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Author Topic: [Gaming Pet Peeve] Final levels that ratchet up the difficulty  (Read 1168 times)
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Teggy
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« on: July 09, 2007, 01:50:50 AM »

Had to let off a little gaming steam. I have been playing 007: Everything or Nothing (which, despite a few issues, I found to be a very entertaining game), and was looking forward to taking it off my backlog list this weekend.  I actually reached the last level last night and gave it a couple of shots, but had to put it down. I have now spent a few hours on and off today trying to get through this level. The other levels were challenging, but I was able to get through them after a few tries (about 10-15 for one particularly short, but difficult driving mission).  This level however, is very long, and is crawling with an insane number of enemies. Enemies who often spawn from places you have already been and flank you and are sometimes wearing invisibility suits (which are supposed to be an MI:6 invention, what's up with that?) I am going to keep at it for a little longer, because the action is still fun, but it is wearing very thin.  I am close to dropping down to the easy difficulty for this level so I can just see the damn cutscene.

Why must developers do this? I guess I will feel a sense of accomplishment when I finally finish the damn thing, but I could also throw my controller through my tv.  Psychonauts is definitely another game guilty of this.  I can't think of others off the top of my head, though.

For a break I put in Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and played the nice easy tutorial level.
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2007, 01:56:03 AM »

Yeah, the Psychonauts Meat Circus was painful for such a wonderful game. 

I also thought that General RAAM at the end of Gears of War was by far the most difficult and infuriating thing in that game.  Several times I was close to throwing my controller. 
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2007, 03:09:57 AM »

Developers rarely get the final level right.  The final level should be a culmination of all the skills you've learned throughout the game, and its difficulty should be in proportion to the rest of the game.  Instead, we get levels that are way too hard, ones that introduce new gameplay concepts or force you to be good at skills that have been rarely used in the game (Halo and Zelda : Wind Waker), or (worst of all IMO) ones take away all your skills (God of War -  icon_mad).  I really don't know why, but there a ton of games that just go off the rails at the end.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2007, 03:13:23 AM by EddieA » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2007, 03:11:01 AM »

God of War in 3....2.....1.......
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2007, 03:37:56 AM »

Just hearing that the last level of a game suffers from this makes my interest in said game wane.
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2007, 03:41:32 AM »

Quote from: EddieA on July 09, 2007, 03:09:57 AM

I really don't know why, but there a ton of games that just go off the rails at the end.

I think it's because most people don't finish games.  Why devote most of your resources into content that most purchasers will never see.  I think that's why so many games shoot their load too early.  I think the Farenheit/Indigo Prophecy devs admitted as much.

I wish it weren't the case- movies don't usually get a free pass for a crappy ending but most games do. 

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Chaz
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2007, 04:34:12 AM »

Most people make it to the end of movies.  In fact, it's exceedingly difficult to fail to make it to the end of the movie.  Personal skill doesn't play into movie watching.  Developers are aware that the majority of game players, the mass market, are not terribly good at games.  They will get frustrated, die, and not wanting to get frustrated again, will quit.  I wonder if they figure that those that do push through are looking for that kind of a challenge.

Then again, I also suspect that the end of the game is often the last thing to be completed, and so is more frequently the victim of "we're out of money and need to ship this thing" syndrome.  I think there's also a desire to make the ending unique, climactic, and memorable, which is why we end up with the ending of God of War.  They were going for "hey, this big cool sword!" except they forgot to make the sword as cool as the weapon that they took away to give it to you.
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2007, 11:20:38 AM »

Quote from: Teggy on July 09, 2007, 01:50:50 AM

I am going to keep at it for a little longer, because the action is still fun, but it is wearing very thin.  I am close to dropping down to the easy difficulty for this level so I can just see the damn cutscene.

I remember the end game for EoN all too well. I managed to beat it on the middle setting, but based upon how many attempts it took me I probably should have just dropped the difficulty down a notch.

I agree with others that the end game often doesn't get enough care and attention. For games that are very story driven, I often wondered if the dev team just runs out of ideas.
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2007, 12:44:50 PM »

Quote from: Chaz on July 09, 2007, 04:34:12 AM

Most people make it to the end of movies.  In fact, it's exceedingly difficult to fail to make it to the end of the movie.  Personal skill doesn't play into movie watching.  Developers are aware that the majority of game players, the mass market, are not terribly good at games.  They will get frustrated, die, and not wanting to get frustrated again, will quit.  I wonder if they figure that those that do push through are looking for that kind of a challenge.

Maybe if the middle and end sections of games were better then more people would make it to the end as well. 
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2007, 05:21:03 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on July 09, 2007, 12:44:50 PM

Quote from: Chaz on July 09, 2007, 04:34:12 AM

Most people make it to the end of movies.  In fact, it's exceedingly difficult to fail to make it to the end of the movie.  Personal skill doesn't play into movie watching.  Developers are aware that the majority of game players, the mass market, are not terribly good at games.  They will get frustrated, die, and not wanting to get frustrated again, will quit.  I wonder if they figure that those that do push through are looking for that kind of a challenge.

