English: Dark Souls – Prepare to Die Edi-ion
Genres: Action, Role-Playing (to a point), Dungeon Crawler
Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Microsoft Windows
Released: October 4th, 2011 (Xbox, PS3), August 24th, 2012 (PC)
FROM THE MAKERS OF DEMON’S SOULS
PREPARE TO DIE
TENSE DUNGEON CRAWLING, FEARSOME ENEMY ENCOUNTERS & GROUNDBREAKING ONLINE FEATURES
INCREDIBLE CHALLENGE PROVIDES AN ABSOLUTE FOUNDATION OF ACHIEVEMENT AND REWARD
Rating: 5+ / 5
Started: October 4th, 2011
Finished: Sometime in 2012
Booze Pairing: 190-Proof Everclear, because you weren’t getting fucked enough already
For the Dark Souls virgin’s out there who are interested in trying this masterpiece but aren’t quite sure if it’s for them or not, the easiest question I should ask you is this: Are you a masochist and do you enjoy relentless pain? Because if you’re not then you should go back to just about any other game holds your hand every step of the way until you have you can walk on your own two feet in the game world.
Dark Souls is not the nice father that takes you on a cushy trip to Disney World then lets you enjoy the freedoms of adolescence. Dark Souls is the drunken father that leaves you alone and abandoned in the northern wilderness after wandering off somewhere in search of booze, leaving you to fend for yourself in an unfamiliar world that’s as inhospitable as the gas chambers in Auschwitz.
If you haven’t guessed it by now then you should know you will die, repeatedly, and without discrimination. Death isn’t a just a feature in Dark Souls, it’s a brutal inevitability; and although you’ll scream at your monitor for one reason or another, eventually you discover that most deaths are based on player mistakes instead of the ‘artificial difficulty‘ that many people initially criticize the game over. If you dislike the idea of trial and error, teeth-grinding difficulty till you gain a very solid understanding of how game mechanics work (because you’ll be punished if you don’t), then you’ll probably hate Dark Souls and ultimately yourself for spending money on it. To make matters worse the currency and experience points are linked into a single item known as souls (as the title might imply and what the series is more or less famous for). The best part about this neat little feature is that when you die you drop all your souls near your place of death and you have to retrieve them. “No worries” you might be thinking, “I just have to get over there and click on my bloodstain, easy peasy”… However, should you die – for whatever reason – while en-route then all your souls that were previously lost will be permanently erased as your bloodstain is overwritten. This exasperating feature adds a new layer of frustration to a game that is already infuriating to many a new player. But for those players who persevere and eventually ‘break through the wall’ will find a game that’s truly beautiful, enjoyable, and extremely replayable, should you not experience enough pain the first time around.
I’m not the greatest at writing reviews, so the only reason I know where to go from here is because I loved Yahtzee’s review of Dark Souls and will probably take a few ques from it. As you travel through this immensely large and interconnected world you experience an atmosphere that is unique compared to many games at its time of release. The fact that any sky-box you see is completely explorable is another amazing feature that many modern games seem to ignore in favor of crisp pre-rendered battle sequences and more lens flares than you can shake a stick at. The per-level stat investments aren’t unique, nor is the fact that stats cannot be re-rolled on that specific character, but unlike other games stats are very important, especially if you’re trying to min/max a character for PvP purposes where you’re trying to stay within the meta level range for optimal number of matches. Personally I played through the game several times using various trial-and-error builds until I found one that I enjoyed and ultimately beat the game with (this was before the inception of MugenMonkey, which is insanely useful even for first time players and min/maxers alike). Don’t be afraid to re-roll a character, it may take some time to find a build you enjoy and can use to it’s full potential but the more time you put into the game, the more rewarding it is once you can leap over an obstacle that stumped you for days and move onto the next one that might be worse than the last.
If you’re ever curious about the game, looking for someone to play with, or looking for suggestions on a custom build then head on over to /r/darksouls on reddit, the community is still fairly active and for the most part they’re a pretty friendly bunch.