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Sudden Javelin
Jul 6, 2009





In a perfect world, the difficulty curve in games would be, well, a curve, with battles or levels getting progressively harder until the finale, where the challenge would be at its highest. But in the blighted hellworld that we live in, this is not the case. Often there is something early in the game that is way harder than everything that came before it and harder than almost everything afterwards. Sometimes this might be down to mechanics - you may unlock busted moves or tools later in the game but the boss comes before you get any of that. Alternatively it might just be poorly designed. Whatever the case, this is the thread to discuss these frustrating brick walls and share your pain.

Couple things to get out the way first:

1. Don't take the thread title too literally. You can talk about early bosses that are just really hard but not the absolute hardest challenge. It's fine.

2. Obviously feel free to discuss this poo poo and talk about if you found something easier than everyone else but don't turn it into lovely bragging or "git gud". Nobody cares.

3. Careful with spoilers though hopefully the "early game" part of this means they won't be too prevalent.

I can throw some out to get the ball rolling:

Yakuza 0 - Kuze - Fresh in my memory as the last game I beat, you fight Kuze multiple times in the game but the first time is a lot harder than the rest. Before him, you've only fought basic goons that die quickly and don't do much in terms of combos, then this high ranking yakuza appears and demands you understand the mechanics to a degree that you haven't really needed yet. There's also nothing lying around you can hit him with and you don't have Beast style which is easily the most broken of the three basic styles. You probably won't be stuck for too long but it's a big jump.

Inazuma Eleven - Occult Team - This series is really good and it's a shame it hasn't had much in the way of localization, though in Europe we got a lot more of it than the US. In any case, it's an anime football (soccer) game set in a high school. Random battles are quick 4 v 4 affairs where you just have to score or take/keep possession of the ball within a time limit to win. Full 11-a-side football is for the story matches. The first one in the game has you against a creepy Halloween themed school, who get a scripted goal in the first half of the match. You have to go up 2-1 before full time, as a draw is game over (the only match in the game where this happens, usually it goes to extra time). As your first full match you'll have really poo poo players and absolutely no loving idea how to play properly. If you get through this, you can beat the whole game - one of the rare examples where it's literally the hardest thing in the main story (there are bonus matches that are harder, at least).

Pokemon Gold/Silver - Whitney's Miltank - Mostly just putting this here because I know somebody will mention it. Someone with better Pokemon knowledge can feel free to go into more detail, but essentially it's only the third gym, the Miltank is a brick wall that hits like a truck, and as a Normal type it's only weak to Fighting. Piss! Pissy balls!

hope you like my thread :)

Sudden Javelin fucked around with this message at 23:06 on Jan 26, 2022

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Shaman Tank Spec
Dec 26, 2003

*blep*





I would suggest Gozuki from Nioh 2.

Nioh 2 is a soulsborne game with very fast paced combat that requires a lot from the player, but is also immensely satisfying to play. When you start Nioh 2, you'll fight literally one or two normal enemies, round a corner and find yourself face to face with a loving 8 story tall horse demon man who can one shot you: Gozuki. At this point in the game you are still dressed in loving rags and using your starter weapons at level 1 because you started the game 3 minutes ago.

I beat my head against that loving horse-shaped wall for two hours before discovering you can run around him and find a path out of his combat arena, and then come back to actually fight the boss with a reasonable chance of beating him several hours later.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk3SQmpXgo8

Shaman Tank Spec fucked around with this message at 20:48 on Jan 26, 2022

midnight lasagna
Oct 15, 2016

this pit is full of stat boosters


Cheren from Pokemon Black 2 / White 2 isn't prohibitively difficult or anything, but he's the one gym leader in the whole series that you can't really cheese by hitting him with a supereffective move. Normal's only weakness is Fighting, and the only 2 Fighting type attacks you could have at that point in the game would require either grinding your starting Tepig to level 17, or catching a Riolu and grinding it to level 15. Considering the gym leader's ace is level 13 (14 in hard mode) and the game's new EXP formula is extremely unkind to Pokemon that are a siginificantly higher level than the ones they're fighting (and all the wild pokemon you could fight at that point in the game are very low level), doing this would take forever (at least an hour I'd assume) and absolutely be considered overgrinding. A very odd choice for a first gym leader.

