Training Wheels For Video Games–Easy Mode

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.

Playing this game on easy makes you a nearly invincible bad ass

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?

10 thoughts on “Training Wheels For Video Games–Easy Mode

  1. I’ve been wanting to get into the Halo games too, and Reach is in my Gamefly queue as my “starter” Halo game! I can’t wait for it to come in.

    As for difficulty settings, I almost always play on the easiest difficulty the first time through, just to see what the combat is like. I also find that some games are much harder than others… so one game’s “easy” feels like another game’s “normal,” etc. I prefer to keep things basic at first to see how I fair, then increase the difficulty if things are too easy. Besides, I like the stories in games the best… at least for the first playthrough. Then if I love a game, I’ll go back and challenge myself, sort of like you’re doing now!

    1. You make a good point. I know I have played games where the normal difficulty felt more like the harder difficulty settings and easy felt more like the normal difficulty settings. I just prefer easing into games before I decide I want to be more challenged.

      Reach is in fact a good starter Halo game. I was told by my friend and cousin that it’s a prequel to the entire Halo storyline. It makes sense why my friend would give me Reach first. I didn’t have to worry about getting confused about what was going on in the story, and it was a good game too. I hope you enjoy it when you get it! 🙂

  2. I tend to allow myself to play on easy when it doesn’t affect achievements. In Halo, however, there’s an achievement for finishing the campaign on Normal (and still more on the higher difficulties) so I have to play on at least normal.

    1. Yeah, I did see that there are achievements for playing the campaign at least on normal. I try to unlock as many of the achievements as I can when I play games. On my next run with Reach, I will be playing on normal to get those achievements.

  3. For me it depends on the genre. If I’m unfamiliar with a genre or know I’m not too good with it, I’ll go for easy mode if provided to ease me in. In genres that I feel confident in and I know the ropes, I usually start out on normal and if I like the game enough, I may even try the harder difficulties. Sometimes I’ll start on normal, just to see if I can handle it and if I’m having trouble within the first few minutes of gameplay, I’ll go back and restart the game on easy. But yes, multiple difficultly levels are really nice. They are definitely more work, especially for games that require altering actual attack patterns, but I think worthwhile since they are much more inviting to new players and veterans. I’ve seen some “gamers” whine about games including easy modes or optional help tutorials/items and I just don’t get it since they don’t *need* to utilize those. (Like the ones offered in Ocarina of Time 3D are totally optional yet when it was first announced, people were getting so bent out of shape about it. It was pretty ridiculous).

    1. I agree. I don’t know why people complain about easy modes or tutorials being included in games. If you know what you are doing then just ignore those features in the game. They are there for those who CHOOSE to use them. It’s not forced down their throats.

      I think it’s great to have an easy mode when you want it there just in case. I’m sure many people don’t want to feel frustrated after playing five minutes of the game and are already getting killed off even on normal.

      1. Related to that, I love games that let you change the difficulty modes throughout the game, if you want. Because if you’re not worried about an achievement for a certain playthrough, it’s nice to be able to gear down to ‘easy’ if you want to have an easy night of gaming… while another day, you might feel like cranking up the difficulty to challenge yourself. There’s nothing wrong with doing both, contrary to what a lot of overly competitive gamers might say. =)

      2. I like that option too. I think some gamers who complain about having a chance to change the difficulty levels might not like the option because it can be seen as cheating maybe? I know with some games you have to choose the difficulty level before you start the game, and are warned that you better be sure you want to play at this level because there won’t be any turning back unless you want to delete the game you are doing and start over. Being able to set the difficulty level at your leisure is a great way to challenge yourself or not challenge yourself if you prefer. 😛

  4. I’ve never played on Easy Mode , because it never occured to me that I could play it on Easy, ha ha. I’m really bad at 1st person, so I don’t even attempt to play, which is unfortunate because more than 50% of our games at home are 1st person. This holiday vacation, I think I’m going to pick up Resident Evil 5. I dropped it last summer. There were just too many zombies to kill. lol.

    1. I wasn’t too good at first person shooter games either, but it was just a matter of getting used to them. If I played multiplayer for Halo: Reach with my guy friend and cousin, their kill count would still be higher than mine but I would be able to hold my own in a fight this time I think. XD

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