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Dark Souls is a true game for hardcore players!

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Amazing"

Summary

Dark Souls is a true game for hardcore players. First off this game offers a great amount of challenge and gives the player the feeling of frustration and and most of all satisfaction. what makes this game unique in others games is it's difficulty yet lack of a good story. But for all die hard Demon Souls fan (Like me) you will gladly meet all your expectation and this represents to be a good sequel.

Difficulty
Just because you beat or already experience the difficulty of demons souls doesn't mean you can finish this game with same tactics. same rules applies when you die you lost all your souls and can only recover it unless you return to the place where you die. Unlike Demons Souls this game is more like an open world game. where you can visit places with enemy more powerful or weaker than you. Boss Fights are indeed very challenging and needs to have proper level equipment item and specially strategy. Some parts of the game where the player may encounter higher level enemy tricky traps and specially invaders.

Graphics
The graphics is good but very much the same as the Demon Souls. Although this game has a large world and some cool views.

Gameplay
The key here is patients. In first the player might encounter difficulties in controls or the movement of your character depending on your build up. But hey! this is one of the unique and fun elements of the game. In order for you to level in this game you have to collect souls commonly obtain by killing an enemy. some enemies in this game can bring you down 2 to 3 hits so take note that dying is part of this game you have to understand first the different attack sequence of every enemy in the game for you to be beat it!

Story
The reason why i only gave this game 9.5 this part is where this game is really lacking. i wont say any deep parts of the games story but in the end after finishing the game you have the feeling of...that's it???

Online Play
The most fun part of the game. where you can write messages that gives warning or tricking other players in the world. or summoning or being summoned to support one another by mostly beating a boss exploring the place or vanquishing an invader! YES! invader, players to have the ability to invade other players game and gaining a great amount of souls by killing them.
in short PvP Match!

Overall
For me that's DarkSouls a brilliant game with many surprises and a very challenging game for all hardcore gamer's







Prepare to die!.....again.

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Highly addictive"

Summary

Dark souls, the "spiritual" succesor to the great Demon's souls is here to take over your life, your thoughts and dreams and most of all, your rage quit threshold to all new heights. It plays out pretty much like Demon's souls apart from there's no central hub where you can tackle the levels as you please, rather an ambitious open world design. Kudos to From software for making it completely seamless too, as there are absolutely no load screens or pauses as you run through the various places. The environments vary from a war torn medieval castle, ghostly ruins, dragon filled lands, grand cities, inside trees,sewers and crystal caves all the way to molten volcano depths, each with their own perils, dangers and challenging boss fights. Each world is also expertly crafted, with a beautiful art design and graphics to match. Occasionly the frame rate drops to alarming levels, but not so often that it detracts from the experience.
The whole kill enemy, gain souls level up, die lose it all, run back to bloodstain to get it all back or die trying formula has returned but here you have an added pressure of loss: Humanity. Without humanity you will forever be a "hollow" or zombie type creature, your enemies will be harder and the chances of them dropping items will decrease. Also in this hollowed state you will be unable to summon any NPC's or other people playing online to help you out. This really adds even more depth and risk to a game that already has heaps already, making for a very exciting and challenging experience.
Good job that you have an incredible arsenal of weapons, armors, spells, miracles and pyromancies at your disposal, because litteraly, even the lesser enemies have the potential to make you into brown bread fast.
As in demon's souls, it really doesn't matter what class you choose from in the beggining as this will only affect your starting out stats. Even a cave man can become a great sword wielding magician able to do miracles and burn some undead butt.
The story this time around is even more vague than it's predecessor, but unfortunately, also less important. Yes there are NPC's that you continually find that shed a little more light on the subject (or not) but save for one or two, aren't as interesting as in Demon's. The same can also be said of the atmosphere. It's nearly there, but not quite. The level designs also seem somewhat on a smaller scale to Demon's souls and that, "the further I go the more wierd and terrifying it's gonna get" is just not that present this time around, save a couple of places. But these are just hateful comparisons that anyone who has played through Demon's will find themselves doing.
If you haven't played Demon's souls yet, then this gane will feel fresh and new, but I also recommend playing Demon's souls first.
Like it's predeccessor, this game is not for everyone, so the impatient and easily frustrated should just stay well, well away.

