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Sequel Difficulty Drop

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We didn't get rid of 4; they did, and a lot of the difficulty as well.

Any time 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 lots 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.

This may result in certain gamers thinking the new game is too easy.

Compare Easier Than Easy and Nintendo Hard (this trope's contrapositive corollary). See also Breather Episode.

Contrast Sequel Difficulty Spike and Surprise Difficulty.

Video Games Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 

    Action Game 
  • 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.
    • DmC: Devil May Cry, while still fairly challenging, makes it much easier to keep your combo streak going by making it so your style meter only goes down if you get hit, not simply if you stop stringing moves together. This was fixed in the Definitive Edition by adjusting the counter so it resets faster.
    • Devil May Cry 5 is made significantly easier than its predecessors by altering some of the mechanics: the vitality regeneration provided by Devil Trigger is now faster, Nero's Exceed mechanic and the parrying mechanic in general have less strict timings, puzzles are much more straightforward, and the game removes the cap on the instant-revive gold orbs and gives you three of them every day you boot the game up, in addition to now letting you buy revives with red orbs.
  • Bayonetta 2, despite being Darker and Edgier, dials back a lot of the more unforgiving aspects of its predecessor. The window of activating Witch Time is much 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.
  • God of War II was comparatively easier in regards to the puzzle sections. The original game had some parts that were infamous for being challenging due to its unfairness such as the Hades level with rotating blades which developers acknowledge that part wasn't play tested. Your "Rage" power can be turned on and off and you gain orbs that recharged it much faster, unlike in the first game, which you have to use it sparingly.

    Adventure Game 

    Beat 'em Up 
  • Battletoads vs. Double Dragon seemingly attempts to shake the Nintendo Hard reputation of earlier games. While still not exactly a walk in the park, it is significantly easier than other games in the series, with even its obligatory speeder bike level being pretty easy instead of the unending nightmare of memorization and twitch reflexes they usually are.
  • 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.

    Dating Sim 
  • 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.
  • The Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side games went a similar road. Bombs were frequent in the first one, especially if the player was aiming for Kei Hazuki or Reiichi Himuro. The second game lowered the frequency of bombs, and the player can go through the third game without encountering a single bomb.

    Fighting Game 
  • 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 Soul Series games that follow it, with some of the Edge Master Mode challenges being real headscratchers. Getting rid of the Weapon Gauge, which progressively got emptier every time you blocked a hit and made you lose your weapon if you blocked too much, definitely helped.
  • 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.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • 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:
    • 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. note  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.
  • Call of Duty:
    • 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 enemy grenades back.
    • In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, you can survive much more damage than in the first Modern Warfare and no longer have to deal with infinitely-respawning enemies, allowing you to approach the levels more conservatively. 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.
  • Red Faction II 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.:
    • 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.
    • FEAR 3 is 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 permadeath. Starting with Lockdown, the series became a more forgiving fast-paced single squad-based shooter.
  • In general the games in the Borderlands series get easier with each installment. The first game was ultimately designed with multiplayer in mind which is why so many enemies can tank large amounts of damage and certain fights can be absolutely cruel for a single player who is unprepared. With the second game, a bigger emphasis was placed on single-player content with only some side multiplayer stuff. The Pre-Sequel further dropped the difficulty of the entire game and made it much easier overall with enemies rarely taking much damage on the base difficulty. By the time of the third game, the game offered a larger number of high-value loot drops in more frequent quantities (it wasn't rare to leave the starting planet with at least one legendary item), the ability to customize your action skill gave a player opportunity to overcome almost any obstacle, and, finally, the game was given an Easy mode which trivializes almost all of the difficulty. To makes matters easier, the game has received numerous updates due to complaints about difficulty to the point that the game is much easier to complete in its current state than at launch (and it wasn't particularly hard at launch to begin with).

    Light Gun Game 
  • The original Time Crisis was by far the hardest in the series, because its timer immediately ended the game when it expired, time extensions were dependent on the player's skill, and time kept on ticking between action sequences (as opposed to the later games where it only took off a life, and reset with every checkpoint).
  • The House Of The Dead III, in spite of being longer and harder than the first game, dialed back some of the things that made the second game very frustrating, like for example, being able to disrupt boss attacks in the form of a smaller health bar that is needed to be drained, which was carried from Vampire Night, and you have a much quicker way to reload since you have a shotgun as a controller, and also, you can have up to a maximum of nine lives instead of just five of that of the first two games

    Minigame Game 
  • 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.

