I finally completed Dark Souls III [official site] last week, a world that I have been dipping in and out of between bouts of listlessness since its release in April last year. It didn’t grip me like the first revered Dark Souls, but it still made me sad to know it was all over. Where could I go now for my Souls fix? The answer, it turns out, is loads of places. The games industry is quietly reverberating with the series’ influence. From small games boasting “souls-like” combat, to bigger games doing weird things with death and player messages. Meanwhile, our PlayStation brethren got Nioh, which took the “pocket full o’ souls” idea and simply renamed them “Amrita”. There is a popular complaint that everything in the industry is now being compared to Dark Souls, and it’s easy to forget that games embraced difficulty and strangeness long before the Bed of Chaos made you weep with frustration. Nevertheless, the mechanics and the tone of Miyazaki’s magnum opus is leaking into games everywhere.
That there’s an influx of Soulsian disciples out there isn’t a problem to me. My problem is that they are learning all the wrong lessons. At least, they are neglecting the most important one. But first let’s look at what sly tricks are being lifted from the series, and who is lifting them. Read the rest of this entry »