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Rick made a good point in his Sunday Soapbox. Games need a “casual” mode so everyone can enjoy them. However, the vast majority of hardcore gamers enjoy a challenge. In 2004 our prayers were answered: Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox resurrected difficult gaming. But with every Ninja Gaiden, there’s a “Devil May Cry Special Edition”. Want to know what I mean? Head inside for answers.

Everyone who knew me as a gamer since I was a little kid remembers one fact: I always play a game on normal first. After that, I tackle the higher difficulties in sequential order. I like to think I primarily tackle normal because I want to get a feel of what the developers thought the game “should be like”. Often times, I’m incredibly disappointed by how easy it is, but on other occasions, I’m delightfully surprised, or, on rare occasions, blown away by the difficulty.

Capcom made an odd decision when they came out with Devil May Cry 3′s Special Edition: they changed the original game, and made the normal game’s easy mode normal, and made the previous game’s normal, hard (ya dig?). I don’t get why Capcom decided to make Devil May Cry 3:Special Edition so easy. If gamers really thought it was too hard, wouldn’t it make sense to beat it on easy mode, learn the basics, then try again? I had the pleasure of playing Devil May Cry 3 1.0, and let me tell you: it was pretty hard, but not nearly as hard as I had heard. All of the bosses require a certain strategy, and I’ll admit, the Ice Cerberus boss (the second one) was very hard, but it’s doable.

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See the "Greatest Hits"? That means Easy Mode

There are a handful of games that “do normal right” these days. Uncharted, Mirror’s Edge, and Metal Gear Solid 4 were all comfortably normal. Not too hard, not too easy. Some games go above and beyond in terms of normal difficulty, like Ninja Gaiden, God Hand, and Street Fighter 4′s Seth. Ninja Gaiden was perfect in that once you finally beat the “hardly normal” (har har) normal game, it smacked you in the face with it’s ridiculous difficulty levels. Master Ninja, the highest honor, not only made you throw your controller into the wall, but your entire television set as well. Regular enemies killed you in one hit. How many people can say that’s “fun”? I have no idea, but let me tell you; I’m glad Team Ninja added it in as an option.

Hard games are being destroyed in reviews nowadays for being hard. IGN gave God Hand a 3/10 because it was “too hard”. The reviewer most likely never played it more than a few hours, and wasn’t accustomed to 3D-Brawlers. After beating it myself; I realized it played very similar to other titles in the genre, and it was easily picked up if you were familiar with it. Prinny: Can I really be the Hero?! is another example. A traditional 2D platformer for the PSP, Prinny was ripped because of it’s difficulty level. Numerous reviews didn’t state much else wrong with the game beyond “it being too hard”. Where have all the good gamers gone? If reviews stated more than the difficulty for a game receiving a low score, I’m all for it. But if the reviewer can’t beat a niche game, then they promote a bad review when they’re aren’t part of the niche, I don’t get it.

Basically what I’m getting at is this: combine Ricky and I’s ideas. Give casual gamers an easy mode to start off the game with extra powers, or simplified button combos. But give other gamers what they want. A challenge. Bring on the “Dante Must Die” and “Titan Mode” difficulties.

  1. I want to be killed in one hit. I want that kind of punishment.

  2. I love games that steel my will, and force me to become a better gamer. Contra: Shattered Soldier is doing that to me right now, and I love it for it. The sole reason I still desire to one day tackle Ninja Gaiden is for the challenge alone.

    I’m with you Chris, DMC3 1.0 was very fun, each game in the series (except 2) was made exceptionally fun because it forced you to get better at it.

  3. @Rick and Tim
    I totally agree, I love a game that will kick my ass relentlessly. Forcing me to be better.

  4. avatar Jeff

    I love a little challenge, but thats why they make expert expert and hard hard. Make some cheats for the non-gamers who just want to have fun.

  5. I agree. I love that some games let beginner and advanced gamers enjoy them equally. Games should strive to appeal to all types of gamers.

  6. I like to play shooters on the second hardest difficulty(Normally the hardest unlocked at the time) because I know I can do them. I know how shooters work. Any other game though, I play normally difficulty because I don’t know what to expect. I like it when those games ramp up the difficulty a lot once you get about 60% through the game and you know what your doing.

  7. avatar xino

    Hence the title, Games are too Easy. You should have said Gamers are Lazy!
    Gamers nowadays always want to play Easy games!

    I’m playing Resident Evil 5 now, and when I search for games online, I see people using infinite ammo. I mean, what’s the point!? I read a discussion by 2 different users online. One of them was asking people if they want to Co-oP with him in RE5 professional mode. Next person says, “I’ll be with you later, just finish the game under 5 hours and unlock the infinite rocket launcher then we’ll play”. WHAT’S THE POINT!?

    If you’ll use infinite ammo for a difficult settings, it doesn’t make it difficult. The problem is, lots of people in the UK are using the infinite, they are probarly the types who button bash in Soul Calibur 4 online.

    Gamers are just plain lazy, they can’t stand challenging games. Trashy players are already praising Ninja Blade over Ninja Gaiden. I love Ninja Blade, but it isn’t better than Ninja Gaiden.

    “Often times, I’m incredibly disappointed by how easy it is, but on other occasions, I’m delightfully surprised, or, on rare occasions, blown away by the difficulty.” I too always use Normal for my first play through, because I am familiar with these sort of games, yes we’ll get surprised because we weren’t expecting to die at that situation. We get disappointed because we are used to it.

    Ninja Gaiden Black will always be my favourite hard challenging game.

  8. avatar LT

    Games are easier nowadays for people to avoid their frustration. If games were too hard, people would throw the game away and never buy another again.

    Most people dont spend too much gaming…. they do socialising that is much much better… gaming is only part of it and for fun, not for spending 100s of hours in it.

    I guess devs wanted to sell more games.

  9. avatar Dirk

    As gaming becomes more and more mainstream the games themselves will seem way too easy for a hardcore gamer. It is all a matter of opinion as to what easy, normal, hard, etc. is supposed to mean. Maybe the best games are the ones that have a sliding difficulty where it analyzes how you play and adjusts gameplay according to you labeled yourself as an easy, normal, hard, etc. player?

  10. I definitely respect developers that leave in extreme difficulty options, like Konami (MGS games, European Mode) and Capcom (SF, DMC).

    What I don’t appreciate is games like COD5, where higher difficulty simply means more grenades. I have never got so upset with a game than with Call of Grenades 5. Some games do higher difficulty better than others.

  11. @ceklund
    Good point. Oddly enough, the only game I never “got into” the highest/uber difficulty for was the MGS series. I dug the “you’re seen once, you lose” thing, but it was more frustrating for me than fun. I tend to enjoy action more than stealth, hence “Dante Must Die”.

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