I Think Dark Souls is Great — I Just Don’t Want to Play It

The more I think about Dark Souls, the more I talk about Dark Souls, the more I see Dark Souls in action or hear how it is affecting other gamers, the more I appreciate it. I think it’s great.

But keep it away from me, because I’m not interested in playing it.

I mean, of course, I gave it a go. The purpose of our Aftershock features is to get a second opinion on a big game review, and that means playing it with an open mind. But after a solid, I dunno, six or seven hours with the game, I was pretty well done. And yes, I’m aware that Ben Richardson put in better than 70 to properly review the game. I knew how I felt about it much sooner than that, and frankly, I don’t have 70 hours to give to a game that I’m not going to enjoy. It’s not my job to properly review Dark Souls; it’s my job to judge it my way.

Don’t get me wrong: Dark Souls is everything you’ve heard. Phenomenally difficult but highly rewarding. Beautifully off-putting but strangely compelling. An exercise in intelligent game design. A recasting of every gaming convention you’ve ever dealt with. A punishing reminder of what video gaming can achieve. Dark Souls really does hit all those notes — on paper, at least — and on paper, I think it’s great. The gaming industry needs more titles like this one.

I love that Dark Souls is so relentlessly difficult, in a way. In a world in which death has no consequence in games other than the resetting of a checkpoint or some other minor inconvenience, Dark Souls challenges you to really think about what the hell you’re doing. In theory, I love that. I also love that it’s so exceedingly difficult that it requires you to really hone your skills, to think carefully and critically about every move and every encounter, and to forget the strategies like madly mashing the attack button that have been chiseled into your frontal lobe by decades of lesser titles. All those things are great.

In practice, however, Dark Souls is slow, methodical to the point of irritation, a little bit on the boring side and worst, a huge frakking waste of my time. We’re talking about a 70-hour game here. Seventy hours! If a game is going to be this long, I have to be in love with it. It has to haunt my dreams and make me consider skipping meals to play it. It has to at least pack a story I care about, at least make its mechanics more or less apparent to me, and at least drive me forward whenever possible to explore new and exciting territory. These are the prerequisites that must be met before I can surrender the equivalent of three straight days of my very busy, very cramped life to a video game.

Dark Souls, on the other hand, constantly threatens to take everything you’ve earned away from you. Sure, it gives you some great gifts when it kills you — it lets you keep your items and weapons while costing you the equivalent of your character’s experience points (which you can rescue if you’re good enough), and even more important, it provides you with the knowledge that can help you do better next time. Yes, I get it — that’s great. But you know what I don’t want to do? I don’t want to fight the same enemies every time I leave my bonfire, in the exact same way, over and over again. I don’t want to grind out levels so I can face some boss enemy only to find that those levels I ground out weren’t useful to me anyway (because the goddamn ax I was raising my stats to use is a piece of garbage anyway). I don’t want to get understandably bored with the repetition and have the game slap me in the face for growing complacent when it’s the game’s fault I’m bored.

I don’t want my time wasted.

And for all the greatness that Dark Souls encapsulates and all the ideas it brings and mold-breaking it does that I hope get funneled down into the rest of the industry, it still wastes my time. Yes, Dark Souls requires a great deal of skill to defeat. That’s awesome. What do I get for the hours of time I put in to make my character not suck or make my brain activate my fingers in such a dance as to beat a Bell Tower Gargoyle before a second Bell Tower Gargoyle descends on the battle? What’s my reward for the incredible frustration through which I’ve had to wade? Do I get to play competitively in the future? Do I get to serenade beautiful women with musical talents derived of practice or accomplish great tasks with the mental muscles I’ve strengthened?

Nope.

Finishing Dark Souls is like nailing a perfect on Jordon on Expert in Guitar Hero II — you’ll feel good for a minute and then you’ll look back at your life over the last several months of obsession it took you to get to that point, and what will you have? Nothing, my friend. You won’t have been emotionally altered by a story; you won’t have a skill you can apply to your life in more than just the basest sense of having learned to be patient and not kill yourself for your failings. Like Guitar Hero, being good at Dark Souls earns you nothing but bragging rights among the hardcore and eye rolls from everyone else.

Sure, certainly many of you really enjoy the game and really dig its often-excrutiating difficulty level. Congratulations. But I’m an adult now and I don’t have 80 hours to dump into a Final Fantasy title “to see if it gets any better,” and I certainly don’t have 70 hours to pump into Dark Souls for the satisfaction of knowing I trained my fingers until I could best this one game. There are experiences out there that are just much, much more fun, and require far less work on my part.

Follow Hornshaw on Twitter: @philhornshaw.

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64 Comments on I Think Dark Souls is Great — I Just Don’t Want to Play It

Ben Richardson

On October 27, 2011 at 11:18 am

“I can’t take this anymore”

LTenhet

On October 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Therein is the problem… You have 4-8 hour games that are basically just glorified movies, and now you have 70 hour games with subpar stories; please balance out time with story! I want a game to last me more than a day but also have a good story!

Phil Hornshaw

On October 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm

@LTenhet

Well said. I would buy that. But on the horizon — Skyrim!

JosephPS3 Herman Cain 4 Pres

On October 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm

You know what, I don’t want to play Dark Souls anymore lol

I can totally see where Phil is coming from but I think its a matter of perspective. What is consider boring to him may be enthralling, suspenseful and exciting dungeon crawl to someone else.

As for losing 70 hours and not mounting to anything practically useful in the real world, well that criticism can be levied on all games, movies, tv shows, comic books-in short almost any entertainment. I do it to relax after a long productive work day. Now I just want to lay back and get lost in a fantasy and not do anything productive. Being wasteful with my time is a luxury.

Dark Souls is just not for Phil.

Phil Hornshaw

On October 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm

@JosephPS3

See, I thought someone might say that. But I love RPGs and academically, I really do like everything about Dark Souls. But I just can’t abide having my time wasted. I suppose that might qualify the game as “just not for me” but I feel like I have a deep enough appreciation for video games to find the good in anything, even if it’s not my particular favorite. And while you’re right, you can levy the criticism of “not coming out with anything in the end” against anything, I think that other forms of entertainment leave a mark on the viewer, reader, user, and they change as a result. Dark Souls doesn’t do that because it lacks an enthralling narrative or an artistic bent; what it offers players is wholly on the side of skill-building and the reward of accomplishment. And to me, the trade-off the amount of time and frustration necessary to earn those things just doesn’t balance the scales.