So all in all, a great game, that I can't help feeling is not as great as it could've been with a little more development time.




It's hard, but doesn't take any skill.

3.0

Bad
Difficulty:
Very Hard
Time Spent:
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Waste of time"

Summary

I don't understand why it has a score that high. When you start the game, it takes a while to figure out how bonfire/souls/humanity works. There is almost no explanation and you have to learn by going on the internet. Same thing when you level, there is little explanation about where to place your stats. Upgrading weapons and armors could not be more confusing. NPC characters are all appart, hidden and appears to sell different equimement randomly. My point is, there is no learning curve. The game is hard directly at the beggining. You learn by doing mistakes, and sometimes mistakes that you cannot recover from.

You don't really know where to go, especially at the beggining. If you encounter the wrong boss you die. Every time you get through a new section of the game, you die. Then you die, you die again and finally, you find a way to beat this boss and get to a new section where you are goin to die again and again. Finally, after you waste around 50 hours of your time, you get to a boss called "Ornstein and Smough". After trying to beat it for 10-20 hours, you realize you placed your attributes at the wrong place and it's almost impossible to recover from that. You have to restart a new game from the beggining. But now, the game is not challenging anymore, it's easy because you know how to beat each boss. You read a lot of walkthrough on the internet to make sure you don't do any mistake while building your new character.

The game could have been good. But some basic rules of video games have been broken. 1) No learning curve. 2) It is immensely frustrating. You can put 50 hours and more on a character and have to start the game again if you choose a wrong stratgey. 3) It is repetitive. Not only because you redo same section over and over, but especially because it's always learning how to dodge attack and counter.

Overall, a very bad and disapointing game.




My game of the year 2011.

9.0

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
"All it's cracked up to be"

Summary

I like RPGs. I mean I really like them. I actually imported Demon's Souls from Korea before it got a western announcement for release, yeah, I like RPGs. So with that information you can imagine I was excited for Dark Souls, an unapologetic in difficulty, old school RPG that the gaming industry rarely gets these days trying to appeal mass market.

Dark Souls is a hard game, if you get frustrated at dying rather than more determined to progress stop reading and never buy this. I was experienced with Demon's Souls yet I died a lot, each time getting a little further, each time more prepared for the dangers and that is the lure to many gamers as well as myself. The sense of achievement when finally getting past a knight blocking your path, for finally beating that boss, for barely surviving to the next fire with your souls. Dark Souls gives a sense of exhilaration at times that few games can match.

The gameplay is like a third person action RPG but it's so much deeper than that. Most movements are slow, especially slow when using heavier armour meaning every attack must be planned out right watching enemy movements as 1-2 hits can see you dead. Dark Souls is an RPG where defense is as important as the attack if not more so, shields, stamina and dodging are simply vital to vanquish enemies and I love it for the added tactics required rather than just mashing attack and bulldozing through foes a lot of RPGs are turning towards.

There are moments of safety to be found though few and far between in Dark Souls in Firelink shrines, bonfires that heal you, refill your limited Estus flask for healing as well as save your game. These fires allow you to see the faint ghostly image of other players sitting around it who are also playing giving a sort of feeling of distant comradely I really liked. Sitting at a fire does however reset every enemy in the area you just defeated, From Software (the developer) never gives anything to players for free.

The Firelink Shrine is also the place where you level up. Each enemy, (as well as some items) give your character souls, these souls act as your experience as well as your currency at vendors or magic users scattered around the world. Level ups don't automatically happen though so holding onto those souls can be a risky business especially if you have accumulated a large amount as if you die, you lose them. If you get back to your blood stain of where you died you can get them back but if you die before then you lose them permanently. I lost 200,000 souls at one point which needless to say rather upset me. Dark Souls is a constant struggle for survival and evolution. Keeping souls is hard, leveling up is slow with seemingly little effect at first, being strategic in battle is actually far more important and rewarding.