Maybe if the middle and end sections of games were better then more people would make it to the end as well. 

Ditto that here.

I like a challenge, but the challenge needs to be fun.

It's sort of like spicy food. I LOVE spicy food. But when it's all spice and no flavor, well, then you just get a raw, sore mouth with no tasty flavor to have made it worth the pain.

God of War had enough annoying segments (I personally hate timed challenges in action games, as the timer is generally either so short it's infuriatingly annoying or it's not short enough to really serve a point) that I eventually just quit playing. The gameplay got stale, just the same combat over and over and over with some interesting and fun gimmicks here and there to try to keep it fresh that were it not for the severely annoying sections I would've stuck it through. Hearing the feedback here on the final encounter serves to vindicate giving up on the game for me; I would've really been ticked at that point.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, on the other hand, had many challenging sequences (both action and puzzle), but had a gameplay mechanic to help balance that and allow players to overcome their own personally challenging segments of the game a little more readily than otherwise: the short rewind capability of the Sands. That was a brilliant idea and it was the reason I was able to play through that game with the kind of enjoyment I did. Crazy jump that I keep fucking up? Instead of dying over and over and over or having to backtrack over and over and over to get to that one jump again, I could retry a few times before having to die or backtrack. It didn't make the jump/puzzle/whatever less challenging in and of itself, but rather it allowed me to keep tackling the challenges themselves rather than having to redo something endlessly just to get to that one particular spot that might be holding me back at the time.

Brilliant

I've played a lot of other challenging games that managed to get the balance right, and in particular, a lot comes down to the middle and late sections of the game. Ninja Gaiden is ridiculously challenging in the beginning few stages, but that's because you're learning the game. As you get better, later stages continue to be ridiculously challenging, but the curve is actually quite reasonable. It's the "getting started" hump that's the nasty part. icon_wink I don't know how the ending was because I just never got around to finishing it (I was a little past halfway when I got distracted by other games, and now I'd have to relearn the game all over again just to start over).

Not enough games have reasonable, solid, satisfying final portions.
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2007, 05:27:20 PM »

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 09, 2007, 01:56:03 AM

I also thought that General RAAM at the end of Gears of War was by far the most difficult and infuriating thing in that game.  Several times I was close to throwing my controller. 

I almost ended up not beating the game because of that, and I definately have no plans to play through the game a second time and dealing with the frustration all over again.
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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2007, 05:52:50 PM »

Quote from: Ridah on July 09, 2007, 05:27:20 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on July 09, 2007, 01:56:03 AM

I also thought that General RAAM at the end of Gears of War was by far the most difficult and infuriating thing in that game.  Several times I was close to throwing my controller. 

I almost ended up not beating the game because of that, and I definately have no plans to play through the game a second time and dealing with the frustration all over again.

That battle only took a few tries on normal difficulty playing on co-op. However, I suspect that in single-player, it would've been far, far less manageable of a battle. Enough so that I might have quit the game too.
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Autistic Angel
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2007, 06:07:46 PM »

There have been a few games that I've stopped playing near the end because it simply wasn't fun any more.  One notorious example is Dark Cloud 2 where, after playing it obsessively for 80+ hours, I quit at the final boss battle.  The journey throughout the game had been so rewarding, I didn't see any purpose in slogging through a long, drawn-out combat sequence just to see it end.

Personally, I really liked the final battle in Metroid Prime.  Some people might argue that it's an example where the difficulty ramps up disproportionately at the very end of the game, but I thought it was great how it made use of so many of the different gear you'd picked up on your journey -- it felt like this was the battle you'd been unwittingly training yourself for throughout the entire game.

This isn't quite the same sort of thing, but I'm frustrated with how suddenly the difficulty in Trauma Center spikes about midway through the game.  One minute you're replacing a defective heart valve, and the next you're suddenly beseiged by
Spoiler for Hiden:
swarming little monsters that swirl around, spew malignant tumors all over the place, and kill your patient in a matter of seconds.  

And if you haven't played the game, no: I'm not joking.

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Pi
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2007, 06:36:51 PM »

Quote from: Autistic Angel on July 09, 2007, 06:07:46 PM

There have been a few games that I've stopped playing near the end because it simply wasn't fun any more.  One notorious example is Dark Cloud 2 where, after playing it obsessively for 80+ hours, I quit at the final boss battle.  The journey throughout the game had been so rewarding, I didn't see any purpose in slogging through a long, drawn-out combat sequence just to see it end. 

For me it was Metroid Prime 2.  I tried the final boss 15 + times and gave up in frustration.  I enjoyed the game up until that point, but the final difficulty was too much.  Also, when I looked up a strategy on gamefaqs, I found out that

Spoiler for Hiden:
afterwards you have to escape within a set amount of time AND defeat Dark Samus again - all without a save point!

