I used to think I’m slightly better than the average gamer. I see difficulty settings in games and always choose to play them on the most difficult setting because in my mind games are supposed to be fun and challenging. Finishing games on normal difficulty would just make me wonder what the higher difficulty is like, and I’d just end up questioning my abilities of whether or not I could do it. So when I popped in God of War and had to select a difficulty setting, I naturally went for the “God of War” difficulty despite that the option was in red color. I may have made a grave mistake.
Combat at the beginning of any game are more or less tutorials for you to get used to the controls and game play mechanics. Look at the very first Goomba in Super Mario Bros. That thing has killed more players than anything else in the history of games. You had no idea what to do so you just run up to it and then die. Then you figure, “Well, I can jump so maybe I should jump on it.” Things seemed so easy back then with a D-pad or joystick and four buttons. Fast forward to today and what do we have: controllers with two sticks, a D-pad, and 14 buttons. 14 buttons! But even with the exponential growth of input options, the basic premise of the tutorial doesn’t change. The players need a chance to test out the buttons and see what they all do.
My point in talking about the complexity of controllers and initial combat encounters is that it may take more than one try to get used to the control scheme, read the tool tips, and basically try and not die, all at the same time. The clip above only shows two attempts to pass the first encounter, a mere fraction of the total number of attempts. I didn’t really keep count but I can break it down by time spent instead which adds up to 3 nights at 3-5 hours each. That’s a lot of time to get past what should be the easiest fight of the game.
The funniest part of that experience was discovering how wrong my estimation was on how many draugr I had to defeat. The progression and thought process went something like this:
- Kill three draugr then die multiple times. “I hope there’s only four. I can do four.”
- Eventually kill four draugr. “Why is the combat music still pla- omigod why are there more spawning from the ground!!!”
- Many more attempts and get to a point of killing five draugr. “Oh man so close. I can totally do this!”
- Eventually kill six draugr. “Hell yeah! I di- omigod why are there more spawning from the ground!!!”
I think the final count was about 8 total draugrs in the first encounter. And it took me three nights to do it. I did say it was funny and it was! I was laughing so hard I was crying. Okay, maybe I wasn’t laughing but the tears were real.
I manage to get a little further and find a pair of wolves I need to dispatch. They were slightly easier and only required about 45 minutes to deal with. And then I get to the broken down church and spend another full night trying to get past it. I think that was about a good solid 4 hours of dying and reloading from the last checkpoint. If anything, the practice I got is pretty valuable. I’m much better with the shield parry move and can dodge most attacks. Check it out below.
Kind of a big difference in ability, so that gives me a little hope. I’m also hoping things get slightly easier once I get more health, level up, and get better weapons. All that sounds extremely daunting at this point. I’m shuddering just thinking about what I’d have to go through to just to get enough XP.
I never questioned my abilities as a gamer until God of War mode in God of War came along. And because it’s God of War mode, I am unable to change difficulty setting on the fly. I’d never consider doing that in any other game but after spending countless hours trying to just get past with three skirmishes, I’m beginning to question my life choices.