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Ridiculous/unexpected difficulty spikes

Oct 14, 2006
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Ever play a reasonably challenging game but constantly hit a wall when it comes to a certain part? It might be because of a difference in gameplay (say a minigame), a particularly poorly balanced boss fight or just really cheap level design, but when you play the game, you just dread coming up to this one part.

For me (right now), I'd have to nominate the Forest level in Castlevania: Order of Ecclessia. Right now, I'm doing a Hard mode naked* run with Shanoa and I have been throwing myself at this particular part of the game for what seems like hours. I don't know how many of you have played this game in hard mode, but this part seemed particularly cheap on Normal. In Hard mode, they up the ante by adding huge flying enemies that fly in from all directions in random patterns so you can't just use your normal dodge patterns when you fight.

It's frustrating and really is the most difficult part of the game. It's a lot harder than the clocktower, for instance, for various reasons:

1) Because of your low levels and weapon options, every enemy, including the flying ones, takes multiple hits to take down. Where you might dispatch a medusa with a single hit, you need to hit the flying skeletons and the headsucker octopus guys multiple times to get rid of them

2) The octopus guys have to be killed as they hone in on you deliberately

3) The only weapon available at this point in the game that can hit an overhead enemy is also underpowered and has an unbearably slow recharge time.

4) You can't use backdash to dodge a lot of the time because there's usually a flying enemy coming at your back

Nowhere else in the game is quite as frustrating, not even boss fights you're trying to earn medals for. Ugh.

* i.e. NOT using New Game+

------------

So, GAF, what's your bugaboo when it comes to obscene difficulty spikes? Be it a classic like Death Mountain in Zelda 2 or some boss in a game you've just played, list examples and tell us why it's so hard.
 

badcrumble

Member
May 12, 2006
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I think difficulty spikes are almost always terrible because, really, games should live up to the expectations they create - they should teach the player how to play and then present them with challenges that live up to what they've been taught, rather than rendering those teachings thoroughly pointless.

The sole exception I can think of is the way that Devil May Cry 1 and 3 use difficulty spikes early on in the game to reset your expectations (and, ultimately, as a 'teaching' tool, as I've described). If those same difficulty spikes had happened late in the game with nary a challenge in the lead up to them, they'd be absolutely fucking terrible design.

Anyhow, in terms of BAD difficulty spikes, the worst in recent memory are still the ones from God of War. *waits for raucous laughter*
 
Apr 3, 2009
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Dead Space 1 and 2 are both really unfun in the last chapter or two. The game throws out all pretenses of being a horror game and becomes a game of 10 super strong enemies in every room. Its beatable but it is annoying.
 

Hansel

Banned
Jan 23, 2011
621
0
460
United States
It took me years to beat Bowser in Paper Mario. The rest of the game was so easy too! Like they only wanted me to think I was good so they could make me feel like crap at the end.
 

TheShampion

Member
Mar 12, 2009
2,124
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There is that one boss in Tales of Vesperia. The wolf one that was featured in the demo. That boss is rather hard, I think harder than any of the other bosses in the game just because it is so early. The worst part is that after the fight one of the characters says something like "that wasn't so hard!"
 
K

kittens

Unconfirmed Member
That god damn forest dragon in Final Fantasy XII.
 

Femmeworth

Banned
Aug 4, 2006
29,831
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Texas
Gears of War 2 is guilty of this during a few moments on insane. -_- I'm referring to the Assault Derrick and gondola sections. Fuck reavers. Other than that, I have nothing but love for Gears of War 2's campaign.
 
Aug 26, 2009
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The very last chapter of Saga Frontier 2.

Really hard bosses topped by a really, really annoying hard final boss (who potentially has the power to instakill your entire party, depending on what gear your bring).

No shop or inn or anything to allow you to replenish your life/resources, so you're left with very limited opportunities to grind.

Fuck you,
egg
.

While the general game is hard, the last boss of Vagrant Story was also very tedious, I thought.
 

