Sequel Difficulty Drop
Anytime the next video game (or perhaps another medium) in a series is either easier overall, or includes at least one difficulty mode that's easier than those in the previous game(s) (even if the game still is Nintendo Hard
on the higher settings).
Developers and publishers receive a lot of feedback from their customers, and when a lot of that feedback refers to the perceived difficulty (and possible aversion to spending money on a hair-pulling experience), they have incentive to tweak that feature in the sequel. The developers will try to make not an extreme drop in difficulty, just enough to ease new players in. So Easy-Mode Mockery
is largely averted with these. It also doesn't preclude Sequel Escalation
in elements other than difficulty.
Difficulty can also be changed in other ways, such as dropping Fake Difficulty
elements from the previous game(s), adding cheat codes, and the addition of new gameplay elements such as regenerating health
or special abilities that make survival easier than in the previous game.
Some argue that most games became this in the mid 90s
, when games became more cinematic. Whether this is looking at games through a Nostalgia Filter
or not depends on if you think more cinematic games is a good thing.
Typically, this results in certain gamers
thinking the new game is too easy
Compare Easier Than Easy
, Lighter and Softer
, and Nintendo Hard
(this trope's contrapositive corollary).
Contrast Sequel Difficulty Spike
, Surprise Difficulty
- The Legend of Zelda I and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link are considered the hardest of the Zelda series (par for the course for games of that era), so all the games after that are this. In particular, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess are notably much easier than either of the two N64 games preceding them. Nintendo made a point of reversing this trend with The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, with the latter's higher difficulty being largely due to a greater emphasis on combat.
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves not only adds the new "Very Easy" difficulty level for beginners, but all of the other difficulty levels are toned down from the previous release. Except Crushing, which is harder than Crushing on the original.
- Castlevania II: Simon's Quest is ridiculously easy once you get past the obtuse hint system, owing to enemies that freeze everytime they get hit.
- Little Big Adventure II fits into this trope, due to the removal of the unpopular "wall hitting" feature, as well as having a more convenient save system.
- The second Shantae was able to drop a lot of the Fake Difficulty (small screen size, mandatory grinding for decent health items, Early Game Hell) for a much smoother difficulty curve.
- Ghouls 'n Ghosts is somewhat easier than Ghosts 'n Goblins (though still very Nintendo Hard), thanks largely to Arthur gaining the ability to throw weapons vertically and (with the Gold Armor) use magic.
- The Devil May Cry series seems to have zig-zagged. The first was Nintendo Hard, the second dialed back the difficulty to the point of many considering it It's Easy, so It Sucks, the third was more difficult than the first (to the point that Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition was released primarily because of how unfair the first release was), and the fourth was much easier, though the fourth was still pretty difficult.
- Bayonetta 2 dials back a lot of the more unforgiving aspects of its predecessor. The window of activating Witch Time is a lot more forgiving, the instant-kill Press X to Not Die sequences have gotten the chop, and you aren't penalized for using items anymore, making the acquisition of higher ranks a lot easier. Though the game is by no stretch "too easy" because of this.
Beat 'em Up
- Discworld 2 was made much easier than the first game, although this was mostly due to the fact that the puzzles went from being totally obscure non-sequiturs to proper Moon Logic Puzzles.
- King's Quest VII and Space Quest 6 changed the engine, and had eliminated the Unwinnable scenarios that tended to really annoy beginning adventure game players. The difficulty and tone didn't change much for Space Quest. Roger was still the none-too-bright "semi-hero" players knew and loved. The King's Quest entry was markedly different from previous entries, going Lighter and Softer along with the Sequel Difficulty Drop. This accounts for the mixed reception it has on the fanbase.
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge has some strange puzzles, but ultimately takes less effort to play than the first game provided you know what to do. The puzzles in The Secret of Monkey Island are often time-consuming and require memorization no matter how good you are at them.
- Streets of Rage 2 (except for the new Mania mode), although the game was far from easy. Played straight in the original version of the 3rd game but inverted in the Western version... unless you use the Game Breaker character, Shiva.
- Tokimeki Memorial 2 was made easier than its predecessor, most notably by dramatically lowering the bombing rate. This was done in order to focus on a character storyline-specific challenge instead of a mostly stat-based challenge.
- Street Fighter Alpha. While far from easy, and still having very good AI, it is noticeably easier than the old Street Fighter games. Maybe because the AI cheats less.
- In the first Power Stone, arcade mode was pretty difficult, especially after beating the first boss. However, in the sequel arcade mode can easily be finished in no time at all even by new players after getting to know how to play better.
- Soul Blade is much harder than the SoulCalibur games that follow it, with some of the Edge Master Mode challenges being real headscratchers.
- Tekken 3 and onwards are easier than Tekken 2, which is probably the hardest one in the series. The first Tekken is comparatively easier because of the lack of moves and modes, although the sub-bosses can be a challenge.
Light Gun Game
- Far Cry, Crysis, and Far Cry 2: Far Cry, the first game, is the FPS equivalent of Nintendo Hard on its highest difficulty and massively challenging for even experienced gamers. Both the sequel set in the African jungle, and 'spin off' Crysis are hard enough on the highest difficulties, but don't provide anywhere near the challenge that the first game did. A good part of this is due to having access to regenerating health, unlike the original Far Cry with its reliance on (somewhat rare) health kits and armor pickups.
- Far Cry 3 drops the difficulty from Far Cry 2 by virtue of the stealth mechanic actually working this time around, the addition of at least some non-hostile NPCs outside of towns, removing the Breakable Weapons mechanic, addition of true fast travel and enemies at outposts no longer respawn. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is even easier, though this is justified in that Rex "Power" Colt is a hilariously Badass Cyborg Super Soldier.
- Descent II is a definite step down from the brutal difficulty of the first game. Even with the more advanced robot A.I. and nastier bosses, the game is noticeably easier thanks to the addition of accessories like the afterburners, energy converter, and ammo rack. The difficulty went back up with the third game.
- Halo 2 is an interesting case in that the normal difficulty is noticeably easier than in the original game (faster regeneration, not having to worry about health, enemies die noticeably more quickly and don't dodge as much, much easier to score instant-kill headshots, a wider selection of better weaponry, vastly improved friendly A.I.), while the heroic and legendary difficulty are much harder than their equivalents in the original game, due to factors such as much weaker shields, Jackal Snipers, level design that makes it much easier to get surrounded and plasma-raped, etc.
- Halo 3 is this compared to 2, especially since it nerfed the Jackal Snipers by making them less accurate and easier to see. Also, 3's main Elite Mooks, the Brutes, have energy shields which permanently break when 100% depleted, unlike those of the Elites from previous games. They also lack the insane durability of their Halo 2 predecessors.
