Does a game need to be challenging to be enjoyable?

KevinCow

Banned
Inspired by some recent discussion in the Kirby's Epic Yarn and Enslaved threads. A common complaint with both games is that they're too easy. And, yeah, they are pretty easy. Enslaved's platforming parts practically play themselves, and it is literally impossible to die in Kirby.

But I don't think this is an inherently bad thing. I enjoyed both of these games. I enjoyed simply wandering through them at my own pace, exploring a little bit here and there, and appreciating the scenery and music. They're... relaxing games, I suppose.

And beyond those, I think about some other games I've enjoyed, and why. Some of my favorite games this gen have been the open world platformer types, particularly inFamous, Crackdown, and Assassin's Creed 2. And most of my enjoyment of these games didn't come from the challenging parts like the combat, but from wandering around the world after I'd gotten rid of most enemies, collecting stuff. You could have removed enemies and death from these games completely, and I still would have enjoyed them. I probably would have enjoyed Crackdown even more. Enemies in that game were only ever a nuisance getting in the way of my orb collecting.

A similar thing with my favorite series, Metroid. You're generally pretty unlikely to die outside of boss fights. But while the boss fights are fun, they're not what makes the games. Again, you could remove enemies entirely, and I'd still just enjoy wandering the worlds, collecting power-ups. That's essentially what Metroid games become at the end anyway, when you can pretty much destroy everything you encounter with one hit.


I just think games have far more to offer than challenge. It seems pretty narrow-minded to say that a game is bad because it's easy.
 

JdFoX187

Banned
It depends on the game for me. Some games I play for the experience, and don't really care whether there's a challenge one way or another. I played Force Unleashed simply for the Star Wars experience. But when I play a game like Ninja Gaiden, or something similar, I expect there to be a challenge.
 

gdt

Member
No.

Edit: Except for Ninja Gaiden. Pretty much the only series where I very much enjoy the difficulty.
 

GhaleonQ

Member
No. However, is a lack of challenge enjoyable? No. A game needs to elevate itself in other areas to make up for little difficulty.
 
no? I mean flower wasn't challenging or anything or noby noby boy wasn't either and I had a blast playing those when I needed some relaxing time
 

Instro

Member
KevinCow said:
A similar thing with my favorite series, Metroid. You're generally pretty unlikely to die outside of boss fights. But while the boss fights are fun, they're not what makes the games. Again, you could remove enemies entirely, and I'd still just enjoy wandering the worlds, collecting power-ups. That's essentially what Metroid games become at the end anyway, when you can pretty much destroy everything you encounter with one hit.


I just think games have far more to offer than challenge. It seems pretty narrow-minded to say that a game is bad because it's easy.

I would disagree with this, while boss fights are the toughest part of any metroid game, there is certainly a good amount of dying involved when you play one your first time through. Also there is a significant challenge that comes from trying to find your way around in most metroids, its challenging in a different kind of way.
 
The no dying thing in Epic Yarn is a complete non-issue. Because instead of dying, you lose a ton of your hard-earned beads when you get hit or fall in a pit. And in the latter case, they are usually lost forever, basically making you have to start the entire level over again. This brings equal if not even more tension to the gameplay as dying would.
 

Why For?

Banned
Nope. The easier the better for me.

Play Modern Warfare 1 and 2 on Veteran, then switch to easy. Your enjoyment of that game will go up by 10485768%.
 

Aeana

Member
There are many different ways in which a game can be engaging and enjoyable. A challenge is only one way. Some people seem to really need that challenge in all cases, whereas others do not. I am personally one of those people who does not need a very big challenge to have fun, as long as the gameplay is suitably diverse. I don't like repetition without variety. Variety in all sorts of things, from level design, to music, to encounters, to whatever.

There is such a thing as "too easy," which occurs in my case when the game is either too simple, or presents you with a lot of options you just never have to use. I'm more likely to be upset with games that are "too hard," though, as usually when a game is too hard, it means one of two things: it takes entirely too long to get past certain parts of the game, or that I die a lot, which means repeating stuff over and over, which brings me back to the point I made above.
 

traveler

Not Wario
I don't think so. It's certainly a lot harder to make a challenge-less game enjoyable, in my opinion, but it's not impossible. The word "experience" gets thrown around a lot around here and there's something to it. Not every bit of enjoyment in games is derived from overcoming challenges.

