Ryan Wilson

As the Hair Thins: These Hands Ain’t What They Used to Be

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What the hell? The first boss killed me?

Today, I launched up Ys: The Oath of Felghana, an action-RPG game I picked up for cheap on the last Steam summer sale, for the first time. Like most people, Steam sales have more than tripled my digital PC collection, yet many titles have lain untouched. On a normal day when I’d desire to play something new, I’d reach for my wallet instead of my collection, but with payday still a week away, I decided to save my money and begin to tackle my unplayed list.

Everything began to go downhill as soon as I selected “New Game”.

I was faced with a difficulty screen.

VERY EASY
EASY
MEDIUM
HARD
NIGHTMARE

Now, I have a method to determining what difficulty to play a new game on. If it’s a rental or review title, I will usually choose the Normal difficulty (only choosing Easy if I just want to get a review done and over with). However, if the game is too far past the expiration date of review relevancy or the game lasts only a few hours, I’ll choose Hard. Figuring Ys: The Oath of Felghana was released back in March, I figured it was a safe bet to choose “HARD”.

Boy, did that come and bite me in the ass.

At first, I was running through pretty easily. The starter enemies only took about an eighth of my life, and that was only if they were able to successfully get through my seemingly flawless attack pattern. Soon I found myself with maxed out starting gear and more gold than I really needed (with minimal grinding, nonetheless).

…then the first boss happened.

Let’s just say that my experience with “Dularn” didn’t go as well. He kicked my ass. Not once, not twice, but twenty-six times. Even with a little shameful GameFAQs consultation, I still couldn’t beat him. Pride kept me from just restarting the game and dropping the difficulty to Normal, even though this would result in, at most, an hour worth of progress lost. But, I soldiered on, finally taking him down with a sliver of health left on attempt 26 (made even more frustrating by the fact that on a few occasions, I had dropped him down to 1HP, only to slip up and die unheroically.

This is not an isolated incident for me. I had attempted to play through Max Payne 3 (again, purchased through the summer Steam sale) on the same Hard difficulty that I just 11 years ago could breeze through with ease. Now, I haven’t even completed Part 1 of the story because I’m in a difficulty rut.

As for Ys‘s second boss…I’d rather not talk about that.

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