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Did Demon's Souls Spawn A New Era In "Hardcore" Gaming?

While it's certainly true that mainstream and casual gaming has absolutely exploded in recent years, the hardcore contingent remain vocal and dedicated.

I know everyone has their own definition of the term "hardcore" and as such, it causes all sorts of problems. However, I doubt anyone would disagree with the idea of calling the Demon's Souls and Dark Souls games "hardcore." The Angry Birds or Madden fanatic likely isn't digging into such games.

But it's interesting that From Software seems to have created a new uprising in the world of challenging, deep fantasy RPGs. Yes, let's not forget it began with the PlayStation 3 exclusive, Demon's Souls, and then morphed into the Dark Souls games. These titles performed exceedingly well, perhaps even better than most anticipated. It proved that yes, core gamers still exist and they can still be a force in this industry.

I think this is why we're seeing games based very much on that concept. Bloodborne is a great example of that, but so is the recently released Lords of the Fallen, which is earning some pretty solid review scores around the 'Net (our review is coming tomorrow). Not only are such games received well by critics, but they're often adored by gamers who really despise the mainstream/casual uprising, and wish more games were like Demon's Souls.

It's just interesting to see, I think.

Tags: demons souls, dark souls, bloodborne, lords of the fallen

10/28/2014 10:32:36 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (21 posts)


Shauneepeak
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 @ 10:49:52 PM
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I definetly feel it did Demon's Souls was one of those rare games that makes the player go "whoa why isn't this working?" and have to completely step back and take a look at how they normally tackle games. Demon's and Dark Souls both force the player to take their time and plan out their situation. If you simply rush into a Souls game you WILL die and die repeatedly.

Last edited by Shauneepeak on 10/28/2014 10:50:47 PM

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xenris
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 12:24:51 AM
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I think we are seeing something shift. It seems like the lowest common denominator wants something more than their hand being held the whole time.

The souls games have an amazing online community, so people can learn strategies on forums and message boards which does make the games more approachable and I think more casual gamers are being drawn into that aspect of those games.

Also the sense of reward you get for doing something in those games really can't be beat when it comes to video games. Over coming a boss that you were stuck on because you finally figure out the perfect strategy and stay calm the whole fight is super awesome.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 1:08:48 AM

"It seems like the lowest common denominator wants something more than their hand being held the whole time."

The lowest common denominator always wants to be led around by the hand, in all walks of life. It's why they're the lowest.

If this were true, Dark Souls would sell what Call of Duty sells, and that'll never happen.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/29/2014 1:09:33 AM

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DemonNeno
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 12:38:51 PM

Haha, English technicalities! Lowest Common Denominator would imply the least complex of all. Definitely understood (and agree) your statement though! :)

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xenris
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 1:35:59 PM

True, I agree that they want to be led by the hand for sure.

I just meant it seems more like people are waking up so to speak :P

I don't know how to word it, but even a lot of people who I work with you love CoD have been more interested in something more challenging lately. Maybe not Souls level but still something a bit more stimulating.

Maybe its that those people started gaming later on in life? Not to say that all the old dogs like hard games but I feel that the old dogs of gaming all have a niche genre they like.

I like any game that posses a nice challenge, you like tactical think heavy strat JRPGs, Temjin likes his technical fighting games etc.

Those games by nature tend to be less approachable, but just what I have been seeing lately are more people testing out the water so to speak :)

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 1:33:20 AM
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It did, there's a lot of darker themed games spawning all over the place class. Even the Witcher series started to shift more to a Souls game look and feel.

I noticed the same trend with Dragon Age and Oblivion.

Games like Deep Down are giving praise to everything the Souls series stood for.

Dragon's Dogma has so Souls flavor as well.

As for difficulty, I've noticed it more as well but it's more subtle.

It's an amazing series which I'm glad Sony started and is still supporting. Praise to Namco as well, Dark Souls II is second to no game this year.

Last edited by Scarecrow on 10/29/2014 1:34:56 AM

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 2:24:44 AM
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While the Souls games have certainly sparked a lot of conversation throughout the webiverse, I don't really see them as kicking off a trend of "hardcore" games. Bloodborne is a kind of spiritual successor, and Lords of the Fallen is a peculiar outlier in the RPG realm, I think. While other games seem to be looking to the darker aesthetic and atmosphere of From Software's games for inspiration, that doesn't mean that they're being built in the same vein.

