Like a boss!
Video game difficulty is a tricky thing. Make your game too tough, and players likely wont have the patience to see the story past the second level. Alternatively, if your game is too easy, players will complain that theres no challenge, and that they cant believe they paid good money for this hand-holding bullshit. Its a fine line to tread.
However, some games are super-smart when it comes to difficulty. See, even when the player is mashing buttons like a drunken baboon wearing mittens, these select titles still make them feel like a total badass. Its not that theyre easy. The depth is still there, for sure. No, no: these games can be enjoyed by skilled players while still wrapping a warm blanket around the less competent and reassuring them that--yes--theyre still special. So, here are the games that make you feel like an absolute, world-saving, princess-getting hero, even when... you kinda suck.
Its rare for an online-only shooter to make you feel anything other than pent-up rage, mixed with a vague sense of pity for the saps who seem to spend all day, every day playing them. Unless, er, you do actually spend all day playing them. Even then, no matter how good you are, there is always someone better, younger, more obsessive. However, Titanfall lets you neatly side-step any feelings of inferiority via its regular grunts.
See, you may be getting constantly hosed by enemy pilots, who have already maxed out their characters 10 times, but youre still getting kills. Why? Because the regular AI troops are dumber than the entire cast of Geordie Shore, and they seem to be armed with water-pistols. You can dispatch a whole room of them without breaking a sweat. And youre getting points, youre unlocking challenges, you feel as if youre winning right up until the end-game results screen. Oh well.
Bayonetta can be fiendishly tough. Even on normal, its a struggle to get through the main story. And those Alfheim challenges? They require weeks of practice with the games wonderfully-balanced combo system to beat. However, when its in full flow this game looks like a masterful ballet of death and hair, with enemies breaking apart all over the screen in clouds of pink mist and feathers.
However, for the less dedicated, theres Automatic mode. While many players will spend months perfecting the art of combat, you can pretty much smash through the game with a couple of buttons. Everything youll see on screen will amaze you, and you wont quite believe youre kicking so much ass. Its an irresistible feeling. Automatic mode is so simple, it can be played with one hand (and was demoed as such), leaving the other hand free for, yknow, other stuff. Like drinking tea. Or checking a phone. Or constant self-abuse.
Guitar Hero 3
Ok, playing a plastic guitar with chunky coloured buttons is infinitely easier than strumming the real thing. Despite this, Guitar Hero still requires plenty of concentration and coordination. Unless, that is, youre playing in No Fail mode. Here you can hop around the room, swinging the guitar behind your back and mashing the whammy bar with your teeth (not at the same time), and the song will play out as normal.
How you feel about all this is totally relative to the volume of your TV: the louder it is, the less you really care that youre essentially cheating. Add in a couple of gullible friends and youll feel like a rock god as they marvel at your perfect performance. Your perfect, utterly hollow, performance.
Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing
You know the feeling. Youre cruising to the finish line after a masterful set of laps that have seen you out-race and out-perform your rivals. You can see the crowd, theyre cheering for you, and some jerk screams past after picking up a mega power-up on the last lap. Suddenly youre in second. No, third, and youre livid. Sucks, right? Well, not when youre the jerk, leap-frogging into first place.
Thats exactly what happens when you pick up the All Star power-up in Sega All Stars Racing. Its the ultimate racing weapon, making you more powerful and quicker than your opponents, and often catapulting you into first place after lingering at the back of the field for ages. And it requires little finesse to use, as you dont have to steer that skilfully. Its an auto-win pick-up, and although you feel a little dirty using it, that will never wipe the wide, winning grin off your face.
Bullet-hell shooters are notoriously difficult. Theres a hardcore niche of players who still compete with classic 90s shmups to show how insane their reactions and hand-eye coordination skills are. Resogun isnt pure bullet-hell, but its pressed from the same mould. Again, the game is as tough as you want it, but the difficulty never detracts from how it feels to play.
