Poor difficulty curve

Posted by Carryboy (632 posts) -

Having put off playing both souls games for years I finally got around to playing and completing both Souls game and whilst I very much enjoyed both games I do have a problem with them.

Now having heard people talk about how insanely difficult these games are on the internet it makes sense that the games weren't going to live up to that and generally they don't but that's not a criticism just how I feel. For the most part I think most of the difficulty stemmed from lack of traditional checkpoint. Like if I die say twice in an area, that is not a particularly large amount of times to die in any game over a level, however each time I may have lost like 25 mins of work so I may perceive that as being more difficulty. Any way that all by the by my problem with the games difficulty is the curve.

Looking at my playthrough of Demons Souls, I played the game in order 1-1,2-1.-3-1,4-1,5-1,1-2 and so on... The first area of each level were pretty damn hard but with no grinding at all I breezed through the rest of the game without dying more then once.

With Dark souls everything was pretty easy up till Blightown at which point I thought the game got a fair amount harder which continues to the smough and ornstein boss fight which I thought was really tough but then after that everything was a doddle. Having really struggled against those 2 I then went on to masacre the rest of the games bosses dying only 2 more times.

Now let me just state this isn't me saying "hey look at me im the most elite gamer ever brah!" I just havent seen many people criticize these games for this. having really struggled against Smough and Ornstein and then finnally overcomeing them I felt like I got the "true" Dark Souls experience and then the rest was just fodder the last boss die in like 5 hits and I didn't even have to heal.

I hope they fix this for Dark Souls 2.

What did you guys/gals think?

Lastly this is my first ever blog post so I'm sorry if it reads like shit, Ill probably do another at the end of the year for top 10 and I swear it will be laid out better.

#1 Edited by Kaiserreich (686 posts) -

the bosses after O&S are generally considered the weakest part of the game (though I don't hate Seath). Thankfully the DLC provides some late game challenge.

#2 Edited by GERALTITUDE (2953 posts) -

I died hundreds of times in both games so I just can't relate to that duder

#3 Edited by EXTomar (4505 posts) -

I pointed this out awhile ago and got flamed because "I just don't get it". *shrug*

There is a way to make a game challenging with out this flog and slog at points in this game but no one wants to hear it.

Online
#4 Posted by Ares42 (2582 posts) -

To be honest I don't think it matters. While it's certainly nice that there's enough challenge in the game for the mechanics to be meaningful and interesting, to me that's not what defines the Souls games at all. And if you really look at it there's not really a difficutly curve in either of the games, just random spots that have sudden spikes.

#5 Posted by mrpandaman (864 posts) -

Man... for me Ornstein and Smough became really easy once I stopped using the Demon's Spear and switched to the crystal halberd. The only part I felt was difficult was due to sheer frustration was the Tomb of Giants area and those damn skeleton dogs.

#6 Posted by Spoonman671 (4562 posts) -

@ares42 said:

To be honest I don't think it matters. While it's certainly nice that there's enough challenge in the game for the mechanics to be meaningful and interesting, to me that's not what defines the Souls games at all. And if you really look at it there's not really a difficutly curve in either of the games, just random spots that have sudden spikes.

This is accurate. The game isn't really designed with priority given to the player experience. It doesn't care if you think it progresses the way a game should. This is the world you're plopped into, and this is just the way it is. That's part of the appeal.

#7 Posted by Belegorm (357 posts) -

I think the real reason the souls games get a rep as being ridiculously hard is that they play far differently than most other modern games, and they're unforgiving. But they're not actually hard per se; they're kind of like oldschool castlevania, you have to memorise how your movements work and the way enemies' movement work; when you have that down the "difficulty" of the game is gone and suddenly the game is easy.

That said, fuck that archer in anor londo.

#8 Edited by Spoonman671 (4562 posts) -

@belegorm said:

That said, fuck that archer in anor londo.

I never understood people's difficulty with that guy. You just run at him and kill him. Half the time he offs himself by walking off the ledge.

