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 Gaming Difficulty

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masofdas
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PostSubject: Gaming Difficulty    Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 18:27

This has come from what I'm playing on PlayStation and how Crash is now as hard the Souls games according to the internet.

I made the bold statement games have gotten easier and we've got worse because of it and then we go back to older games like Crash we're going dam this rather hard isn't it Confused

Muss like normal came back with top reply:

Define being "better" or "worse" at games. If being "good" at games means completing them, then the easier the games are the better I am at games. Wink

Regardless, you've just stated that games are easier now than they were (in some undefined period of time), not proven. More recently released games tend to have difficulty modes (RPGs often didn't whereas Tyranny has easy to hardcore difficulties, etc), how does that factor into your sweeping statement? Were older RPGs easier because they had infinite random encounters to grind through? Again, Tyranny doesn't, presumably making it harder on the really hard modes.

Your taste has also undoubtedly changed, how has that impacted your statement - do you just prefer "easier" games? Many games derive their difficulty from other players in an online environment, how does this factor into your statement? Go back far enough, and a much higher proportion of games are score attack based (Pac-Man, Galaga) how does this impact your statement? How do you compare the difficulty of Fifa 99 to Fifa 2017 - if the offline AI of FIFA 17 was insane, would that many people really care - perhaps a better question is, how relevant is the offline difficulty of FIFA to FIFA fans compared to older FIFAs, and how many FIFA players define its difficulty based off of it or the online user base?

What is the, related, definition of completing a game? Is it limited to the story, achievements, some 100% label a developer puts in the games menus? How do these factor into your statement - especially considering some Mortal Kombat achievements require a player to become rank 1 in the world.

How do you complete, or prove you're better or worse, at Pac-Man or Overwatch? Your score/rank? Pac-Man lacked online, but everyone played the same levels and the challenge was essentially, have fun and, if you want to try, beat your mates score. Overwatch and other online only competitive games, are an evolution of that concept, except the leaderboard (rank) is global. You can't define one as harder or easier than the other because their concept behind the competition isn't just, you against the game. It's you against your mates (and online vermin).

What's the average age of a videogames player? How does that impact the average skill of a player? I couldn't do shit on Digimon World back in the day, but I highjacked Drunka's telly and damn near beat it in one sitting (in front of his family Laughing ) - But that question is bigger than me, today all demographics are into games, from mobile to PC, how has that changed whatever the average gamer even is?


Now he makes some great points and I will have to agree my statement doesn't work for all games or all situations.

I can only say what I see and hear, which might be right or wrong but I often hear with older games that are Arcade Score Based that they were hard due wanting to people put money in the machine. If we move on to the NES with something like Ninja Gaiden which can be completed in about 2hrs but due to it's difficulty people played that game for weeks, again lot say this was done on purpose to make the game longer then it was.

Now with a game like Souls, I hear things like it's a challenge like games used to be and from what I've played all of the Souls games they are. I don't the combat hard, I find some of the mechanics of the game with how you die you reload back your last bonfire where in Horizon Zero Dawn I load where I died last.

That I think the correct thing shouldn't have been games have gotten easier they've added in things and become more accessible over the years, to possibly make them seem easier where older games don't have that.

Muss brings up FIFA that may have git harder with improvements with player AI for instance for all I know but just seems that people are having a hard time with Crash and I've numerous articles already asking was it always this hard and so on.

What do you guys think?
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 18:36

Yeah, it's just getting less needlessly infuriating. Hard games can be hard without cheating you with dodgy mechanics. Crash has a really weird jump mechanic and the life system screws you over at hard checkpoints (especially with extra lives not respawning between runs), this means on levels that require more precision than his jump allows you'll be starting from the very beginning all too often.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 19:32

I did give up but I reckon there's harder games.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 20:28

I think a big thing for me is that if a game is too hard and I find myself frustrated with the experience, I'll give up or turn the difficulty down. Life's too short, after all. I played through Horizon on Normal predominantly, but two encounters in the game (with those bloody burrowing worm enemies) were so frustrating that I decided to pop down to easy before returning to Normal. I still got to enjoy the game and progress.

So long as a game is either a) balanced and fair in its difficulty or b) allows me to change the difficulty when I need to then I'm sorted.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 20:53

Oh games have most definitely become easier on average.  Few developers actually know how to balance accessibility with difficulty, many make the mistake that accessibility is tied directly in to difficulty (which is true to an extent, but not the extent normally seen).  The newest Fire Emblem is a perfect example of this, all mechanics are stripped out or scaled down to the point it barely requires any strategy, yet Fates had a wealth of mechanics and a wealth of difficulty modes so that the player could tailor the game to their skill level, with those just wanting to coast through the story being able to do so and those wanting a truly strategic test were also able to do so (if anybody wonders why I STILL haven't beaten Valentia it's very simple: I find it utterly boring to play, and the story while decent is not so good that it motivates me to actually play it).

