"Therefore, it's the game's fault that I suck at it!"Over time, games in general have gone from Nintendo Hard to more accessible to today's gamers. Still, every once in a while, a game comes along that provides a challenge reminiscent of the Trope Namers of Nintendo Hard. To some gamers, this shall not stand! Video games are about fun, and frustration isn't fun! They're like black and white!...right? There's nothing inherently wrong with a "hard" game. While a large number of gamers find easier games to be more enjoyable than ones that may make them Rage Quit, some gamers like having a challenge in their games. People play games for different reasons; some play to chill out and escape the trials and tribulations of daily life, while others seek such trials within video games. Bear in mind that difficulty can occasionally be a legitimate complaint, depending on what kind of difficulty. Some games are legitimately hard and can provide a great and potentially fun challenge. Or maybe the difficulty is a tad too inconsistent and throws too much at the player at once and there's a huge difficulty spike. Other games are difficult for the wrong reasons, which can be quite legit. (And commonly, when discussing the latter, it's best to keep discussion to that page. But it can still lead to justifiable entries on this series where people criticise the game as being too hard due to Fake Difficulty.) This is not a page on which to complain about hard games — this is for when a fanbase in general or reviewers complain about difficulty. This type of complaint can happen if the preceding game in the series was significantly easier. The polar opposite of It's Easy, so It Sucks. When people try to force the way they play the game (which generally has to do with difficulty) onto other people, you have a Scrub a or "Stop Having Fun" Guy. When you have both It's Easy, so It Sucks and It's Hard, so It Sucks, you wind up with an Unpleasable Fanbase.
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- The Wonderful 101 is a game that just didn't click for a few professional reviewers (and even some players) due to its challenging difficulty and surprisingly in-depth gameplay. Notably, when the director of the game was asked what he felt of said reviews on Twitter, the following exchange took place.
Fan: Many reviews are giving W101 a low score because its "too hard". How does this make you feel?
Hideki Kamiya: Honor.
Action Adventure Games
- Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. Up until OoE, Metroidvanias were particularly easy compared to their more linear and difficult ancestors, so OoE's challenge came off as a shock to many players who started with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night or later.
- This was also the case with Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, though to a less severe degree.
- Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse was considerably cranked up in difficulty from the original Japanese version, thinly treading the line between cheap difficulty and actual fair challenge.
- While "suck" might be a strong word, this reaction was the primary criticism of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes among reviewers, especially in comparison to its predecessor. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was made considerably easier due these complaints, and the Trilogy Updated Re-release lowered the difficulty of the second game's hardest parts.
- This was the main criticisms of In-Name-Only Digimon World 4 RPG, considering that the one of the hero characters only has about four times the health of the game's Goombas and only a slightly faster attack, the pack of four enemies near the very beginning could easily kill a solo player. And for any newbies that encountered a Crowned Enemy in the second section...
- This is half the reason why Robowarrior is not liked by many, the other half being a huge amount of Guide Dang It.
- The difficulty of Tomb Raider III was the most common complaints among fans and reviewers because the game had a huge amount of death traps that could kill you if you weren't careful. Even if you were trying to be careful, some areas forced you to rush blindly to avoid a trap you triggered, which was accompanied by some Camera Screw that was trying to make the sequence of escaping the trap look cool. Most of the game was also extremely dark, which made the death traps even more difficult to spot and it did not help that flares barely lasted.
- The number one criticism of the first Discworld point-and-click adventure game was how incredibly obtuse the puzzles were to figure out, even accounting for the bizarre logic the world of the source material operates under. The puzzles in the sequel were generally better received for being silly while still being much easier to figure out. Of course, for other critics it went too far in the opposite direction.
- Several Sierra games, particularly the King's Quest games, get this sometimes, thanks to Moon Logic Puzzles and the possibility of a Game Over lurking around almost every corner.
Beat Em Ups
- God Hand infamously got a 3.0 score from IGN; the lack of ability to block attacks adding in unnecessary difficulty in his eyes was part of the reason.