JDSN

Banned
Sep 13, 2006
23,943
0
0
BattleToads.
First Level: Normal.
Second Level: Kinda Hard.
Third Level: Kinda Hard.
Fourth Level: Fuck this game, fuck it in the ass.
 

revolverjgw

Member
Sep 21, 2006
17,907
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rateyourmusic.com
I remember trotting through Blade of Darkness for PC, loving every minute, then reaching some demon boss that was seemingly unbeatable. So I gave in and read all the FAQs, and they were all like "you're probably consulting this FAQ because of this boss. Here's a list of strategies and AI exploits that probably won't work unless you get lucky, good luck".
 

Dice

Member
Jun 6, 2004
35,533
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The worst is when it's not even a boss, but just like a room with two apparently normal enemies that are a complete bitch and make the rest of the game proceeding (including final boss) look like a cakewalk. It has happened in plenty of games and always makes me wonder what the hell the devs were thinking.
 

cpp_is_king

Member
Mar 1, 2011
16,816
105
590
TheShampion said:
There is that one boss in Tales of Vesperia. The wolf one that was featured in the demo. That boss is rather hard, I think harder than any of the other bosses in the game just because it is so early. The worst part is that after the fight one of the characters says something like "that wasn't so hard!"

It had been a while since I played ToV so at first I couldn't remember what boss you were talking about. But your last sentence, when you mentioned them saying "that wasn't so hard!" after the battle, it all came back to me. That fight was absolutely ridiculous, and it's literally like an hour or two into the game.
 
Jun 2, 2009
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omg.kittens said:
That god damn forest dragon in Final Fantasy XII.
I stopped playing the game on two separate save files cause I couldn't beat this fucker. I finally got through that part and god damn the game gets good after that.

I can't really think of any really crazy difficulty spikes off the top of my head right now. I'll add something in later once I think of a couple.
 

Seven Force

Banned
Aug 15, 2010
16,850
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Two Words:

Meat. Circus.

To elaborate, you have an extremely annoying escort mission, followed by a platforming segment from hell that just repeatedly punches you in the dick.
 

Mileena

Banned
Dec 10, 2008
23,121
2
0
KC
Resonance of Fate

hard at first when you don't know what the fuck is going on with the battle system
then it's extremely easy
then you get to the Piledriver Giants
FUUUUUUUU
then the rest of the game is easy
 

Ilúvatar

Member
Jul 6, 2010
1,100
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0
Ithaca, NY
The ending of Killzone 2. Maybe not so much difficulty but the sheer volume of shit they are throwing at you on top of the fact that Rico spends the entire battle attempting to kill a railing.
 
Probably everyone will laugh at me but for me the most difficult game i had to beat was the last bost in FINAL FANTASY VIII, because the first time i played the game i didn´t know that you could DRAW the GF from enemies so when i came at the end of the game to fight with ULTIMECIA i only had like 5 GF and my characters weren´t as powerful as i thought, so at the end when i had to fight ULTIMECIA it was one of my hardest enemy to battle in my life. It was until a played the second time of FF8 that i knew about the drawing of GF from enemies.
 

Songbird

Prodigal Son
Jan 15, 2009
4,136
0
0
Jinpachi Mishima in Tekken 5 is one of the most painful difficulty spikes I've experienced.
 

-Pyromaniac-

Member
May 10, 2009
53,311
3
840
Ilúvatar said:
The ending of Killzone 2. Maybe not so much difficulty but the sheer volume of shit they are throwing at you on top of the fact that Rico spends the entire battle attempting to kill a railing.
Not a bad choice at all. That last level was hard as fuck compared to the rest of the stuff, and this is playing on normal. And that last boss!
 

Dice

Member
Jun 6, 2004
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Thnikkaman said:
Jinpachi Mishima in Tekken 5 is one of the most painful difficulty spikes I've experienced.
Stay away from SNK fighters.
 

Havok

Member
Jun 29, 2007
4,869
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1,110
Lucky Number Seven Force said:
Two Words:

Meat. Circus.
The reason I've never seen the end of Psychonauts...fighting the controls on a keyboard to jump on a circular chain link fence is total crap.
 

Ferga

Member
Jul 18, 2009
7,573
0
0
Sydney Australia
Patapon - the mother fucking desert.

maintaining rain for the whole level... took me 3 god damn hours to finish that level but i'm glad i did because that game was amazing
 

RhombusPrime

Neo Member
Feb 26, 2011
80
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The final boss in Paper Mario 2. I never actually beat that game because you had to sit through a 20 minute cut scene before the final boss every time.
 

