The lights are on
What? Dark Souls is hard? No. It's the toughest game of this
or last generation? Bah. Playing the game will make you want to snap your
controller in half? Come on.
thing is, all those things are true. Dark Souls made me want to throw things
and swear enough to make my mom blush. And I loved it.
didn't expect to love Dark Souls. I wanted to give the game a try in order to
observe the degree of difficulty that everyone raved and cursed about. I never
expected to play past a couple areas, let alone put ninety-two hours into the
here I am.
Dark Souls beginner, the first thing you must embrace is the learning curve.
Every stage is damn difficult. Every single one. You pick your character from a
stock of class options, and then you are thrown straight into the universe with
only vague hints written on the floors as tutorials. Right off the bat, it's
left to the gamer to sort through what to do.
familiar with the battle system and inventory will take time. The controls aren't
intuitive, but you become accustomed to them through practice, as finding the
balance between strikes and dodges is a vital labor of love. You will also want
to try as many weapons and outfits as you can in order to find a fit that feels
comfortable. For me, using an ax or a spear was awkward, but once I got my
hands on a solid long sword, then I was moving. It just took a lot of switching
back-and-forth to find that sweet spot.
are the only currency in the game. You obtain souls by defeating enemies, and
then use them to level-up, upgrade equipment, and purchase items. But after
every death, you lose all the souls you've collected up to that point. You can't
cry over lost souls, however, as this will happen often. The easy come, easy go
mentality steers the game away from grinding advantages. Trying to obtain
enough souls to level-up will not get you far. Skill, along with
trial-and-error, will trump over leveling almost anytime.
The total number of deaths you will
endure is the hardest deterrent to get over. Most deaths will be your own
fault, but that adds little consolation as you succumb to another obstacle. For
every new stage or encounter, you can expect to die at least thirty times. A
large amount of memorizing goes into areas. Dark Souls is much like a
platformer in this way, as an insane amount of effort will be exhausted in
order to get an inch further than the time you did before. But I promise, that
inch will be incredibly satisfying.
Frustration doesn't just come from
dying, either. Dark Souls is a large, open world that is vague and deserted and
tough to navigate. You can travel through areas you've scoured every corner of,
only to discover your route is a brutally ambiguous ledge you must drop down
from. The directionless toppled with the difficulty level can feel like being
hit when you're down. And though I wouldn't have minded these areas to have
lessened its obscured nature, if only a smidge, I also understand this as part
of the spirit of the game. It's not just blatant punishment, it's respect for
all those who dare to enter.
is a region in the Dark Souls called Sen's Fortress, and it is one of my
favorite portions of the game. The place is riddled with booby traps as well as
sneaky, corner-loving enemies, and the only way to get through it is by
repetition that will weaken most gamer's resolves. But when I made my way
through the passageways of the Fortress and up to the top towers, the
gratification I felt was one of the greatest gaming highs I've ever had.
I cannot emphasize enough the number of times
you will die in Dark Souls. You are going to die so much, you are going to
start questioning a lot of things. Why am I doing this? Am I having fun? Do I
just have a gluttony for pain? Who am I, as person? But if you can get through
all those questions, Dark Souls is sure to give you a rewarding experience
unlike any other.
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