Discuss Team Ninja's action rpg Nioh
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The following is an excerpt of a blog article.  Read Full Article

Over the past few years, a new sub-genre of Dark Souls inspired Action-RPG and games in general seems to have emerged, unofficially named “Souls-like”, “Souls-style” or aggressively “Souls-clone”. We have seen this label bring hatred towards excellent games such as Lords of the Fallen and Salt and Sanctuary, and promotion to others that aimed to captivate the “Souls audience”. And while there is no question in my mind that inspiration and love of games makes for certain characteristics of some games to bleed over the creations of developers worldwide, I am currently taking exception to the characterization of Nioh as a ...
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Good read Fex, I couldn't agree more.



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Sometimes it feels like people label a game X-like because of a particular mechanic that was popularized in X. I remember the years after the first Halo game came out when regenerating shields (or in non-scifi FPS games, health regen) made the game a lesser version of Halo.

Others think the recovering your XP from your dead body is souls, when that has been around the mainstream since Diablo, again long before Souls existed.

Was it XP in Diablo? I thought it was just gold and equipment.
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I think a major factor is almost always going to be cosmetics. You may have noticed that just about any 3rd person action game in the last couple years has inevitably had some sort of "Souls" conversation around it. Lords and Witcher being medieval based seemed to have felt this more than many games, Salt and Sanctuary was opened up to it because they made reference to it as an influence early on (and a lot of people ran with it).

Here's my thoughts to add on to yours. These are general, as I've only played the last demo of Nioh (cause I be broke), but I tend to agree with your article:

-Cosmetics are so important that they generally define the game for it. Here's a fun example, I recently played Gone Home and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. Both games are categorized as "first person adventure." Ha! Both games are great by the way, but "adventure" is quite generous. Neither feature fail states of any kind, and gameplay is strictly walking around and finding the right thing to interact with to bring the story forward a step. Neither of them have: robust puzzles, antagonist or enemy presence, or really much to do other than walk around and hit "x"

Compare these two games to Broken Age (also great). This game also has no fail state, and is primarily walking around and interacting with the right thing. This game is called a "point and click." Which it is. To be candid, it features FAR MORE robust puzzle elements (inventory and combining items for example), does have an antagonistic or enemy presence and more elements I would consider "game like." The difference is cosmetic. It LOOKS like a point and click (smaller levels, more 2d art style).

The first two games I mentioned are drastically higher percentage of pointing and clicking than Broken Age. I've mentally started calling them "Open world point and click" and even that's generous. Yeah there's more world to explore but you feel fenced in pretty much the whole time in both.

Nioh on the surface looks like "Samurai Souls" to a lot of people, and it's good to have reminders that beauty is only skin deep. Fleshing out what the skeleton actually is, can be crucial and you do a good job Fex

-My second point is that the Souls games are (mechanically anyway) lifted almost directly from From's "other" series, Armored Core. And these games borrowed heavily from other mech games. Going back to my first point, people see giant robots and assume it's completely different. They're not. I could write an entire article on how Demon's Souls is basically "Medieval Core."
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Games like souls existed before souls, anyone remember blood omens soul reaver? What about Rune (viking warlord)? Heck medievil for godsake.. that was practically demon souls but then less serious.

Ill never understand people that go nuts when games look like another game in some sense. Better no longer play games like uncharted cause they totally are a gears of war steal! eghhhh eghhhhhhhhh!!! covur covur.





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The article was an echo of my thoughts. Well said, Fex.
Nioh is an amalgamation of many great games. It doesn't deserve the 'clone' stigma.


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I didn't know it was a real thing. The only people who think Nioh is a Souls-clone are people who don't know much about Souls or Nioh. In other words, people not worth considering. :00004:

Casuals and constant talkers like to simplify things so their brains can process. Not worth considering.


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Kodama-sama wrote: Heck medievil for godsake.. that was practically demon souls but then less serious.

Oh god that was my childhood. I didn't play it much myself, but I always watched my dad play. I'd play it today.....if I still had the copy:(
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zephid7 wrote:Was it XP in Diablo? I thought it was just gold and equipment.

In Diablo you dropped XP as well, but it wasn't as big a deal since XP didn't pull double duty as gold. But yeah, there are actually very few things Demon's Souls pioneered, with the major one being its multiplayer system (summoning, invasions, messages, player bloodstains, ghosts, world tendency, all intertwined with the single player). Everything else was used in well known games from a long time ago, up to and including the storytelling. It might be hard to see at first, but the way Dark Souls tells its story has a lot in common with the way Legend of Zelda does, only LoZ doesn't have the benefit of item descriptions unless you read the manuals. I was having lore discussions for LoZ long, long before Dark Souls ever came out.

IMO, Soulslike is a misleading term. A game can be like Souls, but Souls itself is a callback to games from 25+ years ago when the priorities were challenge, atmosphere, and polish. Saying a game is a soulslike is, to me, a pretty good sign that the person saying it hasn't played the classics. Salt and Sanctuary probably could be called one (it's clearly inspired by the game, including some of the multiplayer ideas), but it borrows just as much from Castlevania and other classics on top of having enough of its own identity to not fit neatly under a single umbrella with other so-called soulslikes.



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You guys say all this, but in the youtube comments people keep going on about how it's a "clone" for sure lol.

Skare's explanation makes a lot of sense, and TSMP is also correct that younger gamers may not have the frame of reference. Who wants to help me put together "10 Souls mechanics taken from other games" hehe.
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