10 Challenging Video Games That Are Endlessly Rewarding

The games that push you to breaking point, and then pat you on the head.

Monster Hunter

Gaming isn't the most accessible medium ever conceived, and difficulty itself is a particularly divisive subject, isolating casual gamers considerably and restricting certain games to only the most experienced of players, which isn't necessarily fair (or good business).

That said, some impossibly challenging games, manage to strike a perfect balance, rewarding players for their commitments, and encouraging them to persevere with their efforts. These games - despite their initial difficulty - eventually open up, revealing themselves to be remarkably rewarding, providing endless gratification for those willing to put in the time and effort.

Upon first glance, these games may seem tremendously uninviting, but are inherently rewarding. They require patience, determination and persistence, but mastering them is completely worthwhile, putting easier, more accessible games to absolute shame.

After all, they say nothing easy is worth doing – and in this particular case – that happens to be completely accurate. To an extent, games are meant to be challenging, but these really take the cake.

That said, here are 10 brutally difficult games that are endlessly rewarding…

10. Dark Souls

Monster Hunter

Dark Souls requires a massive amount of patience, requiring players to learn from their mistakes by treating death as though a learning tool. The opening sequence – The Undead Asylum – introduces a boss right away, encouraging players to avoid danger where possible, accumulate weapons which complement certain stats, and progress gradually through the game.

In this respect, the game can easily wear a person down, but the rewards are considerable. There are countless secrets, optional quests, covenants and NPCs to discover, many of which are not communicated to the player. It’s your responsibility to uncover these aspects because the game refuses to hold the player’s hand, meaning every achievement is incredibly personal.

Each challenge is considerable. The Catacombs, for instance, contains skeletons which reanimate constantly unless the player first targets the necromancers. Likewise, several bosses – including the Gargoyles – appear remarkably early in the game, which refuses to communicate important information, and is constantly throwing obstacles in your path.

Rather than frustrating, the game is gratifying because it trusts the player to figure things out for themselves, and provides ample clues to help them out.


Formerly an assistant editor, Richard's interests include detective fiction and Japanese horror movies.