Even on lower difficulties, theres so much stuff flying around on screen, blowing up, and shooting bullets in your general direction. Dodging it all feels like an act of mad skill, as if youre some kind of ace pilot blessed with cat-like reflexes. In reality, its actually pretty easy to slip past the bullets, and a lot of the debris on screen wont kill you at all. Still feels damn good. And if it all gets too much the bomb will wipe out everything on screen at the press of a button. High-five!
Sports games are tough to master. Really tough. All those tricks and tactics? Takes years of practice; knowledge thats built up over a series of years as you shift from one iteration to the next. Unless, that is, youre playing FIFA in 2-button mode. Now all you have to worry about is either passing or shooting--the game does everything else for you.
Suddenly, you feel like some kind of footballing genius. Your players know when to run or keep the ball close. Instead of clumsily hoofing a pass directly at a defender, they thread neat through-balls to cutting attackers. Wow, youve got a shot at this now. All you have to remember is the difference between big and small kick. Easy! Now, time to win all the football.
Dynasty Warriors (just pick one)
Im aware that there is actually plenty of tactical depth in the Dynasty Warriors games, and that the series offers surprising variety. Probably. In my experience, though, you can just hammer a single button to make 1000s of virtual Chinese warriors go from alive to dead over the course of several hours.
While those craving more of a challenge may find this kind of repetitive behaviour duller than a wilfully-French, art-house film marathon, few would deny that it creates spectacular results for very little effort. As such, anyone wanting to feel like a badass samurai warrior will get plenty of satisfaction from the Dynasty Warriors franchise. Plus, as the games havent really changed over the past (what seems like) million years, theres no real barrier to entry either. Victory!
Marvel vs Capcom 2
One-on-one fighting games usually require lashings of skill, mixed with perfect reflexes and an in-depth knowledge of how your opponent plays. Sometimes you have to beat your enemies mentally, before you break them physically. Combining psychology with split-second reactions is tough. So, in Marvel vs Capcom 2 theres a one-button special system that just lets you unleash hell with a single command.
Yup, no more remembering to press up, up, down, down, A, B, X, C, F, G, H+Y before spinning around on the spot and yelling the word ramifications to activate your special. Just tap a button and its all done for you. While purists will scoff, its actually a great way for less dedicated players to be competitive and stay interested in a genre that is fast becoming super-niche.
Super Mario 3D Land
This 3DS game is a masterclass in easing the player into the action, while subtly ramping up the challenge. Early stages are simple, but they soon become more elaborate and difficult. At some point, you may hit the wall; you may lose 10 lives in a row. And its at that point where youre handed the P Wing.
See, Nintendo doesnt want to punish you. It isnt shoving a ball-gag into your mouth and pouring hot wax onto your nipples like, say, Dark Souls. No, it wants you to succeed. So you can use the P Wing to transport yourself to the end of the level, where you can do that awesome jump onto the flagpole thing that acts as the exclamation mark at the end of another victory for Mario. Well done, you.
While Oddjob is still banned, there are other ways to get the edge in GoldenEye with little actual skill. Proximity mines are one method, although if youre that useless at the game youll probably stumble over your own explosives and die horribly. No, the real equaliser is the Golden Gun.
With the Golden Gun (and to an extent, the Moonraker Laser too), all you really need to do is point and shoot. No fiddly aiming, no judging distance or depth. Just death at the pull of a trigger. Thing is, everyone does it, so you dont even have to feel guilty about using the one-hit-kill gun. Just bask in the glory of being the winner of the match. To reiterate, Oddjob is still banned.
So, there you have them: the 9 video game characters most likely to be based on Hitler. Oh, hang on a minute... that's text from a different feature. What am I writing about? Oh, yeah, badass games. Ahem. What games make YOU feel badass? Leave your comments below.
Still here? Or have you slumped over your keyboard with fatigue? Seriously, are you ok? You're not moving... Anyway, for those still sentient, here's a feature about Classic Games That Haven't Aged A Day (opens in new tab). And another about The 12 Most Satisfying Punches In Games (opens in new tab). Enjoy!