On occasion, when I want more out of a particularly entertaining game, or when the allure of achievements encourages me to do so, I play some games on the highest difficulty setting. Unfortunately, from time to time the difficulty of these experiences can feel artificially inflated. Let’s take Mass Effect 2, a game I’ve recently been playing on Insanity, as an example. I’ve noticed instances where expected gameplay elements no longer apply. For example, enemies shoot with perfect accuracy, or know where the player is despite his being in cover, or AI squad members are impressively stupid, or a couple of enemies walk straight toward us, ignoring cover, and gun down my teammates (this really happened once!). In moments like these, enemies have gained powers to the point where they may ignore common sense and normal strategy. This means that what might seem like reasonable strategies for countering realistic enemies are likely invalidated, rather than challenged for improvement.
So what is the alternative? Use sensible adjustments to the higher difficulties. Add more enemies, in more places. These enemies should be skilled, but not perfect. Maybe even give them some extra special abilities to mix things up. But under no circumstances should enemies be allowed to horribly break gameplay by inexplicably, and unavoidably, destroying you without regard to reasonable strategy or tactics of their own.
What are some of the games you’ve hated or loved on higher difficulties? Let us know in the comments.