We Just Can’t Stop Talking About Dark Souls

We Just Can’t Stop Talking About Dark Souls

It’s like a disease. A digital disease. It comes in waves, like a common cold. All it takes is a tweet, a short article. A YouTube video. One single sentence fragment. “It’s going around”, people whisper. “Yeah, my son’s got it”. It’s only a matter of time before you’re coughing. You can feel it in your glands.

I’m talking, of course, about Dark Souls.

Right now — right this very second in this very day –everyone on my Twitter feed is talking about Dark Souls. Brand new consoles, a 2013 stacked with some of the greatest games ever created — The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin’s Creed IV, Super Mario 3D World, the best Zelda game released in a decade — but everyone and their Grandmother seems to be discussing a video game released almost two and a half years ago.

How is this even possible? Why is this happening? This is the power of Dark Souls.

It’s an epidemic, and as with most epidemics there are extraneous, environmental factors. Dark Souls II is coming. People are excited. In their excitement many are returning to the game they fell in love with. Maybe they got stuck and want one last gasp go. Maybe they’re keen for an attempt at New Game+. Perhaps they just want to get familiar with that feeling, that atmosphere, the attitude one develops when playing a game like Dark Souls.

Yes. All of those things. But something more. Something subtle. The above folks are simply patients zero. What happens next is far more intriguing. The second someone tweets, writes or even mentions Dark Souls in passing something strange happens.

Another human being becomes instantly compelled to start playing Dark Souls.

I’ve experienced this personally. Giant Bomb’s News Editor Patrick Klepek recently began streaming his own play through of Dark Souls. Not once did I watch him play. I didn’t need to. Just the word ‘Dark Souls’ peppered in my feed — that was enough. Enough to plant the seed. Then, a steam sale. My brother in-law: “Should I buy Dark Souls?”

Yes, you should.

A flu typically starts in the back of the throat. You can feel it take hold. At that point you realise: you are mere days away from debilitation. From aching limbs and snotters, from blowing your bugle on an endless stream of tissue paper. You are days away from pain, that is understood. So it is with Dark Souls.

The following Friday I stumbled through Sydney’s CBD, from EB to JB Hi-Fi, like a single minded hollowed out cluster of flesh and eyeballs. I had decided that I needed to play Dark Souls. Needed. Earlier that afternoon I remembered I had lent my PlayStation 3 (along with my copy of Dark Souls) to a friend and I howled at the moon. I rushed out of the office in search of a copy of the game. I have a million games at home. Great games, unplayed games. But at that point I literally needed to play Dark Souls and there would be no substitute. What a strange feeling.

Eventually I managed to procure a copy and, of course, I tweeted through my entire Dark Souls experience that weekend. I bitched and moaned, I shared tales of my glorious victories and sought brothers in arms to console me through bitter, bitter defeats. Before long I began to receive messages. “Serrels, you bastard,” they would say. “I’ve started playing Dark Souls”. Instagrams of brand new copies of Dark Souls: “what have you gotten me into!”

Dark Souls is the virus. I am merely the carrier.

Before long there was an entire team of people behind me and with me. If I had a question, someone was able to answer. If I was stuck on a boss, a friend was available to provide advice. People were helping me, people were playing alongside me. The feeling of community was palpable. “We’re all in this shit,” a collective voice seemed to say, “but we are all in this shit together.” Again: this is the power of Dark Souls.

This is my second playthrough of Dark Souls and I recognised something in this little band of brothers: a common bond. Each and every time a friend or a twitter follower started playing Dark Souls, I actively followed their progress. I lived vicariously through each victory and defeat. I communicated, I offered advice. I don’t do this with Grand Theft Auto or Assassin’s Creed or any other video game for that matter. Why do we feel that need with Dark Souls?

Is it because the game is difficult? I think that’s part of it. But Dark Souls is a game that facilitates co-operation. Marks left on the floor bear scribbled messages from other players — warnings, advice – it’s an ethos that runs through the entirety of the experience. ‘I am a punishing, difficult video game,’ it seems to say. ‘You are going to need advice, and that’s okay’.

‘That’s okay.’

That might be the key.

I, like many others, have spent my life resisting advice, resisting spoilers. “Don’t tell me!” “I can do it myself.” Dark Souls is a game that humbles you to the point where abandoning that train of thought is an absolute necessity. You must embrace help, embrace advice. Dark Souls is designed like that and it does something very unique: it encourages people to actually talk about the game without fear.

