Do All Games Need an Easy Mode?

Games have come a long way over the years, and the days of only small groups of people enjoying them are long gone. They are now popular in all circles, and as a result, easy modes have gained popularity in recent years. While cinematic experiences like Horizon Forbidden West attract millions of players worldwide, challenging games are still gaining critical acclaim. As a result, the question arises: do all games need an easy mode?

Due to Elden Ring‘s enormous success, gamers have been battling in the Lands Between for weeks. Without a question, it is one of the year’s biggest releases and one of the most popular From Software titles. However, due to its fame and hype, the game attracted a new sort of player, distinct from the Soulsborne veterans. Because of this,, the internet has received several complaints about its toughness and lack of difficulty modes. For those new with the Souls series, similar points have been made before, and nothing has changed, as both Elden Ring and From Software‘s previous game, Sekiro, were released with no difficulty options. Sekiro took home the award for Game of the Year in 2019, and Elden Ring is on track to do the same in 2022. So why are them so acclaimed, despite lacking an easy mode?

Credit: From Software

The vast majority of games have difficulty options. Certain games require an easy setting in order for almost everyone to enjoy them. In recent years, Sony’s first-party games have upped the “story” difficulty in practically all of their games, since they want as many gamers to enjoy them as possible. It’s a no-brainer technique in terms of marketing. You make more money as more people buy your games. Simple. Nonetheless, practically all easy modes adhere to the same pattern of altering the game’s mechanics. You die less frequently, whereas your foes die more frequently. That’s about all.

The importance of level design

Nonetheless, practically all easy modes adhere to the same pattern of altering the game’s mechanics. You die less frequently, whereas your foes die more frequently. As such, level designs in these games are less and less important. Who cares if this well-designed combat section has many sophisticated approaches, when I can just stand in the middle and fight everyone while playing on easy. Games without a difficulty mode take level design differently. They are designed in such a way that anyone that plays them encounters the same challenges.

Credit: Studio MDHR

Games can also include famously challenging modes. Consider the ÜBER difficulty mode in Wolfenstein: The New Order. The difficulty of the mode detracts from the enjoyment of the game. It prevents the player from playing in different ways and use a single strategy that would allow them to complete the game. Various game modes detract from the game’s design rather than adding to it. They accomplish this by artificially raising or lowering the difficulty, mostly by changing enemy and player damage and health. As a result, confrontations might become meaningless, and foes can become damage sponges for no apparent reason.

The artist’s vision

Suppose a person who does not like horror films wants to see IT. They can watch it, but they could be scared and not appreciate it. Finally, they may not like it, which is OK because it is their preference. However, arguing that the film is awful because it is too terrifying and that making it less scary will make it better for them or people like them is a another matter completely. It’s designed to be frightening. Because it is a horror film, the director and writer have made it frightening. Now, translate this for those who dislike Elden Ring because it is too hard. The game is designed to be hard.

Credit: Team Meat

However, games should be as accessible as possible. Anyone should be able to experience the enjoyment of gaming, and difficulty should not be an impediment. This is why modes that completely make the game trivial exist and should continue to exist. There’s nothing wrong with it. Games that are challenging, on the other hand, should also continue to exist, despite the lack of difficulty settings. The gaming business is vast, with dozens, if not hundreds, of different game genres and sub-genres. There is always something new or old to play, and everyone may find a new delight in easy or challenging games without the need of difficulty options.

What do you think? Should an easy mode be standard in all games? Or should more games try to make games without difficulty modes? Tell us in the comments below!

For reviews, guides, and discussions of the latest games, stay tuned to Games Row and keep playing!

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