Can a videogame be ruined due to excessive difficulty?

biggles

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Recently I played two games which made me think of this.

Rogue Squadron 2 Gamecube. Ridiculously hard game to get gold medals. Apparently they made the game super hard to cover up its small number of levels.

Star Fox Adventures Gamecube. Actually an easy game up to a section about halfway through the game called the "test of fear". I played this part for hours without success and eventually had to just give up.

While a certain amount of difficulty gives a sense of satisfaction, too much difficulty makes games stressful and kills the fun factor.

What do you folks think? Any games that fall into this category worth mentioning?
 

tuaarita

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I'm playing through Dead Space 2 on Zealot difficulty and while I find it enjoyable and challenging, some parts of it just flat out aren't balanced. It gets intense, but it doesn't serve the horror-aspect of it at all and ends up frustrating.

Luckily I found most of the power nodes and I'm stomping the necromorphs end-game. :)
 

MavericK

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Yes, definitely. When they up the "difficulty" by having the AI use cheap tactics and such, it's just frustrating and not fun.
 

kbrickley

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Well the deity (or equivalent levels) in Turn Based Strategy games (like Civilization and Heroes of Might and Magic) are brutal ... the computer is given so many advantages and you are given so many penalties that even a single mistake can cost you the game ... although it can certainly be a badge of honor to win at those settings there is as much an element of luck as opposed to skill in achieving that victory ... I don't mind brutal settings as long as they are that (settings) ... if games are by default brutally hard they don't end up on my purchase or play list since there are too many more fulfilling things competing for that time and attention ... happy to admit I have occasionally played ID games at the "Don't Hurt Me Daddy" easiest skill levels :D
 

Wildace

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for some reason im having a hell of a time in the witcher 2 on normal difficulty on pc. (this is my first time playing it, never played the first one)

maybe its because i dont play very many action games but it just feels like i get tore up so fast in almost every fight, the prologue area wasnt too bad but act 1 seemed a bit rough especially the boss fights i felt like i was in a meat grinder and dodge and block didnt seem too effective.

as soon as i drop it to easy tho the game was way too easy.

like during the fight against letho on normal i could get him too around 2/3 of his health left at the most but it seemed like i couldnt avoid his magic knockback or get much damage on him before i would get killed, but then i drop it to easy and he never gets a hit on me and is pretty much perma stunned by the default light attack.

not sure what im doing wrong but i guess ill just have too keep difficulty toggling, keep it on normal until i get sick of dying to somethig then switch it to easy for the kill then back to normal till i hit another roadblock which imo is ruining the experience a bit.

i have no problem playing a game like skyrim with super hard super realistic mods, like the hypothermia mod ect where you can freeze to death by going in the water or not camping by a fire ect due to the elements. no fast travel an no locations on the compass ect

not sure what it is about the witcher 2 but i suck bad with its combat system.
 

MaZa

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for some reason im having a hell of a time in the witcher 2 on normal difficulty on pc. (this is my first time playing it, never played the first one)

maybe its because i dont play very many action games but it just feels like i get tore up so fast in almost every fight, the prologue area wasnt too bad but act 1 seemed a bit rough especially the boss fights i felt like i was in a meat grinder and dodge and block didnt seem too effective.

as soon as i drop it to easy tho the game was way too easy.

like during the fight against letho on normal i could get him too around 2/3 of his health left at the most but it seemed like i couldnt avoid his magic knockback or get much damage on him before i would get killed, but then i drop it to easy and he never gets a hit on me and is pretty much perma stunned by the default light attack.

not sure what im doing wrong but i guess ill just have too keep difficulty toggling, keep it on normal until i get sick of dying to somethig then switch it to easy for the kill then back to normal till i hit another roadblock which imo is ruining the experience a bit.

i have no problem playing a game like skyrim with super hard super realistic mods, like the hypothermia mod ect where you can freeze to death by going in the water or not camping by a fire ect due to the elements. no fast travel an no locations on the compass ect

not sure what it is about the witcher 2 but i suck bad with its combat system.

The Normal on Witcher 2 is really hard until have buffed your character enough that you wont get slaughtered in few strikes and its still very tought. There should have been a difficulty level between Easy and Normal that is almost exactly same as Easy except give enemies a ability to block. With less skill than normal perhaps but still block so it wouldnt be button mashing through the game.
 

guitarguy6

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The fuckn begining of the Witcher 2 before they patched it. I nerd raged and smashed my mouse.
 

