Life's A Bitch, And Then You Die: 45 Hours With Dark Souls

#151 Posted by GioVANNI (1285 posts) -

@Krelle said:

I wonder if Jeff & Ryan will continue to ignore this masterpiece. They never even gave Demons Souls a chance.

Thank god we have Rorie around to do it justice.

You know, this game clearly isn't for everyone. I honestly can't blame someone who does not like this game, it's totally reasonable to not. It's frustrating, hard and unforgiving.

#152 Posted by Galiant (2179 posts) -

I get that there are people who enjoy being punished so they can overcome it, or whatever this is about, but I'm not one of those people. I like reading about this game and its prequel, but I'm never going to play either of them. It doesn't sound appealing to me at all.

#153 Posted by thebatmobile (979 posts) -

I'm so freaking psyched for this game.

#154 Posted by golguin (3843 posts) -

I think I'll probably end up buying the game once I make my way through the games I'm currently playing. I'm a bit nervous about the lack of information in the game since I don't want to go to a guide to learn the systems, but I think I'll manage. The difficulty shouldn't be a problem since I played the hell out of Super Meat Boy and Catherine; two games that are very difficulty in very different ways.

#155 Posted by Slayer (79 posts) -

@GioVANNI said:

@Krelle said:

I wonder if Jeff & Ryan will continue to ignore this masterpiece. They never even gave Demons Souls a chance.

Thank god we have Rorie around to do it justice.

You know, this game clearly isn't for everyone. I honestly can't blame someone who does not like this game, it's totally reasonable to not. It's frustrating, hard and unforgiving.

Totaly agree ! :) I will really like the game, but its not for everyone and that is just fine.

#156 Posted by granderojo (1778 posts) -

This fucking game man. I never played Demon Souls, this shit is so much fun.

#157 Posted by Aishan (1010 posts) -

@McShank said:

@Cessate said:

@Aishan said:

Good write up Rorie. I'm equally eagerly awaiting and dreading the arrival of my copy in the mail tomorrow. As a 360 player I never had a chance to play Demon's Souls, but I am more than aware of it's reputation through both the original Giant Bomb Quick Look and some "Let's Play" footage I watched some months back.

The Quick Look you did for Dark Souls last week really piqued my interest, and that little chat with you had with Kessler confirmed my decision. I'm in the mood for something challenging right now, and although I don't really agree with some of the design decisions, mainly the obfuscation of game mechanics, it definitely seems like a game worth my time.

At least until Skyrim gets here.

This, exactly this,

Skyrim can go to hell.. This game is GOTY quality if you can get over the fact you will die every few minutes till you learn what your doing.

It's alright, duder. You can like more than one game at a time. :)

Online
#158 Posted by Yummylee (21270 posts) -

Article should be locked because it has nawty word in title.

#159 Posted by McShank (1629 posts) -

@Aishan: No, no i cant.. i have to many.. skyrim will just be another game added to the already huge pile of games i need to beat.. games need to stop coming out for a few months damnit..

#160 Posted by williamflipper (63 posts) -

Rilke!! He takes me back home (Trieste). Great analysis of a game experience Ser.

#161 Posted by Kartana (216 posts) -

@subtleglitch said:

i just picked this up on the 360. i must say, at first i was extremely frustrated with the game, dying every few minutes by swarms of enemies. but once i started grinding, and figured out what area is best for me to explore at my level, things became more satisfying.

i think this game has great potential, and is definitely very challenging. it may teach me more patience, for future games i play :)

Yes, because grinding is such a satisfying game mechanic these days! And the only think this game will teach you is how to rage like a 1 year old again.

#162 Posted by Nentisys (886 posts) -

Loving dark souls so far.

#163 Posted by Eurobum (244 posts) -

What you are so reverently quoting in the beginning, Matt Rorie, is neither deep insight nor careful observation, it's just a lofty excuse.

#164 Posted by AngriGhandi (755 posts) -

Okay, that's it-- I told myself I didn't want to play Demon's Souls back when it was on the PS3 and I didn't have one. But now, god dammit, I'm in.

