In anticipation of Nioh, a PS4 exclusive that comes out on February 7, I’ve decided to do a short series on games that are diametrically opposite of what the Souls games stand for. I’m not here to rip on them or Nioh (I have not cancelled my pre-order at the time of this writing), but just to feature some healthy alternatives to satisfy your action/RPG craving if you don’t have the patience to deal with the likes of Nioh or Dark Souls. First up is Final Fantasy XV, which came out just shy of two months ago. In my opinion, it’s the most anti-Dark Souls game out there. First off, it’s very accessible. It’s not at all easy, and quite possibly even harder than any of the Souls games IF you allow it to be (say what?). What does make it accessible are the simple controls, a modern checkpoint system with manual saves and the abundance of health replenishing items you can take to battle. “Casual” gamers have long wished for an “easy mode” for any Dark Souls game, only to be given the cold shoulder by untalented developers who try to mask their lack of skill by adding artificial difficulty to their otherwise mediocre games. In a way, Final Fantasy XV is the opposite because it essentially is the “easy mode” by default, with an option for an ultra hardcore (or “masicore,” as Team Ninja puts it) mode. Combat in FFXV is fast and furious, and unlike Dark Souls III or Bloodborne, the enemies are unpredictable. Combat is to frantic and death comes way too fast for you to stand and observe. You simply have to fight and give it your all, hoping you dish out more than you take and be the last man standing. So what is this ultra hardcore mode that I speak of? You won’t find it in menus, but it’s definitely there. All you have to do is deny yourself the use of any health potion. Very simple, indeed. Or, if you want a bit of a safety net during the tougher battles, limit the total amount of elixirs you’ll take with you. Do this and you’ll find out first hand the meaning of difficulty. You can punish yourself if you’re truly hardcore, FFXV allows it, only it doesn’t force it upon you. Other things that make FFXV the opposite of the souls games is the sheer spectacle of it all. This is one flashy action RPG with elaborate cutscenes and memorable set piece battles. “Spectacular” cannot be used in the same paragraph let alone sentence, as Dark Souls. At any rate, you can see it for yourself below.