    Platform Game 
  • The Super Mario Bros. games do this a lot.
  • Ninja Gaiden II was considerably easier than its predecessor, owing primarily to the protagonist having improved mobility via wall-climbing and stronger power-ups. Ninja Gaiden Shadow is even easier.
  • While Earthworm Jim is known for its Battletoads-like difficulty, Earthworm Jim 2 dropped the difficulty and focused more on the humor and gameplay variety.
  • Blinx: The Time Sweeper 2: Masters of Time and Space to the original game. Mostly from the inclusion of a health meter, more items to suck up, more weapons and upgrades, and instead of using the previous game's power up mechanic where you get a time power for every five crystals collected(with the power being based off of how many of the same crystal you got, which means you can wind up getting not getting an incredibly useful power) you get one for every three of the same crystal picked up.
  • 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 3, Jak starts out with the same maximum health as in II but gets upgrades that result in his final maximum being double that. Additionally, there are 12 Morph gun forms instead of the 4 in II, and some of the new forms are absolute Game Breakers. 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.
  • Rayman:
    • Both Rayman 2: The Great Escape and Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc are this to the original game, which is infamous for its Nintendo Hard difficulty. While the two games are still challenging, they no longer require the players to make unreasonable leaps of faith in order to find the MacGuffins they need to progress in the game, nor do the levels have invisible trigger zones that required the player to go through in order to even make the MacGuffins appear. Most importantly, the two games could also be completed without the player required to achieve 100% Completion like in Rayman 1.
    • 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:
    • 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, and Mega Man 10 was generally easier than Mega Man 9.
    • The NES games get successively easier after Mega Man 3. Mega Man 4, though still very hard, added a chargeable Mega Buster which does great damage, features a "proper" loop of weapons that make the weakness chain much easier to utilize, often more forgiving (or at least more exploitable) AI, and better special weapons than the ones found in 3. Mega Man 5 is considerably easier than any game before it: the charge shot was even bigger (though Mega Man now loses it if he is hit), the levels have less aggressive enemies and design, the endgame levels are much more forgiving, and it is somewhat more liberal with drops than the prior games tended to be. Mega Man 6 is widely considered the easiest by far of the NES games due to even more predictable and easier bosses, level design similar to that found in 5, the Jet Adapter which mostly lets Mega Man ignore the actual platforming (though actually getting it is actually fairly challenging), and it is incredibly generous with giving the player E-Tanks and lives.
    • Mega Man X4 is significantly easier than the original SNES trilogy. The enemies and bosses do less damage and the playable characters have new moves to make things easier. There's even a ride armor available to take down a boss without a weakness weapon. The next three games brought back the difficulty back and than some, sometimes less intentionally.
  • Rockman 7 EP is a big difficulty drop from Rockman 4 Minus ∞ (widely considered one of the hardest Mega Man hacks out there), due to its plentiful healing items, strong weapons, lack of superbosses outside of Proto Man, and Mega Man 7 at its core being easier than Mega Man 4.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby Super Star tones down the difficulty compared to Kirby's Adventure. With the copy abilities having more moves, it's easier for Kirby to take on a wide variety of foes, and he also doesn't lose his ability after one hit. You can also summon a Helper with your current ability, letting you gang up on enemies and bosses to take them down even faster. Speaking of, the enemies still mostly go down in one hit, and the bosses are also frailer than in past games, especially early on.
    • 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, 3 has some guessing games, and both have some non-intuitive puzzles.
    • After the Sequel Difficulty Spike with Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, Kirby: Squeak Squad tones things down considerably. Where Amazing Mirror had labyrinthine levels packed with enemies, Squeak Squad's levels are generally emptier, and are self-contained and linear as opposed to its predecessor's metroidvania setup. The bosses are also generally easier to defeat — not only do they have simpler attack patterns, but the Ability Scrolls give your abilities more moves to use against them, and they can all be cheesed with the ludicrously broken Tornado ability. Even if you do mess up and get hit a few times, Kirby's ability to swallow items and abilities in bubbles and save them for later use makes the game far more forgiving.
  • 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, while not as difficult as other games at the time, was by far the hardest. 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, Sonic and Tails underwent Divergent Character Evolution and gained their own unique gameplay mechanics. Tails got the ability to fly, making him slightly easier to play as overall compared to the more difficult Sonic, although he has more trouble with the main boss of Marble Garden Zone since it takes place in the air and Tails can barely attack while flying, while Sonic gets to be carried.
      • 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' paths in that zone are shorter and have less obstacles. On top of this, Knuckles doesn't even face a boss at the end of act 2.
    • With the Game Gear games, Sonic Chaos is definitely this to Sonic 2.
    • Sonic Rush has downright bizarre, fluctuating difficulty and requires many a Leap of Faith. The sequel, Sonic Rush Adventure, lets up on those issues and is easier overall as a result, although both titles can have fiendishly tough moments.
    • 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).
    • Sonic Forces could be considered a follow-up to Sonic Generations as well as being a direct sequel to Sonic Mania in terms of narrative. Overall, it is generally much easier than both titles due to shorter levels, the retirement of the traditional lives system, and fairly simple 3D level designs similar to those of Sonic Colors (as opposed to Generations being closer to Unleashed in terms of intensity during 3D gameplay). It's also the first 3D Sonic title to contain difficulty settings from the start. Though named "Normal" and "Hard", Normal has additional benefits for players, essentially making it more of an Easy mode (while Hard follows the same rules as typical Sonic games).
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus is considerably easier than the original Metroid, thanks to Samus's greater maneuverability, save points, more linear structure, and less-opaque solutions to navigation and puzzle solving.
    • 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). The game also lost II's Fake Difficulty by upgrading from 8-bit grayscale graphics to brightly-colored, 16-bit sprites.
    • Metroid Fusion continued using Super Metroid's game engine, and was made even easier due to cutscenes and map markers telling you where to go.
    • For the Metroid Prime Trilogy, 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 comparison 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.
  • 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.
  • Donkey Kong '94 is much easier than Donkey Kong. Just to begin with, Mario can jump higher in '94, he climbs ladders faster, and he can fall further without dying. He also has several new moves that can make certain sections even easier (and are required to proceed in certain parts), but even without these, getting past obstacles that were in the original game are much easier. To wit, the first four levels of Donkey Kong '94 are remakes of the original game's levels, and they are much easier to clear in the remake/sequel. For that matter, Mario also gains better versions of the abilities Donkey Kong, Jr. had in the latter's eponymous game. Levels from Donkey Kong, Jr. also also remade in '94, and they are also easier than in their original appearance.

