Sunday, January 3, 2016

The 5 hardest games of 2015

Bloodborne
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It’s hardly surprising that a From Software game has made it onto a list of difficult games. If you go to Google with the objective of searching for a hard game, the chances are that you’ll find an article raving on the difficulty of Dark Souls and Bloodborne quicker than you can say “Battletoads.” There’s a reason for this- they’re really, really hard games.

So what makes Bloodborne hard? These are the sort of games where, if you’re not constantly on your guard, every enemy can kill you within seconds. You have to approach every enemy with caution and tact; if you don’t, the game will dance over your corpse with glee after you’re brutally punished for your lapse in concentration with most of your progress being undone.

Bloodborne
takes place in the stunningly beautiful world of Yharnam, where curious exploration is the key; however, you’ll mostly find nightmarish creatures that want to turn your bones into wind chimes. Oh, and the bosses will leave you traumatised; I still have horrible flashbacks to my first encounter with Father Gascoigne.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

hotline miami

Hotline Miami 2
is the sequel to 2012’s Hotline Miami, a retro stylised hyper-violent top-down action game with a cracking soundtrack. So, three years later, Hotline Miami 2 braves new waters and attempts something completely different by being a retro stylised hyper-violent top-down action game with a cracking soundtrack AND a pretty mediocre story.

The rush of Hotline Miami 2 comes from the intensely packed levels. Your character can take the same amount of hits as your enemies: one. Actually, you can sometimes take more than one, but it’s normally immediately followed by another hit that will leave your pixelated brain splattered all over the wall. So, in order to clear a floor, you have flawlessly take care of every enemy without taking a single hit. It’s infuriatingly unforgiving, but it’s tremendously rewarding to get a rhythm going and run through rooms killing everything in your path like a relentless spirit of war. This game will get your blood really pumping; with banging music accompanied with trippy visuals, tight level designed to be as intense as possible, and incredibly violent gameplay, this game is the digital equivalent of cocaine: brilliant, but in short bursts. Also, too much of it will kill you; don’t do drugs, kids.

Super Mario Maker

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I couldn’t have been the only one who thought that Mario was getting a bit soft in his old age. A lot of his recent games, while not exactly being walks in the park, are nothing compared to the agonisingly teeth-gritting gauntlet runs that propelled the Italian plumber to popularity. A lot of people must’ve been thinking the same thing, because thanks to Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker we now have an inexhaustible supply of insanely difficult Mario levels, ranging from masochistic obstacle-dodging runs to perplexing puzzle levels. All thanks to you lot: my red cap goes off to you, you complete psychopaths.

It is truly commendable that the Mario fanbase can make levels that capture the pain and suffering that they must’ve experienced while playing Mario games, and then transform that into a level so they are now inflicting that pain on their fellow players, and the Nintendo mascot himself. The people who make the hardest levels in Mario Maker must hate Mario!

There are a lot of creative levels in Mario Maker, and a lot of them are worth checking out to see if you can take them on. Just make sure that you’re ready to meet three Bowsers stacked on top of each other each swinging a chain-chomp; don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

Darkest Dungeon

darkest dungeon

Darkest Dungeon
is a game that will put you through a lot of stress: mainly because, it’s a central mechanic. In this rogue-like turned-based dungeon crawler, your characters have a stress meter that builds up as you play, mainly through getting hit and encountering their personal fears.  As their stress builds, they become more riddled with mental health problems, and if their stress gets maxed then they have a heart attack. Well, one can only sympathise really; I can’t imagine that I’d be all that cool facing off Lovecraftian horrors.

Darkest Dungeon
is difficult from the start, and only gets harder as you progress. The achievement of not dying is made bitter sweet by the psychological consequences of having just fought for your life; so your character might’ve made it out of the tunnels filled with swine/human hybrid monsters, but they’ve stopped believing in God and can’t wait for the sweet embrace of death to take them forever. You can see how that might make things challenging. Ultimately, Darkest Dungeon is a very smart game that requires you to pay attention to detail, and think outside the box. If you don’t, you’ll go as crazy as your team facing a batch of Cthulhu spawn.

The Crypt of the Necrodancer

crypt of the necrodancer

The Crypt of the Necrodancer
is going to be more of a challenge for those of you who are…rhythmically challenged, let’s say, because rhythm is the key mechanic in this rogue-like dungeon crawler. Instead of just plodding around like a sasquatch, you have to move your spritely little thing to the beat of the song playing. Miss a beat, and you’ll have to wait for the next one: leaving you open and vulnerable to attack. This game is quite the feat: a marriage of two genres that have nothing in common with one another, rhythm and RPG, and really making it work well. This game will be a true test of your reflexes, your coordination, and of your dance moves if you choose- the game is compatible with a dance mat controller.  Now here’s a question: which do you reckon came first, the concept or the puntastic title? I like to think it was the title.

Well, that should be enough to get you back into shape. Get to it, and soon you’ll be so hardcore that you’ll be eating dry nails for breakfast with a glass of cold poison to wash it down.

What’s been the hardest game that you’ve played last year? Do you have any challenging Super Mario Maker levels that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

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