- In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, you can survive much more damage than in the first Modern Warfare game. This is balanced out somewhat by the Sequel Escalation that results in you often fighting more enemies at once, sometimes in open environments where it's very easy to get flanked from all sides.
- Modern Warfare 3, in contrast, is insane on Veteran difficulty, as you have drastically less health than in the second game, combined with psychic enemies that are given superhuman reflexes and perfect aim.
- The revamp of the health system in Call of Duty 2 made it so you no longer had to worry about finding health packs (which were completely absent on the first game's Veteran difficulty), and instead when badly hurt, allowed you to heal back to full health if you could get away from the combat for a few moments. The new health system has since been the standard for every Call of Duty game since then.
- The third game added the now-standard sprinting and the ability to throw back enemy grenades.
- Modern Warfare 2 also dispensed with the infinitely-respawning enemies, allowing players to approach the levels more conservatively.
- Red Faction 2 is noticeably easier than the first Red Faction, due to the addition of inventory medikits and regenerating health, as well as the lack of enemies with one-hit-kill attacks like the Mercs with railguns in the first game. Red Faction Guerilla goes the other direction, often being downright Nintendo Hard due to frequent escort or timed missions as well as often having to fight huge hordes of enemies at the same time using a character who's actually not particularly durable.
- F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is noticeably easier than the original F.E.A.R.; enemies can survive noticeably less damage, health and armor pickups now restore stats by 100% rather than by small amounts, and enemy aim has been Nerfed to offset the fact that you can no longer lean around corners to shoot. The level design is also such that enemies have much fewer opportunities to flank and surprise you compared to the original game. In developer interviews, Monolith has admitted that the A.I. enemies were made slower and less mobile to compensate for the reduced sensitivity of controllers vs mouse and keyboard, as the sequel was made with consoles in mind unlike the first game.
- And FEAR 3 was even easier than Project Origin. The developers decided to drop armor and health kits; just a conventional regenerating health scheme now, and the enemies became even dumber, weaker, and more inaccurate. The enemy AI is now rather unaggressive, preferring to hang back and let you regenerate. Even the boss fights against the phase commanders are not that difficult.
- The original 1999 Alien vs. Predator for the PC was pure Nightmare Fuel, especially in the Marine campaign, as Aliens were crazy-fast and would constantly respawn, so that you could never actually clear an area of hostiles and had to keep progressing to stay alive. The sequels, which rely almost entirely on scripted enemy spawns, are still scary and atmospheric, but not as insanely tense as the original.
- The original Call of Juarez game had limited, non-regenerating health (and health pickups could be dangerously rare in some areas) as well as several annoying stealth and platforming segments. The prequel, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, did away with the stealth and platforming, as well as adding regenerating health and a competent A.I. partner who follows you for most of the game.
- The first three Rainbow Six games (excluding the console version of 3) had multiple teams of agents, complicated pre-mission planning, easy one hit kills by enemies, and perma-death. Starting with Lockdown, the series became a more forgiving fast-paced single squad-based shooter.
- NES Remix 2 featured games made later in the NES lifecycle which had less Fake Difficulty on average than the ones in the first NES Remix. On top of this, the tasks were slightly less demanding and the 3-star and rainbow star time thresholds were much more generous.
- The Super Mario Bros. games do this a lot.
- Blinx the Time Sweeper 2: Masters of Time and Space to the original game.
- To balance out the previous game's Sequel Difficulty Spike, Jak 3 had its difficulty level toned down significantly, striking a decent balance between the original Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, which was said to be too easy, and Jak II, which went in exactly the opposite direction. In the official strategy guide for Jak 3, there was a section at the back explaining various things, like how the game was made, random bits of twoddle, and there was an apology for making Jak II too difficult.
- The sequels to the first game were much simpler due to them no longer requiring players to make a Leap of Faith to find the MacGuffins needed to progress in the game. Not to mention that certain MacGuffins required you to be in certain spots for them to even appear.
- Rayman Legends is considerably easier than its predecessor, Rayman Origins, though it's still not easy. The "Back to Origins" side-adventure features a majority of the levels from Rayman Origins, many of which have been toned down significantly.
- Mega Man 10 added an easy mode after franchise revival Mega Man 9 proved too old-school Nintendo Hard for some players. And before that, Mega Man 2 added a "Normal" mode for its North American release that was really an "easy" mode, especially when compared to the Nintendo Hard original game and the Japanese version (retained as the NA "Difficult" mode.) Even without the easy difficulty modes, Mega Man 2 was still generally easier than Mega Man 1, and Mega Man 10 was generally easier than Mega Man 9.
- The first two games in the Dark Matter trilogy of the Kirby series are somewhat harder than the games that Masahiro Sakurai worked on. The last third, called Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, is noticeably easier than Dream Land 2 & 3 (despite non-infinite flight) since 2 has you lose your ability in one hit, and 3 has some guessing games.
- The original Crash Bandicoot trilogy; the first game was undeniably the hardest to get all the gems in. Warped is the easiest game, but adds a challenging time trial mode to give veterans something to chew on. Crash: Mind Over Mutant is also much easier than Crash of the Titans, even on its hardest difficulty. Enemies do much less damage, come in smaller groups, and are easier to defeat than in Titans, Titans can jump and can be stored for use at any time, and you have infinite lives unlike in Titans.
- The first Spyro the Dragon game is quite difficult, especially if you are going for 100% Completion. While the other two games aren't exactly a walk in the park to achieve 100% Completion, they were far easier than the first one.
- That happens in Adventure Island series on the NES.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- Of the original four games, Sonic the Hedgehog 1 was by far the most difficult. Later games added the Spin Dash, which helped Sonic get out of pits and sticky situations. In Sonic 1, you actually had to build up momentum to progress past obstacles. Sonic 1 also did not have an unlockable Super Sonic Mode.
- In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Tails was given the ability to fly, essentially making him the Easy Mode Character compared to the more difficult Sonic. Exception to that being the Marble Garden Zone boss.
- When Sonic & Knuckles was released and made to be played with Sonic 3 so both games can be combined, Knuckles' run through Carnival Night Zone is actually easier than Sonic's portions because Knuckles' levels in that zone are tons shorter and have less obstacles. On top of this, Knuckles doesn't even face a boss at the end of act 2.
- Sonic Colors was much easier than Sonic Unleashed, as reaction-based hazards were greatly reduced, stages are much shorter, and Sonic's running speed is slower (even without upgraded speed in Unleashed).