- Streets of Rage 3 hit this pretty badly, at least in the US version, as the Japanese version was actually rather easy. The US version made the enemies so aggressive and do so much damage that it quickly became unfair. And then there was the Easy-Mode Mockery at the end of Stage 5 in the Easy mode - which was the Japanese version's normal mode! Most people just Rage Quit there and then.
- The high difficulty is the main complaint of the NES version of Double Dragon III. You start with only one life, have no continues, and are fighting aggressive enemies that love to gang up on you.
The Angry Video Game Nerd: I guess they were trying to make this one realistic. Like, if in real life, if you went out onto the streets to fight this many people at the same time, you'd get your ass handed to ya. And when you die once, that's it. You're brown bread. You're not coming back.
- IGN's review of Double Dragon Neon cited the high difficulty and the fact that you had to start at the beginning of a stage if you lose all your lives. Ironic, considering how hard the original games are (see above), and that we now have the modern convenience of save games...
First Person Shooter
- The original FEAR gets this reaction from a lot of people because it was a legitimately tough game which could kill you quickly if you were careless. It wasn't derided for being too hard at the time of its release, but the reactions of newer fans brought in from the much easier 2nd and 3rd games are very much along the lines of this trope, and are often very shocked to discover that they can go from full health and armor to dead in a few seconds against normal enemies.
- The entire S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series has gotten this from a lot of people over it's unforgiving difficulty and aversion of many FPS tropes (leading to it being described as a "survival shooter"), but even within those that like it, the second title (Clear Sky) is regarded as several steps more difficult than Shadow of Chernobyl, mainly because entire squads of enemy troops will throw grenades that can literally change direction in midair to land at your feet. The enemies also got a lot tougher to the point that a bog-standard military trooper could shrug off entire magazines of SMG fire to the chest, and the game has an odd hit randomization system rule to gunshots and explosions. That is, you have to actually hit your target, then the game essentially rolls a dice to check if you hit your target. This can lead to an odd moment when a grenade can land in your lap and not even give you a nosebleed, and then another can go off ten yards away and kill you instantly. Certain Game Mods fix this unfair behavior, but at the same time, their sticking to realism makes gunfights ridiculously challenging. Oh, so now guns are actually accurate, and kill in very few hits like they should? Yeah, they kill Scar just as easily as the other stalkers, if not even more easily.
- Team Fortress 2 gets this a lot from people who are used to traditional FPS games where everyone's capabilities are more or less the same, and your skills tend to transfer from one game to the next. Due to the class-based nature of TF2 however, any player that charges in expecting it to be like a normal FPS will die swiftly and often. This has the effect of turning off many players before they've had the time to learn how to play properly and realize that almost every class is Difficult but Awesome. In particular, the community has observed that Call of Duty fanboys seem to fare worst at TF2, to the point where a CoD player playing TF2 for the first time is considered highly entertaining Snark Bait.
- PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2 tend to get criticism for having the difficulty being too brutal, even on the easier difficulty settings. SWAT can and will flank you and inflict a ton of damage if you're not careful and the special SWAT will wreck anyone that tries to take them on alone. Most of the heists also tend to be very long and supplies are limited as well (ammo drops from cops give paltry amount of bullets and health kits can only be used a few times before they are depleted) while there are an infinite number of enemies. New players aren't often used to working together to finish the heist objectives that are actually required for to succeed. Overkill studio believes the games are fine where they are and feel the action is the juice, especially on the Overkill 145+/Death Wish difficulties and there's a lot of fans that don't mind the high difficulty. Because the two games play similarly to Left 4 Dead, many players from that game that try to play either PAYDAY game in the same way as Left 4 Dead will get absolutely wrecked and that can also bring the whole team down. And then they added two new difficulty levels, Mayhem and One Down.
