Dark Souls Before Dark Souls
Dark Souls is one of the most acclaimed and influential video game series of all time, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. There were a number of games that came before Dark Souls that helped to pave the way for its success, and in this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most notable ones (and yes, we’re aware that Demon’s Souls is one of those games but it doesn’t count).
Severance: Blade of Darkness
Severance: Blade of Darkness is a 2001 action role-playing game developed by Rebel Act Studios and published by Codemasters, it’s also the reason why I couldn’t sleep for a month in the 6th grade out of sheer frustration. The game is set in a dark fantasy world and features brutal combat, challenging environments, and perishable weapons. It’s no wonder that many gamers consider Severance to be a precursor to Dark Souls.
One of the most unique aspects of Severance’s combat system is the ability to use the dismembered body parts of slain enemies as weapons. This adds a gruesome but satisfying element to the game’s gameplay. Unfortunately, Severance was never a commercial success, but it has since gained a cult following among fans of hardcore action RPGs. It’s also been uploaded and optimised for Steam, as well.
King’s Field is a first-person dungeon crawler developed by FromSoftware and released for the PlayStation in 1994. It is the first game in the King’s Field series, which is considered to be a spiritual predecessor to the Souls series.
King’s Field features many of the same core elements as Dark Souls, including difficult combat, challenging exploration, and a deep backstory. The game also features a stamina metre, which is another staple of the Souls series.
While King’s Field was not a critical or commercial success in the West, it was very popular in Japan. The game’s success led to the development of two sequels, King’s Field II and King’s Field III.
The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda is one of the most popular and influential video game franchises of all time. While the Zelda series is not typically associated with the Souls genre, it did have a significant impact on the development of Dark Souls.
Game director Hidetaka Miyazaki has cited Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link and Ocarina of Time as two of the games that inspired him to make video games. Miyazaki has praised the Zelda series for its brutal combat experience, deep lore, and increased combat difficulty from Zelda 2 onwards.
While the Zelda games that inspired Dark Souls may not have had as vast lands to explore as Demon’s Souls, they did check two other important “Soulslike” criteria: deep lore and challenging combat.
Severance: Blade of Darkness, King’s Field, and The Legend of Zelda are just a few of the games that helped to pave the way for the success of Dark Souls. These games all featured elements that would later become staples of the Souls genre, such as difficult combat, challenging exploration, and deep lore. If you’re a fan of Dark Souls, then you should definitely check out some of the games that inspired it. You won’t be disappointed.
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