    Puzzle Game 
  • 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).
  • Puyo Puyo:
    • Puyo Puyo Sun compared to the first two arcade games; its Normal difficulty doesn't even have Difficulty by Acceleration.
    • In Puyo Puyo Fever 2, the in-between story mode difficulty (the WakuWaku course) has 6 stages instead of 8, and Possessed Klug is noticeably easier to beat than Popoi, the hard-difficulty (HaraHara) boss of the original Fever.
    • Rulue no Roux, as Nintendo Hard as it is, actually has a difficulty curve. That's more than can be said for Arle no Roux, which skips most of the basic puzzles typically seen at the start of Nazo Puyo games and instead opens with challenges like testing your ability to navigate a block maze.
    • The Puyo AI in Puyo Puyo Tetris (outside of Core AI mode) is a notable downgrade from 20th Anniversary's AI, likely due to the fact that a Tetris player can easily hamper the long Puyo chains that 20th's higher-leveled AI can perform.

    Racing Game 
  • Wangan Midnight games did twice:
    • Wangan Midnight R is a nightmare to beat, with all the encounters being nefarious Spiteful A.I. that puts you at high disadvantage. The first Maximum Tune, not without severe Rubber-Band A.I., tones down the opponents in the story mode to the point as long as you don't commit serious errors, you're in ahead of the finish line.
    • 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), especially in later stages where blind "maintenance roadblocks" will screw the players and cost their races easily. 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.
  • Stuntman was a notoriously brutal, unforgiving game that ran entirely on Trial-and-Error Gameplay. The sequel, Ignition, is still far from a cakewalk, but much more forgiving than the original. The main difference is that the player is able to make a lot more mistakes and still finish the mission, though this is balanced out by tying progress to a new ranking system that punishes said mistakes.
  • This has happened to the Need for Speed series a few times:
    • The first Underground was unforgiving to the player, with annoying Rubberband AI, the lack of refillable NOS that became standard in its sequel, and driving physics that can be uncomfortable for people that transitioned from any of the games in the first era. The second game, Underground 2, was more forgiving that it gave the player NOS that can be refilled. Fortunately, the player can also turn off the "Catch-Up" AI that plagued the previous game.
    • Carbon can be considered this to the previous game, the original Most Wanted, which swapped out the Blacklist in favour of taking over Palmont, with the police being a minor focus.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Pikmin:
    • Pikmin 2 is much more forgiving than the original title. The 30 day limit is removed entirely, there is a wider window of time to whistle Pikmin from drowning or being lit on fire, enemy health overall was lowered, sprays were introduced that can temporarily buff Pikmin or petrify enemies, and Purple Pikmin capable of quickly killing most enemies were added. In exchange, the game places emphasis on caves where the player usually cannot grow extra Pikmin and combat has a larger role than before, but these are overcomable with the various buffs at the player's disposal.
    • Pikmin 3 has many more Anti-Frustration Features, such as the ability to aim Pikmin on weak points to stun enemies for a certain period of time, the complete lack of the "got ya" traps Pikmin 2 was infamous for, the reworking of bomb rocks into something far more manageable and easy to use, and a more lax time limit. The Deluxe Updated Re-release goes even further, adding extra hints and adding difficulty modes (wherein the original difficulty is now somewhere between Hard and Ultra-Spicy).

