GamesRadar E3 2011 Special Award: Best Game for Masochists

Demon’s Souls has become known mainly for three things: being exclusive to PS3; being incredibly, crushingly bleak and difficult; and being a surprise hit in spite of the first two. Dark Souls, its spiritual successor (but not outright sequel), is not only expanding its audience to the 360, but its developers have proudly announced that it’ll be much more difficult than Demon’s Souls ever was. And while that’s difficult for us to wrap our minds around, the evidence we’ve seen so far tells us that Dark Souls looks poised to be another huge hit with those who like a little suffering with their gameplay.

As much as developer From Software seems cheerfully dead-set on making the game tougher, with more huge, terrifying bosses and brutal run-of-the-mill enemies, its mantra is “very spicy, but edible.” To that end, they’re giving players access to better tactics and more ways to survive. One of these is a campfire checkpoint system (the lack of which made Demon’s Souls supremely frustrating), although it comes with a price: with every death, you become weaker and your enemies become stronger.

Why the cycle of resurrection and weakness? Well, your character is undead, which in Dark Souls is shorthand for “immortal, but cursed.” You’ll start out more or less normal, but every death will drain some of your humanity, threatening to eventually leave you a bony husk, like the other undead denizens of the monster-infested gulag you’ve been shipped off to. Only by defeating monsters – or other players – will you be able to regain part of your humanity.

Above: Also, the game looks just a little bit breathtaking

In spite of the merciless difficulty, though, the demo we played at E3 – fraught as it was with surprise attacks, repeated deaths and corridors that were home to creatures who instantly made us regret our wrong turns – was about 20 minutes of immense fun, and it left us hungry to jump back into the fray, outrageous odds be damned.

Jun 22, 2011

Most graphics | Coolest character reinvention
Best response to fan feedback 
Best trailer | Most satisfying gore | Guiltiest pleasure
Most shameless rip-off 
Best new game we know nothing about
Worst first impression | Best game for masochists 
Most likely to consume our lives | Artsiest-fartsiest
Most tasteless 
Might not actually suck | Proof that 2D isn't dead | BEST OF SHOW 



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  • silentflame666 - June 23, 2011 4:37 a.m.

    Good to see this game getting more attention. Most of the press sidelined it for their E3 awards.
  • WeinerlessSteve - June 23, 2011 2:41 a.m.

    Yup looking forward to this terrified as fuck. Fist bump!
  • Evilsafetyboy - June 23, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    "Prepare to Die". No shit...but I love it anyway...
  • reson8er - June 23, 2011 3:19 p.m.

    Played and beat Demon's Souls, even got the Platinum Trophy. In all honesty, its not as hard as it was made out to be (though unforgiving to be sure). The main problem was 1. There was no hand-holding (e.g. tutorials), you could only activate a "checkpoint" in a level by defeating a mini-boss (if you died at the mini boss, you had to restart the level, however in each level there are "door" you can open essentially giving you a shortcut back. 2. When you died, you lost all your souls (the currency used to level up) and unless you could reach the spot where you died to reclaim your souls you essentially lost all of the time/progress exerted in collecting said souls. Very frustrating to be sure. But the "main" difficulty of the game was in my opinion was due to people thinking they could run in a-la Dynasty Warriors and have any success. Each enemy had a pattern or set of moves that had to be learned and required a methodical approach to understand and best said enemy. Not for the average gamer, but for those that it was for, loved it.
  • MrWrighty987 - June 23, 2011 8:03 a.m.

    My body is not ready for this game, NNNGGG.
  • Yeager1122 - June 23, 2011 2:39 a.m.

    Well looks like im going to have to save up money for new controllers they will al be broken by the time i get done playing this.
  • DaMaJaDiZ - June 23, 2011 2:20 a.m.

    I love myself way too much, and far too often to play this. Godspeed ladies and gents.
  • crumbdunky - June 23, 2011 2:19 a.m.

    Well, as it was a game that kind of defined a mood among gamers that we'd been waiting for the tough love of Demon's Souls without ever knowing it before we played it I'm glad MORE of us will get to be humiliated by From's team of sadists. We DID want it, mind, and DS's position of least likely PS3 exclusive to be a sleeper hit bears witness to that(well, and also to a lot of gamers who found they didn't like the toughness one bit and went scurrying back to their shooter du jour pretty soon!)as did the merrily scrawled, often darkly daft, messages of warning players slain at certain spots had left for us./ Haven't totally followed Dark Souls in detail but hopefully the online will be even better and more effective than ever(and it was already way ahead of the curve of every other RG ever created in this respect as the online part of the game was incredibly new-at least to me it was)and they continue with the "hard but fair" gameplay mnechanics and tells which would let you know,if you were watchful, just what kind of things were coming up in Demon's. While the original wan't a game I sat down and determinedly ploughed through in dark happiness like many did(I seemed to return to it for wee stints at weekends for a couple of months before finishing off in a big lump!)I did fuind it enthralling in the end and never once thought of sacking the whole thing and don't know how I feelabout it having a proper checkpoint system! Will be tough, but managed OK by most if the will is there. Demon's wasn't a cruel game and could be mastered by the watchful and even mastered by those who fell in love with it early on. I just think many that were put off were just unused to having to actually lose something when they died-but we moan that, say, Fable doesn't ever punish us AT ALL for a death so what is it? DS , like DS before it(ha ha), will be fair but firm and a belter of a game from From.
  • MrSuitMan - June 23, 2011 2:16 a.m.

    As if the award could be for anything else.