- With the Game Gear games, Sonic Chaos is definitely this to Sonic 2.
- Metroid II: Return of Samus adds a saving feature, some gameplay tweaks (such as shooting kneeled), and has a less open-ended world; Super Metroid returns to the original game's formula, but with II's improvements and a map (and a few improvements of its own, such as finally adding a diagonal attack).
- For the Metroid Prime series, after the Sequel Difficulty Spike that was Echoes, came the much easier Corruption, whose difficulty was lowered due to the new control system for the Wii (which was adapted to the other games when Trilogy packed them together), the Hypermode mechanic, and its much more linear nature.
- Banjo-Tooie to Banjo-Kazooie. For starters, the first game started you out with pretty much nothing and then you had to gradually find and learn the new moves in order to advance. Notes had to be collected one at a time and you had to collect damn near a thousand of them to be able to make it to the end. Aiming the eggs was impossible, late-game enemies took multiple hard hits to kill, and your egg and feather stocks had to be replenished one at a time in a manner similar to enemies (you have to leave the level first before they come back). And there were extra lives and if you ran out of them, game over. The quiz at the end could seriously kick your ass in no time flat if you didn't pay attention and learn all the secrets. Also, with regards to the note collecting, your total number of notes you had on hand to use in the Lair was the sum of your Best Note Scores for each level. If you were to collect 50 notes on a level and then leave or die, all of the notes would respawn and you would have a Best Note Score of 50 for that level. In order to raise it higher and have more notes to use in the Lair, you would need to collect at least 51 notes. Each level had 100 notes to its name, some of them in spots that made for an easy plummet into a bottomless pit of death. The second game and the Xbox Live Arcade re-release of the first had notes stay collected for good. Presumably, many players viewed the Best Note Score as a Scrappy Mechanic. The second game replaced the vastly simplified collectathon and survival issues with much tougher puzzles and a greater emphasis on combat. Another difference is that, in the first game, you needed 94 jiggies out of 100 at least in order to beat the game (and at least 98 to have reasonable chances to defeat the final boss), while in the second game you only needed 70 out of 90.
- Jumper Three has been made considerably easier in comparision to the previous two Jumper games, for the sake of entering Yoyo Games competition.
- Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge, a sequel to the 1997 Frogger, is generally much kinder than its Nintendo Hard predecessor. The original takes more hints from the arcade game by having you search for five baby frogs, with you going back to the beginning each time you rescue one. The worlds are also very open, sometimes making them difficult to find. The sequel is much more linear, as you collect baby frogs as you traverse through the level, with each counting as a checkpoint. They also spoon-feed you with extra lives, making this one generally much more forgiving.
- Exit Path 2 is a bit easier than the first due to a smoother control scheme, an ability to double jump, and bounce pads having a fixed height.
- Shantae Riskys Revenge was drastically easier than the first game, not only because Shantae has a much longer attack range and much more useful magic attacks, but the level design is much smoother and the enemies were weakened and slowed down.
- The first two Pac-Man World games were borderline Nintendo Hard, to the point where the second game's difficulty got toned down in re-releases and was still difficult. Pac-Man World 3 was almost a joke in comparison, to the point where many reviewers criticized it for being too easy and kid-oriented.
- The first Ratchet & Clank game is far less forgiving than its follow-ups. Bolts are harder to rack up in large quantities, checkpoints are very infrequent and the final boss is one of the toughest in the series. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando balanced things out by making your health and weapons upgrade as you use them, meaning that even if you were struggling to beat a level and were constantly dying and starting over, you're still getting stronger by leveling up as you don't lose experience when you die, so you'll be more prepared next time. Also helping matters was that now you could strafe, making attacks easier to dodge as well as helping you aim better. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal was easier yet again with even more powerful weapons that can be upgraded more than once.
- Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools Of Destruction had difficulty rivaling the first game, to the point that several courtesies were added to make it more bearable such as an increased maximum health cap, free health refills from vendors, and the ability to obtain the Infinity+1 Sword on your first playthrough. Quest for Booty and A Crack in Time added a difficulty switch, and the easy and moderate settings were much easier than Tools of Destruction on a first playthrough.
- Maximo: Ghosts to Glory is generally regarded as one of the hardest games on the PS2, unsurprising due to its link to the Ghosts 'n Goblins franchise. Maximo vs. Army of Zin on the other hand was a lot less ruthless. Maximo is faster, stronger and has a much wider arsenal of attacks which can quickly wreck large hoards of enemies, and once you get the hammer, battles become trivial. The game also had small refinements that made the game more accessible, such as superior camera controls and a save system that you don't have to pay to use. Extra lives are also far more frequent now as you can buy an infinite amount of them from vendors for a fairly cheap price.
- Puzzle Quest 2 was far easier than any of its predecessors in the series. Outside of the occasional Boss in Mook Clothing (*coughvampirescough*), enemies were rarely a challenge - especially if you're playing as a Barbarian (who has access to the strongest weapons in the game and power boosting spells).
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 2's story mode is a bitch to complete without losing at all (an accomplishment known as "unshaded status" after the stage clear marks that are hollow if you haven't lost and filled if you have). Maximum Tune 3 and 3 DX, on the other hand? As long as you don't crash in the last 2-3 kilometers of any given stage, unshaded status is very possible.
- Super Mario Kart is still the hardest game in the series, even if Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart Wii give it a run for its money. Otherwise, the series has gotten easier and easier over the years in comparison.
- SSX Tricky is an example of this working in the game's favor. The controls are much tighter and smoother, you are overall faster, and the introduction of Uber tricks allowed players to easily rack up the kinds of scores that only would have been possible in the original if you were playing at maxed-out stats. This allowed you to unlock new characters faster, so if you wanted to get to a certain character you could reach that character faster.
- We Cheer 2 has an easier difficulty for the songs, and even includes testing for the lag calibration.
- Guitar Hero: World Tour added a "Beginner" difficulty level in addition to the usual Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert levels. World Tour also did away with the "battle modes", where you had to defeat another challenger with special power-up attacks before you could advance or beat the game. Instead, you would simply "jam" with the special guests and try to keep up with them.
- Guitar Hero 2, while featuring harder songs, made hammer-ons and pull-offs mercifully easier by not forcing the player to hold both frets before shifting, and the Xbox 360 port widened the allowable gap between those frets just enough to make a difference. It also added a song to each tier, allowing players to skip over whichever one they disliked the most, and rearranged the others to more accurately reflect the difficulty curve. A perfect example of the improvement: Wolfmother's "Woman", whose fiddly pull-offs made it entirely possible to fail the first tier on Hard in the PS2 version; now it's second-tier, easier to play, and entirely optional.
