Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

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MoonMetropolis

Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

Postby MoonMetropolis » March 24th, 2012, 6:04 am

It's a generally accepted rule that games start off fairly easy and get harder as they go on.  But some games eschew this unwritten rule by starting off hard and then getting easy, or just randomly switching back and forth between hard and easy.  Have you ever played a game like this?  Here's some examples:

Fallout 3 - The beginning of the game is difficult to the point where many players may simply give up.  You pretty much don't stand a chance and will die constantly before it becomes easier.

Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse - Extreme difficulty jump between levels 1 and 2.  After that, it's all over the place.

Eversion - Worlds 4, 6, and 8 are harder than 5 and 7.

Battletoads - All levels are hard, but level 3 is generally considered the hardest.  After that, it actually gets easier.

Lemmings - Difficulty is all over the place.

Eternal Daughter - Starts off absurdly difficult (you will die literally every minute or so) and then gets easier as you gain new abilities.

Advance Wars series - You can never predict which boss will be the hardest.  In some games, the final bosses are actually quite easy, while the ones before it are very difficult.

Dead Rising - Combination of mall layouts and time constraints means the difficulty will randomly jump from being incredibly easy to being extremely hard and then back again.

Grand Theft Auto series - Some missions are total cakewalks, others will make you want to throw your TV out a window.  The difficulty of each mission is completely unpredictable.

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix - Sometimes, you'll have time limits and need to make sets in specific orders.  Other times, you;ll just randomly make matches until you can't anymore.

Sonic the Hedgehog series - The early games never started off easy and then got harder.  They started off easy, but randomly interspersed harder levels before having a final level that usually wasn't very difficult.

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VideoGameCritic
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Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

Postby VideoGameCritic » March 24th, 2012, 9:51 am

Good topic!  As a critic I am very sensitive to things like this.

I absolutely believe in the unwritten rule that the early stages should be relatively easy.  It makes sense because the player is just starting to get used to the mechanics of the game.  Plus, if you demoralize the player up front, they'll just turn the damn thing off.  If the player feels like they're making steady progress, on the other hand, they'll be hooked on the game.

I think the problem is exacerbated by the fact that in many games the stages are developed and tested separately.  The developers might not know the order until the last minute.  If somebody isn't there to arrange them correctly, it can be a disaster.

I think most of the games I play, new or old, follow this principle.  However, every now and then I'll run into one that doesn't, and it can be infuriating.  Lately I've started playing Actraiser 2 (SNES), and the first level (as suggested by the game) is absolute murder. Fortunately I've discovered how I can select other stages instead.

darkrage61
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Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

Postby darkrage61 » March 24th, 2012, 12:10 pm

Looks like someone's been reeading TVTropes   Anyways I agree with most of your examples, i'd also throw in the Rock Band series, sometimes the lower tiers have more difficult songs then a higher tier.


soporj1
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Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

Postby soporj1 » March 24th, 2012, 1:46 pm

Super Empire Strikes Back for the SNES. The difficulty consistency of chunky peanut butter.

N64Dude1
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Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

Postby N64Dude1 » March 24th, 2012, 8:10 pm

Tomb Raider is a great example

The hardest level is Natla's Mines,the first Atlantean level,the rest of those levels get easier and easier, the final battle with Natla is a breeze

The last few levels in "Grome" such as Tiohcan or The Cistern are much harder than the Egyptian levels

@darkrage6 are you a troper?


Viper821
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Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

Postby Viper821 » March 25th, 2012, 9:53 am

A few immediately come to mind:

Dead Rising 2 (PS3): This game was a total nightmare to start and I almost gave up after 2 hours because your character is so slow and weak and the bosses are flat out impossible. Turns out you need to level up and the game gets much easier.

Double Dragon 3 (NES): The entire game is hard, but the first level was an absolute nightmare back in the day. One life? No continues yet? Are you kidding me?

However, the grand champion of inconsistent difficulty is:

The Simpsons: Bart vs The Space Mutants (NES): The first level is hard because the purple objects are so hard to find, the second is a joke except for an almost impossible jump, the third is tough but reasonable, the fourth is almost impossible and the fifth is easy if you don't get lost. It's like each level was designed in a different country and nobody tested the game before releasing it.




darkrage61
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Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

Postby darkrage61 » March 25th, 2012, 11:37 am

Yes, I am in fact a troper?  Been one for at least two years now.


snakeboy1
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Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

Postby snakeboy1 » March 30th, 2012, 12:01 pm

Kid Icarus on the NES.  The game is brutally hard at the beginning and relatively easy toward the end.  The final level is probably easier than the first. 

Adamant1
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Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

Postby Adamant1 » March 30th, 2012, 12:26 pm

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace on the PS1 is a prime example. It starts out easy enough, but quickly increases in difficulty until it reaches ridiculous levels at stage 4, the hardest stage in the entire game. From that point on, the difficulty level is all over the place, from ridiculously tough to laughably easy.

Oltobaz1
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Games with Scizophrenic Difficulties

Postby Oltobaz1 » March 30th, 2012, 1:53 pm

Speaking of Star Wars... The HD version of Star Wars the Force Unleashed is prettty uneven in terms of difficulty, especially if you play in the harder difficulty settings.



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