#9 Posted by hippocrit (237 posts) -

Anor Londo archer = hardest boss in the game.

#10 Posted by noizy (655 posts) -

@belegorm said:

I think the real reason the souls games get a rep as being ridiculously hard is that they play far differently than most other modern games, and they're unforgiving. But they're not actually hard per se; they're kind of like oldschool castlevania, you have to memorise how your movements work and the way enemies' movement work; when you have that down the "difficulty" of the game is gone and suddenly the game is easy.

That said, fuck that archer in anor londo.

Fully agree. The other reason people find it difficult is the lack of hand holding. It's not a linear path, no one tells you where to go, and you might push to an area you aren't prepared to deal with and have to backtrack.

Did the original poster claim he died like 5 times in Dark Souls? I'm highly skeptical to the point of calling BS. Even if you watched a bunch of YouTube videos to know all the cheese, I highly doubt it. Is he only counting his deaths on boss fights? Boss fights can be fairly easy if you know how to handle or cheese them ahead of time.

#11 Posted by gamefreak9 (2344 posts) -

The expansion bosses are pretty tough, did you beat those? Also it depends on what kind of character you have. I found magic to be WAYYYY too easy.

#12 Posted by Ares42 (2582 posts) -

@belegorm said:

That said, fuck that archer in anor londo.

I never understood people's difficulty with that guy. You just run at him and kill him. Half the time he offs himself by walking off the ledge.

I would say about the first 20 times I tried that the other guy shot me in the back and I fell off. The trick to that encounter is understanding how the guy on the left works, or just having some luck with the timing.

#13 Posted by Carryboy (632 posts) -

@noizy said:

@belegorm said:

I think the real reason the souls games get a rep as being ridiculously hard is that they play far differently than most other modern games, and they're unforgiving. But they're not actually hard per se; they're kind of like oldschool castlevania, you have to memorise how your movements work and the way enemies' movement work; when you have that down the "difficulty" of the game is gone and suddenly the game is easy.

That said, fuck that archer in anor londo.

Fully agree. The other reason people find it difficult is the lack of hand holding. It's not a linear path, no one tells you where to go, and you might push to an area you aren't prepared to deal with and have to backtrack.

Did the original poster claim he died like 5 times in Dark Souls? I'm highly skeptical to the point of calling BS. Even if you watched a bunch of YouTube videos to know all the cheese, I highly doubt it. Is he only counting his deaths on boss fights? Boss fights can be fairly easy if you know how to handle or cheese them ahead of time.

No I died a bunch, all im saying is I barely died at all after Anor Londo.

#14 Edited by Carryboy (632 posts) -

The expansion bosses are pretty tough, did you beat those? Also it depends on what kind of character you have. I found magic to be WAYYYY too easy.


I did, I thought the they were all pretty good and tough except the first one one when you come straight out. I was playing a strength pyromancer with Havels armour.

#15 Edited by TowerSixteen (542 posts) -

@spoonman671 said:

@ares42 said:

To be honest I don't think it matters. While it's certainly nice that there's enough challenge in the game for the mechanics to be meaningful and interesting, to me that's not what defines the Souls games at all. And if you really look at it there's not really a difficutly curve in either of the games, just random spots that have sudden spikes.

This is accurate. The game isn't really designed with priority given to the player experience. It doesn't care if you think it progresses the way a game should. This is the world you're plopped into, and this is just the way it is. That's part of the appeal.

This is nonsense. There is absolutely a difficulty curve, it's just hampered by worse design in the second half. Developers are on record saying things like they wanted the last boss to be the ultimate test of any build for instance(which is designing with player experience in mind, note). The first half is extremely well designed, and has a pattern of nicely rising difficulty, the second half...not so much, but it isn't intentional.

#16 Posted by Carryboy (632 posts) -

@spoonman671 said:

@ares42 said:

To be honest I don't think it matters. While it's certainly nice that there's enough challenge in the game for the mechanics to be meaningful and interesting, to me that's not what defines the Souls games at all. And if you really look at it there's not really a difficutly curve in either of the games, just random spots that have sudden spikes.

