Player freedom is one of the most important facets of video games, and this absolutely transpires through to their difficulty.
Difficulty modes are almost always a good thing for developers to offer, allowing players to experience the game however they so wish, with many modern games even including a granular array of tweakable difficulty options.
But creating appropriate difficulty modes is a lot more challenging than it might at first seem: it's rarely as simple as cranking up enemy health and tweaking a few combat or AI parameters, at least when it's done well.
Yet there are many times when video games have offered difficulty settings that weren't really fit for their purpose, to the extent that many players even considered them flat-out broken.
These 10 video games are all guilty as charged, having been firmly raked over the coals by irate players who felt that these harder difficulty modes offered up an indecent level of challenge that effectively broke the central gameplay loop.
These difficulty modes transcended a brutal challenge to simply punish players for the sake of it, in turn pushing the game's mechanics to breaking point...
10. Veteran Difficulty - Call Of Duty: World At War
In the vast majority of the Call of Duty games, Veteran difficulty represents the absolute highest level of challenge, and while most entries into the series manage to offer a Veteran experience that's tough-but-fair, 2008's World at War took the concept to a level of infuriating self-parody.
The big problem that breaks World at War's Veteran mode is that enemy soldiers are programmed to effectively spam the player with grenades during any prolonged combat encounter, more often than not causing the player's death.
There's no attempt here by developers Treyarch to establish a convincing line-of-sight between the player and the AI: just an unrelenting shower of explosives until you need to start from the latest checkpoint.
Beyond that, AI spawns are extremely fast, ensuring that moving forward through a level feels like a near-Sisyphean feat, and your own braindead AI teammates generally won't offer up much assistance.
The infamous level "The Heart of the Reich" is by far the greatest indicator of how broken Veteran truly is - an endurance trial of raining grenades and brutally unfair checkpointing, which all but the most committed Call of Duty players never made it past.