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5 Video Game Difficulty Spikes We’ll Never Forgive

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“Say, you look like you know your way around a spork,” is the opening line you'll usually hear before being enrolled in a suicide mission that reeks of unfair difficulty spikes. “How do you fancy infiltrating that top-secret bunker over there and eliminating a few hundred elite soldiers? You will? Great! Allow me to show you the door. Don't forget your ammo pouch!”

Before you're even able to wrap your head around the situation — you're in, spork intact and a health bar twenty times lower and more breakable than the IT grunts that wallow in the server rooms. But it's far too late to back out, and you've got a job to do. A job that, in all honesty, might just have a worthy payoff and a healthy lump of XP waiting on the other side. But you're inexperienced — and it shows. So what do you do? Why, you wing it, of course. Just as you did in these five games, you bite the bullet and embrace the spike. Yes, even with a spork.


5. The Courthouse (Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus)

Wolfenstein 2 The New Colossus - Courthouse Battle ( I am death incarnate & no HUD ) 4k/60Fps

The Nazi-hunting, bullet-proof B.J. Blazkowicz was perhaps one of the greatest additions to the testosterone-fueled gaming roster of all time, with all the right skills and tools to challenge even the likes of DOOM and other bullet-frenzy video games. However, despite his solid reputation as being one of the most armoured combat veterans in the world — there was still an obstacle just about big enough to push him to breaking point.

As you push into the second act, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus quickly turns sour as you suddenly find yourself embedded in a courthouse swarming with enemy soldiers. But unlike before, where you would usually just obliterate anything in your path, Blazkowicz is instead restricted of most power and skill, reducing him to an almost human-like bullet sponge. Spoiler: it isn't fun — especially on those harder difficulties.


4. Hell House (Final Fantasy 7 Remake)

Final Fantasy 7 Remake - Hell House Boss Fight

Square Enix did a pretty tidy job when it came to reigniting the former fires of the best-selling Final Fantasy chapter. So much, that the infamous Hell House was able to reprise its roll as one of the most frustrating battles in the entire series. Only, the remake built on its early design and annoyingly turned it into a full-fledged boss battle. And it was hard. Like, stupidly hard.

After ploughing through the first half of the game with little to no challenge, the spike eventually slaps you in the face like a lead balloon. But it isn't by an elite Shinra force, or anything like that. It's from a house…on stilts….with missiles attached to it. Overpowered and tediously evasive, it comes at you with all guns blazing, ready to shred you and your one and only ally into ash and metal. And, having only Aerith by your side, you're forced to engage without the required skills to make a mockery out of it.


3. Ornstein & Smough (Dark Souls)

Dark Souls Remastered - Ornstein & Smough Boss Fight (1080p 60fps) PS4 PRO

A Souls veteran will more than likely screw their lips up and raise an eyebrow if you ask them about Ornstein and Smough's overall difficulty. A newcomer to the series, however, will spill a bucket of tears and painfully recall the endless hours it took to build enough skill in order to defeat such colossal foes.

Dark Souls isn't easy, regardless of what hardcore fans of the series will tell you. It becomes less patronising with the more hours you pour into it, sure — but it still isn't easy in the slightest. And Ornstein and Smough, truth be told — is not an easy battle to tackle. It is, in essence, a ten-minute slog filled with heartache and unhinged torture. It's also partly the reason why many players tend to ditch the wagon partway through, surprise, surprise.


2. Nemesis (Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor)

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Nemesis System - E3 2014 Trailer

Being laughed at is one thing after failing in a mission. But having the game literally rip you apart and continue to bulk out the difficulty, on the other hand, is just pure evil. Annoyingly, that's how Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis system works. It pokes fun at you for dying, and rather than giving you a helping hand to push you into the next part of the story, it instead crams in more for you to tackle. Fail one too many times, and you'll have to restart the game from scratch.

The Nemesis system works like this: you kill a certain captain in a nexus of high-level enemies. That captain then gets replaced by a lower-level enemy. Before you know it, you're witnessing an entire army rise to power and become way too powerful for you to handle. Of course, it can start off relatively easily, but if you fail to keep a lid on the growing forces — then you'll soon find yourself drowned in floods of foes all ten times more powerful than your ragged self. Sadly, it can either make or break your time in an otherwise remarkable region.


1. “Demolition Man” (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City)

GTA Vice City - Walkthrough - Mission #11 - Demolition Man (HD)

All you had to do was — wait, hang on. Oh, yeah, wrong script. All you had to do was fly a RC plane into a disused building and plant a series of bombs in under seven minutes, TV!” It didn't seem that complex on the tin, and in all fairness, planting a few little bombs was nothing compared to half of the things we had to do in earlier Grand Theft Auto chapters. And yet, the infamous “Demolition Man” mission just so happened to be torture on wings, hand-made by the prickly pincers of Satan himself.

For starters, controlling the RC car is ridiculously tough. It's as if Rockstar thought it would be hilarious to just make aviation like skating on ice — with the clouds being another part of the rink. And then, there's the narrow hallways, the volley of endless fire, and, of course, the infamous countdown timer. It all contributed towards making the worst mission in the entire series. All in all, it was the difficulty spike nobody wanted to face. And so, with that said, here's hoping Rockstar let up a little and give us broken players a break for the upcoming definitive edition. Please.

Had enough of the harsh difficulty spikes? Looking for more content? You could always take a look at one of these lists:

5 Video Game Moments That Will Have You Sweating Bullets

5 Best Video Game Bullet Cams of All Time

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.