Games To Play While You Wait For Elden Ring
Oh, Elden Ring! It has been ages since the first announcement of this collaboration between From Software and George R.R. Martin. We have waited patiently for gameplay or any significant news about the project, but with the video game world still adapting to working amid a global pandemic, we’re not exactly sure when action/RPG fans will get their next taste of what’s to come. Hopefully soon. But until then, there are tons of other options to satiate your fix for big bosses, beautiful environments, and the compelling duality of challenge and triumph.
First, there are the completely obvious suggestions that we won’t spend too much time on. These include the rest of From Software’s amazing suite of dark action/RPG fare, like the Souls series, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Even if you’ve already completed them, many of them are enticing to return for another play with a different build, co-op with friends, or even a mod to spice things up with random boss/item placements or additional content. This is also an excellent time to check out Demon’s Souls if you have access to a PlayStation 5. Now let's get to the games!
Nioh 2 is overflowing with content and challenges, whether you want to push ahead solo or take advantage of the many co-op opportunities. Now that the Nioh 2 DLC is available to give players a ton more to do at the end of the road (and with the Complete Edition coming out in just a few weeks on PlayStation and PC), it might be time to dive into the darkness. While there’s more grinding and item rolling than there is in Souls games to find your perfect gear and set pieces, that element of loot-finding adds a whole different layer of gameplay on top of a potent mix of exploration and big battles.
Many elements, enemies, and environments are taken wholesale from the original game, and that’s okay – you’re not going to run out of things to do or monsters to fight, and you can explore the combat with a wide variety of weapons and magical boons.
Morbid: The Seven Acolytes
If you’re looking for a healthy dose of blood, gore, and some Bloodborne beats in an isometric Souls-like, Morbid might be your pick. Morbid is also a shorter soiree than many other genre offerings, hitting a sweet spot of about 7-10 hours.
There are many, many weapons to discover and perfect, allowing you to find a speed and style that resonates with you as you work your way through forgotten fishing hamlets and overgrown gardens. Morbid goes all-in on the grotesque horror angle, sporting a boss that uses a dead baby as a weapon and has some fairly unsettling quest arcs to pursue as well.
Combat is tightly tuned, and you learn to parry and roll with the best of them along the way. Along with finding new potent weapons and filling their sockets to create powerful builds, you must manage your sanity rating as you proceed to prevent being slaughtered by horrible apparitions. Of course, if you’re feeling more daring you can let your sanity slide to obtain more rewards.
The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Yep. I know. Breath of the Wild isn’t exactly a Souls-like, but you still owe it to yourself to play it if you’re a fan of exploration and dire discovery. I had held off on playing this one for years, but was impressed at its ability to evoke many of the same feelings that From Software’s amazing formula conjures up.
With the player forced to discover almost everything on their own via experimentation through trial and tribulation, and with multiple solutions to every problem, Breath of the Wild scratches the Souls brain in a supremely satisfying fashion.
An adventure in the truest sense of the word with secrets around every corner, the modern journey through Hyrule is beautiful, breathtaking, and brimming with opportunities to tune tenacity. My first encounter with a Lynel felt shockingly similar to a Souls boss encounter, and took me quite a while to overcome. But I refused to run – eventually mastering every parry and dodge as I took it down with five hearts and a handful of crude weapons. Yeah, that felt real good. You can see a slice of that action below!
While the focus is heavy on the platforming in Blasphemous, an iconic style shines through that begs attention as you quest through a variety of desolate environments. Secrets and hidden connections between levels run throughout the experience, one coated in religious iconography and darkness.
If you like platforming challenges mixed with a unique grisly art style and titanic boss fights, Blasphemous is the one for you. As always, upgrades abound ready to be discovered and unlocked as you make your way through each twisted encounter. It's kind of like a messed up, weird Castlevania... and that's pretty cool.
Remnant: From The Ashes
Remnant is a few years old now, but DLC offerings released over time make it a compelling playthrough if you missed out on it the first time around, including the addition of a roguelike dungeon crawl option that randomizes levels for you to tackle. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Remnant in our Souls selection is that it’s quite conducive to multiplayer sessions with friends.
You won’t need to put down summoning signs or ask for special codes to sync up games here, it’s ridiculously easy to join up with your fellow wasteland warriors and get into the action, and I’d recommend doing so, as Remnant plays better with your pals. As far as co-op goes, Remnant's model is a blast. Combining elements of third-person shooting and Souls-style gameplay, Remnant gives you a punishing playground to romp in.
I’m sure most people reading this are familiar with Team Cherry’s lush, stylish Metroidvania. If you’ve somehow missed out on this one, now’s the time. As we wait patiently for news on the sequel, a ride through Hollownest’s breathtaking environments is absolutely in order.
Hollow Knight has taken the lead in what amounts to a sort of subgenre within a subgenre, and has already inspired titles following in its footsteps like the upcoming Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights. Playing through Hollow Knight today raises one of the most important questions of 2021, which is ... Silksong when?