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Friday, November 04, 2011

Game Play: Dark Souls

I was a rather huge Demons' Souls fan ... even if I did find the ending so mind numbingly difficult that I ended up using a rather nasty "cheat" to accomplish. This was after several attempts at finishing the final boss with online players, an attempt which only resulted in my online ratings getting butchered with every failure.

 When I kept reading that Dark Souls, the "spiritual successor" as it were, was going to be even harder ... I was a little apprehensive. Could From Software had decided to just amp everything up from the original - perhaps for the sake of publicity?

Thankfully, the answer seems to be no.  If anything, I'd say Dark Souls is an excellent refinement on the original.  It maintains that crisp sense of combat with an absolutely brilliant grinding design which slowly allows the user to increase their knowledge of the area and increase their skills and ability to deal damage.  I'm certainly not going to call Dark Souls easier ... but it feels like the mechanic have been shifted around more than simply amplified.

That's not to say that there aren't spikes of difficulty.  I tried to assault a two demon tag team event for most of an afternoon, only to get through in ten minutes when I managed to summon two players for aid.  This was true of the first one as well, however - Dark Souls is intended to be played within the confines of the inventive online functionality - and woe goes to the player who isn't taking advantage of the seamless co-op design From has used here.

My only complaint is that the grind can still get to be somewhat numbing.  Impressively - I can't call it annoying.  I don't want to throw the controller across the room because I just got killed by some dextrous skeleton.  But there are times when I just need to take a step back from Dark Souls and give it a rest.

Which is perhaps why the game is so unique.  In this day and age where if a company can churn out enough graphics to distract a player for twenty hours ... it's considered a success.  But Dark Souls insists that you engage it from the mechanics at the very root of the game - and finish it when and how you can.

Highly recommend.

3 comments:

jvm said...

Would like to play. Or play Uncharted 3. Unfortunately, PS3 won't play BDs and Wal-mart is going the long way around and trying to "fix" my PS3.

*sigh*

I'll keep this on my list of things to try.

Clamatius said...

I'm absolutely loving this game. The combat system is the best I've seen. Relying on timing, positioning and opponent "tells" instead of needing muscle memory for complex moves is my cup of tea. I really like the art style and the level design too - standing on the top of the towers in the Undead Burg and looking around, seeing all these places that you know, is just really cool.

The game is definitely not for everyone, though - if you don't have Zen-like levels of patience you will most likely get frustrated and give up quickly. It was interesting on how much you as a player "level up" though - trying a new character, areas that were challenging on my first time there were easy the second time round.

I beat the Gaping Dragon last night - next up I'm back to the Asylum and then on to Blight Town.

I agree that some (but not all) of the bosses are going to be rough by yourself. I think I died 3 times on the Capra demon then got some help, killed it first time that way.

The only trouble I have with the game so far is that it is so intense for me that I can't go to sleep afterwards unless I do something else first.

Which type of character are you playing?

Josh said...

Having seen other developers try and fail to develop an engaging melee system - I can say the combat system in Souls is nothing less than an outstanding achievement.