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General Gaming  » Can anyone name me a "true" RPG that was hard?

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106 posts found

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/17/06
Posts: 6280

OP  3/23/12 6:21:06 AM#1

People keep talking about MMORPG difficulty.  Well I don't think any RPG combat was ever "difficult" most RPGs were only challenging in

a) figuring out stuff about the game/story (mapping dungeons in bard's tale etc)

b) building your character/party to be effective


Can anyone name me an RPG they felt had truly challenging combat that was not mostly action of some sort?  If so please explain how.

In other words don't say Deus Ex because I could win that game with a pistol with out ever investing anything in the RPG aspects of it.  Yes it would be really hard but I guarantee you I can do it.  So the combat is by definition really mostly shooter based and simply influenced by RPG stuff.  I mean a game where if you do not utilize the RPG features then you really can't do much.


There were a few fights in games like Baldur's gate 2 that were tricky or involved monsters that were hard.  If i remember right there was some inter-planar prison that took me a couple tries that had like some lichs and high end outsiders.  But I still wouldn't classify that as "hard" per se.  I need good equipment and used certain spells like summoning an planatar or time stop and if I got unlucky I died. 

It was thrilling to win that fight since it was risky.  But at the same time I would not classify it as hard the way I would pulling off a good session of action/fps combat.


I have a suspicion that when people say "hard" in the context of RPGs they actually only really mean somewhat complex and risky but not actually hard to execute per se.  A "hard" RPG fight generally means you really need to gear up and you need to use your abilities maximally and even then a bad dice roll may kill you in some games. 

In the case of a party based game like BG2 it also meant you need to use good tactics and positioning.  In that sense it was "hard" they way chess may be hard (although I would say chess is much harder).  I would accept this as a decent version of "hard" except that I can't remember any RPGs (and i have played ALOT) where I felt truly challenged by this.  Some I had to do a few tries and it was challenging enough to be a decent puzzle.  But I can't think any I felt was truly really hard they way I felt say doing the rocket bike in BattleToads was hard.  Granted these are to different mechnisms of hard but to compare intuitive feeligns of degrees of hard I have never played a true RPG that i can remember that gave me that same sense of "Holy crap I can't believe I got through that and I doubt I could do it again" and in addition to feeling that, knowing I got through based on my own ability and not luck.





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Joined: 10/03/06
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Life Liberty and the Pursuit of those that would threaten It

3/23/12 6:25:45 AM#2

Lord British and the Ultima games.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/22/12
Posts: 285

3/23/12 6:56:15 AM#3

For me personally, RPG is all around experience. When I get pulled to the game with its lore, story,gameplay,battles, atmosphere....etc....everything that make true RPG great. But,everybody has his own point of view of how games should be, so I want go any further in discussing this. Here are few of my personall favorite RPG:

The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, Baldurs Gate I & II, Neverwinter Nights, Fallout, Icewind Dale I & II, Mass Effect (just first part), Morrowind, Kotor, Witcher I & II, Arcanum: Of Steamwork and Magik Obscura.....etc....................... Good old times


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/17/06
Posts: 6280

OP  3/23/12 7:02:32 AM#4
Originally posted by Elsabolts

Lord British and the Ultima games.

 I never found these hard, per se.  Just like most of the other RPGs of that era; Might and Magic, Bard's Tale, Wizardry and others.

All these games took a lot of detective work, they had huge worlds to explore, Ultima especially had alot of interaction with NPCs and things to do and figure out.  They certain stimulated your brain and had alot to them.  Playing without a strategy guide was certain an endeavor not for the fait of heart.

But I wouldn't say Ultima combat was hard.  In fact you could get a really kick ass returning axe really early that messed stuff up in Ultima 4 without tons of real effort.



Joined: 11/22/05
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3/23/12 7:02:42 AM#5

Wizardry.. RPG's have never been known for actual game-play challenge though.