In that sense Dark Souls is an extremely liberating experience. There is no shame in admitting defeat. That defeat is a necessary part of your slow progress through the game. You will talk, you will share, and you will feel zero guilt. Your experience will not be hampered, it will become enhanced through this sharing. Dark Souls players understand that, so they talk. They rush in droves to tell where the Drake Sword is and how to attain it, why you should choose the Pyromancer class, why you need to start with the Master Key. People who have played Dark Souls remember how lost they felt, they remember the torch in the darkness. They want to become that torch.

And through this communication each and every element of Dark Souls becomes like an urban tale or a strange modern myth. The game is so dense with secrets and details, and flexible enough to offer a different experience for different players. There are so many reasons to talk about Dark Souls so we talk. We chatter constantly, share stories around lit bonfires, and its legend grows.

And in that chatter others become intrigued. They’ve either heard of the game or they want to experience it a second or third time. They feel that dull pain throbbing in the back of their throat and it is already way, way too late. They trudge home, hollowed out lumps of flesh and eyeballs. Another blood stain in another player’s video game. A silent transparent ghost. Another message scribbled on the floor.

Good luck.

I can’t take this…

Praise the sun.


  • A humble request, wasn’t sure if I was to ping you or Junglist.

    Can we please give Demon’s Souls some love? I’m hoping there’s still some people who’ll play that, need to inv-ah I mean share some spoils from all the monsters I’m killing.

    Of course it’s only on PS3 but it’s on PSN and gets a sale from time to time.


      • I’ve been playing it as my 360 wireless controller is at my GFs house and won’t be there till tomorrow night

    • Yeah im in. Demons Souls is not better or worse just different enough you can love it as much.

    • I’m playing through Demon’s Souls at the moment. I actually like it more than DaS, I’m glad they’re incorporating some of the design choices of DeS into DaSII.

    • Feel free to invade any time 😉
      Large Brushwood Shield, and enough equip burden to still quick roll
      Sharp Uchigatana
      Quality Great Sword, and enough Str to wield it one hand
      There’s definitely some of us out there still playing!

    • Brad Shoemaker over on GiantBomb is streaming a playthrough of Demon’s Souls also. Good entertainment!

    • Demons’ didn’t quite grab me in the same way that Dark has. It may well be a combination of it being my first experience and my not really getting it and having to play with that godawful mess that sony called a controller. I should go back to it now I have a decent controller and see if I can get back into it again.

    • Demon souls felt like the exact opposite, i felt alone from the very beginning, and knew it would feel like this for the entire game. It felt “special” as a game, to be playing something that noone else was playing back when it first came out.
      *punishment ON*

    • Have been playing Dark Souls for about a year although just this week I scored the Black Phantom Edition of Demons Souls (Artbook CD Strategy Guide) at an EB games for 18 bucks! The last owner clearly appreciated this as I presume this was trade in for ps4. I can not wait til I have some down time to sink into this!

  • OK FINE! I’ll start it up again!

    Just beat Capra demon and that horrifying inside-out dragon thing. I’ve got this game licked.

    • Haha! Oh… I wish I can be there the moment you realise you have to run across lava to progress through the game.

    • Ugh, I’ve been incrementally trying to beat the Capra Demon for like three months now. I just cant do it for some reason. Its almost enough to turn me off the game. Almost. I will finish this game.

  • Demons Souls made me curl up into the fetal position crying, so i haven’t tried Dark Souls..

    • Oh my Sen’s Fortress is going to do awful, nasty things to you… Not to mention Blight Town…

  • I purchased it yesterday, and I am going to play it today. Goddammit, @markserrels. Goddammit, @shane.

  • Dark Souls has one of the best communities I have ever seen in a game. Even when someone invades your world to kill you, it doesn’t feel like he’s doing it to troll you or to piss you off. Everybody that spawns in bow to you and cheer right before a fog gate. If you’re doing something the other players will patiently wait for you to finish and will always protect you to the death. Complete constrast to something like Diablo 3 or Borderlands. Where everybody skips all dialogue and runs forward to get more kills than you.

    Kinda makes me miss what the Halo community used to be. Before everybody started limiting their gametime to spawncamping , teabagging and complaining.

