Why Do You Like Souls Games?



  • I'm intrigued as to why people enjoy Souls games and I want to know what your reasons for enjoying them are.



  • They emerged at a time when ALL the major publishers were dumbing down their Triple A games, because the perception at the time was you got the most sales for making the easiest, brainless, cinematic experiences for your player to waltz through effortlessly. To some degree this is still shown to be true and the slant still hovers on the easy side, but the important thing the Souls games did was show that there indeed remains a mass market for thoughtfully challenging games developers can tap into. That way, games that challenge the player remained a viable release strategy for the market instead of something investors and suits would choke out of it in the pursuit of better profits.



  • The thoughtful game design. Interlocking levels, story told through the level design itself (What happened here? Why is the world in the state it is in?), combat that is simultaneously weighty yet laser precise, a fantastic story of you are actually looking for it.

    Dark Souls 2 lacks all of these things. It is a flaming pile of garbage.



  • @mbun

    In my opinion, the success of the Souls games only has a little bit to do with market trends of the time. Especially because of how grassroots the marketing felt during Dark Souls campaign and that was international distribution through Bandai Namco. Even before that, the Sony publishing in North America felt VERY grassroots and could've been completely unnoticed by the average person. I really don't think anybody could have predicted the series' international success, and I think the word of mouth aura about it has a lot to do with it's ultimate success more so than people saying "I'm tired of AAA games being so simple".

    --

    I personally loved the Souls games off the rip because it wasn't like anything I had played before. I love the 1:1 action/reaction, input/output feeling the controls give off. Likewise, I went into the game knowing it was pretty hardcore, so I was very concerned with every hallway, every door, chest, lever. Essentially, I had become more engaged with a video game than I had been in a loooooong time. Which I guess speaks to Mbun's point on a subconscious level.

    I think it clicked for me when I was exploring 1-1 Boletaria and the interconnected level design started exposing itself to me as I discovered loops and shortcuts. It felt super rewarding, again, in a way I hadn't experienced before. Couple that up with secrets and tips that I learned about online and I felt super immersed in the idea of playing through everything the game has to offer. One example would be learning about soul tendency, so I'd try to have 'Light' tendency so the dragons disappear and I can steal all their treasure. Likewise, the developers told us that the crux of the game was to return to Soul-form when you die so I was obsessed with beating bosses, helping people beat bosses, and doing the occasional invasion because I bought into the idea of playing the game to bring myself back to life (full health) and overcome the levels.

    All in all, I went into it with the mindset that the developers put forward: this is hard, try to survive by being in Soul-form, kill invaders. It was like the marketing campaign (which was basically Sony producers doing gameplay dev diaries on behalf of From Soft and Japan Studio) was more of an explanation of the game, and I went into playing it with the right mindset before the series was tainted by it's "hardcore, git gud" reputation. It just clicked for me.



  • I like the sense of confusion and danger that is so prevalent while exploring the world in Souls games. Not only you have to pay attention to figure out where you should go, but also be on guard against any enemy you spotted. It's like a big jigsaw puzzle that also has traps that will hurt you if you do wrong things. Souls game demand a lot of mental capacity and attention to enjoy all of its qualities, and it can be both very rewarding and tiring for me.



  • I hear what everybody is saying but I, no joke, had to pee the whole time I was playing Bloodborne. No game has put me on edge like that before.



  • @dipset You're looking at what I was saying backwards. I wasn't trying to say Souls was successful because of those qualities among a market lacking them. I'm saying I appreciate Souls games forever for the success of it allowing other games to break away from the trend of being dumbed down for the masses since Souls became THE example of the viability of big mainstream games that challenge the player achieving exceptional sales in spite of not making things a cakewalk for the player.



  • Kinda difficult to define. I think it's a mixture of everything. I have this stupid concept that playing From games is like going through molasse, they have this thickness you pass through, a fluid resistance, almost dreamlike. I just love that feeling. The slow methodical progression and exploration, usually accentuated by great environmental sound design.

    But while there's this oniric, meditative vibe, the game also wants you to be very much present in the moment. Demands discipline.

    They also made me laugh out loud frequently. That's why I love Sekiro, love that they explored their trollish side.

    And of course the reward of beating a boss.



  • Similar to what Ian loves it's the world's story and lore that I find most enjoyable, and obviously the level design under that with some good rpg numbers games is still what sets them apart from most imitators,
    NIOH for example has much better combat but I just got bored of the levels.

    For that reason sekiro I'm not that hot on its still better than DS2 but since it tells a more straight Foward story I did not find it that interesting and it lacked the variety of weapons and progression that my more RPG side loves.



  • For me, I love the deep RPG and combat systems. I love in Souls having so many ways to build my character. From heavy weapons, to magic. And then choosing how to build my character, whether I focus on equipment or character levels. I love learning a Souls game to the point that you can beat it in a couple of hours. It feels like a mastery of the systems, levels, and challenges in place. And what's especially great is that there is often stuff to be found, like the Vagrants in Dark Souls.

    I equate Dark Souls to a level in Hitman. Everything is precise and calculated. The combat is like a fighting game, each weapon has a move set, with recovery frames, reach, and so on.

    Souls games require planning, and care, and precision from the player, but what's amazing is that it gives you the tools to do that.