- Rock Band's easiest difficulty level is "Easy", but LEGO Rock Band added a "Super Easy" difficulty. No fret-work on guitar, no worrying about what drum you're hitting on drums, and no pitch detection on vocals (i.e., sing or say anything and you'll pass the song).
- Rock Band 3 automatically turns on no failure mode when playing on easy, and allows it on all difficulties without penalty; Scoring Points is still as much of a challenge as always.
- The 2013 Dance Dance Revolution game no longer breaks your combo when you get a GOOD judgement. What's more, a GOOD will no longer damage you when playing on a "battery" Life Meter.
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity is noticeably easier then the previous installments for a myriad of reasons. Firstly, while the damage formula has been tweaked so that both you and enemy Pokemon deal less damage overall, the new move leveling system allows you to compensate for this, while the enemies lack the capacity to do the same. Second, there's the new Team Attack command which provides all Pokemon with a means of wiping out a mob of enemies periodically. Third, you can now use orbs in boss battles to boost your stats, which makes them a lot more manageable. You also get Leaked Experience, so all of your Pokémon level up regardless of whether or not you actually use them. Lastly, the Pokémon Paradise and Magnagate dungeons can provide you with an overload of useful supplies if you take advantage of them. It's also notable for being the first game to allow the use of a Dragon-type (Axew) as a starter Pokémon. Said starter also happens to easily be the strongest one in the entire series, learning Dragon Rage at an extremely low level (Which will one or two hit KO enemy Pokémon for a long time), then going on to learn its best attacking move of Dual Chop only a few levels later, which makes short work of virtually everything, even before it's leveled up.
- Dwarf Fortress, while still Nintendo Hard, is actually a playable game unlike the first Slaves To Armok.
- Kingdom Hearts II compared to the first Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, except for a couple of the bosses.
- Final Fantasy VI was a fair bit easier than the previous two games, and Final Fantasy VII was even easier. Final Fantasy VIII had an uneven difficulty, and you'll get different answers based on who you ask. Final Fantasy X, however, is the easiest of the numbered games, until you reach Zanarkand where there was a huge difficulty spike.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 is considerably easier than Final Fantasy XIII by the simple virtue of chopping off two or three zeroes from the end of enemy hit point counters.
- The difficulty levels of Dragon Age II were adjusted so that they were equivalent to the level below the level of the same name in Dragon Age: Origins.
- Played straight for Shadow Hearts Covenant, then played inverted for From The New World.
- While the Legends remake for Skies of Arcadia is unchanged gameplay-wise, some tweaks were significant enough to make it much easier: far lower encounter rates (the most common complaint for the original Dreamcast game), several sidequests that allow for more experience points (and extra items if you do the Moonfish Sidequest), a "Wanted List" and more Discoveries for monetary rewards (the latter allowing you to recruit a particular member for your ship's crew earlier in the game), and a shiny new Infinity+1 Sword for the main character.
- The campaigns of the original Guild Wars track in an odd manner. Factions is easier than Prophecies for starting characters in that missions provide more experience, allowing faster leveling, and the available henchmen have better and more varied skillsets. At the same time it is harder due to the balance being designed for veterans of the original game and the difficulty curve was designed to give them a challenge; the faster leveling experience meant new players were unprepared for this. Nightfall managed to be easier than both thanks to the introduction of Heroes, a longer leveling experience, and a more gradual build-up to late-game difficulty.
- Compared to the original campaigns, Guild Wars 2 is easier, allowing players to solo the main story and much of the open-world content with relative ease.
- Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has this. The random encounters, puzzles (except for the Capricorn puzzle), and bosses are all substantially easier than the first two games, which alienated a lot of the fans. And then it smacks you in the face with the most Brutal Bonus Level in the series.
- In Disgaea, each installment of the series gets progressively easier where clearing the main story and progressing to the post-game portion is concerned. Disgaea D2 ups the ante by making much of the grinding needed to take on the post-story portion redundant; for example, access to the Cave Of Ordeals or Harder Enemies are done by talking to an NPC instead of having to pass a (very) expensive Bill in the Dark Senate, and Rosenqueen Shop customer levels automatically raise with each story chapter that is completed. This makes it easy for even a newbie to break Level 100 before progressing to Chapter 5 of the story, a feat that was essentially unheard of in any previous installment of the series (barring loads and loads of Level Grinding and using the item world), including Disgaea 4.
- Return to Krondor is much easier than its predecessor, Betrayal at Krondor. This is largely due to the Genre Shift from a traditional dungeon-crawler to an adventure game with non-random RPG combat encounters.
- Super Paper Mario was far easier than it's predecessor Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, mainly thanks to the enemies and bosses being far less of a threat, and several broken mechanics like Peach's umbrella or using Carrie with Bowser. Needless to say, aside from the unexpectedly changed gameplay, this was a major complaint by fans.
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga was VERY long and quite challenging for a Mario RPG. The Bros. Moves, although quite fun, were difficult for some players to master. Alone, it had 27 bosses (9 of which are in the final dungeon alone) and a ton of grueling mini-game challenges that were required to beat the game. The world was also tedious to traverse. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, however, changed the Bros. Moves with ridiculously easy Bros. Items, half the length and half the bosses from the first game, and far less mini-game challenges. The tediousness of traversing the world was fixed in that every world was connected by time holes.
- Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is significantly easier than the original Tales of Symphonia, Self Imposed Challenges may not be withstanding.
- Dark Cloud 2 does away with a LOT of the aggravations from the previous game: weapons are no longer permanently lost if broken, the characters no longer have a thirst meter, enemies drop a lot more money, and the inventory window is not only much larger, but items stack — you can carry 20 of each healing item without taking up 20 individual slots in your inventory.
- Several factors conspire to make Neverwinter Nights 2 considerably easier than its predecessor, despite the encounters being more difficult on paper:
- While it's still not exactly brilliant, the AI is much smarter. You get some control over your party's decision-making (up to and including Real Time with Pause to plan combos), and they won't randomly run off and attack enemies on the opposite side of the map.
- Many spell and class feature lists are much closer to their pen-and-paper counterparts. Druids benefited the most from this: they were nearly unplayable in NWN.
- The Arbitrary Headcount Limit was raised to four characters, letting you have a dedicated tank, divine caster, arcane caster, and Skill Monkey.
- The encounters are scaled better, giving a better leveling curve. This is important because many builds hit their stride around level 10, and getting there can be rough in NWN.