Peter M

On October 27, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I think with that whole ‘achievement and reward’ you mentioned you should heed this. If you work for something and get it (be it a job promotion or an A*) it puts the biggest smile on your face. I haven’t beaten DARK SOULS, yet, but I can sure as anything tell you that it’s put one of the biggest smiles on my faces. After all the dungeon crawling just to get to a boss and die so close to the end and try again to finally slay the beast this gives an astounding virtual/mental reward which sometimes is enough to turn something repetitive into a thing of beauty and glory.

But yes I do think the game isn’t for you and only for somewhat of a niche market.

Peter M

On October 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Sorry, the previous comment has a mistake: Face*

brice

On October 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I bought Demons Souls well knowing I had a 3 year old daughter…..Lets just say I spent $20 to look at the case every now and then to WISH I had the time to get into it….sigh

Peter M

On October 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm

@brice

Luckily I’m young and don’t have any responsibilities like that -at the moment- so I basically have free time A LOT, especially over half term and holidays

Seanny

On October 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I love Dark Souls, but the pace of the game is definitely a problem. I spend a lot more time, especially later in the game, simply running _to_ the bosses than actually fighting the bosses, to the extent that I’ve honed my juking skills as much as my fighting skills. For this reason, I also become more reliant on FAQs / wikis / guides on fighting bosses… the alternative being 3-10 extra deaths & subsequent runs just to figure out what a guide can tell me.

I also exploit a certain area (the human rogues in Darkroot Garden) to farm the hell out of souls– the XP/currency of the game, if just to reduce some of the grind. Basically, the game has a lot of pacing problems that can be alleviated by adding more checkpoints (bonfires) and increasing the drops/souls gained, so that a 30 hour game isn’t being needlessly stretched to 70 hours. I mean, it’s one thing to conquer an area, and it’s another to find yourself fighting/juking through it 10 times over.

Dark Souls obfuscates a lot of important information. It’s a JRPG in that sense– there are some absolutely critical opportunities you can miss out on by simply not vising Location X and talking to Person Y at some narrow point in the game. I really hate games that force you to pour through FAQs/guides for things that aren’t about tactics/strategy… Japanese games seem to have a lot of that, for some reason.

However, Dark Souls has an emotional core that actually “haunts my dreams and makes me consider skipping meals to play it”. It’s not very obvious since there’s hardly any drama. There aren’t expansive dialogue trees with NPCs or riveting, performance-captured cutscenes. Rather than finding a gameplay-breaking scripted event / cutscene every 50 feet, Dark Souls lets its threateningly minimalistic, yet beautiful world speak for itself. Every foot forward in Dark Souls is a step into the dreadful unknown– a step away from your “support network” back at Firelink Shrine, or even the last bonfire you rested at.

The game has many “oh god… oh god…” moments, such as stepping through the pitch-black and perilous Tomb of Giants where one can’t see a fatal fall until standing a step away from it, or the expansive and open forests of Darkroot without walls to guide you in any direction… just trees to obstruct your view and threatening footsteps coming from everywhere. The emotional payoff comes from conquering these areas– knowing how to defeat the enemies, mentally mapping the layout, making all the unknowns known. And then… stepping, inch by inch, into the next great unknown, all without the comforts & conveniences of other action games (auto saves, cutscenes, other ways to help/direct the player to “do the right thing”).

All that makes Dark Souls one of the most dreadfully immersive games I’ve ever played. It challenges me to step into the darkness and conquer it. Eventually the game tasks you with defeating all of the lords of the undead city and becoming the new ruler. I don’t know what that means, exactly, or if there will be a lengthy FMV or whatever to accompany that event, but boy does it sound nice.

I think it’s this aspect that didn’t at all resonate with Phil. It’s kind of a subtle, almost Japanese sort of aesthetic– a minimalistic journey about stepping into the void without a thought of return. I don’t compare Dark Souls with Guitar Hero… its mechanics is not the heart of the game. The fighting is just what the game has you doing to convey the journey and struggle of your character conquering and banishing the darkness from the game’s dreadful world.

Phil Hornshaw

On October 27, 2011 at 3:26 pm

See, Seanny, everything you’ve said, I very much appreciate. And if I wanted to write essays about video games, Dark Souls would probably be my first stop. Academically and intellectually, I think it’s phenomenal. I hope it comes across that I really do understand and appreciate everything it has to offer, its minimalism, the conveyance of the hard-fought journey and the light at the end of the tunnel. I assure you all that I really, REALLY, do get it. And as I noted, I’d love it if more games would take a page from Dark Souls.

Where it falls apart for me is in the whole work/fun relationship. Dark Souls feels less like play, more like work. I struggle through the repetition, the punishment and the learning. And here’s the thing: I wouldn’t change the game if I had it to change. But hammering through it is just too overwhelming. Or underwhelming.

Seanny

On October 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

yeah, it’s a really intensive game. I find myself not wanting to play it unless I have at least 3 straight hours to devote to it, as opposed to a game I can simply “play a round of” for half an hour.

JosephPS3 Herman Cain 4 Pres

On October 27, 2011 at 4:53 pm

@ brice

That’s pretty funny man. I know a few friends whose married and now have kids. Boy does things change. They can’t come with us on weekend biking/camping trips, can’t come out with us for a drink to watch a sporting event (ufc, football, full contact ping pong deathmatches), don’t have a clue when we talk about the latest games. They still buy games because they want to play but its just sits on the bookshelf so tantalizing close but might as well be in another galaxy. Like some of my friends say about sex after marriage and especially after kids-you can look but can’t touch.

Your solution: gaming infidelity. Go grab your PC/console and rent a hotel room and sneak away and get your gaming fix. Nobody has to know.

——————————-******———————————-

After reading Phil, “yeah he’s right, I don’t feel like playing Dark Souls anymore.”

After reading Seanny, “oh yeah that’s right, that’s why I enjoyed playing Dark souls. I want to play it again.”

I don’t think anyone, not even GOD, can convince Phil because you’ll make all the right convincing argument but Phil will simply come back with, “yeah I know, you’re right, I totally agree with you BUT…. me no like still.”

Phil Hornshaw

On October 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm

@JosephPS3

Maybe it if were like…twice as fast as far as pacing. Everything about it is slow It’s hard for me to get over that.

JosephPS3 Herman Cain 4 Pres

On October 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Stop saying that Phil! Next time I play, I’ll be thinking, “hmmmm Phil has a point, this is rather slow. He’s right. Damn this is boring” I won’t be able to get you out of my head. Its like when someone tells you to not think about baseball and the only thing you can think about is baseball lol

“la la la la la la, this is not boring, this is not boring, I am having a great time running around endlessly for the past 20 minutes. Yes this is fun….all dammit! who am I kidding! this is sooo slow and boring! Philllllllll!!!!!”