    • Actually I got invaded last time I started it up. Dude made me bow before he proceeded to wipe the floor with me. Felt like I was in feudal Japan and kind of like I was being schooled on how I should act when dealing with the Dark Souls community.

      I think it was the revelation that I was totally in over my head that made me put it down last time – and now @markserrels and all of the crazy people on Kotaku are forcing me to go and grab it off the shelf again.

    • I have to say that there are plenty of douchebags in Dark Souls (maybe not so much now, but around release).

      The worst one was when a guy invaded, clearly cheating. Even though me and my ally got him with several backstabs, his health never dropped (I was willing to forgive some of the swings as lag misses). Then after we died (naturally), he sent us both messages telling us how much we sucked.

    • Yeah it is surprising how gentlemanly the pvp can be.
      I was messing around doing it as a level 1 and this one guy, after taking off 3/4 of my hp in one hit with his fire sword proceeded to facepalm, switch to some rubbish weapon and fight be with that instead every time I met him.

  • I tried to play Dark Souls on a few occasions. I did not enjoy it at all. I found the combat clunky and that it just was not enjoyable at all.. you all know I enjoy punishing myself but I can’t get into this game. What have I missed. Why do I not enjoy it.. I don’t know the answer. I do not see what you all see.

    Can someone give me a reason to try again. But give me some tips for enjoying it…

    Totally not hating or anything, just sharing my experience with this game.

    • I was a bit like you. I played it for a couple of days, hated it (not out of frustration, out of boredom) and stopped playing. I went back to it around 2 months later and started really enjoying myself. Don’t try and force yourself to like it. If it clicks, it clicks. If it doesn’t, then oh well.

      • good point. I think I was expecting to ‘get it’ sooner than I did. Hard to go into this with no expectations when there are articles like this.

        • I hated this game with a passion until my 4th attempt this christmas. What helped for me was I watched a youtube video about getting powered up early in the game.

          I cant stress enough the difference having an upgraded weapon makes. When you are learning the game you can get the drake sword in the first 20 minutes of the game which will give you a big advantage however most players consider it a noob thing to do (But hey doing something to make starting out easier is better than missing out on the game)

          Correct gear is a massive part of making the game fun. If you dont want to use the drake sword simply upgrading any weapon is a huge improvement. Taking 10 hits to kill regular dudes is not fun.

          • I hated this game with a passion until my 4th attempt
            That really does sum up the weirdly magic feel of this game. What other game do you play, hate, play, hate, play, hate, play and then suddenly love? Most of us stop at hating other stuff once or maybe twice…

    • Go slow, keep your shield up and focus on counter-attacking instead of swinging wildly.

      The combat feels a lot less clunky when you’re acting deliberately.

    • You sound like you had a similar experience to me. I think I’m going to end up giving it a go again soon because I want to like it, but no idea whether it’ll happen or not.

    • You can almost think of it like Trials. It’s a game of attention and precision, it doesn’t feel like it in the initial stages because, much like Trials, you can basically hold the throttle down and breeze through the easy obstacles/enemies (once you have the controls worked out). It’s only once you get to something moderately complex where you need to do things properly or you fail.

      There’s no denying that the controls feel a bit strange and it was one of the things that took me the most time to get used to and it does take time for those to click. Probably the best advice I can give is once you get to the bonfire at the Undead Parish which you should be able to get to even with the most basic of skills, you’re at the ideal training ground to get fully comfortable with the controls, learning the ins and outs of blocking, parrying and counterattacking. You’re within range of 5-6 groups of moderately varied enemies that you can practice on, you can build your character up and rest up to respawn the enemies and try again.

    • Dark Souls is a slow and deliberate game. It feels clunky the first time you pick up the controller, but once you get a feel for it, the timing, the weight of everything, then it doesn’t feel odd anymore, it just feels right.

      It’s a game that rewards perserverence. Not in the sense that you need to grind to level up and get the cool armor and beat the boss, but in the real tangible sense that you yourself actually start to get better at playing the more you push forward till you eventually master the game. Defence, timing, paying attention to your surroundings. all of these become your number one priorities, and you know damn well that most times you die, it was your own fault because you stopped paying attention to everything for that moment.

      Of course you can’t force yourself to like it….but I’d say give it another shot. Push through, because I’ve had other friends play it and walk away with the exact same experience you had, only to try again later, persevere, and then fall in love.

      (extra low blow comment: it’s basically like Trials, but with swords and dragons instead of bikes. It’s core is repetition in order to master a skill, but once you master it then it becomes more satisfying than any other experience a game can offer.)

