Difficulty is usually an option when it comes to modern video games, as most new titles offer a variety of difficulty settings that can tailor to one’s playing abilities. However, there are some games that remove this concept entirely, instead they push the difficulty of a game to the limit. This is not normally used just to artificially inflate the length of the title, but as a core mechanic and concept for the title itself. Some games like Dark Souls not only use difficulty to offer a challenge but as the entire ideology of the franchise and story itself.
However, when looking back over the most difficult games of 2016, we decided to add a few parameters for this list. One of which is that the game may have difficulty settings, but the default choice must be hard. If you have to select a different mode for the game to actually be hard, then this is not going to be included. Another important note is that buggy, broken, or generally glitchy games will not be included if they are the reason the game is hard. With that being said, here are 10 games that may make you shatter your keyboard in frustration.
Dark Souls 3
In a series that’s known for its difficulty, Dark Souls 3 was a brilliant culmination to a fantastic game franchise. With challenging encounters, tense PvP, and some great boss battles, Dark Souls 3 is a juggernaut of an RPG. It’s also a game that is incredibly difficult, yet this is a core idea of the game as you need to learn from your mistakes as you fight for every inch of ground.
Hyper Light Drifter
This pixelated action game is one that should be experienced by everyone at least once as the beautiful art, fantastical combat, and difficult boss fights make it a tale worth remembering. The combat is also incredibly challenging due to the frantic and fast nature which most encounters take place. Hyper Light Drifter is a gorgeous title that will not hold back for anyone looking to unlock the secrets of its story.
The XCOM games are normally quite difficult, but the sequel took this to another level. With terrifying aliens and puzzling encounters, you will need to really plan every movement if you want to succeed. Oh, did we mention that if you lose a team member they are gone forever? Yeah, let’s just say naming them after your friends and family isn’t always the best idea.
This title has been in early access for some time, but that has hardly diluted the amazing gameplay and art style. Offering interesting and tense twists on turn-based action, this Lovecraftian horror game may be the most difficult games of 2016. With a variety of diseases, perma-death mechanics, and truly powerful foes, Darkest Dungeon is a game that takes no prisoners.
Going from terrifying horrors to the calmness of nature, The Witness is the next game to make our list. Don’t let its colorful looks fool you, The Witness offers some borderline stupidly difficult puzzles to solve. When you have to take pictures and jot down notes for future puzzles to solve, you know you’re in for a challenge.
Salt and Sanctuary
Okay back to grim and terrifying games, as Salt and Sanctuary answers the question of what the Dark Souls series would look like as a 2-D side scroller. This is quite a difficult game, that offers some of the hardest bosses in recent memory, along with a punishing death mechanic. Salt and Sanctuary is a must play for anyone who is a fan of the Souls series.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
This might be a surprising addition as the core story mode itself is only moderately challenging. However, if you are a completionist like myself, trying to get three stars on the various challenges is borderline impossible. With short time windows, you will need precise movements and true understanding for how to chain the dozens of different skills that you’ve acquired. Make sure to bring a second controller, because you will need one to throw against the wall after you fail for the 50th time.
Street Fighter V
Street Fighter V is probably the best example of “easy to play, hard to master” as this fighting game will put your skils to the test. Sure you can beat up the A.I. all you want, but the real difficulty spike happens once you enter the online portion. Fights will no longer be easy challenges, as intricate combos and understanding for the other character’s move sets will factor in. SF V online is not for those looking for a relaxing brawl.
Fire Emblem Fates Conquest
The Fire Emblem series has always been difficult and this newest installment is no exception. The A.I. is smart and the actual strategy portion of this title is quite demanding. You will need to seriously plan ahead some battles if you want top succeed.Given this game is all about building relationships between your characters, the fact that they will permanently die only makes the sting of defeat worse.
Furi’s probably the best example of a boss rush style video game since the almost the entire title is made up of just 10 encounters. However, don’t let this fool you as these fights are quite challenging. With no new mechanics added into the game at all, you are forced to master the four core ideas of the combat. Bosses will kick your ass all over the battlefield if you don’t play smart, tactically dissecting each pattern they have. You’re in for one hell of a fight if you pick up Furi.
Dark Souls 3
In a series that's known for its difficulty, Dark Souls 3 was a brilliant culmination to a fantastic game franchise. With challenging encounters, tense PvP, and some great boss battles, Dark Souls 3 is a juggernaut of an RPG. It's also a game that is incredibly difficult, yet this is a core idea of the game as you need to learn from your mistakes as you fight for every inch of ground.