LeninGHOLA

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Huh, I beat TW2 on Hard twice, and once Dark.

I find most RTS to be ridiculously unfair and difficult.
 

Youn

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Most games I find difficult are those that are just plain annoying, like wonky camera issues, crap framerate or controls, ear-raping voice-overs or music, so-lame-I-want-to-shoot-myself-in-the-face stories, etc...
 

Disposed

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I like a good challenge but when a game just goes balls to the wall and makes it next to impossible that does strip all the fun away. Majesty 2 comes to mind. I dont think a single person that worked on that game even played it let alone beat it before release.
 

Sovern

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Never had this problem. I love a good challenging game. I'd rather a game be too difficult than too easy. Assassins Creed comes to mind as a game that could of been great if it wasn't so darn easy.

Just beat Shadow of the Colossus on the PS3 and the last one in particular was very difficult for me but I've learned that with most difficult things if you try it a few times and take a break/go to sleep for a night and come back to it you're much more likely to beat it then as it will feel easier.
 

ShoeLace

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I never had a game ruined for me due to difficulty. I grew up with an SNES though. Games like ghouls and ghosts were some of my favorites. Give something like that to a random 12 year old today and he would probably end up either crying or kill himself.
 
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I had a hard time with Majora's Mask. I didn't play the game for a while, and when I returned I was able to progress further.
 

Youn

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I had a hard time with Majora's Mask. I didn't play the game for a while, and when I returned I was able to progress further.

Yeah, I played that game a few years ago and 54 minutes in was like "ffs, wth is going on?" and put it away. I hear it's a great game, and I enjoyed OOT (but thought it was too easy) so maybe I'll give MM another go...
 

octoberasian

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Three games come to mind:
Jurassic Park
Shinobi
Both on Sega Genesis.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES (8-bit)

I have yet to beat Shinobi, that game was superbly hard especially when you get into the fourth or fifth levels. The jumping felt awkward at times and you could mis-jump at times.

For Jurassic Park, I still have not beaten it as a Velociraptor yet unless I did something wrong. Countless guides on Gamefaqs and I still could not kill Grant in the end.

Oh, and the coup de grace, TMNT on the 8-bit NES. That dam (literally and figuratively) was terribly difficult. As a kid, I didn't question the logic behind electrified seaweed at that time, but as I grew older and being Asian, seawood isn't naturally electrified. :eek: How can seaweed kill turtles. The controls and the auto-float-to-surface mechanic made navigation difficult.

I like games to be hard. I want a challenge. But, it better not be to a point I'd throw the cartridge or controller halfway across the room. Unfortunately, majority of the games today and on the console can be beaten in 20 to 30 hours. Games nowadays lack a serious challenge that I enjoyed back in the late 80s and 90s. I miss those kind of games that made me have to think and work for the end goal.

I don't see it anymore.

Nowadays, difficulty has become nothing more than frustrating controls, broken camera, stupid AI, scripted events removing difficulty, and broken level design. Game developers aren't challenging gamers like old school gamers like myself used to be challenged before. Games nowadays are nothing more than fighting the game mechanics and level design, than being physically and mentally challenged by the AI, enemies, bosses or actual in-game challenges and puzzles.
 

jojo69

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I never beat the final boss in Borderlands, had it down to about 15% health one time...gave up
 

Youn

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Oh, and the coup de grace, TMNT on the 8-bit NES.
I see this one mentioned a lot, but I don't recall that game being hard, and I beat it. Maybe I was just sooo into TMNT at the time I didn't care to replay the same section over and over again. I do recall, however, the glitchy frame-rate slow-motion crap-fest from time-to-time. Hahaha, oh great memories
 
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I'd say that excessive difficulty can ruin a game if that's only what it excels at. This is why I don't get why people are so fixated on the motto "it's all about the gameplay." Sure having great mechanics, good difficulty and whatnot is important. However, without great music, settings, stories and characters, it has little substance as a video game. If a game keeps me wanting to keep playing to find out what happens next, I'll persevere through a reasonable amount of difficulty. However, if it's just hard for the sake of being hard (like an arcade game), I'm fine with just walking away from it.

As far as my experience goes, I can't think of a single excessively difficult game that I would put among my favorites of all time.
 

biggles

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The other thing to consider is games that are brutally hard by default and those that are only hard when you change the difficulty settings. I don't mind a game that is hard when you want it to be and think it is great that games like, say, Fallout 3 or Oblivion, allow you to change the setting on the fly.

On the other hand, games that are too hard and have no difficulty setting...that is just wrong.
 

