Eldest Souls

Few things in this world feel quite like beating a Soulslike. Maybe finishing a game on the NES, but that’s tricky because a lot of those games are hard in a cheap way. Games like Dark Souls are actually really well-made but have tough enemies and bosses.

Getting that job you always wanted is an incredible feeling, no doubt, but it’s a different sense of accomplishment. Eating an entire pizza by yourself in one sitting. Life affirming? Absolutely. But again, it doesn’t really match that level of achievement that beating a Soulslike gives you.

Seeing the credits roll after finishing Eldest Souls is one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve had with a game all year — and there have been some really awesome games like Death’s Door in 2021. In the 12 hours it took me to defeat all 10 of the game’s bosses, there were a lot of moments where I questioned whether I would even be able to finish it.

For those who haven’t played it, Eldest Souls is a boss rush game that focuses entirely on putting you up against 10 deities known as the Old Gods. Like other Soulslikes, combat requires you to play carefully and time your attacks accurately. Otherwise you can meet your demise literally within seconds. Those Old Gods aren’t playing around, so if you’re not the perfect combination of aggressive and defensive, you’ll get got good.

When it comes to Soulslikes, I admittedly don’t play a ton of them. I’ve played a few here and there, and I do enjoy them. (Mortal Shell was one of my favorite games last year.) But there are others that I’ve started — like Titan Souls — that I just couldn’t get into. Maybe it was a wrong place/wrong time thing, but I’m pretty sure I’ve started more super-hard games than I’ve finished. Beating Eldest Souls makes me want to change that. After finishing that game, I was left wanting more.

I’ve always understood why people like really difficult games, and I know why I enjoy challenging games like Super Meat Boy and Morbid: The Seven Acolytes. But after finishing games like that, I’m usually content to just play whatever’s next on my list. Eldest Souls is the first time a game has made me want to actively peruse my games library and seek out all the hard titles so that I can start taking them on one-by-one.


Chances are I’ll need a quick palate cleanser before I move on to, say, Ashen, but the point is I’ve always only ever scrolled past Ashen in my digital library. Now I can’t wait to finally play Ashen. And Blasphemous. And Nioh!

And look, I get it: Not every Soulslike I play will have all the features and mechanics I loved about Eldest Souls. Hell, I might not even like some of these games after playing them. (I’m going to give Titan Souls another go, and I hope I enjoy it more the second time around.)

But now I think I’m finally in a place where I can truly appreciate Soulslikes and other challenging games for everything they have to offer rather than just being mesmerized by them because they’re extremely difficult. And it’s all thanks to Eldest Souls.

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