9 Games Rated and Reviewed
What is there to say about Dark Souls? You’ll either love or hate it, but often a mix of both. I was still a relative newcomer to the Souls series when I jumped into this one (beat and loved Bloodborne, put about 30ish hours into DS1 so far) but after a few hours in, I got hooked. And now after putting 200+ hours in I can say it’s probably my favorite of the Souls games I’ve played.
It’s world design isn’t as intricately connected as DS1 and it’s combat isn’t quite as smooth and stylish as Bloodborne, but it took enough from both of those worlds to make a very expansive and satisfying Souls and overall RPG experience. The areas I find it excels beyond the others is its amazing array of epic and unique bosses, and it’s endless amount of customization it offers through its hundreds of weapons/armor/spells to experiment with. As a lover of deep RPG a mechanics (Divinity 2 & The Witcher are some of my favorites), this truly scratches that itch. The build options are just limitless, and the exploration is as fantastic as expected. After I beat the main game I immediately jumped into the DLC and had a great time playing through those too. This game is just full of secrets you want to uncover, whether it’s an awesome new weapon, a wild new boss, or even a bit more lore to wrap you deeper into the story and world.
As for the difficulty, yeah it’s still gonna wreck you plenty. Lots of fast and aggressive enemies, a handful of obnoxiously frustrating areas, and a few bosses that are almost guaranteed to cause some rage quitting. I find it harder than Bloodborne as your character doesn’t have quite the speed or agility needed for some of the more aggressive enemies, but in some ways I’ve found it easier than Dark Souls 1, as the level design and quality of life upgrades make it a little more forgiving and approachable. Overall it felt pretty balanced, with enough great bosses and interesting areas to keep you engaged through the end.
I could go on forever about this game but I’ll end it there. For someone newer to the Souls genre, I think it’s a great place to start. Not as aggressive as Bloodborne, but a little more streamlined and smoother than Dark Souls 1 (from my somewhat limited experience). It definitely did a great job of finally making me a true fanboy of the Souls genre.
Fantastic gaming experience. The best way I can describe the game is a breath of fresh air. The core gameplay is definitely nothing new (stealth action adventure), but the game design is so gorgeous and crafted with such attention to detail with the mechanics adding just enough new twists to the formula that it makes the whole experience truly engaging through the end. It’s also one of the only games I’ve played recently where I was actually emotionally invested in the characters and the story actually made me feel real emotions. It’s such a simple and grounded story of protecting your homeland, that it’s so much more affecting and authentic than the typical “save the world, use magic, etc” from 90% of other similar titles.
The combat, while taking cues from the Assassin’s Creed and Arkham games has enough of its own identity to feel fresh. Fighting is satisfying and visceral, with multiple stances that you have to learn and switch between, as well as new abilities and trick weapons you can add to your arsenal. The boss duels are truly epic and exciting, feeling very cinematic but also genuinely challenging at times. Also the challenging of enemies to a one on one stand-off is unique and keeps the enemy encounters interesting.
The world design is where things truly shine. Just spending time to ride freely around Tsushima is such a joy on its own. I really appreciate that they removed mini maps and most of the HUD and just let you explore and find cues from the environment. It’s one of the few games my wife genuinely enjoyed watching me play because it was just so pretty to look at.
The story like I mentioned is quite a shining element as well. Dealing with death, honor, and family obligations/disputes makes it feel genuine and relatable. It had enough twists and turns through the play through that I was conflicted but satisfied with its bittersweet ending. It was definitely a rollercoaster of emotions that I don’t normally get from action/adventure games.
With all that said, it’s certainly not a perfect game, with a lot of the same old “open world checklist” gimmicks that drag it down after a while. Sneaking through and conquering enemy camps is fun the first dozen or so times, until you realize there’s like a hundred of them and many of them start to feel recycled. It just becomes a chore after a while. With that said though, the game does provide a healthy amount of armor, stances, techniques, gear, etc to work towards getting so the grinding does feel quite rewarding for dozens of hours.
Overall, a really memorable and satisfying experience that I highly recommend. While still a little overly grindy at times, the combat is a lot of fun, the story is engaging, and the world is just too gorgeous to not want to get immersed in.
