Most players prefer to play at medium difficulty and this is a great solution due to the right balance on it. At the same time, playing on an easy difficulty level is quite normal for certain players. But there are people who are only challenged, and they like to complete the game at a high level of difficulty. So how exactly do games at high difficulty change?
When the game is not fair
There is a certain type of gamer who basically only play on high difficulty. Often they can be understood, because usually they are people who have been playing their whole life. They know how to play video games and how to get the most out of it. The easy difficulty is designed more for new players, for whom the gaming experience is something new. It gives the right to make a mistake, and will not punish the player for being guilty, when at a high level everything is quite the opposite - the punishment will be great.
But what is high difficulty in games anyway? In most games, this means that artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more sophisticated and starts to ask questions before doing something, becomes more cunning. For example, enemies begin to hide from you more and shoot from cover, and do not run to certain death under your bullets. But again, this is the ideal. As a rule, this happens only in half of the cases, in the second half of the cases - the enemies become more invulnerable or all the data merges into artificial intelligence.
In this situation, you shoot the enemy in the head ten times, but he does not die. The problem with high difficulty is that the game is becoming very unrealistic. Yes, games are already very often far from our reality, but at a high level of difficulty in the game, the balance is lost so that the advantage is on its side. The same thing happens at the easy level, but there, on the contrary, the advantage is tilted towards the player.
And this is a problem, because if the difficulty does not depend on the development of artificial intelligence, but only on how many bullets you need to fire at the enemy in order to destroy him and how many enemy bullets you will die from, then it turns out that the game cheats and gains an advantage .
A significant role is given to how realistic your character's movements are in the game and whether there is inertia in it. The more realistic the movements look in the game, the harder you will have on high difficulties. The third Witcher is a great example. If you have played it, then you know that Geralt's movements are realistic, smooth and there is inertia in the game. The white wolf behaves like a man and his movements do not seem strange. We can observe unnatural movements in the DMC series. Dante is definitely human, but most of his attacks, his movement is not like moving in life. Precisely because of the presence and absence of realism, at high difficulties, these games will radically differ from each other.
In Devil May Cry on Hard difficulty, your success depends on how fast and dexterous you can hit the keys. The more combinations you know and use, and the faster you move, the more successful you will be able to fight enemies. If at the low level of difficulty, 3-5 tricks are enough for you to complete the entire game, then at the high level, you will have to use all 20 and even combine them. But at the same time it is also pleasant to play, albeit more difficult and with more frequent deaths. In the coming fifth part, things will be the same.
This applies to all slashers and beat and up games.
In The Witcher 3, on high difficulty, Geralt will move as smoothly as on other difficulties, but your success will depend on how tactically you fight, dodge, apply special skills and potions. In this way, The Witcher is much more difficult than DMC, because the game wants you not to press buttons quickly, but to think quickly, which is much harder.
Difficulty strategy or difficult strategy
If we talk about difficulty in games as a strategy, then playing at high difficulties can change in speed, AI becomes smarter or more cunning, enemies can master new arsenal or new skills, dynamics can also change.
If we talk about dynamics, there is no better example than games from From Software. In Dark Souls and BloodBorne (I'm sure the upcoming Sekiro: Shadow Die Twice too) dynamics and strategic decisions are very important, because you can easily die if you don't stick to the dynamics of the fight or don't think about when to dodge. and when to attack.
If the difficulty in the game is fair, then the first thing it should be is harder to think about your actions and make important decisions. This is much more interesting than when enemies just get dohrenelion health points or can kill you with one hit.
Alas, this is rare and in most games the balance is built according to the average difficulty, on which it is worth playing the game. This is how the developers plan themselves and at the same difficulty they pass the game in the testing department before release, so when you switch to high difficulty, it becomes unbalanced and starts to enrage.
It's a different matter when high difficulty introduces major changes to the gameplay, which is well illustrated by the "hardcore" mode in Fallout New Vegas. On it, the game turns into real survival. You have to keep track of your hunger, sleep, and bullets have weight. The game is completely transformed, adding realism to the gameplay, giving a new experience and at the same time not enraging.
Summing up, we can say that not all games at high difficulties feel differently or change for the player. Often they just get unkempt and nothing more. But in the other half of the cases, they force you to use your head, their skills and bring new mechanics or elements into the gameplay that were not previously available to you. Or they make the AI smarter, and you have to work hard to defeat it.
The Topic of Article: How do games change on high difficulty?.