Before Demon's Souls, fantastic 'Soulslike' games are made

Before Demon's Souls, fantastic 'Soulslike' games are made ...

Elden Ring''s release has rekindled the desire for soulslike games. Despite it being a tough game to play, the brutality faced by players is part of the game''s charm, and the first Soulslike game 2009''s action RPG Demon''s Souls has been recorded. There have been plenty of games that preceded the popular FromSoftware game with the same idea.

Although the mood of the Souls series helps make it a Souls game, that''s not the key to a Soulslike game. The general definition of ''Soulslike'' that appears to be unanimous is that the game should be well-planned, including a minimal plot, and a combat that encourages skillful execution. Demon''s Souls may have been the origin of the genre, but many people claim that it wasn''t the first ''Soulslike'' game.

The Legend of Zelda

The ''Soulslike'' genre has roots in Nintendo''s The Legend of Zelda franchise, which included the former providing a brutal combat experience, and the other being named as the ''father'' of 3D adventure games. One of two video game series that inspired FromSoftware creator Hidetaka Miyazaki to create video games.

The aforementioned Zelda games didn''t only allow players to explore that were as vast as Demon''s Souls, but it also checked two other ''Soulslike'' criterion. While the Zelda series does hold lore that''s deeper than the stories players follow, the games continued in combat difficulties from Zelda 2 onwards with the introduction of stamina bars.

King''''s Field

The game that inspired FromSoftware''s creation, the company even considered King''s Field to be a spiritual successor to the game. FromSoftware initially released King''s Field in 1994 for the first time in a row, but FromSoftware only continued to develop two new titles since then.

Although King''s Field excelled in exploration, it had a deep backstory. FromSoftware''s first video game included tough combat and progression, as well as a stamina meter to make things even easier. However, King''s Field had built its difficult combat system on another gaming series: Ultima.


Ultima: The First Age of Darkness, a 1981 film, was the first of the vast Ultima series of games. Though initially designed for Apple 2, this high-down role-playing game might not be much like the Souls games, but it was important to the series, and the level of exploration had only expanded from the first. More specifically, ''Soulslike'' fans have described Ultima''s spin-off series game Ultima Underworld as being the closest to the genre.

Ultima Underworld was a 3D first-person game that included intense, real-time combat. It emphasised item gathering, which is also core to the Souls series, since weapons could collapse and break, and made NPC trading a key component.

Shadow Tower

Shadow Tower is a first-person role-playing game developed by FromSoftware. With King''s Field, this game and its sequel explored the difficulty of FromSoftware''s first series, along with additional gathering mechanics. Items selected by players had a weight and each weapon had its own strength, so there must be a level of caution to take care as players explore the nooks and crannies of the game.

Shadow Tower: Abyss was released on PlayStation 2 in 2003 as a Japanese exclusive title. In addition to the dangers experienced by players, Abyss introduced similar elements to future Souls games. Unfortunately, an English export was canceled due to forecast sales concerns.

Severance: Blade of Darkness

Rebel Act Studio''s Severance: Blade of Darkness is a 2001 game that many on Reddit think is "Soulslike" but it has dark moods and painful gameplay. However, the game had environments that were scarce, making it difficult to recover. Weapons were also perishable and had limited durability, which makes players sometimes a less resourceful.

Severance''s combat system was recently re-released on Steam and GoG, which allowed them to utilize the dismembered body parts of deceased enemies, making this multiplayer game at least satisfying to play. Unfortunately, the game never had its launch due to poor marketing, and it''s doubtful that the series will see the light of day again.


2001''s Ico was inspired by Miyazaki to enter the world of video games. The PlayStation 2 game was designed by the same studio behind the industry-changing Shadow of the Colossus, Team Ico. A unique pairing system included players taking the role of two characters, Ico and Yorda, who both have different abilities that assist players progress.

While Ico doesn''t focus on challenging combat, it is aware that combat has more to do with enemy avoidance than anything. There is also a particular emphasis on its vast lore, based on folklore and myth that revolved around a simple storyline. Despite its lack of direct fighting, it was still a challenge to avoid the creatures and enemies that tried to harm the two protagonists.

Although they aren''t perfect ''copies'' of Demon''s Souls, one may see a lot of the above games as a success for FromSoftware''s 2009 title, claiming a lot of exciting gameplay and long history, including previously fromSoftware titles. However, the video game industry is constantly evolving, not just by means of more realistic graphics and massive map sizes. The proverbial hat should always be tipped to the many wondrous titles that have come previously.

Demons Souls is now available for PS5.