Should all games have an easy mode?
With the recent release of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice last month, the long-lasting debate of whether games should have an easy mode has been the hot topic of discussion again among the gaming community.
Sekiro, developed by FromSoftware, is an extremely difficult and unforgiving title and is quite possibly one of the hardest games you will play. Even for experienced gamers, Sekiro poses a huge challenge as every enemy you combat with is a lethal threat and you need serious skills and patience in order to beat the game. You literally need to die a dozen times until you get a hold of the gameplay and learn from your mistakes and failures so that you can find out the right strategy.
This has resulted in many gamers requesting FromSoftware to roll out an easy mode of the game. Making an easy mode available for Sekiro will broaden the audience the game can cater to, making it more accessible and more popular. However, many gamers and critics are also arguing that having an easy mode will only take away the essence of the action-adventure video game, and is, quite frankly, disrespectful to the developer’s vision. After all, what makes Sekiro the game it is and what lends it its reputation is its raw difficulty and complexity. In other words, Sekiro wouldn’t be the game it is if it were easy because its inherent difficulty is the game’s key selling point.
This seems to stand true even for other titles which are often seen as difficult and only exclusive to experienced gamers. Gamers and critics alike often argue that the very essence of the game is lost when video games of such stature offer an easy mode to make the game more accessible.
The rise of easy mode in mainstream games
However, in recent years, the easy mode has seemed to become highly popular in mainstream games, including FIFA, Assassin’s Creed, Devil May Cry, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and many more. Even the highly coveted epic action-adventure, God of War, whose selling point is its difficulty and intricate gameplay, has come out with a “story” mode. This is just another name for easy mode, which is also often referred to as “narrative mode”.
Developers roll out these more relaxed modes so that they can make the game more accessible. It gives an opportunity to simply explore the game and the world in a slow and relaxed manner for those who do not wish to engage in action and combat but still want to immerse themselves in the narrative that the game has to offer.
It comes down to the option
While story mode or easy mode seems like a perfectly good choice for people who only wish to experience a portion of what a video game has to offer, it is not the most ideal for gamers who want to fully immerse themselves in the experience and take away every lesson possible.
The key here is to make the easy mode optional so that experienced gamers who want the true experience can still get what they want while less experienced gamers can experience the game at their own pace. However, the vision of the developer also plays a crucial role in determining whether an easy mode should be available or not.