Arbitrary Impressions (Dark Souls)

Posted by ArbitraryWater (11423 posts) -
So Image formatting is still pretty much the worst thing ever. That being said, I think this looks way cooler than the actual box art.

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.

Matt Rorie's Quick Look and subsequent write up were extremely helpful. No puppies though.

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.

Ze Multiplayer

You too can be told to suck someone's dick if you play Dark Souls!

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.

So these guys are jerks.

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.

#1 Edited by ArbitraryWater (11423 posts) -
So Image formatting is still pretty much the worst thing ever. That being said, I think this looks way cooler than the actual box art.

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.

Matt Rorie's Quick Look and subsequent write up were extremely helpful. No puppies though.

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.

Ze Multiplayer

You too can be told to suck someone's dick if you play Dark Souls!

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.

So these guys are jerks.

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.

#2 Edited by CptBedlam (4449 posts) -

You shouldn't try to fight the Hydra with a bow. Go near it and it will stick the heads into the ground and it won't shoot anymore. Also, get the Rusted Iron Ring for the Hydra fight.

And the "always have your shield up"-advice is kinda bad. You need to take your shield down sometimes, often in mid-fight, in order to replenish stamina quickly. There was quite a bit of misinformation coming from Patrick during the Tricaster party and they missed some hidden paths along the way through Undead Burg but I'm sure you'll find out about all that yourself one way or another. ;)

If you can't beat the Hydra, just try another direction. Have you beaten the Moonlight Butterfly in the Darkwood Garden yet? It's much easier. Or you could head towards the Depths and fight the Capra Demon.

#3 Posted by MrKlorox (11198 posts) -

Man, reading this makes me want to give it another rental.
 
Without going into specific detail, the Hydra is easiest killed from within melee range. Look for messages from other players for the right place to do it from.

#4 Posted by TobbRobb (4554 posts) -

@CptBedlam: Oh patrick was so annoying during that thing... He said a lot of stuff that was just plain wrong.

@ArbitraryWater: Around where you are and for several hours longer, you can get through most of it easily with just knowledge. Though the last 4 bosses will kick everyones ass if you only KNOW how to take em down.

The first large difficulty spike comes after the second bell.

Online
#5 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

As much as I'm afraid of so called "hard games", I should at least entertain the thought of playing Dark Souls.

#6 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11423 posts) -

@CptBedlam: Yeah, I knew about the stamina thing. Don't be thinking I keep my shield up all the time. Just most of the time. I have murdered the butterfly though, and the Capra demon keeps destroying me because of the dogs. I will try him again eventually, probably with help from another person if I can get it. I don't know where the rusted iron ring is though, but it certainly sounds useful for that fight.

@Claude: Tell me Claude, how much do you hate yourself? Personally, I've been feeling some self loathing lately, so that's why this game seems right up my alley.

#7 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater: I'm thinking cutting. Let it bleed?

#8 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater said:

@CptBedlam: Yeah, I knew about the stamina thing. Don't be thinking I keep my shield up all the time. Just most of the time. I have murdered the butterfly though, and the Capra demon keeps destroying me because of the dogs. I will try him again eventually, probably with help from another person if I can get it. I don't know where the rusted iron ring is though, but it certainly sounds useful for that fight.

@Claude: Tell me Claude, how much do you hate yourself? Personally, I've been feeling some self loathing lately, so that's why this game seems right up my alley.

Want some tips for Capera? Ive beaten him about 5 times now.  
 
If you got any questions shoot me a PM. I have over 100 hours in the game. 
#9 Posted by bybeach (4705 posts) -

@Claude said:

As much as I'm afraid of so called "hard games", I should at least entertain the thought of playing Dark Souls.

I am. I got it on sale recently with also an additional promo 10.00 off. Monetarily I'm not afraid of failure now. Nothing to fear but fear itself, or as the box art says, Prepare To Die!

#10 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -
@bybeach said:

@Claude said:

As much as I'm afraid of so called "hard games", I should at least entertain the thought of playing Dark Souls.

I am. I got it on sale recently with also an additional promo 10.00 off. Monetarily I'm not afraid of failure now. Nothing to fear but fear itself, or as the box art says, Prepare To Die!

NOthering to fear but fear its self...and walking clams. 
#11 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11423 posts) -

@The_Laughing_Man: I may have to capitalize on that offer at some point, though I think I know how to beat him. It's just the part where I put that plan into action that things go poorly.

#12 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater said:

@The_Laughing_Man: I may have to capitalize on that offer at some point, though I think I know how to beat him. It's just the part where I put that plan into action that things go poorly.

When in doubt summon buddies. But ya. Id be happy to answer questions. 
#13 Posted by huntad (1930 posts) -

I am not really enjoying Dark Souls. I really haven't picked it up since a week after I bought it. I don't really like it for the reason that it's a more open game now. There's just too much backtracking and choosing the wrong direction for me. I like the throwback nature of Demon's Souls level 1-1-style better. This game just kind of bores me in comparison.

#14 Posted by CptBedlam (4449 posts) -

@huntad: I love the connected world. But I love Metroidvanias... so yeah...

#15 Posted by kalmis (1558 posts) -

Have somehow managed to avoid Dark Souls so far. Which is odd considering how much I loved Demon's Souls.

#16 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

I love to read people's impressions of this game :)
 
The your-own-fault idea can be tied to any game that has a minimum of randomness and manages not to have cheap memorization as your only tactic to overcoming deadly obstacles.
 
How do you feel about the perpetual respawn? Does it work to discourage running around? You seem to say it encourages grinding, which can't be a good thing necessarily.

#17 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11423 posts) -

@ahoodedfigure: Oh yes, Dark Souls is indeed grindy, but grinding is not the point of the game. Stat investments don't make a huge impact one at a time, and indeed they can't compensate if you screw up on your own. The difference between this and games that force grinding, such as Disgaea, is that there isn't an artificial wall preventing you from progressing. Rather, the game itself is the wall, and being able to improve yourself is almost ancillary to the ultimate goal of being able to stay alive long enough to get to the next bonfire.

#18 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater: if grinding is *A* tactic and not the only tactic, then I'm down with that
#19 Posted by MormonWarrior (2534 posts) -

You like that box art better than the actual one? I was just barely commenting on how I'm glad that's the collector's cover because I hate it and love the normal one. Huh. Opinions.

#20 Posted by SpencerTucksen (423 posts) -
@kalmis said:

Have somehow managed to avoid Dark Souls so far. Which is odd considering how much I loved Demon's Souls.

Exact same here. I just haven't really NEEDED it yet. I've had other games that just edged it out in desire such as Arkham City, Uncharted 3, Battlefield 3, etc and haven't been able to get around to it.

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