Developed by Rebel Act Studios and published by Codemasters, Blade of Darkness (as it was initially called), is a third-person action adventure game with light RPG elements. The setting is fantasy, and offers players the initial choice of selecting one of four starting characters; a dwarf, a barbarian, a knight or a bounty hunter (who also happens to be the only female in the entire game!). Once the intro cutscene has concluded it becomes the standard walk, run, and jump tank controls with attacks being the only thing that consumes stamina. Blocking hits reduces the durability of shields until they eventually break (the better the shield, the more punishment it can take). It's also possible to throw weapons. Locking onto enemies works identical to the Souls series. Getting hit reduces HP and leaves visible wound textures on character models. Health can be recovered by consuming food or red potions found throughout the game. It also clears up those unsightly wound textures.
Still, the resemblance between Blade of Darkness and the Souls series is striking. In fact, I'm inclined to think that these two IPs have a similar degree of overlap as say Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil. That said, Blade of Darkness doesn't have much of an inventory system, nor are there magic spells that the player can cast. The story is also a lot more straightforward than the Souls series with a narrator giving context to each new zone, as well as conveying the bulk of the plotline. All the same, this is the most proto-Souls game you're likely to ever find...just keep in mind that video games have come a long way since when it released back in 2001.