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Best Souls-Likes?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Juan_Carlo, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. Juan_Carlo Arcane

    Juan_Carlo
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    I want a Souls-Like to play, so lets discuss which are good, which are mediocre (but worth playing if you like the genre), and which suck.
     
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  2. Juan_Carlo Arcane

    Juan_Carlo
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    Stuff I've played:

    Dark Souls 1-3 :5/5:
    Nioh :5/5:
    Sekiro :5/5:
    Salt and Sanctuary :4/5:
    Nier Automata :4/5:
    Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order :3/5:
    Code Vein :3/5:
    Ashen :2/5:
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
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  3. agentorange Arcane Patron

    agentorange
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    Codex 2012
    demons souls
    dark souls 1
    dark souls 2
    dark souls 3
    bloodborne

    anything else "souls-like" is shit
     
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  4. Lyric Suite Converting to Islam

    Lyric Suite
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    Can someone who isn't Jaun_Carlo make this thread? I'm actually curious myself.
     
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  5. Wunderbar Arcane

    Wunderbar
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    If by souls-like you mean third person action-rpg with respawning mobs and corpse-run mechanic that weren't developed by Fromsoft, then there are Lords of the Fallen and The Surge 1-2.

    Lords of the Fallen :2/5: Thankfully, devs decided not to copy Fromsoft's vague storytelling and "world is dying and every NPC is insane" schtick, LotF is a pretty straightforward okayish hacknslash with somewhat decent level design (the whole game is set in just one big interconnected castle). Story/aesthetics/weapons variety/build variety/replayability aren't all that great. Worth checking out when on sale.

    The Surge :3/5: quite an improvement over LotF. Original scifi setting with exoskeletons, original combat system where you target specific bodyparts, different character progression system (there are no typical attributes like strength or dexterity, you just put implants into implant slots and they give you certain bonuses - kinda like equippable skills in Witcher 3 or augments in Dragon's Dogma). Each location has only one OPS center (The Surge's equivalent of bonfires) so instead of just walking forward you loop back through numerous shortcuts (think of Cathedral of the Deep from DaS3). One interesting thing about The Surge is that there are almost no trash mobs - literally every mob is tanky and dangerous enough to kill you if you're not paying attention.

    The Surge 2 :4/5: further improvement over LotF and the first Surge. Better build variety, more locations to visit, more weapons, more gear, better mobs and bosses. Even some light multiplayer element (you can use spray can to paint graffitis on walls for other players to see).
     
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  6. FranticDistortion Learned

    FranticDistortion
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    The best souls-like not made by From is salt and sanctuary.
     
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  7. janior Arcane

    janior
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    super mario 69
     
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  8. YLD Novice

    YLD
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    If you're after straight-up clones, check out SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption, it's a boss rush but still one of the few Souls-like to be genuinely excellent. In turn it might make you interested in Furi, another boss rush based on pattern recognition and a truly outstanding soundtrack.

    Next you have NECROPOLIS which is exactly the kind of retardo clone that Wunderbar talks about: expect a game that thinks it's funny to have zero clue what anything does or what to do and where to go, indeed a cargo cult and misunderstanding of how a Souls-like should be "obscure" and "mysterious". Still, if you can get it for (very) cheap, it has a kind of eerie and empty charm that works pretty well.

    What about the recent "Dark Souls with guns" types? Remnant: From the Ashes and Immortal: Unchained will satisfy both your needs for useless semicolons in titles, and slow exploration of an ominous place. I can't say I'm a big fan of the art style in either, but Immortal in particular does look like a shit place to be in instead of grimdark tourism.

    The latest clones are from a completely unexpected series: Assassin's Creed Origins and Assassin's Creed Odyssey finally decided that it was time to get their shit together and solidify their gameplay into... you guessed it, a shameless copy of the Dark Souls core controls. It fares pretty well and uses RPG archetypes liberally to expand enemy variety, but the open world nature works both for and against it: you can't just ignore it like you could in the previous games (contrary to their reputation, the previous Creed games are actually very short if you focus on the real content, we're talking 8 hours vs 60 easily) as areas are levelled, but in turn it's pretty simple to always aim for content slightly above your level and get a decent challenge. Needless to say, the ungoldy production values also make them stellar virtual tourism experiences.

    ---

    The other good ones have already been suggested so allow me to open up the definition a little.

    It's a question many of us asked themselves but in my case it was actually the other way around: I had another game I really liked and Dark Souls was merely a candidate among others for a more-of-the-same fix.