    Rhythm Game 
  • We Cheer 2 has an easier difficulty for the songs, and even includes testing for the lag calibration.
  • Guitar Hero:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Rock Band:
    • The first game'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 Beatles Rock Band is significantly easier than most other Rock Band titles. It's inherent to the premise, really - Beatles songs were largely simple and easy to perform, enough so that they're often a go-to for beginners on real instruments. That said, the vocal harmonies that were added to this game can be tough to pull off, which balances it out somewhat. It was also the first Rock Band game to allow for saving and achievements when using No Fail mode.
  • The 2013 DanceDance 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.
  • Crypt Of The Necrodancer is a rhythym game/roguelike hybrid, with the intrinsic difficulty of the latter baked in. Cadence of Hyrule removes some of those traits in favor of the norms of a The Legend of Zelda game: among other small mercies, permadeath becomes a Self-Imposed Challenge rather than mandatory, and there's an overworld to which the player can retreat to get hearts, rupees, armor, and equipment.

  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity is noticeably easier than 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.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Bravely Second is significantly easier than its predecessor because of the revamped Job Asterisk system. The Asterisks introduced in this game give you access to passive abilities that skew heavily towards magic users. Giving Yew, Magnolia, or both the Spellcraft+Ectoplasm+MP Free in a Pinch skillset will allow you to breeze through the latter half of the game with very little effort. The Final Boss Providence, if you figure out how to get around his That One Attack, is also leagues easier than Ouroburos.
  • Final Fantasy: Many of the sequels have decreased difficulty compared to the previous installments. Final Fantasy is perhaps the most difficult of the main series based on gameplay standard to the series, Final Fantasy II is the most difficult due to its abstract gameplay, and Final Fantasy III has perhaps the most difficult final dungeon in the series (the rest of the game is difficult but manageable), but many of the others are less difficult than their immediate predecessors.
    • The various remakes of the first two games all drop the difficulty in various ways, from having quick save options, to changing the magic system, to balancing the party to enemy stats.
    • Despite Final Fantasy III having an infamous final dungeon and the game still being difficult, it still counts as this, due to the introduction of auto-retargeting (albeit only for physical attacks), less bugs that hinders gameplay, and a more balanced random encounters system, meaning somewhat less frequent encounters compared to II and less moments of Difficulty Spike in random encounters compared to I.
    • Final Fantasy IV is somewhat easier than III for a few reasons, particularly having save points available in dungeons. While the third game's very long final dungeons had no save points whatsoever, the fourth game's final dungeon had a few save points, generally near boss battles.
    • Final Fantasy VI was a fair bit easier than IV and V, with a greater emphasis on story. It had more Game-Breaker strategies available than IV and less difficult bosses than V.
    • Final Fantasy X is the easiest of the numbered games, as many random encounters can be cleared in a single round if you use a party that is appropriately leveled and tailored to the enemies' weaknesses (for example, Auron for armored fiends, Lulu for flans and Rikku for machina). That said, there is a significant Difficulty Spike later on, especially as the party reaches Zanarkand
    • 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 totals.
    • Final Fantasy XIV wasn't an easy game at first and it was almost as tough as its other MMORPG sibling, Final Fantasy XI. Once the game was remade after its disastrous launch, the difficulty was lowered across the board to allow easier access for players new to the franchise or MMOs in general.
  • 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.
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant is easier than the first game by the virtue of featuring more consistent Judgement Ring and the ability to switch party members mid-dungeon. Shadow Hearts: From The New World inverts it, as enemies now can easily knock out party members by abusing the new Stock system (that gives an Extra Turn for the user of their ally).
  • 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.
  • Guild Wars 2:
    • Compared to the original game's campaigns, the main story is much easier, allowing players to solo the main story and much of the open-world content with relative ease.
    • After the high difficulty present in Heart of Thorns, Path of Fire was notably easier both in terms of zone traversal and enemy strength.
    • The World 3 Test Zone added to the Super Adventure Box is much easier than the previous World 2, having a quick, linear path with limited special mechanics.
  • World of Warcraft has a bumpy track record with difficulty, but the most noticeable drop was the move to Wrath of the Lich King. Heroic dungeons were made significantly easier, reputations could be improved via dungeon runs, and raids were generally more accessible to the player base.
  • 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 its 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, you have less characters you have to juggle and keep up to scratch (with only 2 characters, each having a special mode, as opposed to 6, most of whom are only situationally useful), 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.
  • Octopath Traveler II is generally seen as easier than Octopath Traveler for several reasons:
    • There's less of a level spike between the first and second sets of chapters, making it easier for newer players to progress.
    • The Early Game Hell is further alleviated by the fact that most of the travelers get a Guest-Star Party Member or two to help out during their first chapters. This is especially notable with Temenos and Agnea, since Ophilia and Primrose were two of the harder starting travelers for first-time players.
    • There are a few new mechanics like Latent Powers and EX Skills that make a lot of the more challenging fights much more manageable.
    • For versions of the game that have trophies, most trophies are much easier to get in OT2. None of them require beating the game in a certain time limit or finding every weakness of possibly-missable enemies, for example.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Gold and Silver are noticeably easier than Red and Blue. While they do boast some annoying battles throughout, such as Whitney, and do have a difficult True Final Boss in the form of Red, levels for Pokémon are lower across the board (none of the Elite Four have any Pokémon above Level 50). Johto was smaller and simpler to navigate than Kanto, as well. A particularly infamous showcase of the difficulty drop was Twitch Plays Pokémon Crystal, in which the mob had far less trouble progressing compared to Twitch Plays Pokémon Red and the successor Twitch Plays Pokémon Emerald because of how easily the Totodile line swept everything.
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is this to the original. Many trainers use most of the same Pokémon they had in the originals, but with weaker movesets. On top of that, the expanded New Unova Dex makes it easier to find Pokémon to counter any opponent. Challenge Mode averts this, by upping the levels of every single trainer in the game, improving AI and some movesets, and giving Gym Leaders and Elite Four more Pokémon, but you have to complete the game anyway to unlock it.note 
    • Pokémon X and Y gets flak for being the easiest game in the series. The EXP. Share is now obtained early on (just after being the first Gym) and has been buffed to give all of your inactive Pokémon 50% of the EXP that active Pokémon gained in battle. This combined with the return of the flat EXP system over Gen V's scaled EXP system means it's now ridiculously easy to over-level your team, especially since the game puts it on by default. On top of that, these games saw the introduction of Pokémon-Amie, which allows you to bestow a myriad of powerful benefits upon your Pokémon, such as increased evasion/critical rates, random status recovery, and a random Last Chance Hit Point. Even without all that, trainer battles are still easier than normal; most Pokémon aren't given full movesets (in your third fight with Tierno, his Roserade only knows one move) and boss characters like Gym Leaders carry less Pokémon than usual (even the Elite Four members only have four Pokémon each as opposed to the traditional five). The only trainer in the main story that actually has a full lineupnote  is the Champion, whose team has numerous shared weaknesses and an "ace" Pokémon (Mega Gardevoir) that, while still difficult, can easily be defeated by any good physical attacker.
    • Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire compared to the originals. In addition to the features added in X and Y, according to Word of God, the challenging post-game Battle Frontier from the original Gen III games was removed precisely because it was deemed too difficult for most players to get into. The significant Power Creep in moves between Generations III and VI also means that many Pokémon available to the player are much stronger than they were previously, especially with the new DexNav mechanic giving access to powerful Egg Moves early.
    • After the Sequel Difficulty Spike in the core Gen VII games, Pokémon Sword and Shield toned the difficulty level down again. While scaled experience is kept from the Alola games, meaning Anti-Grinding is still in affect, the main problem from X and Y returns: that being trainers carrying fewer Pokémon and with less troublesome movesets. The existence of the Wild Area, which in conjunction with the Move Relearner now being free-of-cost and available in all Pokémon Centers, also means that you can very well find yourself with a Disk One Nuke well before the time they were available in previous games. Also, trainers now give out greater amounts of money, making it easy to stockpile large quantities of items. Some argue that this is really because Pokémon was always easy, all Sword and Shield did was show just how slanted in the player's favour things are. Instead of the Elite Four that was a gauntlet without any recovery nor backtrack, you deal with a tournament that FULLY RECOVERS your Pokemon after battle, meaning you can mess up many times and also backtrack while saving your spot in the league.
  • 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:
    • Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan introduces Difficulty Levels to the series: the higher of the two is significantly easier than previous games in the franchise due to much stronger Game Breakers than usual with less drawbacks or skill point locks behind them, though it attempts to make up for it by raising the encounter rate plenty. The addition of small caves that add up to the strata, as well as the expanded execution of the overworld from The Drowned City allows players to better prepare for the more difficult parts (all other games force them to jump directly into the strata themselves, veering into Early Game Hell at the start and Difficulty Spike every time a new stratum is opened).
    • 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 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.
    • Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight features Force Breaks that have powerful effects, the restaurant giving many different potential powerful buffs to use, enemy damage being scaled down even on higher difficulties, a few classes being buffed a little too much, and most importantly, the titular Fafnir Knight himself being broken beyond belief. The game attempts to hide the difficulty behind making everything a Damage Sponge, but all this does is make the Knight's overwhelming power even more obvious in Story, or mandate a Hexer in Classic, as Poison Curse was also drastically buffed, and can be made even stronger with the restaurant. This was cemented even further with the buff to the Picnic difficulty mode, which allows even the infamously difficult FOEs to be defeated by setting the game's combat to auto... provided they don't use ailments, at least.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • 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.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is even easier thanks to multiple streamlined mechanics like the much more forgiving and less randomized "Smirk"-system, smarter AI-companions that can also be freely chosen by the player now, and buffs to many attack moves.
  • 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 Plus 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.
  • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is markedly easier than its predecessor on several counts:
    • Your party will always heal whenever you return to the main hub (whereas you had to pay a fee based on your level in the original, and it would only heal your selected party to boot), you can freely start from any floor each dungeon as long as you've accessed it (only the first and final floors could be freely accessed in the original), the maps have more elaborate tool bars, any Power Spots that have been emptied will appear as such on the map, and door markers will automatically be labeled as opened or shut.
    • There are also more elaborate support moves that the characters can use, and while SP is still lower than average, it grows much more quickly than the first game. The returning characters are also better balanced, although for some reason only the Persona 5 characters can nullify their primary elements when their Personas ascend; the rest (bar Akihiko, Naoto, and Ken) will only keep resisting them.
    • While the original game only had the Protagonist Death Clause in effect for Risky Mode, you could not drop your chosen protagonist from your party. Q2 keeps this clause, but only reserves it for Joker, with the added bonus that you can freely drop him from your party at your leisure.
  • 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.
  • Gothic II is a lot more forgiving and less painful than its predecessor thanks to a streamlined and more accessible control scheme and rebalanced combat mechanics. Its lessened difficulty was even a point of contention among fans, leading to the addon massively ramping up the challenge again.
  • Of all the Risen games, Risen 3: Titan Lords is by far the easiest, thanks to being a lot more generous to the player in terms of EXP and money rewards than all its predecessors were, and to combat mechanics that weren't nearly as unforgiving as Risen and especially Risen 2: Dark Waters' were. The AI-companions are also a huge help to the player especially in the beginning of the game.
  • The original two Fallout are murderous, with most high-level encounters being essentially down to luck, even if the main character is built to make the most of the first turn of combat (often the only one that matters when facing multiple enemies armed with instant-death weapons). Getting through the game without losing a companion is famously almost impossible, thanks to their inability to be controlled directly, moronic AI, and overall lack of combat prowess, and even when fully kitted-out, late-game enemies can take your character down in one lucky shot, especially if they receive the first turn. Fallout 3, on the other hand, is quite easy, especially the main story missions involving a severely defanged Enclave. After even a bit of Level Grinding and upon obtaining a good-quality hunting rifle, only a few things in the game can even pose a threat, and most of them are in Bonus Dungeons. Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 are somewhat harder, though dispensing with much of the Fake Difficulty that plagued the earlier installments' combat.
  • Dragon Quest: The Super Famicom remakes of DQ I and Dragon Quest II made EXP and gold yields much greater from any given enemy, in addition to tweaking some enemies' resistances to make status moves more useful. This adjustment is also carried into subsequent ports.
  • Star Shift Rebellion: This game ends up becoming easier than Star Shift Origins in the long run due to the existence of respawning enemies. This, along with the casino minigames, allows the player to easily outgrind the competition in the early game. This is somewhat compensated by some equipment being nerfed as well as more complicated tactics battles, but regular combat in Rebellion definitely gives the player a higher power ceiling compared to the enemies.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • 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).
    • Double Spoiler stands out when 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • Stormwinds: The Lost Campaigns is far easier than its predecessors Stormwinds and Stormwinds 1.5 for two very good reasons: The addition of the Barrier Decoy, and the Shield Generator, the first of which acts as a huge hp makeshift shield as well as decoy to the Always Accurate Attack which is enemy machinegun fire and takes no damage from it, and the second gives a turrets a Damage Reduction shield which can reduce similar machinegun fire to nothing. The first game and its updated release forced the player to keep repairing their turrets thanks to eventually getting whittled down by machinegun fire.
  • 1941: Counter Attack is considerably easier to complete than its predecessor 1943note , featuring only 6 stages compared to the latter's 16, power ups that last much longer (each pickup adds 60 seconds to the weapon timer), no drain-over-time effect to the Life Meter, a health refill at the end of each stage, lifebar extensions to go with some of these end-of-stage refills, and a chance at a full health refill at least once a stage (which can be easily obtained by dropping a Smart Bomb to destroy the relevant enemy formation to make them drop the item).

