The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 14
The first few hours of Just Cause 2 were fantastic. I was blowing up bases, hopping out of helicopters, and basically turning the island of Panau into my personal chaos-fueled playground. I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was too good to last, and I was right. At around the five-hour mark the difficulty ramped up and it felt like a whole different game. A game that wasn’t any fun. I wasn’t able to dink around and experiment, because enemies were sniping me with shotguns. If I hijacked a helicopter it would be shot down in seconds. Basically, I couldn’t pull off any of the awesome stuff that was hyped to death in the trailers because enemies were too aggressive, too plentiful and too unforgiving.
Maybe I shouldn’t have picked the Experienced difficulty setting, after all.
I ended up starting over again from scratch on the Normal setting, which meant I lost all of my progress. Those collectables? Uncollected. Liberated villages? Deliberated. Those awful cutscenes? I had to watch ‘em again, because they can’t all be skipped.
Now that I’m past where I got on my initial session, I’m having a great time again. Enemies definitely pose a threat, but they’re not the insanely overpowered marksmen they were before. I can run into a situation and try out crazy things. If it looks like I’m going to die, I can easily flee to safety and recover my health. It’s exactly the game I was hoping for in the first place.
It’s interesting that one of the first decisions players face when starting a new game is often the one that has the most long-lasting effects. With Just Cause 2, I chose Experienced based on the description that the game gave. Why, yes, I do play action games on a regular basis and I enjoy being challenged. Challenge is subjective though, and what I might enjoy in a typical FPS might be extremely annoying in a sandbox game. Once you choose your setting in Just Cause 2, you’re locked in. If you decide it’s too hard (or too easy), too bad.
Call of Duty games handle this situation well. Players can dial back the difficulty as they progress through the campaign. The same goes with Red Faction: Guerilla, which I enjoyed immeasurably more on the easy setting. The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Fallout 3 let players adjust difficulty along a sliding scale. Locking down difficulty is simply too restrictive. I don’t mind missing out on achievements or whatever. Just let me cry uncle every once in a while without losing all of my progress.
Let me be clear: I’m not saying that people can’t or won’t have the same experience by playing on the harder difficulty settings. It’s just that easing Just Cause 2’s difficulty down to default definitely aligns closer with the way I want to play the game, which is mildly drunk.
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
"congrats on playing hardcore you're the best we all bow to your skills" Why, thank you X-D
I completely agree with you, btw. Sometimes when a game gets irritating, it's nice to temporarily let it down for a mission or two, then put it back up. I'm a bit more stubborn though, since I tend to almost always stick with my difficulty until I get extremely angry.
I heard the game got crazy hard, so I started it on casual. I am enjoying the hell out of the game. Same thing happened with Red Faction, that game was crazy hard, even on Normal.
I agree with you completely... I also had a great time playing Red Faction on Easy. I fired it up on the hardest difficulty and the very first mission I went on I got it from all angles, then on the verge of dying the building fell on me... not very fun.
I played Just Cause 2 on normal mode and at after finishing the main story I felt like there wasnt anything interesting to do. The difficulty wasnt bad on normal but the gameplay itself let the game down.
And I agree all games with difficulty levels should have an option to turn it down a bit, GOW does it really well when your getting killed way to often its like "hey buddy your a bit *** at this, maybe you should try it on easy mode". But then theres some games that just shouldnt have difficulty levels.
I was going to stick with Experienced until I looked at my backlog and realized how much time it was going to take. Sure, I could have powered through it, but it would probably take me forever and it wouldn't have been very enjoyable.
I usually abandon all semblance of strategic thinking when I play sandbox games though. I just like to rush into places where I'm completely outnumbered, blow up some stuff and move on. Playing Just Cause 2 conservatively seems like it runs counter to the game's core.
thats good to know i probably would have played the game on the hardest setting.
I actually only do normal when I first start a game, mainly because I like to play through and enjoy the story and get a grasp on it before I do anything else. I mean I don't want to start on the difficulty above hard because well, what if it is too hard? What if it gets frustrating, it just doesn't like me experience the game the same way I'd like to.
I'm about to buy this game and the seemingly simple choice of wether to start the game on normal or easy just got WAY more complicated. You can't change difficulty mid-game?!? I just want to screw around and blow stuff up but what if the easy setting gets too boring?
Has anyone played it on easy?
Infamous let you change difficulty at anytime, and set it itself based on skill after the first hour. You could always change it though.
One thing about difficulty that irritates me is in games like 'Splosion Man.
You give three or four attempts figuring out how a puzzle works when a giant "IS THE GAME TOO HARD FOR YOU?" dialogue pops up on your screen. No, the game isn't too hard; it's a puzzle game, and I was getting the hang of how the level was supposed to go. Give me 10 deaths or more before asking me about stuff like that.
It's just kind of insulting to have a game pop up with a dialogue like that. Sometimes it doesn't make much sense, either (like in 'Splosion Man).
@ Brent: It's worse in Ninja Gaiden Black and Devil May Cry lol X-D
Games should give you the option of backing off or adding to the difficulty. I do like the way GoW does it, even though it is embarrassing when it says " hey you suck you might want to go down to easy".
easy is always the best because you can do crazy/stupid stuff
I agree with Shootist2600,
Usually when i boot up a game i just go with easy mode or Normal mode....Like with Metal gear solid 4, i wanted to play to have fun, and to enjoy the living crap outta the game, i didnt feel like being punished, nor did i want trophies or the "game-cred" as i like to call it. I honestly dont care for trophies or achievments, usually if someone gets pissy and tells me I suck, i just show em my "real" trophies from Sports. By no means do i have issues with people who do play games on hard, i just prefer to enjoy my game the first time through, instead of killing myself...it just doesnt appeal to me. The only exception to that rule is UFC Undisputed, only because Its to easy, even on the hardest difficulty (one hit knockouts happen a little to much sometimes)
when i start a game i play it on normal first to get a feel of the game and go thought it with some ease, but after that it's the hardest difficulty. I don't understand the people who just go all out and start at the hardest difficult, it's so much easier when u know what's coming. I like the difficulty settings in Call of Duty: Modern warfare 2 where you can just set it easier and still continue.
I know what you mean by this because I've had to do the same thing. I almost never play games a 2nd time unless I really enjoyed them so I always contemplate going after the hardest difficulty so I get all the achievements on the first playthrough. However, I usually find myself in the same situation where I have to go back to normal until I get used to the game.
Eh...although I agree it's great that CoD (and other games) let you dial down the difficulty whenever you want, I'm gonna have to disagree on saying CoD does difficulty levels "well".
I mean, when I play a game on the hardest setting, I want to feel challenged, sure, but I also want to feel like I could do it well with enough time and practice. I NEVER feel that way with CoD. "Here's 30 foot soldiers who can pick you off from crazy distance, along with some heavy machine gun nests!" "Take cover!" "OK, then, here's five grenades thrown from across a football field that are going to land RIGHT AT YOUR FEET." Ugh. Veteran mode is stupid. I don't think a machine gun nest that I can't even see without a sniper rifle should be able to gun me down in less than two seconds no matter how many times I change position.
I remember when I would play a game on hard difficulty for my first playthrough, I loved the challange. But after I kept doing that with other games, I started to realize that I wasn't really having fun anymore because I would get angry real easily, lol.
Now, I always play my first playthrough of any game on normal difficulty, that way I can get a grasp on the gameplay (and it helps prepare you to get the more challanging acheivements later on).