Gaming Difficulty: When is it Just Right?

dead space 2 hardcore mode

As my unemployed status continues to persist, I’ve found myself undertaking gaming-related challenges that I wouldn’t typically do under normal circumstances. Recently, my sights have been set on Dead Space 2, and and the Hard Core mode achievement in particular.

What Hard Core mode consists of is a run through of the game with only three saves total and no checkpoints. If you die, it sets you back to you last save point, even if that particular save was about three hours of gameplay ago. Hard Core mode is mercilessly unforgiving, and even with my fantastic Necromorph slaying skills, there’s been more close calls than I care to admit.

As I am wont to do when subjecting my gaming muscles to a new challenge, I got to thinking about difficulty in games and what games do it right. Hard Core mode is an excellent example of this. Instead of just making every enemy kill you in one hit (or throw loads of grenades…Treyarch), the tension comes from the lack of a “safety net”, and the very real possibility of losing hours of progress. While this may sound like a pain in the ass, it’s actually quite engaging, and a great test of your skills. More games should do something like this, where the difficulty factor is not determined by cheap AI, but rather by taking away things we have come to rely on like check points or saves.

What do you guys think about this notion? Has anyone here tried Hard Core mode, and do you agree with me? What games would benefit from this kind of challenge? Hit me!

Written by

mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

12 thoughts on “Gaming Difficulty: When is it Just Right?”

  1. The #1 reason I love saving and/or checkpoints is in case there is a power outage or the game freezes.

    I have yet to try Hardcore mode on Dead Space 2, but I will eventually.

    Here is a idea, make it so you can disable checkpoints and the amount of saving.

  2. As I am an achievement whore, I am doing a Hardcore playthrough. I just performed my last save at Chapter 13 yesterday and I am preparing to do the home stretch tonight, and besides glitching myself out of an train because I got bored and meleed myself out of a wall, I haven’t even died. For those looking for some tips do this: Only use the Force Gun and Plasma Cutter. Don’t bother buying other weapons, this ensures that for the most part you can only loot ammo for those two. Spend money on ammo and health first, nodes later. Upgrade your health twice, then after that fully upgrade Plasma cutter, finish health, then upgrade force gun. Stasis is up to you, but your Force Gun is your designated “oh shit” gun, so I don’t bother with it. Also having IGN’s walthrough sitting right next you and planning what your going to do before entering each room helps. On the topic of difficulty in games, I totally agree Mitch. World at War brought me to the brink of insanity with its infinite respawns and grenade throwing ways. Dead Space’s Hardcore mode, however, has been surprisingly entertaining in the fact that you always have to be on your toes and skill, not luck, will let you prevail.

  3. Yeah, the Force Gun and the Plasma Cutter are the way to go. I’ve got the PC fully upgraded, and I’m working on HP on my rig before doing the FG. I died right before Chapter 11, and my last save was Chapter 8. That was kind of annoying. I made a stupid mistake in the Tripod nest and got killed.

    Also, the disc swap before Chapter 7 can be used as an alternate checkpoint if you’re on the 360 version.

  4. This is a great idea, although I know when I die or lose my save files, I rarely want to re-play parts of the game I just went through. Fallout 3 was a special case, where I lost 25-30 hours of exploring and then my harddrive died. Had to start over, and it was totally worth it.

    If I died at chapter 11 and had to start from chapter 8 (like Mitch said), I would probably have to take a few weeks off before I felt like playing again.

  5. Damn W@W.
    I generally don’t like hardest difficulties in games (I sometimes do hard willingly, but very hard rarely interests me unless I get a shiny trophy). For some reason though I really wanted to do ME2 on insanity. So I started it tonight. Thank GOD you get a bunch of resources from the start. It makes life so much easier. I’m playing as a Soldier due to the access to ammo types. It might not be Infiltrator, but it gets the job done.

  6. [quote comment=”15477″]Damn W@W.
    I generally don’t like hardest difficulties in games (I sometimes do hard willingly, but very hard rarely interests me unless I get a shiny trophy). For some reason though I really wanted to do ME2 on insanity. So I started it tonight. Thank GOD you get a bunch of resources from the start. It makes life so much easier. I’m playing as a Soldier due to the access to ammo types. It might not be Infiltrator, but it gets the job done.[/quote]
    May God have mercy on you when you reach the Collector’s Ship, my friend. It will test your gaming wits like none other. And Julez and Mitch the elevator part is relatively easy with a decently upgraded force gun. Just keep your and on a swivel and keep moving in circles, and blow away anything that moves.

  7. ME2 on Insanity literally made me quit the game for a while. The mission where you recruit Legion literally made me throw the controller.

    1. Oh man, can’t wait to try out some Demon’s Souls later this week. My goal is to get to a good stopping point with GT5 soon and then move on to that. Preparing myself for the sweet, sweet punishment.

  8. @ SK Beans, I heard the collector levels are hard but it wouldn’t be worth a gold trophy if it wasn’t a challenge.
    @ Eddy, that “preparing myself for the sweet, sweet punishment” line: Kinky or creepy? You tell me lol.

  9. Both?

    It’s cool reading all the responses in this thread, btw. There was some bs article on Kotaku yesterday about how the author let Donkey Kong Country Returns play itself when it got too hard, and in my mind, that’s really not experiencing the game. Sure, if something’s too hard, just get past it – but if your purpose is to review the game, it seems to me you’re doing it a disservice by not finishing it on your own. Just my two cents, though.

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