The Challenge of Soulslike Games


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Entering a dimly lit cavernous room, the cobblestones reflecting a sickly green hue, players are faced with a towering beast in games like Demon’s Souls. Overcoming this formidable foe requires a punishing sequence of precise dodges and parrying, with severe consequences for failure. A single misstep can send players on a lengthy journey back to the same challenging spot, testing their perseverance and skill.

Debate on Difficulty and Accessibility

For many players, the intense difficulty of games like Demon’s Souls is intoxicating, offering a unique gameplay loop that is both frustrating and rewarding. However, some argue that the high level of difficulty can be a barrier to entry for many gamers, limiting the audience that can experience the satisfaction of conquering seemingly impossible challenges.

Morgan Baker, the game accessibility lead at Electronic Arts, believes that games can be designed to be both accessible and challenging. He emphasizes that difficulty is subjective, with what may be hard for one player being easier for another, and vice versa.

Evolution of Soulslike Games

The studio behind Demon’s Souls, FromSoftware, has continued to challenge players with their Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, Elden Ring, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Many other developers have followed suit, creating games that uphold the punishing difficulty that has become synonymous with the Soulslike genre.

However, a new trend is emerging, with some games in recent years focusing on accessibility and inclusivity. By offering options to make gameplay more accommodating, these titles aim to provide a challenging experience while also welcoming a broader range of players into the fold.

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