The Dark Souls series gets a lot of credit for inspiring either the work or the scorn of pretty much every action-adventure game developer out there. But it's not as if everything about it is completely new. We already know that its aesthetics take a lot from the Berserk manga, but we could also make the case that some of its core gameplay elements come from Severance: Blade Of Darkness, a great but unsuccessful monster-murder simulator from 2001.

playable roster in Severance

Codemasters

Similarities to Dark Souls: There are different classes to choose from at the beginning.
Differences from Dark Souls: We can't pick a naked dude.

Before we begin, there's something we need to clarify. Even when taking the natural evolutionary leap that took place from Severance's release to the release of Demon’s Souls in '06 into consideration, Demon's Souls and especially Dark Souls always offered a deeper and overall better gameplay experience than Severance. Still, it's undeniable that the combat, one of the most important elements in the Souls series looks a lot like the combat in Severance.

fights in severance looked one hell of a lot like a fight in dark souls

Codemasters

Severance looks similar to the Souls series, yes, but there's nothing new about a game where a guy in armor fights off larger guys in even larger armor. What's different here is how Severance wasn't about just out-brutalizing our opponents. It was firstly a game about outsmarting them in combat and only then about out-brutalizing them. Severance was the first game in this genre to teach players the very interesting historical fact that even badass barbarians didn't have infinite stamina. Even though we're playing as a brute, Severance players will very quickly learn that this weird green thing called stamina bar is even more important than the health bar. Dodging and stamina management are essential to-dos, and fighting multiple opponents at the same time is usually a to-don't.

Severance got very good reviews back when it came out and is still worthy of our time, but it sadly never found an audience in the US and the company behind it ended up folding. That's another element it has in common with the Souls series, as Demon's Souls' then-alien and challenging gameplay came close to preventing the series from ever taking off.

Top Image: Codemasters

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