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10 Hardest Video Games of 2024 (So Far)

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Dragon's Dogma 2 cover in 10 Hardest Video Games of 2024 (So Far)

How is it that we are still in the first half of 2024 and gaming is already exploding with such massive hits? So far, we've seen newly released games that are innovative, breathtaking, and, dare I say, grueling? Gamers truly are spoilt for choice when it comes to new games worth their time and money. Yet, not every new game released in 2024 thus far puts up a good challenge. So, if you're looking for games that will push you to bring your A-game on every run, check out our list of the hardest video games of 2024 so far.

10. SaGa: Emarald Beyond

SaGa Emerald Beyond - Official Siugnas Trailer

First up, we have the role-playing latest entry in the SaGa franchise, Emerald Beyond. It follows six protagonists who traverse the fantastical realm called Beyond, completing quests and slaying monsters. While you can learn the ropes of SaGa: Emerald Beyond’s combat, it’s often aggressive, hard to predict, and challenging. Furthermore, the difficulty curve can spike out of nowhere, keeping you on your toes throughout your playthrough.

9. Another Crab's Treasure

Another Crab's Treasure - Launch Trailer | PS5 Games

Alternatively, you can consider the soul-like action-adventure, Another Crab’s Treasure. You guessed it. The game takes you underwater to take on the role of Kril, the hermit crab, and slay monsters. With trash bags as armor, you’ll set out to save the ocean from a mysterious infection. Undoubtedly a huge task, Another Crab’s Treasure tries to ease the burden of Dark Souls and Lies of P. Yet, it still retains that tough Soulslike flavor, balancing adorable and challenging gameplay with ease. 

8. Contra: Operation Galuga

Contra: Operation Galuga | Reveal Trailer

If cute and challenging doesn’t work, run-and-gun arcade Contra: Operation Galuga is another option to consider. It’s a reimagining of the ‘80s classic, complete with iconic weapons, new enemies, bosses, intense co-op action, and much more. Despite the easy, normal, and hard difficulty options, Contra: Operation Galuga remains a challenging game. Yet it’s the tough gameplay that made it a classic back then, and now.

7. Balatro

Balatro - Official Launch Trailer

It’s easy to undermine deck-building games, but poker-inspired, roguelike Balatro proves card games can still put up a good challenge. It tasks you with building and combining the most powerful decks that can take on the opponent. However, earning the most chips won’t come easy. You have up to eight stakes, which ramp up difficulty. What’s more? The challenge grows exponentially, giving you the perfect game to really push your skills to their limits.

6. Pepper Grinder

Pepper Grinder | Launch Trailer

Next up is the action-packed pirate adventure game Pepper Grinder, which follows two buddies, a seafaring soul called Pepper and her super-powered drilling device called Grinder. Together, they embark on the traditional platforming journey, except using Grinder to create alternate paths. Retro fans will love the classic appeal of Pepper Grinder. But more so, the tough boss stages and thrilling battles.

5. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown

Prince of Persia The Lost Crown - Reveal Gameplay Trailer

Not only is the action-adventure Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, featuring the breathtaking mythological world of Persia, worth your time, it's also consistently grueling. That way, you maintain steady pacing that keeps you on your toes throughout your playthrough. Moreover, your run-through starts easy, with relatively simpler enemies to defeat. Thereafter, combat picks up pace, alongside more demanding platforming. If you want to challenge yourself, you can take on the Immortal difficulty level, which gives you absolutely no room for error.

4. Pacific Drive

Pacific Drive - Drive, Survive, Repeat - Gameplay Trailer | PS5 Games

Difficult games don’t always have to involve combat. They can be first-person driving survival games like Pacific Drive. You’ll drive across a reimagining of the Pacific Northwest area, which will have all sorts of supernatural dangers lurking in the dark. With your car as your only lifeline, you’ll scavenge for supplies and drive like hell in the hopes of making it out of the spooky Pacific Northwest alive. If not to test your reflexes in the face of danger, then check out Pacific Drive for the simple reason of standing out in design, originality, and willful difficulty.

3. Tekken 8

Tekken 8 - State of Play Sep 2022 Announcement Trailer | PS5 Games

Car-based survival simulation games aside, check out the fighting game Tekken 8. As with most fighting games, Tekken 8 is an easy-to-learn, hard-to-master type of game. It also relies heavily on your opponent’s skills and show of mercy. With a functioning lobby available, you can always take the fight worldwide. Even as a veteran, Tekken 8 can prove challenging to memorize combos and movements. Further, you need to consider precise timing and the perfect window of opportunity to strike. Yet despite its high difficulty, finally mastering the gameplay is always rewarding, not just for you but also for future consecutive gaming sessions with friends.  

2. Hades 2

Hades II - Official Early Access Release Gameplay Showcase Trailer

The Early Access version of the rogue-like dungeon crawler Hades 2 is already proving to be a nightmare—the good kind. You’ll not only slay monsters in the Underworld but on the surface too. Coming from Hades, you’ll enjoy a softer landing. Many of the gameplay elements remain the same. However, Hades 2 adds lots of new content, including new weapons, mechanics, bosses, level designs, and much more. Some bosses are so tough, you’ll die a tad too many times before beating them. Meanwhile, the roguelike mode is determined to make every fresh run the toughest yet. 

1. Dragon's Dogma 2

Dragon's Dogma 2 - Main Trailer | PS5 Games

Inspired by Sicily, explore the fantastical world of Gransys and defeat the dragon Grigori. You’ll battle formidable monsters, traverse vast landscapes and take on diverse challenges in a cursed world. Often compared to Dark Souls, Dragon’s Dogma 2 infuses its difficulty within the adventure itself. That way, despite feeling like a tough game, you enjoy the blend of challenges and rewards the gameplay throws at you. Even as you run into all sorts of fearsome chimeras, cyclops and giant lizards and probably die, causing you to lose some precious minutes of progress, you gladly abide and try again.

So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our hardest video games of 2024 (so far)? Are there more games we should know about? Let us know over on our socials here.

Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.