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Wii Games

Are Games Getting Easier? 854

An anonymous reader writes "I can't help feeling that this generation of games for both consoles and PCs are getting increasingly dumbed down and easier to complete. There's no challenge in today's games, most of which can be completed on the day of purchase. Triple A titles such as Halo, Modern Warfare 2 are the worst of the lot. The whole reason for this article is Medal of Honor, this can be completed within hours of purchase. Where's the fun in that?"
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Are Games Getting Easier?

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  • by Manos_Of_Fate ( 1092793 ) <> on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:40PM (#34028742)
    It's a business decision, pure and simple. The more people your game is accessible to, the more copies you sell. Why spend a lot of time developing a game 5% of the potential market will want when you can spend the same effort appealing to the other 95%?
  • Difficulty Settings! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:40PM (#34028750) Journal

    ... Halo, Modern Warfare 2 are the worst of the lot. The whole reason for this article is Medal of Honor ...

    I can't speak for Halo but I'm pretty sure MW2 had difficulty settings and I know Medal of Honor has difficulty settings because I played that piece of shit game last night. Easy and Normal maybe but I think that Difficult would take more than a couple tries on most levels.

    You're just mad because it doesn't mean anything to beat a game anymore. Sure, on XBox you can get gamer points or achievements for beating it on the hardest setting but it bothers you that others can experience the same rewarding progress dopamine that you get. Well, that's never going to change. By the very nature of how that is rewarding to you is the fact that you're a select few of maybe ~10% of the population that can beat the game.

    So Craptivision can either shutout some of their content to the vast majority of players or introduce difficulty settings so the toddler across the street can mash the controller in order to beat the game in easy mode. That drives profits and the only thing they see as a sacrifice is the rare super gamer that feels a bit miffed he or she just forked over $60 in order to autopilot through a game.

    You know I still played through all the levels of difficulty in Goldeneye on the N64 and didn't feel cheated. When I ran that train level on 00-Agent difficulty night after night after night I can still think back to those rare times when I would laser the engineer room hatch open with my watch and then drop down with Natalya only to have to run down the length of the train with people shooting at our backs. One bullet in either of our backs and we were basically dead. That goddamn bitch always died. Always. I swear to Christ when I eventually passed that level it was by sheer bug alone that she did not die. So after that cruel Sisyphean task that my friend and I worked together strategizing and getting through it, I was rewarded and will never forget some of those levels.

    Games are getting easier but I ask you what does it matter? You will have your difficulty settings (usually) so play only on the hardest setting and enjoy your Contra III style impossibilities []. The era of earning progress through a game has largely come to pass unless you look at the end game material of WoW at any one moment. Final Fantasy XIII was a travesty in this respect. And profit dictates it will stay that way.

  • Re:Where is the fun? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:44PM (#34028800) Journal
    Yes. This. Once upon a time multiplayer used to require being in the same room or building, connected via LAN (or MIDI, if you want to go back that far), but once the Internet became ubiquitous, that all changed. Why bother putting tons of money and effort into solo gameplay when multiplayer is so much more attractive to everyone?
  • Re:Where is the fun? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abigor ( 540274 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:53PM (#34028954)

    Fully agree. That said, you just have to pick your games: Assassin's Creed 2, Red Dead Redemption, GTA4 and many others offer extensive single player content. I love stuff like the Modern Warfare games, but I make sure to buy them used and cheap.

  • Re:*yawn* (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hesiod ( 111176 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:57PM (#34029048)

    The presentation was a bit trolly, but I agree with the sentiment 100%. The reason the guy can complete games so fast is because he's played so many of them. If you want more of a challenge and change, don't play the same type of over and over.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @04:09PM (#34029232)

    Obviously, you've never beaten Desert Bus []. Now *there* is an accomplishment!

  • Re:Where is the fun? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @04:12PM (#34029302)

    You shoot me, I shoot you, ad nauseam. That isn't fun, that's boring.

    There needs to be more cooperative multiplayer games. Something that allows everyone to play together and advance through levels and a storyline.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @04:12PM (#34029310)

    Bull. "Deeper and richer" means to me that I can pause to eat or answer the door or save to come back tomorrow night. I thought the 'user community' of Oblivion was one of the biggest and most active of any game, yet there is 0 online gameplay.