That said, I have a hard time thinking of many easy games I've really liked. Playing through Epic Yarn now and I am really liking it and there was Flower last year which was one of my favorite games of the year, but those are the only two that really come to mind. Both of them have absolutely amazing visuals, sound, and a very responsive, enjoyable "feel" to their controls, though, (Epic Yarn has some truly great creative level design) and I honestly think that if Kirby had a life bar it would considered a decent challenge on some levels. Not hard, by any means, but I think I'd actually die every now and then.
 

Amir0x

Banned
Yup. Absolutely does.

For me, anyway. For all the people who like Kirby or the other easy games on discussion, clearly it doesn't apply to everyone.

For me there is absolutely no fun to be found in a game which requires no effort to overcome. I don't feel like there was any joy of getting to the end. To me a cornerstone of quality gameplay is a reasonable difficulty curve - a game that starts simple, and gradually works itself up in a crescendo of gameplay concepts and ideas all culminating in the end levels/end game where you have to put to test all the skills you've learned. Games without this sort of curve simply feel like they're for babies, and I don't want any part of it.

Kirby is especially obscene. I played through the first Four Worlds without getting hit once. And not just played through them - I collected everything too. Did not get hit once.

This is frankly embarrassingly terrible. I've never purchased a game this easy in my life, except for EDUTAINMENT. I don't care how quaint the proceedings are if it's gonna be that simple. The game might as well play itself.

I understand this doesn't apply to everyone, genuinely, but it's not for me. Some level of challenge is required

Why For? said:
Play Modern Warfare 1 and 2 on Veteran, then switch to easy. Your enjoyment of that game will go up by 10485768%.

Played easy, bored to death. Played Veteran, loved it. BZZZT
 

Danielsan

Member
No, a game needs to be engaging and it's free to try and accomplish this via an interesting narrative, visuals, properly challenging the player or delivering exiting new gameplay experiences.

As mentioned before. Flower is far from challenging, but it was exciting and fun to me thanks to its narrative, visuals and gameplay mechanics.
 

Snuggles

erotic butter maelstrom
Challenge isn't a requirement for me. I like it, but it's not essential for some games. It does need to be engaging, though, there needs to be substance in the gameplay for it to work. Fable II is a good example. I didn't die once playing the game, but the story and building my character gave me a reason to keep playing. The was no real effort or reflexes required to get to the end, but I was engaged enough in the experience to get through it without losing interest.

Regarding Kirby, this is kind of my problem with it. I can accept the lack of death and even the extreme easiness of the gameplay, but the gameplay is so shallow that I get bored playing it. I don't feel any reason to push through to the end aside from the fact that I spent $50 dollars on it. You collect beads that have no real value beyond buying little decorations for your shitty little apartment. There is no real story or motivation to keep playing. Without challenge or substance, it's just an empty experience that gives me no motivation to carry on.
 

Tain

Member
I can enjoy games with little challenge for an initial playthrough, but revisiting them afterwords usually puts me to sleep. The best pushover games are never anywhere near as good as the best challenging games, though. The best games are all pretty challenging or complicated on some level.

I definitely did not feel this way a few years ago.
 
Definitely don't need challenge to have an enjoyable game, games like Mario Paint and Electroplankton are games that don't have challenge and are still fun. I guess that mainly goes for games that let you explore your creativity.
 

fernoca

Member
In my case, I like the challenge to be in the way of puzzles; ways to think and solve situations/problems.

It really pisses me off when in many games, harder difficult settings just are one hit-deaths, enemies with mega shields and infinite ammo, the only chanllenge is either finding ways to survive or looking for ways to exploit a weak spot (like killing enemies from really far with a sniper).
 
No, but if it's too easy/automated that it doesn't stimulate your brain at all then that's a problem. Well, unless the game is trying to do something else like be artistic...but we all know those are like looking for a Yeti in the Sahara Desert.
 

traveler

Not Wario
Amir0x said:
Yup. Absolutely does.

For me, anyway. For all the people who like Kirby or the other easy games on discussion, clearly it doesn't apply to everyone.

