10 Video Games That Punish You For Playing Well

Kick some ass and then get your ass kicked.

Hellblade SenuaS Sacrifice
Ninja Theory

Balancing is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of any game - if developers get it right, players feel like they're just barely scraping through, which comes with a sure sense of satisfaction.

But sometimes developers will, through various means, deploy a gameplay loop which actively punishes players the moment they start performing well.

This can often be achieved through so-called "adaptive difficulty" and rubber-banding mechanics, but most of the games on this list did things a little differently.

Whether hurling an insurmountable brick wall at players for their hard work, gating content off until they started playing worse, or literally granting players a bad ending for playing smart, these 10 games weren't at all impressed by your efforts.

In some cases these unearned punishments pissed players off enough to quit the game entirely, while in others they simply created arguments in living rooms the world over.

And so, whenever you get past a tricky part of a game or pull off an above-the-odds performance, remember that it just might be prepping to throw a mighty, even unfair challenge your way...

10. Skill-Based Matchmaking Ruins The Fun For Casual Players - Call Of Duty

Hellblade SenuaS Sacrifice
Activision

Call of Duty may be one of the most popular multiplayer video game franchises of all time, but a large portion of the player-base absolutely loathes the series' use of skill-based matchmaking (SBMM).

In theory, SBMM ensures that players are continually lobbied-up with opponents of a skill level approximate to their own, matchmaking players according to how they've been performing.

But in practise, SBMM often ends up punishing players who have just one or two above-average games, only to quickly find themselves flung into a server filled with high-skilled veterans.

While this isn't really an issue for competitive or hardcore players, it severely penalises casuals who perhaps only jump on for a few rounds every now and then, and after a few well-played games will end up thrown in at the deep end.

SBMM has always been controversial with CoD fans but it's been an especially major bone of contention in the recent Black Ops Cold War, its implementation aggressive enough that some players have reported quitting the game entirely.

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Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.