    • Id say mostly because you don’t find the combat enjoyable is why you aren’t playing it. You need to enjoy that part enough to keep you in till you start getting stuck into all the other systems in the game. I agree when i first started playing the game I thought the combat was just slow and clunky, but this is because we have grown accustomed to the combat of action games eg. Darksiders, Ninja Gaiden, God of War, etc. One thing we are very used to is called ‘block-cancel’, which basically means no matter what your doing you can quickly press the block button to stop your action and take a defensive stance in combat. In Dark Souls however, combat is much more realistic, once you start an attack animation, you are committed to it before you can start something else, such as a block or dodge. Other factors also make combat super realistic; the height of your character has the tiniest effect on your swing radius, using a side slashing attack in a tight hallway will usually cause your weapon to hit a wall and bounce oft, not hitting the enemy.

      My suggestion is to first come to the understanding that the combat isn’t actually slow and clunky, we have all just become so used to unrealistic over stylised combat in games. Look at it with an eye for realism and you will soon realise the combat system is actually extraordinary. Now you should also just grind some areas over and over again, such as the skeletons at the start near firelink shrine (you respawn enemies by resting at the bonfire if you didnt know). This will help you get used to combat so you feel a bit more confident once you start going further into the game. Its really important to be slow and tactical with combat, most importantly don’t get outnumbered; this is your worst enemy. Dont rush into fights, try to carefully lure enemies one at a time, or funnel them into a hallway or something to limit their simultaneous numbers. Also learn a couple of the basic extra attacks (pressing forward and quick attack will do a lunging attack with swords, great for those tight hallways. Forward plus heavy attack you should use sparingly as it can leave you open, but is a powerful jumping attack which can be great for a first attack when you first approach an enemy). All weapons play slightly differently too.

      So basically familiarise yourself with the combat and weapons a little before proceeding too much, then you should the game more fun. Then you can start getting into the other cool aspects of the game, all the secrets to find, the story of the world (which is not told directly like most games, more so through reading descriptions of items and such), and just the pleasure of developing your own unique character.

    • Upgrade your weapons. Don’t upgrade resistances. Dex builds always rock. Pure STR is a waste. You can finish the game quite easily with starting gear upgraded.

    • Super important thing if you get past the first bell: find your way back to the asylum and get the Rusted Iron Ring.
      It is not clear that you can even go back there or that this ring exists but if you don’t have it you are going to have a real hard time later in the game.

  • Skyrim talk has been taken over by Dark Souls it seems. I need to replay Dark Souls. I got I don’t know how far into it, to a Cathedral where you drop down the elevator shaft thing back to the first campfire you first go after the opening levels. Probably not that far into the game at all 😀

    First things first, I must finish Batman Origins before I consider starting another game

    • Skyrim talk lasted a few months. Dark Souls talk seems to just never die, there’s always someone just starting up and a host of people who are happy to give help to the newbie (and feel like starting again too).

      As for how far you are:
      That cathedral is the home of the first mandatory boss fight. Maybe a tenth of the way through the game? It’s hard to judge because there’s a lot of stuff that you can completely miss or spend much longer on than other players.

      • well there’s still a fair bit of Skyrim talk compared to more recent games, but yeah, Dark Souls talk seems to just never die. Was that a pun intended? 😛

        I should spoiler tag my post shouldn’t I

  • I went from feeling like a terrible waste of space for my inability to play the game remotely well last night to finally beating the Taurus Demon on about my eighth attempt of the night and probably 20th overall. And on the successful run I didn’t even take any damage. That’s a pretty cool feeling.

    And now I think it’s got its hooks into me and it’s all your fault, @markserrels. >:(

    I do wish the game was a bit less obtuse in some respects though. It could really do with explaining some of its mechanics a bit better. I shouldn’t need to look up a FAQ to figure out why I care about Poise.

    • Told you you’d get it! There’s a minor spoiler that doesn’t really matter but I’ll tag it anyway: Slightly weaker versions of the Taurus Daemons eventually become standard enemies in some locations, in a group of about 10 or so. You still have to take care and kill them one by one but it’s one of those little things where you think “I remember when you made me shit myself and now I’m killing you in a few hits, I’m AWESOME!” which is a great feeling.