- The X-Universe gets this quite a bit due to a heavy emphasis on Earn Your Fun, Early Game Hell, and the Quicksand Box in earlier games. The forums are filled with newbies begging for somebody to tell them how to get out of square one (thankfully the veterans are happy to help out). Others give bad reviews because it takes so long to get going in the sandbox. And then when X3: Terran Conflict came out, certain elements of the fanbase got mad because it no longer took something like 50 hours of gameplay before you had enough money for a capital ship.
Mini Game Game
- Rugrats: Royal Ransom falls into this trope on Reptar Tough mode. The game is incredibly, insanely, mind-numbingly hard in that difficulty mode, to the point where you wonder if the programmers forgot that, regardless of differing levels of difficulty, they were making a game for children. It's not at all fun to play on that difficulty level; the only reason to play it in that mode is to prove you can beat it.
- Blizzard listened to complaints that Wrath of the Lich King heroic dungeons in World of Warcraft were too easy. They fixed this with the Cataclysm dungeons. Now people are complaining that heroics are too hard. (Blizzard's official statement is that they're happy with the difficulty of the heroics and that they'll become easier once groups start figuring out strategies and players get better gear from raiding. In other words, deal with it.)
- The Irate Gamer has a very low tolerance of hard games, even if the game is good. Hard games make him "fustrated" [sic].
- He's also known to invert this. In his review of Kirby's Epic Yarn, he bashed the game for being too easy. Contradicting the many times he's complained about a game being too hard.
- The King Of Hate is similar in this respect, not only with hard games, but also with games that don't necessarily fall under the Nintendo Hard spectrum. Of course, it doesn't help that he doesn't Read the Freaking Manual.
- You find sometimes the one guy on a programming language forum who complains that programming languages like INTERCAL and Malbolge, which are both programming languages in which the editor deliberately made a language that is as hard and obtuse to use, get attention because they are hard to program in and saying that these are therefore of no interest whatsoever.
- Baby Pac-Man requires a good amount of skill with both pinball and video games. However, hardcore pinball players and hardcore video gamers are rival fandoms (even during Baby Pac-Man's time), so there are relatively few people who are proficient at both types of games to perform well in Baby Pac-Man. As a result, most people who try this game get frustrated at either the pinball or the mazes.
- The Mega Man series:
- Mega Man Zero sometimes gets this from some people. To the point where the DS Updated Re-release of the entire series includes an "Easy Scenario". The game's English-language version promotes this on the box as being "so anyone can jump right in!" In practice, the Easy Scenario simply starts the game with most non-plot powerups (maximum life, all Cyber Elves, etc.) without actually changing the difficulty. You can (and probably will) still die even on Easy Scenario.
- Mega Man & Bass is often dismissed by longtime fans for its unfairly high difficulty level, which is made even worse in its GBA port due to the cramped screen and rougher controls.
- Mega Man 9 got hit with so many complaints about its difficulty that Mega Man 10 was advertised as having an Easy Mode.
- Many Platform Hell games such as Kaizo Mario World and I Wanna Be the Guy. They tend to be more interesting watched than played. Many platform hells tend to be viewed as sucky mainly because of their Fake Difficulty. Trial-and-Error Gameplay is pretty common in these types of games, especially in IWBTG and ROM hacks of Super Mario World trying to be like Kaizo.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, the original sequel to Super Mario Bros. 1, was famously not originally exported, with this reaction being part of the reason why. The other is that players dismissed it as a mere Mission-Pack Sequel. It was not too warmly received amongst Westerners when it was Remade for the Export, seeing it as too close to Platform Hell territory for comfort.
- Expert 100-Mario Challenge and Gnat Attack in Super Mario Maker are generally perceived as this. The former is hated for the Fake Difficulty of many of its levels, and the latter is hated for being very unforgiving. The game's post-release updates added Hard Gnat Attack (which is especially hated for its difficulty, which mainly results from its droves of Bomb Flies in every level) and Super Expert 100-Mario Challenge (reviled for having particularly devious levels).