As a matter of logistics, though, @Rorie: I know playing this game with a guide is a bad idea, and will ruin the fun. But if you could offer just one cryptically-worded, old-man-from-Zelda-style hint that could end up saving a player new to this game from getting royally screwed over in the "all your NPCs are dead" kind of way, what would it be?

#165 Edited by freakin9 (1102 posts) -

I played it for awhile for the first time today, I'm definitely starting to get in that, die over and over till everything about this game seeps into my head mode. I'm practically running into enemies defenseless just to see if this new Demon's Souls actually has bite and isn't a joke. Yeah it's no joke, I think I've died close to 20 times with my no nonsense approach to playing Dark Souls like a fool. And have learned a few things, while some things are still a bit of a mystery to me. I know one thing, I'm not happy with my current weapons, I definitely need to try out the full array to find my baby. I definitely also plan to make a point of staying human so I can get some coop buddies to distract the pain.

#166 Posted by mnzy (2911 posts) -

What's it with Rilke and Americans? Here you think of prudish literature students when he's mentioned and over there, Lady Gaga has him tatooed on her arm.

#167 Posted by FluffyZombeh (57 posts) -

I love this game so much, holy shit I can't tell you how many times I've died trying to find where to go now that it's all open-world. In my opinion it's so much better then Demon's Souls, still a bit disappointed about the requirements for online play. Still though, an amazing single player experience that everyone should try out. I'm totally only like 14-17 hours in right now.

#168 Posted by crabbiTScot (10 posts) -

Fantastic read!! Just picked up my copy today - can't wait!!!

#169 Posted by tekmojo (2299 posts) -

Great stuff, I'm taking my time with this one. Stopped leveling a bit and just helping people take out bosses and upgrading my gear.

#170 Posted by PillClinton (3290 posts) -

Well-written article. I enjoyed reading this. It might have even inspired me to eventually try my hand at Dark Souls...eventually.

#171 Posted by Scotto (1171 posts) -

I can respect difficult games that don't hold your hand, but this game just doesn't strike me as an enjoyable experience. It might provide "satisfaction", but that seems to be mostly because getting through it is such a harrowing, controller-throwing pain in the ass.

In most games, Dark Souls' brand of "trial and error" memorization to get through parts of the game would just be considered poor design. And in those games, the death penalty likely isn't nearly as high. And only for Dark/Demon's Souls would a lack of proper explanation of the complex mechanics and systems get glowingly rephrased as a "fascinating limitation of knowledge" by a fan of the game, haha.

I should add that isn't me passing judgment on people who like these Souls games. They clearly aren't for everyone, and I'm obviously in that group. Fun is fun, and if you have fun with them, then bully for you. I enjoy Trackmania, another game that is sort of broken in a lot of weird ways, and lots of people don't. To each their own.

In the end, though - I'm with Jeff and Ryan. The gameplay itself just doesn't seem that compelling - particularly the spectre of playing through massive chunks of the game over and over as you "learn" your way around.

- Scott

#172 Posted by JackSukeru (5904 posts) -

Nice not-review, Rorie.

I've heard someone compare Demon's Souls (so by extension Dark Souls) to the very first Legend of Zelda in the way it just throws you into the world and lets you explore for yourself, apt I thought, considering how "old school" it is.

Well I'd best not linger, just got my own copy of the game so I'm off to kick some ass. Wish me luck!

#173 Posted by Kaowas (124 posts) -

I absolutely need to play this game now. I've been wanting to play Demon's Souls for a while but the lack of a PS3 has not allowed me the pleasure. I love difficult games that can be conquered with just enough skill and knowledge. I'm definitely picking Dark Souls up now that it's on the Xbox360.

#174 Posted by KarlPilkington (2684 posts) -

Great article @Rorie, really excellent.

#175 Edited by Dunchad (471 posts) -

@Rorie:

Well written article - keep up the good work.

Kind of off-topic, but there is something that bothered me about this (and the QL as well). Isn't evolution iterative pretty much by definition? So the phrase should be "more iterative than revolutionary", right?

