Dark Souls Reviewers Like It Long And Hard

In 2009, From Software introduced gamers to a whole new world of pain with the PlayStation 3 exclusive Demon's Souls, a game that challenged the growing player handholding trend in favour of gripping that hand firmly and slicing it off at the wrist.

It was a painful experience, but it was a good kind of pain. The sort of pain that lets you know you're alive. A game where accomplishments are real accomplishments. A game where you could hand the controller to your teenage nephew and laugh as he died again and again.

Now From Software returns to dole out more punishment with Dark Souls, this time letting Xbox 360 players take their licks as well. The developer promise an even more difficult experience this time around, and the assembled video game reviewers prove themselves masochists of the highest order.

Strategy Informer Let's get one thing straight: Dark Souls hates you. It hates who you are and what you stand for. It hates your friends, it hates your spouse, it hates your family, it hates your pets, it hates every single little thing about you right down to the fact that you even exist. It's not your fault - you didn't upset it, you didn't insult it's mother or it's religion... the only thing you really 'did' was want to play it, and for that it hates you so much it will do it's very best to kill you. Often.

Game Informer Some frustration in Dark Souls arises from how this generation's games have conditioned us. Gamers are used to handholding tutorials that walk you through every aspect of a game's mechanics. Dark Souls doesn't waste time explaining things. You encounter the first boss within 10 minutes of starting the game. He's huge. He wields a giant club that can take away half of your health bar or more in a single swing — and this isn't one of those battles you're supposed to lose. After a quick detour, you're fully expected to defeat this monster as one of your first acts in this deadly world.

Eurogamer So yes, Dark Souls is hostile and cruel -- but it's not heartless or soulless. Far from it. Designer Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team will test the limits of your patience and concentration, but the reward they offer in return is rare indeed: the gradual discovery and mastery of a world of vast scope and immaculate fine craftsmanship, a world saturated with secrets, magic and awe. If you have the stomach for it -- and can look past the game's initial, somewhat misleading disregard for you -- Dark Souls offers dozens upon dozens of hours of hair-raising adventuring. It's founded on superlative sword combat and an intricate world design that owes more to the hand-drawn maps of early Metroid and Zelda than the random dungeon crawls of Rogue and Diablo.

Edge Dark Souls starves you of information, thereby stoking your hunger to explore and untangle its opaque narrative and mechanics. Random notes about items and weapons flash up on the post-death loading screen, which you will parse with the fervency of a Talmud scholar. The game's unique online features, however — players can leave pre-programmed hints and warnings on the ground, which populate other players' worlds — undermine the dopamine rush of hard-fought epiphany. Many will relish the company of these ghosts. If Dark Souls has difficulty tiers, there are just two: Insane (online with hint graffiti) and Teeth Gnashingly Impenetrable (offline).

Gamespot As you can tell, Dark Souls is complex, sometimes extraordinarily so. Everything you do has consequences, but sometimes, those consequences are a mystery. And that's part of the joy. You never know what is around the bend or what fate might befall you if you don't take care as you make your way through this extraordinarily challenging game. At one point, I had bizarre froglike creatures breathe a cursing mist all over me, causing me to become cursed. Becoming cursed means losing half of your health bar, and lifting the curse involved sprinting through the murky New Londo ruins, avoiding ghosts while seeking the special healer who could lift the curse. After idling for too long in a demon's abode, a bulbous growth sprouted on my head, and I could no longer equip a helmet. Now I have a giant tumour growing on my neck instead of a head and no access to the defensive benefits of the black-hemmed hood I love so much!

The Telegraph It is a game that brazenly proves game design fashions are just that; transient, fleeting trends that, in attempting to lay down a set of rules only throw down a new challenge for how things might be done. No video game released this Christmas runs contrary to prevailing fashion as hard or fast as Dark Souls. And no video game is quite so exciting or exhilarating.

The game seems to be shining in its darkness, no?


Comments

    I can't wait to punish myself for hours on end. :)

    Paid reviews much..?

      no, not much. this isnt dragon age 2 remember?

      To me it sounds like these reviewers actually genuinely give a shit about this game, which is why the writing sounds so decided.

    FINALLY the American team come up with a title that's ACTUALLY amusing!

    More surprisingly, it's Mike!

    *slow clap*

    Another game to separate the wheat from the chaff.
    Diablo who?

    I wonder how this title sits with masochistic PC gamers.

      Very well. Demon's Souls was a breath of fresh air. It's nice to having to actually learn a game and understanding what you did wrong when you screw up many countless times.

      I expect no less from Dark Souls.

      I would also add that I'm a PC gamer that got past the grudge between PC and consoles. They have their merits and their disadvantages. The sooner one comes to term that shit just 'is', the sooner you can play games and enjoy them for what they are.

    When I play a game, I like to experience feelings of enjoyment.. fun.. I like to say "I am having fun, I am enjoying this"

    These games make me feel like .. "WHAT THE FFFF... WHERE AM I .. WHAT AM I DOING .. I JUST 2 HOURS OF MY LIFE"

    I have no idea why anyone plays this garbage, and I will even say if the game was more fun I probably wouldn't mind dying so much. But when you have no idea where you are, what you are doing, where you are going or what the hell the point is to any of this, being bowled over by an inescapable iron ball or by some other means of unfair death it really does not justify all of that pain.

    Dark souls = the emporers new clothes

    Everyone thinks its cool, you can't be the only one who 'doesn't get it' because you aren't good enough to play it.

    Stop this madness !!

      You don't have even the rudimentary intellect required to play this game I guess. A shame, because it is quite fun. =(

        Might want to start looking into moderating comments again Mark and Tracey, they're slowly but surely getting worse

      Demon's Souls wasn't garbage, neither is this. The closest comparison to a genre these games come close to is an old fashioned arcade game. You pop your money in, you play for a bit and then you die. Oh gee your money was well spent. So you go back, you try again but this time you try to learn why you cocked up in that spot so you can get further and you do... and then you die because you encountered something you weren't expecting. You pop more money in because you are determined to get further.

      By learning the game, the level layout, the enemy attack patterns, what works, what doesn't you progress through the game and you progress faster the more you adjust to how the game does things. Sometimes, just sometimes, you completely destroy a level without dying the first time you attempt it and you feel fucking incredible because know how the game works and what it can deal you. When you reach that point you 'get' these games and they become fun.

      You need to be more patient. Try to soak in the world more, pay attention to the details, and trust that by the time you are finished, the game will let you know whats going on. Besides, its terrible storytelling to know everything from the start, i shudder every time i see "exposition character #1" spouting a wall of text at the start of some shitty rpg's.

    Playing the first one of these games was like driving iron rail spikes into my eyeballs and then having a gnome run up and twist them repeatedly just for kicks. Amazingly, in spite of this, it was one of the most awesome experiences I've had whilst gaming. I can't wait to get my hands on this one

    Sometimes, difficulty works in a game's favor (System Shock 2, most survival horror games, etc.) by increasing tension.

    Sometimes, information denial and deliberately sparse narratives work in a game's favor (Silent Hill, Half-Life 1) by creating a mysterious X-Files-y atmosphere.

    On the other hand, both excessive difficulty and opaque narratives can make a game extremely frustrating and annoying.

    The issue is one of balance.

    I think its fair to say that for some people, Dark Souls is excessive in its challenge and excessively sparse in its narrative. However, for other people, they might find these traits satisfying.

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