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rllmuk

Would you ever play a "zero challenge mode" ?


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Interesting idea. I often either avoid or give up on games because of this reason. It's funny because I have an almost opposite pull on that if i was playing a story version of a game and only that then i wouldn't feel I'm getting as much value from the purchase so would be inclined to want to pay less, even though I'm the one choosing that mode. Dunno if that makes any sense

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7 minutes ago, Muz said:

 It's funny because I have an almost opposite pull on that if i was playing a story version of a game and only that then i wouldn't feel I'm getting as much value from the purchase so would be inclined to want to pay less, even though I'm the one choosing that mode. Dunno if that makes any sense

 

It makes sense and I think it's part of the reason so many games have ended up being 100 hours of boredom. People equate "hours to complete" with value for money even if the reality of 100 hours of gameplay means they end up with a stack of half completed epics.

 

It seems like an outdated way of thinking, that assumes everyone is a broke teenager who gets a game for their birthday and another one for christmas or someone with unlimited free time to spend gaming. In reality a lot of the market are adults with more money than free time and steam/console backlogs with dozens/hundreds of 100 hour long games.

 

Maybe it could be hidden behind a cheat code so as not to upset people :D

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I definitely feel that the more time/effort you put into something, the more rewarding it is. I recently played through all of Fallout 4 in Survival mode (no quick saving, no fast travel, hunger/thirst etc.) and it was AWESOME. Every inch of progress felt hard-earned and exciting, every new area was a terrifying nest of potential threats and successful dungeoneering really did require sensible prep. work beforehand. I wouldn't contemplate playing the game any other way, even though it was an incredibly slow grind.

 

On the other hand, you're kind of describing the popular 'walking simulator' genre here - a story with no challenge - and I kind of enjoy these as well. I suppose they're written with minimal gameplay in mind so they still work, whereas if you turned Fallout into a walking simulator, well, I don't think the writing etc. would really hold up. I mean arguably it doesn't anyway.

 

So in conclusion I would say that challenge adds to the experience. You probably wouldn't want to button through the hard bits in most games because what you'd have left might not be so great away from the context of epic battles etc., unless a game is designed to be played that way. You'd just have seven screens of Toad saying the princess is in another castle and then an eighth screen saying go back to screen one. Spoilers.

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I think sometimes gamers can admire a series or franchise from a distance, and they like everything about the games in that series... except playing them. So if the characters are interesting and the world-building is good and the story is engaging but the core gameplay is a chore, a mode like that would be welcome.

 

On the other hand, there are some older games where I want to play the intended vision, tedious battles and all; over in the retro folder I’m doing playthrough threads of the first three Persona games, and figuring out a nightmare encounter is all part of the journey. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway...

 

EDIT: I’ve mentioned it before but I think it would have been neat if trials in Ace Attorney games gave you infinite penalties but graded you (from D to S) based on the mistakes you make; then you can enjoy the case but come back later to improve your grade!

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It's a bit of an odd thread, because to me you're asking about one thing, but talking about another. If I could have turned the difficulty down on Bloodborne a little, I'd likely have finished it and loved it.

 

But the RPG type games with levelling and fetch quests aren't hard in the first place. I don't think I've played a story-led game for years where it's been essential to kill 20 mudfrogs in every town in order to make progress. Maybe that's just me avoiding RPGs, but obviously nearly all the AAA games are borrowing their clothes.

 

You don't really have those quests in Witcher 3, for example (from memory). They do exist in Assassin's Creed Odyssey, which I'm playing at the moment, but it makes it pretty obvious that they're unnecessary and uninteresting.

 

Which games are you thinking about here? It's not that I disagree that there's this perception of value in play time available, but I'm not sure you need to do all the play in most cases.

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34 minutes ago, Uncle Mike said:

It's a bit of an odd thread, because to me you're asking about one thing, but talking about another. If I could have turned the difficulty down on Bloodborne a little, I'd likely have finished it and loved it.

 

But the RPG type games with levelling and fetch quests aren't hard in the first place. I don't think I've played a story-led game for years where it's been essential to kill 20 mudfrogs in every town in order to make progress. Maybe that's just me avoiding RPGs, but obviously nearly all the AAA games are borrowing their clothes.

 

You don't really have those quests in Witcher 3, for example (from memory). They do exist in Assassin's Creed Odyssey, which I'm playing at the moment, but it makes it pretty obvious that they're unnecessary and uninteresting.

 

Which games are you thinking about here? It's not that I disagree that there's this perception of value in play time available, but I'm not sure you need to do all the play in most cases.