      I definitely agree on the need for more information in game. My view of Japanese games is pretty small but from what I’ve seen they have a tendency to build menus deep rather than wide and not include much in the way of supplementary or explanatory information, it doesn’t really lend itself well to finding information quickly.

      • It’s not a Japanese thing, it’s a poor UI design thing. Lots of games have the same issue, but in Dark Souls knowing that stuff is really important since it informs a lot of important decisions.

        • Well the reason I suggested it as a Japanese thing is that the only other games I’ve see that has such shit UI design are Japanese, notably Gran Turismo 5 which has some of the worst menus I’ve ever seen in a game. I was thinking maybe it was something to do with how they do written language in a substantially different way to us and it made more sense culturally

          • Nope, it’s just that development in Japan tends to have a Not Invented Here culture where they don’t like to look at the way other companies have done it better.

            There’s tons of examples of bad game UI in games not developed in Japan. Ever played The Witcher 2? Amazing game but the menus are horrible.

          • Nah not played the witcher 2, couldn’t stand the first one. I’ve seen plenty of examples of bad UI all over the place, it was just the deep not wide design that I’ve seen that felt more specifically Japanese, then again I could count the number of Japanese games I’ve played to any great extent (that didn’t involve packing men, konging donkeys or bubbling bobbles) on one hand so it’s probably just a weird coincidence.

        • It may be part of Japanese style game design but part of it is intentionally specific to Dark Souls. Look at the terse dialogue and item ability descriptions. It’s not so much that attribute information is hidden as much as its not there. You have to figure out what the symbols mean.

          On balance I think the pendulum is tilted too far. The game already throws enough dangerous and unpredictable scenarios at you for the attributes, skills and item abilities to need to be so cryptic. The trial & error nature of the game is challenging enough without needing to overdo it.

          In some cases it does work. I really enjoyed the minimalistic story that forces you to take an active interest to understand it rather that forcing it down your throat. I think in some elements (say covenants, or other non-essential capacities), keeping the underlying mechanics hidden adds an allure and intrigue to the game.

          On the other hand, not explaining the weapons/armour upgrade mechanics enough potentially makes the game unplayable if you don’t clue into it. I’m glad that they’ve said they’re making the sequel more accessible. A light prod in that direction would do a lot of good in preventing a lot of people giving up in frustration early on.

  • @fatshady

    Maybe you’re trying to play the game a little too fast – it’s not a hack & slash. It’s an action RPG. You’re supposed to use auto-lock, I gather you aren’t doing so if you think the combat is clunky.

    If anything it’s the opposite of clunky.

  • I posited yesterday that part of the reason the game seems to be undergoing a renaissance is because it’s a game that seems to be shaping game design for the next generation of games.
    It comes up in dev interviews about their new games inspirations.
    Part of it could be that there is a feeling that this is an important game that needs to be at least tried before moving on to the next generation of hardware… before putting away our 360s and PS3s.
    Part of it could be that the evangelists have hit a critical mass.
    Part of it could be that there is a pretty severe drought going on, and that this is a game that is a part of what is shaping up to be a pretty popular series.

    I bought it (I’m one of the quoted tweets), and I’ll play it until the frustration is too severe for me to continue… but I wouldn’t say that I’m looking forward to playing it.

    • I agree, the phrase “It’s like Dark Souls” is heard a lot, across many aspects, from narrative, to multiplayer, to how the two complement each other. It’s had an enormous impact on game makers, and therefor other games.

  • I stopped playing the first time around when the Capra Demon crushed my will to live… I believe it’s time for a revival! #Damnserrels

    • You can sort of hide from the capra if you’re fast and can deal with his puppy pals. There’s a space on the left where you can run up some broken stairs where he can’t follow most of the time and stand on the archway above for a quick swig from your estus flask and if you’re really lucky a plunge attack.

  • I mention Dark Souls on Twitter at least 14 times a day, and yet I didn’t make it into your Dark Souls article.

    I am dissappoint Mark. *goes home to cry and play Dark Souls*

  • I’m doing a countdown to Dark Souls 2 in TAY. Almost every day, there’s some tidbit of news, or some Dark-Souls-related purchase that I’ve made to report on.

    47 days to go. HGjhdfjkshfdsjknfjksa

    I don’t feel like I ever really stopped talking about Dark Souls, just that people stopped responding 😛

  • Man I wish my dark souls worked.
    I got mine via steam sales but I am unable to play since the autosave feature does not work due to Microsoft live or some shit. Thanks obama

      • I tried probably about 3 weeks ago, also tried all the ‘fixes’ ‘solutions’ and ‘guides’ available but to no avail.

