Easy, Normal, or Hard? What's your difficulty?
I hear/read many gamers asking this specific 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 at least one person is), 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 the Super Game Geek, but that 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 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 just made it to a 100,000 Gamerscore (100,245 to be specific)! 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 fiancée) 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, thank you for reading!