Everyone should try playing a ‘Souls’ game

With Elden Ring right around the corner, and Sifu bringing up the discussion of difficulty in games, it got me thinking about why I feel everyone should try a ‘Souls’ game at least once!

Now, what exactly do I mean by a ‘Souls’ game? Basically I’m talking about the Dark Souls games made by FromSoftware, or as they are commonly known as ‘FromSoft’. However I have to clarify this includes more than just the Dark Souls games. When people refer to the ‘Souls’ games, they often are including Bloodborne, Demon’s Souls, and Sekiro in that along with the Dark Souls games. This is mainly because all of the games share a lot of similar features and mechanics. Namely hard difficulty, unique bosses, unlocking short cuts, a dodge roll, and having enemies respawn whenever you rest somewhere, it varies by game, and regain your health. I figured I’d go ahead and state this now so people understood I’m not just referring to the Dark Souls series when I say a ‘Souls’ game.

If you’ve heard of the ‘Souls’ games then you’ve probably heard about just how hard they are. The community around the games really does enjoy to hype up this aspect of the games but I feel like this is kind of a problem. I love the ‘Souls’ games! They are some of my favorite games in all honesty. Though I would say that Bloodborne will forever be my favorite of them. And while, yes, the games are rather difficult, I feel like focusing on this aspect alone really under values every other aspect of them. Because there is so much more to the ‘Souls’ games!

What got me thinking about this topic is the fact that I’ve tried to recommend the ‘Souls’ games to friends in the past but often times they won’t even try them due to hearing about how brutal the games can be. Which has always baffled me for many reasons. First of all, there is way more to the games than just that! The story and world and getting to explore them is always such a joy in every game and I feel like that never gets enough attention when discussing them. Second, if we’re being completely honest, the games aren’t that hard. Now hear me out! The ‘Souls’ games are difficult, no doubt about that. But they are far from impossible or unforgiving. They tend to just require more time than most games when it comes to learning the mechanics and how to make them work for you. I mean, there’s a reason why a lot of fans of the series feel like each game gets easier. It’s not because they actually are but rather that people who played the previous game still have the experience from playing it. I also feel like people are missing the point of the difficulty to begin with. But before talking about that, let’s discuss some of the other aspects of the ‘Souls’ games that definitely need to be highlighted!

As I mentioned before, the worlds of each game are always so interesting! For one thing, the way the world as a whole feels so interconnected is such a cool feeling. Wandering around only to find your way back to a previous area always gives a fun sense of discovery. Like you’re slowly piecing a puzzle together! It should also be mentioned that the games never feature maps which is something I actually really like. Plotting out a map in your head from your own experiences gives each place in the world it’s own sort of identity. Making it that much more memorable! Not to mention the fact that this often opens up short cuts, letting you cut around tougher sections without having to worry about doing them again. That wave of relief when I find my way back to a bonfire is always nice. The other great thing about the world itself is how it tells a story through the environment. Finding small details and piecing it all together yourself as to what really happened here is always rewarding. That also leads us perfectly into another great aspect of the ‘Souls’ games, the story!

The story is always rather unique in the games. But more so in the way it’s told to the player. By which I mean how it’s not told to the player! You see, you honestly can just ignore the story completely in the ‘Souls’ games if you really want to. Besides Sekrio at least which is much more story driven than the other games. Generally though, it’s up to the player to piece together what is really going on and the history of the world they are in. This can be done by paying close attention to every piece of rare dialog you get from the NPCs, reading up on the very informative item descriptions, or as I said before learning it from the environment! I’m not kidding when I say people have made careers out of basically being ‘Souls’ historians! And that’s the best part of the story, it’s really a history. You have to dig and uncover things about the past. There’s honestly a lot of assuming that goes on when discussing elements of the story. People can see things differently and come to a different conclusion about story elements. And more often than not, there’s not really a way to disprove someone, meaning there’s always more room for discussion! And if you don’t care to do all that digging? Then don’t! You can play all the games without knowing anything about the story and you’ll still have a blast!

I really wish these aspects were brought up more when discussing the ‘Souls’ games. I feel like the community could bring in a lot more players by mentioning these things over just how horribly difficult the games can be. And yes, it can be really difficult. But I’ve never felt that the game was trying to beat you down, to make you stop playing. Rather, I’ve always thought of the difficulty as something the developers want you to overcome. The worlds of the ‘Souls’ games are always rather bleak and bitter. Like the world is already dead but somehow people still go on living. You see plenty of characters that have already given up, and they’ll tell you as much! But that’s not you. You’re not suppose to join the world in being dead, you’re suppose to rise up and let it be known that you aren’t going down without a fight!

The ‘Souls’ games aren’t games about giving up or being beat down, they are games about proving that you can make it through. The games are more about determination than they are about sorrow! And if people just gave them a try, I feel like they would see it that way. Just because a game is hard doesn’t mean it isn’t worth playing. I understand that plenty of players often don’t want something too difficult or frustrating, and that’s completely understandable! But give a ‘Souls’ game a try! Just one. And you may be surprised by what you find…

Before I end this discussion, I thought I might actually make some recommendations when it comes to getting into the ‘Souls’ games! First, I would not recommend starting with Dark Souls 1. An odd thing to say as it is the first game in the series, but it’s also not the most player friendly. People can understandably be very turned away from the games if this is their first experience with it. A good game to start with is either Dark Souls 3 or Bloodborne! Dark Souls 3 is a lot more player friendly, explaining a bit more about how things work and being more forgiving when it comes to certain mechanics. No getting Cursed and being stuck with half health this time around! I could say the same for Bloodborne as well but that also has the added benefit of being a bit more streamlined when it comes to character creation. While this means there isn’t as much variety it also means that it’s much easier to understand. The Demon’s Souls Remake is also a pretty good place to start as well. Assuming you can find a PS5 to play it on. Sekiro barely counts as a ‘Souls’ game. It’s a good game but if you want to play it just to get a taste for the ‘Souls’ games you should look elsewhere.

But those are just my thoughts! What are some of yours? Are you a fan of the ‘Souls’ games? Did this discussion help get you interested in trying one? Or have you already played some of the games and they just aren’t for you? Feel free to let me know as I’d love to hear your thoughts!

And thanks again for reading. It always means a lot when someone takes the time to read the blog! If you liked it as well, feel free to share it around, like the post, or comment. Any interaction is appreciated so don’t be shy!

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