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7 Hardest Games By Obsidian Entertainment, Ranked

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Obsidian has long been regarded as a pioneer in the RPG space, having released several iconic titles that have proven to be extremely influential for other developers within the genre. They made their debut back in 2004 with the critically acclaimed Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2, but they’ve since gone on to branch into several other franchises too, including Fallout, Neverwinter Nights, and even South Park.

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One classic element of 90s RPGs, which Obsidian has carried forward into their modern games, is the excruciating challenge and difficulty that these titles became known for. None of Obsidian’s games border on being unplayable due to their difficulty, but there are definitely some that are especially hard to complete. It’s tough to understand what exactly makes them so tricky and whether it truly gets in the way of the overall gameplay experience.

7 Alpha Protocol

Game FAQ Difficulty Rating: 3.02

Alpha Protocol - conversation wheel choices

Alpha Protocol

Released
June 1, 2010

Genre(s)
Action RPG

The main protagonist of Alpha Protocol, Michael Thorton, can be customized and upgraded in a myriad of different ways, but players will need to be smart when allocating points, otherwise, it can end up making him pretty ill-prepared for late-game encounters. To acquire Perks, players must complete specific challenges in combat, while also choosing the correct dialogue options when talking to NPCs. Speaking of the dialogue, this plays a huge part in how the story of Alpha Protocol plays out, and it can even end up making the game harder if players get on the wrong side of powerful individuals.

It does also need to be said that the moment-to-moment gunplay in this game can feel clunky even at the best of times, and considering how gung-ho the enemies are, it’s difficult to keep them at bay while also wrestling with the unresponsive cover system. So long as players strive to unlock the strongest skills and maybe look up a guide or two for dealing with the bosses, then an average playthrough of Alpha Protocol is a manageable experience, but far from a cakewalk.

6 Tyranny

Game FAQ Difficulty Rating: 3.06

Tyranny - Best Isometric RPGs

Tyranny

Platform(s)
Linux , Microsoft Windows , macOS

Released
November 10, 2016

Genre(s)
RPG , Adventure , Strategy

Though Obsidian made a point to reduce the difficulty of Tyranny after the feedback they received for Pillars of Eternity, the game still puts up quite a challenge, especially in the beginning when there are no Spell Sigils or companions to rely on. The game can also contain some fairly brutal enemy encounters where the odds are heavily stacked against the player and their party.

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The biggest example of this is the entirety of Act 1 when the enemies, primarily the archers, will deal a staggering amount of damage, forcing players to get creative if they want to avoid taking damage. The stealth mechanics in Tryanny are luckily extremely powerful since they can allow players to snag a few opening hits if they catch an enemy off guard, so using it as much as possible is heavily advised. Buffs and debuffs are also crucially important in Tyranny, and should always be thrown out to help tip the scales of an intense battle encounter.

5 Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords

Game FAQ Difficulty Rating: 3.06

Jedi and Sith clashing near a tomb

Knights of the Old Republic 2 is a game that requires players to make full use of its deeper systems and mechanics to have any chance of seeing it through to the end in one piece. When making a character, it’s heavily advised to try and tailor them towards a specific kind of build, otherwise, it can end up making them too weak and ineffective. Melee builds, for example, will be able to make use of Light Force powers to apply buffs to themselves in combat, while Dark Force abilities are all about dealing as much damage as possible, and will only really reach their full effectiveness in the mid to late stages of the game.

The gameplay itself, while easy enough to get to grips with, can be quite unforgiving due to the sheer number of enemies that the game likes to throw the player’s way at a time. Knights of the Old Republic 2 can seem like little more than a hack-and-slash RPG hybrid on the surface, but many of its encounters require a lot of strategies and careful planning to overcome, resulting in a fair, but difficult challenge overall.

