How Dark Souls Got Back My Love of All Things Video Games

Posted by AthleticShark (1369 posts) -

I never truly lost it, did I? It being the love and passion of playing video games. I still play them...sometimes. I still read reviews...sometimes. I visit Giant Bomb daily and kept up on news and watched videos (I do!). So "it" is there, just sort of lost, buried, or tangled in something.

For the past few years my desire to actually play games has dwindled. This has not stopped me from playing them (or buying them). Yet, even when I do play them, the joy I used to get just is not there. The days of rushing home from school, plopping down and turning on whatever machine and playing whatever the latest game for hours is long gone. The most likely cause of this is adulthood. I am not a 16 year old with nothing better to do. I am 21. I have a girlfriend. I have a job. I go to school. Yet none of those things really hold me back that much, in my head at least. The enjoyment is just gone, nowhere to be found. I try, try, and try again (thanks Steam Summer Sale)! to find that spark that will bring back even a little bit of what I used to have. Incredibly, I think I may have found it.

Dark Souls. We all know what it is. It has been talked about to death and it has spread everywhere on the internet. Although it might seem cliche that "Oh of course Dark Souls did X to X person", I still can't believe it myself.

I bought the original Demon Soul's a year or two after it came out. I needed a PS3 game and heard it was pretty good/challenging. Long story short, never got past the tutorial level. Did not care for it, did not want to waste my time (really did not give it a chance, but at the time anyways...). Then nothing for a while. Heard about Dark Souls a bit, but did not really follow it. Then it started to gain infamy on this very website. Vinny has a video series, forum threads were everywhere, and Dark Souls spread like wild fire through the tubes of the internet. I never really read or followed anything about the game, but still felt like I knew everything about it through osmosis.

I was bored one night and had watched all the latest Giant Bomb videos. Me, not having the desire to play video games anymore, thought I would give the "Load your Last Souls" a try. Boy, what a treat. Besides Vinny being Vinny, the videos really drew in my interest because of the game. I was fascinated. I wanted to play the damn game! I had not felt that passion in a while. It was euphoric.

This was strange. Strange because everything I knew about Dark Souls did not appeal to me. Dieing over and over (and over)? No thanks. Insanely hard, built around boss fights, exploring, and the chance for some guy to invade you and screw you over? Hell no. I did not like anything that I saw or heard about the game.

So I downloaded Dark Souls for PC a few days later (on sale as well) of course. I was scared, but from the first boss on, I was having an absolute blast. I was looking up things on the internet, about boss's, weapon stats, how to do this, that, and the other. 60+ hours later, I never looked back..until now.

Lord Gwyn has been vanquished and I honestly do not know what to do with myself. I had not wanted to play a game so badly in so long. For days all I could think about was the next move I was gonna make, the next stat to level, the next area, the next boss, etc. It was a great feeling. A familiar feeling. After beating Gwyn all I could do was continue to play. I made it back to Firelink Shrine and quit. I went to bed. I woke up. Now here I am thinking about this game with a smile on my face, debating whether I should go through NG+ (which after I found out you have to re-get keys, and all that other busy work, makes me not want to) or just jump into Dark Souls 2.

So have a fully regained my passion for playing games? No, not yet at least. Dark Souls has got me in the right direction though. I was looking at a list of games that I have, but never played and the itch to play them was there. Instead of "ugh why did I even buy these I don't want to play them" it was "I feel like playing something, just do not know what yet".

Maybe I am giving Dark Souls too much credit. Maybe I just really loved THIS game. Either way I am gonna think about Dark Souls some more, probably buy and start playing Dark Souls 2, and hopefully start playing and enjoying a different game again, for the first time in a long time.

#1 Edited by development (2946 posts) -

This is one of those reasons I'm bummed Jeff doesn't give the game a solid chance, like Patrick finally did (Patrick also spent an hour or so with it near launch and didn't care for it). Dark Souls is very much a "game." It is all about its mechanics. Sure, there's tons of story and lore hidden in the background, but at its core Dark Souls is a fucking video game; something I think Jeff (and other similarly-minded people) always complain about "wishing there were more of." It is entirely skill-based. You can nit-pick and say that some deaths are cheap, such as your first Mimic encounter, or a few wonky mechanics, but that is like 5% of the game, at best. The rest is all skill, and not just pattern-recognition; you also need to know, much like a fighting game, when to use what moves; you need to know when to dodge, when to block, when to poke, slash, or parry, etc.... or just when to run and come back later. Best of all? The amount of customizability and different ways to approach situations is damn near unprecedented, as far as I can tell.

#2 Posted by AthleticShark (1369 posts) -

...It is entirely skill-based

At first yes, but for me, I have to admit, I pulled a Vinny near the last few bosses and just used Iron flesh with a +15 pyroglove (don't know if that affect that spell) with Havel's armor. I felt like a walking tank and it was awesome. No regrets playing that way at all.

#3 Posted by development (2946 posts) -

@hellbound: Definitely. It's not perfectly balanced, and I think by late-game more than a few players were way over-powered.