The generic bandits in front of the forest in Dragon's Dogma suck. I don't think they were meant to be a boss but getting owned by them multiple times and assuming the (much easier) dungeon behind them is something you're meant to put off for later is a very common experience for new players.

Feels Villeneuve
Oct 7, 2007

Kanye West - Touch the Sky



The Friendly Arm Inn from Baldur's Gate. Classic example of something being excessively frustrating, especially as a low level spell character, because of how easy it is to get one-hit killed at low levels in D&D.

Node
May 20, 2001

KICKED IN THE COOTER
:dings:

Taco Defender

Feels Villeneuve posted:

The Friendly Arm Inn from Baldur's Gate. Classic example of something being excessively frustrating, especially as a low level spell character, because of how easy it is to get one-hit killed at low levels in D&D.

I hate that guy just as much now as I hated him when I first played the game. loving shitlord gets off one spell and you're probably dead.

Frankston
Jul 27, 2010
Probation
Can't post for 6 hours!


Iudex Gundyr in Dark Souls 3 was a pretty rough intro.

Feels Villeneuve
Oct 7, 2007

Kanye West - Touch the Sky



Node posted:

I hate that guy just as much now as I hated him when I first played the game. loving shitlord gets off one spell and you're probably dead.

even though i'm not an Infinity Engine fan, i get that the "Level 1 weakling to godhood" experience is kind of key to the whole appeal of BG 1+2, but my god could they have made the early levels where you have like 3HP any more frustrating.

Ready! Set! Blow!
Jun 16, 2005

Red alert.

One that's difficult entirely due to a porting fuckup: the Underground Zone boss for the Game Gear version of Sonic 2. It's reasonable on the Master System version, but when it got ported to the Game Gear they shrunk down the screen and, well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu-TTeCJ-ao#t=8s

Acerbatus
Jun 26, 2020

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


I think skelter helter in nmh2 on Bitter is the only boss that can no sell Darkstep invincibility, though I could be wrong.

Either way made him a huge pain. Jasper Batt Jr and Alice Twilight are probably the only comparable fights in deathmatch.

Acerbatus fucked around with this message at 00:23 on Jan 27, 2022

WalletBeef
Jun 11, 2005



Demon of Hatred in Sekiro.

CharlestonJew
Jul 7, 2011



Illegal Hen

Chained Ogre and Blazing Bull from Sekiro, mostly because they're positioned at a stage in the game where the player is still learning how to parry and then bam, 2 bosses where parrying is an extremely bad idea, hit and run tactics are the way to go.

And then once you've dealt with that there's only 2 other bosses in the game that require those same strategies, both reskins of the Ogre and Bull

Phenotype
Jul 24, 2007

You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.



The very first Grim Reaper you fight in Devil May Cry 3. He shows up about a minute and a half into the game, after you've had one or two chances to mash buttons on a group of lovely regular enemies, and he absolutely requires that you understand the basic game mechanics to have any chance of beating. And the Grim Reaper isn't really that tough, either -- they show up in multiples in regular enemy packs later on in the game -- but since he shows up basically immediately after you hit Start, he might as well be a brick wall.

I remember when I first played the game I spent an hour or so beating my head against him and then giving up in disgust. I'm glad I picked it back up to try again because it's a great game, and once you get past him there's nothing nearly as demanding for a good while, long enough for you to get comfortable with the controls. I remember I showed the game to my friends a couple years later, and they had the same experience -- died about a dozen times to him and then I got to look super impressive when I took him down without getting hit. :smugdog:

TheHoosier
Dec 30, 2004

The fuck, Graham?!



Blood-starved Beast in Bloodbourne. I can dance circles around him now, but gently caress he sucks when you're still learning. A real wall that wasn't matched for awhile. Luckily he's optional.

I think I bring this up every boss-related thread, but Duriel in Diablo II. Act 2 boss. Real fucker.

Det_no
Oct 24, 2003


The dog bossfight in the first Witcher game.

Caidin
Oct 28, 2011


Almost any given SMT or Persona game I've actually played has the first big boss be pretty extra compared to almost anything that might come after due to the early games lack of skills, items and what not.

LawrenceFriday
Nov 2, 2009

I am an elemental spirit summoned up from the Land of the Dead itself and given one purpose, one skill, one desire: To DRIVE. Or, to change oil or adjust timing belts if no driving jobs are open.

Sudden Javelin posted:

Pokemon Gold/Silver - Whitney's Miltank - Mostly just putting this here because I know somebody will mention it. Someone with better Pokemon knowledge can feel free to go into more detail, but essentially it's only the third gym, the Miltank is a brick wall that hits like a truck, and as a Normal type it's only weak to Fighting. Piss! Pissy balls!

So, some notes:

As is normal for gym leaders, Whitney's Miltank is the highest level mon the player will have seen. It's 20, far beyond the low teens that exist outside the town. Its stat spread is roughly 2/3 better than anything the rest of the gym throws at you, with high values in HP, Defense, and Attack. Its extremely durable, especially to the physical-based mons you encounter in the early game - Bug, Flying, and Normal types all use Attack over Special Attack.

Its moveset is nasty. Stomp is almost twice as powerful as Tackle, benefits from STAB (because both Miltank and Stomp are Normal-typed, it gets a 50% damage boost), and it has a 30% chance to cause the target to flinch. This shouldn't be too much of a problem, except that Miltank's second highest stat is Speed, of all things. It probably goes before you, meaning it gets the chance to proc that flinch. Attract lets it shut down any male mons, giving them only a 50% chance to act. Since your starter is likely both your strongest mon and male, this shuts down a huge chunk of your potential power. Compounding its massive defensive stats is Milk Drink, which restores 50% of Miltank's HP. You have to make a decisive strike to take it down.

And then there's Rollout. gently caress Rollout.

By default, Rollout isn't that great. It's got low base power, lower accuracy than normal, and doesn't benefit from Miltank's Normal typing.

But.

Miltank's high Attack helps make up for Rollout's low base power, the move doubles in strength each time it hits (resetting on a miss), and, as a Rock-type move, is super effective against Flying, Bug, and Fire - most of what you'll find leading up to town and one of the three starters. It doesn't reset if you switch Pokemon, either; once it starts one-shotting your team, it just keeps getting stronger.

Its only type weakness is Fighting, which isn't available before this gym naturally. You can try trading with someone who's already beaten Whitney, but trading with Gen I isn't available until after the next gym. Your only other hope is trying to hit its lower Special Defense, and the Grass, Water, and Psychic types at that point are all slower than Miltank.

In short,

quote:

Piss! Pissy balls!

LawrenceFriday fucked around with this message at 11:21 on Jan 27, 2022

ephori
Sep 1, 2006



Dinosaur Gum

Phrike in Returnal gave me more trouble by a mile than any other boss in the game. I almost bounced off the game completely, multiple times.

Simsmagic
Aug 3, 2011

im beautiful





The boss of Chemical Plant Zone in Sonic 2 isn't terribly difficult on its own, in fact it's pretty easy to cheese it if you can hop on it repeatedly. But it's placed in an arena that can drop you into an instant death pit, and is one of only three bosses in the game with a 1-hit KO mechanic while being just the 2nd one you fight (the others being Oil Ocean, which is easily avoidable if you don't sink too deep into the oil, and the final boss that starts you with zero rings).

We Got Us A Bread
Jul 23, 2007



Caidin posted:

Almost any given SMT or Persona game I've actually played has the first big boss be pretty extra compared to almost anything that might come after due to the early games lack of skills, items and what not.

SMT/Persona is infamous for the whole "do you understand the game mechanics we've been teaching you? Time to find out!" early boss.

Ms Adequate
Oct 29, 2011

Baby even when I'm dead and gone
You will always be my only one, my only one
When the night is calling
No matter who I become
You will always be my only one, my only one, my only one
When the night is calling





Most bosses in Legend of Legaia are pretty tough and need some planning and prep to be safely handled but Berserker is a fairly early boss who is renowned by the game's fans for his toughness.