Mr-Ferguson

On October 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm

You completely invalidated everything you said with the next to last paragraph. No rewards…. its an rpg. Just what are you expecting here. You get experience and weapons for your achievements same as every rpg, um ever made.

You don’t like the game play and that is certainly understandable but you really lose some credibility with me for those comments.

Peter M

On October 28, 2011 at 2:57 am

@Mr-Ferguson

I understand what your saying there but still some people like to be quick about things and not go through the same area jut to get so tantalizingly close to a boss and die and return. This is particular in new londo ruins where there isn’t even a bonfire and you NEED transient curses -or be cursed- and they cost 4000 souls (extra grinding through the same dungeon area). I love DARK SOULS and HATE DARK SOULS at the same time, the constant repetitiveness gets to me A LOT but the I look at the flip side when

Peter M

On October 28, 2011 at 3:02 am

@Mr-Ferguson

I understand what your saying there but still some people like to be quick about things and not go through the same area jut to get so tantalizingly close to a boss and die and return. This is particular in new londo ruins where there isn’t even a bonfire and you NEED transient curses -or be cursed- and they cost 4000 souls (extra grinding through the same dungeon area). I love DARK SOULS and HATE DARK SOULS at the same time, the constant repetitiveness gets to me A LOT but the I look at the flip side when I beat Ornstein and Smough my face lit up like a Christmas tree with the sense of achievement it gave me. Yes it’s boring, yes it’s repetitive, yes it gives you the biggest smile you can get but this whole paragraph shows why Phill doesn’t like the game (apart from the sense of achievement bit). I hate getting to the boss endlessly over and over and then having to basically do the same thing with the other boss. The only thing keeping me going is the unknown and the surprise of DARK SOULS.

Peter M

On October 28, 2011 at 3:04 am

Yeah the comment thing screwed up and that’s why there’s two of my comments but one’s shorter =(

Jordan S

On October 28, 2011 at 3:36 am

@Phil
i see exactly where your coming from with all the grinding and the juking around, but to be completely honest with you, that’s the main thing i love about this game. Dark Souls gives a challenge to its players, instead of making things easy for you and telling you exactly what to do and where to go, it gives small hints and then laughs in your face when you die because all that work you just did to clear that area is gone and you have to do it again just to get your stuff back, and then laughs even further when you decide its time to take a break at a checkpoint because you just brought everything back to kill you yet again. For most gamers that kind of challenge is just too much, its not rewarding enough fast enough to keep our ‘instant satisfaction’ way of life happy. As for the slow pace of the game, its atleast faster than Dragon Age from my standpoint; Dark Souls with little story at all and then throwing you at hordes of undead soldiers who want nothing more than to rip you apart is still better than a great, but extraordinarilly dry for a cruel and unusual length of time, story that you find in Dragon Age.

Phil Hornshaw

On October 28, 2011 at 8:53 am

Just like to say that I’m very much enjoying this reasoned, thoughtful discussion we’re all having about Dark Souls right now. Refreshing change for the Internet in general.

Thanks, commenters.

@Jordon

There’s definitely an element of “I really don’t have time for this” in my Dark Souls experience. I really hate to say it, and I did try to give the game the kind of patience it deserved, but in the end it just wore on me. The bleak sighs of realizing you have to replay an entire difficult area again just to reach the first few steps of a new area piled on to become too much.

Peter M

On October 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I think we can all agree DARK SOULS isn’t a perfect game, no game is perfect but it’s good for what it’s tried to do?

Phil Hornshaw

On October 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm

@Peter

Seconded, most definitely.

Rob F

On October 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm

It’s strange, I loved Demon’s Souls. I got to something like ng+7. It was hard, yes, but it wasn’t ridiculously hard. It didn’t cheat.

Dark Souls *does* cheat. I haven’t even finished it once and I’m already bored and frustrated with it. Yes, I enjoy it, yes it has some great moments but I play games to relax after work and unwind, not to get so ****ing wound-up that I end up screaming at the TV and sending my controller flying into the next room…

The Truth

On October 29, 2011 at 7:21 am

I can totally realte to this. It took me a year to finish demons souls. I’m glad I did but I have no intention of going through that again.

dewd

On November 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm

i’m playing dark souls.. lvl 36.. 38ish or so hours in. and f’n hate it.

Jordan S

On November 2, 2011 at 12:00 am

Yeah, now i’m starting to get into that rage quit phase with it… Definitely not my style of RPG but hey, i got it for the challenge. I’ve been stuck on the same checkpoint for a week now because i end up facing the boss with no Estus left and one hittable from a normal soldier every time. Oh well, though, its a great change of pace for that “Berserker” kind of role that i usually play, gotta be much more defensive and tactical to win here. And yes it does take a long time, and its why i bought the game with the intention of not beating it before the new year but atleast trying to get past the first area. (Still haven’t beaten Undead Burg, i figured it would be a smart idea to see whats at the bottom of the stairs in the big tower before fighting the boss, then constantly thinking twice while running from the guy that can 1 hit me at the bottom of those stairs….)

Buurn

On November 2, 2011 at 9:07 am

I totally agree with Phil. This game is awesome, I bought it simply because it looked so beautiful. But dang is it boring. I don’t have the time or desire to die 1000 times. It’s no longer a fun game but work. And slow. Some people will really appreciate this but it’s not for me.

Brian Springer

On November 2, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I have a love/hate relationship with Dark Souls. With two kids, a working wife, and two novels with a deadline looming, I just don’t have much time for games anymore, but Dark Souls intrigued me enough to go out and buy it.

15 hours later I absolutely hated it and was ready to sell it back. But I took a few days off and then started over instead after reading up on some walkthroughs and FAQs. Lo and behold and actually got the game and started really digging it.

Cut to 50 hours later. I’m finally at Sen’s Fortress (after having cleared out almost every boss in the earlier stages) and I’ve had enough. It’s not that it’s too hard, it’s just too time consuming. You can’t just bust in for an hour and make any progress, and really, it’s rare that I have much more time than that to dedicate to a game per day. So I sold it and picked up the new Batman. But now I’m a few hours into Batman and the gameplay just doesn’t compare. All I want to do is play Dark Souls.

It’s become like an addiction; if it’s in the house, I’ll play it. The only way I can stay away from it is if I don’t have it. But the entire time I don’t have it I want to play it even though I know it’s just going to piss me off and get me in trouble with the wife. Really, the only thing keeping me from picking it up again is knowing that I just turned it in for half value and bought Batman. I keep telling myself I have to at least beat Batman and then sell it back and use the proceeds to buy Dark Souls again, otherwise it’s just been a big waste of money. But I

So I’m slogging through Batman while thinking of Dark Souls and just counting down the days until I give in and buy Dark Souls back so I can piss away more time and frustration on a game that I don’t even like playing but feel a strange, irrational compulsion to play.