For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

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Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/10/06
Posts: 3589

3/23/12 7:03:52 AM#6
Rpgs are ez mode. Mmorpgs are even easier. People will give you games which have horrible time sinks but they are still ez mode.

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Novice Member

Joined: 6/25/06
Posts: 1182

3/23/12 7:07:22 AM#7

Some of the Ultima Games

The Witcher 2 (combat was particularly hard)


There are others but these popped into my head. I don't remember WIzardry being that hard but I noted others mentioned it.


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/17/06
Posts: 6280

OP  3/23/12 7:10:52 AM#8
Originally posted by Nimar

For me personally, RPG is all around experience. When I get pulled to the game with its lore, story,gameplay,battles, atmosphere....etc....everything that make true RPG great. But,everybody has his own point of view of how games should be, so I want go any further in discussing this. Here are few of my personall favorite RPG:

The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, Baldurs Gate I & II, Neverwinter Nights, Fallout, Icewind Dale I & II, Mass Effect (just first part), Morrowind, Kotor, Witcher I & II, Arcanum: Of Steamwork and Magik Obscura.....etc....................... Good old times

I don't disagree at all.  In fact I agree completely and is why  Ilike them.


I just think this idea of combat challenge in RPG is a bit of a canard.  And I believe it is one of the reasons a large set of people never take raiders who want better rewards than everyone else seriously.


Many of these great RPGs really are not that challenging when it comes to combat.  In fact their best thing when it came to combat was letting you do it your way not being super hard.  Especially in  games like the Fallouts.


Whenever I see these arguments in MMORPGs forums that their needs to some kind of greater reward due to skill or whatever, yet every raider knows that most raids are gated by gear.  Many raiders grind potion ingredients over and over just because they had to compensate.  I sit there scratch my head and say almost every RPG worked this way and I didn't think I was some super awesomely skilled person because I came up with an effective build and got good equipment. 


The only thing I ever see referenced is that there is some puzzle pattern you need to figure out/memorize to do some boss or other.  These puzzles are rarely that hard though and are never as important as gearing up.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/09
Posts: 226

3/23/12 7:12:42 AM#9

the first dragon warrior, baldurs gate series, demon and dark souls, diablo 2 in hardcore mode and i ca gaurentee the combat itself is hard in these games not matter what you do in these games the comabt is hard demon souls u cant even really out lvl anything if u want a hard rpg i recommend playing the souls series.


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/17/06
Posts: 6280

OP  3/23/12 7:13:11 AM#10
Originally posted by Distopia

Wizardry.. RPG's have never been known for actual game-play challenge though.

No. I played all the wizardry games and while I will stipulate figuring out what to do may have been challenging.  The combat itself was the same as any other RPG of its kind(might and magic, bard's tale, etc) and once you had the right stuff was pretty easy.    I murderlized things with my faerie Ninja using a Canus Corpus.


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3/23/12 7:15:30 AM#11

theres a ton of jrpgs that are hard also (nearly all of them tbh lol)



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Posts: 881

3/23/12 7:20:08 AM#12

Some Final T2 and all of T3 in AoC was ridiculously hard to down at their releases. Took my guild 2 weeks to do the world first 1st boss in T3. If one single toon was out of place for one second every 45 sec over a 10 min fight it was an instant wipe.


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OP  3/23/12 7:20:30 AM#13
Originally posted by zephermarkus

the first dragon warrior, baldurs gate series, demon and dark souls, diablo 2 in hardcore mode

I personally do not find diablo and games like it all that hard.


But I would like to ask:  Why is normal Diablo combat itself any harder than Diablo hardcore?


I mean it literally can't be because its the same.  In fact in hardcore you get better items.  There is a more sever penalty.  But that just means you have to start over the actually playing of the game is still just as easy.  And the more you play it the easier it gets as you become familar with what all the various things will do.


This is of course nothing new.  The Rogue-likes that Diablo copied hardcore mode from had this since the early 80s.  But many rogue-likes did not have "harder" game play than other RPGs.  You just had to be extremely careful about your decisions.

