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Dark Souls review

Excellent
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74 comments

  • Syncmaster - October 3, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    I hate cheap deaths, unbalanced difficulty and overall bad design made just to frustrate you after each death. I never liked Devil May Cry because it made you lose 40 minutes of your life over and over again until you finnaly memorized each and every boss move, and certeinly will hate this game.
  • TheVoid - October 3, 2011 11:10 p.m.

    While I can't speak for Dark Souls (yet) allow me to state that Demon's Souls did NOT have cheap deaths, unbalanced difficulty, nor bad design. In fact on all three counts it was quite the opposite, offering staggeringly fair gameplay, very balanced difficulty and awesome design. And it sounds like Dark Souls follows that formula to the letter. But that is not to say Demon's Souls (and apparently Dark Souls) wasn't PUNISHING. How does that work considering what I just said? Allow me to explain: For starters, Grimm is right. Today's gamers have had their hands held for so long that many of us old timers LOVED Demon's Souls (and Devil May Cry) because of it's ability to break us down harshly if we engaged in any of the following: Impatience. Lack of caution. Hubris. Headstrongness. ...and the sooner players figured that out, the better off they were. I beat Demon's Souls only because I quickly gave it the respect it deserved. I learned, and by "learned" I don't just mean "figured out the enemy's attack patterns" (although there was plenty of that). Rather, I realized early on that unlike most games, this one demands and rewards discipline, and an incredible amount of it at that. It was a painful schooling and certainly teetered on frustrating at times, but the elation in even just that (let alone the eventual victories) was a tremendous breath of fresh air for this gamer that has actually grown weary of waltzing through games near-effortlessly with a handful of deaths at most by completion. Demon's Souls straight up said "uh uh - today you are back to school. Today you must unlearn all that you have learned. Today you leave your ego at the door and proceed around the next corner smartly". Certainly not for everyone, to be sure. But it does give you the tools you need to survive, so it's never cheap. I never once died and cried BS. I simply wasn't seizing my full potential in those moments, and I knew it. So back I would go, that much wiser. Maybe not wise enough to completely tear down whichever foe just killed me, but enough to last a bit longer the next time around. As for all these notions about "unbalanced difficulty" (or cries over a lack of difficulty selection), I have to laugh. So along comes a game that separates the boys from men and clearly the boys start crying while the men embrace the gift that has been given. It's not for everyone, and I give credit to those that admit it, albeit for the right reasons. I lent my Demon's Souls to a friend who got into it but ended up putting it down due to "being sick of dying all the time". "But was it ever cheap?", I asked. "No", he replied. "I just don't have the patience for it". Right answer, right there. Grimm is also right about trophies and achievements be damned. This one's for plain old fashioned bragging rights, even if just to one's self. Beating Demon's Souls was like earning a badge of honor, and I'm excited to earn the next tier with Dark Souls.
  • taterboob - October 4, 2011 8:37 a.m.

    @TheVoid Reading your post is exactly why I find this game and its predecessor to be so obnoxious. It just seems like an excuse for people to crawl up their own butts and show how much "gamer cred" they have. I play games to have fun, not make myself look awesome for a bunch of complete strangers over the internet. If that makes me a "boy", then so be it. You speak of being an "old timer" like you're in some exclusive club. I'm a child of the hardcore NES era and I'm all grown up and have adult responsibilities to take up my time now. I don't have time for stuff like this anymore, nor do I feel a masochistic desire to invited more frustration into my life. That doesn't make me a bad person.
  • TheVoid - October 4, 2011 9:48 p.m.

    First off, I never said anything about not liking/playing these games making anyone a bad person. No idea where that came from. Second, I'm not at all interested in making myself look awesome for a bunch of strangers over the internet. The pride I took in beating Demon's Souls was for quite some time mine and mine alone as it just happened to be more fulfilling than any other game completion in recent memory. It was only after I circled with others that had "joined the ranks" that I became vocal about it, and even then only in defense of the game itself against those who insist that it is "cheap" or "unbalanced". For those that took down Demon's Souls, it was far too spectacular of a journey to allow others to bad mouth it simply because they couldn't hack it. And it's nothing more than that: They couldn't hack it. That is a fact. It is not a judgement. Lastly, OK - the "separates the boys from the men" was maybe a bit harsh, but that's only because I have grown weary of those that blame these games for their own lack of skills. It's not the game, folks, at least not in these cases. I know plenty of people who have beaten Demon's Souls and for anyone to say Ghosts N Goblins (as I'm sure you'd appreciate) is EASIER than Demon's Souls is out of their head. While a fan of that game too (actually both the NES original and the SNES sequel, specifically), NOW we're talking about cheap and unbalanced. But Demon's Souls? No. There was always a chance you could get through a level on the first run if you were mindful and cautious enough. In a few cases, I did. The beauty was that it caught you red handed and made sure you paid the price until you learned your lesson if you didn't. And believe it or not I too am an adult with adult responsibilities with relatively little time available to devote to my favorite hobby. But despite us both having that in common, it was my choice to spend that time on Demon's Souls while your preference was (presumably) with something less challenging. Which is fine, but I think if you were to join the for-a-good-reason VERY exclusive ranks of those that braved and emerged victorious from the lashing that was Demon's Souls (only to ask for more please with Dark Souls, which even to me strikes me as kind of crazy), you would have a better sense of what I'm going for here. It really is something to be proud of in a way that only a hardcore gamer can appreciate. If you'd rather spend your time elsewhere, I don't blame you. As expressed in my original comment, you have good reasons. You aren't blaming the game, you'd simply rather not deal with it. And that's fine, boy. Seriously, just kidding. Couldn't resist. At the end of the day we are all in it for the same reason: We love gaming, and with so many "flavors" to choose from, these are very good times. It would simply appear that I prefer mine be more "spicy" than yours, which kind of allows for a bit of bragging rights in of itself, doesn't it?
  • PimplesInYourAsstista - October 5, 2011 4:30 a.m.

