People love Dark Souls. It challenges you, pushes you, hurts you and kicks you when you’re down. Yet most importantly it entertains and enthralls us. We love it and we always come back for more. Community member John Gilbert tells us why…
Controllers thrown, walls punched and more cursing than a rap album. Welcome to Dark Souls.
Published in late 2011 by Namco Bandai Games, Dark Souls delivers an infuriating yet, satisfying experience. The game starts with an entertaining small introduction that does little to explain what is to come. From start to finish you are given no map and no guidelines – nothing but a sword ashield and your own curiosity to explore the twisted yet breathtaking world of Lordran.
When I first started playing I was quite disappointed in the lack of exploration that was available. How wrong was I? After a few hours I was able to travel anywhere I liked and do anything I pleased, which, unfortunately, resulted in the murder of some innocent NPCs. The denizens in Dark Souls are scarce, ranging from Blacksmith’s to Merchants to delirious sorcerers with sombreros. This lack of population adds a great deal of melancholy to the Dark Souls atmosphere; I often found myself heading back to a nearby merchant or blacksmith to overcome the feeling of loneliness.
Dark Souls is one of few games that have induced the feelings of solitude, fear and despair whilst playing. The dark environments, the lack of dialogue between characters and the pre-emptive strikes performed by numerous enemies all contribute to the atmosphere. Even the appearance of your skeletal character adds that sense of hopelessness to the game. At some points you believe that you truly are all alone in a world that punishes you for the simplest of mistakes. A wrong press of a button can cause not only your death but the loss of all your hard earned souls.
I remember plundering through the dreaded Blighttown and being killed over twenty times by a single enemy, a simple archer. Each death accounted for fifteen minutes of time wasted, but that is one of the beauties of Dark Souls. Death is never unfair. There is always some way to overcome a situation, whether it be running for your life, resorting or a friend coming to your rescue.
Dark Souls multiplayer is so unique that I can’t see it working for many other games. Although it is limited to only three different aspects, the multiplayer is a necessity, not only to get you through those hectic boss battles but those other online gamers help you keep your sanity. As I said, the multiplayer is limited to three aspects – leaving messages on the ground to help out a fellow knight, being summoned or summoning another player to help you through the game and the invasion of another player into your game. Their goal? Your demise. Invasion is terrifying, there is simply nothing more horrifying than the words “(Insert Gamertag) has invaded your game”. It was only a few days ago that I saw those words appear on my screen, and I did what any man about to confront an unknown enemy would do… I hid in a corner, hoping to god he wouldn’t find me.
Invasion isn’t the only way a fellow Dark Souler can inflict suffering on you however. The messages that some characters leave on the ground are as dangerous as any enemy. Dozens of times my naivety has gotten the better of me, for I have been misguided many times by promises of loot and abundances of souls, only to find myself being lead into a trap, to which there is simply no escape.
You’re probably thinking “wow this game sounds terrible, it’s filled with death, deception and fear”. And to some extent, you’re right, but that is the beauty of Dark Souls, it’s not a game for second chances. There is no lifeline or guardian angel to save you, you can only try harder. To me, this determination to get better and stronger is what draws me to Dark Souls. To others it could be the beautiful world of Lordran or the amazing combat system. No matter what tickles your fancy, I can guarantee Dark Souls will satisfy it.
I highly recommend Dark Souls to anyone that loves a challenge. To those of you currently playing, or about to start, I wish you good luck and ‘Praise The Sun’!
– John Gilbert
Low Fat Gaming say:
Although Dark Souls is indeed, very dark, there’s also a strange peacefulness to the world, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve just stood somewhere, looking out at a beautiful sunset after battling my way through an army of unrelenting enemies in an almost pitch black cave. As you make your way through Dark Souls, these locations become darker and more frequent, but the one thing that makes you continue to keep pushing forward, is your desire to see that light again, if only for a moment or two. It is unique in many ways and no matter which way Namco take the upcoming sequel, we’ll always have Dark Souls.
– Bill Boreham