I can kind of see it in the recent Mordor game, and I've said before that I can kind of see it in the media released for FFXV, and in Kingdom Come, and very little besides.

I think that games like the Souls titles, which really demand that players learn the intricacies of the systems in order to have any success are good for the industry, but they're few and far between. Before it can seriously be called a trend, we need to see this happening more regularly, and across a variety of genres. It's just not happening, except in a small corner of the RPG market.

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Kevin555
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 4:20:49 AM
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I always appreciate a good challenge. Devil May Cry 3 & Ninja Gaiden were very difficult games but the feeling of accomplishment after passing a certain part was just such a satisfying feeling. I just hope Bloodborne doesn't dumb down the difficulty like Ninja Gaiden 3 did to appease to the casual crowd who prefer to have their hand held through every challenge & use very easy mode as their default setting.

That is what i respect about the Demon Soul devs, they don't cave-in to whiners who can't handle abit of a challenge. If you're having difficulty with the game then your options are simple. (A) Get better or (B) Give up.

I hope Bloodborne continues this trend because it makes games much more rewarding imo.

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JackieBoy
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 6:11:12 AM
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No. For me "hardcore" gaming has completly different meaning and it's nowhere near connected to these titles.
I don't understand the meaning "New Era" in this case.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 7:35:21 AM
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I'm sorry, but all I see from this is a pretentious calling card. I played Demons Souls and found the game to be utter rubbish. The game didn't explain any of the classes you had to choose at the beginning and I ended up controlling a chump with a spear who would lunge forward and if he missed by the slightest axis we would leave himself exposed for slaughter. It was just poor game design and I still regard my experience with Demon(s) Souls to be one of the worst of this generation.

I don't know if Dark Souls improved on the series, but I have to admit it simply doesn't appeal to me. I don't mind playing a game which offers a challenge, but the series began to use its difficulty as a marketing ploy which just never appealed to me at all.

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SayWord
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 8:12:12 AM

Just because a game is challenging and you being terrible at it doesnt make the game rubbish.

Its not pretentious and its not a marketing ploy, thats what makes the games enjoyable.

Its alright though youll have plenty of hand holding simulators to play.

Last edited by SayWord on 10/29/2014 8:12:41 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 11:31:36 AM

SayWord: Difficulty absolutely is a marketing tactic considering the targeted demographic.

Vivi: Demon's Souls was unbalanced and not quite polished enough for me as well. I was one of the few critics brave enough to bring this up, apparently. And I'm convinced that when it won Game of the Year at GameSpot, it was nothing more than a statement from the site, basically saying: "See, we're still the face of gaming and we still love the hardcore players."

That being said, I think you just had a bad experience. Once you got the hang of things, the game played relatively well. You just needed to practice quite a bit, which some people do enjoy.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/29/2014 11:31:53 AM

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 1:01:29 PM

Oh I could have persisted but the game was just so alienating and unwelcoming with it's class select system that I simply had no desire to continue with it. I shouldn't have to read up online prior to playing the game about what class does what just to enjoy the game. But of course much like you said if you ever show any sign of criticism to the game you get petty arrogant assaults from gamers much like how SayWord demonstrated...

I remember people were just as stuck up when Devil May Cry 3 was originally released. Where the Japanese 'Hard' difficulty was the Europeans 'Normal'. It was a trial but I had no problem persisting with it, because I was able to jump right in and enjoy the game.

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xenris
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 1:42:29 PM

Demons souls is in a lot of ways the easier of the games. Magic is super OP, you can stock pile healing items and mana items etc.

The game in my opinion wasn't unbalanced because of it being too hard, it was unbalanced because you could cheese the game really easily.

It is one of those things where if you watch someone good do a playthrough or a speed run you can see that the game isn't actually that hard, you just have to approach it differently, more defensively.

Its like traditional fencing, not olypmic, in that you have to not leave yourself exposed, you need to learn distancing, timing, and when you attack, when you dodge etc.

It requires patience and while DMC3 was very hard it was a different kind of hard, both games I enjoy a ton though.

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DemonNeno
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 12:50:50 PM
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I'm on Dark Souls 2 (PC) and am happy with it. Yes, it's hard. It's almost aggravating at times (like when you lock onto an enemy, yet end up using your Window of opportunity to attack to attack the wall instead... And die for the zillionth time).

