Does playing games on easy defeat the point?
It’s an age old question: is playing games on easy cheating, or in someway missing the point? We ask four of the Official PlayStation Magazine time what they think of ducking under the default setting. Playing smart or defeating the object of the challenge in the first place?
Joel Gregory deputy editor
Some games need to be hard to convey their message. Imagine playing dark souls on ‘n00b’.
It depends what the point is. If you just want to hare through the story and get it crossed off the ‘To Play’ list, then no. But if you actually want to have the full experience of what that game can be, then it absolutely can. With something like Noby Noby Boy, it doesn’t matter. With, say, Heavy Rain? Absolutely. If lowering that difficulty was the difference between a character living or dying, you’ve completely altered the experience. Likewise The Last Of Us – that’s supposed to be about struggling to survive. Altering this can mean missing fundamental parts of great games.
Ben Wilson Editor
On FIFA, maybe – there’s nowt realistic about seeing QPR winning 9-0. Or indeed winning at all.
But it’s different with narrative-based adventures. Being a new dad, I’ve taken to playing all non-sports games on easy simply to fit them in between feeds and teary tantrums. (My daughter’s, mostly, although the ghost-blasting in Bioshock Infinite had us wailing in unison.) By no means has this affected enjoyment – I loved Infinite, and The Last Of Us goes down as my favourite game on PS3. I soaked up every last drop of its tension, angst and violence – and I didn’t have to lose valuable time to repeated deaths to do so. Easy like Sunday morning? That’s me, and proud of it.
Emma Davies, production editor
If that’s the case, devs shouldn’t be including these modes in games.
After all, you can’t play something like Spelunky on easy, can you? That would defeat the point. Which is why I’ll never be playing Spelunky when it hits PlayStation. I choose the difficulty setting that’s going to enhance my experience the most. So, easy for something like Bioshock Infinite where I don’t want my abysmal shooting to hold up my progress through the philosophising, but normal on the likes of Dishonored where thinking my way out of trouble is 87% of the fun. If creators feel strongly that easy modes will hinder their vision, they should leave them out. But as long as they include them, I reserve the right to play them.
Leon Hurley, associate editor
It’s your call. But by playing games on easy you’re not getting the experience the developer intended you to.
Case in point: The Last Of Us. It’s a game about sacrifice and making hard choices, both in the narrative and the gameplay. The threats Naughty Dog present and the decisions they force you to make are as much a part of the experience as any of the cutscenes. Lower the challenge and you’re watering down that experience, and the reward that comes with it. Ever put a god mode cheat in a game and felt it become an increasingly pointless effort once you realise there’s no repercussions? It’s like that: you’re not cheating anyone but yourself.