This is accurate. The game isn't really designed with priority given to the player experience. It doesn't care if you think it progresses the way a game should. This is the world you're plopped into, and this is just the way it is. That's part of the appeal.

This is nonsense. There is absolutely a difficulty curve, it's just hampered by worse design in the second half. Developers are on record saying things like they wanted the last boss to be the ultimate test of any build for instance(which is designing with player experience in mind, note). The first half is extremely well designed, and has a pattern of nicely rising difficulty, the second half...not so much, but it isn't intentional.


Wow that's interesting like I said I waltzed up to that last boss went to handed hit R2 4 or 5 times and that was that. Do you know if the developers have acknowledged that as something to improve for Dark Souls 2?

#17 Posted by Ares42 (2582 posts) -

@spoonman671 said:

@ares42 said:

To be honest I don't think it matters. While it's certainly nice that there's enough challenge in the game for the mechanics to be meaningful and interesting, to me that's not what defines the Souls games at all. And if you really look at it there's not really a difficutly curve in either of the games, just random spots that have sudden spikes.

This is accurate. The game isn't really designed with priority given to the player experience. It doesn't care if you think it progresses the way a game should. This is the world you're plopped into, and this is just the way it is. That's part of the appeal.

This is nonsense. There is absolutely a difficulty curve, it's just hampered by worse design in the second half. Developers are on record saying things like they wanted the last boss to be the ultimate test of any build for instance(which is designing with player experience in mind, note). The first half is extremely well designed, and has a pattern of nicely rising difficulty, the second half...not so much, but it isn't intentional.

Really ? If you look at the natural way to play the game it's Taurus, Gargoyles, Capra, Gaping Dragon, Quelaag, Golem, OS. While it's certainly a matter of personal opinion if I were to rate the difficulty of those bosses I'd end up with a graph that looked way more like a wave than a curve. Sure, the scaling of numbers is pretty spot on (which it is through the entire game except for Pinwheel), but as far as mechanical challenges of the fights it's just all over the place.

#18 Posted by dudeglove (7688 posts) -

Anor Londo archer = hardest boss in the game.

And with just two poison arrows you can just lame it out.

#19 Posted by hippocrit (237 posts) -
#20 Posted by Evilsbane (4541 posts) -

@hippocrit said:

Anor Londo archer = hardest boss in the game.

And with just two poison arrows you can just lame it out.

I got passed him the first time through luck then saw what that part is normally like, so glad I sprinted at him like a madman.

#21 Posted by dudeglove (7688 posts) -

@dudeglove: uh... at least 4 arrows, sheesh

You only need to kill one of them. From the lower platform where the two demon spear jerks are, you can hit the knight standing in the way to the bonfire twice in quick succession with a short bow before he aggros. Approx 460 hp later he'll die. The other archer to the left can't hit you from the sniper spot, and after you run past the halfway point, he can't hit you at all because the pillars obscure his aim.

Alternatively, get naked and DUAL WIELD DAT EAGLE SHIELD

#22 Edited by TowerSixteen (542 posts) -

@ares42 said:

@towersixteen said:

@spoonman671 said:

@ares42 said:

To be honest I don't think it matters. While it's certainly nice that there's enough challenge in the game for the mechanics to be meaningful and interesting, to me that's not what defines the Souls games at all. And if you really look at it there's not really a difficutly curve in either of the games, just random spots that have sudden spikes.

This is accurate. The game isn't really designed with priority given to the player experience. It doesn't care if you think it progresses the way a game should. This is the world you're plopped into, and this is just the way it is. That's part of the appeal.

This is nonsense. There is absolutely a difficulty curve, it's just hampered by worse design in the second half. Developers are on record saying things like they wanted the last boss to be the ultimate test of any build for instance(which is designing with player experience in mind, note). The first half is extremely well designed, and has a pattern of nicely rising difficulty, the second half...not so much, but it isn't intentional.