Nirad9er

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Ninja Gaiden III on Hard is insane. I had to drop the difficult because I couldn't progress any further and literally died 50 times in some parts.
 

dj_taboo

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@op...how old are you????
Those games aren't even all that rough.

Like others have said, TMNT on NES was pretty bad. The satisfaction of making it out of that dam was great though! I did it. ONCE.
Oh and before the Internet, the mountains on Zelda was rough. You had to remember what that old lady said or know someone who figured it out.
 

dj_taboo

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...oh and Ghosts and Goblins was kinda crazy.
Why don't you pick up Mega Man 9 or 10 on console and give them a try?
 

SeymourGore

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Ninja Gaiden on Xbox. For the most part, I enjoyed its difficulty, however there was this one part where I saved just before a boss fight and only had a fraction of life left. It felt cheap that I couldn't heal myself or find a way to heal myself before the fight and after failing countless times to beat her, I just gave up.

Oh, and as for TMNT for the NES, I didn't find the dam section that bad. It was the level after where shit got real for me and I never did complete the city section after the dam area.
 

DeathPrincess

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If a game needs too much...work for no reward, I usually will just skip it. I like hard games (I get even more bored if things are too easy), but if it's just a game with a pile of nonsense mechanics or the same game again with +1 everything (and it doesn't change the gameplay significantly) it can be kind of tiresome.
 

pothb

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Only when the difficulty gets boring. Like you get killed instantly, and there isn't much you can do about it. I like difficulty, but when it gets to pretty much that point then... meh.

Key in point, Demons Souls, when you screw up a world that makes it ridiculously OP.
MN in Ninja Gaiden. I beat it on Very Hard and I still died at the first couple of ninjas.
 

NickJames

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Legend of Grimrock is a great game but I swear half the time it's like finding a needle in a hay stack.
Hitman: Absolution would love to play it on purity but that instincts meter bullshit pisses me off.
Ninja Gaiden, fuck this game.
 
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Yeah, I played that game a few years ago and 54 minutes in was like "ffs, wth is going on?" and put it away. I hear it's a great game, and I enjoyed OOT (but thought it was too easy) so maybe I'll give MM another go...
If you end up not finishing the game, you should read a full overview of all the side missions and main story. Its so sad. :(
 

dgz

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Three games come to mind:
Jurassic Park
Shinobi
Both on Sega Genesis.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES (8-bit)

I have yet to beat Shinobi, that game was superbly hard especially when you get into the fourth or fifth levels. The jumping felt awkward at times and you could mis-jump at times.

For Jurassic Park, I still have not beaten it as a Velociraptor yet unless I did something wrong. Countless guides on Gamefaqs and I still could not kill Grant in the end.

I suggest you take a look at save-load or even quick save / quick load options that Gens provides. Not sure if you can map those functions to the controller, though.
 

huxley

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A lot of the examples here have to do with some ultra high difficulty that you inflict on your self.

Gamer: "I want to beat this game on its highest difficulty"
Dev: "Ok, lets make it tough."
Gamer: "Its too hard"
Dev: "Well, then play it on the normal difficulty"
Gamer: "Well I want a real challenge"
Dev: *face explodes*
 

MrC4

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Recently I played Deus Ex HR (fantastic game by the way) and was very frustrated with the boss battles. If you play the game using stealth/hacking, your character will be waaaay unprepared for the difficulty level of the boss battles.
 

socK

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Recently I played Deus Ex HR (fantastic game by the way) and was very frustrated with the boss battles. If you play the game using stealth/hacking, your character will be waaaay unprepared for the difficulty level of the boss battles.

It's not that bad, I beat most before I even got the damage decrease thing. You can end the first one in like 20 seconds by chucking barrels at him. You can regen your way back to safe health in the others by running around like an idiot and playing the angles.
 

Dark Shade

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Is-This-Battletoads.gif
 

r3awak3n

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I usually play on hard difficulty, I definitely like a challenge and most games now a days are not super hard on hard. To me, too hard can definitely ruin a game, specially when the game is fine for 90% of the game and then the last 10% is impossible.

Some games though, difficulty doesnt bother me aka super meat boy. as long as it doesnt seem unfair, im cool with it but when I feel like the designers are doing it to piss me off, it ruins it for me.
 

Slade

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Devil May Cry 3 for PS2. Not the SE version.

Oh you've died a few times? You've unlocked easy mode!

It was later revealed that Normal was hard, hard was DMD and DMD was well just damn hard...
 
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