Epic Trials

Often I hear people complain how almost everything has become a lot easier hence dumbing down the next generation. This ranges from driving tests to academic achievements and also travelling to work! But a few months ago, I finally found someone complaining how difficult a game was.

There were many people unhappy with the challenge that they were presented with:

I’m so pissed at how hard this game can be…. before I could even take a step, I had already been knocked down. I NEVER GOT UP AGAIN. I was constantly stunned, until I got knocked out. That’s just stupid, and it’s not fun at all. I don’t mind losing if I sucked, but that? Like I said…screw this game.

Someone else also found it far too difficult and added:

I can never counter the computer even when I know exactly what its doing… I regret playing this game…And apologize to all the good games I could be playing instead.

Both gamers were referring to the fighting game – Dead or Alive 4. From my own experiences, the computer AI could be overwhelming at first, but after a couple of hours, you should be able to handle it – especially against the final boss.

It seems that the two authors here were new to the game and relied on counters and button mashing to get through the game. But with a bit more patience and  a little more knowledge, you will know that depending on counters and button mashing will not get you anywhere. It’s all about knowing each characters mix ups and blocking string effectively.

However, this made me think – “how difficult should a game be”? From my own liking, I want games to be challenging, otherwise it just doesn’t last very long with me. I guess the difficulty makes it mentally challenging as well as physically – I don’t mean physical fitness but to get the muscle memory to map your fingers/hand to a button for a particular response on the screen. I get a lot more enjoyment from completing “hard” games than a no brainer.

How then, is a game determined to be easy, normal or hard in general? For someone who plays lots of fighting games, DoA4 may be of average difficulty. But to someone who very rarely plays this genre, it could be one of the most difficult games they’ve ever played. Well, difficulty is very subjective, only you would know whether something is difficult for you or not. So I guess someone else’s opinion can only be just that; an opinion. You can only use it as a guideline for what to expect.

To me, Dead or Alive 4 is a challenging game and does require dedication to learn the mechanism of the game. But the whole experience of the game was amazing for me. Particularly the online mode where you will always be able to find someone better than you, a motivating factor to get better and also to see how creative your opponent is.