        I have given up for now

        Though does this justify why I should now download(pirate) a fixed version now?

        I’m not the only one there are countless comments in regards to this issue via the steam reviews section

        • The pirate version is great, you cant be invaded by jackasses in fully upgraded gear so you can stay human all the time. It also opens up quicker because you don’t need to sign in.

          Also, about a month ago my GFWL stopped recognising my saves so I had to start over and lost about 100 hours across a few characters. Its just beyond words how shite GFWL is.

          They said they were “Exploring Options” about removing GFWL officially so thats where my hope lay.

          • The thing that really shits me about GFWL is that it had the potential to be really useful as a social hub and unified networking architecture, its just that Microsoft didn’t seem to give a fuck about it once it was released and it stagnated.

            Achievement Unlocked: Wasted Potential

    • Yea that should have auto fixed itself when they transferred the autosaves to valve servers. Might need to check game file integrity/reinstall the game if you have it installed. Else just download it now and see if it works.

  • Yea…. no thanks. When it takes me over six hours to beat a boss (Sif), and only doing so because I’d got lucky, I start thinking it’s not respecting my time. I’d imagine it would be extremely enjoyable in co-op (not sure if the summon mechanic would facilitate for this), but alone?

    I got to the doors to Ernstein & Smough, and put the game back on the shelf. When I’m losing entire weekends to FTB and evenings to Rocksmith, I simply don’t have time to learn everything I’d require to be able to enjoy this game.

    • If you’re playing on PC there is a mod to prioritise friends when summoning so you can apparently do coop in a pretty reliable manner

      • Interesting… I was on Xbox with a silver membership, so I never used the summon mechanic beyond the NPC summons. Moved to PC last year, and every time I see it on sale I consider getting it, just to see if it is better with that online component. Still don’t have the time to try, or any Steam friends to use such a mod, so until then I’ll abstain.

        • I played it coop with a friend recently with that mod installed, most of the time as soon as he dropped his summon sign it would appear in my world about 20 seconds later so it works very well.

          • Yea… it’s also the “I normally play single-player games so I have precisely one friend on Steam, and he’s literally on the other side of the world” thing. Everyone else I know is either console only or “Starcraft and Dota” only. :S But, good to hear it works well from someone who’s used it.

    • Sif is a gear check and not a skill check, Put on some heavy armour and just let him hit you in the face with your shield up, then punch him in his gut.

      • Hmm… Iirc, I was using the Elite Knight armour set. Not sure I had the strength to use anything heavier (tho, this was over a year ago, so I could be misremembering). My main issue was I never seemed to have a time I could heal reliably. Not sure if I was completely misreading his moves, but every time I’d try to heal he’d jump across the arena and land on top of me. Tried a closer “dodge and heal while he recovers” tactic, and he recovered too quickly every time.

        • To be honest its mostly shield, shields have a stat called Stability which determines how heavy a hit you can block outright and how much stamina it will take off you. I used a silver knight shield upgraded to +5 and I was able to just block Sifs attacks and once he has swung at you run between his legs and hit him. Silver/Black knight shields are very easy to upgrade due to them requiring twinkling titanite which you can get from the sparkling lizards around the world.

          • Hmm…I think I was using a tower shield, but it wouldn’t have been upgraded at all. Blocking just took so much stamina, though… Dammit, where were you and your advice in 2012? 😛

          • Medium shields are my favourite because they are light and you can upgrade them to have nice stability, a +5 silver knight shield is 76 stability vs 72 stability on an Un-upgraded Tower Shield. You could also upgrade your tower shield but its quite tedious collecting all the ore for that. Also medium shields give you the ability to parry, you cannot parry with a tower shield.

            Also in 2012 I was raging about how crap Dark Souls was :p

          • Ahh, parrying… otherwise known as “that cool move I managed to pull off once and was forever-after brutally punished for trying to do it again.” 😛

            Anyway, might give it a bash next time it goes on sale. You’ve given me hope, damn you.

        • Gear shouldn’t matter IMO, other than having a weapon that can do meaningful damage, though the better the stability on your shield, the less stam will be drained on blocks. Try rolling forward. It’s counter-intuitive, but if you time it right you end up right under him and can get in a few hits before he jumps away.