Balls.

Steve

On November 3, 2011 at 8:39 am

It has been many years since I have posted in an Internet discussion but have decided to post this because I’m so amazed by the quality of discussion/lack of usual confrontational troll-y types.

I can appreciate the opinions of the article and won’t try and change anyone’s opinions. It would be stupid to try. Personally I hate playing sports games. Many others love them. I am happy that they do, but them telling me why they love them won’t make me like them any more, it just serves to reinforce that we all are different.

I love Dark Souls. For me it is perfect. The following is why and it applies specifically to me.

I used to love the feeling of tension that nes games gave me by giving me a set number of lives and making me start the game over when I’d lost them all, whilst also giving a reason to improve. This feeling of improvement is where I got the most satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment. This however seems an outdated concept now and I do not think it could be directly implemented nowadays as games have gotten far too long to replay them every time you die. Dark souls I feel recreates this in the best possible way…

Forcing trial and error through difficulty in order to force improvement of play gives me immense satisfaction. The bonfire system system means that you are never having to replay too much, which could have removed the tension, as the only risk is replacing a shortish section. The losing souls system is where the tension comes in, especially as it forces a major dilemma to the player – if you die, replay the section and get to your souls, do you press on and risk losing them again, leaving them even further from the bonfire? Or do you return to the bonfire and spend them on levelling up or upgrading a weapon to make the section that tiny bit easier next time?

This is what I enjoy.. For others quickly a more immediate and consistent feeling of accomplishment and lack of stress-inducing tension is more enjoyable but for me it is not.

Similarly, others find Dark Souls lack of an intriguing plot to be a negative. Again, for me it isn’t. I find the promise of new, amazingly well designed locations and bosses to be a more interesting reason to drive on, rather than than the promise of plot developments or visually rewarding cutscenes.

Finally the lack of telling us what do and where to go is confusing and daunting, and takes away from the instant gratification many crave (and thankfully is supplied by most games). This is another plus for me as I have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of researching things. I have spent hours looking up how magic, weapons crafting, levelling, etc systems work. This may bore some, and certainly takes away from the instant gratification, I enjoy it because it gives me long term goals to work toward (e.g. crafting a particular weapon or building my character up to be able to wear a particular piece of armour/ use a particular spell.

So there it is! My two cents. Sorry about the length!

John

On November 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm

A very well written article, and it pretty sums up my thought. I am in a very similar if not identical situation. I do appreciate the beauty&design of the game, but I’d rather spend my time on something much more enjoyable. Phil raised a very good point regarding to the work/reward scale, and the sanctification I get from killing a boss in this game is not nearly worth the work I’ve put into it. I bought the game on 1st day, but still haven’t finished it and I don’t think my already limited gaming hours will ever allow me to (especially with Skyrim coming out).

Ironically, I actually really enjoyed playing Demon Souls when I was back in college. I highly appreciate this kind of game design and enjoyed memorizing all those attacking patterns and attributes. That’s why I picked up Dark Souls at day 1, but to my surprise, I failed to enjoy it miserably. Is it simply because I am getting old and it’s hard to enjoy a deep time consuming game? I work in the financial section and overtime is the routine, it’s really hard to enjoy a game like Dark Souls after 10-14 hours of work.

Sadly, it is an amazing game that I don’t have the leisure to enjoy.

P.S. Phil, I really enjoyed this article because it seems every single gamer is kissing DS’s @ss now days. It feels like if you don’t like the Souls, then you are a noobish loser. Some of the comments from the DS lovers are really condescending. From the low end “STFU and learn to play” to the more elegant “I totally understand but it’s just not a game for most gamers, (which implying I am above the average gamers, thus better than you!)” Those comments sicken me. Not to generalize, but I am feeling a lot of gamers are praising this game to show their self superiority.

I think your analogy with the Guitar Hero is perfect. Granted it’s a challenging game, it’s not really about skills. It’s about memorization, and pattern learning. In DS, I succeed in slaying that skeleton knight after several tries not because I became more skillful, it’s simply because I memorized its attack patterns. Everyone can beat the game if he/she put the time into it, everyone. But I digress. Peace~

Steve #2

On November 4, 2011 at 12:00 am

@steve

Ironically I entirely agree with what the Steve above me said. I bought Demon’s souls maybe a year ago for $20 bucks and only played it at first for a few (long) levels cause I’m not a fan of single player games. Then one of my good Call Of Duty friends bought it and i was in joy. We played every level together through the summoning system. Dark Souls isn’t letting us do that as well in this game and that is far more frustrating then dieing repeatedly(although that is pretty far up there).

Overall i love it though, the sense of bettering myself enough to beat something so hard makes me feel accomplished. But just like all games you don’t get anything out of playing but I’m a die hard COD man and i know I don’t get anything in real life for having a high k/d but having it makes me feel good.

To each there own. I enjoyed reading the comments on this and glad could contribute. :)
psn:sfaulk for if anyone wants to play mw3 when it comes. Send an invite :)

Jonny

On November 9, 2011 at 8:26 am

One of the things I love about Dark Souls is how it reminds me of an earlier time in gaming. I remember being a seven-year-old trying to beat level 1-2 in Super Mario Bros. I remember wandering around for hours in Metroid trying to figure out the next area. Games used to be so unapologetic and, as a result, would have greater payoffs. Remember when you would ask one of your fellow 10-year-old friends, “Hey, did you play such-and-such game?” and their response would be, “Yeah! And I beat it!”
Beating a game used to mean so much more back then.
Nowadays if I ask someone whether they’ve played a game and they say “yes,” I just assume they beat it because games are so much easier now.

The Dave

On November 9, 2011 at 9:12 am

I’m a gamer that started on the Commodore 64 with Zork. I remember when coming up with the exact phrase like ‘Ignite torch’ was labored over for hours. “I tried ‘light torch’ so I don’t think the torch is the answer…” Yet still we played. Eventually you gave up, figured it out, or learned how to access a BBS. It weeded out the casual from the determined and inspired labels from those who just didn’t understand. We knew we were playing a new form of entertainment that was unique to our generation even if it was just a newbie.

That sensibility is instilled in this game. I feel like the designers have played every RPG ever known including Zork and they logged every “I like this thing but wouldn’t it be great if…” then applied it to Dark Souls. Nuances and references are peppered throughout which let you know that you are playing a game from those who’ve been there done that and were passionate about the experience. Now they are paying homage to past experiences like The Butcher; The Spider Queen, Dark Knights, Slime, Diseased Rats, Big wise snake head from below the ground, etc.

