Before I’m going to be diving in this subject, let me be clear: I don’t want carbon copies of Dark Souls, by referencing this franchise in this article I’m trying to aim to a whole other subject, a more deeper one. So, no, I don’t want Blue Souls and Grey Souls anytime soon from any obscure upcoming gaming studio.
The question is, why games need to be more like Dark Souls for the gaming industry to be affected in a good way? Well, I did my homework and I’ll try to convince you too that the Souls way is in fact the right way. So let’s analyze every single detail that I love about this franchise, and what exactly I want to find in other IPs as well.
Huge amount of content, few DLCs with tons of more content. Getting the same amount of content that Dark Souls (and Demons’s Souls) has to offer for just $60 is rare nowadays. You’ll get five maybe ten boring hours out of most games, but you rarely find titles that will keep you still playing after 50 or more hours, and I’m not talking about multiplayer driven games. Developers should not be designing the game with several DLCs aligned in their mind. They should finish the game, fit as much content as possible on that tiny Blu-ray disc and deliver us an epic experience from start to finish. Planing the first DLC before even finishing the game more than often results in us getting our games chopped in half or even delivered without the true final ending of the game’s story.
The huge feeling of accomplishment. Dark Souls is known to be tough of gamers, but mostly because it tests our greed. It’s easy to finish the game when you know how to time your attacks and how to control your urges for instant victories. To the other pole we have the games that are easy, linear, boring and dull. Sure, this can be fixed by maxing out the difficulty, but for what purpose? The fact that you have no chance against enemies due to an unfair balancing will not leave you excited at all. We need games to test more than our aim, we need games to makes us think and sweat, but still offer us a great feeling of accomplishment when we finally succeed in finishing that certain task. What’s the point of playing a game if you can just wander around and kill without a purpose or a strategy? The need of a real challenge is more real than you might know.
Unique multiplayer modes. Usually, when a new game comes out it either has a co-op mode or a multiplayer one. The multiplayer one consist mostly in Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and other silly modes. We’ve played those a million times, or even more. It’s time to find a way to interact and challenge the player is a whole new way. Dark Souls does that, with a unique way of connecting players, either as friends or foes. Chatting is prohibited, and this feature only was more interesting that what I’ve seen in a long time in any other game. And even in that complete silence, players managed to collaborate and find their way.
Replay value. How often you wanted to start again playing a game after you just finished it? How often? I still remember the day I finished Demon’s Souls (Dark Souls’ spiritual successor), and you know what was the first thing I did? I started a new game plus playthrough to test out how the game is changed by doing several other things different from the way I originally did them. This thing has never happened to me in any other game, I sure picked some up again after a few months or even years, but none made me replay it the second I finished the first run. It’s sad, right?
Respect for the gamers. I have to admit, every game has a few problems when it comes out. The severs tend to crash or there’s a tiny annoying bug that kinda ruins your experience. This is understandable in a way, or to a limit, but the fact that some games come out rushed on the market (yeah, Battlefield 4, I’m speaking about you), with tons and tons of broken things that aren’t fixed completely even after one year is shameful. Why should I pay the price of a full game for a beta test? I understand, not everything can be perfect, but I also feel like the wish of making everything right for the consumer is long gone. Where’s your respect for the people from whom you get all your money?
The list can continue with various things that I feel and think are worthy to show as an example for future releases. 2014 only offered us a few noticeable titles, and a lot more screw-ups.