An essential element of videogames, and by extension any game, is having a win and lost state. One aspect we have seen to add more weight to a game’s design is the use of “punishment systems” — systems that penalize the player beyond the initial lost state. However, we’re going to talk about why kicking the player when they’re down is not the best way to motivate them to keep playing.
Since Demon’s Souls arrived on the scene, From Software has been elevated as one of the premiere developers of their own take on ARPG design: AKA the Souls-Like. Since then, when the company does make a game that doesn’t involve the word “souls” in the title, people take notice. Last time we got Bloodborne which was the most action-focused take on their design until now. Sekiro Shadows Die Twice has pushed the Souls-Like in a new, and more action direction… that just may be completely broken.
Playing through Darksiders 3, it represents a continued lack of understanding that game developers have about From Software’s formula when it comes to Dark Souls and Souls-Likes. The only 3D game I’ve played that were the closest to capturing that magic was Nioh. However, so many established studios and first timers continue to fail when it comes to learning what made this franchise work.
Death’s Gambit is the latest in the attempt at taking the methodical gameplay of Dark Souls and put it in a 2D space. With gorgeous 16-bit art, the game pushes the Dark Souls design to its limits…and to its breaking point.