The Difference Between Hard and Annoying

gaming difficulty

Sorry about how slow it’s been around here lately guys, but other than Mass Effect 3 dominating our lives (and every news post on every other site), there’s hasn’t really been much else to report on. There’s a new Sim City, I suppose, but what do you need to know? You make buildings, lose them to tornadoes, c’est la vie.

Given the lack of news and new releases, I’ve been replaying Mass Effect 3 on Insanity, trying to make Mass Effect 3 the first game in the series that I get 100% of the achievements on. So far it’s been fine, but the thing about cover based shooters is that on the hardest difficulty, the game pulls some really cheap tricks to make things difficult for you.

Since being in cover essentially makes you invincible (as one would expect), stepping out in to the open means certain death via some BS means like stun locking. Getting caught out in the open in Mass Effect 3 is survivable on normal but on Insanity it’s an instant death sentence. This doesn’t make the combat encounters challenging, but more of a slog because it mainly comes down to finding the one corner where enemies can’t flank you and just wasting them with power and ammo until you win.

Games do a really poor job at being difficult (there are exceptions like Dark Souls and the like) and that’s what makes doing runs on Insanity or Legendary or whatever such a chore. Maybe it’s too hard to design higher difficulty levels because most people just play it on normal, but increasing the amount of damage done to you incrementally doesn’t actually count. Halo: Reach was one of the last games to make a fun, challenging experience on Legendary; there were actually more things done to change the way the enemies behaved, and the energy weapon projectiles were faster meaning that not getting out of the way of a plasma pistol volley could spell the death of your Noble Six.

What games have you guys played recently that have given you a run for your money? What games have really poor excuses for the highest difficulty level? Do game developers need to start making harder games overall? Go!

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!

Top Six: Things Gamers Said They Wanted But Didn’t

Gamers are a greedy, fickle bunch, and we love nothing more than having our cake and eating it too. For every developer or publisher that tries to please us by making a fan-service game or getting sequels out faster, there’s thousands of gamers who will flock to the forums decrying the release dates and the addition of rainbows.

While gamer hypocrisy has been on the rise for a long time, it’s reached a critical mass within the last few years. Come inside and take a journey as we discover the top six things gamers said they really wanted, but actually didn’t.
Continue reading Top Six: Things Gamers Said They Wanted But Didn’t