          Also, pay attention to which side his sword is on before he attacks. One of them is designed to bait you into a roll.

      • That’s not really true. Sif is easily beatable with low level gear. Just roll through his legs, swing at his hind legs, rinse, repeat. Too easy.

        • Hes easily beatable with low level gear if you are already seasoned at dark souls. If someone is having trouble reading his attacks standing there with a shield up will be more reliable than taking your armour off for a fast roll and rolling under his legs at the right moment.

          Its the same way I wouldn’t just say, Oh yeah just go and fight Havel right off the bat, he’s a piece of cake just parry all his attacks like I do. :p

          • I killed Havel straight away on my first playthrough, i just circlestrafed him and backstabbed him to death (no guide, just saw he was a big slow fella with a big mace) 🙂 . I also killed Sif that way the first time, just with midroll. I died a few times till I got used to his swing patterns though.

          • The first time I saw him he hit me in the back and insta killed me and I ended up poking him with a spear through a doorway he refused to walk through lol.

            These days though…

  • I like all the stories we get out of people playing Dark Souls. Everyone plays differently in some way but we’re all united by a difficult if occasionally traumatic experience, and it’s fun reading about or talking to friends who are going through those moments.

    Ornstein & Smough. You jerks.

    • For my first playthough I didn’t use any summons at all (stupidly) so I fought Ornstein and Smough on my own. I was sick so I was at home from work for 3 days. It took me 2 and a half solid days to beat them. Seriously. Dark Souls.

      • I also didn’t use any summons because I was scared of being invaded. But in a way that just made the eventual triumph over those two feel like that much more of an accomplishment. One of my proudest gaming moments!

      • The boss fights are similar to that of Zelda; they follow a set of moves/attacks that are easy to learn if you pay attention. A boss rears up and attacks with a punch and kills you. You know next time it rears up to dodge. You try again, you dodge away from it, still kills you. Next time you dodge towards it, SUCCESS! You get a few swipes in, then it’s on to learning the next lesson.

        This applies to all bosses. Except Orstein and Smough. Those two are massive dicks.

    • Now that you mention it that way, it kind of reminds me of Day Z, how the gameplay creates a emergent player driven narrative

  • I won’t lie, I get a little bonfire of joy lit inside my cold black heart every-time i hear that someone has started playing Dark Souls for the first time.

  • I’d love to do an ignorant reply about how I dont play it and find myself hilarious for doing so, but following the ‘herpa derp tennis’ comments that inevitably end up in any social network conversations recently I’m completely turned off from ever being that guy.

    So, you know, good on you guys for liking the game I have no idea about.

    • Watch some youtube videos of it at least so you can pretend you’re a sad weirdo suffering Stockholm syndrome like the rest of us

    • I honestly didn’t really like it at all, but held off replying cause I didn’t want to be that guy who killed everyone’s fun. I guess I just did then. XD

      • DAMNIT DC. What a waste of money that purchase was. 😛
        At least someone got a copy of Nino No Kuni out of it 😛

  • Dark souls is like an abusive relationship,
    you cry yourself to sleep every night, because of it
    but in the morning you can’t stop thinking about how much you think you love it
    and you always find yourself running back to get some more pain

  • Got goto the spider boss. Killed het and then just stopped playing. God she was difficult. This was like 4 months ago. I should het back into it. The gates are open time to advance. I can imagine it doesn’t get easier, only harder.

    • She was the one that stopped me playing for ages. Tried for hours, couldn’t do it.
      Then after about 4 months, was sitting at PC with nothing to play, I rebooted it, changed my shield, and walked over her.
      Now I’m a bit further… but I’ve lent my brother my controller… WORST DECISION EVER!!

  • Does anyone know where to pickup the pc prepare to die edition with the art book / soundtrack etc for a decent price? can’t find it anywhere, and seems that most boxed copies of the game now don’t have these extras 🙁

  • Look I got Dark Souls on the Steam holiday sale and I simply can’t play it. The controls for the PC port have been absolutely woeful for keyboard.

    • If you read the product page on steam, it does say in a box directly beneath the pictures that a game controller is virtually necessary. Buy yourself a wired Xbox 360 controller 😉 you won’t regret. Plus then you can use it for all the other games that are better on controller (ie. most third person action combat games, like darksiders, as well as platformers like super meat boy and such feel better on controller. Not FPS though, I just cant do them on a controller).