Shalashaska

Member
Jun 1, 2007
5,920
1
1,055
Ilúvatar said:
The ending of Killzone 2. Maybe not so much difficulty but the sheer volume of shit they are throwing at you on top of the fact that Rico spends the entire battle attempting to kill a railing.
This x10000
 

Dante23

Member
Dec 10, 2008
541
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The arcade boss of Blazblue Continuum Shift. The sucker is one hell of a cheap bastard, it is overpowered and it absorbs life. Fuck that guy.
 

SteelAttack

Member
Dec 6, 2008
7,116
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Veracruz, Mexico.
Can't say unexpected, but I found Trials HD Extreme Tracks aggravating. I know they're called extreme for a reason, but come on. I have only been able to beat one of the last four.

Also, Goenitz.
 

Grayman

Member
Feb 7, 2005
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Skate 1 and 2 both have challenges that request a specific grind or flip to grind that is gamebreaking compared to the regular stuff. Skate 1 puts it half way through the game.

Dice said:
The worst is when it's not even a boss, but just like a room with two apparently normal enemies that are a complete bitch and make the rest of the game proceeding (including final boss) look like a cakewalk. It has happened in plenty of games and always makes me wonder what the hell the devs were thinking.
All frequent checkpoint and unlimited continue games happen to have these. Sometimes they are not ridiculous but they are always unexpected in the context of the game.
 

mrseaves

Banned
Feb 15, 2011
129
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France


 

zerotol

Banned
Feb 12, 2011
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The asteroid shooting part in Dead Space fucked me up bad. I finished the game but that part made me not want to replay it.
 

Replicant

Member
Mar 20, 2007
28,340
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To Far Away Times said:
Dead Space 1 and 2 are both really unfun in the last chapter or two. The game throws out all pretenses of being a horror game and becomes a game of 10 super strong enemies in every room. Its beatable but it is annoying.

In space, no one can hear you scream while being gang-banged by Necros.
 

meadowrag

Banned
Feb 16, 2010
1,806
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Oh yeah, in Baten Kaitos Origins, that damn bird at the beginning of disc 2, and then of course
Guillo
.
 

blindrocket

Member
May 1, 2005
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I remember beating Batman Arkham Asylum on the hardest difficulty setting.

One big jump in difficulty was taking an hour to finally beat a few waves of henchman and Titans. Spraying the explosive gel, stunning the Titans, riding them around disabling henchman, getting them to run into the electric fence, etc.

Here's a walkthrough, on hard, making it look easy. But the commentary explains at how hard it actually is, and it took him awhile to finally get it down.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_RhG2gVvgQ
 

erlim

yes, that talented of a member
Aug 22, 2005
4,523
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Anybody here play Area 51 on the PS2/Original Xbox? There's a part where I'm just stuck because it's too hard. I even go back to it occasionally, and can't beat it. On easy mode too. It's just ridiculously harder than the rest of the game. It's this part in like a hanger where this space saucer is being held.

Miraculously I found a screenshot.
 

sixghost

Member
May 23, 2010
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zerotol said:
The asteroid shooting part in Dead Space fucked me up bad. I finished the game but that part made me not want to replay it.
I've heard multiple people say this now. Do some people just not realize that you can shoot with both triggers?
 

Dice

Member
Jun 6, 2004
35,533
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mrseaves said:
Hahaha, yeah the whole game is basically on-rails before that then you suddenly hit a wall... that is a demon. Now whenever I play it I top to level grind in the forest before going in there and save a Cloud limit break to kill him in one hit.
 

KevinCow

Banned
Oct 6, 2007
23,356
0
0
33
Pretty much every music game when going from Medium to Hard. You basically go from only playing quarter notes 90% of the time to playing a bunch of chaotic nonsense.
 

Noisepurge

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Oct 2, 2009
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but i would argue that any game's last boss having a high difficulty is rather expected?

A sudden jump in difficulty i experienced recently was propably Enslaved on hard. The chase sequences were insanely short on time. Had to restart them like 20 times...