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Op Ed

Edge Magazine - Assassin's Creed III devs: "Easy mode often ruins games".
"Itís like if I picked up a book and it said, 'Do you want the easy version or the complicated version?' [Game designers] can simplify the language, you know; we can make it two syllables."

Kotaku - Easy Modes Can Ruin Games? Um, No. Thanks nin.
It' just baffling to see that, in the year 2012, there are still people in the video game industry who approach things as though this was the 1980s, and the only games on the market were there to test you. If I don't have to pass a test just to turn a page in a book, or reach the second act of a movie, I shouldn't have to in a story-rich video game either.

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17. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 15:33 PHJF
 
I think the general fall of the single player game can be attributed to the lack of skill-based games. As games have evolved for the past decade I've felt less and less in control and more like a passenger on a theme park ride. This is why sandbox games are so fucking popular, they seem to be the only games returning some semblance control to the player. Kind of miss the old days when I was expected to perform perfectly-timed jumps before I could move on to the next level...

Easy mode just exacerbates the problem, but easy mode only exists because there's a market for it. If anything an effort needs to be made to endlessly ostracize people USING it. "Casual" gamers can all go fuck themselves.

Amen to that. In the original Thief games as you upped the difficulty more areas became accessible to you, but there were more enemies and some shadows were missing making sneaking more difficult. Plus the better ammo became much rarer. Painkiller did a pretty good job of it too. Let's see more creativity in difficulty levels please.

Don't forget Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.
 
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16. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 14:39 Ratty
 
Creston wrote on Sep 4, 2012, 11:11:
And then they make it harder just by doing the BS "you do less damage, enemies do more damage and have ten times the HP" routine.
Amen to that. In the original Thief games as you upped the difficulty more areas became accessible to you, but there were more enemies and some shadows were missing making sneaking more difficult. Plus the better ammo became much rarer. Painkiller did a pretty good job of it too. Let's see more creativity in difficulty levels please.

And about the article, the first author is on crack. Sure, let's take away more player choices cause I want you to play the game my way. Oh, and quicksave ruins games too so we didn't put it in so you're forced to have a more visceral experience.

The second author is on crack because he defends playing games on easy. What a moron. How about, I always play games on hard but the existence of Easy difficulty doesn't bother or affect me at all.
 
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15. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 14:26 Ruffiana
 
nin wrote on Sep 4, 2012, 10:43:
reisub wrote on Sep 4, 2012, 10:08:
I don't think having an optional "easy mode" is a bad thing at all. It harms no one and at the very least it might allow disabled gamers to have more fun.

It's not a bad thing at all. If it's single player, it shouldn't matter how you play the game.

The screenshot of DX there is one of my favorite examples. I'm here to have fun, and enjoy the game (and story). I'm not here to bang my head against the wall, and do the same section of the game over and over. That's not fun, to me.


There's challenging gameplay, and then there's just badly designed gameplay that's hard because you're learning through failure.

I don't mind a challenge, but I don't have the time to devote hours and hours to mastering some obtuse set of button combinations with precise timing to be able to get through a game. Likewise, I don't have the time to bang my head against a wall and replay the same 10-15 minutes of a game because the checkpoint is at the beginning of the level, before the 5 minute cutscene and boss fight where you're just supposed to figure out what the gimmick is through trial and error. Fuck a bunch of that nonesence. If you're going to present me with a trial and error fight then restart that thing instantly when I die.
 
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14. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 13:53 Flatline
 
Came for the obligatory potshot at "girlfriend mode", leaving a little sad.  
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13. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 12:54 reisub
 
If it compromises the game at other difficulties and would take a lot of work to implement (i.e. practically making new gameplay), then I can understand, otherwise, not so much. Add a super easy low damage mode, make QTEs etc skippable (banning them might be better), have optional assists. Where's the harm? I am slightly biased though.  
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12. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 12:41 Verno
 
reisub wrote on Sep 4, 2012, 12:34:
So you'd rather people be unable to play a particular game at all?

I don't think the idea of being accessible to everyone is necessarily a goal every single game should have. That might be what is most desirable from a financial standpoint but financial considerations shouldn't necessarily trump design goals and vision. Introducing arbitrary difficulty modes or changing AI/functionality can have detrimental effects overall despite the intentions being good. It should really depend based on the scope and goals of the design team.

I am super bad at sports videogames so I just don't play them and I don't think there is anything really wrong with that. They don't need to change anything to accommodate me, I just spend my money somewhere else.
 
