Enter the Gungeon is tough, like really tough. It’ll chew you up and spit you out in a hailstorm of bullets with no obligation to fight fair. Through its lead-lined walls lies a challenge that even the veterans struggle with. So why is dying over and over so much fun?
Difficulty in games, no matter how you look at it, has changed over the years. The entire purpose of arcade machines was to take as many quarters as possible from their unsuspecting victims. They had to be difficult in order to fulfill their purpose but despite that, they still remain some of the most influential titles to date. ETG falls under the same category for me as the difficulty it shares with most others from the roguelike genera simply is another defining feature that makes it what it is. With over 170 hours in the game, I can conclusively say that it just wouldn’t be the same without the grind for perfection. The constant battle to get a few rooms farther than last time is made fresh by the stedy tricle of progress letting you know you are in fact getting somewhere. It’s a formula that’s still being perfected by these types of games but when done right, it’s a satisfaction that’s impossible to recreate without the brutal challenge.
A common argument for the addition of easier modes in many modern games stems from the belief that games should be accessible to everyone. Despite it, however, we’re starting to see that some of the most iconic games to come out in recent years, those by FromSoftware and indie devs, come about with any attempt to reforge their creations into something they’re not. In the absence of the easy mode is the proverbial “get good”, that is more a statement to how the games where meant to be played than anything else. Their design is that the player should throw themselves at the wall so many times that failure no longer fazes them. This core ideology works perfectly with the Gungeon as only a skill set committed to muscle memory will allow you access to its deepest depths. It, while still having a story to uncover, works by allowing the player to create their own tales in the madness of the shootout. It’s not hard to see why such a following has congregated around the game in recent years, it’s impossible to ignore the call of the Gungeon.
Graduated from MIT with 2nd class honours. I play games during my free time to de-stress. I also do some writing here and there. Hope you enjoy my articles!