Editorial: Do Critics Favor Harder Games?
Everyone's talking about the flaws in the video game review community after The Order: 1886 lit a fire under everyone's ass.
But there's another question to consider: Some harped on Ready at Dawn's game for being too easy (which I don't agree with at all) and it got me thinking: Do critics tend to favor harder games? Do the more challenging products get more praise because they're designed for the "hardcore" or "elite" players?
One could almost make the argument that this is so. The Demon's Souls and Dark Souls games always score exceedingly well and while they are indeed great games, one wonders if they'd score so well if the difficulty wasn't quite so high. More often than not, I see critics docking a game for being too easy, while they actually appear to be giving a game a higher score for being extra tough. It's almost as if high difficulty can't possibly be a negative thing in the eyes of reviewers today, while they're just as quick to point out the easy games as being...well, inferior.
The upcoming Bloodborne is supposed to be brutally hard. It should also be a very high-quality product. I still wonder what might happen if the game was "dumbed-down" for the sake of accessibility, though; wouldn't the fans just freak out? And wouldn't critics basically say it was a mistake? They tend to get all over developers for making games too easy for the purpose of wider appeal, but they don't blink an eye when a team makes a game that's crazy tough. Not every core gamer on earth likes that, but I have a feeling critics really do.
Just wondering what other people thought about this.
2/27/2015 Ben Dutka