FromSoftware has become one of my favorite studios, despite being absolutely horrible at its games due to my lack of skill and its insane levels of difficulty. The mix of satisfying gameplay, magical art direction, and beautifully composed music adds to these titles’ mesmerizing atmosphere. For me, the best ways to play Soulsborne game is to have someone by your side, whether that’s playing co-op, watching a content creator, or lean in on your audience who are watching you play. I know how some people may feel about this, so hold off your pitchforks and hear me out.
Before we really go into it, let me say this. One of the many great things about video games is that people can go about their experiences the way they want. For this genre that has formed around FromSoftware’s creations, I want to play it by having some help. I try to “git gud,” but that has limits as I am not normally good at most games, with some exceptions. But this is not my field of expertise, so I go on these challenging adventures in a way that suites me because I do want to consume this content; it just takes a little assistance.
Help From Your Twitch Audience
While this is not from me, I got this idea from Kinda Funny’s Andy Cortez, who on his personal time streams on Twitch. Recently, he played through the remake of Demon’s Souls, and before that went through Bloodborne, which was his first introduction into the horrifyingly hard style of this Japanese studio’s games. I was inspired by how his viewers helped him through climbing the Everest of video games.
Whether it was looking for the right gear or how to defeat bosses like The Tower Knight from Bluepoint’s PS5 launch title, the audience was there to support the experienced streamer. Navigating these worlds will lead to getting lost. When unsure where to go or what to do, the community was there to point him in the right direction, or the options available like going to get an item or progress through the current world he is in.
I watched Cortez as I could not get ahold of a PS5 (a goal of mine to obtain in 2021). I saw how leaning on people can not only be helpful, but it forms a unique relationship. Playing something accessible on Twitch versus Bloodborne will create a different experience. Gaming brings people together, and it is hard to find a better way than helping your favorite online personality go through a terrifying gothic nightmare full of monsters and killers.
Study Content Creators
Okay, I am mostly leaning on what I said before, but from another perspective. If you were in Cortez’s position with a big enough following, or at least a loyal one, then leaning on a community for help is one of the best ways to play Soulsborne games. However, if you are that viewer who is not playing like myself, then it provides a different experience.
Watching the Kinda Funny host stream Demon’s Souls was more than me getting my fix as my gaming setup is empty of Sony’s chonky next-gen console. I was doing research. When I eventually get my hands on a PS5, I will get Bluepoint’s beautiful looking remake. As someone who is not good at this genre, I need to prepare by seeing how someone can beat this obstacle and what tips I can receive.
He started as The Royalty class, a magic-based build that most people suggest as an easier method of tackling the game. Eventually, he started over with a new character that was a Knight as melee worked better. Everyone has different playstyles, so that makes sense. Through my time beating Dark Souls 3, I was the same way, but seeing that glimpse of spells makes me want to try that out when I dive in. Maybe the starting ability will help me more than Cortez.
Personally, this is the best way to play a Soulsborne game, co-op. The only reason I got through the third and possibly final Dark Souls release was by summoning a friend. He would come into my world, or I would go into his to tear through bosses together. It did not take away the pain we felt when dying countless times on the Nameless King or inching through the two DLC areas that rivaled the base game’s intensity.
Having someone by my side who understood the lore and items made my life much easier. I helped in fights while my partner in crime navigated where to go, even in the most confusing environments like Catacombs of Carthus or Irithyll Dungeon. When I picked up items that I was unsure about, instead of reading dozens of Reddit posts, I was able to ask and receive an answer right away.
I did the same thing for Bloodborne with this same buddy of mine, who is one of the biggest fans of anything that comes out of FromSoftware’s doors. We did not beat the gothic world as I remember getting distracted by other games releasing when we started it up. It is a mission to maybe one day go back and play it.
From this section, you probably were thinking about Sekiro. I tried to beat it, but as the Game of the Year winner in 2019 does not have an online feature, I could not bring in some help. I got through a few bosses, but I gave up shamefully after so many attempts. That said, it is still excellent, like everything else I have played from this company.
With that said, I hope Elden Ring has co-op. I want to play and finish the upcoming FromSoftware release. I always enjoy its games, especially when this one will dive into Norse mythology with George R.R. Martin as the co-writer. My fingers and toes are crossed for this to happen.
To me, I found what makes this style work for me. You may disagree on what I found to be the best ways to play Soulsborne games, whether that is by playing with a friend, studying a content creator, or having your community help you if you have one. For those of you who have a better method, what do you think? Let me know in the comments.