    Simulation Game 
  • City-Building Series:
    • Pharaoh introduces the roadblock, which prevents the pathing nightmare of previous games where walkers coould go anywhere they pleased inste of by the buildings that needed their services. However, some necessary buildings must be built over an intersection so there's still some randomness in walker paths that can swiftly lead to ruin.
    • Zeus: Master of Olympus had several aspects that made gameplay massively easier compared to Pharaoh:
      • The most important one is that buildings no longer need nearby housing to function and are staffed as soon as they're built (instead of waiting for the recruiter to wander past housing), making setting up industrial sectors much faster. This also means that buildings only need road access, as opposed to road access that also accounts for housing, amenities, and where the walker spawns from.
      • The second most important one is that invading armies can be paid to go away, greatly reducing the stress of dealing with the Artificial Stupidity of soldiers. Dividing the army into militia (which are taken from common housing and only require a palace) and elite armies (which come from elite houses, don't leave the workforce but pay huge taxes) also makes defending the city a lot easier since you're no longer solely dependent on waiting for weapons to be forged.
      • The third most important one is that industries can now be given lower priority by industry, instead of reducing the number of workers allotted to all industrial and commercial buildings.
      • Requests for food no longer care which type of food you send, when previously cities suffering from famine would demand huge amounts of a specific type of food and your rating would plummet because you only had fish to spare.
      • Roads can now be enhanced by doubling or tripling their width. It's a cheap way of prettying up a neighborhood, but it's mostly a godsend in allowing a building to be one tile away from a road but still be staffed, especially useful when building along coastlines or cliffs.
    • Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom reintroduces some mechanics that increases the difficulty, but does make some slightly easier:
      • It's now possible to buy and then sell the same good (to a different trade partner) at a higher markup (and is in fact a core mechanic on Silk Road maps).
      • Industries can now be shut down on an individual basis.
  • 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.
  • The Sims series:
    • It was easier in the first game to make friends, but they would 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.
    • In the first game, Sims were more likely to have Potty Failure. Sims in the subsequent games will take care of at least some of their needs autonomously (if free will is enabled).
  • 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.
  • Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise eliminates some of the Guide Dang It! elements of its console predecessors by having tutorials that explain some of the more obscure mechanics, such as tapping a Syrupent egg to get a Twingersnap.
  • Zoo Tycoon 2 does away with the strict exhibit requirements (where each species wanted a certain amount of dirt, water, grass, trees, etc, and whined if you go so much as one tile more or less), making it easier to keep animals happy and be more creative with exhibits.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • It is nigh-impossible to die in Assassin's Creed II, unless you either leave the game alone in combat 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.
  • 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.
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction is much easier than its far more complex predeccesors.
  • Metal Gear:
  • 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.

