Games Inbox: What is the best Dark Souls game?

The Thursday Inbox worries that Batman: Gotham Knights is going to be too obsessed with co-op, as one reader is impressed by A Short Hike.

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Purest Souls
I’ve been interested to read about the recent influx of Dark Souls clones and am now committed to getting Mortal Shell and giving it a go, even though GC purposefully described it as second best compared to the ‘real’ Soulsborne games. Which makes me wonder what is regarded as the best of the series (I know it’s not technically a series but the games like that which From have made).

For me this is a difficult decision and the only easy one to rule out is Dark Souls 2. It paved the way but I’d also say that Dark Souls 3 is better than the first in every way that counts. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is not a Soulsborne but for me it was just too difficult and I never got on with it the way I did the others.

I’ve not played Demon’s Souls, which I hear has some of the best bosses, so I’m very looking forward to the remake. But that means my personal choice is between Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne, which seems almost impossible to decide between. I think I’d go with Bloodborne though. That game just keep surprising me every step of the way and while so did Dark Souls 3 to a degree it was much more of a known quantity by that point. So I give it to Bloodborne. What do other readers think?

Potted history
I’ve just watched the first couple of episodes of High Score on Netflix and I’m enjoying it so far. I think it does a decent job of telling the history of video games with archive footage and interviews with people involved at the time, which give a good insight into that era.

Given the scope of the subject and the boom in a totally new entertainment media I don’t think anyone could cover off all the minutiae that nerds like myself want to know about in the running time of the series but so far they seem to have made a decent go at making the show interesting.

No Plan B
That report on the making of Halo Infinite sounds like a complete omnishambles. I did side with Microsoft at first but if all this stuff about directors leaving and relying on outside companies is true it sounds like the problems were basically bad management, which really is Microsoft’s fault.

What seems even more clear is that 343 Industries are just not working out. According to Wikipedia they have 450 employees, 450! And yet they need to outsource most of the work to other companies? Who they then fail to coordinate properly? How many people did they need to just make the game themselves?

Microsoft had all the time in the world to get this right and they’ve made as big a mess of it than I would’ve thought possible. And why didn’t they have a plan B? Even just a small game that had good graphics or the PS1 T-Rex demo idea GC mentioned? I’m really beginning to lose confidence that they’re going to pull this off.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Should I stay or should I go?
I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment. My PS4 Pro is on its last legs as my two-year-old daughter got hold of it during lockdown, the disc drive doesn’t always read and the HDMI port flickers a lot.

Lesson learnt and it’s no longer on display.

I’ve still got a massive backlog of digital games and a few new releases I’m interested in.

Got my name down on a few waiting lists for a PlayStation 5, do I upgrade or got another PlayStation 4?

The Pro models are still selling for around £300 and have the money to upgrade or replace….

With all the uncertainty around backwards compatibility and what works I’m not sure what to do.

I don’t want to be without a console and don’t want a launch console that doesn’t have any games that I’m interested in.

Before anyone asks, I’m not interested in an Xbox of any kind. They don’t have exclusive games that interest me.
smell_ya_l8r (PSN ID)
Currently playing: Spider-Man (again with all DLC going for the platinum) and Horizon Zero Dawn. Recently platinumed The Last Of Us Part 2, what a game!

GC: It’s a difficult call but we’d be tempted to try and hang on and get a PlayStation 5. We suspect the backwards compatibility will be fairly robust – Sony must realise how important the feature has become thanks to Microsoft – but the only guarantee is the ‘top 100’ PlayStation 4 games. That’s pretty vague, so if your backlog is mostly indie games and obscure JRPGs you might want to think twice.

Underwater Switch
Nothing to get too excited about, huh? For the indie Nindie thingy?

Well let me tell you, Subnautica!

On the Switch!

I don’t care if Xbox Series 4 Chapter 7 and PS piddly squat are delayed indefinitely – I’m getting Subnautica on the Switch.

