Weekend Debate: Who Needs Easy Mode?

Earlier this week I was following an interesting discussion over on the NeoGAF boards around a (supposedly mistranslated) remark from the director of infamously unforgiving action RPG Dark Souls stating that he’d like to add an Easy Mode to the game so that more players might successfully see its conclusion.

Many commenters were absolutely outraged at the notion that the game’s brutal vision should be compromised in the name of welcoming in a few wet-around-the-ears newcomers, while others couldn’t see a problem with lowering the barrier for entry to less seasoned players.

So, I thought I’d open it up to you guys:

Does Easy Mode have a right to exist?

For the sake of argument, I’ll boldly step off the fence and say ‘no’. I’ve never knowingly plumped for anything other than ‘normal’ difficulty on my first playthrough of a game, on the basis that that is how the developers intended the game to be played. If it’s too hard or too frustrating, that means either the developer did a bad job at correctly balancing the action, or it’s just not the right kind of game for me.

Your thoughts? Do you ever crumple under pressure and plump for Easy? Conversely, do you ever instinctively leap straight to Hard? Please chime in below.

It’s been a rather spicy week here on the Blog, so I figured you deserved a great prize. I’ve got 12 download codes for last month’s phenemonal Transformers: Fall of Cybertron up for grabs. Leave a particularly insightful comment below and one could be yours.

Check out the launch trailer below to whet your appetite…

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Titchy_Penguin 7 September, 2012 @ 5:13 pm   1

Yes it does as although I can deal with hard and above sometimes I plump for easy so I can play through the game quicker so I can get through my backlog. Also I use it for LPs to allow me to make more video.

x-X-xAyax-X-x 7 September, 2012 @ 5:14 pm   2

I think it does have a right to exist. I get put off with I just see a game with Normal and Hard mode, even though I do try to play it on Normal it is always nice to know there is that option. Especially for some games where the normal is hard. Also, it is good for getting some of the trophies so you don’t have to worry about dying a lot to get them. This is just my opinion, though! ^^


Lets just make sense of this whole conversation. Some games clearly need an Easy mode for Noobs which is fine and I think welcomed. We need new players to have fun playing games and not getting frustrated and quitting to grow our community. But some games have an easy mode a regular mode a medium mode a hard, and a hardcore which makes no sense what so ever, 3 modes plus an unlockable hardcore mode is all a game needs in my opinion. 4 modes tops.


I have found that in recent years games have become easier. I personally do find the likes of demon souls/dark souls to be too tough for me. Its not that im not a good gamer but that I dont have massive amounts if time to trial and error a game to find the best route/method of completion. However I never found it frustrating as it was always my reactions that caused my death. One of my proudest platinums belongs to dead space 2 (which whilst not too tough on normal) hardcore really did bring me to the edge of my sanity. . In a good way. I believe games such as guitar hero which require practice and knowledge of patterns do benefit from easy to expert modes. Especially as their setup is so well stepped to bringing something new without making it feel like you have gone too far. Would we ever want an easy mode for ghouls and ghosts? I rest my case lol

I would like a code for transformers, only if it has easy mode. thank you.

Yes, in my opinion an easy mode has absolutely the right to exist. Fred, I find your insights very interesting, and I think especially right the fact that it’s the developers’ job to balance the difficulty of the normal mode to make it enjoyable. You did not consider at least two arguments for the easy mode, though. The first, probably already mentioned in the post you linked (I’m sorry but I don’t have the time to run through it right now), is that of course nobody obliges anyone to actually play in easy mode. The second one is that, though I may be a disaster with some games or whole genres while playing in normal mode, I may nevertheless enjoy very much playing them in easy mode. Why should I be excluded from the fun just because I’m not so good? 🙂


Easy mode will always be part of gaming. Why? Because of replayability. Sometime ago I beat the original Crysis in Delta difficulty. That difficulty made the game awesome and very challenging. Yesterday I wanted to play some Crysis but only to kick some serious a$$. I started playing in easy mode and I had a blast. Also I managed to pick up some trophies I missed when I was playing in the hardest difficulty. I think that everyone can beat games in normal and harder difficulties, but they also want to enjoy the game and for that is easy mode. That’s why I think that all games should have easy mode!


