Muses: Difficulty in Video Games or ‘Why I Hate Dark Souls’

Video Game Difficulty is a hot topic these days as a new barrage of games spotlighting difficulty as one of their core values continues to arrive. Whether we’re talking brutal platformers trying to emulate the success of ‘I Wanna Be the Boshy’ or the action adventure sub-genre known as ‘Soulsborne’… difficulty is being brought into the spotlight more than ever.

There are many different ways to make a difficult game. Both Souls and Boshy are among the first games mentioned if you ask people about challenging games, yet the two take a completely different approach to difficulty. What I want to do here is explain the way I look at a game’s difficulty, and touch on why I find some difficult games fun while others atrocious. So for those of you out there who keep asking me why I dislike Dark Souls… here’s your answer.


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The Shadow’s Sixty Countdown – The Top Six

This has been a long time coming. When I started brainstorming for this list at the beginning of the year, I never would’ve imagined how difficult it would’ve been to try to recall and rank every game I’ve ever played. I spent weeks brainstorming the list, and my original first draft had around 110 games overall. I spent an agonizing month gradually narrowing the list down from those 110 to the 60 here – I used every trick I could think of to rule some of them out. Some games I went back and played again, watched footage of them, tried to see how much I could actually remember about them, and if I could write a convincing argument for why they were awesome. Afterall, if I couldn’t convince myself, then maybe they weren’t as good as nostalgia painted them, right?

catherine-trisha

These final 6 games were always on the list. While the rest of the Shadow’s Sixty changed dramatically from draft to draft, very little about the Top 6 has changed from the start. These games are the best I’ve ever played, and there was very little question in my mind about which games belonged up top. And that is why I am so pleased to reveal this list to you – the final entries in this, my Shadow’s Sixty. So let’s get to it and unveil gaming’s greatest, as I see it.

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Abzu – Swim With The Fishies

After creating one of the most unique games ever made, some of the fine folks responsible for Journey split off from ThatGameCompany to work on a new project on their own: Abzu. Literally meaning deep water, this game delivers on that by offering a unique oceanic experience. In Abzu, you play as a diver and are given the opportunity to swim around at your leisure and enjoy a beautiful underwater playground.

abzu-fish
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The Shadow’s Sixty Countdown – Rank 48-43

In the last section of our Shadow’s Sixty countdown we crafted dungeons and bombs, we fought gods and demons, and we explored Seattle. Things are just getting even more exciting! Epic loot, ancient dungeons, explosions, an intriguing musical experience, and even the rise of the horror genre await you below… if you dare to look.

SoundShapes
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Unravel – Knitting Memories

Unravel is a game about a creature made of yarn that goes on a journey to find the missing pieces of its creator’s photo album. Yarny, the lovable yarn creature, does this by exploring worlds based off of photographs sitting around the house to find little adornments that he attaches to the photo album to restore its blurred contents.

Album

At its core, Unravel is a platformer where you utilize the yarn that comprises our knitted hero’s very being to solve puzzles. As you solve these puzzles, you’ll find secrets and gradually uncover the history of our adorable protagonist’s creator through scenes depicted in the background of the game’s stages and through a combination of inspirational messages and pictures within the gradually-unlocked photo album.

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