The Problem with Games Inspired by Dark Souls

in gaming •  3 months ago

Well, hello there, dear steemians! Today I want to take a look at games which were inspired by Dark Souls. Let's begin by saying that Dark Souls is not the first game in the series, that honor goes to the janky Demon's Souls, which by itself comes from From Software's older games, like King's Field and Shadow Tower. And that is not all of the story, because the games look stupidly similar to Severance: Blade of Darkness...But that is another story for another day.

Now, about what games am I going to talk? I will focus on Lords of the Fallen and The Surge, both made by Deck13, but those will be joined by Harebrained Schemes' Necropolis, examples of games which have serious design problems.

So, Lords of the Fallen. This game definitely looks really nice and runs pretty well, so I must commend Deck13 for their in-house engine. The problems arise when you go into the gameplay, which is really clunky, although thematically, it is appropriate, because most characters are either burly humans clad in armor 10 times their weight, or eldritch creatures from a parallel dimension. There are also neat ideas thrown in, like getting more XP if you decide not to rest at the checkpoints, at the risk of potentially losing it when you die. These guys and gals have neat ideas, but the game just isn't very engaging, because of the aforementioned ungraceful combat system. The Surge suffers from the same fate, neat ideas, even better level design than Lords had, but the enemies do not properly telegraph their attacks, which makes them unfairly hard to dodge. Still, I think they might make amends with the sequel to The Surge next year.

Necropolis is a whole other story. Harebrained are brilliant developers, heading Shadowrun's revitalized series. They are amazing turn based RPGs, so, imagine my hype when I have heard they are making a game similar to Dark Souls/Severance. Only one problem: it is a rogue-lite, so random starting character enters random dungeon with random enemy placement. This is a personal gripe, as I prefer my games to be designed, enemies to have fixed placements, level layouts to be planned ahead. I believe that the novelty of a game quickly burns away if you are subjected to the repetition of procedural generation as it currently stands. You can fall into a routine of seeing the same rooms copy and pasted, unfair enemy spawn points, dying only to start again from scratch.

Thing is, Dark Souls is not a perfect game, shown evidently by an older post of mine, so I will not go into detail again. Just keep in mind that making a carbon copy of a game does not lead to innovation, so making mistakes when changing the recipe is vital to learn what is fun and what is not. So please, stop calling everything with a stamina-based combat system, intricate worlds and copious amounts of difficulty souls-like.

Sources: cover,1,2,3.

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Dark Souls is definitely not a perfect game but I think the craze it caused for being the one who made people say "OooOooOh thIs gAmE iS sO hArD" Is what really drives these companies or... clones.

In a really basic concept, Dark Souls is about learning the layouts of your map, knowing how to manage your stamina and laggy moves but also learning enemy's patterns and realizing when to strike and how. But there's so many ways you can take that in terms of creativity, gameplay and strategy that sometimes developers just want to replicate what a player feels when he's into a Souls game. It's not only about getting past a difficult obstacle and then feeling great about it. It's about growth, development and you as the player feeling more experienced.

Really good points you bring out, man!


Also, Dark Souls actually branches out at about 60% through the game and Demon's Souls lets you go one out of five ways from the beginning. So, what I am trying to say is the fact that they are a lot less linear than the clones. If one area annoys you, go try another one. Still, I really hope that The Surge 2 learns from The Surge as much as The Surge learned from Lords of the Fallen.

Which is why I think I'm going to start calling it the Sever-like genre :D