Dark Souls Review : Prepare To Die
Dark Souls Is Not Afraid Of Making Itself Inaccessible To The Casual Gamer. Dark Souls Is A Hardcore Challenge For Any Gamer Worth His Salt.
Platform : Xbox360 / Playstation 3
Developer : From Software
Publisher : From Software
There are too few games today that present gamers with a real challenge. Sure you might get stuck on one part of a game for a few tries but the majority of that game is usually the same kind of difficulty that you’ve played in most games. Dark Souls however is not afraid of making itself inaccessible to the casual gamer. Dark Souls is a hardcore challenge for any gamer worth his salt. You will be tested, you will be confused and yes you will indeed die multiple times. Why then is Dark Souls worth playing? Because it is a huge breath of fresh air amongst a sea of generic games that attempt to be universal, to appeal to all spectrums of gamers.
Dark Souls initially allows you to choose your character and customise your appearance, you're then tasked with picking from a range of different classes with varying attributes, these include recognisable RPG classes such as the Knight, Hunter, Sorcerer to the rather unfamiliar Wanderer, Pyromancer and Deprived. However choosing one of these starting classes will not define the way you play the game they just provide you with specific starting equipment and spells. For example picking the Knight allows you to begin the game with heavier more durable armour and a higher amount of health, but choosing a sorcerer will provide you with a much lighter sorcerer’s outfit and the ability to use a few spells straight away. What’s interesting is that as you defeat enemies to earn souls, which allow you to level up, you can put these souls into any attribute to level it up eventually allowing you to learn a spell even if you picked a Knight.
Picking a class only really affects your starting experience and then as you level and become more powerful you are free to become any kind of hybrid class you choose. This freedom allows gamers to find their own unique playing style and there is also a vast variety of weapon and equipment types to choose from. Players will often find themselves switching through equipment and weapons to deal with different enemies and bosses. For example if like me you chose to invest in a heavily armoured knight with lots of vitality be prepared to sacrifice your movement speed, if your character does not have high enough endurance heavier equipment will make you run slower, swing your weapon slower and be unable to roll so you must take time to invest enough souls into these attributes to be able to use your equipment properly. This can take some time to achieve your perfect set of equipment but you are free to equip any other equipment you have, assuming you have the required amount of attributes. Some equipment is more effective against certain enemies for example when fighting the giant spider boss Quelaag, who spews lava across the floor its best to equip fire resistant armour and shield to improve your chance of success.
Dark Souls’ storyline is relatively nonexistent all you really know for a long time is that you are a chosen undead and you must defeat the first great lords to stop the living becoming undead. The game does not hold your hand in terms of guiding you where to go at all. You begin the game locked up in a cell along with other undead until a mysterious knight throws you a key without saying a word and disappears. You leave your cell and begin finding a way to escape the dungeon, so on you go minding your own business before a boulder rolls down a set of steps and crushes you. What? How was I supposed to dodge that you might ask? Well the answer is you can’t and that’s just a taste of the hurt that’s in store for you. Soon after you find yourself faced with a gigantic demon wielding a hammer the size of a small family car and you quickly find out he doesn’t like you very much. You might aswell be armed with a tooth pick at this point and he quickly turns you into a form of undead pate. After returning you discover that you have to run away at this point and find some slightly better equipment along the way. Eventually you come to a ledge looking down upon the mighty beast, so naturally I walked towards the edge of the ledge to plan some kind of attack the beast stared at me but didn’t seem to be able to reach me so I continued to plan my attack and was thinking maybe I can jump on him? Before the mighty demon got tired of waiting and jumped up and smashed the ledge and me to dust. Oh how I wish I had jumped.
This lack of guidance is not necessarily a negative thing however as it encourages players to explore and learn from their mistakes. Your mistakes are learnt from dying, you have to die so you know what to do. You have to die so you know you’re not ready for that area yet and you have to die on the boss so you know that tactic won’t work. Eventually you realise a pattern and learn to avoid certain attacks, giving you time to strike your own. Sure for some players the death toll may be too much to take and they may find themselves with a controller lodged into the screen of their television. However I implore you do not give up! Everyone who plays through Dark Souls is in the same boat, which you will quickly discover from reading forums and wiki’s, which you undoubtedly will seek for advice. This creates a sense of community among Dark Souls players and it is refreshing to know that you don’t suck and many other players are struggling. So after experiencing and familiarising yourself with the game and dying a hell of a lot you will defeat your first boss and let me tell you defeating your first boss on Dark Souls is like winning the lottery, you cannot fathom the sense of pride and accomplishment felt you have to experience it.
Defeating a boss often leads players to new areas which they must conquer to progress further. I must say the environments and sense of scale from the world is very impressive, from detailed gothic castles and dense forests, you feel like a tiny insignificant blip amongst the beautiful and majestic landscape. Each new environment will be harder than the next and you must go through the same process of death and learning before you can defeat it, but once you have invested the time to make it past one area you will feel so proud that you can’t stop there, you can’t let it all be for you to be defeated in the next area. No! You will carry on and that’s why Dark Souls is worth the effort and time because in the end it’s always worth all the pain and suffering to get there.
To conclude Dark Souls is certainly not for the casual gamer or even those with a heart condition. However if you consider yourself a bit of a veteran gamer then I say to you beat Dark Souls and prove it. For those willing to try, you will die, you will get angry but you will also feel a true sense of satisfaction and triumph that very few games can provide today. Get Dark Souls and prepare to die.
To Game, Or Not To Game.
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