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The brainchild of FromSoftware and longtime game designer Hidetaki Miyazaki, Dark Souls spawned a whole genre. While most publishers and developers were convinced that today’s audiences weren’t very eager for truly complex titles, the Japanese designer created a truly hardcore game that required concentration, skill, and patience from gamers. And as often happens with influential titles, the name has become a household name: Souls-like has been added to roguelike, metroidvania and breakout – a subgenre of role-playing games in which complexity is raised to the absolute, and the combat system is more important than the plot. Cybersport.ru has collected a dozen of high-quality Souls-like, not created by FromSoftware and trying to somehow diversify the established formula. Stock up on sedatives.

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Skautfold: Shrouded in Sanity

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Perhaps the main contender for the title of “Dark Souls from the world of platformers.” The player takes on the role of a sailor thrown ashore on an unknown island covered in dense fog. The plot is served in an hour by a teaspoon, and even the hero’s motivation is unclear at first. The huge map for research becomes even larger as you find useful items, and the details of what is happening are revealed through dialogues with the locals – rare and not very friendly.

Salt and Sanctuary is in many ways similar to the bastard indie child of Dark Souls and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but the child is quite viable and independent. An interesting addition to the formula is local pumping, presented in the form of a huge branched tree. Unlike Souls, changing specializations on the fly is quite problematic, and the most interesting bonuses always lie within one specific class.

The Surge

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A body floats to the surface of a strange reservoir. The world around is destroyed, corpses are scattered everywhere, and a few oncoming creatures are increasingly striving to kill us. Fortunately, the unnamed hero has an interesting feature – he can move into the bodies of fallen warriors, gaining their strength and abilities. Taking advantage of this advantage, he will have to find his place in a dying world.

I want to praise Mortal Shell for interesting finds and a high-quality combat system, but at the same time scold for a small amount of content. There are only four “shells” in the game. The same amount is given for the choice of weapons, locations and bosses. Even a measured passage will hardly take more than eight hours, during which you really do not have time to pump any of the available shells. However, if you perceive Mortal Shell as a “concentrate” of Souls-like, it is quite easy to enjoy it: the mechanics are made to last, the design of individual levels can surprise (although, alas, there will be more and more standard swamps), and your own chips like instant petrification in combat add their own touches to the formula.

Nioh

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One of the first clones of Dark Souls that players paid attention to. Events unfold in an alternate universe where the gods let humanity down. The user takes on the role of Harkin – a criminal sentenced to death. He is rescued from the dungeon by a monk, since Harkin is almost the only hope to stop the invasion of demons.

The plot is presented much more generously than usual in the games of the genre: the characters willingly enter into dialogues, numerous notes shed light on the details of the world, and the videos do not leave room for interpretation at all. An interesting find is the local multiplier that encourages risk: the player is free to choose a safer approach, gaining less experience and more often staying with the local analogue of bonfires, or ignore them and increase the experience multiplier, which grows with each kill of the enemy. For the rest, there is no reason to expect any revelations from the game: this is just a good strong clone, which is worth playing for those who are not satisfied with Miyazaki’s creations.

Lucah: Born of a Dream

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People are losing ground in front of ancient evil from another dimension. Monsters of wood origin methodically seize the Earth, and only a handful of survivors can resist them. For this, the daredevils go through portals to other dimensions in search of ways to solve the current situation.

The important difference between Remnant is undoubtedly the firearms: there are many of them, they vary in feel and are made to a high standard. At the same time, the entire game can be played in co-op for up to three people, besides, the replayability is high – thanks to the random generation of levels. The difficulty is often created artificially, but this does not really interfere with the game, since all of it can be passed without problems even alone. And the local “green” post-apocalypse with living trees parasitizing on the remains of civilization makes Remnant stand out from the crowd of numerous clones.

Ashen

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A young templar goes to explore an ancient underground temple to honor her deity. The path, of course, is full of dangers, both physical and mental. And the further the heroine penetrates into the bowels of the temple, the more she doubts her own faith.

Despite the fact that the local map is static, the player is nudged towards replaying using nonlinearity (there are up to five forks for each location), as well as a system of blessings and curses. In addition, after death, the player loses not only the accumulated experience, but in general everything that he managed to collect. Of course, as you progress through, you can find special items that remain after death, but you still need to get to them. And despite the fact that you can only move forward here (the game often restricts the path to return or kills due to inattention), you will have to suffer for a long time. Which, however, is not so bad: even passing through already familiar levels does not really tire you after a dozen hours.

See also:

10 best platformers on Dandy;

10 best modern quests;

10 horror games. changed the genre;

10 cyberpunk games;

10 unfairly forgotten shooters of the 1990s.

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