- La-Mulana spits in the face of gamers of this mentality, saying in the manual that it's only for those hardcore players who feel the same way.
- Mirror's Edge got this a lot from its detractors, with the argument being that the game's first-person perspective was unsuited to its gameplay style.
- Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure was a critical darling, but got a substantial amount of flak for the fact that it's essentially a professionally-published example of Platform Hell.
- Despite its slick and original AAA design, the fact that Rare decided its inhuman difficulty was perfectly fine for such a wide-marketed commercial product has prevented anyone from considering Battletoads a classic.
- Although it has a devout following of fans, the original Rayman could have become a classic alongside Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog had it not become so mind-numbingly and abruptly difficult once you hit Band Land. The Game Boy Advance port even went out of its way to advertise that it was much easier.
- Metal Slug 3. You either love it because it's one of the most epic games in the series, or you hate it because your first few full runs took 40-60 continues each. And the western Xbox port suffers from Porting Disaster by giving you limited continues which kick you back to the start of the stage, meaning that if you weren't at a set skill level and couldn't really improve, you'd permanently miss out on a certain portion of the game.
- One common criticism of The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is that it mimics perhaps too well the frustrating old-school games the AVGN often complained about.
- Jak II: Renegade was often criticized for its at times downright punishing difficulty, and the game is still infamous for just how hard it could be. This was likely because its predecessor was sometimes criticized for being too easy, but many would say that Naughty Dog went a little too far in the other direction. As a response, Jak 3: Wastelander, while still challenging, was a considerably easier game. Official PlayStation Magazine, who gave Jak II 3 out of 5 stars for this very trope, opened up their much more positive 4.5 out of 5 review of Jak 3 by assuring readers that it was nowhere near as tough as Jak II was.
- Tetris: The Grand Master 2 (PLUS), for those who started with TGM3. TGM3 introduced a subtle change in the signature TGM rotation system that makes I-pieces easier to handle with, a feature necessitated by TGM3's extreme speeds, as well as the introduction of the Hold Piece feature to TGM. So when a TGM3 player tries to play TGM2, especially at maximum drop speed...
- Catherine. You want to know how hard this game was? On the easiest difficulty, Japanese fans of Atlus complained about the difficulty. This got so bad, that Atlus even patched the game to make it easier, and they also added in Very Easy difficulty in the West (basically Easy but with more block-jumping energy drinks being dropped). Of course, there are still the odd set of detractors for the game's difficulty here and there, but this has been more or less corrected now.
- While the Jet Moto series was quite popular in its time (up until 3 at least), those who didn't like it often cited insanely aggressive CPU opponents and confusing course design (with sharp turns and plenty of bottomless pits later on), with Glenn Rubenstein of Game Spot even calling the first installment "an evil, difficult game."
- The Driver series tends to get this criticism from certain critics from time to time.
- Traffic Attack in the single-player mode of Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Transformed is so difficult, the game's director admitted that he has problems finishing even the first one. Traffic Attack involves reaching checkpoints under an extremely strict time limit with heavy traffic to dodge, and clearing all of them on the highest difficulty is necessary to unlock every character. Complaints about Traffic Attack were so numerous that a patch was issued to reduce its difficulty to be more in line with the rest of the game.
- Fans and critics both cite the absurd increase in chart density in Guitar Hero III (which marked the switch in developers from Harmonix to Neversoft) as one of the reasons the series Jumped the Shark with that installment. The final set in particular ('Raining Blood', 'The Number of the Beast', 'One' and 'Cliffs of Dover', followed by a battle against Lou set to 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia') was considered by pretty much everyone to be a monumental Difficulty Spike, and the point where most players would just give up and put the controller down.
- Loco Roco - Midnight Carnival got lower scores since many complained about its difficulty. Only a few of them complained about the control scheme not matching with the more challenging level design.
- beatmania IIDX is often criticized for its high barrier to entry compared to other BEMANI games.
