The Effect of the Dark Souls Franchise on Modern Day Gaming

Dark Souls, part of the famous Souls series by FromSoftware, is praised for being a game that rewards players for listening, deducing and exercising sheer will. You don’t have a map or books of lore or codex that feeds you information. Rather, it is you who has to assess, estimate and keep discovering as you go along, which basically means no one but you will ensure your victory.

Dark Souls’ difficulty level

For the same reason, Dark Souls is revered and criticized for its high level of difficulty. But there is no doubt that the Souls franchise has been inspirational for the very reasons that make it unique, with a slew of modern day gaming features borrowing from it rather unabashedly.

It is not as if Dark Souls is a departure for FromSoftware; the developer has been creating difficult games, notably Armored Core Ninebreaker and Armored Core Last Raven. Both predated Souls, and no doubt would have served as a training ground for the series’ creator Hidetaka Miyazaki. The result was what is considered to be one of the best video games ever released. Dark Souls has received profuse adulation for its intricate design, atmosphere, amazing discoveries, and the way in which it forces players to engage in discourse simply because there are no tutorials or hand-holdings.

There is some bit of trolling in the game, but it is a game that pushes you to learn from your mistakes and build on your knowledge. Dark Souls’ gameplay and narrative stand in contrast to modern-day gaming, one of the reasons why it has inspired a number of video games aiming for distinction and glory.

Games like Dark Souls

You are spoilt for choice if you want to give games like Dark Souls a go. Some of these are indie games that, by definition, should be focused on innovation but have chosen to incorporate Souls-like elements.

Lords of the Fallen and Bound by Flame are so faithful to Dark Souls that they can reasonably be branded as copies. The former mimics Souls’ combat and borrows stamina and magic systems, although combat is less challenging, the focus is on loot collection and experience points are multiplied if you can stay longer without a save point. The latter has RPG mechanics and a tough third-person combat style inspired by Souls, complete with a rich folklore world and a morality system.

Hyper Light Drifter and Titan Souls are also fans of Dark Souls, although they don’t lift combat elements and mechanics in the way the aforementioned games do. What they do quite successfully is emulate Dark Souls’ open navigation, narrative, and difficulty.

Nioh, developed by Team Ninja for MS Windows and PS4, takes Souls’ combat elements and adds more layers to it, does away with the slow and defensive style of Souls while also opting for an Eastern fantasy setting. Salt and Sanctuary puts Dark Souls in 2D mode and also borrows from a Game of Thrones and Bloodborne. The Surge is also similar to Dark Souls, particularly with respect to combat elements.

These are but a few examples of how influential the Dark Souls franchise has been on modern gaming. If you are interested in learning more, check out this article on a fan-made film exploring the history of the Chosen Undead.


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