Creating a difficulty curve is one of the toughest challenges in game design. The decision of what type of audience or demographic to tailor your game towards, while striking a delicate balance between encouraging players to keep trying and at the same time punishing failure, is an almost unreachable feat.
Ramping up the difficulty from the lowest to the highest degree is traditionally done by raising statistics or percentages of player obstructions, like the damage enemies inflict and lowering the player’s own abilities. There is however a selection of games that revel in putting specific restrictions or roadblocks in front of players in order to force them to approach situations differently.
Beyond playing more cautiously and paying attention to resources, these difficulties layer their gameplay with components that shift the player’s focus or put restraints on certain mechanics that demand the player adapts to the situation at hand.
Video games at the very least need the capacity to be difficult. By enhancing this challenge with unique alterations and nuances, it provides the player with a greater gratification of being able to beat what’s in front of them and get more from their gaming experience.
10. Sniper Elite 3 - Authentic
By putting you in the role of American marksman Karl Fairburne during World War 2, Sniper Elite 3 places you in relatively untouched environments within video games featuring countries like Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia.
The game’s main difficulties (Cadet, Marksman, and Sniper Elite respectively) raise the stakes by changing standard things like enemy health, damage output, and awareness, but the apex challenge level of Authentic takes things up a considerable notch.
First off, the HUD is completely removed. Everything from your mini-map to your weapon and ammunition count is wiped away. Enemies basically become aimbots with their awareness at Daredevil-esque levels, knowing exactly where you are and converging on your position should you fire a shot without a noise to mask your assassination attempts.
The biggest roadblock to success is that the game removes your ability to save during a mission, meaning that you have to complete each mission in one attempt without dying. The ability to play in co-op slightly circumvents this feature, but friendly fire is also enabled.
Challenge is more often than not relished by gamers, but after a few failed attempts, SE3 can spawn as much frustration as it can satisfaction.