Before anyone asks where the top picture is, I'm currently on a road trip with my in laws so I'm posting from my phone. The blogger app crashes so I'm stuck using fucking Safari and this thing just hates the idea of pulling images from from my photo roll.
Anyway, difficulty spikes aren't exactly a new concept to anyone that's been gaming a while. There are plenty of games in all genres that have but I feel like it's the most annoying in RPGs because of the greater sense of security before the spike.
Now the main reason people have trouble with RPGs is because they are either underlevelled from running away from enemies. Of course RPGs can pose all sorts of challenges but when people are complain that's usually the reason. However there are times where everything will seem completely fine but then you reach a boss and you just get your shit kicked in.
For example I was just playing pervy vita dungeon crawl Dungeon Travellers and the dungeon I was currently in was a complete breeze. Enemies aren't really doing shit to me of any concern and and I'm killing enemies with ease. Hell, my magic user was one shotting stuff for fucks sake. So I get to the end of the dungeon and BAM the boss just shits all over my face. Eventually I won but it required some extra grinding for skill points to get it done. Other examples of this could be the wall boss in FF7 or Matador in SMT: Nocturne
It's annoying because the game makes you believe that everything is fine with easy as fuck trash mobs and then slams the breaks on your progress with a bullshit boss battle that makes you fuck off and rethink everything. In other genres it's either easier to deal with or faster to change up what you gotta do to progress. In RPGs all the management and preparation you have to do means that dealing with a spike could potentially take hours of tedium just to get on with the game.
Being challenged is good and all but any developer who puts these sudden spikes in their games need something sharp through their cheeks. Fair challenge please guys