    No, you just suck ass at real games.
  • Syncmaster - October 4, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    the difficulty wouldnt be so much game breaking for me if it wasnt for the time you need to spend to replay the same level again and again when you die. Its just frustrating. Heck, I played through ninja gaiden and Prinny, also freaking hard games, and never felt frustraded as I did playing Devil May Cry. Well placed checkpoints and saves are a bless and smart game designs. I dont lack patience, Im one of the most patient guys out there, but please, dont tell me playing the same level again and again and again and again will make you any more man then I am. it just means you have more time
  • TheVoid - October 4, 2011 10:20 p.m.

    Except not really (my having more time). As mentioned in my response to Taterboob's reply, you could actually get through more than a few levels in Demon's Souls on the first try if you were simply cautious and mindful enough*. Although Lord knows the game would smack you down HARD if you weren't**, even if by a mere inch compared to any other game's standards. And to folks like me (and those others that actually praise it's unflinching difficulty), that's a big part of why it (and seemingly Dark Souls) works. And yes, kicking you back to the start was a big part of it too. It was the ultimate in lesson teaching and learning. And believe me, I too am a fan of well placed checkpoints and saves, but they really had no place in Demon's Souls. The point would be completely lost otherwise. The game's oppressive nature and environments would never have felt as convincing if the game made it even the least bit easy. Should I also mention that I am a HUGE fan of the DMC series (excluding 2, of course)? Maybe I'm simply a glutton for punishment, but I don't think that's quite it. I think it ultimately comes down to challenge (as well as the fine balance between risk and reward) as I can't help but feel that when I blunder a level in a game and the auto-save kicks me back just a few yards from where said blunder occurred, I can't help but feel like I'm playing a game with the training wheels on. For example, I HATED the vita-chambers in Bioshock. If I got killed I would actually go as far as to load my last savegame. Kinda crazy, I'll admit, but it just didn't seem right otherwise. Whether that's tied to my old-school "oh, you died, so guess what? GAME OVER" gaming up-bringing (having hailed from the days of the 2600 and the golden age of video arcades) or some other masochistic desire, I can't say, but seeing that I'm not alone and that pretty much every fan of Demon's Souls never asked for Dark Souls to be any less punishing tells me that From Software is onto something, even if it flies in the face of most modern-day gaming conventions. *Not so much bragging here as much as reinforcing my point, I was shocked when I managed to clear the entire 5th world of Demon's Souls (Valley of Defilement) with only one or two deaths along the way. And that's definitely without any walkthroughs or the like. **Which was certainly the case for me hundreds of times elsewhere in the game.
  • nooyen - October 9, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    You don't necessarily have to be methodical and crap. I played like an idiot through my like 100 hours of Demon's Souls. Too many people in the comments saying ITS GOOD CAUSE ITS HARD ITS GOOD CAUSE ITS SPICY YEAH? You don't have to save. When you quit the game it leaves off where you quit. Dark Souls has way more "checkpoints" than Demon's Souls did(apparently). You don't have to fight everything. You can just run past them if you're careful, sometimes. Fun is a funny word. Describe fun for yourself. Most games are addiction based. Points. Scores. Levels. A+,SSS! They praise you and you love that praise. Dark Souls a journey of death, and it's story is the story of the undead. The man who cannot die, and should he fail, he will lose himself. If Frodo's journey had savepoints, would we have sympathized so much with him? If you have the time I suggest you read the interview with the creator of Dwarf Fortress. I don't play it but he's a very interesting person.
  • IsaacShadow - October 3, 2011 7:37 p.m.

    I was on the wall on this game, but now i'm confident. I'll buy this as soon as I can.
  • TheZigMan - October 3, 2011 7:30 p.m.