Of course it does. I think it probably goes against the design doc of something like Dark Souls but it’s essential for those games that are centred around telling a story; there’s nothing wrong with knocking a game down to easy, sitting back and enjoying the ride. Compare it to a movie; it’d be like watching a movie you’re enjoying for an hour and turning it off after an hour and not seeing the ending that the creators intended you to see. Putting a wall around a story in form of difficulty only hurts the people that spent years of their lives crafting the story. Kind insulting not to see their story out to the end, especially if if you’re enjoying it!

Bealinator 7 September, 2012 @ 5:26 pm   9

Instinctively I’d say “No” because I do like a challenge in my games. I don’t like to be patronised with “Hey, you are a heavily armoured (and extremely bald) marine who shall have no problem fighting his way through a war”. I do like to be tested throughout a game, but not in a sadistic manner like Demons’ Souls. Tested as in Veteran mode on a Call of Duty game because it is fair, and not in the sense of Demons’ Souls because it just isn’t any fun and is too punishing.

For me, Easy mode shouldn’t exist. But there are some who struggle to play a game and play it well, so lowering the bar via an easy mode would definitely make gaming more accessible.

So on balance, I’d say it should remain because you take away the easy mode and some people would be penalised. I personally won’t use it, but others do and that is what counts.


If there was no easy then normal would become the new easy?

For 99% of games I have never used easy or even normal. A perfect game shouldn’t have a difficulty level, but instead adjust according to how well or badly the player is doing. But I have yet to find the perfect game.

I always play which ever setting makes the game challenging but fun.

Nazar_Ops 7 September, 2012 @ 5:28 pm   11

Easy mode is quite useful. Newcomers needs to get used to the game. When they practiced enough and think they are ready. They go hardcore.

pauljackson7 7 September, 2012 @ 5:29 pm   12

I have no problem with there not being an ‘easy mode’ when starting up the game for the first time – the normal mode is, after all, how the game developers expected you to experience the game.

…what I DO approve of is the idea of scaling back difficulty dynamically if a player gets stuck – think some of the older Capcom games (Devil May Cry?) actually broke into the game after a couple of hours if you were struggling and offered easy mode.

If its that or just giving up as my average-ish twitch gaming abilities mean I hit a wall (or a controller hits a wall) I wholly support easy mode inclusion.

    Fred Dutton 10 September, 2012 @ 3:18 pm    

    Yep, tweaking difficulty on-the-fly is a nice idea – albeit an ambitious one. Transformers code for you.

SupermatthewS 7 September, 2012 @ 5:29 pm   13

I think easy mode has to exist.My Friend only got a playstation a few weeks ago and he has only played mine three or four times.So he’s new to gaming.It’s hard for people like this who are still leaning the controller and aren’t as advanced as me or you.All my friend wanted was just to enjoy the experience that gaming brings you,not just get fustrated at every checkpoint all the way through.Example:Spec ops The Line I thought it was hard on normal and I’ve been playing games for seven years now,how would my friend play this on normal.

doomsday619 7 September, 2012 @ 5:34 pm   14

Definatly, i have children that have just got into PS3 gaming and my wife has only just got into it. Without easy mode my kids would get bored, if they die on the game repeatedly they tend to give up and boot up something else.
And easy mode for my wife has helped her get into gaming, she has completed a fair few games and now gone on to a harder difficulty.
It helps bring in and introduce new gamers to what we have been enjoying for years and come on when we got into gaming we never started on Hardcore mode did we?

residentSteve 7 September, 2012 @ 5:34 pm   15

I wish there was an extra easy mode in max Payne 3 never did complete it, that game needed regenerating health not pills(health packs).

mrgrieves 7 September, 2012 @ 5:35 pm   16

Of course it should exist. It’s a choice – why would you not want it?

I’m no good at gaming, but I will always start on Normal. It’s nice to know I can drop down to Easy if the option is there mid-game. Particularly if I’ve shelled out quite a bit for a game, if I can’t complete it then I feel a little cheated.

