Elden Ring did you like? Here are your 5 future favorites

Elden Ring is a masterpiece and From Software has other nuggets in its catalog, but other studios have managed to adapt this recipe based on blood, sweat and tears; here are five examples!

Difficult to miss the phenomenon Elden Ring lately. In a very gloomy AAA landscape in recent months, the title of From Software shines with its simply breathtaking quality on many levels. Many neophytes have therefore chosen to surf on this wave which has swept over the world of video games; they then discovered an exciting universe to explore, but also a demanding gameplay, even downright punitive at times.

An aspect that has proven prohibitive for many players, despite the efforts made by Hidetaka Miyazaki and his troops to make the title more affordable. But some of the newcomers also got off on having their jaws crushed by ruthless bosses. For the latter, we’ve put together a short list of games that are all worth their weight in blood, sweat and tears that will fill that void!

First of all, let’s start by specifying our criteria; we have chosen games that can be described as “Souls-like”. The term refers to a subcategory of action-adventure games defined by the codes of the Dark Souls series. But its strict definition is the subject of passionate and very technical debates. For this selection, we voluntarily base ourselves on a rather lax definition of the term. It is not a question of offering you clones, but games based on the two fundamental criteria which are more or less unanimous:

Challenging gameplay. Rather than talking about difficulty, which is an inherently subjective term, we have selected games that can objectively be described as “demanding”. This means finishing them will be anything but trivial; to get out of a bad patch, it will be necessary above all to show composure and to concentrate.

Getting to the end of these games requires a certain degree of effort to understand the mechanics and find the right response to intense, often high-risk situations. Moreover, the stakes are often high; pressing one button too many is not a good idea, and each death has consequences for the rest of the game.

A certain conception of level design. If the very first Dark Souls still holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers, a big part of that is thanks to his level design extraordinary. The overall build is almost reminiscent of the legendary Castlevania; like the founding title, the games in this selection are all built on the basis of cryptic levels, strewn with secrets, interconnected with ingenuity and separated by neutral zones.

There are also a whole bunch of secondary criteria whose relevance is hotly debated by players. We can mention pell-mell the sinister atmosphere, the presence of an energy bar which prevents chaining too many actions, the importance of the movement, the absence of real pause, the replayability, the backups limited to checkpoints … But in the end, we will focus above all on the two points mentioned above.

That being said, here is our pick of five titles and franchises that will help fill the void once your Underworld adventure is over!

Salt & Sanctuary – The spiritual son with cartoon sauce

It is difficult not to draw a parallel with Dark Souls immediately when you lay eyes on Salt & Sanctuary. Admittedly, it is certainly a 2D game with a decidedly more “cartoon” style; but S&S is nevertheless openly inspired by it. It starts with the visual paw, dark and dreary throughout and enhanced by a brilliant sense of direction.

Monsters, weapons, and environments, all hand-drawn, exude technical craftsmanship and attention to detail. So many elements that are reminiscent of the From Software series, and the comparison does not stop there. Mechanically, too, there are several striking similarities; one thinks in particular of the exploration and management of energy during combat. And above all, as in all “Souls-like”, you will have to show patience and discipline.

The game also begins by trampling you well as it should from the first minutes, just to make you understand what you are getting into; fans of the genre will get their money’s worth. But the game also has its identity which largely comes from the 2D component. This has the merit of making the situations more readable, and therefore more accessible for neophytes. One more reason to test this real favourite!

Tails of Iron – A poetic but uncompromising visual slap

Let’s continue our momentum with Tails of Iron, a title developed by Odd Bug. This is also a hand illustrated game, like Salt & Sanctuary above. On the other hand, the atmosphere is much less dark and mature than in the latter. It is even rather cute and colorful; Overall, we can only salute the phenomenal artwork that hits the bullseye throughout the game.

The main protagonist is an adorable little rodent of noble blood, as he is the designated heir to the Throne of Rats. Unfortunately, he finds himself forced to go on the warpath when the terrible clan of frogs takes over his kingdom. An introduction that would fit perfectly in a children’s tale, but make no mistake about it: under its good-natured air, Tails of Iron is quite a challenge that will certainly give you a hard time.

Overall, the gameplay is a little less punishing and more approachable than that of Salt & Sanctuary, even if the game remains full-bodied. The mechanics are a little less well defined and sharpened than in other souls-like, but it’s also a very nice adventure that can be enjoyed like an excellent graphic novel.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Join the Dark…Souls

Dark Souls and Star Wars, this is an association that seems absurd. Yet, in Jedi: Fallen Orderthere are a number of elements that unquestionably borrow from the From Software franchise, or rather from the satellite title sekiro which seems the closest in terms of gameplay.

It starts with the combat mechanics. In Jedi: Fallen Order, the adventure is punctuated by encounters against high-flying fighters who will force you to dissect their attacks in the hope of defeating them. The precision of movements and timing will be crucial to reach the end of the adventure, and thus obtain the right to face one of the most iconic villains in the history of science fiction.

A rather rare point in this kind of games, however, deserves to be noted: the game offers different levels of difficulty, which will allow all player profiles to rub shoulders with it. Moreover, despite some really strange animations and a sometimes quite rudimentary overall level design, the sensations are there; special mention to the boss fights, where the very good sound design contributes greatly to immersion. A rather different transposition, but interesting for fans of the genre, and a must have for fans of Star Wars.

Nioh 2 – A Showdown For The Brave

In a very different genre from the previous two, this time we are tackling an adventure rooted in feudal Japan. But it’s not about sekiro; it’s good Nioh 2 referred. This second opus, heir to a game generally acclaimed by critics and highly appreciated by fans, is one of the few “true Souls-like” that have managed to convince some of the very conservative fans of From Software.

All the classics of the genre are there; from the beautiful sets to the very worked atmosphere through the demanding combat system, not to say uncompromising, fans of the genre already know what to expect. Some differences, however, spice up the experience to give its own personality to the title; we can for example mention the varied talent trees and the mountains of loot available, which contrasts with the limited customization of sekiro.

But even for the most seasoned amateurs, this title represents a great challenge. Nioh 2 is one of those games that can objectively be described as “difficult”, and there are only a few ways to lighten the load. Contrary to Dark Souls or at Elden Ringwhere some overpowered builds can make the game almost trivial, Nioh 2 gets closer to sekiroWhere Bloodborne to a lesser extent. To advance, the only option is to progress the hard way by taming the mechanics. An excellent title for those who like blood, sweat and tears… certainly a little less for the others.

Remnant: From The Ashes – Dark Souls, Reloading

We have chosen to book the last spot on this list to Remnant: From The Ashes for a very simple reason: it is one of the rare representatives of this category to have opted for a ranged combat system based on firearms rather than tools with medieval sauce. A point that raises some eyebrows; some players categorically refuse to call it “souls-like” for this reason.

However, there are a lot of mechanics and design choices that are unmistakably drawn from this genre. It starts with the demanding combat, which forces players to analyze the behavior of enemies. There’s also an energy gauge, gear upgrade system, and progression that will immediately remind players fresh out ofElden Ring.

Overall, the game isn’t as polished and more superficial than From Software’s titles. But RFTA is also much more than just a “Dark Souls with guns”. Gunfire Game has taken care to define original gameplay elements that make it a divisive alternative, but original and very entertaining. A must have for lovers of shooters who enjoyed Elden Ring !

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