The Zombie Dragon in Suikoden can be tough even when you know what's coming and have prepared, but man I remember struggling first time through.

aegof
Mar 2, 2011



Dorter in Final Fantasy Tactics isn't a boss fight, but it sure is a big jump in difficulty at a point where you're still getting used to the game.

And can't forget the Guard Scorpion from FF7, if you can't put two thoughts together and keep attacking while the tail's up. "Attack while the tail's up!" Got it! "It'll counterattack with its laser!" ...Good to know! The counterattack is unrelated to my attack, right?

Sudden Javelin
Jul 6, 2009





LawrenceFriday posted:

Whitney's Miltank

This is a good writeup, thank you. I remembered Rollout being horrible but it's been so long that I forgot she could heal too, and no Fighting being available is a very curious design choice.

aegof posted:

And can't forget the Guard Scorpion from FF7, if you can't put two thoughts together and keep attacking while the tail's up. "Attack while the tail's up!" Got it! "It'll counterattack with its laser!" ...Good to know! The counterattack is unrelated to my attack, right?

I don't think I knew this until adulthood. My stupid kid self always just assumed the tail laser thing was the last phase of the fight so I would damage race it. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not.

Perestroika
Apr 8, 2010



Not exactly a boss in the traditional sense, but the Parking Garage in Driver. It's the very first mission and intended as a sort of tutorial. You're supposed to perform a list of various driving maneuvers inside a small garage both to show your future employer you've got what it takes. The trouble is, it's a fairly long list of poorly explained maneuvers, it's a small and cramped garage, and you get a time limit of one single minute to do them all. And that is as the very first mission of the game, before you've had any opportunity to get familiar with how it plays or how the cars handle.

Supposedly, the rest of the game is much more doable. But I wouldn't know, since I (and many others) never even got past this tutorial.

search engine
Jun 16, 2020



Sudden Javelin posted:

In a perfect world, the difficulty curve in games would be, well, a curve, with battles or levels getting progressively harder until the finale, where the challenge would be at its highest.

strongly disagree. sometimes yeah but you shouldn't want every single experience to follow the same beats. when a pattern becomes this ingrained, doing something different can be really striking. wanting/accepting the same thing over and over is the reason there are a hundred bad super hero movies and tv shows every year forever now

free you're mind

Sudden Javelin
Jul 6, 2009





search engine posted:

strongly disagree. sometimes yeah but you shouldn't want every single experience to follow the same beats. when a pattern becomes this ingrained, doing something different can be really striking. wanting/accepting the same thing over and over is the reason there are a hundred bad super hero movies and tv shows every year forever now

free you're mind

interesting, do you have any examples of this? I can think of a few where the second last boss is actually hard and the last one is a curb stomp for thematic reasons (FF7 and FF10 both do this), and a game where progressively getting harder with no breathing room actively hurts the experience (the Conquest route of Fire Emblem Fates)

But by and large I don't think it's controversial to think games on the whole should start easier than they end

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Depending on how you play Fallout 4: the deathclaw at the museum of liberty. It's completely insane that there's an enemy that hard at a moment where most players are at a low level. Kellog, if you play it mostly linear. The road to him seems designed to drain you off resources. Granted you get a mini nuke, but if you're at a lower level than him he can take that nuke head on. Plus he got a stealth boy and tons of healing items.

Alhazred fucked around with this message at 14:41 on Jan 27, 2022

Zenithe
Feb 25, 2013

Ask not to whom the Anidavatar belongs; it belongs to thee.

Spikey Tiger from Secret of Mana. Hardest boss hands down and it's I think number 3.

This is more relating to the game being broken almost immediately after this by getting magic.

Entorwellian
Jun 30, 2006

Northern Flicker
Anna's Hummingbird

Sorry, but the people have spoken.





