It’s hard to describe to those that don’t play the games, but there is a sense of gratification to overcoming the challenge in Dark Souls. This is something that developers have noticed in the years since 2011 with a plethora of Souls-like titles releasing. We have seen the number of these games slow down over the last couple of years, in favor of the similar roguelike genre, but E3 2021 still came through for those that enjoy taking on these monumental challenges and dying over and over until they succeed.
Obviously this was going to be on here, a title long awaited, yet often dismissed as a mere legend, never to see the light of day. Elden Ring is the new title from From Software in collaboration with George R. R. Martin, and it finally has more than an image and a name to salivate over. From the new gameplay, it looks like all the standard trimmings are here with gigantic bosses, overly dramatic fantasy storylines, and even little fires to sit by. Plus, in case you needed this to sway you, you can also ride a horse, so… game of the year...?
Salt and Sacrifice
Coming as a somewhat surprise announcement was this sequel to 2016’s Salt and Sanctuary, a 2D action adventure with gameplay elements of the Souls variety. Both the initial trailer and extended gameplay video of Salt and Sacrifice showed a continuation of the brooding world we saw in Sanctuary, which was expected. What wasn’t was some innovations in terms of gameplay, such as an increased attack repertoire that gives the player more utility in combat scenarios, which was one of the few shortcomings of the previous game. We just need a release date.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
Long rumored and now confirmed: it’s Final Fantasy, now in Dark Souls flavor. We had fun with the limited-time demo build of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin on PS5, and what’s not to love here, aside from the main character's mid-2000s shirt? Thrown into an odd reimagining of the first Final Fantasy, you take on enemies with action-RPG combat and Final Fantasy flair. It’s definitely a darker turn for the series complete with almost DOOM-like finishers for the combat, complete with crystal effects because Final Fantasy. We are dying to play the full game.
Shown during the PC Gaming Show, this frenetic dark fantasy caught our eye. Soulstice sees the player control two sisters simultaneously, who have been reborn as a single creature by combining their souls. Already the Souls mainstay of challenging bosses is more than represented, along with the dark and brooding atmosphere. The combat does seem to be taking a far more active approach than the others on this list, instead of the more calculated combat of its forefathers in the genre. Plus, it even has “soul” in the title.
That’s it for games at E3 2021 that were like Dark Souls. There were a few more games that looked like they would whet the appetite for some Souls fans, but not quite provide the whole meal. One such title was Death’s Door from Acid Nerve. It has the atmosphere, a lot of death (it’s in the name even), and the huge bosses, but it is arguably a lot closer to the early Zelda titles in style than Souls. But, which was your favorite Souls-like of E3 2021? Let us know!