Game news Returnal: why does the difficulty of the exclusive PS5 divide so much?
Returnal has just been released on PS5. Slightly in need of exclusivity, the Sony machine has chosen, for its first new franchise dedicated to this platform, to capitalize on Returnal, a very good game, having collected 16/20 in our columns and having made the quasi- unanimity among the critics. However, audiences ran into one element they may not have fully appreciated: Returnal is a tough game. Too much, for some. In any case, it is the game that divides the community at the start of the year. Let us then try to understand the reasons for the discord.
Like a perfume of indie
Gamers who like to delve into independent video games know that roguelite is a preponderant genre, declined at will and particularly popular, more casual consumers of video games ultimately have little, if any. at all been faced with this particularly demanding genre. If Hades had a public success that went beyond the borders of the niche in which he operates, rare are the roguelite / roguelike to benefit from such exposure. Returnal is a third-person shooter that has the particularity, as the rules of the genre dictate, of involving the player in countless deaths. However, unlike games deemed “difficult” which, despite recurring game over screens, have mechanics that slow player progress, roguelite resets it completely. Just understand that if you have just spent an hour completing objectives, traversing corridors surviving the onslaught of monsters, the slightest fatal error will lead you back to the start of your journey.
The frustration was therefore great for the players who were more or less prepared for this type of experience. And for good reason, as we specified at the moment, rare are the AAAs to pour into this kind of experience, and the PS5, for its second exclusivity, did not choose to bet on a game accessible to all, well on the contrary. After Demon’s Souls Remake, already quite famous for not being a health trail, Returnal drives the point home and the two PS5 exclusions are difficult games, which remains generally unusual in the industry, so the surprise was it. all the greater. This is undoubtedly the first reason which is responsible for the general discontent of the players. Where productions with high media exposure are more games accessible to the greatest number, accessibility which can however be mitigated by different modes of difficulty, Returnal takes the trend against the grain.. By freeing itself from any backup system, it requires a very active involvement of the player to be mastered, which is certainly not to everyone’s taste. Despite everything, the difficulty of a roguelite can always be mitigated, because if death is part of the game experience, the more the player dies, the more chances he has to become better, thanks to his more precise reading of the mechanics. of the title than of the items that it is possible to obtain to boost one’s skills. In addition, several approaches can be adopted in this type of game, and a player who relies on permanent aggressiveness may need to revise his playing habits to play a little more cautious, which in many cases will greatly promote progression. In summary, a difficult game requires a certain ability to adapt, which may require a longer or shorter time depending on the profiles, profiles which in any case will not all be inclined to persevere on a game for the sole purpose of at least master it.
A clearly identified difficulty
The developers of Returnal do not hide it, and a “warning” board introduces the game once launched: the game is difficult, and it was designed to be. Unfortunately, as long as the information has not circulated upstream to certain consumers, who legitimately wish to enjoy their PS5 with games that are exclusive to it, the reality may be harsh. It is therefore again the endless debate on the difficulty that has resurfaced, lovers of tense experiences opposing those who want to have a game easier to access. And truth be told, while some may logically feel aggrieved or disappointed, the question arises as to whether a game deliberately developed to abuse player skills should be altered. In any case, this is the question that arose in the aisles of Housemarque, the studio responsible for Returnal, which seems to lean in favor of a more flexible backup system than originally.
A difficult experience by nature
Because indeed, the roguelite in general does not save its progress in the middle of the game. It is even this particular trait that makes the flavor and that creates the tension within the gaming experience, which is inevitably rewarding once you manage to access the end credits. Returnal is a little more special, since each session requires a fairly significant amount of time to be completed. So sometimes it’s an hour or more of play that can be wiped out at the slightest mistake, or worse, if life calls you away from your console. This imbalance between long gaming session and inability to save would almost force players not to turn off their console and dedicate it exclusively to Returnal if they sometimes do not have time to finish a full run in one go. Binding, to be sure.
Introducing a backup system could greatly facilitate the experience. And there again will undoubtedly arise the grumbling of the most hardcore players, who will perhaps not look favorably on this concession to the facility, while the others will be able on the other hand to give a new chance to Returnal. We told you about it in an article we wrote some time ago: the difficulty is a very delicate cursor to master. This is all the more true as the difficulty will be perceived in a very different way depending on the player profiles. When a game is difficult, it is on purpose in order to provide a rewarding experience for those who master it. Changing the essence of the game in depth by making it more accessible could well amount to distorting the initial vision of the developers and the balance they sought to instill in their creation. It remains to be seen how Returnal will be modulated to satisfy a maximum of players, even if it will be difficult to satisfy everyone.
For its first two exclusives, Sony is sending a strong message. With Demon’s Souls Remake and Returnal, the very “gamer” positioning of the PS5 is strongly asserted. However, by choosing to move (for the moment) towards this type of production, the disappointment can be great among consumers accustomed to more accessible AAAs. Returnal’s difficulty is part of his point. The game has been deliberately designed to be difficult and rewarding. However, Housermaruqe seems to be attentive to the grievances of part of the public and could eventually modify or at least make more accessible his Returnal, the difficulty of which has not ceased to be debated.
Through , Journalist Aroged.com