The sparse story and the ambiguous yet iconic characters are more about gaming and referencing previous RPG moments than about an actual cohesive story that we are supposed to respond to; though with better graphics, better AI, better physics and no loading screens past the intro. The harshest criticism this game has received is for the frame rate issues in Blighttown (mostly patched).

And though we’ve seen these situations and creatures before, this is something new with the design inspired by the likes of Pan’s Labyrinth imbibing a subtle reminder that this is about something other than what’s in front of your face. Every creature a challenge and nearly every step a puzzle demanding a solution and each Boss a true OMFG moment “how am I going to beat THIS guy!” Yet eventually you do. If you have to blog it or slog it, you DEFEAT or you quit and pop in Arkham (FAIL). I loved watching some of the early youTubes of Dark Souls vloggers getting frustrated but they went on. They were hooked and they were having an actual emotional response to the game rather than disconnected observations.

I think this game could be dismissed as an RPG also ran or a niche market offering if it weren’t for how lovingly detailed and intelligently thought-out every inch of it was. It simply can’t be dismissed as just being difficult. This is the truist D & D ruleset adventure experience I’ve seen.

I have a three year old yet I’ve logged in over 80 hours on Dark Souls; some of which I spent running up the Undead Berg Drake ladder. If something is important you make the time! I’ve heard it said about literature or even great movies that you don’t neccessarily enjoy them at the time but you enjoy remembering them. Some of Dark Souls is kind of like that. Part of the value of the expierince is the labor. The 22nd time you’ve gone through the lower half of a level just to get to a new section and you make it through then you dismiss the slog and are in a truely earned moment. That, I suppose, is worth it to some but not all.

Ryan

On November 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Wow gotta say guys good job with the sensible and non trolling discussion, just came to say keep it up fellow gamers this is rare. ^_^

GAMERS UNITE!!!!

kaa0skrisse

On November 14, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Just got the game a week ago and absolutely loving it this far. Just wanted to put my two cents in this great conversation. My point being that to all those who find DS lacks in a good story, I think you have missed a crucial fact about it. Atleast to me the great story of the game lies in what you yourself do in it. Which path you take to glory, how you get there and what are your choices in getting there. You know, _what YOU make of it_.

To me it feels like I really am playing a Role Playing Game with capital letters. I have the freedom of choice to go about the game whichever way I want. Even if I might stumble into opponents far beyond the capabilities of my character, but that very fact makes it feel so great. The game is not holding my hand or saying that “You can’t go to this level”, it gives me that choice and boy are those choices hard to make sometimes.

In this game You are the story. And I’ve yet to hear or read a players story that is similar to mine. For this reason I think it’s the GOTY 2011.

Javier

On November 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Ok, i got this game 2 weeks into following gamefronts walkthrough. I say this game is amazing! And the story… it is up to the player to piece it together. I am glad the developers didn’t hold my hand and forcing me to listen to the story. From what i have played, when finishing this game… it has such a dark ending (if you piece together the story). I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone. But im on new gameplus and just going to say that im going to do things differently and won’t side with the obvious choice.. because that choice tricks you indirectly.

thomas henry

On December 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

In my opinion I don’t think it is fair to review a game without first completing it. Specially if it’s a 70 hour game and you only put 8 hours into it. With that being said this game definitely is not for everyone. If you don’t have the time or you’re just not patient don’t get this game. It’s an acquired taste like beer I suppose. But I can also bet that if you took the time to complete the entire game you would feel differently about it. There were many times in the middle of the game where I felt exactly how you feel. I didn’t know what to do and I felt like my time was just being wasted. But if you have the Will power and patience to persevere And understand the game Then there is no turning back. People like to say this game is unfair because enemies can get you through walls exedra. But that’s not true at all because you can also hit the enemies through walls exedra. But when all is said and done I can’t agree with this review because it isn’t really a review. It’s more like a first impressions considering you have only played 8 hours.

Ron Whitaker

On December 24, 2011 at 10:09 am

@thomas henry – Luckily, this wasn’t our official review. Our Aftershocks are second looks at major games. If you want to read our official review, which involved more than 70 hours of gameplay, try clicking this. http://www.gamefront.com/dark-souls-review-death-by-design/

Phil Hornshaw

On December 27, 2011 at 5:46 pm

@Thomas Henry

What Ron said.

But in any other case, I’d agree with you. Because of this being an Aftershock and specifically being about giving another opinion on a title, I felt that in this one case, not playing Dark Souls to completion would be okay because this isn’t a full-on review. Also because it would have taken me a month to get this piece done.

John

On January 16, 2012 at 8:02 am

What the hell are you talking about. Its a game so people don’t think of it as a waste of time, you sound like someone who doesn’t even like gaming so why the hell you reviewing it

Phil also

On January 18, 2012 at 12:15 am

Just wanted to add my two bits…

I bought this game maybe 2 months ago and I got extremely frustrated extremely quickly, so I put it down until last week. Now, 40+ hours in, this frustration is what is keeping me at it, slowly grinding for souls n stuff. Having never played demon souls (as I am one of them Xbox 360 folk), I am very happy with this game. That being said, if I had more distractions keepin me from binging on this game, I wouldn’t get anywhere near the amount of satisfaction I’m getting from this game.

PS: this is the first polite comment section I have ever seen (Praise the sun!), here’s hoping it won be the last…

Roland

On January 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I know this was written months ago but I felt the urge to comment anyways. I have to respectfully, and strongly, disagree with this article. I really couldn’t disagree more with the whole notion that just because something doesn’t give you a “real-life” skill that it’s a “waste of time.” Do you really think there’s nothing to be gained from experiencing a creative and thoughtfull piece of unique art? Sure, I won’t get a better job because I completed Dark Souls, but it was still an amazing, rewarding, and memorable experience that changed what I thought a video game could be. Not to mention I had a hell of a lot of fun.

This quote from an early comment bothered me in particular : “I think that other forms of entertainment leave a mark on the viewer, reader, user, and they change as a result. Dark Souls doesn’t do that because it lacks an enthralling narrative.”

Yes Dark Souls (intentionally) lacks a narrative, but that doesn’t mean it fails to leave a mark on the viewer. In fact, Dark Souls left a far stronger mark on me than something like Skyrim, which was full of fantastic narrative. DS makes up for its lack of story with incredible atmosphere and, despite little narrative, emotion. I’ve never been so involved and emotional (not just rage!) during a game than with DS, for many reasons. Also, while I completely understand why you’d label the game “slow,” I loved the quiet, atmospheric moments (even if repetitive) and thought they were the perfect complement to the epic, climactic boss fights. Also, and I know you disagree, but I strongly feel that this is not a game you can completely judge after 7 or whatever hours of gameplay. Sure, you get the general idea, but the deeper you get into this game the more creative and thrilling it becomes. It’s really something to look back on it as a complete experience.