    Strategy Game 
  • 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.

    Survival Horror 
  • System Shock and System Shock 2 were critical darlings, but they weren't commercial successes. Following their release of Freedom Force, Tribes: Vengeance, and SWAT 4, the team revamped their old IP with Bioshock, a spiritual successor to System Shock 2. There's no HUD or inventory, you can equip and master everything, healing doesn't cost money so you're never left in a situation where you can ever truly die. Whereas you were always struggling to survive in System Shock, Bioshock is much more forgiving, allowing the game to focus on plot rather than resource management. According to interviews, beta versions of Bioshock included RPG elements similar to System Shock 2, but after negative feedback from focus groups, those were scaled back.
  • Silent Hill games have gone up and down over the years. Silent Hill 2 is considerably less intense and dangerous than Silent Hill; you no longer die from just a few hits, and many of the monsters are easily sidestepped, compared to the first game where everything is either fully capable of running you down on the streets, or catching you with a lightning-fast grab. Then Silent Hill 3 ramps up the challenge to the point of adding TEN difficulty modes above Hard. The next three games have a single, set difficulty which is rather high overall, and then you have Silent Hill: Shattered Memories which 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. There is also safe, dedicated storage available to the player, which can make collecting and storing good gear for later use/selling much easier. On top of this, doing enough quests for the occupying factions can not only get massive amounts of good loot from your storage, but can also give you (infinitely) renewable medicine and ammo daily, an extreme generosity in a series overwise notorious for it's punishing resource management.
  • Dead Rising 2:
    • The 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).
  • Resident Evil:
    • Compared to the original, Resident Evil 2 swamps the player with ammunition and healing items and has much easier monsters. 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). On that note, part 2's Licker, while still a deadly enemy, is nowhere near as fast, intelligent, aggressive, or common as the Hunter it replaced.
    • 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 series. 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.
  • The Evil Within was noted for its high difficulty. Checkpoints were usually far apart from each other, most of the standard enemies had high defenses and strength, nearly all the bosses had a One-Hit Kill, and general resources were difficult to manage. By contrast, the sequel toned the difficulty down considerably, with checkpoints being more prevalent, newer and better skills to upgrade, the ability to craft extra ammo and health items, and being able to restore your health via safe houses.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • 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 its 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. The developers also modified the bullet time mechanic so that killing enemies allows Max to run at normal speed in bullet time while enemies move in slow motion, giving the player a significant edge.