Too much for me.  Oh well - in MP 1, I didn't get past Meta-Ridley, so at least I got farther this time.  Perhaps I'll actually finish MP 3!
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2007, 06:51:30 PM »

Beyond Good & Evil had the most obnoxious final boss battle that I can remember.  After such a brilliant game with stellar controls, the decision to reverse all the movement axis for the final boss was just ridiculous.  It was way too gimmicky for such a well-crafted game.
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Autistic Angel
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« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2007, 06:52:06 PM »

Quote from: Pi
Also, when I looked up a strategy on gamefaqs, I found out that
Spoiler for Hiden:
afterwards you have to escape within a set amount of time AND defeat Dark Samus again - all without a save point!

It's true that there's no actual save point, but there is a checkpoint so that you don't have to replay the entire sequence again unless you turn the game off.

I found that last part of Echoes very difficult because you need to
Spoiler for Hiden:
defeat her by using your charge beam to absorb one of her specific attacks,
but it only seems to function properly once out of every four tries.  I eventually did finish the game, but it took several attempts and felt more like random chance than a skilled victory.

A great game overall, but that finale struck be as being a little on the buggy side.

-Autistic Angel
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« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2007, 07:04:05 PM »

The ends of both Metroid Prime 1 & 2 were unnecessarily difficult.

Prime 1:
Spoiler for Hiden:
In Prime 1 what really irked me was the metroid room you had to pass through to reach the final boss, since the damn metroid respawned. I thought the boss battle was a bit too difficult, but I defeated it after a couple of tries.

Prime 2:
Spoiler for Hiden:
I found much of Prime 2 to be too difficult and every now and then there would be easy sections thrown in. The last boss battle was really tough, but not impossible. One of the big tricks is to regain most of your health on the 2nd phase of the Emperor Ing.

I think having more mouse-like controls for Prime 3 will help make it easier. I hope they add a better save system or at least more save points. I also wouldn't mind if respawning enemies or challenging enemies disappear permanently once you clear out an area. I spent more time running from annoying enemies in Prime 2 than actually fighting.

There is also the section you had to pass through in Super Mario Sunshine in order to reach the final boss. That area really pissed me off.

I know there are more...
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« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2007, 07:11:04 PM »

Oh, and lets talk about Twisted Metal on the PSP. I was having a blast until I reached the final boss, I've tried to beat him at least two dozen times and I couldn't do it. I haven't tried resorting to a FAQ yet though, which I plan to do some day.
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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2007, 02:35:12 AM »

Stoopid Meat Circus....grumble grumble.

On the opposite end of things, did anyone else find the last few levels of Ninja Gaiden to be exceedingly easy when compared to the rest of the game?
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CeeKay
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2007, 04:12:54 AM »

Quote from: Gratch on July 09, 2007, 06:51:30 PM

Beyond Good & Evil had the most obnoxious final boss battle that I can remember.  After such a brilliant game with stellar controls, the decision to reverse all the movement axis for the final boss was just ridiculous.  It was way too gimmicky for such a well-crafted game.

annoying, but I just turned the controller upside down at that point.
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« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2007, 04:34:44 AM »

Quote from: pr0ner on July 10, 2007, 02:35:12 AM

Stoopid Meat Circus....grumble grumble.

On the opposite end of things, did anyone else find the last few levels of Ninja Gaiden to be exceedingly easy when compared to the rest of the game?

i just finished Psychonauts tonight...finally found out what the meat circus experience is all about.  that level is definitely out of place in the rest of the game.  the difficulty is above any other level without good reason, and there's little to make it enjoyable in any way...the humor disappears, level design is just bizarre and not all that interesting, and the final bit of story you learn there isn't all that great.  thankfully, the bosses in that level aren't difficult and it is pretty short.  i did enjoy the ending cutscene though...pretty cool way to wrap up the story, and there's definitely room for a sequel if anyone ever decides it's worth the time and money to develop...

as for the ending of Ninja Gaiden, i don't think i would say the levels ever really became easier, but i do think i had gotten good enough at the game by that point that i was figuring out the tricks to surviving each area and boss a little more quickly.  NG is all about getting the experience to deal with each new challenge as they come along.  it starts out very difficult because you're thrown into the challenge with minimal skills.  by the time anyone has made it to the end, you've had to become quite a bit more skilled at the game.  it's a great game in any case though.  i can't remember another game that has given me the sense of accomplishment that Ninja Gaiden did when i finally saw those end credits roll...fantastic game icon_cool
« Last Edit: July 10, 2007, 04:40:43 AM by disarm » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2007, 05:15:00 AM »

Beyond Good and Evil....loved the game until the end....then never put the game on again after all the control pad controls going upside down and inside out
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