Playing on Nightmare really opens up the combat

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#1 Edited by doctordonkey (1856 posts) -

Before I bought this, I heard a lot of complaints about the game being much too easy, even on Hard. Citing issues such as enemy AI lacking aggression, and the assault rifle just killing most enemies with one headshot. Many people said they weren't given many reasons to use abilities or the myriad of options the game provides you, cause just shooting dudes in the head did the trick 90% of the time. So I made an early decision to jump in on Nightmare.

I'm about 7 hours in, playing with M&KB on PC, and I have had to consistently use pretty much every tool I have. It seems the biggest difference between Nightmare and Normal/Hard is that unarmored enemies don't just die instantly from a single AR headshot, which changes the encounters up dramatically. Crowd management becomes an issue, and you if aren't constantly moving around and weaving between enemies, you get pretty much annihilated. You can still take damage, you don't just drop in one or two shots, but you're definitely not tanky.

Another huge change I noticed from the quicklook (which was played on Normal), is enemy AI. They seem to be wildly more aggressively and will bombard an area with grenades if you stay still for longer than 2 seconds, Call of Duty Veteran style. This would be annoying and frustrating, if the game didn't encourage constant movement, but it does.

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I've really been reminded of DOOM 2016 with the way the encounters have been going. Constant movement, switching weapons constantly, and very precise & satisfying gunplay. All of this I attribute to the Nightmare difficulty setting. Without it, I imagine I'd be playing it just like Jeff was on the quicklook, just shooting dudes in the head, getting shot up and the health bar barely moving, spending more time driving to an encampment than actually clearing it.

This isn't the first time I've encountered this kind of phenomenon. I've always been an advocate for playing games on their hardest difficulty, because they forceyou to engage with all the mechanics. Granted, there are a myriad of cases where the gameplay and mechanics of a game are simply too shallow, and turning the difficulty up just makes it tedious and is more of a detriment. That is not the case with Rage 2, and I'm having a ton of fun.

I'd like to hear if anyone else is having a similar experience, or can think of another case where turning the difficulty up on a game changed the experience for the better.

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#2 Posted by Hayt (1693 posts) -

I have been doing this with all the new id/machine games shooters and it is definitely the way to play them. Like you said it forces you to actually engage with all of the systems.

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#3 Edited by Stephen_Von_Cloud (1683 posts) -

It was certainly the case with DOOM, and Witcher 3 is another game where playing it on hard felt like the game actually realized. I will say from what I've seen of RAGE 2, at least on the normal mode, the enemies just stand around and wait to be killed which looks incredibly fucking boring.

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#4 Posted by NTM (11872 posts) -

Most recently I've actually just been going straight to hard mode unless it's a game I know I won't have the patience to learn how to master it. I'm never sure now how much I'll actually want to play through a game again so why not play it in the most engaging way possible first is how I see it. I've always loved hard difficulties because it often forces you to play well enough to get through it and potentially helps immerse me into it, but not too long ago I was going the easiest first, then the hardest on a second playthrough. I've heard the sentiment that Rage is really only great fun on the hardest, but it doesn't alleviate the issues that are in between the combat which sounds like a chore/bore.

Doom was the last game and probably the biggest revelation to me in terms of how good a game can be if you just change the difficulty. I struggled to play through Doom throughout the year and the year after it came out because easy was such a freaking bore, but at some point later I decided to stick with it again on nightmare, and it became one of my favorite games this gen, and probably one of my favorite shooters ever. Every single aspect was heightened and I much appreciated it all because of putting it on nightmare. Originally, the only thing I really liked was that it seemed to have somewhat of a Metroid-ish vibe going for it with the map and exploring around and I thought the voice work was exceptional. Everything else like the shooting was putting me to sleep, and the music was just more metal and not engaging. I was totally wrong about that. Oh, but I will not play those 'one death and get sent back to the beginning' kind of difficulties, I just don't have time for that.

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#5 Posted by Relkin (1214 posts) -

I think that Normal modes are generally too easy (and have been so for more than a decade now), and that criticizing a game for being too easy on it's default difficulty is perfectly reasonable criticism, but why anyone would then just throw their hands up in the air and write the game off before seeing how a difficulty change might alter the experience is bewildering.

I've never understood why people insist on always playing one difficulty or another, especially when that decision is made prior to even playing the game. Always Normal, always Hard; always Easy, even.

If you're playing on Normal and it's not doing it for you, why not change the difficulty? If it's too easy, turn it up. If it's too hard, turn it down. That's what those options are there for.

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#6 Posted by ripelivejam (13227 posts) -

Life's too short to purposely infuriate myself with something meant to be entertaining and stress relieving. But I guess I just suck at games amongst everything else.

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#8 Posted by nutter (2304 posts) -

@hayt: Even Wolfenstein: The New Colossus?

I thought Wolfenstein: The New Order played great and added difficulty really made the maps, tools, and encounters sing. One of my post MGSV replays really made me feel that a Metal Gear could work in these guys’ hands.

The New Colossus, though, I played on normal and found the maps to do a poor job of guiding you, encounters to be set in places that didn’t make for interesting stealth or mid-combat exploitation of the map, and the “hold out for x minutes” segments to be obnoxious in their kitchen sink enemy spawn design.

I played that first Machine Games Wolfenstein 4-5 times using a mix of dual-wielding mayhem, silenced pistols, and knives. That second game I only ever played once, and I have to play the DLC I bought.

I found them both fantastic from a story perspective, but it felt like the maps and encounters from the second game fell apart. I have a hard time imaging more difficulty making the game more enjoyable, so I’m interested in your thoughts...

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#9 Posted by reap3r160 (269 posts) -

Granted I needed to beat it first on normal to get the hang of combat, doing NG+ God of War on Hard(just below the top) is super fun.

I've heard a lot of people saying high difficulty makes the combat in Rage 2 more fun, but it still sounds like only maybe 60%(if that) of that game is actual combat, which doesn't help everything else that seems to be wrong with it.

I'll pick it up around $20-30, but definitely not $60(or $48 with discounts).

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#10 Posted by doctordonkey (1856 posts) -

I finished it after 32ish hours, and was impressed that the progression held up for 25-30 of those hours. Really well tuned. To me the number one issue with the game is the driving, but I unlocked the gyrocopter very early on, maybe like 7-8 hours in. After that, I could just fly directly to everywhere I wanted to go and not have to suffer the bad driving mechanics. So my playthrough was basically 80% combat and 20% flying around, which is fantastic because the id style combat essentially carries the entire game on its back.

Really wet my appetite for DOOM Eternal, the dodge in this game feels so good I imagine it's very similar in Eternal. The abilities and weapons are actually really well thought out, so having to cycle through them to beat encounters on Nightmare is a ton of fun and very challenging. Granted, I have no clue how this game plays on a controller, it could very well feel like shit since id combat doesn't quite gel without a m&kb.

So yeah, fantastic combat, really bad driving and a mediocre story with a slightly blandish world. The combat and progression system is so stellar on Nightmare + PC it can carry the entire game on its back. To anyone picking this up, rush the story immediately to get access to the combat focused project tree and the shotgun, then rush straight to the gyrocopter. That's the optimal way to have the most fun for the rest of the game, I think.

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#11 Posted by Hayt (1693 posts) -

@nutter: I still loved New Colossus but it was definitely extremely hard at points like the trial or the penthouse. If you didn't have a good time on Normal it's only going to be worse in those moments on Nightmare. Insane spikes aside it worked well for me but I do admit it was very challenging.

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