    Tower Defence 
  • Bloons Tower Defense:
    • The first two games are Nintendo Hard due to not having a lot of towers and upgrades to choose from, and money being hard to come by (especially in the early game). BTD3 tones the difficulty down compared to BTD2, despite being the first game to have MOABs. Towers have more powerful upgrades than before, while the Bloon waves aren't strengthened as much by comparison.
    • BTD5 is an even bigger difficulty drop, thanks to having even more towers to choose from and very powerful upgrades for each of them, allowing for a wider variety of viable strategies, and a much bigger selection of maps meaning more content for less experienced players to enjoy.
    • The three basic difficulty modes from Bloons TD 5 are toned down a notch in Bloons TD 6 by removing several rounds from each mode. However, the difficulty of the extra modes for each map, especially CHIMPS, makes up for it.
      • Easy used to extend until round 50. BTD6 made it much easier by cutting it down to round 40 (moving the lone introductory MOAB from 46 to 40 in the process).
      • Medium used to last until round 65 before BTD6. BTD6 ends the mode at 60 instead.
      • Hard was shaved from round 85 to round 80. Round 80 was reduced from dozens of MOABs to a lone ZOMG, which used to appear alone on 85.
  • Defense Grid 2, the sequel to Defense Grid: The Awakening, was a complete walk in the park compared to its predecessor, at least as long as you stuck to Normal difficulty (the original game only had one difficulty setting). You have a wider array of towers and additional options like Boost towers and their boost effects at your disposal, flying enemies have been removed altogether, and the scoring is much more generous, meaning that most of the time as long as you can beat a level without dropping a core, you're almost guaranteed to get a gold medal (where in the original you had to seriously struggle to even get above a bronze medal, even if you never dropped a core). This admittedly goes out the window if you jack it up to Hard difficulty, but there was no real need to do so other than Self-Imposed Challenge- even the Steam achievements could all be unlocked on Normal.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising is much lighter at its worst than the previous game. Both games have a hard mode campaign, and while the first one demands an intimate knowledge of the AI and its flaws to stand any chance, this second's is easier than its normal campaign at some points, with several missions where the enemy doesn't start with any units on the field, giving you plenty of time to get ahead. Taken further in Dual Strike, with its wealth of playstyle options allowing you to utterly trivialize a good portion of the game after some experimentation.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics was notorious for being quite difficult (unless you started using the Game-Breaker characters and strategies once they were open). Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has the gameplay more streamlined and it also has a ton of (mostly unintended) unbalanced game breakers that can snap the difficulty in half. Final Fantasy Tactics A2 brings up the difficulty to a more defined medium.

    Visual Novel 
  • 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 of 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 gives 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.

    Wide Open Sandbox 

Non-Video Games Examples:

    Game Shows 


    Tabletop Games 
  • 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. Part of this is the deliberate abandonment of the Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards trope earlier editions followed. Every character at a given level, regardless of class, now has roughly the same number of abilities they can use at-will, or once an encounter, or once per day, and those abilities are also relatively well-balanced between classes. They aren't quite all clones: Some classes do more raw damage, some play Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, some get to move enemies (or allies) around the battlefield, and some buff allies or debuff enemies, but no class is consistently a lot more effective than any other to the extent that every player is fighting to be the one who gets to play the mage like in earlier editions.
  • For that matter, virtually every edition in Dungeons & Dragons is easier than the previous ones. This is in regards to both the general difficulty overall and curbing the Early Game Hell.
    • Second Edition added extra player options in the form of kits and later the explicitly named "Players Options" that allowed players to tweak their stats for Min-Maxing (such as adjust your strength to do extra damage while being able to carry less weight).
    • Third Edition added Feats, less punitive magic item creation, got rid of most "Save vs. X or die" effects, made energy drain attacks less obnoxious, and overall gave player characters more options and features at low levels and beyond.
    • Fourth Edition pretty much eliminated stat and level drain completely, turned poison into causing damage only, and strongly reduced the chance to die from negative damage, changing the death point from 10 points past Unconsciousness to an amount equal to half your maximum HP (an end-game Fighter would need to be at one hundred points below zero to die), and changed character creation and development as mentioned above to be less a measure of avoiding trap builds in favor of Game-Breaker ones (something less valuable anyway in the age of the internet and character optimization boards) and more a measure of "What kind of character would you like to play?"
    • Fifth Edition made dying outright from damage even less of a chance than Fourth Edition, changing the amount needed to die to a character's full negative maximum HP total as opposed to Fourth's ''half" HP total, although the mechanisms for bleeding to death from failed Death Saves are both harder and easier compared to each other. The monsters have also received many complaints for being not threatening enough once the characters reach level 10 or so. In comparison, the monsters in Fourth Edition stayed pretty much as dangerous at high levels (through annoying Level Scaling), but combat was more infamous for being a snooze-fest at how long it took at that point vs. how dangerous it was.
  • 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.

    Reality TV 
  • 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 and the ability to do more complex or thrill seeking challenges. (Which would put many of the younger players at risk.)
    • 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, following a three-season run where at least one contestant had a Game-Breaking Injury in such a challenge. 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. Granted, this did compensate for some of the more dry environment.
    • Thailand was a notable difficulty drop compared to its direct predecessors Africa and Marquesas, which had left a lot of the contestants and crew in discomfort and even with sickness due to the heat, parasites, and the bugs.
    • The survival aspect in Caramoan was considered to be much much easier than the previous season, but only because the previous season (Philippines) was that much more brutal.
    • This was lampshaded in the finale of Blood vs. Water. Even the novice players mentioned that they had a very easy time making camp and dealing with the weather, since it only rained for a few days early on and the rest of the filming period was consistently sunny.

    Real Life 
  • 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 Ford Focus 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. Just having power steering made into a standard feature on cars made them much easier to drive.