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A discussion on pokemon gaming difficulty

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I don't have too much of a problem with the way things are now, because I don't play video games for the challenge. In fact, I have a constantly-busy brain, so video games are actually an opportunity for me to take a break and operate on autopilot for a while.
This is me, exactly! I play Pokemon games to relax and don't like them to frustrate me or raise my adrenaline levels too much.

I'm currently playing Pokemon Ranger for the first time. I was enjoying it at first, but the part with Grimer and Muk in the sewers was brutal. It's a complete maze down there, you get chased by wild Pokemon that can damage your Capture Styler before you have a chance to escape, and capturing Muk is a nightmare. And this is only the third mission! I did manage to complete the mission, but it wasn't a relaxing experience at all. I really wanted to play through this game to see if there's a still a Manaphy egg on the cartridge, but I'm not sure if I'll have the patience to see it through to the end.

Some of the older core series games can frustrate me too, but at least with those, I know the ropes and there's a sense of comfortable familiarity. The core Pokemon games are the only video games (Pokemon or otherwise) I've ever really played, so I find it difficult to adjust to different styles of gameplay.

Anyway, as for the core series... while the decreased difficulty does sometimes give me an anticlimatic feeling during important battles, I think I'd rather the games were a bit too easy than a bit too difficult. I'd be in favour of different difficulty modes, though, and they should bring back the ability to switch off the Exp. Share. The difficulty can still be increased a little by changing the battle style to "set", but it would be good to have more options.

I'm still baffled by how they handled the difficulty options in Black 2 and White 2, though. What's the point in them if you have to beat the game first to unlock them? Why would you want to play the game again in Easy Mode if you've already beaten it in Normal Mode?

Even when the main story is a bit too easy there are still other challenges, like completing the Pokedex or training your Pokemon to take on the Battle Tower.
 
A Solidly Ossified Braincase
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Why would you want to play the game again in Easy Mode if you've already beaten it in Normal Mode?
Ostensibly I think the idea is that you can use your White 2 key in order to unlock Easy Mode for a younger sibling or child.

But then, are young players really going to want to wait until you finish your run before starting up their own adventure?

There genuinely are not words to properly encompass how brain-shatteringly absurd the logistics of the B2W2 difficulty modes are. Some people say that to dwell on them for too long risks marooning one's sanity deep within the Great Void.
 
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One of the final nails in the main series coffin, for me, was the difficulty level. I mean, I don't want or need Pokémon to be hugely difficult, because I don't play them for an intellectual challenge - but this has never been a difficult franchise anyway, so the hand-holding in Sun was, for me, just a step too far.

I'm not convinced it's at all necessary for them to be this easy. Pokémon has always been a kid's game, fine, but I don't recall any of my peers finding it frustratingly difficult as far back as Generation I, back when getting stuck often meant buying a strategy guide as opposed to pecking a question into Google
 
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There genuinely are not words to properly encompass how brain-shatteringly absurd the logistics of the B2W2 difficulty modes are. Some people say that to dwell on them for too long risks marooning one's sanity deep within the Great Void.
Without going into identifying detail...I once put out a fan fix for a bug an official patch added to a strategy game. It turned out someone had deleted table data a unit used and then pointed it at the data for a different unit instead. I'd tinkered with enough modding for that game that I knew what would happened if that was done, but apparently one of the devs didn't. To this day I cannot figure out why someone on the dev team did that.

That's still less bizarre to me than the BW2 difficulty mode unlocking.

Pokémon has always been a kid's game, fine, but I don't recall any of my peers finding it frustratingly difficult as far back as Generation I, back when getting stuck often meant buying a strategy guide as opposed to pecking a question into Google
Honestly, even gen 1 Pokémon was a lot easier than some other kid targeted RPGs of the old days like Dragon Quest. It's only really major hurdle is the huge level jump for the Elite Four.
Edit: Although there is a perception games are getting easier in general I can't really disagree with.
 
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Having difficulty modes like B2W2 again would be great.
 
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This isn't rocket science, just implement BW2's difficulty modes by allowing you to select them at the start right when you decide your name, gender, etc. I don't see what's so hard about that, but nope, they have to implement difficulty modes in the most backwards and useless way possible and then get rid of the feature altogether when people don't like the way it's executed. Someone really needs to teach Game Freak the phrase "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" because they really love doing that.
 
THE NUMBERS, MASON!
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I'm screaming into a void here, but I've been trawling Something Awful's LPs of Reborn and Uranium, with a dash of Temtem salt.

It's weird how much effort GF puts into making the games easy. A lot of the mechanics Reborn/Uranium/other fangames use to make it more difficult (outlevelled Pokemon, restricted choices, etc) wind up fucking up the balance of a straight copy of the base game stats. You can chalk it up to grognards being grognards, but it's weird to see how even a few changes to the formula throws Pokemon out of wack.

For Temtem, people noted that the grind being required makes it a bit less like Pokemon, because towards the end of game (even starting by the halfway point), Pokemon starts funneling you towards the final battles, and they don't require much grinding as compared to the early game.

That said, I still do think the games need a difficulty boost. Even Battle Tower gets real easy to cheese.
 
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Difficulty is subjective. It's all based on the person's experiences.
This is a really good point. It must be quite a challenge to get the difficulty level right when designing a video game, because everyone's experience with the game will be different. This is especially true of a series like Pokemon where the games are designed for people of all ages. Game Freak probably feel that it's better to err on the side of caution and make the games too easy, rather than risk them being too difficult some players.
 
