Level Up! | Video Game Hot Takes

Level Up! Is a biweekly blog about all types of games, from Dungeons and Dragons to Mario Party.

By Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

This has been a stressful week for me, so time to let off some steam by swatting at a hornets’ nest. Here are some video game hot takes.

Some “hard” games aren’t actually challenging your skill, they’re seeing if you’re lucky

Some games don’t really test your skills, they test your luck, patience or both. If beating a boss requires memorizing slow attack patterns instead of encouraging you to switch up your strategy and really engage with the mechanics of the game, that’s not really great game design.

A good example is people who think Shiny Hunting in “Pokémon” is getting too easy and appreciate “Scarlet and Violet” removing audio and visual cues in the overworld to tell you if a Pokémon is shiny. I’ve seen people say it makes it a fun challenge but it’s not really a challenge. The odds are the same as before, if not better so all it’s really doing is testing if you’re lucky.

If you care about shiny hunting being challenging then shouldn’t the goal be to have shiny odds actually be tied to doing something in the game like catching and studying all the Pokémon rather than just “did you happen to face the right direction and not be born colorblind?”

Hell even if you aren’t colorblind some shinies look exactly like their regular counterparts, and even ones that are different colors are sometimes difficult to tell apart because

“Pokémon Scarlet and Violet” are desaturated as hell

I have seen no one talk about it, but these games are drab as shit. It’s like someone put a sad Instagram filter on it and is slowly draining the color. We’re allowed to have bright colors in games you know, especially ones primarily aimed at children. Go a little crazy with it.

If you make me replay a map over and over you have to give me the ability to speed through it 

I’m looking at you, “Fire Emblem: Three Houses.” A good game is replayable but holy shit by your third time it gets boring playing through the same map with slightly different dialogue and characters.

Though really the crowning king of this is “Monark.” I love this game and its time travel shenanigans but having the same dungeons and boss fight for every route gets old very quickly. And this game doesn’t even have an autobattle.

If you’re morally against easy modes in “Dark Souls” then you should hate Nuzlockes

If you’ve delved into the realm of video game hot takes before, you’ve probably seen someone say something like “Dark Souls should have an easy mode,” “It’d be ok if Dark Souls had an easy mode” or “I wish Dark Souls was easier.”

And then you looked in the replies and saw people losing their minds.

Ok so for context, “Dark Souls” is a series of action RPGs that are notoriously difficult, where a lot of the core gameplay loop is exploring the massive world until something kills you, you respawn, and you try and figure out how to not die. Being good at Dark Souls is a mark of pride for a lot of people who enjoy that challenge. Those people get very offended if you suggest it’d be nice if people who are worse than them at games could also enjoy the series.

They’ll say things like “it’s important to respect the developer’s vision, they wanted the game to be brutally hard!” or “not every game is for everyone” or “lol git gud.”

Now they’re entitled to their opinions, but what gets me is that most of the people who throw around the first two arguments don’t do that about things that would make a game more difficult, like a Nuzlocke.

A Nuzlocke is an alternate ruleset for Pokémon games designed to make the game harder for older fans, but the developers clearly didn’t intend them. What about the developer’s vision? The focus on the game is less on challenge and more getting emotionally attached to your little critters as you meet them, they wouldn’t want you to artificially limit yourself! And if you think Pokémon is too easy these days, too bad! Not every game is for everyone! You can’t ask for an official Nuzlocke mode or wish the games were a little harder. Play a different game!

If you only have a problem with people asking for games to be easier instead of people asking for games to be harder, you’re just bothered that other people are playing a game in a way you don’t like, and honestly that’s a little sad bro. I don’t know, try genuinely enjoying something and not worrying about random people you don’t know playing a game they paid for however they want.

Final fantasy players like boys, give more twinks

Honestly I don’t have more to say than that. If you think there are enough Final Fantasy twinks, you’re wrong.

The video game industry needs to learn what a niche is.

Every five years or so, there’s a rush to proclaim something is the new big thing. “Single-player is dead!” “VR is the future!” “Every game is a live service!”

Except that doesn’t make any sense, unless you assume players are a monolith. Why would someone who enjoys single-player games want a live service game without a dedicated ending? Someone who tends to play while on the go or travels a lot isn’t going to want a game that requires persistent internet connection. Lots of people get motion sick from playing VR, plus it requires a lot of expensive hardware to run smoothly.

It is not a revolutionary concept that different people like different things, but the industry always tries to speed toward one big thing, which is unrealistic. Some of us have to use dorm wifi. We can’t stream games all day. Realize the diversity of your audiences.