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11. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 12:34 reisub
 
So you'd rather people be unable to play a particular game at all?  
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10. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 12:22 PropheT
 
It depends on the game. An easy mode would definitely destroy a game like Dark Souls. MMO's have suffered from dumbing down and simplifying content to make everything but portions of the games "easy mode" in order to accommodate everyone.

I have no problem with adding easier game modes to games, but the ones that do it against the vision of what the game is supposed to be are definitely ruining the game. A game about a struggle for survival quickly becoming a superhero stroll through the scenery loses the context of its setting.

Bottom line, you can't appreciate the victory without a struggle and the easy-mode "push button, receive reward" sort of instant gratification doesn't build anything memorable outside of the short term satisfaction you get before wanting the next instant reward.
 
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9. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 11:51 Yakubs
 
As Creston said, in a perfect world you've have a great, well-designed game with an easy mode included. However, in the real world, 99% of the time you have a shitty, poorly-designed game with, if you're "lucky," a hard mode.

Fact of the matter is, you can't please everyone. If your game is "story-rich" odds are it's gameplay-poor (see pretty much every AAA game released in the past 5 years).
 
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8. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 11:11 Creston
 
I don't have a problem with an easy mode in games, but with a large majority of games nowadays, Easy mode seems to be the default. And then they make it harder just by doing the BS "you do less damage, enemies do more damage and have ten times the HP" routine.

I wouldn't mind it if AC3 is harder than the AC2 games, which were pretty easy (apart from quite a few bullshit arbitrary "don't get seen!" mission objectives.) On the flipside, if they hope to attract new players to AC3, making it too hard might turn them off the franchise in a hurry.

I respect the AC3 devs' feeling, but I gotta say that for some games it's nice to have an easy mode.

Creston
 
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7. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 10:43 nin
 
reisub wrote on Sep 4, 2012, 10:08:
I don't think having an optional "easy mode" is a bad thing at all. It harms no one and at the very least it might allow disabled gamers to have more fun.

It's not a bad thing at all. If it's single player, it shouldn't matter how you play the game.

The screenshot of DX there is one of my favorite examples. I'm here to have fun, and enjoy the game (and story). I'm not here to bang my head against the wall, and do the same section of the game over and over. That's not fun, to me.

 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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6. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 10:18 Verno
 
briktal wrote on Sep 4, 2012, 09:55:
I think what they were trying to say is that in some games, easy mode can make it so you don't really need to play the game "correctly" to succeed. They mentioned a cover shooter where you don't need to use cover. Perhaps also a racing game where you just bounce off the walls instead of braking and turning.

Sure, that's all fair and stuff but I'm just saying that's what their games are too. They convey difficulty through bonus objectives but you still reach them through using an absurd amount of contextual action automation so it's really more about fighting timers than anything else.
 
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5. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 10:15 Silicon Avatar
 
Yup. My blind friend plays games for the story. She can't necessarily get past a lot of twitch reflex combat or stuff like quick time events. That happens when you have a tenth of an eyeball left for vision. Why game developers still can't understand that baffles me.

 
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4. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 10:08 reisub
 
I don't think having an optional "easy mode" is a bad thing at all. It harms no one and at the very least it might allow disabled gamers to have more fun.  
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3. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 10:06 finga
 
Bring back dynamic difficulty and put that in as an option. Very few games make a point of doing it (although some games do it secretly and don't tell you), but those who have made it a specific feature wind up making it a pretty cool system.

Sin Episodes had it, and it really made it interesting because the client remained aware of what happened in your last quicksaves/quickloads, so you could quicksave-whore it and the game would start ramping up the difficulty if you used it to great success. (And it'd drop it back down if it noticed you were quickloading over and over without making any progress.)
 
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2. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 09:55 briktal
 
Verno wrote on Sep 4, 2012, 09:50:
Edge Magazine - Assassin's Creed III devs: "Easy mode often ruins games".

The AC games aren't exactly a shining beacon of difficulty so I'm not sure what he was getting at there. I enjoy them but you pretty much just push a button and watch Assassin Theater, there is way too much contextual automation done on behalf of the player.

I think what they were trying to say is that in some games, easy mode can make it so you don't really need to play the game "correctly" to succeed. They mentioned a cover shooter where you don't need to use cover. Perhaps also a racing game where you just bounce off the walls instead of braking and turning.
 
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1. Re: Op Ed Sep 4, 2012, 09:50 Verno
 
Edge Magazine - Assassin's Creed III devs: "Easy mode often ruins games".

The AC games aren't exactly a shining beacon of difficulty so I'm not sure what he was getting at there. I enjoy them but you pretty much just push a button and watch Assassin Theater, there is way too much contextual automation done on behalf of the player.
 
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Playing: Fire Emblem, Diablo 3, Bravely Default
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