One last complaint, you should be aware of how you sound with comments like “Sure, certainly many of you really enjoy the game and really dig its often-excrutiating difficulty level. Congratulations. But I’m an adult now…” since you come off as, well, rude. Forgive me if I interpreted that wrong, but I can’t stand the dismissive “I’m so above this” attitude.

Deej

On January 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm

This is a really comprehensive critiquing – from both sides – of this game. I’ve read everything posted before me and I feel much better informed. In particular I can empathise with the comment posted by John On November 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm, I can definitely see the game’s most vocal fans attacking people for their dislikes.

Huge respect for the informative, useful thread of opinions you’ve all compiled here.

Phil Hornshaw

On January 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm

@Roland

Your comments are fair, but let me address a couple:

1. My comment about not getting a real-life skill out of the time investment in Dark Souls is directly related to the fact that it didn’t grab me as a piece of art. It’s a lot of time to invest in a game that I don’t feel like I get enough out of. Skyrim I’m playing for story, shooters like Gears of War I play for fun, but Dark Souls didn’t really provide me with either. The straight challenge wasn’t enough for me and to put that amount of work into a game and get nothing out of it except the sense of accomplishment felt like a waste of time. It’s that experience to which I’m referring, not the idea of needing a real-life skill reward for enjoying art. This is just a situation in which the time commitment was too much for what I got out of it.

2. The “I’m an adult now” comment isn’t directed at belittling anyone for liking Dark Souls, nor is it meant to elevate me above anyone who likes it. Again, we’re just talking about free time. This is the sort of game that, even as recently as college (I’m only 27), I might have been willing to play through much more. But the obligation of needing to pay bills and work for a living precludes getting that deep into a game that, again, doesn’t grab me enough on a session-by-session basis to keep me engaged with. But I didn’t meant that to come off as a negative for anyone but myself — even playing games professionally, I find I don’t have as much time to actually have fun playing as I wish I did.

domdom

On February 2, 2012 at 8:57 am

Well I came here after googling “Dark Souls is just too difficult to be enjoyable” and I agree with Phil 100%. I’ve given it 15hours, reached level 31 but I’ve had enough and will be swopping it for Skyrim.

I just got sick of getting repeatedly pounded and having to repeat again and again- yawn! Now I read that it never lets up so the whole game will be one long repetitive grind- double yawn!

Oh, and I “experimented” with hitting the mumbling onion head knight (Seigmeyer maybe?) above the blacksmith in the undead parish tower coz he was getting on my nerves and now he won’t forgive me and so it seems I will miss out on a whole chunk of game and story thread just for one sword-swing. Not cool.

Gabriel

On March 7, 2012 at 1:05 am

I played Skyrim first, and grew despondent of it quickly…it was through prowling the internet to see if others took a similar impression to Bethesda’s latest that I stumbled into the comparisons to Dark Souls, so I picked it up used for 30 bucks. The lady that sold it to me gave me an ominous look, and told me “I hope you like being frustrated,” as she handed me the game.

Popped it in, and hated the first hour or so…I felt like a baby who was trying to give himself a crash course in walking. But once I began making those steps, man….I’m at level 148 now, on NG+, and have not stopped playing.

The controls are as tight and responsive as Link (Zelda 2), once you actually find that clutch “friction point” in all of the actions. I also found myself becoming incredibly emotionally involved– the last time this happened with me and a video game was for Shadow Of The Colossus. Both games have a painful “lonesome” quality to them. The world’s center is the character– pitiful, and vulnerable– attempting to push it’s way through an inhospitable and unpredictably hostile environment. This, I think, is the greatest contrast to Skyrim– who, despite it’s best efforts at accomplishing the opposite, makes you feel like only a tiny insignificant cog moving about in a too-well-defined world.

This is a game for folks who have refined tastes– who only prefer the purest genre of gaming satisfaction. The kind that comes after you step up to the door of a boss after a hard trek you have no desire to repeat…standing in front of the white-gate in actual real-life FEAR– only to roll in there, numb adrenaline-filled thumbs pumping, and eventually see that BOSS DEFEATED in big orange letters flash across your screen. This is the kind of satisfaction that can’t be matched, when you have so much less to lose.

Your best weapon against bosses in Dark Souls are your fellow adventurers. I save all my humanities for calling in help on those tough moments, and it REALLY makes a difference when you’ve got a 3v1 thing going for you…TOO easy, almost. I actually beat Smaugh and Ornstein on my first try because of this.

Rob

On April 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Its obviously not for you, and that’s fine… but to me this game breaths hope back into an industry that is spreading into casual gaming a little to far these days. I want games to make me try, i’m bored and tired of being spoon fed everything… i want to listen to the subtle hints and references in what npc’s have to say and piece the story together myself. Being truly dropped in a place i know nothing about, and having to kill my way to answers is a welcome change to the dribble that is widely excepted now.

I played thru twice and didn’t play it for a few months with recent releases but now that im back to it…. i appreciate what they did even more. The only minor dislike is the PvP and that has more to do with what people do rather then the system its self.

Personally i don’t play games to directly improve my “real life” … i play them for enjoyment, and if you find something boring and frustrating then no one can fault you. Although to say “There are experiences out there that are just much, much more fun, and require far less work on my part.” it just seems that your looking for a movie rather then a challenging video game.

As for all the comments that go “It’s no skill its memorization” – Skill noun: 1. the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well: Carpentry was one of his many skills. by the very definition practice is skill. You cannot have skill if you don’t practice… ie. repetition, memorization.

Phil Hornshaw

On April 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

@Rob

I think your comments are fair, although I will say that it’s the brand of challenge Dark Souls presents, rather than the fact that I don’t like challenge. It’s hard AND I don’t have fun AND I don’t get anything out of it — like working out, but without the part where one stops being fat. I do like challenging games, but for me, Dark Souls only gives me the satisfaction of knowing I bested it, which just isn’t enough incentive.

That said, dude, seriously — high five for playing through this game TWICE. That’s like a Mount Everest video game achievement. Hat tipped, sir.

Rob

On May 1, 2012 at 1:12 am

Lol, that’s not what i getting at when i said i played thru twice…. i don’t find Dark Souls any harder then Bayonetta. I just prefer the high fantasy setting of Dark Souls.

Talking about PvP though… i see it as the people who play Dark Souls generally fall into one of two camps. The first being people like me that just enjoy the game and either play offline or hollow for the most part, and those they build and spec characters for the soul purpose of PvP.

