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NaturalNines

Unique vs Challenging

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I was wondering what everyone's opinion was regarding the importance of a challenging game compared to a unique one.

No matter your preferred game type, if forced to choose would you rather the next game you play be ground breaking/unique yet easy or challenging yet hackneyed?
(including the game category you're referring to would be nice as well, for the sake of reference)

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Challenging.
I strongly believe that a lot of the good games out there are gemstones crafted from old ideas. Take a look at Starcraft II. It is really just a heavily competitive, challenging and balanced game whose mechanics date back to the Dune II days.
That works for proven genres of course, niche and emergent gameplay needs to exist still and I believe Kongregate is a good example of new ideas, and generally bad execution.

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At the moment, I prefer uniqueness, just 'cause so many of the genres we're familiar with are kinda generic now. The three-member party RPG is so standard that half the time you don't even need to pay attention to the tutorial, and ditto the shooter, the hack-n-slash down to button layout. Games used to take more risks to emphasize their theme; Vagrant Story went for a tactical approach targeting different limbs that had different resistances to different damage types with weapons you could customize blade, hilt and handle, capped with timing-based attacks like Paper Mario and an adrenaline system to balance risk/reward. It was some crazy-deep stuff .-. And it suited the character -- a cool-headed sellsword from a group that prides themselves on tactical knowhow. Everything matched thematically, and while the convoluted crafting system and bizarre real-time-turn-based combat likely turned away thousands of players, the ones who stayed on for the ride got a consistent, literary experience. Difficulty was simply a bi-product.

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Neither unique nor challenging are really what I look for - I look for artistic/literary value, wish fullfillment, and the types of gameplay and story/worldbuilding I like vs. types I'm not interested in. But if I have to pick between the two options here, I'd rather have unique. I think all games should be possible to win and not excessively frustrating, so I'm not a big fan of extremely challenging games. Edited by sunandshadow

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Challenging usually means doing nothing for an hour and then looking up the unintuitive solution from the internet so i dont like that. Uniqueness is just interesting for a while, it doesnt necessarily make the game fun...


But interesting is better than frustrating so ill go with that.

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I think all games should be possible to win and not excessively frustrating, so I'm not a big fan of extremely challenging games.


Challenging usually means doing nothing for an hour and then looking up the unintuitive solution from the internet so i dont like that

I should clarify. Both unique and challenging, in this hypothetical, are assumed to be achieved well. Challenging as in it strains your skills, forces you to react, makes you think. Orymus3's example of Starcraft II is a perfect example of challenging, in multiplayer if not the campaign. It's not impossible to beat your opponent, but if he utilizes his skills and resources moreso than you do you will most likely lose.

For unique, though, a great example is Chrono Trigger. Definitely not a challenging game by any means, but the unique inclusion of euclidean based areas of effect and the enemies that alter their behavioral patterns and stats mid-battle made it an incredibly fun game despite the lack of difficulty.

Either way thanks for the responses. I'm on the fence on this issue, personally.

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Orymus3's example of Starcraft II is a perfect example of challenging, in multiplayer if not the campaign. It's not impossible to beat your opponent, but if he utilises his skills and resources moreso than you do you will most likely lose.

It's also a perfect example of "get your arse kicked for a week, and then go read a solution from the wiki". Just memorising a single build sequence is enough to take you from the bottom of Bronze up to Silver/Gold.

I enjoyed StarCraft, but only when I was playing all day, every day. Now that I have stopped playing competitively, attempting to win a StarCraft match is an exercise in futility.

'Challenge' should not be confused with 'Complexity'. The former requires skill, while the latter just requires rote memorisation (StarCraft obviously has both challenge and complexity, but it is heavily weighted towards the latter).

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Neither. For me unique usually means the game is weird and uplayable and challenging means I can't play it because it's too hard. By default I categorize games with these words as bad (althrough there are plenty of exceptions, maybe more precise would be to say I approach such games with high suspicion). If I had to choose I would go for challenging (in the sense of Civilization, where you have 9 levels of difficulty, so even I can find one lousy mode I can beat).

Personally, I prefer games that were designed to be fun at the absolute top priority.

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Challenging. Uniqueness does not mean good. Plus, there are very few things that haven't been done in some form or another, and what is unique to one person is worn cliche to another. Get the execution right and give me a game that will make me work for the win.

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