They certainly felt different and the perma-death aspects of them are very important for how the gameplay experience feels.


But perma-death merely means you must be VERY VERY careful and you absolutely must have a high prioroty on escape tactics.

It changes your tactics and tactical considerations.  It does not make the game inherently harder. 




Advanced Member

Joined: 5/17/06
Posts: 6280

OP  3/23/12 7:21:06 AM#14
Originally posted by Shari

theres a ton of jrpgs that are hard also (nearly all of them tbh lol)


What makes their combat hard?


Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/05
Posts: 866


3/23/12 7:21:34 AM#15

Super Mario RPG - hardest combat ever!!!
Trying to time your attacks to get that extra boost in damage was tough!!!
OOOO, Square and Nintendo, you anger me so with your tough combats!


  User Deleted
3/23/12 7:26:25 AM#16

Dark souls 4 shure!


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Posts: 522

I'm here......wheres the fish?

3/23/12 7:28:50 AM#17

Star Ocean 2 the main quest is linear but if you want the really cool stuff you gotta work for it


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Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/08
Posts: 169

3/23/12 7:32:51 AM#18

If a game has linear progression of any sort, in other words leveling or gear upgrade or more spells/weaponry after prolonged gametime, "difficulty level" becomes almost an irrelevant measure. You can always outlevel or outgear the content to a point, where you last longer or deal more damage than the encounter would need, and thus you choose to make it easier. Similary if its a multiplayer game, you can always overpower the encounter by bringing more numbers. This is the fundamental reason of instanced raid dungeons where encounters can be designed for level, gear level and player amounts to provide sufficient challenge.


Game mechanisms usually allow you also to choose to do the encounter with less than what it was designed for. Especially in a team, this usually provides that "I'm so glad we actually made it, but not sure if we can make it again". However, in a typical tunnel run where content is spoonfed to you while you develop your character in pre-planned-way, this is impossible. Only an open world would allow this, and it is the very reason open world is valued above tunnel run.


MMORPG's usually can't be made in a way that single player content would be "hard to exectue" as in game mechanisms. The characters are generally simple, the AI is even more simple and at best you can overcome stronger enemies by utilzing thier messed up pathing. This is "by nature" to MMORPG engines these days. There as individual encounters that are exceptions. It is true though that an MMO is meant to be played in a team, and this is where the "hard" to execute comes to play. When you start to think about groups (yes, prular) fighting content, you quickly can envision several events where challenge is in positioning, timing, teamwork and sticking to the fight even against odds. People usually tend to ruin this experience by overpowering the enemy, so its left up to the player to choose to seek for the challenge.


I've found myself to be the kind of a person who seeks to attain the challenge by purposefully go into encounters with the least possible amount of people and utilize player skills. In DAoC - Vanilla a Dragon Raid was originally the end game super encounter, that usually brought a raid of atleast 40, up to 150. It was an ecstasy for our team to be able to make it with 8, and then with 6. 


I dont disagree with you though, most of the mechanics these days are designed to provide entertainment, flashly lights and "rewards" in terms of loot or progression in levels. It has been a while since I've felt that our team as achieved something significant, by mere playing better than the environment, the enemy player, or designers meant.

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Posts: 464

3/23/12 7:34:59 AM#19

Personally I wouldn't say that a mmorpg or rpg is hard. I'd rather rank them how much time you have to sink into the area, the gears/skills/party needed to obtain X to continue to Y to defeat Z. 

When I think about it, I don't think I have experienced something "hard" in a rpg ever, more likely a rpg could be difficult with traps and such, but I can't really think of anything else.. :/ 


Rpg's could be difficult is pretty much what I was going at. =p

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Novice Member

Joined: 4/23/11
Posts: 34

3/23/12 7:36:23 AM#20

only souls games come in mind,unless you dont have  ps3 or xbox and fromsoft will have announcement soon  it could be dark souls for pc

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