👌 When easy is not easy enough

“Should you be bombarded with one-hit-kills when you are playing a game on Easy?”

That, in short, is the main question that got stuck in my head during the credits after my second playthrough ofUncharted: Drake’s Fortune (Naughty Dog, 2007; PS3). I set the difficulty to Easy, as I already completed it once on Normal and was doing this to go treasure hunting and have a more relaxed time playing it. And for the majority of the game, that was exactly right. Then all hell broke loose.

It’s quite annoying how the grenade-launcher enemies can one-hit-kill you almost instantly. I’ve cursed them a lot the first time around, but now they seemed to be adding insult to injury. “Didn’t I set the difficulty to Easy,” I kept asking myself. As soon as the laser-guided snipers entered the fray, there wasn’t a real difference any more with Normal difficulty. Enemies were still bullet-sponges, and they could still instantly kill me. Sure, enemies weren’t quite the bullet-sponges as they were on Normal. But is that enough?

Especially in the latter part when an extra enemy-type gets thrown into the mix, it all seems to become rather difficult and I imagine a large part of the audience giving up here. If you don’t know how to make headshots, when to snipe or how to juggle multiple weapons, you’ll be dead within seconds. Never mind the finale.

It’s especially odd when you consider the very nature of the game. It’s a popcorn-game, it’s easy to understand and grasp for all audiences and is the closest you’ll probably get to an adventure-game for the masses. No wonder a film of the franchise is in the works. But so far, Easy still demands the same skill as any of the other difficulties, you just need less bullets. Which is quite absurd when you think about what ‘Easy’ signifies when you look at it in the menu.

If a popcorn-game is created, it should provide an equally popcorn experience. But at the very least, those one-hit-kills should have been taken out. Hopefully the sequel will fix that and more people will be able to see the credits roll.