4 Neverwinter Nights 2

Game FAQ Difficulty Rating: 3.11

neverwinter nights 2

Neverwinter Nights 2

Platform(s)
Microsoft Windows , macOS

Released
October 31, 2006

Genre(s)
RPG , Narrative , Adventure , Action , Fantasy

Neverwinter Nights 2 made the bold decision to incorporate a D20 dice system into its gameplay. This means any time an action is performed, which includes attacking an enemy, they will need to roll a die to determine not only how effective it is, but if the interaction can even happen at all. This adds a lot of unpredictability to the gameplay which ramps up the difficulty quite a bit. Then there are the companions, who will need to be buffed and upgraded consistently to keep up in battles.

Once they’re fully geared up though, party members such as the initially unreliable Qara, will become much more effective in battles, which does help to make some of the more brutal encounters a bit more straightforward. The side quests in Neverwinter Nights 2 are also incredibly generous in terms of the rewards they offer, so it’s never a bad idea to seek out and complete a few of them to be better prepared for the enemies who lie ahead.

3 Fallout: New Vegas

Game FAQ Difficulty Rating: 3.11

Fallout New Vegas Easy Pete Dynamite Quest Using Dynamites Powder Gangers

Fallout: New Vegas

Released
October 19, 2010

Once players choose their SPECIAL stats and leave the safe haven that is Doc Mitchell’s house in New Vegas, they will be set free into the wide-open Mojave Wasteland to embark on a journey to recover the Platinum Chip and enact revenge on Benny. The truth is though, the Mojave is a dangerous place that is packed full of enemies who won’t think twice about turning the player into their latest snack if they get the opportunity.

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If players try to make a B-line straight for New Vegas itself though, they’ll be met with a horde of Deathclaws that can kill them with a single swipe of its claws, so it’s advised to acquire at least a set of formidable armor before even thinking of venturing too far into the unknown. New Vegas also contains plenty of factions that can easily take the player out if they view them as a threat. In the case of the Boomers, they’d rather just blow them up for the fun of it. Needless to say, this beloved entry is pretty difficult, but this difficulty ultimately feeds into the immersive elements of the role-playing, which the game has become so admired for.

2 Pillars Of Eternity

Game FAQ Difficulty Rating: 3.11

avowed-pillars-of-eternity-gameplay

Pillars of Eternity doesn’t exactly follow the age-old RPG trend of having enemy levels scale alongside the player and the main party. Instead, the game throws players right into the deep end from the get-go by surrounding them with incredibly powerful enemies, which can end up making those first few hours quite unforgiving. Because of this, entering the Scouting mode to peek ahead ahead to identify enemy weaknesses rather than rushing in head-first is a much wiser option, otherwise, even the most basic battles can end up going wrong in little to no time at all.

There are luckily a few helpful tips that can make the combat a bit less stressful, such as using doorways as choke points to inflict heavy crowd control spells on multiple enemies at once or giving ranged characters melee weapons as a handy backup. A proper understanding of the game’s deeper mechanics and a reliable team of companions are absolutely essential for surviving the long journey across Eora in Pillars of Eternity.

1 Grounded

Game FAQ Difficulty Rating: 3.71

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Grounded

Released
September 27, 2022

Genre(s)
Survival Horror , RPG

In stark contrast to most of Obsidian’s games which tend to lean heavily into the RPG genre, Grounded is a survival game through and through, with the protagonist shrunk down to the size of an ant, trying to stay alive while being surrounded by a myriad of creepy crawlies. Because of how much damage a single ladybug or spider can cause, players will need to take a note out of Dark Souls’ book and learn the attack patterns of each enemy to avoid being killed too quickly. It’s also important to set out safe traveling routes to avoid constantly running into any giant bugs.

In classic survival genre fashion, players will also need to keep a close eye on their health, food, and water; the last two can be particularly hard to keep in check because of how fast they train, and the fact that sleeping will also use them up. Grounded is very much a game that requires a lot of trial and error to get good at, let alone master, and while survival experts might not have too much trouble, it can be a very different story for newcomers.

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