    I think theres a right amount of difficulty to put in a game, and it sounds like they over did it. I am enjoying the Witcher 2, mainly because it is quite difficult, yet after time is able to master. In my first fight in Witcher 2, I got pwned, but after time I figured out the combat, and I still got pwned, but it wasn't frustrating, it was exciting to try and find a new way to beat that boss, or group of enemies. I defenitely think tou could have compared this to the Witcher 2
  • TheVoid - October 3, 2011 11:31 p.m.

    "Witcher 2, I've played Demon's Souls. I've beat Demon's Souls. Demon's Souls was an incredibly difficult game to master. Witcher 2, you are no Demon's Souls." Sorry ZigMan, but Witcher 2, while challenging, isn't anywhere near being in the same ballpark as Demon's Souls from a difficulty perspective (let alone Dark Souls, apparently). Although your "after time I figured out the combat...it was exciting to try and find a new way to beat that boss" is indication that you might have the right stuff for Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, so I would suggest you give it a try. You certainly seem to have the necessary attitude, bearing in mind that "it sounds like they over did it" is just a matter of opinion. I would say that for once, a (modern) game got it just right.
  • TheZigMan - October 3, 2011 11:36 p.m.

    Perhaps I will have to try this game out, (on the PC) but you can't say that the Witcher 2, on its most highest difficulty setting is the most difficult game you've ever played! Cmon, once ur dead, ur dead for good! Not to say Ive even lasted 15 minutes there,but i have beat like a quarter of the game on a difficulty level one lower
  • TheVoid - October 6, 2011 5:35 p.m.

    Well you may have a point about Witcher 2's highest difficulty (at least in terms of being more brutal than Demon's/Dark Soul's), but the whole "dead for good" seems more gimmicky than what Demon's/Dark Souls offers, which is "brutal but not cheap". You can (and will) persevere in Demon's/Dark Souls, whereas Witcher 2's "dead for good" is more "yeah, right". Demon's/Dark Souls is literally "If At First You Don't Succeed, Try and Try Again: The Game", and was built from the ground-up around that premise. Although I don't get the sense that Witcher 2's highest difficulty was meant to be anything more than a novelty, whereas the standard difficulty is what I felt CD Project intended their core audience to focus on with flexibility offered in either direction. Meanwhile the Souls series prides itself on there being no difficulty options whatsoever (other than the 2nd and further playthrough's "even harder" mechanics), so you are either in it to win it or off in some corner licking your wounds. There is no "dialing it down". Now don't get me wrong - Witcher 2 is a great game, no doubt, but I never felt combat was it's strongest feature. The story and "decision impacts" I think were what ultimately carried that game, With Demon's/Dark Souls, combat is EVERYTHING, which is why a big part of the series isn't just the difficulty but the razor-sharp controls. Movement, swings, parries, etc. - everything worked as expected when expected, reinforcing the whole "you can't blame the game when you find yourself dead" mantra. Witcher 2's combat, by comparison, never felt nearly as comfortable. And sorry to say but I don't think Demon's/Dark Souls is slated for the PC. Which is too bad because it's my lead platform, and there's no doubt it would look even better on PC than it does on the consoles. But isn't that always the case?
  • TheZigMan - October 6, 2011 6:29 p.m.

    Well thats just a shame. I really wanted to play it on my comp. Still have to finish the Witcher 2 tho, the first fight with Letho took me like an entire week to finish
  • nooyen - October 9, 2011 5:30 p.m.

    Does no one remember Diablo 2's Hardcore mode?
  • TheZigMan - October 10, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    I do. SOO HARD!
  • IceBlueKirby - October 3, 2011 7:16 p.m.

    Demon's Souls was a rare case of a difficult game NOT being frustrating, and although I never could force myself to play through the whole thing, I certainly tried until I just couldn't try anymore. With that in mind, I'll definitely try Dark Souls, but I'm not going to pay full price for it because I may never finish it either.
  • EBAX1 - October 3, 2011 7:47 p.m.

    Sir, you need to go back and finish demons souls. Its too great of a game to leave unbeaten (I played through four times and platinumed :P)
  • liadz - October 3, 2011 7:16 p.m.

    So glad this is coming to pc too =)
  • CrashmanX - October 3, 2011 7:29 p.m.

    Uh bro. Where did you hear that? As far as I know, Dark Souls is staying as a console exclusive. Just like From Software's other works.
  • liadz - October 5, 2011 1:05 a.m.

    Yeah, I thought I've read something about a pc version but I was wrong =/ Sad thing.
  • kingsmikefan - October 3, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    Everything you said, Grimm, makes me hate this game. Thanks for the review, I'm glad I learned from it.
  • Celticlupin13 - October 3, 2011 7:24 p.m.

    Hate? Hate's a strong word... ya' haven't even played it yet! However, I understand how difficulty can be a turn off, 'cuz I was veeerrrryy reluctant to try Demon's Souls.

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More Info

Release date: Oct 04 2011 - PS3, Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: From Software
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Violence
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

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