Difficulty Played: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3 and now PC (Played on Xbox 360)
Time: 50 hours for one play through
When was the last time you tried playing one of your favorite games as a kid. Like old school Mario, Sonic, Metroid or even Zelda? Well If you have gone back and given them a whirl, you will find quickly that these games are unforgiving and quite a challenge. You will think to yourself: “Good God, I use to be awesome at this game and never die once. Why the fuck cant I get past the first level?” Now I may be over the top a bit here, but I guarantee that you are nowhere near as good as you use to be as a snot nosed kid glued to the TV. Now, Lets say you wanted to have that feeling of “Holy Shit I suck” but on a more current game….Welcome To Dark Souls.
Gameplay: Remember those old games where you would just be set in the world and it was up to you to find out what the hell to do or where to go think Zork or KOAH. Well Dark Souls takes it one step further asking you to have either prior knowledge or a strategy guide (read: the internet) as some of the games requirements or progress is just mind blowing, ala Castlevania: Simons Quest. The first thing you will notice is how sluggish the controls feel and this will ultimately lead to your first few deaths. Later in the game the controls feel a little better but you will still run into cheap situations regardless on how awesome you are, or think you are. At its heart Dark Souls is a simple dungeon crawler as each level is simply laid out, with a entrance, save point, and boss. The only problem is almost every enemy needs to be treated as a boss battle as even the slightest mistake will end up with 70% of your life gone before you even get an attack in yourself. This results in A LOT (let me say that again in bold) A LOTof trial and error, and will try your patience to the edge of madness. To add to an already frustrating experience, each dungeon has an assortment of treasure almost always placed in precarious locations designed to make you die. Progress is saved and measured by your progress to Bonfires, Bonfires allow you to have a safe haven and use your points to level up or repair your equipment. It is also where you will return once you die next. 99% of the time when you find a bonfire it is a moment of extreme joy as you know you are progressing and you no longer have to deal with those fucking jerks behind you anymore. However, Bonfires are not just all fun and games as once you rest at a Bonfire most of the enemies you have defeated will return. Great if you are wanting to grind, horrible if you are scared for you life on how the hell you are going to get out of here. Oh also just in case you weren’t having a hard enough time already, when you die you drop all of your experience points. Now you can get them back but you have to get back to where you died and “Recover” your body. If you fail to Recover you body and Die again you lose EVERYTHING.
Graphics: The opening sequence is nice and dark and looks cool but the rest of the game feels really dated. Some magic effects look nice but most of the time you are just going up against whatever crazy enemy in another generic dark dungeon you are in. Granted the locals do change and every once in awhile you might have a large view of an area that looks neat, but you are so obsessed with reaching the next Bonfire (and not dying) to notice. And that is the main aspect of this game, if you want pretty go play Crisis 2 or some crap, Dark Souls is all about the open free hardcore Action Adventure RPG.
Sound: There isn’t a lot of music except in certain areas or bosses but most of the time is spent listening to your armor clunk around as you run or the clang of your sword hitting the wall. I also gotta say that the voice acting isn’t all that great as well, not that there is a lot of talking or story anyway, but the voice acting they did have sounded off for most characters. I also hated the sound effect for running/waling in grass or snow and since the game is quiet most of the time if you are in a grassy or snowy area with no music all you hear is CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH UGH, I would usually end up turning the volume way down, but then I wouldn’t hear the skeleton waiting around the corner to ambush me….YAY!
Overall: Dark Souls and I had a love hate relationship, This game is definitely only for the hardcore gamers out there as it will grind at your patience. However there is something to be said about a game that doesn’t just hand you the answers or show you the path with no challenge. So for that I have utmost respect for the developers at Havok and From Software. Also Dark Souls has the most interesting Multiplayer experience I’ve ever had in a game where you can summon another player to help with a boss or be invaded by another player. This added both a great help and bane to your experience as having another player help with a boss is great but getting invaded by another player while you are trying to beat a tough enemy sucks, however, beating another player in PvP is easily one of the most satisfying experiences you can have, alternatively, getting nuked by another player when you are making some good progress will destroy a controller or two. All in all I am happy to have this one under my belt and will place it on IBeatItFirst.com as a badge of honor if only to say “Yeah I Beat it First” , but I am not willing to put it on the coveted “keep” shelf.
Tips and Grips:
- If you are seriously wanting to take on Dark Souls but dont have all the time in the world I highly recommend reading/using the Wiki as it will explain not only what the world of Dark souls is all about, but will show you how to maximize your gameplay with minimal time invested (ie cheating) I know I hate it as much as you but believe me you will be begging for it before you even reach the second boss. Read about Snuggly, how the fuck would you have known to do this if you didn’t read about it? Hooray Internet!
- Make sure you level up two different weapons to max level one light and one heavy and with two different powers, ie a lightning Katana and a Divine Spear or whatever. Also make lightning your first power up. Some will argue with me on this I’m sure, but lightning made it way easier as most mobs are weak to it especially the tough Knights.
- Keep a bow on you but dont spend too much on it to level it up, also buy arrows whenever you can. Unless you are wanting to only be an archer (stupid) the bows best feature is to pull aggro once the enemy is charging switch to your main weapon and deal with them one at a time. In fact make “One at a time” your mantra with Dark Souls.
- Don’t spend Humanity or Large Souls unless you are ready to use them like at blacksmiths.
- There isn’t really any kind of story in Dark Souls yeah if you do some digging and read online you will find and understand the “lore” but outside of the intro there is nothing else besides basic progression cut scenes. Although I guess nobody is playing this game for story.
- The ending of Dark Souls is bullshit, I spent 50 hours in this hell all for a 10 second cut scene that explains NOTHING. This is always one of my pet peeves but like I said before most people are not playing for story.
- There are parts of this game that unless you are cheating you will die, ambushes and traps that are otherwise unmarked are all over the place. “But Jason this is what makes the game such a challenge” True but I can still hate it, its my website STFU :p.
Regardless, when you decide to pick this game up remember I BEAT IT FIRST.