: Dark Souls III Shouldn't Get An Easy Mode

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Dark Souls III Shouldn't Get An Easy Mode

In some ways, I'm surprised to hear myself say this.

I'm not one of those aging gamers who looks back on the way video games used to be, glorifying every last aspect of the industry. Have we left some things behind that I wish we hadn't? Sure. But I always thought games were too hard and frankly, if they hadn't gotten significantly easier, I probably wouldn't be playing anymore.

And therefore, I certainly don't ascribe to the elitist "harder is automatically better" mentality that I honestly believe tinged a lot of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls reviews over the years (whether certain critics want to admit it or not). This whole "oh, it's more hardcore so it's just a more impressive product" makes absolutely no sense to me. Difficulty and quality are mutually exclusive and always have been. One has no bearing on the other, unless the difficulty is so far in one direction or the other that it actually affects the gameplay.

I know some have accused Dark Souls of being too extreme, of going too far in the "hardcore" direction and thereby negatively impacting the gameplay. I've never bought into that, though. The games aren't for me; I've made that clear. But I don't agree with the gamers calling for an easy mode to be added to Dark Souls III. Strangely, if you ask me if I'd be more likely to finish the game with an easier option, the answer would probably be "yes." But this isn't about me. Every game doesn't need to cater to me. People really need to stop thinking that every title needs to appeal to everyone; it'll never happen and we should never demand this impossible feat of developers and publishers. When you go to sell a product, the creator and producer of that product need to understand the intended audience, and "everyone" is never a valid option. Just ask any marketer.

The point is, I don't want to see an easy mode because it would invariably change the game. Dark Souls isn't hard because we have to pull off crazy combos. It isn't hard because the enemies are unfairly unforgiving. It's hard because it forces the player to learn and adapt in ways no other game does. As I mentioned in my review, the series has always pushed the player to learn and re-learn, to become ultra-vigilant, to be ever-observant. The instant you remove the ever-present threat of death, the entire atmosphere changes. We start to play it the way we do just about any other video game. Yes, we'd still have to read our foes and be careful in certain situations, but certainly not to the originally intended level...and that level is what makes this IP. It's what allows it to stand out.

Make it any easier and the core, the soul, if you will, of the game disappears. Or if it doesn't completely disappear, it certainly wanes. Everything about how we approach the adventure would change, and I'm not sure enough people appreciate just how drastic the difference would be. Those who don't really understand the true challenge of Dark Souls are asking for an easy mode, in my eyes, and these people are also being selfish. The game wasn't made for you, so what? There are plenty of other games that are, so go play one of them. I have no trouble with this whatsoever.

4/8/2016 Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (14 posts)


LegendaryWolfeh
Friday, April 08, 2016 @ 11:57:31 PM
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-shrug- If someone wants to enjoy the story but not have to deal with the grind, what's the hurt in putting in an easier mode. All you have to do is change modifiers, not the mechanics of the game.

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Voyager236
Saturday, April 09, 2016 @ 1:39:04 AM

What story? I think you had never played a Souls game.

Last edited by Voyager236 on 4/9/2016 1:40:04 AM

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TheAgingHipster
Monday, April 11, 2016 @ 11:50:40 AM

Seriously? There is a *tremendous* amount of story in every Souls game. The story is the only reason I put myself through that hell!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, April 09, 2016 @ 6:32:47 AM
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I wouldn't play the trashola anyway.

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Palmetto
Saturday, April 09, 2016 @ 6:46:21 AM
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"But this isn't about me. Every game doesn't need to cater to me. People really need to stop thinking that every title needs to appeal to everyone; it'll never happen and we should never demand this impossible feat of developers and publishers." Exactly!

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, April 09, 2016 @ 7:17:15 AM
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Beautiful. People that appreciate these games understand what you have said here Ben. I don't know that any game has been made like the souls games before in which it forces the player to adapt in such a way.

It doesn't only test skill as a video games player but also of relentless patience as well as the strength of ones emotional faculties. These games are not for everyone nor do they need to be however I am glad that they exist because shows that variety can still very much flourish in this industry of First Person Shooter clones and action game doppelgangers.

I still believe the variety of the SNES, PSone and PS2 days can do quite well now. But hey, I could be wrong.

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Gripheenix
Saturday, April 09, 2016 @ 9:39:30 PM

There have been a few games like Souls before Souls. One that comes to mind is Monster Hunter. The older titles were very, very similar to Souls' combat, except it was nothing but boss fights, and more about farming for crafting materials, than about progressing through a story.

Armored Core (Another, older, and in my opinion, far better FromSoft series.) doesn't play like Souls, but there are some similarities, such as the steep learning curve, the variety in viable 'builds' that can get you through the game, and a very, very similar style of storytelling.

But, really, Souls isn't much more than a 3D Metroid-Vania title, with a stupid high damage model, and a unique PvP/Co-op mechanic. Unfortunately, it's the so-called 'difficulty' that sells the game. But, I've already made my opinion known on that matter, and I'll stay my tongue this time.

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shadowscorpio
Sunday, April 10, 2016 @ 2:26:35 AM

Ah, Armored Core. I remembering hearing that FromSoft is behind that series too, just never played it.

I think the Souls game are based on a mechanic that seriously punishes you if you don't take the time to explore and really understand the surroundings. After doing this (for myself at least) I've found the games not to be so difficult.

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Ydobon
Saturday, April 09, 2016 @ 11:39:00 AM
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If it doesn't cost them any time/money then why not? Regardless idc either way.

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bigrailer19
Saturday, April 09, 2016 @ 12:46:16 PM

Two things. It would cost more resources. And these games are built to be hard. Offering an easy mode goes against the whole structure.

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ethird1
Saturday, April 09, 2016 @ 2:35:47 PM
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Yes it should get an easy mode. Damn what the hell is wrong with people. Easy, normal, and hard mode should always be available for all gamers. IF someone beats the game on hard good for them and give them props for it.

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Rogueagent01
Sunday, April 10, 2016 @ 1:57:53 AM

I rarely agree with anything you post but i'm with you on this one.

The impossible feat that Ben mentions has been done successfully to different degrees for many generations. You have everything from casual to hardcore, all the standard in betweens such as easy , medium, hard, or expert you even have special hardcore modes that have any number of limiters making some games near impossible to complete. You even have games that offer up movie modes of games like the Yakuza series, you could simply offer this for the current title.

All of the above can be done for any game so long as you implement it from the beginning as adding some of these later can become impossible.

I know the article is about Dark Souls specifically but this can be applied to any game, plus adding in different modes opens you up to bigger audiences while still being able to make the core game the devs had in mind anyway. So call it selling out while retaining your principles.

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Hexen
Saturday, April 09, 2016 @ 5:53:23 PM
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Is fine the way it is, there should be all types of games.

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Bio
Monday, April 11, 2016 @ 8:58:46 AM
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"Difficulty and quality are mutually exclusive and always have been."

This would mean that no good game can be hard, fyi. If two things are mutually exclusive that means they both cannot be true of one thing.

I would agree that difficulty and quality are not mutually inclusive, where mutual inclusion means that both things must exist together (that good games must be hard, and hard games must be good) because I agree that's not true.

That said, I don't see why an 'easy' mode that simply gives players a bit more health, or something similar, would be all that bad for a series like this. I don't think you need to fundamentally alter the premise of the games to make it easier.

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