- Popn Music up to pop'n music 19 TUNE STREET has only the Great, Good, and Bad judgements in most of its modes, other than Expert mode and Cho-Challenge mode, which feature the stricter Cool judgement and has more difficult scoring. When pop'n music 20 fantasia came around, the Cool judgement became mandatory in Normal mode, which led to a lot of complaints even from higher-end players, as Cools tend to take away emphasis from simply clearing boss songs. Worse, as of pop'n music Sunny Park, all modes other than Battle mode have Cools enabled.
- BEMANI fans tend to hold Reflec Beat with contempt because the way the notes fall (at angles, bouncing off the sides, not to mention the TOP notes) looks too chaotic.
Role Playing Games
- The 7th Saga: Considered the hardest game on the SNES, yet there are tons of items to buff with in combat, traditional RPG roles work fine with both party members, and your ally leaving or betraying you... takes a little foresight.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura has been called a "bad game" due to some difficult enemies at the beginning and some imbalanced game mechanics that are not always fair to your character build, such as a character focusing heavily on non-combat skills, though you can always reroll a character and select better starting inventory, save and reload often, play it safe, etc.
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep now has people complaining that Vanitas's Lingering Spirit and Mysterious Figure are "too hard", as well as some other required bosses like Master Eraqus, Braig (with Aqua), and the Mad Treant are too hard. This is from the same fanbase that complained about how Easy Sephiroth was in the first two games. Someone responded to this rather creatively:
"Fandom of Kingdom Hearts, PLEASE don't complain about how 'easy' Sephiroth is, or how 'button mashery' several bosses are. Because then, we get stuff like Vanitas's Lingering Spirit or the Mysterious Figure."
- Earthbound Beginnings tends to get this treatment sometimes even from dedicated fans of the series due to the copious Random Encounters. Mt. Itoi, the last area of the game, in particular is notorious for being rushed in development and given an absurd Difficulty Spike. There are a lot, but it's certainly more playable than some have made it out to be.
- Dark Souls and Demon's Souls often get this from their detractors.
- The Shin Megami Tensei franchise gets a lot of this.
- Most people not accustomed to Atlus's brand of difficulty tend to give up trying when they encounter the first Wake-Up Call Boss. The high encounter rate, demons' tendencies to easily murder you in one or two turns if you have the wrong party setup, and the player character's death resulting in an immediate game over certainly don't help matters either. Critics argue that the difficulty is often neither well-designed nor dependent on player skill.
- Shin Megami Tensei IV was hit hard by this from fans who were more familiar with Persona 3 and 4, and found themselves smashing their 3DSes and/or outright giving up due to the brutal early game, which has led to IV's memetic status as "the Dark Souls of Persona". Ironically, IV suffers the opposite when it comes to those who have played previous mainline Shin Megami Tensei games.
- Pokémon Black and White would be this for some people. The most prevalent reason? Higher-levelled Pokemon gets less experience points. The problem kicks in when your Pokemon is higher-levelled than the local wild Pokemon, but lower than of the local gym leader's: you can't efficiently level grind up to the Gym Leader's levels. Adding to the problem are the Demonic Spiders in some routes, more cases of Gym Leaders' Artificial Brilliance, Pokemon in this generation not being able to learn as many TM moves to counter type disadvantages, and the relative lack of rematch opportunities.
- Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate gets this from series veterans who feel that the Apex monsters add more frustration than fun to an already challenging game series.
Shoot Em Ups
- Most fans get into the franchise via Fanon, Memetic Mutation, or music remixes, so they'll either attend a Touhou fan panel at Fan Conventions, where the host(s) will most likely demonstrate a later stage on Lunatic or an Extra Stage, often intimidating players from getting into the games, or they will look up videos of the games in order to understand the source material, only to express shock upon seeing a Boss Battle. The ones that do try the games find them way too difficult even on Easy and will most likely Rage Quit. The Touhou games are actually considered some of the easier Bullet Hell games, but don't EVER tell a struggling player that.
