenge at endgame and piece of cake at beginning. Hard mode is for the more hardened player like myself, and Easy is for the newcomer who knows nothing about that game or it's series.

I don't get why you think difficulty options are bad; they're not.

EDIT: Diablo series is an example of a PC series that has difficulty levels. Needless to say, D2LoD on the hardest difficulty will give people hell, almost literally.

Dead Space series. Hardcore, man that is a nightmare.
...and so many other games series.
 
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