Really amazing game. First Soulsborne game I’ve beaten, and I’d say probably the most fun/accessible of all the ones I’ve played. After playing maybe 20 hours of Dark Souls and a ton of hours of Nioh 2, I was encouraged to give this one a try. Very glad I did. It seems to have the best of both of those games in one tight package. It has the super fast and buttery smooth combat that I loved about Nioh, but also the amazing level design and deep lore that you can expect from a Souls game. The story seemed a little more clear and engaging than Dark Souls, as you’re basically just a hunter taking down monsters as the night progresses and becomes more of a nightmare. Cool simple concept with lots of depth if you look for it.
I also find it a little easier than Dark Souls games once you adjust to the speed of the combat. In the Souls games it feels like the level design is the main enemy, while in Bloodborne, it’s mainly just the enemies you have to worry about, so you can just focus on improving your skills and leveling up to conquer the map. It’s not until the endgame when you start encountering super difficult levels that kill you just for having the audacity to exist in them. Bosses are fun and varied, and most of them are manageable to beat solo. Also I appreciate that the game isn’t super long. Dark Souls feels very sprawling and ambiguous with its story/progression, Nioh just felt endless, but Bloodborne feels paced quite well. Took me about 60 hours taking my time to beat the main story along with all the optional areas/bosses, etc., though it went by fast as the progression and exploration are quite addicting.
Can’t think of many cons really, it’s extremely polished, and it’s basically accomplishing exactly what it’s designed to do. Only thing that really upset me was when I beat the game it immediately dumped me into New Game+ and I lost access to every area I had previously unlocked. This wouldn’t be a huge deal but when trying to play the DLC I had to replay a decent chunk of the game. I wish the game gave me a warning about NG+ or the DLC being difficult to access after beating the game. Bummer. Also one other thing that did bother me a bit, in comparison to the Souls games, there’s definitely less customization options or opportunities. No real magic, less weapon and armor sets, and without an option to respec, it does make it difficult to try out different weapons later in the game after you’ve already invested a bunch of resources into leveling your current weapon. It basically encourages you to pick and weapon and stick to it for your whole play through. Which makes every weapon viable and unique which I appreciate, but it’s also really hard to switch to a shiny new toy if it doesn’t match your stats. Not a huge deal, but in comparison to the flexibility and fun of DS3, it is a bit of a letdown.
To sum up, the game is scary, exhilarating, at times frustrating, but overall very addicting and satisfying to play. It did a great job of sucking me into the Soulsborne series and is definitely a top PS4 game for me.
Great experience with this one. Originally I had started it but wasn’t really engaged by the combat, but I gave it another go and I’m glad I did. I definitely see why this is seen as one of the best games on PS4. Graphics are gorgeous, I’m not usually into hack and slash, but the combat is deep and interesting enough to keep it engaging and reasonably challenging. Story starts off slow, but after so many hours spent with these two characters you really get to understand both of their perspectives and needs and you do get connected to them. All of the characters in the game are pretty grounded and interesting/entertaining. Gameplay gets pretty addicting (battle, find loot, solve puzzles, beat boss, repeat) and the story is paced well enough that I was actually engaged through the full 30-40 hours I put in it until the end.
However boss variety is pretty limited, and I felt like the skill progression system was kind of unbalanced as I kept gaining so many experience points and skills so quickly I barely had time to learn and appreciate the last skill. Also it would be really nice if the camera was further back during battle so you could actually see more of the battlefield. Makes it awkward to fight multiple enemies. And the end does feel a bit anticlimactic, as it becomes clear it’s the first part of a larger story. Not necessarily a bad thing, as it just leaves me wanting to really play the next one and see where the story and characters go.
Overall, an amazingly made game, with a couple of things that could be polished, but generally fun action and a satisfying story to keep you playing until the end.
What an amazing game. One of my favorites on the Switch. I was hesitant to play a dense isometric rpg, but after giving it a shot for a couple hours I got hooked and didn’t put it down until 100+ hours later. It’s so amazingly crafted, with endless depth and options and a fantastic battle system. My wife isn’t much of a gamer but she enjoys board games, chess, Age of Empires style games, and once I introduced her to this she fell in love with it too. We ended up picking it up on PS4 so we could play in co-op - unfortunately Switch doesn’t have co-op :(
The customization is just so engaging, and makes for great multiple play-throughs. My two other favorite games on the system are Witcher and BotW, which although this is different as it isn’t action based, it provides the same or deeper level of engaging exploration, and deep open world fun.
Literally the only small cons I have are I wish the characters could run (they just lightly jog and there’s a lot of world to explore) and the inventory management can be a little clunky. But otherwise a near perfect gaming experience.