LOS ANGELES – The Souls series has been on the market for almost a decade, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the beloved, ultra-difficult action/RPG franchise has inspired a few developers.

At the Xbox Media Showcase at E3 2018, I noticed its influence in two different games: Code Vein and Ashen. While the two games couldn’t be more different — an over-the-top anime adventure and a minimalist multiplayer simulation — gamers who crave difficult, precise, unforgiving gameplay will have a lot to like over the next few months.

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Code Vein, which will be out on September 24 on Xbox, PS4 and PC, has been making the rounds at various conventions for a few months now, but E3 represents the first time we’ve gone hands-on with it. The premise should sound familiar to any Dark Souls fan: Create a character (called a Revenant), then meticulously work your way from save point to save point (here called Mistle), doing battle with enemies that can destroy you in just a few hits as you go.

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