Check out our review of Eldest Souls, a brand new souls-like game with a pixel art edge…
In a time in which the genre is becoming saturated, does it offer enough to freshen up the formula? Watch above to find out.
Hey how’s it going guys! This is Tom from UDS and welcome to our review of Eldest Souls, a brand new boss rush game by developers Fallen Flag Studio. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before you play, and don’t forget to subscribe for more on all things gaming every single week. You’re not going to want to miss it…
Over the past decade or so, there’s been no shortage of games falling under the ‘Soulsborne’ label. Those titles inspired by the likes of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, in which you have to tackle punishing gameplay, terrifying bosses and super helpful online discourse about ‘getting good’. And it might just be me, but recently this seeming oversaturation has started to put me off the genre.
But I have to admit, when Eldest Souls was first teased last year, it definitely caught my attention. With a title like that, it certainly isn’t shy about its influences, and sure enough the story starts in traditional style as you take control of a lone warrior in a land of Eldritch-inspired horror. But what really grabbed me was its top-down, pixel art presentation, which at least visually helped it to stand out from its contemporaries.
But now that it’s out and we can get our hands on it, does it live up to the hype? Watch on to find out…
As with any ‘Soulsborne’, we have to start with the gameplay, which is predictably incredibly difficult! But like the best games of the genre, it never feels unfair. You’ll start each encounter not having a clue what to do, which if you’re anything like me results in a quick, messy death. But there’s a deliberate rhythm to everything that you’ll eventually pick up, and it’s so satisfying when you do and you’re able to slay the big beasties.
You have a mixture of melee and ability-based attacks that develop and evolve as you progress through the game, making for a deep combat system that’s so much fun to learn and tinker with. But be prepared to die a lot, and indeed swear a lot as you progress through this learning journey.
Yet it isn’t all action, all the time, as there’s a meaty RPG element in which you can upgrade your different attributes. This allows you to tailor your character to your play style, and I found myself getting surprisingly attached.
There’s also plenty of NPCs to interact with who will offer you tasks that add wider context to the macabre world of Old Gods and apocalyptic threat. For someone like me who gets bored doing the same thing over and over again, this variety really helps to keep everything fresh, and when the boss battles do arrive, they feel all the more impactful for it.
And speaking of the world, there’s a deep lore that accompanies the events of the game. Much of it is pretty optional, and can be found in notes or optional dialogue. I much prefer this approach as it offers something for those who want the whole package, without slowing things down for those who just want the challenge of the action.
The story itself is pretty derivative of a lot of its influences, but if you’re into cosmic horror you’ll find more than enough to sink your teeth into. But the real strength of the world-building isn’t in what’s told, but how it’s told.
This is where the visuals come in, which are second to none. The pixel art style really captures the mood of the world, with expert use of lighting and different areas making for a surprisingly immersive experience.
The camera angle is similar to the likes of Hotline Miami, which on paper should make everything feel a bit smaller given we’re seeing everything from a bird’s eye view. But despite no longer being viewed at ground level, you still get the sense of how massive these bosses are compared to you. They feel like a real threat, and the creature and character design in general is nothing short of excellent.
The biggest compliment I can pay Eldest Souls is that it’s got me excited for the ‘Soulsborne’ genre again. It takes familiar elements and remixes them into a unique experience that’s just as fun to look at as it is to play. If grown-up responsibilities didn’t get in the way, I could see myself replaying it time and time again to tackle different obstacles in different ways and discovering every part of the meticulously crafted world.
But what did you think of Eldest Souls? Please let me know in the comments below, I love reading your thoughts. And while you’re there, please consider subscribing for more video game content every week, or visit upsidedownshark.com to find out more about everything we’ve got going on.
But until then my name is Tom, this has been UDS and we’ll see you next time.