For me there is absolutely no fun to be found in a game which requires no effort to overcome. I don't feel like there was any joy of getting to the end. To me a cornerstone of quality gameplay is a reasonable difficulty curve - a game that starts simple, and gradually works itself up in a crescendo of gameplay concepts and ideas all culminating in the end levels/end game where you have to put to test all the skills you've learned. Games without this sort of curve simply feel like they're for babies, and I don't want any part of it.

Kirby is especially obscene. I played through the first Four Worlds without getting hit once. And not just played through them - I collected everything too. Did not get hit once.

This is frankly embarrassingly terrible. I've never purchased a game this easy in my life, except for EDUTAINMENT. I don't care how quaint the proceedings are if it's gonna be that simple. The game might as well play itself.

I understand this doesn't apply to everyone, genuinely, but it's not for me. Some level of challenge is required

You didn't get hit once? Wow, I must suck at the game then. :lol

I got hit more on the second world boss than I did on ANY boss in Super Mario Galaxy. Not that SMG is the epitome of challenge- one could point to it as another game that is, largely, fairly easy going and still enjoyable. It's certainly tougher on the whole than Kirby, of course.
 
Yeah, but not if it's frustrating.

I think when a game is designed well, it is still fun even though it's hard. But if a game is designed poorly, the difficulty can come off as frustrating rather than fun.

That's the difference to me.

So I like challenging games as long as the deaths aren't cheap or unavoidable. I like it when games show me that it was my fault when I failed. Which is why Demon's Souls, Prinny, and Bayonetta are such good games and still fun even though they're insanely difficult at times.
 

Why For?

Banned
Amir0x said:
Played easy, bored to death. Played Veteran, loved it. BZZZT

All the CoDs on Veteran are just ridiculous. Halo is the best example of how you design your highest difficulty.

Throwing wave after wave after wave of infinitely spawning enemies at you, waiting for you to get past a trip wire, with enemies that ignore your entire squad and manage to pinpoint your head behind that set of bushes 3km away with a shotgun, and then spam you with 18 grenades if you decide to hide, is not enjoyable.

Sorry man, you're actually wrong on this one.
 

Amir0x

Banned
traveler said:
You didn't get hit once? Wow, I must suck at the game then. :lol

I got hit more on the second world boss than I did on ANY boss in Super Mario Galaxy. Not that SMG is the epitome of challenge- one could point to it as another game that is, largely, fairly easy going and still enjoyable. It's certainly tougher on the whole than Kirby, of course.

Super Mario Galaxy is easy, but compared to Kirby it might as well be called SUPER MARIO DEMON'S SOULS.

Kirby is without hyperbole the easiest game I've ever actually purchased. I'm sure like Elmo's Counting with Numbers or some various Edutainment titles i purchase for my nieces are likely easier, but for a real legitimate game on a console of mine... never.

I sorta expect Kirby to be easy, but I was hoping there would be compelling platforming challenges to make up the pace. Instead, essentially the only appeal is its amazing visual style. Which is amazing, but this is one of those rare times not even the graphics can save the game. It's mind numbingly, insultingly easy

Why For? said:
All the CoDs on Veteran are just ridiculous. Halo is the best example of how you design your highest difficulty.

Throwing wave after wave after wave of infinitely spawning enemies at you, waiting for you to get past a trip wire, with enemies that ignore your entire squad and manage to pinpoint your head behind that set of bushes 3km away with a shotgun, and then spam you with 18 grenades if you decide to hide, is not enjoyable.

Sorry man, you're actually wrong on this one.
Just because you suck at the game doesn't mean I'm wrong. You told us to try and see if you'd have more fun. You were wrong because I factually did not have more fun. I had the MOST fun on Call of Duty when I was playing Veteran. Every. Single. Time.
 

Mutagenic

Permanent Junior Member
Emonga said:
The no dying thing in Epic Yarn is a complete non-issue. Because instead of dying, you lose a ton of your hard-earned beads when you get hit or fall in a pit. And in the latter case, they are usually lost forever, basically making you have to start the entire level over again. This brings equal if not even more tension to the gameplay as dying would.
How are the beads in Kirby in any way 'hard-earned'?

I would say I enjoy a challenge, but I keep coming back to Super Mario World despite the lack of challenge.
 

Amir0x

Banned
Mutagenic said:
How are the beads in Kirby in any way 'hard-earned'?

I would say I enjoy a challenge, but I keep coming back to Super Mario World despite the lack of challenge.