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This is a really good point. It must be quite a challenge to get the difficulty level right when designing a video game, because everyone's experience with the game will be different. This is especially true of a series like Pokemon where the games are designed for people of all ages.
Hence, difficulty levels. Creating a blanket difficultly level to satisfy everyone would be nigh impossible, however, creating multiple different levels of difficultly would be a win-win situation for basically everyone involved. Considering how much of a mainstay they are in video games, it's honestly baffling how GameFreak only tried to implement them once, and in an extremely poor way.
 
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This is a really good point. It must be quite a challenge to get the difficulty level right when designing a video game, because everyone's experience with the game will be different. This is especially true of a series like Pokemon where the games are designed for people of all ages. Game Freak probably feel that it's better to err on the side of caution and make the games too easy, rather than risk them being too difficult some players.
Yep. And first and foremost, the games are not just for kids, but for everyone to play. There's just as many casual gamers who're content to blow through the campaign in a week as there are, y'know, kids.

Hence, difficulty levels. Creating a blanket difficultly level to satisfy everyone would be nigh impossible, however, creating multiple different levels of difficultly would be a win-win situation for basically everyone involved. Considering how much of a mainstay they are in video games, it's honestly baffling how GameFreak only tried to implement them once, and in an extremely poor way.
I chalk it up to Japanese game development being really rigid. It's a bit presumptuous, but still - no one wants to mess with the formula and alienate the fans.

(in b4 BBND joke)
 
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This is me, exactly! I play Pokemon games to relax and don't like them to frustrate me or raise my adrenaline levels too much.
Same here. It's also the reason I never go past Medium in rhythm games.

I'm currently playing Pokemon Ranger for the first time. I was enjoying it at first, but the part with Grimer and Muk in the sewers was brutal. It's a complete maze down there, you get chased by wild Pokemon that can damage your Capture Styler before you have a chance to escape, and capturing Muk is a nightmare. And this is only the third mission! I did manage to complete the mission, but it wasn't a relaxing experience at all. I really wanted to play through this game to see if there's a still a Manaphy egg on the cartridge, but I'm not sure if I'll have the patience to see it through to the end.
This is why they changed the mechanics for the next games. Now you don't have to catch anything on the first try.
 
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I'm surprised there's been relatively little discussion of the impact of changing from 'switch' to 'set' battles. It can add quite a bit of extra crunch to battles that are already designed to be 'hard' - having to take at least a moderate hit every time you need to switch out against an E4 member's type coverage builds up really fast. If you've self-imposed a failure state, such as in a Nuzlocke, you'll have some very tough decisions to make.
 
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I'm surprised there's been relatively little discussion of the impact of changing from 'switch' to 'set' battles. It can add quite a bit of extra crunch to battles that are already designed to be 'hard' - having to take at least a moderate hit every time you need to switch out against an E4 member's type coverage builds up really fast. If you've self-imposed a failure state, such as in a Nuzlocke, you'll have some very tough decisions to make.
This is especially true in Sword and Shield because of Dynamax. With "switch" you can save your strongest Pokemon, then switch to it at the same time that your opponent sends out their last Pokemon, and Dynamax at the same time as them with full HP. With "set", you have to plan ahead a bit and make sure that the Pokemon you intend to Dynamax hasn't lost too much HP by the time your opponent uses Dynamax themselves.
 
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B2W2's difficulty settings, but tweaked a bit and without being version exclusive or postgame for a single person, would honestly go a long way to please both sides. If you want a Pokémon game to make you sweat then you've got it. If you're not here for a challenge and just like to play then you're also catered for. A win-win scenario.

When I think of Pokémon fan games with difficulty settings, the first one coming to mind is Insurgence. The constant use of highly competitive sets from Challenge Mode was frankly way too hardcore for my usual "educated fun" approach to games so I never used it. What I did was play on Easy (sets are made to resemble main series standards) for most unimportant battles and switch to Normal against gyms and the league, as well as antagonist teams. It essentially created sudden and obvious yet reasonable difficulty spikes throughout these moments in the plot.

For battle style, I play on Switch until I've finalised my squad of six beyond any shadow of doubt, after which I move to Set. Another rule I've recently started following is that I can't do any type of healing in a league challenge except for moves and held items. No Revives, Full Restores, or Leppa Berries. I must do the whole thing in a single gauntlet.
 
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normally I go with easy mode for everything I play since I suck at games lol, but in the case of Pokémon if there were ever difficulty options available from the get-go (and they were a bit harder than BW2's challenge mode, which imo was a bit redundant to unlock after already beating the game) I'd definitely pick the harder difficulty. can't see it being too difficult either if BW2 are anything to go off of, and I've played long enough to feel very comfortable having a difficulty boost.

would be awesome if it were available off the bat, since I want my first experience for a franchise I'm super comfortable with to be in a tougher setting. but we've never seen it past bw2 and I really doubt game freak will implement this in the near future. the games sell well, and they know their target audience would probably opt for normal/default settings. plus masuda has already mentioned in interviews that the reason the games are easy/becoming easier is because there are more things competing for a person's time nowadays. so many other games are available, plus mobile apps are so easy to play too. which isn't necessarily false or anything, I just wish it were possible to please both types of Pokémon fans. but that means more work, and development is already stretched thin/on a tight deadline as it is.
 
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