Action- Roleplaying games are games where you move around the game in real time, having to attack monsters as you move around them. In most of these games you ‘level up’, your character growing exponentially stronger as the story progresses, until by the end of it nothing poses you any risk or problems. It’s a very fun genre, one where Skyrim and The Witcher 3 belong. I’ll write at more length about them in another post, today’s post is looking at Monster Hunter and Dark Souls – both of which take the action-adventure mould and make it as challenging as possible. In these games every enemy is deadly, a single hit can mean the difference between life and death where you stand and how you react will decide whether you live or die, very frequently you’ll be faced with a screen like this one made famous in the Dark Souls series…
You die, and die again, but never unfairly. You need to pay attention each time so you learn something new about the map, or about the monster. All the attacks will have a specific ‘telegraph’ which is the term for an animation that is used just before an attack, giving you enough time to get out of the way. They are games solely about perseverance. Persevere long enough, study up online with guides and you will eventually be able to get through to the next stage, or the next fight and gain new items that will hopefully make similar fights easier and put you in a better place for future encounters.
Questions to explore identity
- When playing these games how do you feel when you fail?
- What makes you go back to try again?
- How do you feel when you win/succeed?
- Is there anything in your day to day life that reminds you of these feelings?
- Can you apply the same reason for your answer to number 2 to your day to day life example? What would the benefits of trying again in this context?
The Bible has many examples of perseverance leading to God’s blessing, and we are constantly inspired to perseverance in prayer. However, the best example comes from Jesus himself and is found in the Gospel of Luke:
18 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must keep praying until the answer comes.
2 “There was a city judge,” he said, “a very godless man who had great contempt for everyone.3 A widow of that city came to him frequently to appeal for justice against a man who had harmed her.4-5 The judge ignored her for a while, but eventually she got on his nerves.
“‘I fear neither God nor man,’ he said to himself, ‘but this woman bothers me. I’m going to see that she gets justice, for she is wearing me out with her constant coming!’”
6 Then the Lord said, “If even an evil judge can be worn down like that,7 don’t you think that God will surely give justice to his people who plead with him day and night?8 Yes! He will answer them quickly! But the question is: When I, the Messiah,return, how many will I find who have faith and are praying?”
Luke 18:1-8 TLB
In this parable the woman continues to ask the corrupt judge for justice, going again and again and again, persevering for justice for herself, as in these games you persevere in order to reach the next part. As in your life you should keep persevering even when things seem difficult. A maxim you may have heard in school is that fail just stands for First Attempt In Learning, you should keep trying and keep pushing forward until you succeed.
Obviously it needs to be said, as Jesus says in the final part of the reading, that God answers prayer without us needing to keep asking him, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray to him, it is a sign of our faith in Him to do so.
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Monster Hunter World: Monster Hunter is a series that has been around a lot longer than the Souls games, however it never really took off in the West until this game came out hence us not calling this genre monster hunter alikes. In the game you play a hunter using an oversized weapon to hunt and kill/capture giant monsters. As you defeat them you can use items dropped from them to craft new weapons and armour that will make the next monster easier to hunt. There is a story mode split into Low Rank which is where you learn how the monsters act, High Rank where they become increasingly stronger and difficult to kill and then after the story is complete you get to the real challenge of the game with the Tempered monsters who are much stronger versions of the ones you have faced before. I would say this game is suitable for 13+, but as it contains violence it is kept in the higher age bracket.
A set of 3 games which are seen as the pinnacle of these Challenging Action-RPGS and is why the genre are called Souls-likes. In the games you play as humans exploring the lands that have been cast into darkness and death, trying to find out what has happened there and relight the fires of the world. The places you come back to following death are represented by bonfires. There are many brutal bosses, and around every corner there may be traps or monsters laying in wait for you. The games are very enjoyable though have a strong horror theme at times so I would say the 16 rating is fair. Sadly the original souls game Demon’s Souls has not been re-released on the current generation of consoles.
Made by the same people who created the Souls series, this game has a victorian gothic setting. You are a hunter searching for immortality and you go into the city of Yharnam to find it. The people there have been afflicted with a strange blood borne disease that turns them into monsters. Another excellent game that is well worth playing. I would say the 16 rating should remain too due to the strong horror themes throughout.
You play as a samurai travelling through feudal Japan dealing with other samurai and supernatural ‘yokai’ as you go along. I find this game more challenging than the other souls-likes I’ve played previously but it is still enjoyable. The 18 rating is justfied as the violence is very gratuitous and definitely not suitable for children.
Very slow paced souls-like game, you play as a viking inspired warrior dealing with monsters arising from hell. It is a much slower games than the others on the list, and it can be quite buggy so is more likely to frustrate than be enjoyable. Lots of blood, guts and gore so I would say the 16 rating is right, btu it could go lower depending on your tolerance for what your child can see.
The Surge is the only non-fantasy one, and is set in a Sci Fi world. It has an interesting upgrade mechanic – if you chop off a part of an enemy you can use that part yourself in some way shape or form. It’s another slow moving game and has received bad reviews however, the setting is unique and some people really enjoy it.