I am at the end on the game on a new pyro/spear char and i was running around kindling all the bonfires for NG+ and i was invaded by a str build (he had at least 50 str because he was wielding Dragon King Greataxe) and he “back stabbed” me from 5 feet away and infront of me… killing me out right. Lol… not the happiest moment. Im not sure if it is lag… or just their net code… but the hit boxes… or whats excepted as hitting from invaders is absurd.

Any who.. yea me for beating it 3 times… i have never understood the concept of satisfaction from beating video games that are designed to be beaten. I just find i’d rather play a game then watch T.V and being indoctrinated by commercials.

Whether i agree with the opinion or not, i enjoyed the article and will frequent the site, simple because Phil is honest.

Phil Hornshaw

On May 1, 2012 at 7:08 am

@Rob,

Well thanks, much appreciated. You sound like you’d get along well with our Ben Richardson, who did the (9-page) review for Dark Souls.

clamsarehot

On May 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I’ll be buying Demon’s Souls because it looks like a fun challenge. Something about Dark Souls, however, just makes it look boring.

Limbo

On June 29, 2012 at 12:30 am

I agree with this article whole-heartedly. I’m finding DS very hard to play, not because of difficulty, but because of the wet blanket factor. I don’t mind dying repeatedly, but battling the same thing over and over and over again, and then dying cause I need to go turn a chop in real life isn’t my thing.

But then, I don’t like Skyrim, either. *puts up hands* Don’t bash me, this is the first time I’ve said it on the internet.

In all honesty, I think I’d rather do some leveling up in real life, if you know what I mean.

I find the difficulty in DS condescending more than anything. And if there’s something I hate, it’s condescending games. I find the difficulty annoying and limiting more than anything.

Although I will say this: DS is way more accommodating for my playing style. Usually in an RPG I can’t play the way I usually do.

But I’m a collector, and as a collector I found DS to be quite boring. Love the idea, just don’t wanna play it.

I’ll end my comment here, as I truly doubt anyone really cares what I have to say.

Sacredxflame

On June 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Personally, I find myself dying A LOT, and it gets old fairly quickly. However, I always get to the point to where I have improved both as my character and in my actual skill with the game so that I cut down the enemies that used to destroy me with euphoric abandon, only to die at the boss. But it’s the fact that I am watching myself improve, every time the enemies get easier, every time I do a little more damage to a previously invulnerable taurus demon, that keeps me playing and coming back for more. I keep telling myself “I know I can beat him, I just need a little more power, or a few more firebombs.” The challenge is what made me buy the game, and despite the fact that I rage quit every hour or so, it somehow manages to call me back. Best game ever? No, definitely not. Hardest game ever? Well, it certainly taxes my patience. The only reason I play this game is because of the exultant feeling of overcoming every obstacle in my path. It’s about me taking pride in myself for getting back up, fighting my way through hordes of enemies, knowing its making me stronger, knowing that it’s only a matter of time before I leap over this hurdle and start closing in on the next one. Well, that’s what Dark Souls is for me.

Jim Fellows

On July 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm

It’s called growing up. There does come a time when you just can’t sit on your rump all day long and play games.

Even shorter games aren’t worth your time. Why? Because, you’ll just run out and buy another when it’s over. Game length isn’t the problem, nor is the difficulty. I think the issue that comes clear in your review is that you’re frustrated by having to give up games. That’s not a bad thing, once again…you grew up and realized what a poop-hole time sink video games can be. Congrats.

Ian B.

On October 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I 100% agree with this article. I love games, I love challenging games, and I can vibe with how well Dark Souls is crafted, but I just don’t think an RPG is the right genre for this kind of punishment. People play (or at least I do) RPGs for the story, the characters, the world, the stat building, etc. When you have a game like Dark Soul’s with little to no narrative, really trite and uninteresting lore, and a host of NPC’s that are about as interesting as wallpaper, all you’re left with are awkward controls, good visuals, and excellent boss fights.

And to me, that sounds like an old school arcade shooter. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not the reason why I pick up an RPG.

Also let’s be honest, all these reviews that say “Dark Souls isn’t a game you play for fun”. What the hell is that? Why would I play video games if they weren’t fun? Even the more artistically oriented video games (Shadow of Colossus, ICO, Braid, Journey, just to name a few) are plenty of fun in their own way.
I guess I could see Dark Souls being rewarding if you had nothing else to do all day but play video games, but I don’t want to come home from work to get my ass kicked. I pay my Madam plenty enough for that already.
/endrant

Logan

On March 6, 2013 at 7:28 am

Hey, so I realize this article is 2 years old but I was amazed at the comments and thoughts that other people gave along with how intelligent they were, so I figured I would make a post.

First off, I totally get why people dont like Dark Souls and why they would stop playing it. I picked it up when the game was still 60 bucks, played it for a little bit, although more like 15 hours than 7, and put it down in frustration after a week. I had no clue what I was doing. The game felt slow and clunky, when I rolled my character looked like a friggin baffoon and it felt like I was taking a wooden stick to people with giant swords and spears when for my entire life playing a roleplaying game meant stepping into a world and being able to immediately blow people up like in skyrim. The stats for leveling confused me, and I had zero clue on how humanity was supposed to work. The fact that a lot of areas were open from the get go frustrated me because I would walk into places like the catacombs and get 1 shotted. I didnt understand where I was supposed to go, what I was supposed to be doing or why. I chalked it up to being impossible and thought to myself, “Wow did I really just waste sixty bucks on this crap shoot?”. So I understand why people wouldnt want to put time into it, I sure didnt want to. Why play a game thats going to take countless hours to beat while feeling like bashing my head against a wall until I get to another checkpoint?

But a couple years later, or 6 days ago, I looked at it just collecting dust on my shelf and thought what the hell might as well pop it in again and see what its about. And wow did my opinion on this game take a 180. This time I read up a bit on the basics of the game and took things slow at first, and little by little I was just overtaken by this game. The weapon crafting is robust, the combat is really quite fluid and beautiful if you take the time to understand it, and the leveling system they implimented with the souls is spectacular. I think the greatest thing about DS for me was having to actually think before doing things, actually have a strategy when going into a fight. In skyrim I rush into a room with my badass armor that I crafted in the span of 2 hours and some sword that one shots everything in sight and just spam one button. right trigger right trigger right trigger, and oh, right trigger… In DS you have to think about positioning, how to best use your stamina bar, what weapons to use, and even what types of attacks to use, each of which being different for every enemy encountered. And when I won a fight or beat a boss in DS I knew that it was an actual feat of intelligence and skill instead of just mashing a single button. Yes, of course there were times where I was incredibly frustrated and felt like I was just wasting time but when I got past a difficult section the feeling I got was insane. Nothing felt better than facing a boss 5 or 6 times and then figuring out a valid strategy killing him/her, feeling like a complete badass. As far as gratification goes, DS has been the single most satisfying game ive played.