- Pokémon Gold and Silver are this, being noticeably easier than Red and Blue (or any later games). True, they do have a difficult True Final Boss in the form of Red and a few annoying battles, but Gym Leaders and wild Pokémon battles involve far lower-leveled Pokémon and the Elite Four's teams are all below level 50. Johto may be a smaller and simpler to navigate region in general too.
- Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is this to the originals. Some of the important battles that were quite challenging in the originals are a lot simpler here because, in addition to the fact that they still use mostly the same Pokémon they had in the originals, not only have some of their movesets been dumbed down (example: Ghetsis' Hydreigon, which was capable of throwing a Curb-Stomp Battle to any unprepared team, has been weakened and given a worse moveset to reflect Ghetsis's Villainous Breakdown), but the expansions with the New Unova Dex make them much easier to find counters to. Doesn't help that the end of the game has such a small range of levels between Victory Road, the Elite Four and the Champion themselves. Averted with Challenge Mode, which ups the levels of every single trainer in the game, improves AI and some movesets, and gives Gym Leaders and Elite Four more Pokemon. But it requires very complex and unnecessary requirements to obtain.
- Pokémon X and Y is also easier. The EXP share is now obtained early on and gives all of your inactive Pokémon 50% of the EXP the active Pokémon gains. Pokémon-amie allows you to bestow a myriad powerful benefits upon your Pokémon, such as increased evasion/critical rates, random status recovery, and a random Last Chance Hit Point. The new Wonder Trade system makes it very easy to obtain powerful Pokémon if you get lucky, plus trading in general is available earlier than usual. The gym leaders have fewer Pokémon than usual, the Elite Four only have four Pokémon each (as opposed to the traditional five), and the only trainer in the main story that actually has a full lineup (Fisherman with six Magikarp notwithstanding) is the Champion, whose team has numerous shared weaknesses and her "ace" Pokémon of Mega Gardevoir, while still difficult, can be defeated by a good physical attacker.
- To put it in perspective: Trevor and Olympia are one of the very few major characters to have all their Pokemon have full movesets. Calem/Serena, the main rival, doesn't have full movesets on their Pokemon even in the postgame; their ace Pokemon has three moves at most. And when you have Tierno, his Roserade only knows one move.
- Compared to the originals, Pokemon Omega Ruby And Alpha Sapphire qualify as well. In addition to the features added in X and Y, according to Word of God the Battle Frontier was removed because it was deemed too difficult.
- Of the original Phantasy Star tetralogy, I and II were very difficult, III was a bit less so though not by much, and IV was far more straightforward with much less Forced Level-Grinding and greater focus on the story and characters.
- Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan introduces Difficulty Levels to the series: the higher of the two is as hard as previous games in the franchise. Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, the remake of the first game, has three difficulty levels and the highest is still just the difficulty closest to the first three games.
- Millennium Girl also has a significant Sequel Difficulty Drop across all difficulty levels with the addition of Floor Jump: previously you could only skip to the beginning of a new Stratum (a grouping of five floors) and only from the Labyrinth's entrance; otherwise you had to traverse all floors the long way. With Floor Jump, reaching any stairway on a floor you've mapped out lets you teleport to said stairway, so long as you're on a floor with at least one stairway you can jump to (i.e. not a floor you just entered). Since even a fully-mapped floor takes a while to go through and Random Encounters are quite dangerous, this saves you a tremendous amount of time and resources when exploring the later floors of a stratum.
- In spite of its infamy as "the Dark Souls of Persona", Shin Megami Tensei IV is far more forgiving and easygoing than other games in the mainline series. The ability to save anywhere alone is a major blessing, not to mention the ability to revive (even if The Ferryman charges an arm and a leg), reduced grinding needs, all apps available at the same time, massive discounts in Trauma Inn services, simplified dungeons, and more. Yes, the defense stat is removed, making everyone on both sides hit like two-trailer semis, but it also means boss battles go a lot faster. Even if you're still getting whacked, there's an unlockable easy mode (though it involves a little Easy-Mode Mockery), a first for the mainline series.
- The games in the Persona series have been getting progressively more accessible since Persona 3, in light of the series' massive popularity. Persona 3 was a game with AI Controlled Party Members, a You Lose at Zero Trust mechanic, and a sickness system that prevented efficient level grinding on most days. Also, the game ended if the protagonist died for any reason. Persona 4 gave the player complete control of the party, removed the sickness systems, greatly relaxed the social link mechanics, and added in a feature that let other party members protect you from lethal attacks. These features were eventually ported into Persona 3 Portable, which also introduced a beginners mode for new players. Persona 4 Golden took this a step further by adding in a "Safety Mode" for players that only wanted to play the game for the story, which greatly reduced its difficulty and added in an instant respawn mechanic. Safety Mode has been a mainstay of the Persona Franchise ever since, appearing in all spin-off material. Of course, ''Persona 3 Portable'' also introduced a Harder Than Hard mode called Maniac, which denied you any of your New Game+ features. It was succeeded by the (slightly) gentler Risky Mode, which lets you bring in things from older playthroughs. So it's not all easier. Subsequent games include skill cards, which allow players to give personas skills that would be difficult or impossible to obtain through fusion in earlier games.
- Dark Souls II, while still Nintendo Hard, balances out the overall Sequel Difficulty Spike by removing some of the more frustrating and obtuse aspects of the first game;
- There are way more bonfires and you can warp between any bonfire from the beginning of the game. The game also subverts this in some cases, by either making the areas between certain bonfires utter hell to get through, making some of the bonfires extremely hard to find or even outright inaccessible without special conditions, or actually having a scarcity of bonfires in certain areas. In particular, Sinner's Rise has only one bonfire, which is as far away from the boss as possible, and is directly in view of the three Hollow crossbowmen right next to you (it also requires reaching an elevator that is in the middle of a crossfire of at least four Hollow crossbowmen).
- The Curse effect has been changed to turn you Hollow without killing you, instead of instantly killing you and decreasing your max health. This is more because, in the first game, Curse and Petrify effects were one and the same. Now, the effects are separated, making Curse far less dangerous but much more common. Petrify remains as dangerous as ever, and is caused by more enemies than before, too.
- You no longer have to rest at a bonfire (and respawn all the enemies) to respawn there; lighting it is enough.
- Enemies will eventually stop respawning (after killing them over a dozen or so times), making it possible to clear a straight path to the boss. Of course, this becomes a Scrappy Mechanic when you want to farm for some extremely rare drop, but in Scholar of the First Sin, you can make enemies respawn infinitely by joining the Company of Champions covenant.
- Attacks and environmental hazards that cause equipment corrosion only affect armor and rings, not weapons.