 

 

Fair point. I noticed that my point was a bit mixed up with regards to which games I was talking about too but oh well.

 

I used (j)rpgs as an example because it was the most obvious one I could think of for something that wouldn't be solved by just having a traditional "easy mode" because easy grind and padding is still boring drudgery. Also a big reason I was thinking of this topic was because of the recent Nintendo Direct. It was extremely JRPG heavy and I was just thinking I love the look of stuff like Ni No Kuni, the art style and music. I'd like to experience that without actually dealing with all the (to me) boring jrpg systems.

 

It seems more relevant these days considering the production values and money etc involved in making appealing game settings and stories etc. I'd like to experience a lot of these things more as an interactive book/story than actually engage with the systems and "challenge" etc.

 

1 hour ago, Qazimod said:

I think sometimes gamers can admire a series or franchise from a distance, and they like everything about the games in that series... except playing them. So if the characters are interesting and the world-building is good and the story is engaging but the core gameplay is a chore, a mode like that would be welcome.

 

This basically.

 

 

It's not just rpgs. I bought Bloodborne years ago. Love the art and the atmosphere etc, but got absolutely nowhere in it. So basically it's just a game in my backlog that I never actually got to play through. I would have liked an easy mode to just walk through and enjoy the scenery.

 

Assassin's Creed games really appeal to me in terms of the historical settings etc but the ubisoft template is just too boring at this stage so I don't bother with them. Same with Far Cry 5. I'd like to just enjoy the basic story without the need to do any collecting or levelling up.

 

I played Echo Night on PS1 with a cheat cartridge. There's a massive difficulty spike at the end that made me glad I did. Who wants "challenge" in a game like that where the gameplay is total jank anyway.

 

I actually like arcade games where challenge is the entire point. You could still credit feed your way through those if you wanted to just enjoy the scenery though.

 

Also, I put 100 hours into completing the Witcher 3 and it never felt like grind so like I said there are exceptions. That said, I think if this type of thing was an option I'd use it for 90% of story based games. I'd probably appreciate them less than someone who actually enjoyed playing them the "right" way but more than I would if I just ran out of steam after a few hours and threw them on the pile, which is what usually happens when I start a long game these days and get bored with the repetitive gameplay.

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There's a difference between difficulty and shit design so busting a game down to easy is something I do occasionally it I want to stop smashing my face into a wall. (Looking at you Horizon: Zero Dawn.)

 

Although, saying that to me difficulty does not equal fun. I'd rather see a game through to the end on a lower difficulty than struggle my way through, so if a game is well designed but I'm just plain shit at it I'll knock it down.

 

Bloodborne and Dark Souls are quite interesting in the difficulty debate because people obviously struggle with them but, by and large, they're probably the perfect example of excellent game design. They go "These are the tools. Use them effectively." Just look at the so called one bro runs on the first Dark Souls. Except Ornstein and Smough. Those cunts can do one.

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21 minutes ago, PeteBrant said:

Honestly  "respecting the players time" is one of the most ridiculous concepts out there.  If you dont have the time then don't play the game. Why should it cater to your particular

 

This sort of "if you don't like it don't play it" response always comes across as unnecessarily defensive/hostile and comes up any time easy mode in a souls game etc is mentioned. I don't understand it really. I'm not suggesting removing anything, just offering options.

 

I'd say some reasons it might make sense are

 

A)designing games in such a way that they offer an enjoyable/fulfilling experience to the people who buy them is often seen as a good thing.

 

B)games are the only form of mainstream entertainment where you're expected to work and earn your enjoyment, whether that be "git good" or levelling up your pirate ship/grinding out enough in game money to buy the good gun etc. If you don't want to do that but still want to experience the game world/story truegamers take offense.

 

C) making games more accessible to a wider audience might increase sales?

After bouncing off Bloodborne I won't be buying another souls game but if they had an easy mode I would have been up for experiencing the setting of Sekiro or Dark Souls etc too. If I could skip the levelling etc I'd buy some of the many upcoming switch JRPGS and enjoy them like a book during my commute etc.

 

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5 minutes ago, partious said:

 

This sort of "if you don't like it don't play it" response always comes across as unnecessarily defensive/hostile and comes up any time easy mode in a souls game etc is mentioned. I don't understand it really. I'm not suggesting removing anything, just offering options.

 

I'd say reasons it might make sense are

A)games are often designed to offer an enjoyable experience to the people who buy them.