Really ? If you look at the natural way to play the game it's Taurus, Gargoyles, Capra, Gaping Dragon, Quelaag, Golem, OS. While it's certainly a matter of personal opinion if I were to rate the difficulty of those bosses I'd end up with a graph that looked way more like a wave than a curve. Sure, the scaling of numbers is pretty spot on (which it is through the entire game except for Pinwheel), but as far as mechanical challenges of the fights it's just all over the place.

Don't just look at the bosses. A boss does not a difficulty curve make. Also, its normal for it to have highs and lows. But the asylum is easier than the parish is easier than the depths is easier than blighttown. Blighttowns poorly designed poison hazards make it harder than it should be on the curve, but if we ignore that sens fortress is obviously supposed to be harder than it, and Anor Londo harder than that. After that things get crazy, but now were falling into the worse design of the second half. Obviously some variation for what you find harder is too be expected based on build as well. But there was an attempt at a rising difficulty curve. Whether or not you think they succeeded, they definitely tried.

@carryboy: Yup, they said they messed up the last boss, making him too easy. Because they wanted him to be uniformly difficult for every type of build they ended up gimping him- what might be challenging but possible for a tank could be a cakewalk for a wizard after all, and in trying to do everything they kinda did nothing (He's even back-stabbable so as not to leave out people invested in that kind of thing.)

#23 Posted by Humanity (8834 posts) -

I thought a lot of difficulty stemmed from the games new found open layout. Demon's was tough, but at least you always knew where you were going for the most part - you started each archstone and everything relevant to that area was contained within those levels. In Dark Souls you lose a lot of time and precious early level souls by wandering blindly into areas you have no right being in, but the game does nothing to let you know this. This is especially bad if you had played Demons beforehand and come into this with a mentality that every obstacle is there to be overcome. In fact I'm sure it was intentional game design to place Tomb of the Giants right next to Firelink Shrine, when you have to go in a completely different direction to ring the first bell.

Placing a challenge in front of the player and have them overcome it is one thing - but sending them on a wild goose chase or intentionally placing areas out of order in a game where you can very easily waste a lot of time without any actual progress to show for it is just bad form in my opinion.

#24 Posted by Urnack (6 posts) -

I simply can't relate to anyone who claims to have gotten through the Caterpillar Demon, Ceaseless Dischage, Nito, etc. without dying more than once or twice over the course of all of them. I frankly find it hard to believe, but I suppose it's not impossible. Admittedly, if I had had that experience, I would consider the game's difficulty curve rather flat as well. However, I suggest your experience is an exceptional one, and I sure hope they don't make Dark Souls 2 harder to please super-gamers such as yourselves, as that will make a very frustrating experience for the talentless hordes, of which I am an member, who want to play it.

#25 Edited by Carryboy (632 posts) -

@urnack said:

I simply can't relate to anyone who claims to have gotten through the Caterpillar Demon, Ceaseless Dischage, Nito, etc. without dying more than once or twice over the course of all of them. I frankly find it hard to believe, but I suppose it's not impossible. Admittedly, if I had had that experience, I would consider the game's difficulty curve rather flat as well. However, I suggest your experience is an exceptional one, and I sure hope they don't make Dark Souls 2 harder to please super-gamers such as yourselves, as that will make a very frustrating experience for the talentless hordes, of which I am an member, who want to play it.

I see what your saying, again im not trying to say im this amazing gamer look at what I did, beating these bosses just didnt seem to require much skill again this might be because of my build in Demon Souls I played with a small sword and shield and whilst I had similar experience of reaching a point where all of a sudden I was kicking everythings arse It at least felt skillfull as I was learning attack patterns dodging alot and so on where as in Dark souls it was a lot of hammering R2 and Square.

#26 Edited by senrat (316 posts) -

The game is a bit weird sometimes. I just killed ceaseless discharge and I have no idea how. 1 milimeter of health left and he has a full health bar. I just randomly start pressing the R2 button when he comes down and his entire health bar drains. I wish all bosses were this easy.

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