Best game of this recent gen by a mile for me, stunning game. Yes I’m happy. And excited.

GC: Well, yes. It’s a great game, but is already out on all other formats.

Lean and not mean
I’ve just completed A Short Hike after your recommendation and agree with most of your comments about its short but wonderfully sweet duration. It reminded me a lot of my own opinions on Journey. Whilst it’ll never be classed as one of the greatest games ever made in terms of its gameplay it is, for me, one of the few games I wouldn’t change a single solitary thing about.

A wonderful experience that never outstayed its welcome but left an imprint on me long after the credits rolled. A Short Hike is a game that almost perfectly executes what it sets out to do and all for a fiver.

Of course, not every game should reduce their running times but if you compare A Short Hike or Journey’s simple narrative to the bloated excess of Red Dead Redemption 2 it seems that sometimes less really does mean more.

Thanks for the review. Much appreciated.

GC: We’re glad you enjoyed it; those are good comparisons to make.

Guaranteed success
There is just over a week left to back Eiyuden Chronicle, the spiritual successor to Suikoden. It’s currently near £2.5 million at time of writing. I’m a backer and am getting the digital copy.
Andrew J.
PS: Enter The Gungeon and God’s Trigger is free on Epic Games Store from today at 4pm. Enter The Gungeon was given away free before from Epic, so if you missed it you can get it now. Also, We Were Here is still free on Steam, it is an excellent but short co-op game that I played on Xbox One via the Xbox Gold games. Just click on ‘play game’ to install it.

GC: Eiyuden Chronicle is already over $3 million as we type this, that’s fantastic with still nine days to go.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

See more
I’ve been reading a lot of opinions on Ghost Of Tsushima, with most people agreeing that it’s a very ‘good’ game, but not great and I’ve seen a few gameplay videos and think that it looks alright. But there was just nothing that wowed me, but I couldn’t exactly put my finger on why. After thinking about it for a while I realised that it may be down to the fact that gaming just doesn’t really surprise like it used to.

I’ve been playing games since I was four, with the first Sonic game back in ‘91 and since then I’ve seen video games slowly improve over the years, witnessed first-hand pioneering games like Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Tony Hawk’s, and GTA 3, etc. but these days we’re basically just getting ‘better’ versions of games we’ve been playing for over a decade now, with often very few innovations.

I think if you’re over the age of 25-ish and have been playing games most of your life, you’ve probably seen the best you will ever see in gaming, sadly. Am I being too cynical? I’m not sure how old you guys at GC are but do you ever feel like your age is a factor in enjoying games? Like maybe you’ve seen it all?
PS: I wrote in regarding a forgotten Mega Drive game, which turned out to be Puggsy. Cheers for the help, guys!

GC: We think you’re just playing the wrong games. There is a lack of innovation in mainstream titles, but it’s not as rare as you imply with recent entries in veteran franchises like Zelda and God Of War being amongst the best of all time. Perhaps you’d be better off with some indie games though? Just this week we’ve had the excellent A Short Hike and Mortal Shell, and there’s plenty more where that came from.

Inbox also-rans
If Batman: Gotham Knights’ big thing is going to be co-op I’m going to be disappointed. I wanted another proper single-player game not some multiplayer trans that’s filled with microtransactions and repeating the same missions over and over again.

Now you mention it, a Sony equivalent of Oculus Quest would be a very interesting thing indeed. A headset with a built-in PlayStation 4, maybe? I wonder if that’s what this new headset is?

This week’s Hot Topic
The topic for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ishi, who asks what is your favourite role-playing game ever?

You can name any game, from any time period, but which one is your favourite and why? How much experience have you had with role-playing games and what is your preferred style, including Japanese vs. Western and action vs. turn-based?

Do you generally like role-playing games or was this one relatively unusual for you to enjoy? What general things would you like to see change about the genre and what are you hopes for the next gen?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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