‘Story only’ difficulty modes are on the rise, much to the approval of gamers who favour lower difficulties like I do. I can already tell I’m going to get stick for this feature, but I don’t see why I can’t just always have whatever I want.
Dying Light is the most recent game to patch in a lower difficulty, and so it got me thinking about what other franchises I would love to see follow suit and give me exactly what I want. Some hardcore gamers may be disgusted at the prospect of casuals like me invading their special game, and for those of you out there I’m sure a quick phone call will have a waambulance on its way to you to help with all that butt-hurt you’re suffering from.
Let’s start off with something nice and uncontroversial…
I outlined in my Gaming Sins article that I would jump at the chance to play any of these games on an easy difficulty, even if I had to surrender the ability to earn trophies in it to do so. I won’t repeat the points I outlined previously here, and I struggle to see how a predominantly solo player experience could be in any way harmed by an engorged player base looking for a sight-seeing tours through some of the breathtaking scenery these experiences definitely have to offer.
It would make sense if those choosing to play on a Story only mode level of difficulty can only call in those playing on the same level as them. This could go some way to placate those hardcore players I mentioned earlier, as they wouldn’t even know we were there, but we would be.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
I appreciate the title of this feature is ‘franchises who need’, and not ‘games’. However, as the first game of the franchise, Shadow of Mordor, only ramped its difficulty up in certain locations it was easy to steer clear of challenge until you were familiar enough with the mechanics and ready to take them head on. Shadow of War decided not to repeat this trend and to instead continuously escalate its difficulty until only the better gamers remained to witness its appalling ending.
I hated this game, mainly due to the afore mentioned difficulty escalation, as I could have overlooked the games other faults if I had been able to enjoy playing the damn thing. If a mode was introduced that addresses this I would be straight back in the fray, butchering legions of Uruks as if I had never left, and I might even take back some of the horrible things I’ve said in the past about this abhorrence. I mean game.
The environments of Far Cry serve as great backdrops for typically mediocre stories, with the same styles of gameplay hacked out in every iteration. I think a Story only mode would serve them well in the sense that the action could almost take on a Just Cause style of atmosphere if you weren’t frequently having to retreat into cover and inject yourself with multiple drugs just to keep going.
I died a lot playing Far Cry 3, and got bored before I could even start dying in Far Cry 4. The maps are large and pretty enough to warrant exploring, but when hostile locals and repetitive shoot-outs start feeling like a chore it would be nice to have the option to brush the enemies aside to at least feel really immersed in the world you have paid to be in.
While removing all challenge from games isn’t the freshest idea I’ve ever come up with, it would certainly serve to get other players like me invested in franchises that they wouldn’t normally give a second thought.
Even horror games aren’t being spared my demands for an easy mode so I can feel included, but if you think about it these titles should have the least issue implementing such a change. I played a game recently called Soma, a psychological and claustrophobic horror game that wasn’t so much out of my comfort zone as it was in a separate time zone entirely. I was able to play this game because of a ‘No monsters’ mode the developers included, so you could still explore its deeply sinister environments without the guarantee of being molested for your trouble by the deep sea abomination most players must spend time navigating around.
Without this example, I would not have thought to include any horror games on this list, but due to this strange yet welcome decision to include it I am yet another player among a multitude who wouldn’t normally have humoured Soma due to it not being something they would usually play.
My inclusion of Resident Evil doesn’t apply so much to the idea of removing monsters from its games as that would reduce them to slightly spooky walking simulators. Instead, I’d suggest Soma-esque tours of its settings, as even a self-confessed coward like me would be interested in exploring the likes of Resident Evil 2 and 3 without the growing dread I am about to be jump-scared into an early grave at almost any moment.
Metal Gear Solid
Whilst this franchise isn’t overly difficult, despite my frustrated inability to get passed the Sahelanthropus fight in The Phantom Pain, I would be interested to watch the plots of these titles carried out while Hideo Kojima narrates. Kojima himself has confessed he doesn’t fully understand the ending of his most recent game, Death Stranding (which I’m slowly getting through at the moment), but I feel more lore and deeper descriptions of his ideas for Metal Gear Solid titles would benefit an already unforgettable series.
Thank you for reading the franchises I would love to see ‘Story only’ mode difficulties introduced for. Let me know in the comments if you can think of any franchises I may have missed, or even if you think I’m stark raving mad for the mere thought of the above being included. I will be back next week with another feature and so I will speak to you then.