It's an interesting mechanic. Soooo much patience needed and adaptability to each and every enemy. I do like a bit more direction in the main campaign, but tend wonder how much it would strip away from the overall experience.

I doubt that I'll get through dark souls 2. It's just way too much time to get yourself in tune with the combat. After a 3 day hiatus, I'm back at it and feeling like I've lost all of the technique. Like it's been years since I've played!

If I didn't have a personal or professional life, then I'd probably be a junkie. Determined to push forward. Prove the naysayers who can't believe you're still alive wrong. Conquer all those poor lost souls. Torch the sky permanently.

Yeah, not likely to happen with my life!

That said, I'm excited for the niche experience. It's really great to accomplish ANYTHING! I feel so proud when I get a solid 30 minutes of nonstop play. I've literally just started the game, too.

I'm hoping Bloodborne will offer a more refined and polished experience. In a game as difficult as this series, the smallest glitchy behavior will result in handfuls of hair. It really needs to be spot on with the controls and behavior.

Last edited by DemonNeno on 10/29/2014 12:51:38 PM

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coverton341
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 3:07:46 PM
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I love the Souls series. I will love Bloodborne I am sure. I have seen complaints on this site from people that it's too hard, it's bad at story telling, it's just crap and is too punishing without ever explaining anything, on and on. And, that might be true for you, or someone, but for me, the story telling through item descriptions and the need to infer this or that is amazing. I simply love its style of story telling. The difficulty and refusal to give you any direction is also great for me. I have been looking for this exact type of game for so long and I love every single aspect of the series and the subtle differences in nuance through the individual games.

It's entirely a case of what's good for me might be horrible for you, and you know what, that's perfectly acceptable in my opinion. Some people love CoD and Madden and other games that I personally can't stand, but isn't that the beauty of gaming?

I wholeheartedly welcome a niche being dug out for games like this because I absolutely love them and I would hope that even if other people hate the daylights out of the series and the games, they can at least let other people enjoy them without asking for them to be watered down or changed to suit their ideal of what a game should be. I'm not one to ask that Madden be changed to suit how I feel like a football game should be, nor would I ask that the Tales series take a more mature and darker tone, because at the end of the day, I think we need more niche genres so more people can enjoy their own idea of what a good game is.

Live and let live, game and let game.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Friday, October 31, 2014 @ 1:19:05 AM

yeah i will agree also it is a case of some will love these kind of games and some will hate/despise these kind of games it a love hate thing defintely.

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Axe99
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 5:20:07 PM
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It's definitely a new trend, but I take issue with it being any more hardcore than Madden, for example. That game has a tonne of depth, more than the original Demons Souls in any rate (I didn't play any Souls games beyond the first). I think it's great the trend's come along, but I do find a disturbing trend along with these games of instead of people playing the games to have fun, people play them so they can tell people how much more 'hardcore' they are.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Friday, October 31, 2014 @ 1:14:45 AM

i guess using the game to show how hardcore u are to me atleast that shows you as a try hard core gamer and not a true core cos if you play casual games plus one souls game that says alot in its self that its not legit atleast in my eyes, i guess what i am trying to say is it really depends on the person how you interpret them "trying to be hardcore" by having a souls game in their library/that they play. its a bit selective or do u think thats a bit off

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shaydey77
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 6:41:39 PM
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I'm a big fan of these games. The practice required for the controls, knowing 90% of the time that you died was your own fault and then overcoming it the next time is a great feeling.

My favourite part was definitely the social aspect of letting players join up together to fight bosses and randomly invading other players games. It's just something a bit different is all.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Friday, October 31, 2014 @ 1:10:43 AM
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yeah i would very much be inclined to agree with you and i'd say these types of games will continue to increase in popularity with in our core community cos we don't like the game to be too easy and its a worth while challenge and you feel accomplished which is half the reason we play the other half to have fun.

but yeah and with regard to the casuals having their hands held they like easy games that don't take forever to do anything so for that reason they will always have the COD and madden games cos they just want to play with out the challenge that most of us thrive on alot of the time i mean if you were in the ps2 era then u'll probs be like this cos most of the games i can remeber from the early 2000's were good like that they had the right amount of balance between challenge/accomplishment and fun to keep this interesting and enjoyable.

thats my 2 cents anyways as always

happy gaming

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