Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Played Lately: Dark Souls

  • It feels like accepting a dare.

  • After watching a recent Giant Bomb video of Ryan Davis playing the first couple hours of the game (which I would link, but it's subscriber only), I decided that I finally had to try out Dark Souls . Everything you have heard about this game is probably right.

  • Dark Souls is hard. And it is unforgiving about its difficulty. The very first armed enemy that you come across will kill you if you aren't careful. And you can never take any enemy for granted. No matter how many times you've killed that one undead at the top of the stairs, you can't just rush him. If you don't go in with your shield up and wait for an opening, he's just as deadly as any of the demon bosses.

  • This isn't easy to get used to. The pace of combat is slow and methodical. You might hear people complaining about being locked into animations, so they can't escape when they find themselves in trouble. But Dark Souls is not an action game; it is a game of choices and consequences. Button mashing will get you through some fights, but taking your time and planning your attacks is always the best course of action. The slower pace means that even someone as uncoordinated as I am can succeed at the game.

  • At least, I can as long as I keep the controls straight. (Attacks are on the Right Bumper and Right Trigger? Really?)

  • I've only played the game for a few days, and I have taken my time to explore, harvest souls, and learn how to play. But each and every one of those minutes has been nervewracking and thrilling. I suspect that this is similar to what MMO PvPers feel when they really get into a game like EVE or Darkfall. I'll never be hardcore enough for that, but this allows me to edge a little closer to that kind of exhileration.

  • It is a game of skill instead of stats. It is a game of exploration and discovery. It will not hold your hand, but it rewards your achievements. I didn't not even know that I've been looking for this kind of game until I played it. I wish that there was a demo available because you won't know if you like it until you play it. But if you have the chance, you might give it a try. Maybe you'll discover that it fills a hole that you didn't know was empty.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. I'm glad you like it, but "each and every one of those minutes has been nervewracking and thrilling," sounds like the exact opposite of what I'm looking for in my gaming time. I have a feeling Dark Souls would produce a similar level of frustration that I used to experience playing Tekken (some number). I actually broke a wooden board in a footrest out of frustration.

  2. @ Blue Kae - Funny that you mention Tekken. Learning to play Dark Souls feels similar to learning a fighting game. Of course, fighting games are way too fast for me and I could never memorize the combos, but the same level of dedication is necessary.

  3. Oh god, that's definitely not for me then. X)

  4. @Blue Kae: it's funny that you bring up Tekken. That is one of the main games that i think of under the category of "Far to too technical (i.e., reliant on building up skills that apply to that particular game, and to nothing else you would ever want to do) to be a sane investment of my time."