    What "same" are we talking about exactly? A pretty broad category that starts with:

    - third-person with free camera
    - active combat, i.e. no auto-attack or hold-to-attack
    - active block
    - active dodge

    To keep the comparison relevant enough that we don't include the likes of Samurai Warriors, Ninja Gaiden or Metal Gear Revengeance, it needs to be refined a little:

    - not overly fast or acrobatic
    - not overly futuristic or alien/artsy
    - slow or small-scale enough

    The top dogs in this category are Dragon's Dogma, War in the North, Kingdoms of Amalur and of course the extended Soulborne family, with honorable mentions aplenty. Calling the non-Soulborne in that list Souls clones or even Souls-like would be a stretch, but provided you play a melee build (especially a slower weapon when available) and also up the difficulty appropriately, you can get a vaguely comparable experience depending on what precisely you were looking for.

    ---

    Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is what happens when you take a basic concept and stretch it beyond all reason: the combat should feel empowering, so of course you can't do anything without shakycam and special effects covering the screen. It's like a fat juicy hamburger: you know it's shit for your health, you know it's not what you eat when you want something refined and respectable, but it's all geared towards cheaply tickling your brain and taste buds, and you let it happen because you have no shame.

    My advice is to play a slow swinger (ideally a hammer), which will effectively make you a Dark Souls boss and the enemies the players trying to cheese you out, as they have lots of utility that you will need to learn to navigate and counter with utility of your own. The max difficulty is actually very reasonable since hammers do a huge amount of damage and undo all HP bloat, while you can always die pretty fast if you make stupid mistakes.

    In short: max difficulty with a hammer. I can't imagine this game being fun in any difficulty below that, and other builds will make all Soulborne comparison irrelevant.

    Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is another where the comparison will be largely dependent on your build, though in truth the game is so fun you will probably want to try others regardless (you can reroll without starting over).

    Sadly for the purpose of a "Souls-like" comparison the class that's the closest is also mysteriously the one that's the least interesting, as they cannot use as many skills as the others. Still the game's strengths are too many to count, between the beautiful world, the rich combat system, the ruthless exploration (do at least a few far trips while you're still underleveled without teleportation, or you're missing out), the building-sized enemies, and while it's often lush and welcoming, it also has a large amount of dark, grim and foreboding areas. If you like Dark Souls for its dark setting, Dragon's Dogma is no Disneyland.

    The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is a good example of a game that does everything right, but lacks the "spark" that could make it great. The result is a game that feels a bit too cookie-cutter for its own good, but does so solidly enough that you can have a good experience. Again, picking the right build is paramount here: Dwark with hammer/axe, Human with two-handed sword, or dual-wielding Elf, else you will inadvertedly waste points in useless shit like shields or daggers. Once you get the hang of the combat system, you will unleash very satisfying chains of heavy hits and slo-mo finishers with limbs flying away.

    ---

    Now let's see our honorable and dishonorable mentions.

    Venetica is closer to Gothic in its world structure and plot progression, but combat-wise it's actually much closer to a pseudo-Souls than it first appears, due to a good sense of weight and strength with expressive animations and loud sounds of clashing metal. You even get weapon styles that aren't very common like spear/shield, and several slow weapons that feel appropriately brutal.

    For Honor was a pleasant surprise. It's mostly known as a PvP game so many people forget it has an offline solo campaign, and in fact I learned about it completely accidentally. I'm glad I did because it's actually really good and benefits from the combat system a lot. Nice duels, heavy animations that look really painful, spectacular setpieces, solid writing that doesn't overstay its welcome, it would be a shame to miss out especially as it never got any kind of solo DLC; the base game goes for dirt cheap nowadays.

    Fable Anniversary and Fable 3 deserve a polite and cautious look, with the expectations that they are a mindless distraction first and foremost. Fable 3 in particular is so easy that you will need to try very hard to even die once, though playing a hammer makes for some satisfying slaughters. Fable Anniversary is a much better choice if only because the combat feedback is stronger than ever, where hits look really painful and heavy. Beware, both are a marinade of awful writing and unfunny jokes.

    Vindictus is too MMOish for comfort but the combat itself is very fun to play and in several regards reminded me of Dragon's Dogma. It even has a grapple key and environmental throws (slamming enemies into walls for example). Really cool, though again the MMO hub structure is very dry.

    Severance: Blade of Darkness is one of these old games that legitimately school modern releases on many things, and with Xpadder you can just remap the controls to mimick Dark Souls and get a very familiar experience. I could elaborate on how brutal and satisfying the combat is but a quick glance at videos will tell more than I possibly could.

    Conan: The Dark Axe
    is another old game that's very charming in how naively old-school it is. While the polygon count is low, the presentation is still nothing to scoff at: the music is amazing, the visual effects are beautiful, the art is strong, and wait until you see the absolutely superb animations. Lastly, the game is no Dark Souls but it still holds no punches: you block or you die. I even block when it's useless to do so for the manly clanging metal.

    Risen is the unexpected (and unreplicated) solidification and streamlining of Gothic 2 in what is essentially an unofficial HD remake. The combat looks and feels very clean, with lock-on, timed combos, and a good sense of turtling behind your shield until you see an opening. Not Dark Souls for sure, but ramp up the difficulty a little and you see a familiarity. The later Risen games, for some reason, decided to switch to a combat style where PB just has zero skill, so they will have to be relegated to the leftover mentions.