I wouldn’t have been able to get through – and enjoy – many games without an easy mode. I don’t see why I should particularly suffer just because I’m no good! It’s no longer an elitist hobby for the hardcore fans.

Everyone has a different skill level – why be snobby about that? (Also have you not seen this: ??)

I would say that playing some games on easy does ruin them, but I still appreciate the fact that I’ve got a choice in the matter.

vicentecarro 7 September, 2012 @ 5:35 pm   17

It’s a must. Gamers like me get older, get a family and get children. All that’s great but the spare time disappears, so we have less and less time to spend playing video games. And so we have to use, sometimes, the Easy Mode of certain video games or else we couldn’t play them.

Ziggy_Marley_93 7 September, 2012 @ 5:36 pm   18

Yes, it has a place. It allows people who wouldn’t necessarily have time or skill, to be able to play a game and still become immersed within the story and things like that. The fact that developers like Quantic Dream and Naughty Dog focus so heavily on story, more and more people will begin to take interest in this form of media because of it. Why should there be a barrier to those people? People shouldn’t care that others might pick on them for it, so long as they enjoy the game. Plus, its not like normal or higher difficulties are going anywhere, I’m still going to be able to play Uncharted 3 on crushing.

Solid_Snake1987 7 September, 2012 @ 5:37 pm   19

I do think easy mode does have a right to exist, just as much right as hard mode does. Gamers range in ability and not everyone can be a master with a game pad. There are some that struggle with certain types of games and so the option to experience the content of the game at their own level should be made available.

Comedian Dara Ó Briain while talking about games stated it’s the only form of media that requires you to complete something before you can move on. If you can’t complete a level, well it sucks to be you because until you beat it you can go no further. A book doesn’t question you about the chapter you just read and prevent you from moving on until you get it right. Easy mode gives struggling gamers a chance.

One game that did something great that I’ve yet to see since is Alone in the Dark: Inferno. The player has the option to skip forward through checkpoints at any time to any part of the game. The game recaps the story so the player misses nothing and therefore can experience the game to its fullest even if one section is giving them trouble. It’s a much better than frustrating a gamer and forcing them to quit, and it’s one that should be more prevalent in gaming and a good alternative to easy mode.

supersmith2500 7 September, 2012 @ 5:39 pm   20

Interesting topic Fred.
I think it should have the right to exist, without the option, it would make games harder for beginners or people who are new to gaming unless the game is easy at first then harder as the player progresses, some games do not have an difficulty option while most do.

Back into the retro days, some games require you to beat the game on harder levels for the true ending with credits. This is what Easy mode is for, practice your gaming skills and know where the enemies are and such and you should be able to beat it. New to gaming? play on Easy unless you are hardcore enough to play on hard. It’s all about skill and practice in video gaming.

FUN FACT: In Japan, some of their games are REALLY HARD while some are impossible to beat that any gamer outside Japan could not beat it. Remember Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan wasn’t released but instead we got Doki Doki Panic with Super Mario sprites slapped on and then was released later on All-Stars and then Wii’s Virtual Console.

shaggy12654 7 September, 2012 @ 5:40 pm   21

I think easy mode should exist.Many people new to the gaming world would have a difficult time with if easy mode does not exist.Suppose a person who is new to the gaming world buys the game and is not able to complete because its too hard,he/she would get frustated and regret buying the game.
Fred,I hope after reading everybodys comments you realise that easy mode does need to exist.

KavinSarragin 7 September, 2012 @ 5:43 pm   22

Of course it has a right to exist! I know, not all people have the dexterity and skills to play any game they want, but easy mode gives them a fighting chance. They can enjoy the plot without raging about the difficulty. Frustration isn’t just good for your health…

Not good enough? Well, I used easy mode when I first started playing console FPS games (or any other shooter for that matter). I simplly got used to a mouse and keyboard, so having an easy mode allowed me to get used to the controls and enjoy the game in the process.

