***WARNING: This terrible piece of writing will contain “spoilers” for Resident Evil 4 remake. I would hardly call it a spoiler, but some people might. I don’t know. You’ve been warned!***

I’m going to be honest, I’m dumb. Maybe oblivious is a better word. I’m not really sure. Regardless, life is full of mysteries. But there are two things I am certain are true. The first, I’m getting old; the second, time is precious.

As I’ve come to terms with leaving games media behind over a year ago, I still have that itch to spout my dumb opinions of the latest video games. I love writing, but the future and financial reliability of being a games journalist seem bleak. Also, as I mentioned, I’m getting old and I don’t have a lot of time to play video games with my current work. Both these notions will only multiply around early August when my child is due. Maybe I’m being preemptive, but I can only assume I am going to be a tired, yet happy, mess.

With that being said, I still have this dumb gamer brain that requires me to play games a certain way. Due to my game reviewing past, I feel like I have to play every game on its default difficulty, and stick with it no matter how terrible I am. As badly as I would want to switch to an easier difficulty, my gamer ego would not allow it. I just have to “git gud.” What I have now realized is that mentality has barred me from enjoying some of the greatest games of all time.

Recently, I was playing Resident Evil Village for Chapter Select, a podcast hosted by the homies Max Roberts and Logan Moore. I had played Capcom’s latest in the beloved survival horror franchise when it initially released back in 2021. It was my favorite game of the year that year, and replaying it cemented it as one of my favorite games of all time. As it was my second time revisiting Village, I decided to play it on New Game +, a mode that allows you to bring your upgrades from your previous completed save into a new game. I had also decided to play it on normal difficulty as I had already completed it on that same difficulty previously.

As you would expect, this made the game significantly less difficult. Along with my familiarity with Resident Evil Village, having everything unlocked from the start was a blast. Rather than spending half the time creeping slowly through Lady Dimitrescu’s haunting castle, I was sprinting room to room trying to recall everything from my previous trip. It still had its fair share of surprises, but the “horror” aspect was washed away because of that familiarity.

I didn’t have too much trouble throughout my entire playthrough until I got to Heisenberg’s factory. By this time, I had gone through all the extra ammo and health I had saved from my previous completion run. The game started to become a bit more challenging. Honestly, it took the wind out of my sails a bit. I was having a really fun time just mowing through werewolves, vampires, and whatever slimy thing Salvatore Moreau is supposed to be. It also doesn’t help that this particular area overstays its welcome just a bit. I just wanted to get to the “Chris of Duty” section.

Coincidentally, while I was at this part, Logan had shared a PlayStation Store link to the “Extra Content Shop All Access Voucher” DLC for Resident Evil Village, which was on sale for $2.99. This unlocks everything in the Extra Content Shop, including infinite ammo for your weapons. Yes, I did spend three bucks on cheat codes so I can breeze through the game. No, I do not feel shame whatsoever.

I guess I only bring this up because it was the experience that began my descent into becoming a “fake gamer.” I had so much fun playing through Village the second time, and it’s mostly because I had a machine gun with infinite ammo. It gave me the power I needed to muscle my way through something that I may have walked away from otherwise.

After replaying Resident Evil Village, along with listening to other episodes of Chapter Select, I had the itch to play more Resident Evil games. Prior to playing Resident Evil Village, I had never completed a Resident Evil video game. I’ve started every single one, but never had the courage to finish any of them. I’ve mentioned it on the Bantam Banter podcast, but as much as I love the horror genre, horror video games just give me so much anxiety, it is hard for me to push through to completion. However, the remake of Resident Evil 4 was just around the corner, and reviews were very positive. Having just finished Resident Evil Village, I wanted to go straight to Leon S. Kennedy’s quest to save the president’s daughter.

Since I was starting this fresh, I started the game on normal difficulty. I had heard so many great things about the original, as well as this remake, I felt like I should play it “as it was meant to be played.” The beginning hours weren’t too bad. There were some tough areas, but nothing I couldn’t handle. However, that changed once I reached the end of Chapter 5.

“Spoilers” for the end of Chapter 5, but the part where you and Luis fight a huge hoard of Ganado at the Villa absolutely demolished me. I probably played through that part on normal difficulty 10 times, and could not even come close to ending it. The game was essentially suggesting I switch the difficulty to easy, but my dumb gamer brain said no 10 different times. Similarly to my experience with Heisenberg’s factory in Resident Evil Village, this Villa really took the wind out of my sails.

Not that I was going to give up, but I was getting burnt out a bit on this particular section of Resident Evil 4. It sucked. But this game has such a huge following, and is widely considered one of the greatest games of all time. I had to see it for myself. So, I did the unprecedented. I switched to easy difficulty.

I’m not going to lie, I felt a little guilty. But once I started headshotting Ganado with ease, I set aside my dumb gamer ego and had a blast. I could have done without the auto-aiming (which I’m sure my lazy ass could have just looked at the options menu to turn that off), but I was having so much fun without getting stressed out or wasting time. Again, I’m getting old and tired. Easy difficulty absolutely affected my playthrough of Resident Evil 4 in such a positive way. So much so, it is one of my top games for 2023.

This ridiculous revelation led me to playing more Resident Evil games I had started but never finished. I had so much fun with Resident Evil 4 and Village, I wanted to see what else this franchise had to offer beyond its incredible series of films starring Milla Jovovich. So, I played Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3, and am currently halfway through Resident Evil 5. Yes, I am playing that atrocity, and I am thoroughly enjoying zombies riding motorcycles, and Chris Redfield punching boulders.

Playing these games on easy difficulty not only let me to enjoy these beloved games, but it also allowed me to see what I was missing. I cannot believe I had not played through the Resident Evil 2, and Resident Evil 3 remakes before this. They are so good! The only barrier to my enjoyment was my dumb goopy gamer brain.

Most importantly, playing these Resident Evil games on easy difficulty respected my time. I’ve brought it up over and over again, but I’m getting old, and I don’t have the time I used to have to play video games. Again, I’m making assumptions, but I can only guess that having a child will also inhibit my time with gaming. At this point in my life, I don’t want gaming to be stressful. I just want to have fun.

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