Hard But Fair Games (Aside from Dark Souls)

  • I'm posting this because I decided to fire up the ol' X360 on whim tonight (a little insomnia) and played some Ikaruga. If you're not familiar with it, it's an older shoot-em-up from Treasure and it is pretty freakin' hard TBH. But I never felt it to be unfair, although hard mode is stretching my patience to its limit. This had me thinking about other games that fall under this category (Ninja Gaiden Black comes to mind immediately... and yes the Souls games).

    So I ask you fellow allies, what games do you recommend that you think is "hard, but fair"?

    Here's an old, totally immature favorite video of the game; language warning
    Youtube Video

  • I think Ori and the Blind Forest would fit the description. Or atleast for me it never got frustrating even when I died a lot. The option to create my own checkpoints made it fair I think, except for the "escape" sequences which I loved. They have added more difficulty options to make the game bit easier in definitive edition though. Third best game of last year in my opinion.

  • Gotta give a nod to Super Meat Boy! The game showed a replay of all your deaths (simultaneously) after completing a level. Watching all of your failures along the way to beating a level was somewhat hilarious and helped release all that built up tension from failing over and over again.

  • @Budi I completely forgot about this =P It never struck me as that type of game. I'll check it out, thanks! (looks amazing too)

    @benoit489 I actually do have this one, but the way you put it about the release of tension makes total sense. I love C&H btw.

  • @Mechanoid It's really good, such a joy to play. Especially in the escape scenes I mentioned earlier the music gives such a boost to the player, since the music never stops when you die. It's almost like it's cheering for you to keep on going and trying again. Such a rush.

    And I do recommend playing the game in it's orginal difficulty all around without the new optional features in Definitive edition. And even then it might not be nearly as hard as some shmups like Ikaruga, hard to compare also. But it has been said to be atleast challenging by others too. And I guess that's why they added the new features in the definitive edition so more people could experience the game. The cartoony look can be deceiving for people who might be looking for a more casual platformer. Just don't want to hype the difficulty too much, since you might be some kind of gaming god and you can play it with your eyes closed. =P

  • @Budi I would have never thought of Ori and the Blind Forest, but now that you mention it, I totally agree.
    it's challenging, but but just enough and it's so beautiful and nice to play.
    @Mechanoid Definetly check it out. I rarely like 2D platforms, but Ori is just a masterpiece.

  • @Nillend Exactly, I think it's just difficult enough to feel really rewarding. And I personally died well over hundred times mayben even two (there's a counter), but didn't get frustrated since the fault was always mine not the game's. And while there is backtracking by design in the game since it's somewhat a Metdoidvania. The ability to make your own checkpoints keeps the flow and pacing going. Just save before the hard sequence so you can go again and again after a death without running half the map to get in the same point again.

    And yeah, the game should be played, if not for the challenge then just for the joy of it.

  • Everyday Shooter.

    Perhaps not the hardest game going but I certainly struggled with it, which was a shame because the game is a joy.

    Youtube Video

  • What games have you played that were unfairly difficult? Or whose difficulty was the game's fault? Is it just like a technical limitation? ("The FPS drops right at the important jump, so I fall") Are there some games that are impossible to beat, because of their unfairness?

  • @Inflorescence
    It might be worth making a separate thread for that, as it's a long, and interesting, topic unto itself.

  • @Inflorescence Well this is a real call back but Police Quest. If you don't check your tires everytime you leave the station it's a game over. If you cuff the drunk driver in front instead of behind his back, he will kill you. If you call a number scratched in a toilet booth, you will get fired since you are calling to Police Chief's wife and it's a game over. While some of the deaths/game overs are kinda funny, they are also unfair since you can't avoid these before you experience them atleast once. Love the game though.

  • @Budi No, I'm average at best lol. I'm just in that sort of mood ya know? :smiley:

  • I've been playing through the metal gear games. Goal is to get through all of them in order of release (skipping portable ops for now). Next up is Peace Walker.

    You can tell they put a lot of thought into the boss battles. Each encounter has been pretty unique. It's not that hard, but they require equal amounts of thinking and reflexes.

  • @Inflorescence I think there are a lot of factors to what makes a game unfair and like @flower_arrangement said, it's worth a separate thread, but to be quick, I think mainly for me it's control. If I feel like I'm in full control of my character and the level design accommodates that control, I think it's fair regardless of how hard it may be. Super Mario Bros is a good example I think. Mario is quick, responsive, and can make mid-air adjustments so you can hit your landings. If Mario lost that ability, SMB would be a really different (and worse) game. On the other hand, the older Castlevania games prevent mid-air adjustments. But its still fair because the platforming in the level design accommodates for this (mostly). I think it's less of an issue today because game design has come such a long way.

    Then there are games like this:
    Youtube Video

    Yeah, 'f that noise...

  • I just posted this in another post but it totally fits. Severance: Blade of Darkness. I'd argue its the first Souls like game, about 10 years before dDark Souls was a thing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Egad_InYl6I

  • @Mechanoid
    Mario provides a great example for fair vs unfair: just compare original versions to romhack variants like Kaizo Mario World!

  • @sblomkamp OMG, I actually remember this game. Good find!