Oh, there’s one other thing. Trophy grinding. When you have to collect X of item Y during multiple playthroughs, I bet you wouldn’t want to be forced to do each and every one of them on a taxing dificulty. It would be way too tedious.

I think it’s a bit selfish of anyone to say that easy mode doesn’t have a place in gaming.

There is bound to be gamers out there who are less experienced into gaming or have slower reflexes or whatever. Do I want them to not be able to enjoy a game with only a normal mode, which is going to be too hard for them? No.

The same can easily be said about hard mode. There will be people who will not be able to enjoy a game with only one difficulty setting, because it will just be too easy for them.

Me? I usually go for a normal mode playthrough first to get the most out of the game without it being too frustrating.

Agamer2006 7 September, 2012 @ 5:45 pm   24

Of course it has a place, ever gamer has the right to enjoy the game the way they want to. Its the great thing about video games, we are able to customise it to what ever style suits our own enjoyment. Having the option to choose which difficulty allows those hardcore players who want a challenge to have their hard mode, while casual players only interested in enjoying the story have their easy option.

I personally like the way games like oblivion have a slider to tweak the difficulty of the game on the fly, allowing you to find the perfect difficulty to your gaming style. Other games allow you to try a practice session and then determine your difficulty and assists based on how well you preformed, games like dirt3 have this option, which means no matter how good you are at games, the game will adapt to make sure you have a fun enjoyable time, playing the game how you felt it should be played.

jojo13_iscool 7 September, 2012 @ 5:46 pm   25

yes i think you do need easy mode because if you don’t have people who are new to that game they won’t be good at that game

aaronwalkeruk 7 September, 2012 @ 5:46 pm   26

easy mode does have its place. when the developers create their games they need to cater for as wide an audience as possible. there will be people who are more casual type of hammer with not as much time and may want to trundle through a game with relative ease. plus people whose reactions may not be as quick as the rest of us. personally I have used easy for trophy grinding but will typically play games on hard as I want a challenge and dont mind getting frustrated with a shooter. god of war type games I will play on medium for starters. games like demon souls due to the rep has pot me off, I want a challenge but dont want to buy a game and be robbed of the ending.

Amy_Belgium 7 September, 2012 @ 5:46 pm   27

Games are made to be completed stories are made to be finished. you don’t go to the cinema and watch half movie ( unless you’re bored or the movie is boring ) in other words you must finish what you start. let’s not forget that not everyone is skilled enough to complete a game on a higher difficulty so easy mode just gives you a chance to finish what you’ve started. remember a story must be completed to be fully told that’s the magic of it 🙂

@Fred yaba daba do Fred 🙂

jojo13_iscool 7 September, 2012 @ 5:48 pm   28

it have it -)

Long time ago, easy mode ruined my first time experience with DMC. But hey, Phantom WAS unforgiving!
But ever since that has happened, I only play games from the hardest available mode from the start. And I can only enjoy game truly when they have the hardest difficulty available from the start (really enjoyed Bioshock this way!). I hate to play games over and over just to unlock a harder setting.
But what the good thing about the DMC easy mode, was that is was not selectable from the start. Only if you really screwed up in the game, you got it offered. I think such an option is okay. But I think it should be temporarily. Sort of a dynamic difficulty that increases the difficulty back to the normal difficulty after a checkpoint or something (but just for normal and lower difficulties, hard modes should stay hard modes as they are, do not).

sheldipez 7 September, 2012 @ 5:53 pm   30


I think that’s changed over the years. These days it’s more likely to be reverse and some of their games are REALLY EASY and increase the difficulty for their Western release. Shinji Mikami commented on this when doing an interview for a UK magazine for the original Dino Crisis in 1999; he stated that Japanese people like to get through games as fast as they can and move onto the next where as the consensus for Europeans, at least, was they liked a challenge. This was the same with the original Metal Gear Solid (again 1999 for EU version) when they introduced a harder difficulty for the English version, this is something that’s continued on in the MGS series in form of ‘European Extreme’ difficulty.


