Monday, December 26, 2011

Easy, Normal, or Hard?

I hear/read many gamers ask this certain question: what difficulty do you play on? Now, some are new to games or simply wish to enjoy the story so they play on easier difficulties. Others embrace the challenge and decide they want a more rewarding experience. In the end, it doesn’t matter what difficulty you play as long as you enjoy the game (and you feel awesome doing it).

Still, in case you’re curious (and I know you are), I thought I’d explain how I choose a difficulty when I play video games. I could easily tell you that I mostly choose harder difficulties because I’m super like that, but it wouldn’t be any fun; especially since there are several factors that go into making my decision.

Factor 1: The Challenge. As I stated earlier, some gamers like to embrace a challenge (hence the reason I torment myself with Demons’ Souls and Dark Souls). Video games offer an opportunity to test your senses and reflexes. After playing them for such a long time, there are moments when I want to see if my eyes and thumbs are up to a tough task (such as dodging six grenades thrown towards me at once in Call of Duty: World at War on Veteran difficulty).

Factor 2: The Story. While I love a challenge, sometimes I don’t want to bash my face into my basement wall because I can’t surpass one obstacle (I also don’t want to spend any more money on controllers). Sometimes, I just want to experience the story and, for a while, live as a character in another world (who doesn’t get killed every couple of minutes). For example, I have always played an entry in the Uncharted series on Easy or Normal for the first playthrough. Once I’ve enjoyed the spectacle, I’ll usually come back for another playthrough and amp the difficulty up to Hard or Crushing.

Factor 3: The Achievements/Trophies. Sadly, you can consider me a bit of an achievement whore. But, come on! I’m almost at a 100,000 Gamerscore (93,140 as of now)! If there is no achievement or trophy for beating the game on a harder difficulty (like Saints Row: the Third), I’ll play on Easy or Normal so I can have a good time. However, when I see that I can boost my score (or collection) by overcoming a tougher difficulty, I’ll usually accept the challenge. I don’t know why I do it, but receiving recognition for beating a game on Hard or Insane (I’m looking at you Gears of War) feels good. Also, I get to brag to all my friends. What gamer doesn’t like to brag every once and a while?

Factor 4: Co-op. If you don’t know, I’m a huge fan of co-op (especially couch co-op). The fact that I am able to play through an adventure with a friend/sibling (or the fiancĂ©e) is exciting. There are times when I will not play a game on Hard by myself (like Resistance: Fall of Man); but when someone I know is kicking ass by my side, I’ll change my mind and raise the difficulty. (Oh, and before I forget, damn you Resistance 2 for not having co-op campaign!)

Now wasn’t that fun? Okay, maybe not; but think of it as an eye-opener. These are the factors that run through my mind when choosing what difficulty I want to play on. Yes, I know it may seem like I’m overthinking the situation, but I’m only trying to figure out how to have the best gaming experience possible (in terms of difficulty). Maybe you’ll even have some of these thoughts next time you get your game on. Speaking of which, I want to ask you: what difficulty do you play and what helps you make that choice? Oh, and as always, thanks for reading!

I'm BACK!!!

Due to college work and my going away for the summer
to finish my military training, I haven’t been able to post on this blog for some
time. However, I am now finished with college and back home where I ought to
be. This means I will be posting on this blog more often. I’ll also put a pause
to the formal articles I was posting before. There still will be some here and
there, but I’m also going to post some of my opinions and views so you can all
get a sense of what kind of gamer I am. Well, I’m off to my first blog post
which can be expected in the next hour or two. It’s good to be back doing what
I love: writing about video games (after playing so much of them, that is). As
always, thanks for reading.