it genuinely is
i love dark souls, it’s one of my favorite game series, but i hate the trend of indie devs being really difficult and badly designed and claiming it to be “inspired by dark souls!”
like, the whole appeal of dark souls is overcoming the difficulty by any means necessary. the game challenges you and you find new ways to get past the challenge. it’s hard but not impossible and anybody can do it if they get creative enough. dark souls is basically a big puzzle game, the puzzle being “how do i circumvent this difficult game design?”
the difficulty is part of the game’s atmosphere. it’s supposed to make the world feel dangerous and oppressive, so that when you make it past the danger you feel smart and capable. it’s about fostering a sense of accomplishment. one of the best trailers for Dark Souls has a compilation of players overcoming the game’s trials and the phrase “Prepare to Die” changing to phrases like “Prepare to Fight, Overcome, Struggle, Endure, LIVE”
but indie games co-opting dark souls whole schtick don’t understand that, they just think “hurrrhrhghghghghg chungo fungo funy hard game make me laugh” and fill their games with bullshit difficulty in order to artificially lengthen it
you aren’t supposed to finish a modern “indie roguelike” game, you’re supposed to die over and over again and keep playing the game indefinitely. they use the difficulty to make up for a lack of content. you can’t see that the game only has ten minutes worth of content if you can’t get past the first level after all!
dark souls games is designed to be finished. they have a shit-load of content, fun gameplay that makes you want to experience all of the content, and a challenging but fair difficulty that makes you feel accomplished when you overcome it.
that’s the difference.