B)games are the only form of mainstream entertainment where you're expected to work and earn your enjoyment, whether that be "git good" or levelling up your pirate ship/grinding out enough in game money to buy the good gun etc. If you don't want to do that but still want to experience the game world/story truegamers take offense.

C) making games more accessible to a wider audience might increase sales?

Souls games for example. After bouncing off Bloodborne I won't be buying another souls game but they had an easy mode I would have been up for experiencing the setting of Sekiro or Dark Souls etc too. If I could skip the levelling etc I'd buy some of the many upcoming switch JRPGS and enjoy them like a book.

 

It's not a "don't like it don't play it" response. It's a" if you dont have time thats your problem" , response.

I have no issue at all with an easy walkthrough mode included in games, I think that people that demand there shouldn't be one are fucking idiots. I just think that "not respecting player time" is a bullshit term, it doesn't need to respect your time.  I mean, do you want a 1 hour 30 version of "Once upon a time in Hollywood" to suit your schedule?

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7 minutes ago, PeteBrant said:

It not a don't like it don't play it response. It's a if you dont have time thats your problem , response.

I have no issue at all with an easy walkthrough mode included in games, I think that people that demand there shouldn't be one are fucking idiots. I just think that "not respecting player time" is a bullshit term, it doesn't need to respect your time.  I mean, do you want a 1 hour 30 version of "Once upon a time in Hollywood" to suit your schedule?

 

 

I don't think comparing a 2 and a half hour movie to a 100 hour game makes much sense. I've said the ways I think a lot of 100 hour games are padded out with repetitive activities. If someone can do similar for a movie then sure, I think they can make a topic asking "should movies/tv shows offer the viewer the option of skipping scenes/fast forwarding through parts they personally find boring".

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5 minutes ago, partious said:

 

 

I don't think comparing a 2 and a half hour movie to a 100 hour game makes much sense. I've said the ways I think a lot of 100 hour games are padded out with repetitive activities. If someone can do similar for a movie then sure, I think they can make a topic asking "should movies/tv shows offer the viewer the option of skipping scenes/fast forwarding through parts they personally find boring".

The number of hours is irrelevant. Either you have time to do a thing or you don't. That threshold might be 10 hours it might be 100. But accusing the creators of the content of "not respecting your time" is bollocks. Should a 800 page book always offer an abridged version?

 

A easy mode walkthough is absolutley fine, no problem with that whatsoever. But the fault with that lies with you and your schedule, not with the provider for not respecting your time.

 

 

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Thing is, I think you're pulling yourself into a lot of strange positions. You'd like to enjoy the story in Far Cry 5? Why? It's going to be complete horseshit. The only reason the story exists there is to give you a framework to play the systems - which are supposed to be the fun bit. Taking them out to enjoy the story is like taking all the Eminem parts out of "Stan" to enjoy Dido's singing.

 

Bloodborne, I would argue, has no padding at all. And playing it through with no challenge to enjoy the "story" would be a waste of everyone's time. I myself would appreciate more options to find an appropriate level of challenge for me (I haven't completed it due to difficulty) but a "just give me the story" mode would be weirdly empty - there isn't a "story" there to enjoy in executive summary mode.

 

And that western AAA semi- or open-world template doesn't require you to do the "padding" content anyway - it's only there to give you something extra to do. You can happily do just the main story line in most of those these days, or at least main story and notable side quests.

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I'm not saying, mind you, that I think games have it perfect. Spider-Man, a game I've recently played through for the second time, has loads of padding content to do. Random crimes, finding backpacks, chasing pigeons, etc. None of which you have to do at all - you'll reach max skills well before the end of the story if you do everything, or even just most things.

 

Maybe there should be a mode for "I don't have loads of time, thanks" that accelerates your XP/progress assuming you're going to skip all the padding in those games.

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31 minutes ago, Uncle Mike said:

Thing is, I think you're pulling yourself into a lot of strange positions. You'd like to enjoy the story in Far Cry 5? Why? It's going to be complete horseshit. The only reason the story exists there is to give you a framework to play the systems - which are supposed to be the fun bit. Taking them out to enjoy the story is like taking all the Eminem parts out of "Stan" to enjoy Dido's singing.

 

Bloodborne, I would argue, has no padding at all. And playing it through with no challenge to enjoy the "story" would be a waste of everyone's time. I myself would appreciate more options to find an appropriate level of challenge for me (I haven't completed it due to difficulty) but a "just give me the story" mode would be weirdly empty - there isn't a "story" there to enjoy in executive summary mode.