#176 Posted by Chris2KLee (2329 posts) -

Great read. I don't know if I have the fortitude to handle this game, but it does sound like a fascinating experience.

#177 Posted by Rekt_Hed (846 posts) -

I love reading about this game but if I bought it I'd probably end up setting my house on fire.

#178 Posted by ScoreSetter (75 posts) -

I really didn't think I'd ever want to play this game, but now I think I might actually enjoy it. I'll just have to remind myself to be patient every two seconds, haha.

#179 Posted by MB (11988 posts) -

@tourgen said:

That camera is bullshit though. Pretty happy that got discussed in the podcast.

It really does suck, but I'm getting used to it.

Dark Souls is reminiscent of the exceedingly difficult trial-and-error gameplay of games from 20 years ago. I have the feeling after a few hours with it that Dark Souls just isn't for young people who have really only played recent games from the last five or six years or so.

Moderator
#180 Posted by FourWude (2261 posts) -

DARK SOULS WILL MAKE YOU ITS BITCH!!!!!!

#181 Posted by Slaker117 (4835 posts) -
@MB said:

@tourgen said:

That camera is bullshit though. Pretty happy that got discussed in the podcast.

It really does suck, but I'm getting used to it.

It was the reason I never got more than 10 hours into Demon's Souls. I was ok with the difficulty and death penalty stuff, and even though I think it's dumb to never properly explain basic game mechanics, I got over it with the help of the Internet. Parts of that game seem really cool, but the constant annoyance of such a core piece of simple playability eventually turned me off. I'm not backtracking two hours because your camera system decided I wanted to turn around instead of locking onto the enemy charging at me.
#182 Posted by Shuborno (938 posts) -

Great article.

I can now understand the appeal, I just don't have the time (and thus patience) for such a game so I'll never play it.

#183 Posted by datarez (540 posts) -

@Mumrik said:

This article links to a 2.560px × 1.440px "screenshot" from a PS3 game (the one with the sword).

That's a bit absurd.

It doesn't actually look like a bullshot though. It's too ugly. Maybe something got messed up and the res was quadrupled.

@Rorie The picture in question is actually watermarked for another site.

Loved the revisiting of the game. It's definitely on my list to get this holiday. I had said in the QL thread I think it passed Skyrim for my RPG of the fall after the QL.

#184 Posted by Underwhelmed (44 posts) -

@Dunchad: If you are talking about the two words in terms of biological evolutionary theory, then yes, you are more or less correct. When using these two words outside of that context, they have different meanings. When a game (or really anything) is said to be "the next evolution" the general implication is that it is a significant leap forward. saying its iterative is implying that it is different, maybe a little improved , but not very much so.

#185 Posted by McQuinn (651 posts) -

This game is so satisfying. After the first 5 hours of dying a lot, I got in tune with the game and leveled up correctly so that everything just moved much more fluently. Best game I've played this year.

#186 Posted by RuneseekerMireille (325 posts) -

Definitely one of the best articles on the site! Thanks for this Rorie! I hope this at least gets more people to try the game for themselves!

#187 Posted by sins_of_mosin (1556 posts) -

You forgot the line: then you marry one.

#188 Posted by Brodehouse (9588 posts) -

Remember when Mass Effect 2 didn't painstakingly point out to Brad that if he did the Reaper IFF mission, the Collectors would show up and kidnap the crew, and then he would have a choice between finish getting loyalty of his team, or saving the crew?  Remember his reaction?  "It's bullshit that they punish you without conveying any of that information."  But it seems that every rule that every other game has to play by to not get excoriated by games enthusiasts just doesn't apply to the Souls series.  Other games get blasted on checkpoints/autosaving, stunlocks, lack of map/waypoints, convoluted statistics... the Souls series gets praised for doing what other games are criticized for.  What a bonus for them.

#189 Posted by Zaapp1 (657 posts) -

Man, that feeling when you parry and riposte? Perhaps the best rush in video games I've felt in a long time.

On a side note, I'm having technical issues on the 360 where, on occasion, hitting the attack button does nothing, but when I try to block it remembers I wanted to attack, leading to me getting hit more than I should.

