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Gameplay Part 3: Difficulty Curve

September 20, 2011

Man its been a lifetime since i last wrote something for this place hasnt it? Before anyone says anything, no i havent forgotten and no i dont think im to cool for this website ive just been sitting around trying to think of SOMETHING to write and getting nothing but now i actually have something so lets get back to the old grind quest.

Iv had good experiences and bad experiences with difficulty curve, sometimes the curve just acts the way it should and curves at a nice gradual angle, iv also had difficulty curves go so far that its almost curved back in upon itself (Godfather 2 you are bad and you should feel bad) but sometimes difficulty curve wont ruin a game, Sometimes.

Difficulty curve in some games is less like a curve and more like a straight line tetris block while in other games its like taking an s-turn at 100 kp/h. Iv played games with forgiving difficulty curves and games with unforgiving ones and yet the unforgiving ones are the ones i go back to. Dont ask why i just do, maybe its because to this day i have only ever let a total of 2 games actually beat me and i mean either be so bad as to make me stop playing or so difficult that i stop playing (and when i say stop playing i dont mean coming back to the game several months later i mean giving the game looks of utter disgust and hatred whenever i see it or tossing it in a bin alltogether).

I was being mean when i brought up godfather 2’s difficulty curve it doesnt really CURVE back on itself it more angles back because the end mission is three times harder than anything else before it. This is also keeping in mind that you have all the upgrades available and in use at the time, you may not have all the weapons but thats easy to fix (as long as the ones your missing are in Florida because you cant go anywhere else).

Other games, particularly jRPG’s, can have variable difficulty curves. For example if youve been doing every fight you come across then the difficulty curve will very slowly start to increase but not nearly enough for it to be of any danger. Lets say the inverse youve been running from every single random encounter and suddenly a boss that would be easy for level 20’s to take down kicks your ass unrelentingly because you only reached level 12 due to your impatience. Thats one of my favorite styles of difficulty curve as long as the boss that will fuck you up constantly isnt a “you must fight the boss AND NO-ONE ELSE UNTIL YOU BEAT HIM” style things because then its pretty much restart time.

Theres also the depressing difficulty curves present in games like Jet Set Radio Future which consists of a straight line with no angle in it whatsoever, although that doesnt affect the gameplay too terribly much, if anything it makes it more enjoyable.

Its a gameplay component that can make a game either better or worse depending on how it goes. Either that or im just a delusional person who thinks crap like this actually matters which it probably doesnt.

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