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The Five Hardest Games to Finish

We’ve all suffered from that one game that we just can’t put down. For the vast majority of players, this tends to be a childhood favorite or whatever is hot and trending on the market. But every now and again, we stumble across that odd gem that just refuses to let us finish it to our satisfaction. Earlier this week, we explored some of the hardest games of all time. Here are five more that are either insanely challenging, or are difficult to finish for other reasons.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Breathtaking scenery. Endless adventure. Despite the fact that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is almost five years old, it still has a thriving community. The game is so hard to put down partly because it’s such an epic addition to the Elder Scrolls legacy and partly because it has a habit of shuffling extra quests into your journal when you’re not looking. No two games are ever the same. Enemy encounters and loot are randomized with only the occasional unique item to find in certain locations. Something that really makes the game stand out from similar games is its ability to produce radiant quest lines. When a quest is started, it can take place all over the Skyrim landscape. Need a follower? Take your pick. Been contracted for a Numbers Job? Don’t bother planning ahead, there are 30 different places you could be sent. With the sheer amount of content crammed into the game, there’s no way to actually clear your journal and let yourself rest.

FTL: Faster Than Light

In the real-time strategy simulator, FTL, you pilot a spaceship where the many dangers include low fuel, fire outbreaks, a lack of oxygen, not enough crew to properly run the ship and trying to map the system and escape out the other side before you can get caught by your ruthless pursuers. Name your crew, nurture them, watch them grow and die painfully in the freezing vacuum of space. If you run out of crew all at once, you have no chance of restoring the situation. Return to start, do not pass go.
With randomly generated galaxies, no two games are the same. Half a dozen different alien races bolster your ranks but beware of the lasers that decimate your shields, the missiles that bypass them and the teleporting pirates who beam on over and start slaughtering your loved ones without a single care in the world.

Devil Daggers

Maybe other games have ridiculously over-powered enemies or radiant quest lines, but Devil Daggers has only 13 horrific enemies to take on, but that is all it needs. To my knowledge, only one person, YouTuber DraQu, has earned the singular achievement of beating the game in this retro arcade FPS. The trick? Survive five hundred seconds without dying. I hereby dare you to take a run at this ’90s-inspired piece of hell. Maybe this game shouldn’t be on the “Hardest Games to Finish” list. “Hardest Games to Start” sounds more appropriate.

Dark Souls Series

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What’s that? You took another breath? Well, you died. In a Dark Souls game,  one toe out of line means death. The aim of this game is to slowly explore the world with the utmost levels of caution as you search for the conditions to unlock the next area.

Maybe this abomination should have been renamed Controller Killer or maybe Console Smasher. When playing this hellish nightmare, try and remember the patience you once possessed. With enough focus and experience, these games can be beaten. It may be extremely difficult to believe but it is worth noting that some people find these games fun and enjoyable. They are called masochists.

Super Mario Land

Okay, let’s be open-minded here. Most of this list is comprised of console games. But let’s face it, though games like Skyrim, with radiant quests may take more than their fair share of your life, but you have as many hours as you can sanely (or otherwise) plug into them. With infinite respawns and saves, you can rewind to any earlier point and redo your favorite parts of the game over and over, console command your way through the PC versions or repeat the same area until you learn how to pass it.

Super Mario Land had none of these benefits. If you died before getting to a level that gave you one continue, you had the extreme pleasure of going back through it again from the very start. This may sound harsh to begin with, but then you have to remember the horrific displeasure of the Game Boy system and its limitations. Suppose that you get all the way through to the last level, face down that tiny pixel cluster that is the last thing standing between you and ultimate victory just for Death to tap a bony finger on your shoulder and ask for your batteries. At that point, it feels like the game, your Game Boy, and even electricity is against you.

On a lighter note, each series of levels is actually based on UFO conspiracies. Seriously, Easter Island, the Pyramids. It’s a sign. Mario is an alien.

Whether it’s another contract from the Dark Brotherhood or an angry Goomba decimating the last two hours of your life, these games are extremely difficult to actually find a satisfactory ending too. If you have umpteen hours to kill, try laying your hands on one of the titles above and watch the time fly on by.


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Graham Host

Graham Host is a member of the Fan Contributor program. In his spare time, he enjoys the works of Terry Pratchett, DC Comics and a wide assortment of video games. Under no circumstances should he be fed after midnight. Contactable only via the Twitter icon below or trained carrier pigeon.

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