Dark Souls review
- Posted October 3rd, 2011 at 16:59 EDT by Steven Williamson
- 11 Comments
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Finally the successor to Demon's Souls has arrived and it's absolutely brilliant.
- Addictive, challenging combat where you have to learn from your mistakes
- Incredibly varied bestiary
- Persistent online world mechanics that elevate it above and beyond any action-RPG we've seen before
- A few technical issues means production values aren't as polished as they could have been
- Having to exit out of the inventory twice can lead to unnecessary deaths
I can’t stop thinking about Dark Souls. When I’m not playing From Software's action-RPG I’m yearning for it, yet when I am playing it I’m like a lost soul wishing there was someone I could turn to for help in this lonely, unforgiving place. I knew it would be hard – Demon’s Souls set us all up for that - but I still feel unprepared, like a man sent out into the wild with nothing but a dagger and his wits.
Eight hours in and I’d only beaten the first boss. The Taurus Demon proved to be my nemesis, but even just getting to him was tough enough as I fought off legions of fire-bomb throwing, spear-wielding undead desperately trying to reach the safe haven of a warm, inviting bonfire. After dozens of deaths, holding my head in my hands in despair, and finally conceding defeat by switching the T.V. off at 3am in the morning totally exhausted, I was bitter but determined to be back. That night it took me forever to get to sleep, burdened by the weight of a battle that I knew I would have to face again.
The next day…a breakthrough! I take down the Demon and I reach the next bonfire knowing that I never have to meet this hulking great beast again – I hope. I feel elated and incredibly satisfied. The fog and heavy atmosphere that runs through the veins of Dark Souls lifts temporarily as I bathe in the light of victory. From an early stage, Dark Souls consumes you. It's a game of extremes, taking you through every emotion imaginable, sucking the soul out of you before building you up to make you feel like you’re impenetrable. That doesn't last though. Soon enough you're back again working harder than you've ever done before in your life to kill every single enemy you encounter.
I think I owe it to the readers of PSU to let you know that I cheated. Well, I got myself some help. With the lack of community prior to release to turn to for advice, I asked Namco Bandai for tips on how to beat some of the bosses. They kindly helped me out, sending across an extract from the beautifully illustrated and highly informative Dark Souls Official Guide by Future Press. In this relatively short period of time before launch, I needed help so I could experience as much as possible before I wrote the review. Even now, I've only just scratched the surface.
I’d describe myself as a hardcore gamer (talented at hack ‘n slash games and shooters) yet I've struggled intensely with Dark Souls. Of course, this isn’t a hack ‘n slash game. In Dark Souls you do spend a lot of time fighting a wonderful array of creatures, from zombies and undead soldiers, to Black Nights and Prowling Demons. And you also have an abundance of familiar weapons, from crossbows and long swords to axes and spears. However, you don’t just run through levels God Of War style slicing your way through enemies like butter. This is a game that requires thought, patience and understanding. From Software sums up the tactics needed to succeed in Dark Souls very nicely when it says that winning boils down to three things: observation, strategy and choice.
It’s meant to be tough, of course, and fans of Demon’s Souls will revel in the challenge, while those unaware of what they’re about to face will rush into their initial encounters only to be brutally killed by even the weakest of enemies. In truth, no enemies are weak in Dark Souls. Every last one of them has the potential to kill you if you don’t apply those three rules outlined by the developer. Success in combat is about watching enemies' behavioural patterns, exploiting their weaknesses, equipping the right weapons and using the right spells. It’s about running like hell when you really don’t have to fight and having the balls to try again and learn from your mistakes when you inevitably die. It's about hundred-and-one different things that you can only possibly learn by death.
Combat in Dark Souls is extremely in-depth, yet the control system is simple to use. Back-steps, rolls, light and heavy attacks are just a small part of a cat-and-mouse game ... (continued on next page)
- 3:44pm EDT - October 3rd, 2011
very nice review looking forward to get this ganme
Drebin296 | Drebin296
- 3:59pm EDT - October 3rd, 2011
Getting it on Friday.
- 4:12pm EDT - October 3rd, 2011
B.S you guys have the audacity to say that having to exit out of the inventory twice can lead to unnecessary deaths is a problem. Is that really an issue to deduct points for. Its your fault if your not prepared the for the battle or conflict ahead that's why you died. I mean who goes into a boss battle and opens there menu with intensions of switcthing weapons.
- 4:31pm EDT - October 3rd, 2011
@DelusiveNinja He was just bringing up a point, I doubt he reduced the score for that at all. No one else has given it a perfect score, so this seems about right.
- 4:45pm EDT - October 3rd, 2011
When exiting the inventory screen simply press "start" this will exit everything with only having to press one button instead of two. Simple.
Good points DelusiveNinja. It is unfortunate the reviewer didnt get to experience the multiplayer as it would have easily bumped up the score to a 9.9 or 10.
I can't wait for Skyrim to fair poorly compared to Dark Souls.
- 5:19pm EDT - October 3rd, 2011
"I can't wait for Skyrim to fair poorly compared to Dark Souls."Why? Why not wish for both games being great? This idiocy is the sort of thing the gaming community can do without.
- 7:00pm EDT - October 3rd, 2011
We only score on .5 basis, so we have no 9.9, ever. It should also be noted that because we put something in the Dislike chart, doesn't mean it's "taking points off." We are simply pointing out things we disliked, and things we think OTHERS will also dislike. Had the reviewer left that out, would it be a 10? No.
- 7:38pm EDT - October 3rd, 2011
Tomorrow i get this extraordinary game and i will see the flaws myself. I don't need anothers judgement only my own matters. " Why was I here?"
- 8:06pm EDT - October 3rd, 2011
Same BS grief game that the last one was. Lots of people pretend the game is awesome simply because it is insanely hard. Sure, the production values are great and the game plays great but the entire game is meant to frustrate and grief the player.
- 9:03pm EDT - October 3rd, 2011
Just curious, but has PSU ever given any game a 10, EVER? Not knocking them of course. They should never give a 10 for the sake of just giving one. But their criteria confuses me. Earlier this year when they reviewed LBP2 I brought up the fact that the .5 difference between their review of the first game and the second was unwarranted because they basically said everything was improved upon and still didn't scored it as highly. Then Adam came and said that it was because of the two different reviewers or something and even had the Media Molecule fixed what PSU disliked it still wouldn't have achieved a perfect score (just like he said here).
So my question to PSU is, how many of the game's developers have to sell their soul to Satan to get a perfect score on this site? lol But seriously though, what would qualify a game as perfect? At what point is the distinction made between your reviewers' opinions and ours? Is it because the game might not be for everyone that the 10 isnt given or something because thats not really fair. If that were the case no game should ever get a perfect score. If your dislikes have nothing to do with the deduction then what exactly is it?
Lastly I think that whoever reviews the first game of a series, should be the same guy to do the sequels. Because If I see a game im interested in get a 9.5 one year and then years later see its sequel get an 8, the fact that its a different guy reviewing the 2nd game isnt a good enough excuse. Just saying.
Great review though, im still a little confused as to why it got a 9.5 if not for the very reasonable dislikes listed here but I'll live I guess. Definitely getting this.
- 10:36am EDT - October 7th, 2011
@DelusiveNinja as it is a review, it is OPINIONATED! i read reviews to see other peoples opinions on a game before i buy so i dont end up wasting money. if he doesnt like some part of the game, he is doing his part by telling us all, which makes the review more trustworthy. dont get mad cause its not a d*** sucking contest
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