Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dark Souls: A Soul-Crusher to Remember

It all started when my girlfriend bought me a PlayStation 3.  It was a random gift that she got me just because she wanted to.  It was possibly the best gift anyone has ever received from a girlfriend or wife "just because they wanted to."  She then left me to play my new system with the new game God of War III.  That game was epic in all senses of the word; or so I thought.

Not soon after, I decided to get Demon's Souls, a game infamous for it's brutal beatdown of players that kept them literally crawling back for more.  I played Demon's Souls for hours, getting slightly further than I had previously gotten after each death.

After each level was said and done, I had loved the game with a hatred I had never felt before.  I loved it because of how rewarding it made gameplay.  Hours upon hours of death breathed life into me when I finally succeeded.  After succeeding at failing and finally winning, I decided to put it down for a bit.  Then, I learned that a new challenger was approaching.  This challenger I wouldn't soon forget.

I got Dark Souls day one.  It is the first game I felt confident in pre-ordering and purchasing as soon as it came out.  I knew it would give me hours of enjoyment (and sorrow,) so I wasn't worried about it being a bore.  However, I didn't know it would crush my soul as much as it continues to do.

I was going to wait to do my review until I got to the infamous Blighttown section of Dark Souls, but after hours of gameplay that does not seem to be in my near future.  Plus, this review is long, LONG overdue.

The controls of Dark Souls are fluid.  It feels more natural than any game I've played in a long time.  I feel the gestures are done a lot better than the ones in Demon's Souls were.

As for the gameplay, it's utterly devastating to your ego if you're new to the Souls world.  If you can do the speed run in Demon's Souls I expect you to breeze through a small part of this game but that's it.

As expected, Dark Souls starts you out without any clue as to what lies in store for you.  And then it beats you down with a hammer.  Literally; the first boss beats you down with a huge hammer!  After you die from that, you try again and again until you finally beat the tutorial!  It feels good, doesn't it?  Yeah, I felt so, too.  But what happens when things stop feeling good and start feeling REAL?

When you get into the "real" world, things get hot and heavy.  Everything and anything wants to kill you, but you want to get to the monsters because everything in the game is just so desolate and lonely.  It's comforting to get beat down to just go back and see those giant pulverizing monsters waiting for you to return.

Horrible Bosses - The Sequel!
Things get even better online, where a "phantom" can come help you.  Phantoms can be those who are playing, and are of human form, and need help at that section, or phantoms can be someone you rescued earlier.  They are immensely helpful, and I wouldn't have beaten the double Gargoyle bosses if it weren't for a phantom.  A word of advice though, if you invite a phantom in they can have some bad intentions.... as I found out the hard way.

Also, others can write "notes" on the ground for you to read.  Sometimes, they can tell you there is "Great treasure ahead!" But sometimes THEY LIE.  Well, they mostly lie.  One even called me a fatty.  Hmph.

I died over and over again... and I loved it.  Overall, if you can get past the dismay, it's a very rewarding experience that isn't found in many games today.  It's a definite pick-up!

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