    • Yeah the controller is strongly recommended on the steam store page for a really good reason, the port was not what one might call the best job in the world and the game really needs the controller.

        • Or an extension of the brutal unforgiving design philosophy of the game extending into the difficulty of the controls of the port

          Or just a lazy crap job I guess… Lucky there’s mods to fix most of it.

  • When’s the next steam sale? I can’t bring myself to pay full price for a game I’m pretty sure I’m going to hate, but know I must play, just to be sure.

    • Do yourself a favour and make sure you have a controller of some sort before you buy it, there is a mod that lets you replace all the icons with the PS3 controller if thats all you have instead of a 360 controller.

      The targeting is really messed up using the mouse.

  • Damn you Serrels, Damn you endless hype train.

    I’ll play your game, maybe I’ll make it paste the first bonfire in Lordran this time. I might’ve accidentally hit that npc right next to the fire and ended up running around screaming for dear life last time as that terminator-esque knight ran after me before murdering me and teleporting back to the fire for round 20

    • The amount of times I have done this……. play through the game *again* just to give my avatar a new ‘personality’. Usually it will revolve around a single weapon….

      “Oh that dark sword looks cool. I think I’ll make a chaos variant, dress in dark ‘evil’ armour, learn bullshit miracles (WotG) and just constantly darkwraith invade the area in front of the four kings, to grief those who are trying to become darkwraiths and want help from people/that witch”

  • I’ve been gaming for 25 years. Dark Souls is possibly the greatest game I’ve ever played. It’s a legitimate masterpiece, an intricate spiderweb of mechanics and atmosphere. I’ve sunk upwards of 200 hours into it. Can’t say that about any other game (maybe Civ II… ). The way it makes you infer the inner lives of NPCs, the way it punishes you and eventually teaches you to respect the dangers posed by the environments and creatures. The way that you can still marvel at the design on your 4th, 5th play through. Honestly, I can’t think of any other game I’ve ever played that can engage you on such a high degree, on both a problem solving level and an emotional one.

    Just bought Demon’s Souls, literally 15 minutes before I saw this article. DSII around the corner. It’s gonna be a good year.

  • I have indeed noticed increased Dark Souls discussion traffic. Can’t decide if more or less painful than the Pokemon X/Y discussion traffic. 🙂

  • Just picked it up…and might start playing tonight but I’m afraid…I’m a married man with a house and a car and a cat, I have a lot to lose!

  • For anyone remotely interested, I wrote a Journal of Death about my first full playthrough of the game last year. Documented every death and my progress through the game. Can be found here


    Just search for the Journal of Death tag. There’s 19 of them in total. Or just ignore this entirely 🙂

  • Alright, maybe it’s time to give this another go. I didn’t really give it a fair chance the last time.

    Is it playable at all without a controller? I seem to remember there being something very wrong with the movement the last time I played, although that was without any of the updates.

  • Hmm maybe I should finish this thing I started, or try too.
    The disease claims another victim.

  • Welp, I played for an hour tonight and died 50+ times … mostly because I’m an idiot and missed getting my weapon so I was running around with a sword hilt. It took me 7 or 8 successful parries or about 15 backstabs to kill the first enemies in the game, which I am terrible at doing. After I got my axe I only died another 5 times before getting to lordran and being decimated by skeletons.

  • “It is not clear that you can even go back there or that this ring exists but if you don’t have it you are going to have a real hard time later in the game.” This quote basically explains the whole impression I get from the game, and is why I do not enjoy playing the Dark Souls series.
    Simply not even hinting at obscure items that would make your entire play-though ten times easier isn’t innovative or revolutionary, it’s just lazy.

    And yeah, I got about half way through Dark Souls and a few hours into Demon Souls. But suddenly realized I wasn’t actually having ‘fun’ playing.

  • 3 of the annoying places to get through imo.
    1. Tomb of the Giants: Can’t see anything without a lantern or the sunlight maggot. Plus you also have those skeleton beasts and giants.
    2. New Londo: The Ghost’s can be a real nuisance in certain parts of the area and…Fighting the Four Kings, especially on New Game +.
    3. Blighttown: Choppy in some areas, and Poisonous darts that come out of nowhere.

  • While I had the game already, I actulaly haven’t had any inclination to play it. Now I’m downloading it again and getting ready to play it. Damn you.

  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

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