As for Crash Bandicoot, I never did clear the first game because of its shoddy controls.  I did 100% Crash 3 back in the day however, likely thanks to its controls being far tighter.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Mon 3 Jul 2017 - 21:11

Bringing up Echoes is an interesting one for me because it was the stripped mechanics that actually made me enjoy that one over Fates. Even on the lower difficulty settings, the mechanics of Fates - and Awakening, to a lesser extent - felt bloated and actively lessened my enjoyment of those games. Yes, the maps in SoV sucked, but on a battle system level I enjoyed it more than the other 3DS Fire Emblem games. It became less about micromanaging your units - what weapon they had, the skills (HATED the skill inheritance mechanics), who they were standing next to - and more about the positioning of the units and who would be capable of drawing units in for others to take out.

Don't get me wrong, I know that some people are well into the deeper mechanics of previous Emblems, but Echoes was great for me on a difficulty level.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Tue 4 Jul 2017 - 1:57

One key distinction to make is difficulty settings. Many old games, such as Crash, lacked them. But while the addition of difficulty settings makes games more accessible, that doesn't mean they're easier because of hard modes and/or sliders for customisable settings.

Another factor is just how much more diverse genres are than previously. You could make a case that the typical platformer is easier because they handle better with modern controllers and better hardware. But there are still games like Super Meat Boy that pride themselves on their very high difficulty. Strategy games are a mixed bag, but I found Shogun 2: Total War much more difficult than Rome Total War, and it's tough to see how the ludicrous density in Crusader Kings 2 isn't significantly more challenging than older strategy games.

The Fifa example is interesting because back in Fifa 99, you used to have to mash triangle to sprint. So the button masher was the better player. Just a year or two later and the mashing was gone, remapped to holding R1. Whose to say whether playing against the button mash immune AI, or the additional finesse afforded in later Fifa's with better AI in general, is actually harder?

For me, the biggest difference is that I know I can look online for anything I get stuck on, impossible back in the day. Secondly, unlike child me, I'm not stuck playing whatever my parents let me have, so maybe the stuff I get stuck on I just skip - wouldn't have done that as a child. Then again, unless there was some puzzle, I could always grind my way through a Final Fantasy or Pokemon, which I can't do with Tyranny.

If the question was, are games less frustrating now, then I'd be on board with that generalisation for the most part - really, it's teammates in Overwatch and games of that ilk that are the only notably more frustrating part of modern gaming (unless you include patches and all that too). But there are way too many variables within single franchises, Fifa, let alone across entire genres, to come to some sort of answer.

Anyway, Little Big Planet, Super Mario Maker, and Minecraft. Those are the hardest games of all time. They ask you to make cool things for other people to use (and judge). No matter how difficult 90s games were, they never made me despair at my own lack of creativity.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Tue 4 Jul 2017 - 7:02

This is interesting. I have just beaten Uncharted on Hard after going through on Normal, and there aren't many games that I would go back through on a higher difficulty. The incentive was to unlock cheats (a la Goldeneye) but I actually found it was a more enjoyable experience. I had the same experience with Gears of War, which I ended up beating on Insane. Cover-based shooters are much more tense and rewarding on those higher difficulties but they aren't necessarily more difficult, enemies just take more bullets and deal out more damage.

I would say that games like Bayonetta are still bloody tough and that the action games from Japan were more prevalent in the 80s and 90s. You had to have good timing and you had to learn patterns, essentially what Dark Souls represents now.

There's also the increase in narrative and much better storytelling in modern games, something that repeated deaths would potentially interrupt. And then there's the fact games are fighting for your time, so they have to be careful not to annoy the player, else they pick up something else. I'm glad that games are easier now, but appreciate higher difficulties, especially if there is an incentive to get through it.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Tue 4 Jul 2017 - 12:28

Just seen fronkhead link to this on the twitter.

http://crashbandicoot.wikia.com/wiki/Dynamic_Difficulty_Adjustment

Makes you wonder what other games have a system like this & you just don't know that it's adjusting around how you play the game.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Tue 4 Jul 2017 - 12:35

See I would just say that modern hard games do a better job of making it feel like the player cocked up, whereas older games might have had one more legitimately able to blame the controll[er]s. In this sense, rogue-lites such as the Binding of Isaac, despite involving large amounts of chance, don't feel as unfair as something like Crash might have. Even though Isaac is actually asking the player to do things that are much more challenging.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Tue 4 Jul 2017 - 13:10

Agreed. That's another thing that goes against remaking old games in my book as the difficulty is often deeply rooted in the core design of the game, you tinker with it too much you could end up with a game that feels different to the original.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Tue 4 Jul 2017 - 17:39

I don't have much to say on this topic. Basically, if a game isn't going to give me a chance, then I'm not prepared to give it a chance either. There's a few games up on the Switch's eShop that describe themselves as "tough as hell" and suchlike. To me, that just sounds like the worst thing ever. NGamer ended one of their reviews of a Mega Man game by saying "life's too short", and that's one way of putting it. I just can't be arsed with stuff that just want to give you an arse kicking. Bollocks to that.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Tue 4 Jul 2017 - 21:32

Same as Cappa, pretty much... but I'll make some exceptions. If I'm getting killed constantly, but the game's eased me in, and I'm making progress every time, and I'm not having to trudge a long way between checkpoints, and there's no big punishment for dying (Shovel Knight can get tae fock), and I don't feel like it's the game's fault I'm dying (shoddy controls, enemies out of nowhere, enemies I feel are chuffing stupid), then I'll continue with the hard game. The recent DKC games are proof positive of that.