  • by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @04:32PM (#34029680)
    I'm what should be called "hardcore casual gamer". Sounds weird? Not quite: I play lots of games; most of them on easiest difficulty setting. I'll tell you why in a second.
    My philosophy is fairly simple: I buy a game, therefore I own it (albeit the EULA saying that it's only rented/licensed/leased to you, blah-blah). Bottom line is I can play it however I want. So... that's what I do.
    I know my limits. Aged 31 and working 'till 2 AM every night, I know that my reflexes aren't that good; my patience runs short; and I want to have fun. For me, fun is when you cruise through a game without wasting an insane amount of energy and frustration to advance. So in order to obtain that fun, I set the difficulty level to the lowest possible. I also try to grab all games which offer a rich sandbox mode. Examples: Prototype, Just Cause 2, Assassin's Creed, GTA 3, 4, The Saboteur, etc.
    Metagaming and immersion is a lot more important than mindlessly following the main storyline through corridors from A to Z. I usually ignore the main storyline whenever I can and only follow it when I want to change something. I had endless hours of fun in Just Cause 2 (played for almost 100 hours of game time so far) and it's still fun to do stuff in there. Same for GTA 4. Same for Prototype. I just wish there were more games like these out there on the market.
    One sandbox-type game that I did NOT like is Spore, because you always are summoned to do this and that and have to go there and do it, otherwise bad things happen. Ugly and unrewarding. Another bad sandbox game is Mafia 2: nothing to do except roam around in a car. Boring.
    As for Multiplayer: I enjoy co-op PvE games (such as Serious Sam), but I dislike PvP. My aggressiveness is around -7 on a scale from 1 to 10; combined with my bad gaming skills and my unwillingness to improve (call me lazy, I don't care) makes for a bad set of prerequisites for PvP.
    MMOs: I play browser-based MMOs, which are fun; OGame was one of the more interesting ones, up to a point when everything sort of got stuck (some sort of "endgame" where the server had too few people to make anything a challenge). I also play EVE Online, but lately it became to aggressive on all levels to be enjoyable. Everybody seems to fight everybody else for no apparent reason.
    One more thing about pretty much all MMOs I have played: the trolls, jerks and pubeless snoogans vastly outnumber all other types of players, thus poisoning the gamevironment. Yes, even EVE Online is invaded by such archetypes, polluting forums, chatrooms, etc. I had hoped the complexity of the game would drive them off; sadly, it's not the case.
    Well, anyway, staying on topic: I have no problem with dumbed down games. What I have a problem with are:
    - games which cheat. A good example would be racing games where everybody is 1 lap behind in the last lap, and all of a sudden you are ranked 6th.
    - inconsistent game difficulty. An example is the bloody ninja rope trial in Worms: Reloaded. I cruised through most levels (with few exceptions) but got stuck on that stupid level for the last 2 months or so. Epic Fail from the producer. Not to mention the ninja rope's mechanics is completely different from all other Worms games.
    - Bad ports from consoles. No further comment here...
    All in all, so what if the main storyline ends in 3 hours? Good, now we can concentrate on having fun in the sandbox mode :)
  • Re:Where is the fun? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @04:34PM (#34029712)
    Funnily enough, I bought this (gasp) multiplayer-only game over 10 years ago and... well, there's still tons of people playing. Maybe you need to stop purchasing online games which will obviously die or be shut down within a year.

  • Re:Where is the fun? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @04:41PM (#34029840)
    Actually multi-player it isn't always more attractive. There are a number of people that just want to unplug from society for a bit in a nice solo game. There are a couple issues I think. The first is the "Me Too" problem that first started when WoW started outclassing blockbuster movie revenue. The other is that good AI is very difficult to create. So many games that at first seemed hard became laughably easy as soon as you understood the AI and developed a counter strategy. Before the WoW "me too" problem started game developers were starting to make reasonable progress in adaptive AI. Post WoW all that's been abandoned.
  • by HarvardAce ( 771954 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @04:50PM (#34030008) Homepage
    Lemma 4:

    People still playing multiplayer need an actual copy of the game and cannot resell it to Gamestop or a friend. People who are done with a single player game can resell the game which means no new profits for the company who made/published the game.
  • Re:Where is the fun? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @05:52PM (#34031062)

    This is exactly what is wrong with gaming, nobody wants to put in any effort to practice getting better.

    The whole point of _competitive_ multiplayer is to compete you only get better by playing people better then yourselves. The same way you build muscle by lifting weights until exhaustion.

    Oh really? Then why is it that certain types of people camp out on a game they've already mastered, afraid to move on to something new?

    Lots of these competitive games are a lot of fun for the first two weeks while everyone is figuring it out. Beyond that, the chances of 'getting better' are nearly nil as you'll get no opportunity to practice anything. Anything except being dead, that is, and we're all already pretty good at that.

  • Re:ROI (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @07:09PM (#34032156)

    If Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas are any indication of "optimal running time", then making a game shorter than 200 hours is a bad idea. Of course you could run through the game skipping all the side quests and complete the game in 10 hours (if you tried).
    In other words, you need to make a game that can be played how the player chooses to play. My first run through of Fallout 3 I skipped the GNR mission entirely and went straight to Rivet City. I maybe beat the game in 30 hours with some side missions. I then realized I missed half the game without feeling like I missed it. So I replayed it and am still replaying it trying to complete all the side quests (man is there a lot of character development and more story with those), and I'm at about 150 hours and still playing.
    Not to mention its on a back burner for Fallout New Vegas. Now that I understand the game mechanics I'm taking it slow, exploring everything, getting the full story and loving it. I'm currently at about 40 hours game time and still haven't even gotten to New Vegas yet! Nope, still on my journey there. I understand not everyone has such desires and could blow through the game in 20 hours if they wanted. Hell, you could make it to new vegas in a couple hours of playing if you really wanted.
    The point is that the quality of any part of the game doesn't suffer because some kid wants to beat it in 5 minutes OR because a "basement dweller" wants the game to last for weeks.

  • by Jeppe Salvesen ( 101622 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @01:40AM (#34034668)

    I agree. When we were kids, we had the time to keep perfecting. I guess they still do, judging from the multiplayer action. And keeping attempting to beat that difficult boss is actually a fundamentally different experience than lowering the difficulty level. If you invest a lot of frustration into a game (I remember 10 or 20 or more attempts to complete something), it will feel like one helluva achievement to beat the game. Not the same if you have to try two or three times before you proceed.

    And I think we, the grownups, are to "blame" for this. I can take months to complete games. Obviously, I'm not a big gamer anymore - but I find it entertaining enough once in a while. I certainly play at "Please don't hurt me"-difficulty levels. And we, the grown-up low-key gamers are legion. We probably make up a very solid chunk of the market. After all, to us 50 bucks is not a whole lot of money. It's money, but not a whole lot, so we have a lower treshold to pick something up just to try it. And consequentially, if you measure hours spent in the game, we will be a much smaller demographic.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors