10 Video Games With Incredibly Steep Learning Curves

It's not rocket scien- oh. It literally IS rocket science.

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When you sit down to play a board game for the first time, there's going to be a moment while someone reads the rules, puts them down, tries to explain everything to the group, gives up, but goes ahead reading them out loud again.

Video games are different, but not always.

The best thing about a video game is, you never have to read a rulebook. All you need to do is pick up a controller, or put your hands on a mouse and keyboard and go. Pretty much every video game comes with some sort of tutorial level to help teach the basics of the game.

In most cases, these are relatively entertaining ways of showing the player what they need to do with the controls, and over the years, tutorial missions/levels have gotten more and more complicated as controllers themselves have advanced alongside the ever-changing landscape of video game tech.

Every so often, a game will come along that's more complicated than the rest, and even with a tutorial, they still have a steep learning curve. This is usually true of strategy and simulation games, which use detailed mechanics to regulate gameplay.

These ten games represent the ones with the steepest of learning curves, though there are more out there.

10. Fire Emblem

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Any game featuring Permadeath is going to have a steep learning curve, as there won't be any checkpoints you can reach and return to once you die. When you're dead, you're dead, which means you will need to pay close attention to what killed you, each and every time.

The Fire Emblem franchise features Permadeath and one of the steepest learning curves you can find in these types of games. You will need to learn and master several game features in order to go from beginner to expert, including character skillsets, the game's pairing system, dialogue, and promotion.

This is one of those games you probably won't want to play until you've read through the Wiki online. Or, at the very least, watched a few dozen videos on YouTube. If you don't head into the games prepared, you're going to get lost very easily, and you may end up making choices, which will come around and bite you in the rear as the game progresses. The last thing you want is for a character you've put your blood, sweat, and tears into, to die permanently.

As of 2020, there are 16 games in the franchise, but you don't have to go back to the original game from 1990 if you want to jump into a Fire Emblem game.

Check out Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which came out in 2019, and you will find yourself engrossed in a masterfully-written story, with numerous elements that make it a game you won't mind repeatedly dying to master.


Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, writer, and game designer. Jonathan retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects. He writes for ScreenRant, CBR, NerdBastards, Listverse, Ranker, WhatCulture, and many other sites online. You can check out his latest on Twitter: @TalkingBull or on his blog: jonathanhkantor.com