And besides recovering beads is a simple affair, requiring just as little effort as everything else in that damnable game.

If Alan Wake didn't come out this year, Kirby would be the biggest gaming disappointment this gen
 
Amir0x said:
And besides recovering beads is a simple affair
Not when you fall in a pit, then Elika (or whatever her name is in this game) just dumps them in there and they are lost forever. It's quite aggravating.
 

Guts Of Thor

Thorax of Odin
Not for me. I actually despise challenging games and stay away from them as much as I can. I just don't have the patience or time to keep retrying that shit. The easier the game the more enjoyable the experience for me.
 

Why For?

Banned
Amir0x said:
Just because you suck at the game doesn't mean I'm wrong. You told us to try and see if you'd have more fun. You were wrong because I factually did not have more fun. I had the MOST fun on Call of Duty when I was playing Veteran. Every. Single. Time.

Then we both suck. Because if you tell me you didn't die dozens upon dozens of times over the span of the SP Campaign in any CoD game on Veteran, then you're just lying.

I've beat them all, but it was a grind doing so.
 

Tain

Member
There have been a lot of pushover games this generation. Arkham Asylum, Super Mario Galaxy, Splinter Cell Conviction, Uncharted's campaigns, you name it. All games that are pretty and intuitive, but none of them great. These are what I'm talking about when I mention games that are good enough for an initial playthrough but not worth putting a ton of time into.

Stuff like Kirby, on the other hand, is appalling. I could never play through that game.

Why For? said:
I've beat them all, but it was a grind doing so.

Dying and retrying isn't really more of a grind than scripted event viewing, though.
 

Brofist

Member
ChoklitReign said:
Depends on the genre.

Shooter? Yes.
Beat-em-up? Yes.
Platformer? Usually.
RPG? No.

Really? I think a good challenge in an RPG makes the battle system that much more rewarding. Knowing you can wipe makes the battles that much more fun.
 

StuBurns

Banned
CoD4 was the only one I played thru on vet, I got my head kicked in the whole time, the end of the stealth mission was hair tearing frustration for me. Admittedly I suck at games, but I'd never play one like that again.
 

Combichristoffersen

Combovers don't work when there is no hair
No, not really. Not for me, at least. I play games to be entertained, not to be enraged due to some shitty platforming segment or boss I can't defeat.

Amir0x said:
If Alan Wake didn't come out this year, Kirby would be the biggest gaming disappointment this gen

Have you forgotten about Silent Hill: Shitty Memories already? :|
 

WanderingWind

Mecklemore Is My Favorite Wrapper
Tain said:
There have been a lot of pushover games this generation. Arkham Asylum, Super Mario Galaxy, Splinter Cell Conviction, Uncharted's campaigns, you name it. All games that are pretty and intuitive, but none of them great. These are what I'm talking about when I mention games that are good enough for an initial playthrough but not worth putting a ton of time into.

Stuff like Kirby, on the other hand, is appalling. I could never play through that game.

Bravo. :lol
 

Hixx

Member
If a game is ridiculously easy I will get bored. So yes. I don't like games that punish you for tiny mistakes (unless its Super Meat Boy <3) but on the other hand I hate games that offer absolutely no challenge.

An example, Halo: Reach on Heroic was fantastically tuned difficulty-wise for me. Normal was way too easy, to the point where I'd lose interest and just zone out while Legendary was a bit too far for me to go.
 

HolyCheck

I want a tag give me a tag
Nope.

I play games on easy/casual mode. I'm there to enjoy the story not to tear my hair out.

Some days I put infinite health cheats on because I just want to motor through.
 

Brofist

Member
Combichristoffersen said:
No, not really. Not for me, at least. I play games to be entertained, not to be enraged due to some shitty platforming segment or boss I can't defeat.



Have you forgotten about Silent Hill: Shitty Memories already? :|

Were expectations really high enough to make it disappointing though?
 
The first Mario Galaxy is a game I considered "too easy". They didn't add real challenge until you beat the game - and I just couldn't make it that far. I just got totally bored - it felt like I was working, not playing a game. This is where a game needs a challenge. Now, not all games are like that - some can be incredibly fun without a challenge. But Mario Galaxy is the perfectly example of a game that needs a challenge to be enjoyed.
 
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