From Software’s outrageously challenging spiritual sibling RPGs have frustrated and enthralled millions of gamers, and for good reason. They are deep, intense, and robust games with countless customization options and equipment. The dark, oppressive story made for a tense journey every time, but the real star player of the series was the difficulty. The games were rarely unfair, just punishing. You couldn’t simply run around hacking and slashing, as even the most basic enemies were well-equipped to remove your head. There was a bit of trial and error to learning where enemies were and what their attacks would be (remember the dragon on the bridge from Dark Souls?), but that was part of the experience. Of course, there was also the little gameplay element where if you died, you had one chance to return to the place of your death and retrieve your souls and equipment. If you died a second time before doing that, you lost everything. If that’s not punishing, I don’t know what is. It was a good burn.