So I was playing NBA 2K16 MYCareer the other day, and we beat our opponent by about 25 or 30. This was the second or third consecutive game doing so. Now I was on Superstar difficulty, which as most of you know is the level before Hall Of Fame (the hardest level). These blowouts were boring, so I was looking to make the competition a little more…..well…..competitive. Now I don’t remember the team I played against but….
When I tell you that I have never experienced so much BULLSHIT in my life!!!! Fade away threes. Andrew Bogut hitting threes. ANDREW BOGUT!!!!! Opponents were shooting 80% from the field while my cpu teammates couldn’t dream of knocking down an open shot. Every pass became a turnover. The AI weren’t playing smarter, they were just outright cheating. I was hot, steaming. So I looked at the wall, and looked down at my controller. Looked back at the wall, then I looked back down at my controller. Then I chucked my con…..Ok, I didn’t do it. Not because I wanted to preserve the controller, but because my wife would have yelled and told me it was just a video game and I am being childish. Which would have FURTHER infuriated me. In reality all I wanted was….
So I became curious, I said to myself…..
“What up fam?” Self replied.
“Do you know if all sports games condone such behavior?”
“Let’s find out.”
So what do I do? I thought to start Madden, but we all know that All-Madden is Green Bay Packer hat level cheese. (Just ask Jerz what he thinks about All-Madden. That itself can be its own post.) You know the drill. DBs mirroring your WRs routes. LBs with 40 inch verticals to catch interceptions. And PLEASE do not forget the inability to run the ball. Just the usual Madden shenanigans. So next, I move over to FIFA. Now I am not the greatest FIFA player of all time, but I played soccer (futbol) my entire life up and through high school. So I understand the game, know the players and teams, etc. I decided to play a half on ‘World Class’ which, like Superstar on 2K, is the difficulty setting before the most difficult which is ‘Legendary’. The first half was cool, and I went into halftime tied 1-1. Anybody’s game right? WRONG, I lost 4-1 after switching to Legendary at halftime. Now you do not even need to know much about soccer to realize that is a lot of scoring in a half for one team.
Next up was MLB: The Show. The Show is not too bad when it comes to fielding and pitching, and I can live with making a mistake pitch and giving up a home run to a power hitter. Even the occasional error is fine. But what I will not stand for is guessing pitches right just to foul them off repeatedly. I refuse to hit every pitch slowly back to the pitcher. I refuse to have multiple pitchers take me into the 7th inning with a no-hitter in 0-0 games. Last but not least, there was NBA Live. EA Sports has been doing this thing for years when you are on the hardest level. The games will be close and then, in the last 5-10 minutes of the game, the AI will just decide that you will not beat them by any means. If you are up 10, you will probably lose by 15. Down 5? Probably 20.
Why does realism have to suffer to prove that the highest difficulty is “hardcore”? These are supposed to be simulations, a reasonable replica of what goes on in real life sports. What is so fun about watching the Philadelphia 76ers shoot lights out and beat any team by 20? NOTHING! The integrity of your product should not take a hit just to prove a point. The gap between the second hardest and hardest difficulties is astounding. I see it almost as a slap in the face. I am not losing or playing poorly because of anything in my control. I am losing and playing poorly just because the AI literally knows what I am going to do as well as what I want to do. In order to win at these difficulties, you usually have to play the most unrealistic brand of that sport. Yet on an easier difficulty, I win with minimal effort and become bored. Play straight up at a higher level and it’s almost impossible to score/win. There has to be a balance somewhere right? Do the developers just not care enough to address it? Pretty sure it’s the latter.