View Full Version : Difficult Games Without Massive HP (ie. Relies on Dodging & Blocking)

09-02-2012, 09:40 AM
Hello, gents, and welcome to another "I'm looking for games please to god help me" edition of R-F's threads, with your host R-F!

This time around, I'm looking for games that are difficult (ie. you can easily get killed and have to restart a level / reload from last save) without having massive HP on enemies. If I hit an enemy, it should probably be going down or be down from my second swing, as I should if I get hit by an enemy. Obviously, dodging, blocking etc is necessary in these situations. Massive HP on bosses is fine, though.

Dwarf Fortress is probably the best example I can give of this. You either get missed, block, get a finger chopped off or get SLICED IN HALF. There're very few other examples because game designers suck. :(

Games I don't want:-
The Elder Scrolls - Every single one has had a massive HP grind on enemies on harder difficulties. For a game with dodging and shields, this is retarded.
Fable Series - These games are not hard.
Kingdoms of Amalur - REALLY not hard. Even on Hard, enemies go down in a swing or two from my greatsword, I never block and they barely do any damage. Only bosses are at all challenging, but due to the nature of the game's "I WIN" button, they are not.

Most of the times, in games, I hack so that I have low-ish HP and do massive damage. Makes it far, far more fun.

Drake Sigar
09-02-2012, 10:32 AM
You're not gonna' find many RPGs built like that (I say RPGs because your post mentions RPGs you don't want, implying there's RPGs you do want). The Arma Series, Mount & Blade, and the Rainbow Six series are all games where you can easily kill or be killed in one hit.

And I agree with you, my sword should not be as ineffectual as a foam baton.

09-02-2012, 11:32 AM
First Person Shooters are rich with this. Stalker, SWAT and anything realistic.

Shooters(as in twin stick shooters) is easy, one hit deaths are common place, and if you'd like a hard game venture into 'bullet hell' shooters.

Sumo Tori Dreams, melee combat and not a health bar in sight, you want hard? Try fighting as a man who is so drunk he can barely stand

09-02-2012, 11:49 AM
The Witcher with the Combat Rebalance mod is exactly what you're looking for.

09-02-2012, 02:18 PM
Dark So- oh wait, wait. No. Monster Hunt- pppffftt! No, no.

Okay. Wizardry (the game) hates the player so much that it usually gives your characters a measly 2 HP if you're not careful with the Vitality stat. Not to mention how low the HP stat with every single starting character players create themselves.

Then, there's, well, every Rouge-like ever. Permadeath, brutally difficult and all. NetHack or ZangbandTK, for example.

I Wanna Be the Guy is impossible.

Quick edit: well, maybe IWBtG is overkill, so Super Meat Boy? Which reminds me... Binding of Isaac

09-02-2012, 02:54 PM
Zeno Clash was all about timing. While you gradually unlock new moves, the game is 90% skill and learning how to time your puches and blocks at the right time.

I hate to recommend console stuff, but Ninja Gaiden is exactly what you are looking for.

If you want something more rpg-like, Morrowind is actually pretty close to what you are looking for. It isn't nearly as "balanced" as the later Elder Scrolls games, so most fights end up terribly one-sided for or against the player. Weapon accuracy is decided by dice rolls, your weapon skill and the target's armor. You either hit or you miss completely.

09-02-2012, 04:15 PM
the original Alien v Predator... back when there was no option to save part way through a level. no autosaves or quicksaves or any saves. Oh, no other game has made me feel so tense.

Obviously, the Predator levels aren't so challenging.

09-02-2012, 04:35 PM
You're not gonna' find many RPGs built like that (I say RPGs because your post mentions RPGs you don't want, implying there's RPGs you do want).
Why? There are quite a lot. It's JRPGs that tend to go for HP bloat. Pretty much all the lower level D&D games have sensible HP ranges. Even higher level D&D has sensible HP ranges. Then you've got blobbers where enemy damage scales closely with your hit points as you progress, like pretty much all of them. You'll often die in a few hits from the more powerful enemies in games like Wizardry and The Bard's Tale, though low level enemies become too weak to really affect you.

09-02-2012, 05:00 PM
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

09-02-2012, 05:10 PM
I'd be genuinely surprised if you haven't played it yet, but Doom 2 and its mods really emphasize the importance of dodging on higher difficulty levels. Only the weakest enemies in the game use hitscan weapons, for every other monster you're expected to learn the timing of their attacks and react accordingly. Additionally, higher difficulties increase the amount of monsters on a given map, but not their health.

Also, I believe the Project Nevada mod for Fallout: New Vegas allows you to lower the hitpoints of your own character and your enemies, making firefights a lot quicker and more reliant on reflexes rather than tanking.

I agree with your general sentiment, just increasing the health of every enemy in the game to unreasonable levels always feels like a lazy way of adding difficulty. It's why I never bothered to finish Mass Effect on Insanity. The fights themselves aren't much more challenging, but every enemy takes ages to kill which means most larger encounter take half an hour of repeating the same strategy.

09-02-2012, 05:51 PM
Infinity Blade 2 if you have an iPad2. ;)

09-02-2012, 06:14 PM
Dark Souls and Demon's Souls! While not PC games, they are fitting your bill perfectly. You don't block or dodge properly, you die. You've got too much equipment and thus can't move fast enough, you die. You're not weary of the world around you, you die. The games are challenging, but dodging, blocking, loads of different weapon and enemy types and the art design make them really quite good.

Other than that ... yeah, roguelikes and mods!

09-02-2012, 06:21 PM
Monster Hunter Trii can be emulated. It is the easiest of the saga but it's still a challenge.

09-02-2012, 06:55 PM
Bushido Blade, if you can emulate it. Kill people with one fell strike and get your own arms and legs severed just as easily.

09-02-2012, 07:07 PM
Yeah, you completely described Demon's Souls/Dark Souls. You can spend a half hour fighting your way to a boss, get one shotted by said boss, then get dropped back where you began, only now you have just a fraction of your maximum health, all the enemies in the level have respawned, and if you don't get back to your corpse (which is lying at the boss' feet) without dying again, you lose all the currency and xp you had. Not only do you have to block and dodge to survive, but if you mistime even by a hair, there's a good chance you are going to die. Too bad they aren't on PC (yet?).

Birdman Tribe Leader
09-02-2012, 07:26 PM
Spelunky is really delightful if you haven't played it yet.

09-02-2012, 07:50 PM
Mount & Blade Warband. Or With Fire and Sword, which ups the stakes by making it perfectly possible for you to die to a lucky musket shot even in full plate armour.