If you do die in Dark Souls all is not lost as you become undead so to speak, a zombie. You are a fair bit weaker in this state but there are several benefits which are all online related and to be honest, I played most of the game undead. When playing online Dark Souls like Demon's Souls before it allows living players to summon undead players into their game to help them, once the boss is defeated they are sent back to their world with a helping of souls as thanks. When living you can also get invaded by other players who intentionally try to kill you. This is a unique feature and can be fun for dueling it out but more often than not is annoying when trying to make game progress so playing undead stops that with only minor penalties.

When playing with other players there aren't any headsets, just a lot of selectable actions. Even when invading players often stop to bow before fighting you. There is a sort of silent form of honour between players I really love, sometimes taking something away from a game rather than adding to it can really heighten the experience. Setting up co-op games with friends is incredibly difficult to impossible as players have to be on a similar soul level as well as server. It was sort of annoying at first but builds up a kind of nice form of solitude, even when with other people you are on your own.

Dark Souls isn't the sort of game that gives you a full story with cutscenes and points you in a direction. There is plenty of lore and character information all over the game but you have to find it, talk to characters, read the load screens. It's a fairly big intricate world but that isn't the main focus of the title. While that may bother a lot of people it really didn't matter to me.

Visually Dark Souls is absolutely stunning in places. Huge Gothic castles, towns, forests and ruins. Most of the enemies look as menacing as they are. Undead Knights that don't say a word, only a clank of metal as they run towards you, huge scaled dragons, benches smash when you roll through, the atmosphere and surroundings are fantastic and the soundtrack that goes with it while only played rarely is really superb. Either menacing for bosses or beautiful yet foreboding. It is however, not perfect. when enemies die they have a rather weird physics to them that can send them into a spasm or tangled up in your characters legs if you walk over them. My biggest complaint of all though is in an area known as Blightown there is rather a lot of slowdown and occasionally in other areas when sprinting which really lets down the games otherwise stellar presentation.

Dark Souls is rather a large game, my first playthrough ran at 90 hours (A lot of it dying) with lots of weapons to craft, spells to get and a few secret bosses or areas. Dark Souls also has a great new game + that makes all the enemies far harder each time to match your level and gear. My second run through with trophy mop up for the platinum was around 40 hours which is a more realistic time if you take out the deaths and exploration, this is a deep title with lots to find of which almost none is explained.

This is a hard title to recommend to people. I want to because it stands out and does things I wish more developers would take a risk on, it doesn't hold your hand yet is engrossing, it's bloody hard yet never feels cheap. Many people will be turned away by the lack of plot, but the gameplay is surprisingly deep. If you aren't sure take a chance you may be surprised.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
+ Rewarding in a way games aren't anymore.
+ Fantastic presentation.
+ Unique online features.
+ Excellent tactical combat.
+ Huge game.
+ Pretty hard.

- Pretty hard.
- Lack of plot or story.
- Slow down in places.





Dark Souls is a raw game. Accept its challenge and enter a brilliant world.

9.0

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Grows on you"

Summary

Dark Souls is a raw game set in a bleak world. Once you progress far enough and see not only what the game asks for, but what it offers in return, the game consumes you.

The only modern game that I can compare to Dark Souls is Demon's Souls, its spiritual predecessor. If you have played Demon's Souls, then you know for the most part the engrossing experience you are in for. Dark Souls varies from this formula in one key way and that is through the game taking place in one, wholly connected world, rather than the instanced levels of Demon's Souls. Each area in Dark Souls feels like its own level however so, until an item is found later in the game, this interconnected world only means that there will be a small amount of backtracking through the world. The backtracking never feels like a bad thing though and it feels very empowering to come back to a previously visited area to find that you can wreck the inhabitants that before gave you much torment. Bonfires are placed throughout the world of Dark Souls and these bonfires act as the comforting checkpoints that you drive forward to get to.