Easy mode has a right to exist but VERRY EASY MODE does not. Its a difecuilty made for babys, no joke. i saw someone play BATTLEFIELD 3 on verry easy and i laughed so hard. BATTLEFIELD 3 is easy even on hard! 🙂 games can be too hard at times so easy is good but verry easy? last i checked: babys + call of duty (no offense) = rage quiters 😀


Phoenixfire90 7 September, 2012 @ 6:01 pm   32

Although I’m the type that starts a game on normal or in some cases on hard first time round, I thoroughly believe that some games should have an easy mode while others (like Dark Souls and Demon Souls) should stay the way they are. As the latter challenge even the most experienced players.
More than once have I journeyed into a different game genre and started it on easy to get the basic idea of the game and then went on a harder mode, a good example in my case is Guitar Hero III.
I remember at first it was quite hard to play but as I made my way through career mode on easy I got better and better, by the time I had finished career mode I decided that I was good enough to go up a difficulty and sure enough I was, and I was later thanking myself that I never went for the normal difficulty in that case.


I just don’t see what the big issue is? Anybody should be able to play games on any single player difficulty as the only person it effects is the player himself. Nobody will know who would be playing on easy in a game like Dark Souls.

I love Dark souls and Demon’s Souls and have beat them both 4 times each. So it’s not like I go for the easy modes. Whatever sells more copies of the games so I get to have a better time playing new entries into the series.

Plus an easy mode would help me with some of those extra ‘grindy’ Trophies!

Phoenixfire90 7 September, 2012 @ 6:01 pm   34

Although more than once have a kicked myself for my decision to go straight for hard (or higher) instead of the other difficulty options, perfect example in my case would be Mass Effect 2.
After my first playthrough I decided to test myself by going straight for Insanity (it’s called Insanity for a reason people), as soon as I started to play through and got to the first, maybe second fight after the tutorial, I wished that I hadn’t have turned up the difficulty, but I wasn’t willing to give up without a fight and somehow I managed to finish the game a second time and claim the trophy for doing it on Insanity.
So to answer your question, yes, Easy mode should have a right to exist, even in this day in age where most games seem to be getting easier. Cause everyone’s got to start somewhere.

ryannumber3gamer 7 September, 2012 @ 6:02 pm   35

Yes it needs to exist! There i loads have games i played without easy mode which made me so angry while playing. There is loads of games that is very hard and need a easy mode for new players and new people to that series.Some of the games being GTA Vice City and R&C 3 but i think the hardest game i have ever played is Jak 2 Renegade. I hated how hard the game was and how much i wished for an easy mode. I was surprised how fast i beat it in the J&D collection.

Yoshikart64 7 September, 2012 @ 6:03 pm   36

Given that most games pay no consideration to disabled players, easy modes can play a vital role. If your struggling against the interface as well as the game a little bit of extra life or time can be the difference between fun and frustration.

That’s no excuse for a badly balanced game but a few finely balanced modes can make sure that no one is excluded. It won’t solve the accessibility problem for everyone but at least the option is there.

A_Nonny_Moose 7 September, 2012 @ 6:03 pm   37

I surprised myself answering this question, but I don’t think easy mode should exist. If you want everyone to be able to play and complete your game then the default difficulty should allow that. If it doesn’t then the struggle to get through is obviously an important part of the overall experience.

Alex Hutchinson (designer on Assassin’s Creed 3) commented on the matter recently as well, and I absolutely agree. “If you have a cover shooter and you switch it to easy and you don’t have to use cover, you kind of broke your game. You made a game that is essentially the worst possible version of your game.”

Of course this only really applies to certain genres. The difficulty settins in puzzle games or rhythm games are often there to teach you how to play, which is perfectly fine. But action/adventure titles almost always have tutorial stages for this purpose. An easy mode on top of that isn’t necessary. If a game is too difficult for someone, then they can play something else.


I remember the first Spiderman game for the PlayStation One had a very easy mode, which even altered the controls to make the game more appealing for newcomers of the console.

In my opinion – yes, Easy Mode has a right to exist, but at the end of the day, it comes down to the specific game. I can imagine why the fans of Dark Souls does not want an easy mode added to the game, simply it’s because the difficulty of the game is one of the things that makes it unique. But if the game had an easy mode, it might be more appealing to other kinds of gamers, and isn’t that what it’s all about? Making games for everyone to enjoy.