 

And that western AAA semi- or open-world template doesn't require you to do the "padding" content anyway - it's only there to give you something extra to do. You can happily do just the main story line in most of those these days, or at least main story and notable side quests.

 

I don't think I'm putting myself in strange positions. I think I have one basic position, which is that story based games should offer more options for skipping stuff someone finds boring or unenjoyable, avoiding grind and xp levelling or offering easier modes etc.

 

Like I said, a movie lets you fast forward or skip parts you don't enjoy. If someone wants to skip eminem's parts in Stan they have the fast forward button. I suppose Eminem fans would be upset about that in the same way some gamers get defensive about the idea of someone enjoying a hypothetical easy mode in a Souls game.

I read Lord of The Rings as a kid and I remember getting to a stage where I was skimming over songs etc. If I couldnt see the next page before reading them properly I would have just stopped reading. I enjoyed the books but I guess I didn't "read it right" for the real fans. As a 12 year old I didn't particularly care. I don't think I'd particularly care about not playing Bloodborne the right way either, if I got some enjoyment out of the process.

 

You say Bloodborne on easy would be a waste of time, but I think I would have gotten more out of that than I did from just bouncing off it. There's a lot of artistry involved in a game like that.

 

The funny thing about this for me is that it's an issue that didn't exist before the PS3/360 era. Back in the day you had plentiful cheat modes built into games and terminals for entering god mode etc, action replay and gameshark code cartridges for consoles that basically let you choose how to play any game you had.

These things all being on lockdown is a fairly recent thing, which is why I think it would be nice if developers offered more options for low/no difficulty/avoiding grind etc.

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I think Kojima has said Death Stranding has a mode similar to what the op was suggesting. 

 

I guess in general, if you want to just see the story you can look it up on YouTube. I like the idea that the recent Assassins Creed games have with their tourist mode where you can explore the open world at your leisure. I'd prefer alternate modes like that over a story mode I think. 

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17 minutes ago, partious said:

I think I have one basic position, which is that story based games should offer more options for skipping stuff someone finds boring or unenjoyable, avoiding grind and xp levelling or offering easier modes etc.

 

Sure. But then you're citing games like Bloodborne (not, I would argue, a story-based game) and Far Cry 5 (definitely not a story-baaed game.)

 

Like I said, I do think more people would play, finish (and then buy more) of the Soulsborne games if they could finish one. And some kind of difficulty mode would have made a huge difference to me. Not that I know what it would be. I'd just like a boss skip after a certain number of fails, because I think the core of the game is fine. That's not going to be universal.

 

But I do think it would be odd to take the game out of a lot of these big games. Playing a just-the-story parts of Far Cry would be an incredibly empty experience. Watching the Spider-Man game as an interactive movie would expose all the weaknesses in its writing and pacing.

 

I just don't think it's imagined you're playing them all. Here's a game you can play for months at a time, do it how you want.

 

If you want a story, watch a film. Or play like a Firewatch or something built around story. I'm not sure the stories in AAA land would satisfy on their own at all.

 

Maybe you just want AAA values in a game that's just simply smaller?

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18 minutes ago, peeveen said:

If there's no challenge, it's not a game.

 

While you could resort to passively watching a playthrough, the interactivity is what makes a game what it is, not challenge. That link between your actions and the events on screen adds to the experience, even in the absence of barriers to overcome.

 

There's no challenge in the first ten minutes of Silent Hill 2. Does it not become a game until you reach your first monster?

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16 minutes ago, peeveen said:

If there's no challenge, it's not a game.

Just watch a playthrough on Twitch or YouTube, or read the story description on Wikipedia if that's all you want from a game.

 

Plenty of games without challenge or minimal challenge: Dear Esther, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Journey, etc. Arguably Life is Strange too: anything I've every heard from the developers suggests that they don't ever want players to be stuck or challenged by the game.

 

The number of people who do watch a playthrough on Twitch is an argument for including zero-challenge modes, not against. Devs get to sell more copies to the people who just want to appreciate the story or atmosphere.

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2 minutes ago, peeveen said:

If there's no challenge, it's not a game.

Just watch a playthrough on Twitch or YouTube, or read the story description on Wikipedia if that's all you want from a game.

 

I've never agreed with this because challenge is such a subjective term. it always reminds me of PS1 era magazine reviews of shmups. "You can just continue through the whole game in half an hour, there's no challenge".

