With the recent release of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the conversation has been brought up over whether or not the game and other difficult games like it should have an easy mode. Many players, including fans of the notoriously difficult Dark Souls series, have been saying that Sekiro is harder than any of the Dark Souls games, or any game that FromSoftware has released in general. Games like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Cuphead, and others are undeniably difficult, but that doesn’t mean that there should be an easy mode for those games.
Arguably the biggest reason there shouldn’t be an easy mode for games like Sekiro and Cuphead is because those games are intentionally made to be difficult. There’s no denying that incredibly difficult games like those two are very frustrating and discouraging many times. What makes them so appealing however, is the sense of accomplishment that the player will feel once finally overcoming the obstacles in the game coupled with the feeling of adrenaline and sheer happiness. By adding an easy mode to a game, that sense of accomplishment is essentially wiped away and the developers can’t guarantee that players will be to play the games the way they were made to be played.
When Cuphead first came out back in 2017, I spent a lot of time trying to beat the game with my good friend. We easily spent hours at a time on each level, dying over and over again, and growing more and more frustrated. As much as we wanted to throw our controllers through the TV screen, we persisted and didn’t give up. Each time we would beat a level we would feel a incredible burst of happiness and excitement as we were finally one step closer to beating the game. After a few days, we finally beat the game, and leapt with joy, exhausted and overwhelmed. Despite all of the negative feelings my friend and I felt toward Cuphead while we were in the middle of each level, the feeling of accomplishment we felt once we finally beat the merciless game made it all feel worth it.
With difficulty almost always comes more time invested into a game. Cuphead took my friend and I days to complete, but had there been an easy mode that we played through, we probably could have finished it in a couple of hours. In my mind, that would not have been enough to justify the amount of money I spent paying for the game.
It’s understandable that not everyone is a fan of very difficult games. Some gamers just want to play games to experience the stories or mechanics of a game. If the games are above their skill level though, they may come off as unapproachable. This may be the case with many games like Sekiro and Cuphead, but again that doesn’t mean they should be made easier just to appeal to more people. Hardcore games are very much a niche in gaming, but they are also well-loved because of how much they challenge gamers to play at their very best. By playing through these games and overcoming difficult obstacles within them, players grow into better gamers overall. As they get better and better, they will find future hardcore games to be less difficult than they would have been had they always played on easy modes. In gaming and in life, one of the best ways to grow as a gamer and as a person is to be exposed to difficult situations.
Like any sport, hobby, or video game, it just takes practice to become truly great at something. If you show more persistence and determination, then eventually you can achieve anything. Most successful people in the world have had to work incredibly hard and earn success, rather than have it just be given to them. The same thing applies to gaming, and if people still don’t feel determined and persistent enough to face those games head on, there are tons of other games out there that would appeal to them better.