The Monthly Question: September 2017

The Monthly Question: September 2017

The difficulty setting in a game is not something most people really stop to think about, yet that choice can have a big impact on one’s enjoyment of the game. Then there is that part of the internet calling Story mode “girlfriend mode” or trying to one up each other on how to make Dark Souls even harder. So why do we play games on the difficulty settings that we do?

To shine a light on our thoughts on the different difficulty settings in video games, I asked the PS Nation writers:

Do you ever play games on Easy or Story mode?
Ben Palmer (PSN ID: CNPalmer)
The difficulty setting in games can be a double-edged sword, so to speak. If you’re playing the game to really test your mettle, then playing on higher settings is definitely for you.

Personally, I play a game to enjoy the story, mechanics, and scenery as much as possible without having to worry about “cheap hits” from enemy AI, and I find I can do that more on the lower difficulty settings. I don’t mind being challenged, but for me it doesn’t really improve my enjoyment of the game.

I will however play games on higher difficulties if it requires me to in order to progress further in the story or to complete certain Trophies but outside of those particular instances I’m not a glutton for punishment.

Andy Richardson (PSN ID: andyscout)
I used to play more on harder difficulties. Back when I was in school and had fewer responsibilities, more time, and less money so I wanted to eek more time out of each game. These days I tend to stick to normal, especially with review games. I don’t usually go on Easy or Story modes though. I like at least a little pushback.

Michael Cwick (PSN ID: The1stMJC)
I tend to play games on the default difficulty. The only time I will play a game on Easy is if I have to burn through a game faster like for a rental or if I have already beaten the game.

For example, I love Uncharted 2 and sometimes I want to replay it for the story and instead of just watching a YouTube video. I choose to play the game on Easy so I can enjoy the story and a little bit of combat.

Glenn Percival (PSN ID: Torgo)
I normally play on whatever the “normal” or default setting, but if I’m pressed for time for a review, or if I expect a longer duration I’ll play on Easy.

Sam Jividen (PSN ID: SinfoniaSam)
I typically play on Normal, and rarely go Hard. If I’m playing a story-driven game and I’m short on time I’m not afraid to bump it down to Easy.

However if a game has a mechanism built-in to suggest a lower difficulty if you fail a particular milestone repeatedly, I will never take the suggestion. I won’t give up what little pride I have left because some game thinks I’m a wimp!

Matt Engelbart (PSN ID: WithSwordAndGun)
I have been playing more games on an easier setting due to having less time and because I enjoy experiencing the story.

The Witcher 3 is a great example of one that I quickly bounced off because I didn’t have the time for such a long game. Later I was convinced to give the game a second chance. Playing on Story mode meant I didn’t waste time on combat or replaying difficult fights over and over again. I got to explore an amazing world and lore that I would have missed out on otherwise.

Another great argument for easier settings is Mass Effect: Andromeda. I had no desire to spend my precious free time on a game that, from everything I had watched and read, appeared to be a big step backwards from the previous games. But Mass Effect is my favorite series and some sickness inside of me meant I had to see the story. Playing on Easy made it bearable enough for me to get what I wanted from the game.

Your Turn
These are our thoughts on easier difficulties. How about yours? Tell us in the PS Nation Forums.

Thanks as always to John Payant for editing.

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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