- Even amongst players, many feel that the 15th main game, Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, is too close to I Wanna Be the Guy for comfort, as the patterns are very brutal by their respective difficulty levels' standards in order to balance around the new Pointdevice Mode (which features checkpoints and infinite lives), making them needlessly sadistic for Legacy Mode (i.e. traditional "limited lives and respawn where you died" mode). This is perhaps a case of Be Careful What You Wish For, as many players feel that the previous game, Double Dealing Character, is particularly easy.
- As mentioned by The Angry Video Game Nerd, the Silver Surfer NES game. The game itself doesn't look bad; the main complaints are the Deadly Walls and Silver Surfer being a One-Hit-Point Wonder, never mind that these two tropes are shmup staples, although Silver Surfer's questionable hitbox may have something to do with it.
- Deathsmiles''s 360 port was released not only in Japan, but also in North America and eventually PAL territories. When it was initially released in North America, a lot of the slowdown present in the Japanese version was removed, making the game more difficult. Most players didn't seem to notice or mind, but a subset of players was particularly upset about this change, some even calling the game an outright Porting Disaster. The amusing part is, most of these complaining players are players who are experienced with the game. The game has since been patched to match the Japanese version in slowdown behavior.
- Hellsinker is a turn-off to many players, who feel that the game looks too convoluted and pretentious, and uses proprietary terminology way too much.
- People who have played Battle Garegga Love It or Hate It. The ones who hate it do so due to the realistic bullet colors making them difficult to see, the Dynamic Difficulty system being confusing to work out (with some methods of management including missing powerups on purpose and DYING on purpose) and potentially cornering the player into an Unwinnable by Design scenario if it is not managed properly.
- Star Fox Zero has a very involved control scheme (to the point that the first thing that you see in the game, even before the title screen, is the tutorial sequence) that garnered this response from several professional reviewers who either didn't have the time to get used to them, or just couldn't be bothered. Of course, this is par for the course with anything done by PlatinumGames.
- Alien: Isolation got a 5.9/10 from IGN, stating that the Alien's unpredictable AI and it's ability to adapt to your strategies made the game too difficult, especially on hard. Unsurprisingly, this review got a ton of flak. What makes this a bit more jarring is that the reviewer mentioned dying because he made a sprint towards the Save Point, which is not very advisable in normal gameplay.
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn got a low review from Gamespot for being too hard and being too similar to the previous games. Although the same review flacks the game for lacking Mii support, most do agree that Radiant Dawn is much harder than it needs to be; even the first chapter, typically a "get into the flow of things" segment of Fire Emblem games, is hard to surpass. It doesn't help that all the difficulty settings for the American release are one-notch higher than in Japan, making Normal to Hard, etc.
- The Conquest path of Fire Emblem Fates received a noticeably lower score than Birthright or Revelation from, yet again, Gamespot because it's too hard and doesn't let you grind.
- The classic X-COM: UFO Defense originally had a bug that meant the game was permanently stuck on the easiest difficulty. It was and is an awesome game, but the main complaint was that it was too easy. Developers (who hadn't yet discovered the bug) listened to the feedback, and X-COM: Terror from the Deep was much harder. As in, insanely hard: the game's easiest setting was as hard as the original's hardest setting. It should be noted that the reason the bug took so long to discover was that the original X-COM was already insanely hard.
- A few of the Ace Attorney games came under this. Although no reviewers ever said that the games were bad due to this reason, one of the complaints, or nit-picks, that a lot of reviewers had was that the games could sometimes be unforgiving. This was mainly attributed to Justice For All and Trials and Tribulations but was also a complaint of the first game, by some. Although most reviewers felt like the game wasn't unfair, they felt as though many parts required extremely sharp eyes and logic. This wasn't cited as so much of a problem in the first game due to the point-penalty system, but in the second and third games there are a number of parts where 50%, 80% and even 100% penalties are issued for single slip-ups, resulting in a good number of instant game over moments.