Alhazred posted:

Depending on how you play Fallout 4: the deathclaw at the museum of liberty. It's completely insane that there's an enemy that hard at a moment where most players are at a lie level. Kellog, if you play it mostly linear. The road to him seems designed to drain you off resources. Granted you get a mini nuke, but if you're at a lower level than him he can take that nuke head on. Plus he got a stealth boy and tons of healing items.

That deathclaw at the beginning almost ruined the game for me. It hosed up the pacing of everything because not only is it an unfun, enormous bullet sponge, but it also gives you that early set of power armour that trivializes the game difficulty for everything up to Kellogg. They should have swapped it with the Museum of witchcraft's deathclaw.


To contribute: x-com 2 - the codex fight

There are a lot of tough enemies in XCOM but the codex that you fight, but the Codex has always given me the most trouble in the early game. It's an alien that splits into two when it has been wounded, like the animated brooms from Disney's Fantasia. If you don't have stun grenades, you'll be worn down from the attrition dealing with the bastards.

RatHat
Dec 31, 2007

A tiny behatted rat👒🐀!

midnight lasagna posted:

The generic bandits in front of the forest in Dragon's Dogma suck. I don't think they were meant to be a boss but getting owned by them multiple times and assuming the (much easier) dungeon behind them is something you're meant to put off for later is a very common experience for new players.

Those guys scale extremely well and even lategame can absolutely one-shot you

midnight lasagna
Oct 15, 2016

this pit is full of stat boosters



There's one fighting type you can get before Whitney - there's an NPC in the department store who will trade you a Machop for a Drowzee (Abra in Crystal). What's even nicer is that it's a female Machop, so Miltank can't use Attract on it. It's how I always used to beat Whitney back when I was a kid.

Whitney is also partly why I think Chikorita is a criminally underrated starter - it's bulky, it's not weak to Rollout, and it hits Miltank on its weaker defensive stat. Sure it does terribly against a few other gyms, but all of those gyms you can beat really easily with a Geodude.

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Depending on how you define boss: Evrart in Disco Elysium. This is a guy you can run into during the first day and he can kill you by asking you to sit down.

Dr Christmas
Apr 24, 2010

Berninating the one percent,
Berninating the Wall St.
Berninating all the people
In their high rise penthouses!
🔥😱🔥🔫👴🏻


Sekiro takes a while to click, so you may have trouble with early bosses, have less trouble with later, harder bosses, and then youre able to go back and stomp the early bosses while the hard ones remain hard. Still, there always seems to be a middle boss that gives you trouble, and its different for everyone.

My personal nemesis is Snake Eyes Shirihagi. I have so much trouble reading her, she hits like a truck, and she always spots you while you try to clear out the gunners in her area. As a descendent of a certain warrior tribe, shes allowed to be weak against a poison weapon, but she has lived in a poison cave for so long that it gave her a resistance to it.

Dr Christmas fucked around with this message at 21:52 on Jan 27, 2022

U.T. Raptor
May 11, 2010

Are you a pack of imbeciles!?



midnight lasagna posted:

The generic bandits in front of the forest in Dragon's Dogma suck. I don't think they were meant to be a boss but getting owned by them multiple times and assuming the (much easier) dungeon behind them is something you're meant to put off for later is a very common experience for new players.
Which is doubly bad because you can't even really come back later: the quest you need to get to past those assholes to do will auto-fail if you progress the main story at all.

Also that wyvern or whatever just chilling in the middle of the forest not far from there, on the path to that one fortress you go to.

Bug Squash
Mar 18, 2009



Easy answer: The Capra Demon from Dark Souls. The third boss in the game, when most new players are still struggling to start their build, comes this rear end in a top hat. The Demon itself isn't particularly bullshit, it's the encounter design.



The fight takes place as a machete fight in a phone booth, making dodging and positioning nearly impossible. To make it worse, Capra brings along two undead dogs, who are very fast and never let up. Everyone starts attacking you the instant the fight starts as well, so you get stun locked by the dogs in seconds, then the Capra Demon hits you with huge attacks you can't avoid.

