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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ireland

We Have Dark Souls at Home: Game Recommendations

Rejoice gaming enthusiasts, the Elden Ring DLC will soon be upon us! But if the wait has become unbearable and you’re in desperate need of frustration there’s hope. I’ve compiled even more soulslike games that you can check out from the library. Yes, with your humble library card you can take any of these games home for free. Which is good news, because one of these titles probably isn’t worth your hard-earned dough. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. If you’re not familiar with From Software’s Dark Souls and its family of games, I’d encourage you to read more about them in my post on Elden Ring. You may also want to check out my first look at Soul’s inspired games right here on the Caldwell Public Library’s blog. 

Game box for Lies of P

The Good:

Lies of P might be the best, most refined soulslike I’ve played. Previously I would have awarded that title to The Surge or its sequel. Both are excellent sci-fi takes on the Souls formula, but Lies of P is on a whole other level. As with all of the games highlighted here, Lies of P has all of the core Souls elements but distinguishes itself with some innovative additions. Leveling is balanced with an upgrade skill tree, weapon attacks can be altered by changing handles and blades, weapon durability actually matters, and there’s much more of an emphasis on blocking at the right moment for a “perfect block” that can negate more damage and build stagger in enemies. Lies of P takes a lot of influence from Bloodborne as well, both in mechanics and tone. The environmental and enemy designs are creepy and unsettling, with unique locations and characters. I could spend pages praising the visual design, fluidity of gameplay, characters, setting, and just about every other aspect of the game. Fan of the Souls series or not, Lies of P is an excellent and well-balanced game with plenty to offer. 

Game box for Dolmen

The Bad:

Dolmen is a pretty bad title for a video game. Which is fitting because Dolmen is a bad game. A bad game that I played all the way through and mostly enjoyed. In my previous look at soulslikes I reviewed two other sci-fi takes on the formula, Hellpoint, and Immortal Unchained. While both were flawed indie imitators without any significant innovation, they both succeeded by offering a unique experience with their sci-fi settings and visual design. Hellpoint in particular, did an excellent job of making its space station setting feel epic and threatening. Dolmen is bland as plain oatmeal. The story is puddle deep. NPCs are virtually non-existent. The weapons are generic and boring. The game structure is painfully linear, and the leveling system is so basic it may as well have been left out. Overall, the game feels lazy and unfinished. But it's a hard game. Or maybe just cheap. I haven’t quite decided, but I’d avoid this game unless you relish the oddly terrible. 

Game box for Lords of the Fallen

The Unknown:

Lords of the Fallen released in 2014, is one of the earliest copycats to take notes off From Software’s homework. Wait, that’s not right. Lords of the Fallen released in 2023, is the latest take on the soulslike formula. Described as a “successor” to the original game, Lords of the Fallen has received mixed reviews but appears to have a decent level of polish. Why they decided it should share the name of the first installment is beyond me. Particularly, when the original was a clunky mess that I stopped playing after only a few hours. I haven’t touched this one yet, but it won’t be long before I do. Based on other reviews, there are some new elements and mechanics that could prove interesting provided they’re done right. I’ll most likely be revisiting this title the next time I’ve got enough new soulslike games to blather about. Until then, get good or get busy dying!

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