Dark Souls is difficult, but above all rewards patience. At the start of your journey, you will feel overwhelmed and there will be many paths ahead of you which lead to a fast death. There will always be a path of least resistance however and the achievement that comes with persevering through each area is great.

The combat in Dark Souls is the best combat that I have experienced in any RPG. Every swing of your weapon carries weight and can easily lead to your demise if mistimed or misplaced. It is because of this that each encounter with enemies deeply invests the player. Another fantastic thing about the combat in this game is the sheer amount of variety that can be found in the weapons and magic system. The player can choose from a vast array of weapons: things like your standard sword or greatsword, to whips, and even to gauntlets. The weapons all look unique and some of the designs are truly fantastic. Weapon upgrades are meaningful and it feels fantastic to finally upgrade a weapon to the point that you were aiming for and the armor selection in this game carries much meaning as well. You can start the game as one of multiple classes, but in the end the class distinction does not carry much meaning as each class starts with relatively similar stats that can be upgraded to the same place eventually. This time around, players can also choose from three distinct casting types, or a mix of multiple. These paths consist of magic (sorceries), faith (miracles), and pyromancy (pyromancies). Instead of casting out of a pool of magic points, the player has a certain amount of casts of each spell that they can use before they make it to their next bonfire.

Dark Souls is aptly named, for the game is truly dark; it is dark in tone and the environments themselves are often dark to the point that it becomes frustrating. Graphically, the game is no accomplishment, but that is not what the game aims for. The art itself is breathtaking to behold.
The world of Dark Souls is filled with terrifying enemies. The game is scary. It makes the player feel vulnerable and wonder if they should go down a dark path or instead go back and level up a bit before trying to confront a particularly harrowing area. I found myself needing to farm a little bit in order to keep up with the growing difficulty of the world, but this does not become overly tedious and is merely optional.

The story of Dark Souls is vague and hard to follow for all but the most invested players. The snippets of story are primarily found in reading item descriptions or gleaning small bits of information from characters placed infrequently throughout the world. This was not a negative for me however, as what little information I had about the world only worked to create a more mysterious and intriguing environment throughout the game. The characters themselves are very memorable and it is because the world is so sparsely populated with these characters that this is the case. Many characters will be found throughout the game in multiple different places, and it is warming to see a familiar face in such an oppressing world as Lordran, where Dark Souls takes place. Often times the characters in Dark Souls recount harrowing tales, are suffering themselves, or are out to create suffering for the player. These characters provide a distinctive personality for Dark Souls unlike most modern games.

The online system in Dark Souls is brilliant. Though I did not spend much time involving myself in the PvP aspect of the game, the game offers much in terms of player interaction. Players can leave messages in the world for other players to read and decide if they should be followed or if they are a false message that should be ignored. The interaction between players is very unique in that players cannot directly talk with each other and so if you choose to summon another player, it feels like you are being aided by a spirit from another world. There is a feeling of respect between players when this summoning happens as the world of Dark Souls demands respect and instills that spirit among all of its players. The alternative to this summoning in Dark Souls is invading. When in human form, a player's world can be invaded by another player who comes as a black phantom. This experience is heart-pounding and creates a very high-risk situation. Being hunted by another player while still dealing with the enemies dispersed throughout the world is an experience that you will learn to crave for the amount of triumph it offers upon coming out victorious. Players can also challenge one another in more chivalrous ways in the form of direct one on one battle. On top of these online elements is the covenant system. Throughout the game the player has the option to join various covenants. These covenants each put a twist on the various online aspects to the game and players can gain ranks in these covenants to unlock certain rewards. Some of the more exciting covenants in this game consist of a Forest guild whose members hunt down anyone foolish enough to travel through the forest in human form and a Darkmoon covenant which hunts down players who have betrayed their respective covenants.

Every action one does in Dark Souls is meaningful. The game is raw; stripped of any filler and injected with solid mechanics which last throughout the entire experience. The game is not for everyone, but anyone brave enough to conquer it will leave with a unique and memorable experience that is one of the best of our time.


9.5

Editors' Choice
8.9
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