- While you still can't summon Phantoms of other players after the boss is beaten, you can still summon Shades, which are otherwise the same except they have a much shorter time limit.
Shoot 'em Up
- Super Robot Wars generally became easier from its Famicom and Super Famicom days where bosses move twice per turn and can one-hit kill a Gundam unit. This are mainly because its improved systems, more unit variety, new attacks and constant powerups, and ability to upgrade both robots and pilots into a Game Breaker.
- Fire Emblem:
- Blazing Sword is notably easier than its predecessor, Sword of Seals, with the latter's normal mode being about equal in difficulty to the former's hard mode. Furthermore, the requirements for unlocking the side quests are much more forgiving in Blazing Sword (apart from one instance of Luck-Based Mission). Even if you do miss them, you miss out on less. In Sword of Seals, most of the legendary weapons are found in side quests, and all of them must have been completed in order to face the True Final Boss and get the Golden Ending. In Blazing Sword, side quests mostly contain nice-to-haves (and Canas, the only one apart from Athos who is able to wield the Luna tome).
- While the difficulty never goes back to where it was, all games after Blazing Sword compensate for this in some way. Sacred Stones has the Lagdou Ruins and subsequent games use Harder Than Hard.
- Project X Zone 2 is easier than the first game. Mostly because bosses and enemies aren't as ridiculously durable as they were in the first game, you don't have to fight as many of them at the same time and because of the existence of shops and the ability to retain your gold if you quit out of a level, you can spam items much more freely. Buffing skills can also increase your stats far more than in the first game.
- Double Spoiler compared to Shoot The Bullet. Mainly by greatly lowering the number of scenes cleared needed to unlock a level, but most of the more bullshit pattern types (photograph exactly the right part of the pattern, survive before the boss appears, etc.) are absent as well. Unfortunately for players, the hardest spellcard in Shoot the Bullet (if not the entire series) carried over to Double Spoiler — though the bullet size DID get reduced, and it's only 3 photos needed. And fitting for the character that uses it too.
- DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu. Its bullet count would put it above dai ou jou, however, if you're playing on Bomb or Strong Style, you get a very game-breaking feature not found in prior games: Auto-bomb. Getting hit with a bomb remaining causes you to fire a bomb instead of dying, and with each successive life your bomb capacity (which starts at 3) increases by 1, all the way up to 6 after 3 lives lost. This essentially means you start with 15 lives, and gain 1 more when you get a bomb item (at least 1 on each stage from stage 2 to 5), 7 more with each 1-Up (3 of which you can get in one loop, although 1 of which requires a very high score), for a total of at least 34 chances to get hit before seeing the Continue screen. Thus, you never have to worry about determining the right time to fire a bomb. Of course, this is all only if you are playing for survival, as a bomb, automatic or otherwise, will nullify your combo, so playing for score is still Nintendo Hard. Even on Power Style, it's still possible to get very far, because the gauge for your Hyper Counter, a Super Mode that lets you cancel bullets, charges up very quickly. It is very possible to fully charge up another gauge while you are still in Hyper Counter mode.
- Thunder Force III, the successor to the somewhat challenging Thunder Force II (or Nintendo Hard if you're going by the original X68000 version).
- Gradius Gaiden came some time after the absolutely Nintendo Hard (if you're going by the arcade version) Gradius III, and is much easier. Justified in that it's a console and handheld game, not an arcade one, so it would make sense to develop a game that players wouldn't Rage Quit over as easily. Gradius IV was still Nintendo Hard, but significantly less frustrating than G3 Arcade.
- Battle Bakraid, the Spiritual Successor to Armed Police Batrider and 2nd-degree successor to Battle Garegga, can be completed on one credit without regard to rank; contrast Garegga where not managing rank properly makes Stage 6 near-Unwinnable.
- Touhou generally tries to stay at a fairly constant level of difficulty throughout the series... Which in practice means it's been bouncing back and forth between this trope and its opposite thanks to all the experimentation with various gimmicks (and that fans won't always agree about which trope is happening).
- Radiant Silvergun is vicious. Long stages with at least a dozen bosses throughout the game, Malevolent Architecture up the ass, and a chaining system that not only requires leaving roughly 2/3 of enemies intact, but is essential to powering up weapons and making later stages managable. Its Spiritual Successor Ikaruga dials down the complexity, allowing the player to absorb bullets without using a weapon, change colors between chain segments thereby allowing them to play for score and still kill most enemies, and not requiring playing for score to have enough firepower for the later stages, because your weapons do not power up anymore.
- Contra Shattered Soldier is considered to be one of the hardest games in the series along with Contra Hard Corpsnote . The sequel to Shattered Soldier, Neo Contra, is considered by many to be much easier than Shattered Soldier. It also has Weapon Sets D and F which makes the game much easier.
- Hellsinker had a much more manageable difficulty this time around when compared to the absolutely merciless predecessor Radio Zonde. That said, it's still Guide Dang It: The Shoot 'em Up.
- Trauma Team is easier compared to previous installments. However, trying to get the XS rank is a lot harder.
- Papyrus' NASCAR Racing 2002 Season was perceived as Slower So It Sucks after cars in the predecessor, NASCAR Racing 4 had noticeably higher speeds than in reality.
- In The Sims series, it was easier in the first game to make friends, but they would pretty much degrade rapidly if you didn't talk to them every single day. The later ones make it easier to keep friends, but it's harder to make friends. It's worth noting that unless you spent a bunch of hours into the game in the first one, you pretty much had to cheat.
- What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord?'s punishing difficulty is mostly down to the fact that you keep digging in the same dungeon for eight stages, so unsustainable ecosystems would perish, meaning you have to dig more of your dungeon walls down (and the heroes are much stronger and the monsters weaker in wide open spaces). The sequel ups the complexity, adding many more species and an evolution mechanic, but the stages are made a lot shorter, meaning long-term dungeon planning is much less of an issue. It also adds in a function where mana and nutrients which were previously 'lost' can reappear in the form of mushrooms at the end of tunnels, making them accessible to your creatures as a food source.
- Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 does away with the time limits of previous installments, reducing the urgency of fulfilling a scenario's goals by a certain deadline. Many scenarios allow the player to build within large plots of land, as opposed to the claustrophobic spaces of RCT1's parks. These changes, along with altered game mechanics,note shift the game's focus from strategy to creativity, as players are given a wider variety of ways to complete scenarios.
- It is nigh-impossible to die in Assassin's Creed II, unless you either leave the game alone in combat (good job, by the way,) or the streamlined freerunning controls cause you to accidentally jump off a building. Even then, you can just drink a potion (you can carry 15). Beyond that, the guards will no longer follow you to the rooftops, which means escape is an utter cakewalk. Still a better game than the first, though.
