Hello, I’m Jordan Middler and today we’re
gonna be talking about seven of the hardest modern video games. Video games are supposed
to be fun, allegedly They’re a way to unwind after a long day of
hard graft, smashing rocks in the street or whatever it is people do. That’s why by-and-large most video games
are generally simple enough to complete. However, occasionally, a game will come along that’s
so difficult, you’ll find yourself questioning not only why you ever bothered starting it,
but why you ever bothered started playing games in the first place. You could have learned to
play the piano, but no, here you are, shouting at pixels you idiot. Who was it that played the Dark Souls games
and thought? Aye, get that difficulty cranked up a good few levels. Developed by the studio
that apparently gets their kicks from unjamming a printer, From Software, Sekiro: Shadows
Die Twice is a Japanese flavoured repeated kick in the baws that requires mastering timing
so precise, it’d be easier to kick a football into a bin from 3 miles away attached to a
moving train. There is nothing more dispiriting than believing that you’re finally coming
to grips with the way the game controls and the nanosecond timing windows only for some
new enemy that doesn’t conform to those timings at all, to decorate their front room
with your insides. Watching speedruns of the game is like watching
those people that just sprint through American Ninja Warrior, trying to take
a shit in a busy train station The Dark Souls games get a lot of hype for
how hard they are, but you can mostly get through them hiding behind a shield and rolling
around your enemy. Sekiro, like Bloodborne takes the “shields are for pricks” approach,
meaning that if you’re not handy with the blade, you might as well uninstall, which
is exactly what I did. Maybe I’ll get back to it, but I’m not sure if my heart can
take it. I even did the unlimited XP glitch and still got my arse removed and handed back
to me. If a game is so hard that even when you start to “cheat” you can’t beat
it, it’s probably time to pack it in. The most frustrating thing about Getting Over
It with Bennet Foddy is that as you’re falling through the air, recounting the fatal mistake
that led you to this moment, you’re watching all of the areas you previously slaved through
whizz by, mocking you like you’ve jumped off a building plastered in moments from your
life when you weren’t such a descending prick. Not only this, but the game comes across
all QWOP with a degree in Philosophy when the culprit himself begins to talk to you,
trying to quell the rising sea of unspeakable rage surging through you. His presence is
some of the most masterful trolling enacted in a video game. It
makes you wish you could take the pickaxe and ram it through his jaw, if only to get
a bit more elevation up to the next point. Ah, Super Meat Boy, oh the platforms I’ve
bought you on, only to be filled with regret several hours later after I remember that
it’s a game developed by the devil himself, and it was designed to break more controllers
than FIFA ever could. Super Meat Boy is such a masterful platformer that if you’re honest
with yourself, the frustration isn’t coming from the game, it’s coming from you simply
not being good enough to get to the next stage. Everything is completely fair and it’s all
about execution. Although, admittedly that kind of self-realisation is a bit difficult
when the blood starts dripping from your nose at five in the morning following another hour
mindlessly launching yourself against the same set of spikes on repeat. Now there’s documented proof on this channel
of just how incredible I am at Cuphead but UNBELIEVABLY, those historic victories were actually edited
down retelling of the hours and hours spent trying desperately not to throw my Xbox, my
controller and myself through a window. Cuphead is just patterns, every boss has a pattern,
and if you can learn it and master it, you can beat it. But that is like saying, a plane
is just buttons, if you know what they all do, you can fly it. The addition of the excellent
score and brilliant art design, which frankly I think was an intentional choice as a distraction
technique, make the game an extremely tense and difficult experience. It makes beating
just one of the bosses feel about ten times as satisfying as completing a normal game.
A feeling that soon subsides after you get to the next boss and witness the next twelve hours
of your life disappear to a giant clown, which serves as an accurate reflection of the player
who thought they were good at this game. Celeste is a beautiful story of a girl climbing
a literal and a metaphorical mountain which deals with mental health, abusive relationships
and social media. However, you may miss some of those themes while you’re screaming a
chorus of swear words as your character cheerfully falls into the abyss. Celeste gave me huge
Super Meat Boy vibes, which in the context served more as traumatic flashbacks. Like
most of the games in this video, it’s all about the execution of mechanics and getting
over the mental hurdle of something seeming impossibly difficult It’s like a metaphor… you know? I sound flip, but it’s actually one of the best examples of the themes of
a game and the player’s progression of learning to play it being in sync. Celeste also peppers
or should I say… strawberries? Collectables in view of the player so those of us with
a collecting random nonsense fetish are paralysed into staying on a screen until everything
is grabbed, which of course contributes to the number of times you die by a factor of
about a billion. Puzzle games seem like they’d be the hardest
things in the world to make. How are you, as a developer supposed to strike a chord
between something that’s challenging, but not too difficult, or too easy? Something
that doesn’t require constant explanation, that isn’t just going to give up the answer? Well
in the case of Jonathon Blow’s The Witness, his answer was to make a game as hard as he
possibly could around the concept of… lines. All you really do in The Witness is walk up
to wee screens and draw lines. These could be as easy as having to copy a pattern on
the other side of the screen, or so complicated that even after looking at a guide you have
literally no idea how the person came to that conclusion. The first time you discover a
secret overworld puzzle in The Witness it makes you feel like you’ve seen through
the game. Like you and Jonathon Blow are smugly nodding to each other over just how intelligent
you are. Hmm, yes, lines, line puzzles, fantastic. Well, what would a list of modern hard games
be without the one that brought this trend roaring back into fashion? Demon’s Souls
is to modern action games what Star Wars was to visual effects in cinema or what Carly
Rae Jepson’s Emotion was to all of music. Most people chart the reemergence of difficult
games to Dark Souls, Demon’s Soul’s much more popular and successful successor, but
the DNA of Dark Souls was forged in From’s revolutionary cult darling. Initially released
only in Japan, it was a game that was antithetical to the ever-increasing slog of easy to complete,
forgettable action titles that the PS3 generation began with. I imported the game, after hearing
about it on a few podcasts. Now I expected it to be hard, but for it to be so obtuse,
so willfully deceptive and unhelpful in its design, I had no idea what I signed up for.
I kept slogging away at it because I paid a lot for it, being an import, but I just
couldn’t stop getting absolutely wrecked. I had no patience, no willingness to learn,
and well to be honest the game had very little willingness to teach me. It’s the greatest
proof of concept in history for what became Dark Souls, a game that came to define action
games. “The Dark Souls of X” how many games are used as a shorthand to describe
an entire genre? I’m mostly waffling now cause I only ever beat two bosses and watched
the rest on YouTube because I’m a fraud. Anyway, those are my thoughts on the hardest
modern video games. Let me know if you’ve completed any of them, or all of them if you’re
a real try-hard. Remember to subscribe to BBC The Social Gaming and until next time,
I’m Jordan Middler, see you later.

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