News debate and opinion Post: “My elitism and misplaced ego spoiled my games”
Like many players, I love performing and the sense of achievement after a particularly tough series is one of the most exciting sensations I’ve ever experienced. This pursuit of satisfaction influenced my gaming experience for a long time until I realized that it had a negative effect on my enjoyment of the game.
In difficult you will play …
Of course, once a certain degree of mastery of the pad was achieved, I began to turn to the higher levels of difficulty of my favorite games or to challenge myself again. After a first game, I restarted Bioshock on maximum difficulty and first revised Red Dead Redemption by deactivating the automatic lock. My logic was simple, I wanted the most difficult experience possible. It’s a trend that I’ve followed for many years and that I’ve justified in many ways. Over time, I started making all of my games difficult because I felt like I had a more rewarding experience. In the end, however, I quickly realized that not all game experiences are suitable for high levels of difficulty, but above all that not all are treated with the same care by the developers.
Challenge lovers know that unbalanced difficult modes are common. It’s not uncommon for designers to push damage controls to the limit to distort an experience. This choice makes sense, although it may not suit all play styles, but it does not work in harmony with the enemies’ increased resistance. HP bags that do serious damage to the player are the easy way to create a hard mode. After all, this vision of difficulty does not require adjustment, but rather countless touches of his opponents as he knocks us down in one fell swoop. Ideally, a hard mode should require the player to master all of the game systems and demonstrate that they can master the rules of the world they are roaming through.
Games that focus on survival, tension and visceral confrontations sometimes offer much more exciting experiences at the maximum level of difficulty. For example, A last one of us gains intensity if it survives or becomes realistic, because the fragility of the protagonists makes sense from both a diegetic and playful point of view. Fewer balls, inability to use the hand, increased damage without making the opponents more resilient … These more extreme modes add real added value to the gaming experience as they increase the player’s feeling of insecurity. So it’s easy to understand how The Last of Us Part II implements a mode where death is permanent. When this option reaches its limits in terms of the gaming experience, especially because death is quick if you fall from a ladder, it has the advantage of connecting the fate of the player with that of his protagonists.
… and you will be frustrated
For the same reason, I’ve done all of the Uncharted 4 in Extreme from my first run and wanted to do the same for Lost Legacy. Unfortunately, one series just got over my patience. This segment of Chloe having to drive past an armored vehicle with Gatling frustrated me. For a few hours, my ego will only have generated anger and a sense of injustice. Too narrow-minded and elitist to accept that I was having a bad time, I insisted on it for much longer than I would like to admit. I was eventually forced to reduce the difficulty to a lower mode in order to advance in the story. What was my surprise when I realized that I was having a lot more fun and that the experience was much smoother.
The Uncharted case speaks for itself, but the demanding experience that led me to question my propensity to seek trouble at all costs is very different. As a huge fan of the Fire Emblem saga, I was impatiently waiting for the Fates episode to be released.
In the end, it’s not the fact that I wasted hours and hours starting over the same area, which is absurd. Everyone finds lunch on their doorstep. Rather, this absurdity is based on the fact that I have imposed rules on myself to flatter my ego and to belong to a kind of self-appointed elite. I continue to believe that virtually any player can tackle the developer challenges if they have the right skills. However, this investment must make sense and the game must be worth the effort. We can easily agree that beating HP bags for a hundred hours to be able to say I finished such a difficult game is pretty sterile.
Some may identify with my experience. I know that, for my part, I preferred to seek the challenge in competitive games rather than difficult modes that are not always well calibrated. In any case, it is important that each player can tailor an experience to their skills and enjoyment of the game without feeling judged. In my case, it was my elitism and ego that kept me from enjoying some great games to the fullest. It’s a mistake I won’t make again.
By iGamesNews, Journalist igamesnews.com