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is even easier than Assassin's Creed II, due to the upgrades to the fighting system, as well as Ezio's eponymous brotherhood being at your beck and call.
- Another Ubisoft example: Splinter Cell: Conviction is much easier than its far more complex predeccesors.
- Metal Gear Solid 2 added the silenced tranquilizer pistol, which could make staying undetected a lot easier. It also added "Very Easy" difficulty, in which this pistol gave Instant Sedation. On the other hand, it also added "Extreme" and later "European Extreme" difficulty settings.
- The original Hitman: Codename 47 had no save states OR checkpoints. If you screwed up just once, you were likely to end up being riddled with bullets and sent back to the beginning of the mission; some of the more elaborate missions could be 30-50 minutes or more in length. Later games let you save in the middle of a missionnote , and (on the regular difficulty) allowed 47 to sustain much more damage before dying. Hitman (2016) removes save game limitations entirely, and wearing any guard disguise allows visibly carrying any weapons you can find.note Additionally, the game allows turning certain HUD elements on and off, affecting the difficulty of the game. For example, interactive items can be outlined with a white line, if the player so wishes.
- Commandos started off as Nintendo Hard and the standalone expansion pack Beyond The Call Of Duty was even harder. Men Of Courage dropped the difficulty by giving the characters the option to use hand to hand combat, weapons other than pistols and a mechanic to cover their line of sight and shoot any enemy that walked within range.
- Valkyria Chronicles III is considerably easier than Valkyria Chronicles II, which itself is easier than Valkyria Chronicles. To compensate for this, armored mooks are introduced. III is the embodiment of the concept of darker and softer: dark narrative-wise, soft gameplay-wise.
- Starcraft II is considerably easier than Starcraft. Mainly because this time, the single-player section of the game goes out of its way to be an extended tutorial on how the game is meant to be played. There's also the fact that players can issue orders to more than 12 units at a time for once in a Blizzard RTS, and special abilities now describe what they do to those who don't know.
- Silent Hill games have gone up and down over the years. Silent Hill 2 was considerably less intense and dangerous than Silent Hill, yet Silent Hill 3 ramped up the challenge to the point where there were TEN difficulty modes above Hard. The next three games had a single, set difficulty which was rather high overall, and then Silent Hill: Shattered Memories came along and is without a doubt the easiest game in the series.
- The House of the Dead: OVERKILL fits this trope, especially with unlimited continues. HOTD 2 was a Sequel Difficulty Spike after the first game, but they dropped the difficulty somewhat for the third and fourth installments.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat did away with many Fake Difficulty gameplay elements introduced in STALKER: Clear Sky, including magical homing enemy frag grenades, and a hit detection system where only some of the shots you managed to land on an enemy would actually count even if you were 100% accurate. In Call of Pripyat it's also much easier to avoid pissing off certain factions (most noticeably the Bandits), and thus go through the game with them being neutral, resulting in much fewer firefights while free-roaming.
- Dead Rising 2's only known concessions to the complaints about the difficulty of the first game is that it has three save game slots instead of only one, and more save points. This was still enough to send the Dead Rising 1 fans into screaming rants about pandering to the whiny crybabies.
- The thing to note about Dead Rising 2 is that, while the timer is every bit as unforgiving as the first game if you're trying to go for 100% completion (save all survivors, defeat all psychopaths, etc), the survivor A.I. has been vastly improved, making escort runs much more tolerable and removing the first game's primary source of Fake Difficulty.
- Dead Rising 2: Off the Record adds a checkpoint system, so that dying simply boots you back to the last map transition instead of having to go all the way back to your last save point. This is balanced out somewhat by the survivor A.I. having been slightly Nerfed so that it's less effective than in the original Dead Rising 2 (although it's still better than the first Dead Rising).
- Compared to the original, Resident Evil 2 swamps the player with ammunition and healing items and has much easier monsters (no "fast" zombies, overall low-damaging Lickers instead of Hunters, and so on). Furthermore, certain coding errors make it so that certain areas with enemies are clear after a scripted event. An average player can complete a blind run without dying once. Further games, however, are another story entirely.
- Part 2 also fixed two bugs in the original that made it harder: Pushing away one zombie will knock down the others close to it (as opposed to each one getting a turn at your neck until you either got a lucky break or got dead in the first game), and monsters making a Deadly Lunge-type attack could be shot out of it (whereas in the original, a Hunter leaping at you was guaranteed to score a hit unless you dodged it).
- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis let you make your own ammo, 4 had Dynamic Difficulty, and in 5 dying via anything other than a One-Hit Kill is difficult thanks to the partner system. Code Veronica is still pretty hard as balls, though, unless you're aware of the Knife Glitchnote which, since the knife is useless in every other game, odds are you won't discover it unless you read about it.
- Five Nights at Freddy's 3 is the easiest game in the quadrilogy. You have only one animatronic to deal with (the others have been dismantled) and the jump scares outside of said animatronic don't even kill you or crash the game (they're mainly just there to mess around with you). Heck, you're practically programmed to survive the first night since nothing happens.
- Gears of War:
- 2 adds a new difficulty, normal. It is roughly equivalent to the casual difficulty setting of the first one, which was the lowest. This makes Gears of War 2's casual difficulty equivalent to an easy mode. The developers have claimed that they hadn't intended for Gears of War to be as hard as it was on the lowest difficulty. The Dragon of Gears of War 2 is also considerably easier than the angrish inducing General RAAM from the the first. Gears of War 2 is also easier due to being much more balanced / developed than the first game; friendly A.I. squadmates are vastly more intelligent and helpful, the Locust assault rifle has been changed to a semi-auto sniping weapon which gives you a viable longish range combat solution which was sorely lacking in the first game, the boltok had it's non-headshot damage upped to make it viable, the Gorgon Pistol was introduced to give a handgun with good firepower and decent ammo capacityy, and enemy Locust drones and Boomers take slightly less bullets to kill than in the first game in addition to hitting you less frequently. The game likes to compensate for this by making Insane mode even more fiendish in GOW 2, and some encounters, like Skorge, are almost impossibly hard.
- Gears of War 3 is much easier than the second game, to the point that many sections can be beaten by simply hanging back and letting the AI squadmates kill all of the enemies if you have patience enough. This is on the second highest difficulty setting. Hell, on normal, you can win >80% of the fights by bayonet charging and using melee attacks. Even using the cover system becomes close to optional most of the time. Enemies are even less damaging, less accurate, and less durable.