#4 Posted by AthleticShark (1369 posts) -

@hellbound: Definitely. It's not perfectly balanced, and I think by late-game more than a few players were way over-powered.

Which is part of the reason I loved the game. So many paths to go down and even when you are super powerful you relish it. I felt like I deserved that after everything I went through early on.

#5 Posted by development (2946 posts) -

@hellbound: Also, if you're planning on diving into Dark Souls II, just know that it plays a little differently. Most notably, everything is a little less snappy and parrying, blocking, and (especially) rolling don't work quite the same way. Those are probably some of the biggest hurdles to get over.

#6 Posted by DFL017 (199 posts) -

@hellbound: I feel almost exactly the same way. Did you do the Dlc?

#7 Posted by AthleticShark (1369 posts) -

@hellbound: Also, if you're planning on diving into Dark Souls II, just know that it plays a little differently. Most notably, everything is a little less snappy and parrying, blocking, and (especially) rolling don't work quite the same way. Those are probably some of the biggest hurdles to get over.

Thanks for the tips. What I look forward to most is the 60fps on PC (considering how chuggy DS was on PC) and also discovering everything on my own. I have only seen the quicklooks so I have no idea what to expect!

#8 Posted by AthleticShark (1369 posts) -

@dfl017 said:

@hellbound: I feel almost exactly the same way. Did you do the Dlc?

I did! I enjoyed it. Getting their was insane (so much backtracking + without the internet how do people even know how to access it?). I made sure to play it before I fought Sif so I could get the alternate cutscene. Man, I really did not want to kill Sif. Poor puppy. Also seeing the giant shoot the arrow at Kalameet was easily my favorite scene in that game.

#9 Posted by development (2946 posts) -

@hellbound: Agreed. Gough firing that arrow was so badass. It's a shame he had to die.

#10 Posted by DFL017 (199 posts) -

I want some one to mod Dark Souls so you can select specific servers and play with your friends. Or just think of getting a bunch of people together and having a Dark Souls lan party. Invading your friends would be amazing.

#11 Edited by c_rakestraw (922 posts) -
@dfl017 said:

I want some one to mod Dark Souls so you can select specific servers and play with your friends. Or just think of getting a bunch of people together and having a Dark Souls lan party. Invading your friends would be amazing.

I want to say there are mods out there that do that in some form? No idea how to go about finding them, though.

#12 Edited by Tru3_Blu3 (3471 posts) -

It's great to see the game have this effect on you. I've always wanted you to indulge yourself with Dark Souls as it, for me personally, reignites and clarifies a reason to play video games and why video games are so awesome. It's such a powerful title.

#13 Edited by stryker1121 (1776 posts) -

@hellbound: Nice write up! Dark Souls is preceded by its reputation, no doubt. I was in the same boat as you..bored with my games, intimidated by DS's difficulty and especially its obscure mechanics. Finally got around to playing it and had a blast, most fun I had w/ a game in some time.

#14 Posted by Savage (436 posts) -
@dfl017 said:

I want some one to mod Dark Souls so you can ... play with your friends.

I want to say there are mods out there that do that in some form?

There's a mod called DSCfix (Dark Souls Connectivity Fix) that does this. You can download it here: http://www.nexusmods.com/darksouls/mods/334/

The basic idea is that first you add your desired multiplayer buddies to your GFWL friends list, then the mod will front-load all of them into your multiplayer matchmaking process, so that you'll be connected to all of them immediately before the game even begins its normal random matchmaking.

#15 Posted by CornBREDX (6539 posts) -

I know, right? Dark Souls is an amazing game.

Online
#16 Edited by DFL017 (199 posts) -
#17 Posted by AthleticShark (1369 posts) -

@hellbound: Nice write up! Dark Souls is preceded by its reputation, no doubt. I was in the same boat as you..bored with my games, intimidated by DS's difficulty and especially its obscure mechanics. Finally got around to playing it and had a blast, most fun I had w/ a game in some time.

Thank you!

Yes, I still can't believe how much fun I had with it. Really jumpstarted me again for video games.

#18 Posted by DrZing (170 posts) -

@hellbound: DS1 on PC can be run at 60fps with DSfix. Surprisingly 60 doesn't cause too many problems, just a few jumps are wonky and maybe don't slide down ladders. Also for DS2 make sure to get GeDoSaTo by Durante, same dev as DSfix, although he needs some help choosing good names for his tools. ;)

#19 Posted by AthleticShark (1369 posts) -

@drzing said:

@hellbound: DS1 on PC can be run at 60fps with DSfix. Surprisingly 60 doesn't cause too many problems, just a few jumps are wonky and maybe don't slide down ladders. Also for DS2 make sure to get GeDoSaTo by Durante, same dev as DSfix, although he needs some help choosing good names for his tools. ;)

Awesome! Thank you

#20 Edited by Snowsprite (114 posts) -

dark souls 2 is garbage, stay clear. wasn't conceived and directed by the same guy. give demon's another shot instead, it's good.

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