I play old games sometimes. But this blog isn't about those. We could discuss how I find Lands of Lore surprisingly decent from what I've played so far, or how Icewind Dale II continues to be a game that I probably should complete. Or even how that "Mod the everliving hell out of Oblivion" project will actually be put into effect (man, installing those things is a hassle) maybe at some point sometime. But no. We're talking about the thing that's been distracting me from both school work and those other things, that being of course... King of Fighters XIII. And Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts. Oh. And that Dark Souls game too. But since I've already said my fair share about N&B on these forums, and also how the last time I talked about Fighting Games it ended in horrible disaster, we'll talk about the super hardcore RPG type thingy from the people who brought you Lost Kingdoms and its sequel, games I'm pretty sure only I remember. Honestly, if I ever were to track copies down, I'm sure I could do a pretty good "Ruining my Childhood" on those. They were probably terrible, weren't they? Alas, to be the kid who only had a Gamecube and who's selection was limited by what Blockbuster had in stock at the time.
So Dark Souls is pretty cool.
When Demon's Souls came out, I was fairly intrigued by the game everyone called "The most hardcore punishing hardcore RPG bro!" But, not having a PS3 I never got to experience what many considered to be one of the best games of 2009. Thus, I was fairly excited when Dark Souls was announced, because that meant I too could get my fair share of sadi-masochistic RPG grind. And thus, after borrowing my friend's copy and playing for around... 7-8 hours, I can probably write what I've been experiencing so far. I've gotten to the Darkroot Basin, by the way, so don't think I'm still in the opening area.
The internet is a big help.
Believe it or not, but watching the Dark Souls Quick Look and the second half of the "Welcome Back Tricaster" party was absolutely paramount for my success so far. As far as I can tell, the real difficulty in this game comes not from the way enemies can totally work you if you let them, but from the flow and restriction of information. Those videos helped me with some pretty fundamental stuff, like how you should have your shield up at all times or how rushing into things is a great way to die. They also help in another way, those Tricaster videos in particular being a great showcase of the game through the Undead Burg. Knowing the way to get through that gives one a general idea of how to approach the rest of the game, without giving away any specifics. In other words, I appreciate the hand-holding the interwebs has afforded me.
That being said, I think I'm going to be relying on the internet sparingly from now on. Now that I know the fundamentals, I figure I should experience what the rest of the game has to offer through the game itself rather than slavishly devoting myself to a walkthrough or wiki, and that means taking my information through the (mostly) helpful messages left by fellow players. Oh, certainly I'll still check occasionally to figure out where I actually have to go, but knowing exactly what I'm in for doesn't seem nearly as exciting as getting beat up by enemies far too strong for me to handle.
As of this writing, I have only had 3 separate encounters with other players, all with generally positive outcomes. The addition of other players significantly mitigates the difficulty, as someone you are going with will hopefully know where to go and what to do. Indeed, those Gargoyles are hilariously easy when you have 3 separate dudes whaling on them with Drake Swords (the Drake Sword is kind of broken, by the way). However, because of the way the multiplayer works, in that you need to be in close proximity to other players regardless if you are the host or the helper, it clearly seems like a rare benefit rather than a crutch, or indeed a mechanism to play the entire game co-op with other people.
In addition, on my roommate's game I used a cracked red eye orb to invade some other guy's world. This was also satisfying, because he clearly didn't know what he was doing and mostly rolled around while I hit him a bunch. After killing him and stealing his humanity, he sent me a message saying “Suck my Dick”. I responded with a smiley face. Oh Xbox live. You never fail to impress. Now I need to find those orbs in my game, because I want to do horrible things to other people through invasion of force. I have yet to be invaded myself obviously, mostly because staying human for any given length of time is an accomplishment unto itself, and I accidentally attacked the merchant who sells humanity.
Dark Souls is also frustrating.
It's true. Even knowing what to do in certain circumstances does not prepare one for the raw amount of hate From Software has produced in this particular game. There is nothing quite as demoralizing as losing a large amount of souls or hitting a brick wall like I have with the hydra in the Darkroot Basin (My current solution to this problem? Grind safer areas to get arrows, find safe spot that isn't hit by hydra's water blasts, then kill the majority of the heads with the bow). Dying, and knowing that for the most part your death was clearly because of a mistake you made is an interesting sensation. I've already been dealing with plenty of frustration in my real life, and yet in some way the pettiness of this, this video game made for amusement, is so much more tolerable than it might otherwise be. Bah. Enough philosophizing. Me gusta el Videojuego. That's spanish.