[Game Review] Dark Souls Will Murder You

November 15, 2011 1:57 pm 1 comment , ,

You’ve probably heard that Dark Souls is a tough game. Maybe even the hardest ever. But what does that mean to a seasoned gamer with 25+ years of experience?

As a lifelong gamer “hard” is a relative term. I’ve defeated nearly every game I have ever played, usually on the hardest difficulty. My early gaming scrimmages involved battling toads, Mike Tyson, and a helping plumbers. These games had no mercy. No saves. No chance. Unless you were 13 and had 8-12 hours a day to practice. I was and I did.

Conversely, today’s games are designed to be beaten, consumed and enjoyed within 6-8 hours (don’t worry a sequel will be out in less than a year). They coddle the player along ensuring success. With checkpoints, numerous tutorials, tips and even the offer to lessen the difficulty in some cases, anyone can win. Triumphing over a late generation game is so easy a caveman can do it.

Arrogantly, I went into Dark Souls with the thought of imposing my will on the game until I broke it and came out the other end victorious. Something I’ve done with EVERY game ever.

Boy was I wrong. Dead wrong.

There is only one choice in Dark Souls. Play the game the way it demands; else be impolitely dispatched. You are not a gaming God. You are not a Champion. You are, in fact, just another victim. The game plays no favorites and doles out no leniency.

For starters, EVERY enemy in the game is formidable and can (Read: will) kill you. From the low level chumps to random dragons that like to murder you for fun; death is certain. But that’s just the tip of a profoundly giant iceberg of difficultness. Bonfires (what precious few there are) allow your character a place to re-spawn or rest up, the catch being that each time a bonfire is used, the entire world is reset and all the evil beings you worked so hard to kill are back. When they kill you, all your souls (points) are dropped at the spot of your death. You must work your way back to that spot to capture the souls again. If you die attempting to get those souls back they are gone forever.

Just wait until, on a mission to recover 4,000 souls because you walked off a cliff while enjoying the beautiful landscapes, a first level undead knight, that you’ve killed 500 times before, decides to parry your attack and skewer you in two, negating hours of hard work. When this inevitably happens the best advice I can give is to count to ten while beating the shit out of a pillow or a neighbor’s cat – whichever is closer. Sometimes calling the game a, “cunty bitch” helps too.

There’s no pause button, nor true safe havens, nor tutorials to tell you what the hell you are supposed to be doing. If you walk the wrong way, for example like I did, towards a graveyard (early in the game), a team of undead skeletons will rise up and gang murk you to death. One could think this is the right path and spend hours upon hours dying terrible deaths only to come to the realization that it might be best to test another route. No one tells you when you are being a stubborn moron. You have to make that call. Wrong decisions can (the did for me twice already) force you to start over and create a new character. There is no undoing of mistakes. The game doesn’t care. The world is open, living and waiting to kill you at every bend. It’s a place that feels very real and very scary.

The boss battles are hilarious. And what I mean by hilarious is soul-crushingly painful and fear evoking. Opening a fog door (where the bosses hang out) for the first time is usually a dizzying experience that lasts between 1-10 seconds (with my personal record being .5 nanoseconds) before death. Cry. Adapt. Learn. Cry more. Try Again. Repeat. The only bit of comfort about the bosses is if you kill them they don’t come back. Good luck.

There is no doubt that Dark Souls is maddening. It’s like nothing else in the currently gaming world (besides it’s predecessor Demon Souls). At the same time it’s also one of the most rewarding games you’ll ever play.

Sure, you will die every time you lose focus. But deep down you will know that it was your fault, your screw up, never the game’s. You will pick up the controller and soldier onward. Because in the end you will experience elation as satisfying as anything else in gaming if you manage to survive until the end.

What more could you want in a game?


Rating: 10/10


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • chaitanya456

    I truly appreciate you taking the time to post this. I really liked reading it and am
    looking forward to more posts from you! Keep em coming.