On Difficulty Levels

MrNickster

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Apr 23, 2010
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The only game I can think of off the top of my head that lets you switch difficulties without starting a new game is Red Steel 2. I didn't use it though-I like to play a game all the way through on the same difficulty (I'm weird).

That bit about an NPC offering to weaken the enemys by poisoning their water could be a clever implementation-A bit 4th wall breaking, but it could definitely be useful to a struggling player or one that finds the game too easy.
 
Aug 25, 2009
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Maybe you should make Fun Space Game: The Actually Scary Fun 90s Shooter? Just a suggestion.

I prefer difficulties where you can alter them mid-game, but I do think you should be able to change back sometimes, because some games the shift from one to the next is enormous, as you mentioned in one of your older reviews (don't remember which one). I also think Max Payne didn't do too badly, as when you did better the enemies did become noticeably harder and better at killing you, then eventually they got too good at their job and scaled back again. It was a little blunt at times, but it worked as a system, along with the standard 'easy, medium, hard' malarky.

Maybe a little of both is the answer, don't overwhelm a new player, but equally don't let them fall into the trap of going too hard before they're ready for it.
 

Yahtzee Croshaw

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Aug 8, 2007
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Infamous has the option to ramp up the difficulty if you're doing to well. I was playing the game on normal and the game seem to notice that I was impaling every challenge it threw at me on a gigantic lightning rod. It prompted me to play on Hard Mode instead, which I did. Sadly, the majority of the game was still piss easy.

But it is one example that what Yahtzee mentioned has been implemented. They were even kind enough to still give me the gold trophy for beating it on hard, since the game changed the difficulty for me.

 

BlueHighwind

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Jan 24, 2010
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Once upon a time I played Sonic Rush for the DS, and was in the fight with Blaze the Cat. The rest of the game was pretty tough, but this one part was simply physically impossible. The game wanted me to button mash two buttons on the DS simultaneously at such a rapid speed that I actually burned my thumb in the numerous failed attempts. Maybe years of inactivity have left my hands a miserable husk of flesh and fat incapable of just the slightest quick action, or maybe the developers of Sonic Rush are EVIL HORRIBLE PEOPLE. I don't know.

Thank God that you can change the difficulty at any time, or else I never could have beaten the game.
 

itf cho

Custom title? Bah! oh wait...
Jul 8, 2010
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I typically set my difficulty to normal and just go with it. Even if it winds up seeming easy, I'm more interested in seeing the plot progress than I am having a harder time to kill the bad guys. At the same time though, I don't play on Easy as I want some challenge.

Personally, I think it's a great idea to allow switching of difficulty at any time. Based on reviews I've seen of the latest Splinter Cell, that would be a good option there, as several reviews have mentioned that there is one boss that if you've taken the wrong mix of skills will just constantly chew you up.

I'd be wary of a one-time difficulty change, as maybe in the early game you're just mowing through the bad guys, so you change the setting. Then 10 more hours into it, you realize that you're getting your head handed to you, you've used your one difficulty change, and you're left with the option of starting over entirely or a painful slog through the rest of the game.
 

hamster mk 4

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Apr 29, 2008
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Shame about Fun Space Game. I hate to say it, but your policy about not talking about a game until you are done was probably a good one. Peer pressure is a poor substitute for genuine interest.
 

CopperBoom

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Nov 11, 2009
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I am always just trying to get through the story usually so for Bioware games I always am on casual.

I do like the opening bit on difficulty naming. I forgot how much I missed it until now.

I am bummed that thie FSG:TG update I have been waiting for is so negative.
 

JaymesFogarty

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Aug 19, 2009
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That's why I appreciated Half Life 2 so much; it just had the perfect difficulty level for me! But I agree that in action games, there should be some imagination with the settings; more choice is good!
 

ldwater

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Jun 15, 2009
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The only problem I have with difficulty settigs on some games is that they don't seem to scale with friendly AI.

Some sports games (NFL / NBA) the computer will become unstopable but your own computer controlled friendlies are still moronic. Same goes with some shooters and upping the difficulty means that the enemy becomes inhumanly accurate and aware while your own squad mates seem to remain the same.

I did like the difficuly settings of 'Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising' - instead of making the AI harder / better / more accurate etc it simply removed more and more of the HUD (and reducing save points) meaning that the player had to be more aware of the surroundings etc.

Shame the AI on that game was already pants on head retarded :(
 

mjc0961

YOU'RE a pie chart.
Nov 30, 2009
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The one problem I have with people naming difficulties something other than "easy, medium, and hard" is when they pick things names so vague and let you scroll both ways without stopping (putting them in just an option block so you can't see them all at once, just what's selected) that it's sort of hard to tell "Okay, which one is easy? Which one is medium? I hope I didn't just start on hard..."

While there have been a few games (I think Devil May Cry did it first) that offer to ease up a bit if you're dying too often, very few have an equivalent prompt if you're doing too well.
That game I hate with a passion, inFamous, does that. But it's just another reason I hate it: First of all, it didn't actually ask me as much as say "Okay, you did so well, we just put the game on hard for you. Don't want it there? Don't care, you can drop it back down again yourself." And the second part of why it pissed me off is, it did it right after the game's first mission. Yep, I did so good at the combat tutorial that it decided I should play on hard mode. Great thinking, game.

I rather like the idea of being able to work shifting the difficulty into the game though. That's nifty. I hope some game devs are paying attention to this one.
 

wooty

Vi Britannia
Aug 1, 2009
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I think Bayonetta was the hardest to adjust to in terms of hiking up the difficulty with each mode. One I unlocked "ultimate climax", the first 10 minutes made me cry and feel slightly useless. It felt like trying to stop a speeding train with a paintball gun.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Well if anyone wants an awesome space game to look forward to, Infinity [http://www.infinity-universe.com/Infinity/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=113&Itemid=93] seems to offer that.

More on topic, I too miss the funny difficulty names. What ever happened to good ol' fun?
 

JacobyPAX

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Jun 14, 2010
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MrNickster said:
The only game I can think of off the top of my head that lets you switch difficulties without starting a new game is Red Steel 2. I didn't use it though-I like to play a game all the way through on the same difficulty (I'm weird).

That bit about an NPC offering to weaken the enemys by poisoning their water could be a clever implementation-A bit 4th wall breaking, but it could definitely be useful to a struggling player or one that finds the game too easy.
you could switch difficulties in fallout 3.
 

Nevyrmoore

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Aug 13, 2009
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...and it's why I should probably have stuck to my usual policy of not telling anyone when I'm working on a game.
And then you tell us you were also working on a sequel to Art of Theft.
 

The Lizard of Odd

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Jun 23, 2009
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Yahtzee: Have you heard of Amnesia: The Dark Descent? It strikes me as a horror game that you would approve of (at least in concept) . . . pretty sure you play the entire game without using weapons.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M627-obxNzg
 

Zetsubou-Sama

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Mar 31, 2010
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Fun thing, this article reminded me of Pro Evolution Soccer 3, a football game that would ask to change the settings when the game was easier, it helped in keeping me entertained and I'd love for more games to have that feature since I usually end up finding the game easy and not doing anything about it.
 

SamElliot'sMustache

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Oct 5, 2009
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After the mention of Silent Hill 8, I looked up the trailer on YouTube, and I have to agree that it doesn't look scary. Constantly swirling cameras, 'spooky' sound effects, and they practically made the graphics glitter, they were so showoffy. Looks like yet another shooter that throws in cheesy horror elements (though, I'll probably give it a rental, at least).

At least Shattered Memories attempted to be subtle and psychological.