Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I finished the story campaign for Halo: Reach. If some of my readers are huge Halo fans, you must be wondering why am I on Reach when most gamers are onto one of the hottest games of 2012 which is Halo 4? Frankly, Reach was a Christmas gift from a friend last year and it was a good intro into the Halo universe. Or so my friend and cousin (fans of Halo by the way) thought. They weren’t wrong of course.
I’m not the best at first-person shooters. My kill count in multiplayer is woefully pathetic when I play with my seasoned first-person shooter gamer friends. By playing the story campaign on my own, I can set the mode to easy and I can get accustomed to the controls for the game. When I make the decision to start a game on easy, it’s because I know I’m not confident in my ability to breeze through a game without problems.
Easy mode may be seen as child’s play for the veteran gamer, but it comes in handy for those of us who want to enjoy the game at our own pace while also learning the controls or combat moves in a game.
Combat can be overwhelming when you don’t know what to do. Dying several times over can be an equally frustrating experience when you want to move on with the story or just reach the end of the game. Easy mode makes the difficulty level less intense, and it allows you to size up your enemies’ strengths and weaknesses.
There have been times where I chose normal mode and immediately regretted it when I realized it was still too hard for me. Some games won’t let you change the difficulty setting once you have chosen it. And other games like Bioware’s games give you the option to change the setting at any time. This is how I started off playing Dragon Age: Origins. I didn’t know what to expect from the combat so I chose to play on easy for the entire game. Once I did get used to the controls and knew what to expect from enemies, things started feeling too easy for my taste.
Easy mode is very much like training wheels for a gamer who needs them. It’s nice to know you have it there just in case. I like the feeling of testing the waters in a game. For me, I’m about gradually building up my comfort level until I get to the point where I want to rip the training wheels off all together and venture out into something more challenging.
As I got further into the story campaign with my pink Spartan (laugh all you want but I did it as a dare from my cousin and I ended up liking my female pink Spartan in the end), I realized how I needed things to be less easy. Enemies were ridiculously easy to kill with just melee attacks alone and shields regenerate at super speeds compared to if you play on normal or any higher difficulty setting. Once I finished the story mode, I felt the need to replay the whole story on normal. I felt more confident at my first-person shooter skills and I didn’t feel so awkward with the controls anymore. If it wasn’t for trying the game on easy first, I wouldn’t have felt this desire to move onto testing my mettle with a higher difficulty level. Will I feel this compelled to try Reach on Legendary? Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves yet. But for me, you never know.
Are you a gamer who prefers to always start a new game on normal mode? Or do you like to play it safe first by going easy and then graduating onto the next challenging mode? Maybe you are so confident in your skills you just jump right into hard or insanity difficulty levels?