A game with a tag line of “Prepare to die” does not joke in the fact that you WILL die, a lot, and most probably so will your controller… Namco Bandai’s newest entry in the RPG realm, a spiritual successor to 2009’s Demon’s Souls, is by no means forgiving.
Dark Souls is one of those games where you will be wondering a lot of the time, “Why the hell do I keep playing this!?” and the answer is usually very simple, it’s challenging as hell! If you, like me, hate to be provoked and are willing to do whatever it takes to get back at what provoked you, this game will do just that, provoke you constantly. It’s not by any means a bad game, it’s an absolutely stunning one, and I’ll get to why later on, but the feeling that every single creature in the world can destroy you, and it doesn’t matter what armor you’re wearing, what weapon you’re wielding, what level you are, you’ll still get screwed so bad, which is not very common in our generation’s games, I haven’t played Demon’s Souls, but I’ve read that Dark Souls is even harder, and the good news is, Xbox players can now destroy their controllers too! The game has been released both in the US and Europe for both consoles, except in Japan where it’s PlayStation exclusive.
The game looks nothing less than stunning, it’s actually one of the nicest looking games I’ve seen in a while, for starters, the shadows are really amazing, and that’s not something I can say to a lot of games, especially console games where the shadows just look pixelated that it shames the quality of the game. The scenery is beyond outstanding, you can literally just stand at the edge of a tower, and just stare at the sun (after making sure everyone around is dead, of course), and I can easily say the same thing for the soundtrack, it’s morbid, yet beautiful… It gives this glimpse of hope that makes you want to get back in the game and push through as hard as you possibly can.
There’s no denying the difficulty of the game, it’s unforgiving, and brutal, and every single monster out there is doing their absolute best to kill you, and they’re all damn good at it too! But there are certain things that can make this blood shedding experience a little less bloody; the online system of the game is very unique, when you’re connected to PSN or Xbox Live, the game world acts as a giant server, where people playing at the same areas can leave messages, and hints, every now and then you also see a phantom running by, or fighting in the same place where you are, this is simply to remind you that there are other players out there struggling to conquer this world, there are also bloodstains on the ground, where if you touch one, you can see how a player died in that particular area, and avoid receiving the same fate. Co-op play is possible throughout the game, though very difficult to play with friends, since there’s no direct invitation system, you can only put up a “sign” – if you will – , and anyone who touches it will spawn in your world, to fight by your side, if you want to invite a friend though, you have to hide it very well, and pray that no one else gets to it first. Voice chat has also been disabled in both PlayStation and Xbox, though messaging is still okay. You can also PVP other players in their own worlds, and if you kill them and any other players helping them, you get a portion of their souls.
Which brings me to how the “Souls” work, Dark Souls, unlike your average RPG, doesn’t have an experience system upon which you level, no, you level using souls you gather from the monsters you kill, once you have enough souls, you go to a bonfire to rest, refill your estus flasks, and level up manually. The drawback here, is that souls are also your in game currency, you use them to purchase anything from weapons, to armor, to spells. However, like Demon’s Souls, if you die, you lose all your souls + any Humanity you may have had, Humanity though is a new concept to the series, some monsters drop Humanity, with which you can either strengthen bonfires, or revert to being a human once more, when you are a human, your damage rises, and your defense rises, but you die a lot, so you probably won’t be human for a big portion of the game.
I’m still at somewhat the beginnings of the game, with 6 hours clocked in it, and I’m loving the game, let me know your experiences with Dark Souls, and whether you have destroyed any of your controllers yet.[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvvFnR0kJFw%5D