Dark Souls is a game that can pretty much send chills down a gamer’s spine and for good reason, this is one of the toughest games ever made and it is a very much needed challenge to those who welcome facing overwhelming odds because they just like feeling more manly than Chuck Norris, this game will beat your sorry ass to a pulp if you get too cocky but you will enjoy overcoming the odds and succeeding after trial and error so if Skyrim made you feel like a man than Dark Souls will make you feel like a god.
Dark Souls is the “spiritual successor” to a PS3 exclusive title Demon Souls and it was released in 2011 starting with Japan on 22th September, North America on 4th October, Australia on October 6th and Europe on October 7th and a PC version of the game was released on August 24th a year later which featured additional content and was labeled as the Prepare to Die edition which is the version I have played and basing this review on.
The game takes place in the dark and cursed kingdom of Lordran where the player’s character is a human who has been cursed and has chosen to undertake a pilgrimage but it isn’t really clear on that you have to do because the plot of Dark Souls is mainly told through descriptions of in-game items and characters you encounter along the way which can be a bit annoying at times but it shouldn’t be too hard alot of sound and subtitles on but anyway this game is just like any other RPG and shall begin breaking it down starting with character creation and so on.
Dark Souls begins out just like any other dungeon crawling RPG with a healthy selection of ten characters to choose from a warrior, a knight, a hunter, a thief and a few others and they all have unique load outs, statistics and abilities and on top of that they can select a “gift” to aid them on their journey.
Believe me if one game made it absolutely vital you study the classes, the pros and cons of each class and how to use them in the game then Dark Souls is that game and believe me I studied the game for about a month before I actually played it and well it helped more than I thought it would.
This game adds to the difficulty by not having a map, this game has large expansive open areas that are connected and it gets even better because there are no loading screens in between them and let’s all rejoice about that because we all despise loading screens.
As for game play Dark Souls is more of a thinking man’s RPG instead of the usual run into a crowd of enemies and butcher everything RPG games and that’s the brilliant thing about this game, you have you think about how you play because even low level enemies can be a challenge and will kill you if you slip up during combat and speaking of combat it relies more on parrying, countering blows and circling around enemies for a brutal back stab move that does double damage.
Now the whole basis for Dark Souls is surviving and Dark Souls is unique when it comes to the subject of survival because you will need to kill to improve you character and gear because every time you kill foes you gain souls which is in game currency that can be used to buy new gear or level up your character.
This is quite a unique mechanic because it makes you take chances so its more of a high risk, high reward type of deal because if you die while you have souls, you will lose them and you have to go back to the place you died to retrieve them, which is risky because if you die again they will be lost forever which hurts……trust me, you have never felt true rage until you lose 100,000 souls in a boss fight.
Dark Souls has other unique elements such as the use of camps called “bonfires” where the player can rest to regain health, improve weapons, abilities and store stuff but there is a catch with the bonfires, it acts as your spawn point in an area and every time you use it and get up it respawns every enemy in the area for you to kill again .
Now Dark Souls’ graphics style reflects the game, its dark and gritty, it adds a feeling of having no hope left which grew on me because of how well everything came together as a whole with the setting, architecture and so now on to sound design
Sounds in the game are also good, the characters you meet along the way are well voice acted which is really important for a RPG in my opinion because if the characters don’t sound right it just breaks immersion in the game world, both are excellently done and get the job done, if I had to sum up Dark Souls with just two words I would use the words….gothic art.
From Software provides minimal framework for a story and lets the player fill in the blanks with subtle clues throughout their journey, lore is scattered around the world and each piece is crafted to immerse you deeper into the world of Dark Souls, every item, every NPC, every enemy plays a vital role in telling you the story of this world and the evil that plagues it.
There are many things to see, do and of course kill in Dark Souls so there is a ton of replay ability, there are loads of weapons, armor and spells to find or buy, 12 unique bosses to defeat and a wide selection of factions you can join such as The Way of White or the demonic Darkwraiths.
Adding to the replay value of Dark Souls is the inclusion of player vs player combat which can happen anytime and anywhere in the game if you are in human form and believe me it is incredibly hard but so rewarding when you beat another player in 1v1 combat, not only do you get the satisfaction of beating people senseless but you get a hefty amount of souls and humanity when you do so.
And on top of player vs player combat it also offers drop in drop out co operative play where you can summon people with the use of a special in game item called the “White Sign Soapstone” and the online stuff doesn’t end there, players can also write messages and leave them in areas to warn other players of the threats ahead with a item called the “Orange Soapstone”.
As for achievements and trophies, Dark Souls has 41 achievements/trophies worth 1000 points and they are not too hard to get and the fun part is most of them are secret which is annoying at first but it is so worth it .
I would like recommend this game to everyone but this isn’t like other RPGs, this game has a very steep learning curve and I doubt many people have the patience for a game like this because it is not easy by any means, you can get invaded by other players and they can screw your game up by simply killing a merchant that stocked vital arrows, or invading while you have a hefty supply of souls, only the patient gamers should buy this title because raging will not get you very far in Dark Souls
I have heard of people snapping the discs in half because of it’s difficulty but if you think you are good enough, have really good patience and don’t mind getting your ass kicked a couple times because it’s hard than pick this up if you want a tougher RPG to sink your teeth into because once you learn how to play,survive and adapt, nothing in Lordran will be able to match you.
And with it’s sequel already on the market, it isn’t late to join the party and well kick everything and everyone’s asses.