#190 Posted by Death_Unicorn (2838 posts) -

THANKS RORIE! I'm going to start playing Dark Souls this weekend!

#191 Posted by ProfessorEss (7281 posts) -

Fantastic write up Rorie. 
 
This, plus the Quick Look, plus "Real Talk", minus a Star Rating is a pretty sweet format for reviewing a game.

#192 Posted by Spongetwan (202 posts) -

man, another game to add to the list, lol

#193 Posted by darkjester74 (1571 posts) -

Thoughtful, well written article, Matt. Well done!

#194 Posted by DeadDorf (388 posts) -

@Brodehouse: Brad was straight up wrong on that. That was an amazing part of ME2, and characters in the universe do talk about that real point of making a decision between going after them immediately or building up more forces.

#195 Posted by jonny_mung (90 posts) -

Thanks so much for this well written article. It's clear that you have an affection for this unique game and have written very eloquently about "what makes people play this" (a phrase so associated with this game and Demon's Souls).

I (as well as others in this community it seems) really appreciate the coverage of Dark Souls on this site.

Well done guys!

#196 Posted by kollay (1926 posts) -

Rorie, you're very lovable.

#197 Posted by Triphos (80 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

Remember when Mass Effect 2 didn't painstakingly point out to Brad that if he did the Reaper IFF mission, the Collectors would show up and kidnap the crew, and then he would have a choice between finish getting loyalty of his team, or saving the crew? Remember his reaction? "It's bullshit that they punish you without conveying any of that information." But it seems that every rule that every other game has to play by to not get excoriated by games enthusiasts just doesn't apply to the Souls series. Other games get blasted on checkpoints/autosaving, stunlocks, lack of map/waypoints, convoluted statistics... the Souls series gets praised for doing what other games are criticized for. What a bonus for them.

The difference is that that lack of information comes out of nowhere in Mass Effect 2, and goes against every other example of design logic in that game, which is fairly linear and hand-holdy. Demon's/Dark souls, on the other hand, is entirely designed around being obtuse and difficult, and you know that going in (at least, I would hope so), so you make the decision about if you're okay with that before you even purchase the game.

#198 Posted by darkjester74 (1571 posts) -

@Triphos said:

@Brodehouse said:

Remember when Mass Effect 2 didn't painstakingly point out to Brad that if he did the Reaper IFF mission, the Collectors would show up and kidnap the crew, and then he would have a choice between finish getting loyalty of his team, or saving the crew? Remember his reaction? "It's bullshit that they punish you without conveying any of that information." But it seems that every rule that every other game has to play by to not get excoriated by games enthusiasts just doesn't apply to the Souls series. Other games get blasted on checkpoints/autosaving, stunlocks, lack of map/waypoints, convoluted statistics... the Souls series gets praised for doing what other games are criticized for. What a bonus for them.

The difference is that that lack of information comes out of nowhere in Mass Effect 2, and goes against every other example of design logic in that game, which is fairly linear and hand-holdy. Demon's/Dark souls, on the other hand, is entirely designed around being obtuse and difficult, and you know that going in (at least, I would hope so), so you make the decision about if you're okay with that before you even purchase the game.

Well said. I always have loads of respect for a game that selects a specific and unique design or vision, and sticks with it throughout.

#199 Edited by Brodehouse (9588 posts) -
@Triphos: Once again, Dark Souls gets different criteria for judgement than every other game on the planet.  I don't see being obfuscatory about simple game mechanics to be a positive just because it's intentional.  I've never heard people praise stunlocks.  I remember Lost Planet 2 being criticized for not having a pause feature.  I'm not going to let it drive me crazy, but it's clear that Dark Souls gets a pass on things no other game does.
 
And I'm not against difficult games.  Super Meat Boy was in my top ten for 2010.  But I feel like Dark Souls approaches difficulty in the worst possible way.
#200 Posted by Magilicutty (13 posts) -

Very good write up. This encompasses everything I loved about Demon's Souls and everything I'm loving about Dark Souls.

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