As far as narrative and story goes, yes I completely agree that the game lacks in that category. However its one of the more emotional games ive ever played. When playing a character it feels hopeless and lonely in this dark universe that is Dark Souls but when you meet a lone NPC in the wilderness or you summon someone from online there is a huge sense of comradery. When someone helps me I feel extremely thankful, and a little less lonely in the game. When I hear an NPC talk its almost haunting, when someone invades my world I feel scared. When I see that lone bonfire and I have zero Estus flasks I feel relieved and relaxed. One second I will feel like a god and the next encounter I have I feel more like a mouse. Ive experienced so many emotions in the 30 hours ive been playing this past week. The fact that there isnt much narrative adds to that experience in my opinion. I feel like at times you are supposed to feel weak and alone because when you accomplish something it makes it feel that much better.

I never thought I would touch the game again but I am so incredibly glad I did. Yes, it takes a lot of effort and brain power. Yes, its a lot of trial and error as well as countless frustrating hours of gameplay. But its the moments in which you finally defeat those areas or enemies or when you find a sweet looking weapon after busting your ass to defeat someone that make this game incredible and really makes it shine. Theres no better rush in gaming than that sense of accomplishing something great. I see why people wouldnt play it though and I understand that, ESPECIALLY since you cant just play it for an hour here or an hour there, you have to dedicate yourself to it. And I get that people have lives and responsibilities but dont we all? I work 4 nights a week as a nursing assistant, am a full time student, and have a relationship but I can still find time. Granted its mostly binges, I have school in an hour and havent slept lol. I stayed up all night playing because its so addicting. Some of us wont be able to play it due to real life responsiblities but if you are one of those people that put it down in frustration years ago, I just wish you would try it one more time! You might come to really enjoy it like I did.

Anyways those are my thoughts, sorry it was such a long post but I wanted to get my full point across. Dont just give up on this game! Thanks for the amazing comments I got to read also.

Sincerely,
Logan

Elliott

On April 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm

The purpose of playing video games is to have a good time with them. When you beat Dark Souls (or anything else) it isn’t meant to be a life-altering process. The “wasted time” you refer to more than once is the point of video games in general. Beating a game has nothing to do with what you’re left with for the rest of your life afterward. There has never been a video game that should ever “emotionally alter” a human being; they are all toys compared to books or film. Some of the most well-known and critically acclaimed titles (Half Life 2, BioShock) are of student short-film quality at their very best. They wear their direct inspirations and cliched messages on their sleeves, just as you wear your ignorance. I implore you to broaden your horizons significantly. You’d look back on this article and feel embarrassed.

Bent Crockman

On April 15, 2013 at 2:00 am

Elloitt – rarely have so many points been missed by one commenter in one block of text. Re-read the article, this time not allowing your pre-established agenda to bias your views, then re-read the sanctimonious, pretentious industry-line bulls*** that’s so predictable you could’ve just as easily pasted from an article on Kotaku, and hopefully you’ll see why YOU should be embarrassed.

Jeronimus

On January 5, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Ok I’ve just played almost 3 hrs of dark souls and I must say while I like it so far I feel that I’m likely to get tired of it pretty quickly if it’s just going to be like that forever, I mean is it just combat over and over again? with few and far in between npc interactions? maybe I should’ve gotten the witcher 2 instead or something else.. played a few rpgs over the years, hated diablo, loved record of lodoss war on the dreamcast and divine divinity for pc, also played FF7 and 8 for the psx both great games and vagrant story which somehow I find a bit similar to this game atmosphere wise, but I got tired of vagrant story early on.
A map in dark souls wouldn’t do harm and re spawning enemies after we die should be enough imo, not because it’s overly difficult but I simply find it a bit boring like the reviewr said having to fight them again in the same way, maybe enemies in different places and better A.I would solve this.
I’m still going to play a few more hours tomorrow and hopefully I won’t get tired of it, but at the end of these 3 hours my impressions of the game while not bad at all, they’re not great like I was expecting it to be.

Jeronimus

On January 9, 2014 at 12:54 am

Ok just a little update, after playing it again for almost the entire day I’ve got to say my opinion about it changed a lot, I guess it’s because I learned the game combat system a lot better and learned not to rush into enemies specially at the beginning. I actually started playing from scratch 3 times, first with a wanderer class, then with a knight and finally with a warrior, don’t pick a character to start out that moves very slow(knight) that’s guaranteed to make the game much harder in the beginning, seems to me better armor isn’t really the key at least in the beginning but shielding or avoiding attacks is, also don’t even try to go into the catacombs first, the skeletons are very challenging at first, start with the undead burg and you’ll be fine, I admit that the game forces you to replay an area many times over in order to level up but as soon as you have slightly better stats, weapons and more knowledge of the combat system it will be more fun doing so. Also I take back what I said about the A.I, it’s actually quite decent.

I think I’m level 20or 30 something?? now in the undead burg but still died with a black knight and the first boss I encountered, kinda out of stupidity because for some reason I thought he was so big I couldn’t shield myself so I had my guard down and just rolled around and attacked :P
Also it’s VERY important to understand how stamina works, no stamina no attack, no defense, you’re dead.. So if you had a bad first impression give i a second try, get a character that moves fast and learn the combat system, also if enemies in a given area are too damn hard just go the opposite way, because you’re not meant to go there that early.
Hopefully my enjoyment will continue until I eventually finish this game!

vlado

On February 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

You know, I disagree this is a 70 hour game. It’s maybe 10 hours long, if you didn’t have to kill the same enemies all over again and die because of the stupid things, like barrels on fire coming at you from nowhere, and other traps. It’s a constant struggle and repetition which is not very fun in my book.

Albus P Samovar

On May 4, 2014 at 4:58 am

I don’t like that from what I read you can permanently and irrevocably mess your playthrough up many hours into a game by killing necessary NPCs (it almost sounds to me like the game is baiting people to do this), or from the start if you choose to level the wrong stuff (without getting any in-game guidance).

Bilner

On June 1, 2014 at 8:29 am

The difficulty in Dark Souls is exaggerated. It just requires loads of patience to level up enough and learn strategies so you don’t go into each area blind. But I agree that nobody should feel obliged to play it, and it’s a shame that it alienates people like this because it has great atmosphere. Perhaps there should have been a ‘normal’ setting with more resilience or easier to defeat enemies, but the way the fires are laid out are a deliberate attempt at creating a world which doesn’t accommodate its inhabitants. It’s not just to screw the player over, it has thematic value. It’s just sad that so many won’t get to enjoy that value because of how annoying it can be to have hours of grinding pissed up the wall.