Everyone likes a good challenge every once in a while with video games. Back in the NES days, we had to brave several adventures without the benefit of checkpoints or saves, trying to get it done in one shot. And several games continue to follow such a standard today, even if some people insist that they get some sort of relief when it comes to finishing them up. Alas, no such luck.
What games will eat you alive when it comes to stopping you from really moving forward without some effort? It’s one thing to offer a tough boss battle that you can’t get through or a puzzle that requires some thinking to solve, but it’s another when you have to die multiple times just to make some progress. And some of these games require you to do that.
We’ve decided to whittle down a list of some of the toughest games out there, focusing – for this article, anyway – on the PlayStation 3. Some are available in retail form, others downloadable, but all of them will give you a strong run for your money. The only question is if you’re able to keep up in return. Good luck.
Hard Corps Uprising (Konami, PlayStation Network)
Arc System Works took over on development for Konami’s side-scrolling Contra series, but it certainly didn’t back down when it came to challenging level design. Right from the start, the classic feel of Contra sinks in, as you pick up whatever weapons you can find while avoiding incoming bullets and enemies, which could easily take away your life. By the time you reach the first boss battle, it’s such a tough-as-nails encounter that you may find yourself perplexed when it comes to beating it. And if you think that’s crazy, just wait till you see what other enemies the developer has lined up for you…
Dark Souls/Demon’s Souls (Namco Bandai, retail)
Okay, let’s get this out of the way right now. You need to accept the fact that, playing either Demon’s Souls or its Dark Souls successor, you’re going to die – a lot. Even if you carry a powerful sword and shield, you’re going to come across an enemy that wipes the floor with you, whether it’s a smaller one that chips away at you while you try to get through an area, or a gargantuan beast that has no problem smothering the floor with your blood. Use save points (camp fires) as often as you can, converse with others to see if they have any advice, and just get ready for one mother of a fight – over and over again.
Catherine (Atlus, retail and PlayStation Network)
If you go into Catherine expecting a light-hearted dating simulator (which, quite honestly, is how the box art relates it to being), you’d better think again. This game is not only a wicked deviation from what you’d expect with relationship based games, but it’s also one tough mother when it comes to getting anywhere. Most of the game consists of climbing up puzzle-based grids, moving certain ones out and avoiding those that disappear underneath you.
Not only are they a pain in the ass to solve, but the dwindling time limit forces you to work quickly, or you succumb to your haunted dreams forever. Only a certain few of you managed to make it to the end of Catherine, true gluttons for punishment. The rest of you? It’s worth tackling, but don’t be surprised if you get upset.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 1 and 2 (Tecmo Koei, retail)
If you remember playing the original Ninja Gaiden games on Xbox, then you have a modest idea of just how tough these ninja action games can be. On the hardest difficulty, literally everything is thrown at you in both Sigma 1 and 2, keeping you on your toes as you perform nimble techniques with Ryu Hayabusa, while deflecting incoming attacks and cheap grabs.
Even on the normal difficulty settings, the games put up a ridiculous fight, requiring you to be fast on your feet, or turned into sashimi. And when you get to the boss fights – you either bring your A-game or fold up shop, because one hit – ONE HIT – from these guys could easily send you packing for ninja heaven.
Call of Duty Games (Activision, retail)
Picking up a Call of Duty game and daring to switch the difficulty to Veteran is asking a lot, but some of you are prepared for that sort of punishment. That said, newbies beware. All of the Call of Duty games – particularly Modern Warfare 3 and World At War – will throw everything but the kitchen sink at you on the hardest difficulty, whether it’s enemies with pinpoint accuracy on their aiming or grenades flying at you in a continuous manner, forcing you to flee or fry.
You’ll also need to remember that, on this hard setting, your health is already going to be at an all-time low. One wrong hit and you could easily be a casualty of war.
Wipeout HD (SCEA, PlayStation Network)
Sony’s futuristic racing game looks like it’s better suited for casual players than hardcore ones, but, honestly, once you get into the later races on the circuit, you’ll be amazed if you manage to place in the top three at all. That’s because Wipeout not only throws relentless enemies your way, but also some of the craziest track design the series has ever seen.
With walls that constantly pop up, forcing you to air brake like crazy while trying to keep some sort of momentum, the game also pits dangerous opponents against you, ones that aren’t afraid to ram you against the wall or hesitate in shooting you with a lethal power-up. Even playing against a group of friends, these guys will eat you for breakfast. Your best bet? Start with the easier races and pray you’ve got the skills to keep up in the long run.