If I’m one of the few lucky ones to win a copy of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, I will play the game on the hardest difficulty, because that’s the kind of gamer I am, I enjoy a challenge.

vonhammer 7 September, 2012 @ 6:07 pm   39

“Does Easy Mode have a right to exist?”


My mother would never of started playing Uncharted 2 had it not been for easy mode.She then began playing it online for a few weeks.Only reason she stopped was the awesome people that played online against her.Hardcore (lol) gamers should be proud.

I go straight in on the hardest difficulty possible.The reason I do it,is so I can try and extend the first playthrough by a few hours.But I always get to a point were I think why did I bother,not because it’s difficult,but you become good enough that you beat it anyway.

Example would be Batman AA.I went in got absolutely slaughtered for 20 minutes in the first set of cells.Started learning the enemy attack animations,and walked through game without a problem.Then walked through the challenges because they showed when they were attacking.I laughed when I first seen the attack warning.Was that 20 minutes worth it,i’m not sure.

(on PS3,run out of text input room)

vonhammer 7 September, 2012 @ 6:07 pm   40


I also think devs don’t have a clue what to do about it.The only thing that really happens is damage/heath adjustments,or taking away HUD’s.

The only way’s you can really make a difficulty system work is by designing 3 different games.Easy,Med,Hard.But we’ll never get that.
Or make difficulty a game mechanic.The best example I can think of is God Hand.It rewards you for getting better by increasing the difficulty,giving enemies more attacks.
But if your not good it lowers it and simplifies the enemy attack patterns.


Yes an easy mode is still needed.

Developers with higher cost that keep rising each generation needs to make as much money as possible. An easy mode provides accessability to inexperienced gamers or people who play casually which gets more people to buy the game and more money to developers.

I normally play on normal but I am rubbish as Hack and slash games but I love them. I recent had trouble with Darksiders. I got stuck with no way to continue. No healing items, red flashing health with nothing behind me and a boss fight ahead I gave up and sold the game. When we got it for free with Playstation Plus I played again on easy and I enjoyed it far more than first time round. I enjoyed it so much I bought Darksiders 2.

Without an easy mode they would have lost a sale for the sequel.

TheMighty_MuMbY 7 September, 2012 @ 6:09 pm   42

Does easy mode have a right to exist?

Certainly, easy difficulties makes it easier for new comers to gaming be able to have fun and be immersed in a story mode, without infuriating them by constantly failing therefore spending 90% of their time looking at a restart screen. This would be enough to put people off gaming meaning the community would not continue to develop and grow.

Also not everybody is the same. ‘Special Effect” is a charity which modifies controllers to enable individuals who wouldn’t be able to use conventional controllers due to disabilities be able to play games. Getting comfortable and effective with new equipment and controls is hard and without easy it would be nearly impossible to improve and would be an infuriating experience.

wardragon989 7 September, 2012 @ 6:12 pm   43

Yes. I do think a game needs an easy mode.

Most games I play are on normal mode, because that how a game should be ‘normal’ly played. I think the easy/normal/hard difficulty is just natural now after completing normal I would go on to play hard mode or the alternative they have provided.

While it just makes more worthless coding, it’s helpful for a user to have easy or hard modes. With easy mode, games I would never play because of it I might actually pick it up (Demon Souls etc), easy is also really helpful for trophy clean ups, especially mundane and stupidly placed ones.

Hard mode, it is a sort of “extra”, made as an incentive to test players, but it doesn’t do that for most it just annoys people, and IMO it feels that no real effort is ever put into it. The mode is not harder, it’s just that enemy now does more damage, and more enemies are present to do that damage whilst putting restrictions on the player.

..continued in part 2

wardragon989 7 September, 2012 @ 6:12 pm   44

Negatively, I do think hard or extra hard modes are added just to distract a user and tries to add a no reason to play them again which is not worth the time or effort (Max Payne 3 for example). Easy is a mode that doesn’t exist for most but are more for people who would like to dabble in a game, actually in most cases I’ve hear is that people change it so that they progress through a tough area, though most would not change difficulty (even with a on screen notification), due to ego.