 

And it throws up loads of weird questions:

 

Is a game less of a game if you play it on easy? Do Bayonetta or Mass Effect 3 stop being games if you play on auto or story mode and suddenly start being games again if you don't? If Mass Effect 3 on story mode isn't a game are the later Tell Tale games not games because they're essentially the same thing? At what point does a game become not a game? Is Abzu a game because it has a completely arbitrary level of challenge and Dear Esther not a game because there's no challenge at all? What's the point in between Abzu and Dear Esther when a game stops being a game?

 

What if you define challenge as interpretive or thematic and not purely based around mechanics?

 

It's all games: hard, easy, purely mechanics based, purely narrative based.

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23 minutes ago, peeveen said:

If there's no challenge, it's not a game.

Just watch a playthrough on Twitch or YouTube, or read the story description on Wikipedia if that's all you want from a game.

This is what Twitch is made for. Enjoy games you are interested in but have no desire to play through yourself be it due to time constraints or knowing it's gameplay systems will tick you off.  Whatever reason really. After GTA V i decided that Rockstar's game engine isn't that fun for me anymore (on foot character control way too wobbly and imprecise for my liking). Had great fun watching a streamer play through parts of RDR2 and felt like i got my fix that way. Really enjoyed Sea of Thieves and the Resident Evil 2 remake this way as well. Need to find a good streamer that isn't a snotty teenager/retired pornstar looking for followers though. 

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22 minutes ago, peeveen said:

If there's no challenge, it's not a game.

 

THats not true at all.

 

I would count Edith FInch, Firewatch and Everybodys gone to the rapture as experiences that could only exist as interactive fiction. As "games". And there is zero challenge to them

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8 minutes ago, Uncle Mike said:

 

Sure. But then you're citing games like Bloodborne (not, I would argue, a story-based game) and Far Cry 5 (definitely not a story-baaed game.)

 

Like I said, I do think more people would play, finish (and then buy more) of the Soulsborne games if they could finish one. And some kind of difficulty mode would have made a huge difference to me. Not that I know what it would be. I'd just like a boss skip after a certain number of fails, because I think the core of the game is fine. That's not going to be universal.

 

But I do think it would be odd to take the game out of a lot of these big games. Playing a just-the-story parts of Far Cry would be an incredibly empty experience. Watching the Spider-Man game as an interactive movie would expose all the weaknesses in its writing and pacing.

 

I just don't think it's imagined you're playing them all. Here's a game you can play for months at a time, do it how you want.

 

If you want a story, watch a film. Or play like a Firewatch or something built around story. I'm not sure the stories in AAA land would satisfy on their own at all.

 

Maybe you just want AAA values in a game that's just simply smaller?

 

To focus on just one thing here, I think something like a dynamic boss-skip in a SB game would be a problematic half-way house solution. They're all about teaching patience and how to approach bosses and situations, etc - enable a boss skip and you just end up ferrying them to the next challenge which they'll find even more difficult because they didn't build up the experience from the last one. So presumably you'd end up in a situation where players were dying continually to bosses until they enabled the skip.

 

We're coming back to some of the issues that were covered in the Sekiro thread, but I'd prefer to see a well-thought-through assist mode (preferably modes) in that type of game, with a load of accessibility options that let the player set their own terms and stick to them.

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Nothing really to do with games much, but people skip sections of books they 'don't like'? How do they know they don't like those parts if they've never read them? What if - as should be the case - those parts provide context or development for the rest? 

 

Just strikes me as odd. I mean, sure, you can do that. It just seems to me that if you do that, you've not really read the book. Just excerpts - which is your right, of course. But first time round - like watching a film at the flicks, where you have no real choice - surely you'd want to experience the whole thing?

 

It's a slightly different concept for games, of course. Depending on the genre and the particular game.

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To be honest I think the thing you’re quoting isn’t about challenge at all but about volume. I put about 60-70 hours in to RDR2 and I think I saw the game over screen a dozen times, invariably due to bad scripting rather than challenge (ie I failed because I acted out with the mission expectations). Conversely a hellishly taxing shoot em up play-through or an expert run through a Metroid might take a fraction of the length of a modern game and is completely free of busy work but is by no means certain to succeed. So, yes, less drudgery please, but challenge is an orthogonal issue.

 

Honestly, the modern AAA videogame has been heading away from challenge ever since they started getting metrics on player progression. Everything in the Hollywoodised narrative game is tuned so the “average gamer” will feel opposition but seldom actually lose at the base difficulty, and these lower difficulty and more accessible modes just widen that exact same intended experience to people with less skill than the average gamer. They’re great.

 

I respect that games like Dark Souls or Tetris make the challenge part of the point, but expecting Ubisoft, EA, Rockstar or Sony to design for challenge is barking up the wrong tree.

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