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 New direction in difficulty.

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EquivocatorDust
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PostSubject: New direction in difficulty.   Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:17 am

Lately, a few video game companies have been changing what it means to be "difficult." Here's some examples.

Fallout: New Vegas made it so Hardcore mode was the same as whatever difficulty you wanted, but you were required to eat, drink, and sleep in order to keep your stats up. Also, you weren't able to heal damage to your limbs without special items or visiting a doctor.

This was a large step forward as it showed that making a "hard difficulty" wasn't just amping up enemy HP and damage while making you get less ammo; all that does it kill a game of it's fun. When you have to shoot something in the head with a 50 cal sniper three times instead of one, you're not making the game harder, you're making it retarded and not fun.

Dead Space 2 followed this by making it's hardcore mode a regular mode in which you cannot reload with checkpoints. I know this is not new as many games have added that, including Halo; however, Dead Space 2's hardcore mode doesn't allow you to carry over weapons, armor, money, healing items, or anything for that matter... and to kick it off, there are only three save points in the entire game. So, three save points + no checkpoints + regular game statistics? That equals a still fun game with a large disadvantage that doesn't actually hinder you. If you are really good at the game and never die, it will be a peice of cake for you. If you die a lot, this mode WILL kick your ass.

Back to Fallout: New Vegas, the same thing is in effect. If you are really good at Fallout and you know what you're doing, eating, sleeping, and drinking water is EASY... in fact, you should be doing this on every difficulty to some extent. The healing of your limbs is easy as well if you're good at the game because your limbs will never get crippled to begin with. If you're clumsy or play lazy and break limbs all the time, and if you're not efficient enough to drink water and sleep a bit, this mode WILL kick your ass.

In these examples, they don't actually make the game hard, they just set conditions that make it so bad players can't finish the game. Good players can still complete it just fine. I think this should be the standard of difficulty. I'm not a fan of playing Halo on legendary and dying in one melee... that doesn't make the game hard, it just makes melee useless, and proves that the creators had no creativity in how they progressed difficulty.
Difficulty shouldn't be a way of making a game less playable, it should be a way of filtering out the good players from the bad.

Fallout: New Vegas and Dead Space 2 are the best examples I can give for this right now. Any other examples are welcome. Smile
Also, opinions on difficulty?
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PostSubject: Re: New direction in difficulty.   Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:12 am

I have begun to notice this as well, however in some games (mainly shooters) the idea of hardcore (or insane in the example of GoW 1 & 2 that I am going to use) by simply having the enemies hit harder and you have less "amazing" armor works better than an idea of adding some other options (except perhaps adding more enemies). The reason for this however, is because by removing your massive DR (damage reduction) the game feels more "realistic" in that you will die from being shot once or twice, or a single rocket will kill you even if the impact if 5 feet away.

However, in any sort of RPG or even nearly any other sort of game , besides a solid shooter, this new idea of really increasing the difficulty of a game by adding new difficult features to it works very well. I would be happy to see more games introduce difficulty aspects as those mentioned above by EquivocatorDust.
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