    ---

    There are others that I wanted to mention but as the thread started on Souls-like games we would be veering too far. I'll just namedrop them for the sake of completion, just look for videos online to get an idea:

    The Cursed Crusade
    Ryse: Son of Rome
    The Gothic / Risen series
    Vendetta: Curse of Raven's Cry
    Sea Dogs / Age of Pirates / Pirates of the Caribbean
    Hunted: The Demon's Forge
    Sudeki
    The First Templar


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    I deliberately moved away from straight clones and took a wild guess at what part of the experience you wanted to replicate; I don't expect many of these to be extremely useful to someone explicitely looking for Souls-likes, but surely there are a gem or two that will close enough.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
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  9. Sreggin Etah I Learned

    Sreggin Etah I
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    Watch these videos:

    Show Spoiler






     
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  10. Tarantulos-Eduardo-Sanchez Arcane

    Tarantulos-Eduardo-Sanchez
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    Heh... Souls likes... yeah, I got some...

    Takes a loooooong drag of his cigarette, sizing OP up.

    But I mean, you could ask for that... or maybe you'd like a Souls like with some, heh-heh.... Metroidvania?

    Opens one side of his trenchcoat, showing the entire Steam store indie catalog.
     
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  11. *-*/\--/\~ Arbiter

    *-*/\--/\~
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    An uninstalled one.
     
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  12. Juan_Carlo Arcane

    Juan_Carlo
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    Yes. While there are better Souls-likes, the truly good ones (Nioh, Sekiro) iterate on the core gameplay and end up doing their own things. Salt and Sanctuary is the best Souls-like that stays faithful to the core gameplay. It's suprising how similarly it plays to Dark Souls, given that it's a 2D side-scroller.
     
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  13. Juan_Carlo Arcane

    Juan_Carlo
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    I've played Origins. It seemed more a rip of Witcher 3 to me, rather than Souls.
     
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  14. Curratum Cipher

    Curratum
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    The only souls-like you need is Salt and Sanctuary. Sekiro almost gets the job done but fuck using the same weapon and outfit the entire game.
     
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  15. YLD Novice

    YLD
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    Wait, I forgot 2D Souls-like were on the table. If so you ought to check out Unworthy and Blasphemous.
     
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  16. Ivan Arcane

    Ivan
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    Similar quality titles: Hollow Knight
    Show Spoiler
    :5/5:
    , Blasphemous
    Show Spoiler
    :3/5:
    , Death's Gambit
    Show Spoiler
    :2/5:
     
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  17. Juan_Carlo Arcane

    Juan_Carlo
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    I know it's more a rogue-like, but what do people think of Dead Cells?
     
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  18. NJClaw Ontopolover Patron

    NJClaw
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    You say you want to play a souls-like, but you haven't played Demon's Souls and Bloodborne yet. What is wrong with you?

    If the console is the problem, borrow a PS4 from someone and play the best FS game since DS1.
     
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  19. Juan_Carlo Arcane

    Juan_Carlo
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    I'm a PC purist. I haven't owned a console since SNES. I did try "Demon Souls" on emulator, but the last time I tried, it still ran like shit.
     
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  20. HarveyBirdman Savant

    HarveyBirdman
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    Bloodborne

    For a real answer, Blasphemous looks pretty cool from an aesthetic perspective. I've not played it though.
     
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  21. cruel Savant

    cruel
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    Give Surge 2 a try. Good game, and available on PC. 30h or so to beat, fun combat, very good level design, decent boss fights (apart from one).

    If borrowing PS4 is an option - Bloodborne and Nioh 2.
     
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  22. Juan_Carlo Arcane

    Juan_Carlo
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    The combat of the Surge series looks so clunky and slow. It seems like it's "all melee tank-build, the game," just from watching videos. Which has put me off trying it.
     
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  23. Ivan Arcane

    Ivan
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    Movement feels great but I ended up shelving it because of its segmented/randomized levels. It reminded me Binding of Isaac but less reliant on luck for items. I'd say pick it up on sale since it's pretty cheap to begin with.
     
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  24. Ivan Arcane

    Ivan
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    It's free to play on Xbox Game Pass (PC trial runs a dollar for first month). I dropped it after an hour or so b/c I found its world bland and the combat kind of limp and very edgy (slow mo, dismemberment). Very reminiscent of edgy Prince of Persia Warrior Within
     
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  25. cruel Savant

    cruel
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    First one - yes. Second one, not really. The combat is much more fluid, you can cancel your attacks, and some of the weapons are super fast and satisfying (like Punching Gloves). Even spear is nowhere near slow and clunky. Worth playing IMO.
     
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