Overall sandbox games, RPG’s, or astronomical long games do not easy or hard since the game itself should have enough content within to keep a person entertained. A game like Demon Souls put the dial to 11 at the beginning and kept it there, never thinking people might actually need time to get into the game and not be thrown, feet first, into the deep end. Regardless of praise from people about it, if people can’t get into it, especially with the changing attitude of gamers now-a-days, they’ll return it and get another game more worth for their time.

…continued in part 3

wardragon989 7 September, 2012 @ 6:13 pm   45

I do wish that hard mode, is adjusted so that a person playing the game does not feel anger when playing, its just harder, and also add more incentives to play it. Like more cutscenes, or better challenges or something else happens. It would also be nice to catch people who post early spoilers out, by saying “you just played easy mode, didn’t you”

uberkakis 7 September, 2012 @ 6:14 pm   46

It completely depends on the game in question. Allow me to crudely divide games into three categories:

1. Extreme sport a.k.a. old-school masochism: here we find games like Demon Souls, Battletoads and Ghosts ‘n Goblins cosying it up, while Devil May Cry 3 is rapping at the front door trying to get in. These games are not so much experiences of fun or entertainment as they are brutal challenges, designed for those who have something to prove to prove to themselves, much like what Mount Everest is for mountaineers. Adding an easy mode defeats their purpose, effectively turning them into shovelware.

2. Atmospheric journeys a.k.a. interactive theater: (a fairly recent category) to this group belongs games like Dear Esther, Journey and Heavy Rain. These games have no challenges worth mentioning, they exist as interactive works of art – stories told in a newborn medium. Adding a harder difficulty mode (if at all possible) would defeat their purpose, just as an easy mode does to group 1.


Every game should have an easy mode for the less skilled gamer or those that just want to play through without too much frustration. It must be frustrating to pay £40 for a game and then be unable to finish it and not see the end of the story.

I can’t really see any argument for an easy mode not to be included, as long as games have multiple difficulty options so gamers can choose how much of a challenge they want out of their game.

uberkakis 7 September, 2012 @ 6:15 pm   48

3. The rest: By far the biggest group, stretching a vast continuum between group 1 and 2. And it’s here things get interesting. I completely agree with Fred that developers should make Normal difficulty the default – it is the way the developers want you to experience the game. However, when properly implemented a harder difficulty can make the game appeal to gamers looking games in group 1 (which are rapidly becoming an endangered species), while an Easy mode can transform the game into category 2 – allowing people like Roger Ebert to finally appreciate our beloved medium 🙂

It should go without saying that all three groups are valid, and have their place in the world. An easy mode is like shooting a bungee jump with an Imax camera, it’s as close to the experience the fearful are going to get. Why deny them the pleasure?


Yes, I think easy mode should exist as it allows those with not enough time or skill to enjoy the experience of some wonderful games.

Easy mode allows people new to gaming to give it a try, without facing a daunting prospect, and this can be very beneficial in allowing people to get into gaming and then continue it as a hobby.


I have no qualms with easy modes being available in games if it allows more people to experience what the developers have worked hard on. It would be a shame for someone to miss out on a story like Uncharted, for example, just because they’re not a skilled shooter.

Of course though, it is rewarding for more dedicated gamers to take on the challenge of harder levels, and that’s where trophies come in; letting you prove to the “noobs” who only have the trophy for easy mode that you’re much better at the game than they are….or at least that you’re prepared to have a more stressful time in completing it; perhaps more importantly though, proving to peers that you were indeed tough enough to not have had to play on easy 😉

I would further the debate with the disparity in difficulty between games. I found Elite mode on KZ3 to be much easier than it was on KZ2 so does this make it less rewarding to complete one game on the hardest level than another, I certainly think it does.
Could there even be a case where one game’s easy mode is in fact harder than another game’s hard mode? Then who takes the bragging rights?! 😛

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