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Dark Souls collides with God Of War in one of the coolest games I've seen this year

Dark Souls collides with God Of War in one of the coolest games I've seen this year


I love Dark Souls. I adore Bloodborne. I have all the time in the world for Elden Ring. But just because a game looks like it could be a spiritual successor to Dark Souls on the surface does not mean I'll automatically vibe with it.

There are, I'm sure you'll agree, far too many games doing the whole Soulslike thing. Too many games that believe all you need to invite a Dark Souls comparison is huge bosses and a crushing difficulty, not seeing that what most of us really love about FromSoftware's games is, ironically, their soul. These are games that have a solid sense of place and cohesion, telling a story in a world that feels like it's been properly considered.

Dear reader, Flintlock: The Siege Of Dawn is a game that looks to have taken all the right lessons from the Soulslike genre. Developer A44 Games treated me to a preview of the game at GDC a few weeks back, and I came away absolutely delighted with what I saw.

The first thing that'll strike you about Flintlock is that it's an absolutely stunning game. Terrifying monsters shamble through towering medieval castles and parched desert towns. While I didn't get to go hands-on, combat looks like it flows beautifully, with our hero Nor shooting and slashing through makeshift arenas.

That this was achieved by a small indie studio based in New Zealand is nothing short of remarkable, and a testament to the fact we don't need constantly ballooning AAA budgets. Every view and sweeping vista I saw during the preview was a treat for the old peepers, and the fact you can zip through this gorgeous world at high speeds thanks to a stunningly slick grapple system makes me even more excited to explore every inch of it.

Flintlock is essentially a story of humanity rising up against the gods, which naturally means Nor has her work cut out for her. Boss battles and random enemy encounters alike are a tense ballet of combo-based attacks, parrying, and gunplay.

The first major boss I was introduced to was a hulking great behemoth of a thing, and parries looked like they came in particularly handy. You can, however, tune your playstyle to suit your own strengths, meaning you can invest in magic, melee attacks, or gunplay as you wish.

Combat looks like a mix of Dark Souls and God Of War, and if you've played the latter games you'll know there are some seriously fearsome boss battles for those willing to seek them out. Indeed, during the preview I was shown a couple of completely optional fights, which are all part of A44 Games' mission to make a more approachable Soulslike.

Perhaps the real star of the show in Flintlock, however, is Enki, a mysterious fox-like creature that joins you on your journey.

Enki functions similarly to Atreus in God Of War, aiding you in combat and exploration. Naturally, Enki's abilities can also be upgraded, and the relationship between Nor and this strange creature is a huge part of the game's narrative.

I should also stress that Enki is adorable, and while I did ask if it would be possible to pet the little chap at some point in the game, I was told this would be too spoilery. Translation: yes, eventually.

Flintlock: The Siege Of Dawn looks like it's taking all the right lessons from games like Dark Souls and God Of War, marrying tense combat with semi-linear exploration and a story with real heart at its core. I'd urge you to keep an eye on this one, because I reckon it's a 2024 sleeper hit.

Featured Image Credit: Kepler Interactive

Topics: Indie Games, God Of War, Dark Souls