In 2017, 'Hollow Knight' Became Successor to the 'Dark Souls' Throne


#1

Welcome to Waypoint's Pantheon of Games, a celebration of our favorite games, a re-imagining of the year's best characters, and an exploration of the 2017's most significant trends.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/ne4ejb/in-2017-hollow-knight-became-successor-to-the-dark-souls-throne

#2

For me Hollow Knight was actually really held back by how much it takes from Dark Souls. It straddles a thin line between homage and knock off and never really finds it’s own voice and some of the mechanics it takes are not in it’s favor. Nothing is added by having a corpse run mechanic in this game

And some of it does work really well it’s better about letting you go to various areas much sooner then you would think then Dark Souls is and that’s great but none the less I’d have like to have seen the team take some ideas and lesson from Dark Souls not more or less everything about it


#3

You better be reading this @patrick.klepek


#4

I agree that the parts of Hollow Knight that borrows from Dark Souls are hit-and-miss.

However i find the mechanic of corpse reclaiming to be a good one when exploring in Hollow Knight simply because just as in DS, it adds a reason to stay alive that the game wouldn’t really have otherwise.

But other Souls-inspired parts drags the game down in my opinion: The lame ambiguous storytelling, the long runs to every new boss try and the unnecessary confusion in where you are supposed to head next. From Software does those things to build a community around the games online, but in a metroidvania type game it just feels weak.

Hollow Knight also fails where Dark Souls shines the most: The boss fights lacks balance and have sometimes a randomness to them that makes even successful tries feel unsatisfactory.

Hollow Knight is one of my favorite games this year and may be the best metroidvania ever. Despite the developers looking a little too much at From Softwares works.


#5

I will say as someone who actively dislikes soulsbourne style gameplay, Hollow Knight was sufficiently different enough for me to absolutely love it. I think the biggest reason for that is that Hollow Knight lacks builds and character customizability. Since my chartacter is equipped more or less the same as everyone else’s, I can take comfort in knowing that the tools I have to overcome any given challenge are more or less present at all times. This was not the case with Dark Souls, where in addition to contending with a hostile world, I also had the gnawing feeling in the back of my mind that I spec’d my character wrong. Perhaps this is not enough of a distinction for seasoned fans of the genre, but it certainly was sufficient for me.


#6

I completely agree that Hollow Knight’s biggest weakness is in the combat. I found the combat very difficult to get into a good rhythm with, jump attacks and dashes coming out a tiny bit too slow and enemy projectiles seeming to be harder to dodge than I would have thought. I think part of my issue was, amusingly enough, trying to play it like a Souls-like combat game, rather than a fairly straightforward platformer.

This is kind of true for the bosses as well. Trying to fight them like Souls bosses is doomed to frustration, because as far as I now know, many of them follow a basic attack rotation they expect the player to learn and recognise, rather than expecting the player to watch for tells on individual attacks the way you typically do for Souls bosses.

I think that an interesting point of reference is Salt and Sanctuary from a few years ago. S&S tried too hard to be a 2D platformer-with-light-metroidvania-elements version of Dark Souls, to the detriment of its own ideas. Each of its own iterations on the “genre”, such as the use of a skill tree and customisable “bonfires” were matched with what often felt like a superficial adherence to Souls both aesthetically and narratively that made it feel very shallow. In direct contrast to Hollow Knight, Salt and Sanctuary’s combat was the best part of the game, with the art direction sorely lacking.

But for me the strong art direction and excellent audiovisual design is what carries Hollow Knight because those things make the world both unique and compelling enough to drive its heavy focus on exploration. Hallownest makes some homages to Dark Souls, and to fantasy in general, but the setting completely stands alone as its own unique and mysterious place that I actively wanted to inhabit, something I can’t say for Nioh or The Surge. Maybe I’m a sucker for cute bugs.


#7

Thank you for stating that. I absolutely loved this game, and it is in my Top Ten after 100% the game over the last three months. What bothered me most was the boss fights - some felt balanced and that I out-skilled my opponent, while others felt like a slot machine and either I got all 7’s, or was just handed a swift death.


#8

So the lack of character builds is interesting in that it both is and isn’t a flaw in that it allows for people who don’t want to deal with stats to just play and enjoy the game but limits replayability in a game who’s story telling could use it. Or would if the story wasn’t, kinda, just, Dark Souls. Again

Which is my main issue is that they spend all this time making a gorgeous game that has a cool setting and they have the chops to back up what ultimately is kinda just Dark Souls with bugs. And to be fair part of that is just the nature of the story telling means it’s in theory harder to differentiate yourself from Dark Souls and as the most immediate point of comparison it’s inevitable on some level. But Dark Souls is already wearing itself thin and Hollow Knight doesn’t do enough to stand out to me. It looks cool but all the areas look kinda the same to varying degrees. The combat is fun but the bosses don’t take great advantage of it and it kind of just amounts to pogoing on them til they die. The world connects in cool ways but the 2D nature of the game makes that less impact and the tile sets mean it all sort of feels the same. There’s so many ways where this game almost but dosn’t quite pull off what it’s going for

Hollow Knight is a good sometimes great game that should be one of the best ever made but it holds itself back by taking too much in ways that that make it feel like a well made fan game by a team that could do so much more


#9

My favourite game of 2017 with the exception of Nier: Automata