There’s something special about games that crush your soul with unforgiving difficulty. Sure, they’re not for everyone- there are a lot of people out there who just want to enjoy the experience, or see how the story the game is telling pans out. And that is completely understandable. But there is something cathartic and intensely satisfying about beating a game that has battered you into submission with its maddening difficulty. Their perfect balance between being extremely hard to master and yet being fair at the same time lends an incredible amount of undeniable value to their game design, and there’s just something extremely appealing about games that put their focus, first and foremost, on that aspect.
In fact, there’s an entire market built around these games now, and while this market doesn’t permeate mainstream culture the way games such as Call of Duty or FIFA do, it’s still amassing popularity with each passing day. 2016 saw the release of a bunch of games that toed the line between being frustrating and fair perfectly. Here, we’ve compiled a list of what we feel are ten games that came out in 2016 that did this better than all others.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.
Dark Souls 3
Well, of course we would kick things off with the most obvious choice! We’ve already spoken about how these soul-crushing games (obvious pun is obvious) have been carving out a niche for themselves in the gaming industry, and this charge is spearheaded, at least in terms of popularity and sheer quality, by From Software’s Souls franchise. After what was considered by fans to be a slightly diluted entry into the series with Dark Souls 2, Souls 3 was sort of a return to form, offering the excellent game design that the series has come to be known for, and combining it with the excellent, reaction-based combat that wowed one and all in the excellent Bloodborne. In our review of the game, we said that Dark Souls 3 is brutal, and that “it will make you revel in your suffering”, and honestly, that is perhaps the best way to describe this game.