Should ‘Souls’ games have an ‘Easy mode’?

A topic that often comes up when discussing Souls games is whether or not there should be a difficulty option for them. The Souls games are known for being rather difficult after all and a lot of players, understandably, find this to be a barrier of entry when it comes to enjoying the games. Now Souls fans can be pretty vocal about this topic, with most saying that there shouldn’t be an easy mode. And I have to admit, I do agree with that. But let me explain why!

A big aspect of the Souls community is the idea of “getting good”. Which basically means that if you aren’t able to beat something, like a boss, rather than getting help you have to “get good” at it, or just keep banging your head against the boss until you eventually figure it out. Which is sort of what the bosses in Souls games are designed for. You are meant to die over and over, and eventually learn the boss’ attack pattern and how to exploit it. It’s honestly a great feeling when you do eventually master a boss fight! You go from getting smacked around, not understanding a thing about the fight, to smacking the boss around without getting touched! It’s a great way to see your growth. However, the term “get good” is sadly not used like that very often. Most of the time players will say “get good” when anyone complains about anything relating to the Souls games. Basically trying to put the blame on the player for not enjoying the games or having any problem with them. Which only serves to alienate people away from the games rather than helping the games be more popular. It’s this side of the community that has basically made the idea of getting any help with the games as playing them wrong somehow. And because of this, people feel like they have to solo every boss they find when that really isn’t the case. It’s this mindset that makes people want an ‘Easy mode’ for the games. They don’t realize that you can already make the games easier for yourself!

In a previous post talking about the Souls series I brought up how focusing too much on the game’s difficulty really hurts the games over all. There’s a lot more to the Souls games than just how hard they are! Especially since there are plenty of ways to make the games easier for players who want that.

First and foremost, summoning other players to help you with difficult sections has been a part of every Souls game. If you’re finding a particular boss difficult, then summon a buddy to help! Most bosses do scale a little to make them a bit harder but just having another player there to distract the boss every so often will be a surprising amount of help. This feature is generally looked down upon by the “get good” side of the community but as long as you are enjoying playing you really shouldn’t care too much! Also, you’ll be surprised to find that most of the games still have players looking to help each other! I go back to the older Souls games every so often and I’m always surprised to find people looking for help and people still willing to give it. So don’t be afraid to pick up any of the Souls games!

The other strategy for getting around bosses is a bit more annoying but still very much doable, and that’s just to grind out some levels! Bosses won’t scale with your levels, so if you’re stuck on a boss and want to make it a bit easier, go back to an older area and kill some enemies to level up. It can take awhile to do depending on how much you are wanting to level up, but it is still an option! An option that isn’t looked down as much by the “get good” community probably since you’re still doing it yourself rather than getting help, technically. This strategy is actually something that the newest Souls game, Elden Ring, somewhat embraces! Due to the game being open world when you run into a particularly tough boss in Elden Ring you always have the option to go exploring somewhere else for awhile! Making progress tends to help ease frustration in Souls games. And you’re bound to level up a few times at least doing this!

Taking all this into consideration, I honestly feel like there really isn’t a need to make the Souls games any easier. Granted, the games themselves could be a bit better at explaining these aspects so players understand how to ask for help, but I feel like designing an entirely new difficulty isn’t really necessary.

However, people should also consider the fact that maybe the Souls games just aren’t for them. And there’s really nothing wrong with that. Designing a game to be the kind of experience every kind of player can enjoy sounds good on paper, but you can lose a lot of the game’s identity like that. There’s nothing wrong with just not enjoying games for their difficulty. Because if you honestly enjoy the game that much you’ll most likely learn how to deal with the difficulty yourself!

But those are just my thoughts! What are some of yours? Do you think the Souls games, and games like it, should have an easier difficulty setting? Is difficulty a big barrier of entry for you in all games? Be sure to let me know!

And thanks again for taking the time to read this post. If you liked it, feel free to share it around or leave a comment! Any interaction is appreciated so please don’t be shy.

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