Taking it easy (mode)
My wife tries to calm me down after I bellow undesirable words directed at our Samsung LED TV. I look to her and try to explain my disbelief, “did you see that? This is freaking impossible!”.
The screen goes black & white and Nathan Drake, once again is sprawled on the floor, lying a broken man, for the umpteenth time. I put the game on pause, and think about giving up. Rage quitting at it’s finest. But I quickly recall that there is an option to set the game difficulty to easy.
I recoil at the thought of me, a seasoned gamer of 20+ years, succumbing to “easy mode”. But I give it more thought and rationalize that: if this is going to get me to finish the game sooner then why not? It’s not as if I have all the time in the world anymore!
I put the game on easy mode and surprisingly enough, enjoy the rest of my playthrough of Uncharted 3. Although, the ending leaves a lot to be desired, I finish the game nevertheless and feel that familiar sense of accomplishment whenever I finish other games as well.
So how did this all start? Initially, I debated with myself that playing on easy kind of feels like cheating and robbing myself the experience of the game. But then again, I’m not competing with anyone else and I’m still getting the full experience by actually playing the game and jumping through all its hoops, but just on an easier difficulty. I applaud the developers for striking a good balance for playing easy on modern games today.
They are still able to make it easy enough to feel satisfying to play . They need to juggle the aspects that could make the enemies weaker, lessen the volume of enemies or make their attacks have a weaker effect on the character the player is controlling. All the while of course having the player still feel the sense of danger and excitement that actually makes playing a game fun.
Setting a game on easy doesn’t necessarily mean that you get the red carpet treatment and the game will literally play itself. No. Playing on easy is still challenging on its own right, but just… easier!
Let’s face it, gamers of our generation, undeniably still love the hobby. However, because of time constraints we must dedicate the lion share of our time to either to work or family first. Gaming becomes your last priority when it comes to your schedule. I find that playing on easy is a good compromise in giving you the full experience of the game, while not leaving you frustrated in one part of the game where you must have the skill and reflexes of your prime (which was more or less 15 years ago).
Some games which I have finished and enjoyed playing on easy:
- Bioshock Infinite
- Tomb Raider (Reboot)
- Uncharted 3
- Batman Arkham City
So do yourself a favor and embrace playing on easy! It’s strangely satisfying and (somewhat) relaxing at the same time. As grown up gamers, we’re constantly competing with everything else in real life, why must our beloved hobby be another competition? I honestly believe, single player games are all about the experiences and narratives.
Don’t get me wrong though, there’s nothing wrong with playing on hard (god forbid, nightmare mode)! More power to you for having the time and patience to be committed to it, but for regular gamers with other commitments who want to finish a game or two in their backlog, there’s no shame with taking it easy.