- In the original game, AI squadmates wouldn't revive down-but-not-out characters, and DBNO characters couldn't move. This meant that in order to revive a fallen teammate, another player would have to run into the (presumably dangerous) area his friend had been downed in, before he bled out. It also meant that if all the human players in a game dropped, the missions was failed and had to be restarted from the last checkpoint, which was especially frustrating when playing solo. In Gears of War 2 and 3, downed players can slowly crawl and AI squaddies are able to revive them. The "down=dead" rule returned in the highest difficulty of Gears of War 3, but Arcade mode swaps out mission failure for a 25 second respawn counter as long as at least 1 human player stays alive.
- Max Payne 2, while still a challenging game, is no longer as Nintendo Hard as the first game. Max can now survive a reasonable amount of damage (compared to the first game where a handful of 9mm bullets or a single shotgun blast would spell instant game over), bullet-time now regenerates slowly over time (so you no longer can get stuck because you ran out), shootdodges no longer cost bullet-time at all to perform, and late-game enemies are no longer inexplicably Made of Iron.
Wide Open Sandbox
- The 'Phoenix arc' of the Ace Attorney games got progressively harder. However, Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice and Ace Attorney Investigations were criticized for being too easy. In Ace Attorney Investigations, unlike in the first Ace Attorney, after pressing all a witness' statements and reflecting before going back to the first one, Edgeworth tends to provide players with a hint as to which part of the testimony contains the contradiction. Additionally, all penalties take off 10% of the truth bar, with the exception of one rebuttal sequence later on, in which even pressing the wrong testimony incurs a 20% penalty. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies is even easier: you can examine only places with evidence inside it, the marker for the examination itself notes if you already looked at the point or not, most of the movements between a place and the other are done automatically, failing when breaking Psyche-Locks, percieving or checking the Mood Matrix gives you no penalties, failing too much in cross-examinations give you the option of knowing what statement contains the contradiction (though you still have to figure out what evidence to present), there's only one case in the whole game where you can get a penalty of more than 20%, most of the times you have to show evidence in court out of cross-examinations you see a flashback from earlier in the case saying blatantly which evidence is the right one and, if you get a Game Over, you will restart from the last cross-examination with full health.
- Grand Theft Auto II is a minor Sequel Difficulty Drop over Grand Theft Auto due to the advent of the save feature, and each city containing only one level as opposed to two, including That One Level Rasta Blasta.
- All the main game starts in the X-Universe series have gotten progressively easier with every sequel - the first game starts you off in a pathetic and painfully slow ship with no shields, while the latest gives you a 16 million credit high end corvette within the first hour. However, the games all offer game starts with much more difficult starting equipment, like starting off in a tiny scout ship with a mere 1000 credits (barely enough to buy more than a few trading goods), or a start that will delete your save file when you die. On the other hand, the gameplay has gotten harder between games - Pirates have gotten much more dangerous, and the Xenon are much more active in X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude.
- Compared to the original [PROTOTYPE], the sequel is almost disappointingly easy. The enemies are overall much weaker, even the bosses tend more toward Elite Mooks than true bosses. The Final Boss battle in the first game was a brutal Timed Mission, the sequel instead gives you mid-battle Check Points that fully heal you. The game rounds this up by marking all the collectibles on the map and providing a pop-up notice when you're near one. Even the Nintendo Hard Event challenges have been moved to optional Downloadable Content, and you now only need Bronze to unlock the rewards.
- Dungeons & Dragons 4e is generally more forgiving than any of its previous incarnations. The design paradigm shifted from simulation-ism into game-ism: you can't have a character that's entirely unplayable, unless you deliberately aim for that.
- Up through the Ravnica block, Magic: The Gathering deliberately included terrible, unplayable cards to tighten the card pool in Limited (games where a small, randomized pool of cards is used to built decks on the spot, instead of bringing pre-made decks to the event) and give good drafters a leg up. For the next block, Time Spiral, they decided to include dramatically fewer universally-unplayable cards. It was decided that this worked better overall, and got a lot less complaints than when deliberately useless cards were garbaging up booster pack space.
- Early versions of the BattleTech wargame are no more difficult than their successors (if anything, the successive introductions of new technologies have complicated it), but its spinoff RPG Mechwarrior was originally quite difficult due to the punishingly low amount of skill and stat allocation, low health, limited armor opportunities, and relatively high damage and penalties for injuries. The random events were also extremely dangerous—a Bounty Hunter special event could mean that players might end up attacked by bounty hunters stealing their Mechs to turn on them (obviously with no Mech of their own to face it—it just got stolen after all!) in as little as 30 seconds. Later games added increased protection, skills, and ways to avoid or at least mitigate damage incurred, so player characters were much more likely to survive.
- The Amazing Race American edition:
- Season 8 featured watered-down Roadblocks that could be completed by a child, and was just one big loop around North America, with a small detour in Central America, instead of a trip around the world. This was because it was the Family Edition, and they had children as young as eight, which limited the international travel.
- Season 11 was really easy, despite being an all-star season. Fans complained that it was too easy, and even non-experienced teams could have handled most of the challenges with no problem.
- Season 15 was significantly easier than previous few races, despite recycling the infamous hay bale challenge from one of the hardest seasons ever.
- Certain seasons of Survivor had a difficulty drop in regards to the survival aspect:
- Cook Islands, wherein the contestants started off with a bunch of supplies, and one tribe was given a firemaking kit for winning the first immunity challenge.
- While not intended, this happened to the Moto tribe in Fiji, even when compared to Cook Islands. An experiment made a "have" tribe and a "have not" tribe. Unfortunately, it basically worked the "have not" tribe, Ravu, into a Can't Catch Up situation. The Motos would lounge around in their camp with all the food from reward challenges, the shelter that was built by 19 people, with a hammock, and a freaking couch. As it was mentioned by one Moto member, "This isn't Survival - it's thrival,"
- Nicaragua didn't feature any heavily physical challenges that often result in people getting hurt, like in previous seasons. Justified, in that the gimmick of the season was "Young vs. old", and dueling challenges would have been a disaster. Not to mention, the producers had offered more food reward challenges and gave them the choice to give more rice due to the shelter burning down.
- Cars tend to become progressively easier to drive as they go through more designs and generations, and cars have gotten progressively easier overall to drive every decade. Compare driving a Ford Model T which has a huge array of weird driving instruments, to a modern car which can park itself, changes its gears automatically, warns you when you're drifting out of your lane, et cetera. The Porsche 911 was infamous for fishtailing when it came out, but is now far more controllable than the first generation.