I've heard speculation that this fight was meant to teach you about poise - the mechanic where you can stack enough equipment to avoid stun locks. If so, it's a spectacular failure as the rest of the fight works against that. The accepted strategy to beat Capra is to roll past the enemies and climb up a broken staircase onto a ledge of scenery that's not logically wide enough to support you, then force the dogs to 1 v 1 you there. When they're dead, the Capra is a tough but fair fight. This fight is so bullshit it's considered fair game to farm up hundreds of piles of poo poo to throw into the boss arena from outside to poison him to death.

muscles like this!
Jan 17, 2005




We Got Us A Bread posted:

SMT/Persona is infamous for the whole "do you understand the game mechanics we've been teaching you? Time to find out!" early boss.

Yeah, like the Matador from Nocturne. You better have figured out that you need to have the correct element types available or you're completely hosed.


U.T. Raptor posted:

Which is doubly bad because you can't even really come back later: the quest you need to get to past those assholes to do will auto-fail if you progress the main story at all.


That part is so weird because you have no way of knowing that going that way is the correct path towards that quest. So finding strong enemies obviously makes you think you're going the wrong way so you continue with the plot. Only the find out that story tree is now completely closed.

ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

Simsmagic posted:

The boss of Chemical Plant Zone in Sonic 2 isn't terribly difficult on its own, in fact it's pretty easy to cheese it if you can hop on it repeatedly. But it's placed in an arena that can drop you into an instant death pit, and is one of only three bosses in the game with a 1-hit KO mechanic while being just the 2nd one you fight (the others being Oil Ocean, which is easily avoidable if you don't sink too deep into the oil, and the final boss that starts you with zero rings).

I'm pretty sure Tails has killed me more times than Robotnik has, by hitting the boss and triggering his invulnerability frames, which makes you pass right through the boss and down the insta-kill pit. This one boss is honestly why I always just play Sonic-only.

Trustworthy
Dec 28, 2004

with catte-like thread
upon our prey we steal


Feels Villeneuve posted:

The Friendly Arm Inn from Baldur's Gate. Classic example of something being excessively frustrating, especially as a low level spell character, because of how easy it is to get one-hit killed at low levels in D&D.

Thanks for the nightmarish flashback to my solo bard playthrough

Captain Hygiene
Sep 17, 2007

You do the crab crime, you do the jail time





Ha, I've literally been thinking about this lately because of a bunch of 2018 God of War chat that's popped up elsewhere.

The Stranger aka Baldur who shows up as the first proper boss fight is just nuts. You've had intro-level wandering around and some tutorial fights, then all of a sudden this guy shows up and has crazy moves and multiple health bars that can take ages to work through, you're at the point of of basically tearing off chunks of mountains to drop on him and he still regenerates his health afterwards :ohdear:

I guess there's definitely tougher fights later on, but that always sticks out as being a major challenge out of nowhere when I'm still just starting to get used to the basic gameplay.

C-Euro
Mar 20, 2010

:science:


Soiled Meat

Not quite a boss fight, but the very first Village sequence in Resident Evil 4 is surprisingly brutal for how early it is. It's your first combat encounter with more than a couple of enemies, you haven't had a chance to upgrade your weapons at all, and you're not going to know the best places to make a stand your first time playing the game. It does a great job of setting the tone for the rest of the game but I don't think there's anything as difficult on a first-time playthrough until you get to the Castle.

midnight lasagna posted:

The generic bandits in front of the forest in Dragon's Dogma suck. I don't think they were meant to be a boss but getting owned by them multiple times and assuming the (much easier) dungeon behind them is something you're meant to put off for later is a very common experience for new players.

lol I got my rear end kicked by this group the first time I played this game and definitely fell into the trap of "oh I'm supposed come back later, wait poo poo the quest you're guarding is gone forever now". Goons keep telling me to just run past them, someday I'll get back to it and start a new game and do it right.

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Cabbages and Kings
Aug 25, 2004



"Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?"
But answer came there none
And this was scarcely odd because
They'd eaten every one.


i had to restart Reckoning: Kingdoms of Amalur because the first few boss fights on medium seemed reasonable and then it just got insanely loving easy as the skill trees opened all i replayed on hard

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