It’s Okay To Play Games On Easy

Or... "How I finally sucked up my pride and beat The Last of Us"

I was late to the current generation of consoles. My Xbox One wasn’t purchased until two years after it was released and my Playstation 4 was a whopping 18 months after that. By technology standards, I’m already irrelevant. Because of all of that, I’m catching up on a ton of games I missed – both in this generation and at the end of the last.

The Last of Us vs My Pride

One of the first? The Last of Us, of course.

All I had ever heard and read about The Last of Us is how amazing the story was and that the remastered edition brought it even more to life. Because I’m a tough guy, I generally try to play each new game on one of the highest difficulty settings. I fail. A lot. And I was getting bogged down with this phenomenal game over a silly issue of pride.

Come on – I beat Contra back in the day at a pretty young age (though, admittedly, I find it incredibly frustrating these days). There’s no way I’m going to let this one beat me down.

Finally, a friend recommended that I change the difficulty setting on The Last of Us to the easiest setting because the game isn’t about the combat, it’s about the story. I have my praises as well as my critiques of the Naughty Dog style of gameplay – but we all know they’re predominantly focused on story.

Hey, everyone? Uh… I played The Last of Us on easy mode. My secret it out. About one third of the way through, I just decided to swallow my pride and finish this masterpiece… on easy mode.

Guess what? It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had in video games.

Don’t get me wrong – The Last of Us is not, by any means, one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played. I’ll probably even get some comments about how I’m pathetic. That’s okay – I know how the Internet works. It simply hit me at a time where I have way too many games to play and it almost feels silly to me to be playing a game from 2013 when 2017 is one of the greatest years in gaming of the last decade. Especially if it’s difficult.

This newfound freedom can’t be exercised in every possible situation, however. There’s no chance of an Easy Mode in Dark Souls and we’re certainly not going to see handicaps instituted in Overwatch. But for games when I have an option? I’ll choose the easy option every time.

Change It Up

If I want to go back and play through it again on a different difficulty? I can! It used to be a source of pride for me to show that I had played games in a variety of methods. Trophies and Gamerscore matter a lot in the scheme of life, after all. But I simply left too many games unbeaten and some nearly untouched because of my idiotic refusals to succumb. I’d rather experience an amazing story in a fraction of the time than agonize over a single play area with a boss I can’t beat.

How about you? Do you feel the pressure to defeat games on their hardest difficulty? Or do you prefer substance over frustration?

Author: Ben Smith


Ben has been playing video games since he had a bottle in his hand. Whether that bottle was full of milk or Kentucky’s finest bourbon is for you to figure out. He’s owned every major console but most of them only as a pathetic excuse for an adult. Ben loves playing games when he’s not spending time with his wife and two kids or otherwise occupied with eating cake.

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