Difficulty in Video Games: Is Hard the New Normal?
Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard, When will it stop?!
by Gregory Laporte Editor Vice President on November 6, 2013 at 12:00 PM EST

Video Games

In a world where gamers get the newest and hottest video games like Assassin’s Creed IV, Battlefield 4 and the latest Call of Duty, there is always the age-old question that plagues gamers: What difficulty do you start at?

When starting a new game, you are poised with  selecting your difficulty level. Easy, normal and hard are the three that are usually available. Easy is typically the level that some people will use to get easy trophies and achievements after they have already completed the game. Normal tends to be the basic level to allow people to get a feel for the game and tempt themselves with brief instances of difficulty. Although this proves to be fun, it doesn’t really differentiate much from easy mode and can be completed by even the most unskilled players.

There are differences in difficulty levels with games like Call of Duty, God of War and Uncharted that take it one step further with a very hard level. Sometimes, these modes can be the most frustrating modes, or they can be the most rewarding.

Playing a game on normal just hasn’t been much of a challenge to me anymore.

Sure, I can enjoy a game when I play it normal and get through it with no issues. However, when I play a game on an above average level, success feels most rewarding.

Think about the last time you played a traditional platformer, action or shooter on normal. How was the challenge that was presented to you? Did you find it easy, or were you really struggling to get through the game early on? Once you learn the routine and formulae that most games use, they become really easy to play.

Lastly, most games in this current day and age have anywhere between 12 to 15 hours of roughly single-player storyline. If you add in the multiplayer mode that’s included in many recent games, you could end up having countless hours of playtime. The only problem with that is there are some individuals that don’t like playing online. That’s why I’m asking all of you a question, Do you think hard is the new normal? Let us know in the comments posted below.

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  • Armin

    Games are getting ‘easier’ because they are no longer the crude, abstract obstacle courses of the 1980s, and can actually offer something other than a challenge – immersion, narrative, wish fulfillment, among other things. Many games today are almost a different genre of entertainment than the old school games such as super mario, more like a form of primitive virtual reality. You don’t ‘beat’ Skyrim any more than you ‘beat’ a movie by getting to the end of it, so talking about it being easy or hard is meaningless. It’s about the experience of living in that virtual world, not the challenge of overcoming a series of obstacles.

    I think both challenge-based and experienced-based games are valid, but I think they should be labelled differently so people don’t have wrong expectations about what the purpose of a game is.

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