This is an editorial piece. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.
Game journalists have typically been a laughing stock for people both inside and outside the games industry. If I tell someone I play video games professionally as a second job, their response is usually impressed surprise or an awkward dismissal. Regardless, a recent trend of comparing literally every potentially difficult game to Dark Souls has to stop – it’s embarrassing.
The From Software-developed action-RPG series is notorious for its difficulty, but also for how rewarding it can be if you learn properly through inference and gameplay, like the games we saw released for console generations prior. I’m here to tell you the game isn’t the most difficult title you can play, and nor should you use it as a barometer to evaluate difficulty in other titles.
I’ve been guilty of comparing things to Dark Souls but only when it’s absolutely inspired by the game in both mechanics and possibly themes. Take Bandai Namco’s (the publisher of Dark Souls) new action RPG Code Vein, which some people are labeling as an “anime Dark Souls” and even like a mix of God Eater (another Bandai Namco game) meets Dark Souls.
Other writers have even labeled the game as a mix of Bloodborne (another action RPG by From Software heavily inspired by Dark Souls) and Dark Souls, to which I ran out of face palms and or physical stamina to slam my head into my desk a few more times.
A Twitter account was made to capitalize on the nonsense and quickly became hugely popular, titled simply “It’s Like Dark Souls,” or @xmeetsdarksouls.
You can imagine how much related stuff is published out there, so the account has tons of content to point at and quickly make fun of (fun fact: we’ve been cited on there as well).
It seems like this trend resurfaces every time a new game launches with any kind of challenging mechanics – the most recent culprit is the high-definition remaster of Crash Bandicoot 1-3. Perhaps most other game critics and or journalists are too young or too inexperienced, but games used to be designed to challenge you, not hold your hand and spoonfeed you achievements.
A final point I want to make is a more of a plea – hopefully game developers stop pursuing the same “grim-dark action RPG” with same-y combat and controls to the Souls games.
I’m not saying From Software owns that style and those mechanics, I just wish developers would at least try to spice things up a bit. If a developer makes a solid yet similar looking game, they’re entitled to that too. I’m incredibly excited for Code Vein and other games in that vein (I’m not sorry), but hopefully we’ll see more fun twists thrown into an already over-compared franchise.
Editor’s Note: We’re unsure of the origin of the featured image – if you find it PLEASE send it our way so we can properly cite it here.