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Science-Fiction Weekly – Comparing The Forthcoming "Dark Souls In Space" Games

by Andrew Reiner on Apr 25, 2017 at 03:00 PM

Dark Souls comparisons are thrown around liberally. I'm guilty of attaching the name to difficult action/RPGs of similar ilk, and I'm sure many of you are too. I don't understand why people are saying The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is like Dark Souls, but that comparison shows how loosely "Souls-like" is used in our gaming vocabulary these days. We're often not wrong in our assessments, however, as developers draw heavy inspiration from the Souls series, and have generally been upfront with their appreciation of From Software's work.

Developer Deck13 Interactive is the first to admit its forthcoming game The Surge is a mix between Dark Souls and Rise of the Robots. The studio also made one of the best Souls-like titles to date in 2014's Lords of the Fallen. Game Informer's Dan Tack gave Lords of the Fallen an 8.5 out of 10, saying, "While borrowing heavily from the Souls franchise, it’s done well and with its own signature flair. I highly recommend this game to anyone that enjoys that series, and if you haven’t gone down that road before, it might be a more forgiving entry point into the action RPG."

The Surge ships on May 16 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and while delivering a combat system that may fit like a glove, looks like a unique experience with a strong focus on looting. Set in a world destroyed by global warming and wars, you are an employee of a mega-corporation called CREO, which was created to save the world. But, like all sci-fi companies, it's secretly up to no good and has done something terrible. Your job is to expose this secret and stop CREO's threat.

Although you are just an average Joe, a technological breakthrough called the exo-rig grants you with super-human strength. The rig was originally designed for industrial work, but doubles as a nice weapon against rogue robotics. The exo-rig is upgradeable and can be outfitted with a variety of attachments falling into light, medium, and heavy categories. You also unearth brain implants on your quest, which enhance the cognitive interface you share with the exo-rig.

The goal of the game is to infiltrate a CREO complex and become more powerful as you journey deeper within it. Hacking and slashing deadly robots is part of the experience, but you want to study each enemy closely before engaging them. Enemies are outfitted with different parts that alter their combat prowess. Before entering combat, you can scan their bodies to identify their payloads. The targeting system allows you to pick away at specific limbs to dismember them. Those pieces can be looted for crafting, or can outright be used.

You earn tech scrap (experience points) from any foe you defeat, but if you die, all of the scrap you farmed is lost. You have to retrieve the stash from the location of your death. That tech can be cashed in to enhance the exo-rig output levels, or can be used as a base material to craft new weapons and armors.

I can't wait to get my hands on this game. I was quite smitten with Lords of the Fallen, and am curious to see what the team does in the sci-fi space.

Hellpoint is another game to earn the hallowed "Dark Souls in space" title. Developer Cradle Games calls Hellpoint an "occult sci-fi RPG with split-screen multiplayer." Cradle is currently trying to fund the game through Kickstarter, and has received half of the requested funding with 14 days remaining on the campaign.

In Hellpoint a massive quantum cataclysm messes up reality in a big way. All living beings lose their mind and memories for a split second, as their bodies slide into parallel universes. The cataclysm, earning the rightful name "The Merge," also brought alien entities into different dimensions, including our own. The player experiences this event aboard the Irid Novo space station, which orbits a super-massive black hole. Here's where the plot gets odd: You work for an organization called the Authority that wants you to "finish what was undone." The Authority 3D-printed a version of you, and, well, you don't really have a clue what is happening. You just know you are immune to the effects of The Merge, yet you feel like you've experienced this scenario before. This setup is equally as intriguing as it is confusing.

The big selling point for Hellpoint is the split-screen cooperative play, which you'll be able to experience in early 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, and Linux. You can get a taste of the game now in a pre-alpha demo, which Cradle says will be "polished and tweaked" in the months ahead. The game also features a real-time dynamic world, in which the space station orbits the black hole, and depending on the time, delivers different types of enemies and mysteries. The time is determined by a technology Cradle calls the "Quantic System," a series of interconnected systems on server clock that determine what event should occur.

Although you are on a space station, it would appear the primary type of weapons are swords and spears. You can also use a magic-like system for healing and to fire off energy missiles. The enemies we've seen appear to hold a certain/disgusting Dead Space-like quality and appear to be nicely varied.

Cradle Games was founded in 2015, and consists of a team of video game veterans that have worked on Assassin's Creed, Prince of Persia, Rainbow Six, Skylanders, and Spider-Man.

Both of these so called "Dark Souls in space" games look promising, and toy with science-fiction ideas in different ways. We should have a full review of The Surge (penned by me) on the site when the game launches, but check back on Science-Fiction Weekly for a video walkthrough of the title on launch day.

That's it for this week, which just happens to be the 52nd installment of Science-Fiction Weekly. My how times flies. See you next week, everyone.