When I say "Silent Hill 5", I mean the "Homecoming" game that just shipped. And when I say "totally done", I mean that I got a third of the way in and I'm stuck.
It's the police station. There are about eight of the axe-headed bastards between me and the exit. I can generally kill about five of them. Seven if I'm lucky. I have essentially no health at the save-point -- burned it all on the previous boss monster -- and there isn't enough in the game to be getting on with. I just failed to make it through, four times in a row. So I'm done.
(As per my usual rule for video game series, if I can't finish a game, I'm not interested in the sequel. Devil May Cry, I'm looking straight at you. Also Onimusha, next time one of those comes out.)
So tell me: why is there no Easy Mode in SH5? All the previous games, you could choose Easy as an option (for the combat, I'm not talking about the puzzles). There was a well-understood penalty for wimps: you couldn't get all of the variant plot endings, not without going back through the game on the higher difficulty modes. But in this game, your choices are Normal and Hard.
I played the four previous games in Easy Mode. I enjoyed them. I was happy with the endings I got. I was a fan of the series. With this new game, the designers seem to have decided that I was not enough of a fan, because they threw me off the bus.
Some games have adaptive difficulty. If SH5 does, I'm not feeling it. Some games offer you an Easy option after you've gotten your ass kicked a few times. SH5 doesn't -- at least, it hasn't happened to me, and the walkthroughs I found on the web don't mention it.
So who benefits from this? Were there people posting all over the gaming community, lamenting that the Wrong Kind of People were playing their precious survival horror game? Did people regret succumbing to temptation? I understand well the attraction of the dull path -- this comes up in adventure game design all the time, albeit with puzzle-solving skills rather than button-mashing. Players will take the easy way out, be it brute force or infinite health, and then complain that it made the game no fun. I get that.
But this isn't a new format. Anyone who is interested in this thing is probably satisfied with the original game model -- at least enough to have bought SH2, 3, and 4. It's not like there was a tide of hardcore gamers waiting to rush in as soon as Easy Mode was deleted.
Or was there?
Answers, tips, and infinite-health cheats welcome.
POSTSCRIPTUM, Nov 2016:
Over the years this post has become a comment magnet for people complaining about Silent Hill 5. It's a bit silly now, eight years later. The designers have long since moved on, and the franchise itself has come to a halt -- it has entered the realm of remake-reboot-or-reimagining.
(I thought "Shattered Memories" was great, speaking of.)
Anyway, there's no point adding more complaints now. I have turned off the comment thread on this post. Unfortunately that means the old comments are now invisible -- sorry.