I think the hard games are still out there, but they're less 'frustrating hard' and more 'you died, but it ain't that bad' hard. What with more liberal checkpoints and save-anywhere Zeldas and that. (BotW was a hard game, especially early on!)

There are exceptions, of course, especially those games that Cappa mentions on the eShop. They can go shove a shiny rhythmic space scarab up their psychedelic trippy backsides.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Tue 4 Jul 2017 - 22:05

Ooft yeah. With its marathon levels, thumper really should've had at least the option of turning on invincibility at the cost of a weak score.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Sat 8 Jul 2017 - 14:41

JayMoyles wrote:
Bringing up Echoes is an interesting one for me because it was the stripped mechanics that actually made me enjoy that one over Fates. Even on the lower difficulty settings, the mechanics of Fates - and Awakening, to a lesser extent - felt bloated and actively lessened my enjoyment of those games. Yes, the maps in SoV sucked, but on a battle system level I enjoyed it more than the other 3DS Fire Emblem games. It became less about micromanaging your units - what weapon they had, the skills (HATED the skill inheritance mechanics), who they were standing next to - and more about the positioning of the units and who would be capable of drawing units in for others to take out.

Don't get me wrong, I know that some people are well into the deeper mechanics of previous Emblems, but Echoes was great for me on a difficulty level.


The funny thing about all of that is I found Echoes to have the least in terms of character placement out of all the FE games I played.  The simplified mechanics mean that the same core set of units work for every single situation the game throws at you.  The lack of weapon triangles means your physical tanks work on every physical unit, and the same goes for magic and magic users.  

Even in Birthright despite having Ryoma and Takumi I still had to actually place units properly, because as ridiculously powerful as those two were they would still killed by bad placement.  The simplified units makes it all too easy for units to lack any genuine threats to them.  

It kills creativity and strategy, the game would have been a massive regression simply from Binding Blade, but coming after Fates it's just tedious.


Speaking of the child characters I never did bother much with those, they were a nice novelty in Awakening but in Fates they did more harm than just being overly complex.  The fact every male had to be able to support with every female killed any and all quality in support conversations even before the localisation issues, and the way they wrote the children into the story made fictional works like Twilight look like literature classics.  


Don't get me wrong, I can understand why Echoes would have appeal to people who aren't after a more difficult and hardcore experience, especially as the story is (mostly) pretty well done, but I feel the game makes an excellent example of my previous point of how modern games tend to be designed easier.  Just like how modern Fire Emblems have added in "classic" and "casual" modes I feel a simple addition between "complex" and "simple" for the battle systems would sort out the issues seen in Echoes without leaving either group of players up the creek.

That all said a great number of Echoes issues stem from it being a far-too-faithful remake of Gaiden, and some sort of toggle allowing for a more complex or more simple game depending on whether you want faithfulness or a challenge would have made the game so much more enjoyable to me, akin to how some of Intelligent Software's older games would sometimes change maps up on the harder difficulties.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Mon 10 Jul 2017 - 19:03

Athrun888 wrote:

That all said a great number of Echoes issues stem from it being a far-too-faithful remake of Gaiden 

I think you've pretty much nailed it there, to be fair. Echoes felt like a bit of a relic from a simpler time in places, but again, that's probably why it appealed to me. Having said that, I'd really like to see a Mila's Turnwheel mechanic make its way into future titles. I think that's why I enjoyed Echoes as much as I did - there's nothing more frustrating than having to restart a map due to your star unit getting wrecked by reinforcements spawning on top of them or due to a bullshit critical hit.
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PostSubject: Re: Gaming Difficulty    Wed 19 Jul 2017 - 9:05

Difficulty and skill are such nebulous concepts. I think a number of things have changed over time, many of which Muss has alluded to already. I have spotted a rise in games that are marketing themselves as 'hard as nails', as Cappa mentioned, which never needed to happen in my youth. It's not a bad thing, of course; just a sign that at least a few people in the industry feel that the perception of games has changed. Or maybe they just want to appeal to certain sections of the increased market. All of this is fine.

Maybe... maybe we've got more skillful, too? Wink I've been gaming for over twenty-five years now - it's bound to have some sort of effect on my skill levels.
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