There are different reasons why we play video games, some want to relax, some want to kill time, others make it a full experience entertainment. Some even play video games as a living and that's one of my personal goals too, one article at a time I make my own way in getting there. But there are some people who treat video games as a sort of challenge and make game difficulty levels a big deal.
When talking about video game difficulty setting, I just play the game on default setting which is mostly termed 'normal' and then when done, I hop unto another game. But for those of you who want real challenges, you can crank the difficulty up to the highest level, making the enemy AI more difficult to beat. If you're looking for challenging games then the list from Cheat Sheet may be the one you seek. I'll write one of them in a summary below and put my personal experiences with them as well as my other personal preferences of games that are more enjoyable on higher difficulty.
The Last of Us
I wrote an article about this game on how to convince non-gamers to start playing. It seems that the game makes a good introductory title for your friends that don't game a lot. It's not an easy game for a beginner but it will grow on them eventually. The perpetual benefit is that the gaming neophytes will ask for more games if they finish this title.
In terms of difficulty, there is a Survival Mode but you can't play it until you finish one round of the game. On top of that, Cheat Sheet reports that there is also a higher setting called Grounded Mode. This mode can be accessible right away on the remastered version but for the original PS3 title, you need to get the DLC.
Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition
Now, this game was launched 'ages' ago during the reign of the PS2, I personally picked the PC version since it just had better graphic quality options (I'm not into PC Master Race, I just love all the platforms). I played around 9 to 10 rounds of the game with the last rounds being a 'Dante Must Die' Mode. Now, there are layers of difficult modes from this game starting from Hard, then moving towards Very Hard. Of course, this is DMC and a Dante Must Die mode should be on top of those already difficult settings. This is where all enemies can do a Devil Trigger which happens when they spawn. Also, enemy strength and vitality receive an increase so good luck with mashing those buttons.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
The previous gen game that made me spent weeks and weeks trying to perfectly execute one stage at a time. I am always a fan of Sam Fisher and his stealthy endeavors and what better way to execute that fandom than to pass all his stages with flying colors when it comes to stealth. As recalled, and also researched at GameFaqs.com, the highest level of difficulty would be 'Perfectionist'. Based on the settings name, it requires patience and perfect coordination with your hands and how you position yourself in situations so that you won't get caught while trying to kill a bunch of military guards. The Perfectionist setting takes away your Execute ability, the awesome Sonar goggles can't see through walls, enemies can notice you with the slightest clue, and supply caches will be empty. That in mind, it makes you think that the scenario is realistic and makes a good 'rehearsal' if you want to become a Splinter Cell yourself. Here's some commentary about Splinter Cell: Blacklist's Perfectionist difficulty from IGN: