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

#201 Posted by cikame (993 posts) -

It's a shame about the xbox live chat issue, i play all my games while talking to friends, nothing about stopping me from doing that is a good thing.

#202 Posted by Undeadpool (4924 posts) -

I've had to prioritize my buying, so this game's currently on the backburner, but the more I hear about it, the more I think I'm definitely going to pick it up.

#203 Posted by probablytuna (3621 posts) -

My copy was dispatched last night, going to have to wait another week before it arrives -sigh- but that also means I have more time playing Demon's Souls!

#204 Posted by Tesla (1919 posts) -

Well done Rorie. I think I'll be buying Dark Souls tonight.

#205 Posted by Bobby_The_Great (1004 posts) -

@RockmanBionics said:

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!

Now that I think about it, that's a pretty apt description.

#206 Edited by Bobby_The_Great (1004 posts) -

Find Astora's Straight Sword in the "Valley of Drakes" early on. You all with thank me later as you progress the game.

Also, on the 360 while playing the game, I've been able to party chat with my friends. So I guess that's a non-issue that didn't make it once the game shipped? Anyone else able to talk to their friends?

#207 Posted by Khalen (98 posts) -

I've seen the QuickLook and now I've read this article (thanks Rorie). Realllllly thinking about geting a PS3 :)

#208 Posted by Essence (2 posts) -

For those that keep mentioning the 360 version. I am playing through it on 360 and have no complaints whatsoever. Loving the game.

#209 Posted by SirDancelot (80 posts) -

Really enjoyed the article Rorie, and totally agree with the overwhelming sense of accomplishment felt when I complete a boss, or defend against someone invading. Also, does anybody know where to go for a thorough guide or walkthrough?

#210 Posted by DigitalOpiate (21 posts) -

Good article, I love this game and I'm so glad someone on here besides Vinny can appreciate this great game. You won't wont get whats great about these 2 games if you haven't put in the time and effort. and this is coming from a gamer who hates to be frustrated in games.

#211 Posted by Lind_L_Taylor (3963 posts) -

Rorie said the game requires "skill". What kind of skill is he talking about? Reflexes?
Fast Hand/Eye coordination? Or what? If it's a twitch-based game ala CoD or Ninja
Gaiden, then the game DVD will probably get broken in half & a controller will be thrown
against the wall if I play it. I think that a game that causes frustration simply pushes
out its own set of endorphins that some people might enjoy & being taken out of a
frustrating area makes one feel satisfied when the "challenge" has been completed.
You can feel that way from doing a good job at work after a tough day. I don't know
if I'd care for that in a video game, unless I was out of work for weeks on end & had
time to play something this involved.

#212 Posted by Lucidlife (107 posts) -

"picayune"? Seriously? You couldn't just say trivial? Smacks of deliberately trying to use words that you think will make you sounds smart. They don't.

#213 Posted by Kratch (367 posts) -

@Marz said:

Dark Souls is like a Marathon race... so demanding on your willpower and you "hit a wall" using marathon terms, once you get over that hump and finish the race you can't help but feel immensely accomplished in life. Dark Souls is like that but there's multiple walls throughout that adventure.

Very true. I fought the Capra Demon about ten to fifteen times, dying within the first thirty seconds of the fight every time. I got frustrated, put the game down for a day, then went back to it. That time, I killed that goat-headed asshole on the first try.

#214 Posted by bearshamanbro (284 posts) -

@Lind_L_Taylor: It's a different kind of skill than other games that I've played. It's not a fast-paced action game like Ninja Gaiden. It is the type of game that will leave your hands sweating at times though. It's very much an animation based combat, so attacks are more life-like and take time to perform. Where the skill comes in is that attack animations have realistic windup and recovery times so you have to choose your attacks carefully to time with the enemies animations. The other skill is learning to read patterns, no matter how intimidating anything in the game looks, there is a pattern but you have to experiments and figure out what that is. The other skill is patience. The game is not incredibly difficult, just punishes harder than other games for mistakes. This is what makes it so tense. Fighting is only moderately difficult but mistakes are punished. For that reason, you have to be patient enough to only hit buttons when the time is right. You almost get rewarded for not hitting buttons in a way.

#215 Posted by magimix (55 posts) -

@bearshamanbro: @bearshamanbro said:

@Lind_L_Taylor: It's a different kind of skill than other games that I've played. It's not a fast-paced action game like Ninja Gaiden. It is the type of game that will leave your hands sweating at times though. It's very much an animation based combat, so attacks are more life-like and take time to perform. Where the skill comes in is that attack animations have realistic windup and recovery times so you have to choose your attacks carefully to time with the enemies animations. The other skill is learning to read patterns, no matter how intimidating anything in the game looks, there is a pattern but you have to experiments and figure out what that is. The other skill is patience. The game is not incredibly difficult, just punishes harder than other games for mistakes. This is what makes it so tense. Fighting is only moderately difficult but mistakes are punished. For that reason, you have to be patient enough to only hit buttons when the time is right. You almost get rewarded for not hitting buttons in a way.

A thousand times this. I think of it as the swords-n-sorcery analogue of a tactical shooter. The wind up and recovery times mean you will not, and cannot, mash your way through fights. Every fight is as much a puzzle as anything. I actually find this makes the game quite accessible to me. The pace of combat isn't predicated around twitchiness. All the speed and reflexes in the world will not save you if you aren't *thinking* about what you are doing.

#216 Posted by Gordo789 (358 posts) -

Only about 5 hours in. Loving it so far. This game is not for everyone, and I can see where it might turn a lot of folks off, but if it is anywhere near as good as the first one (and it seems to be so far) then it is my game of the year already.

#217 Posted by swamplord666 (1758 posts) -

been playing dark souls for a couple of hours and i must say, the relief I get when reaching a bonfire after trying the section over and over again is awesome.

#218 Posted by Keeng (999 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.

That moment is Mass Effect does suck and the moments like that the Souls games are equally terrible. However, the rest of the things that comprise difficulty in these games are major factors in why the games are so successful. They force the player to become immersed in every aspect of play. You come away from a session with one of these games feeling like you were actually on an incredibly dangerous adventure. The tension of having no idea where the next checkpoint is, nor how dangerous the enemy around the corner will be is unrivaled in a contemporary game. So you die by that enemy's hand and then return to that same area 20 minutes later. You dodge that attack that killed you 20 minutes ago, roll around behind him as he recovers from the swing, and kill him with a backstab. The exhilaration you get out of that is also unrivaled by what most games can offer. Less than an hour ago you were afraid to face this thing at all and now it is dead.

In short, Dark Souls makes you value your survival in a game. It makes you actively fear dying which in turn makes everything that happens while you're alive astronomically more critical. That would have been impossible to achieve without breaking modern game design norms.

#219 Posted by swamplord666 (1758 posts) -

@magimix said:

@bearshamanbro: @bearshamanbro said:

@Lind_L_Taylor: It's a different kind of skill than other games that I've played. It's not a fast-paced action game like Ninja Gaiden. It is the type of game that will leave your hands sweating at times though. It's very much an animation based combat, so attacks are more life-like and take time to perform. Where the skill comes in is that attack animations have realistic windup and recovery times so you have to choose your attacks carefully to time with the enemies animations. The other skill is learning to read patterns, no matter how intimidating anything in the game looks, there is a pattern but you have to experiments and figure out what that is. The other skill is patience. The game is not incredibly difficult, just punishes harder than other games for mistakes. This is what makes it so tense. Fighting is only moderately difficult but mistakes are punished. For that reason, you have to be patient enough to only hit buttons when the time is right. You almost get rewarded for not hitting buttons in a way.

A thousand times this. I think of it as the swords-n-sorcery analogue of a tactical shooter. The wind up and recovery times mean you will not, and cannot, mash your way through fights. Every fight is as much a puzzle as anything. I actually find this makes the game quite accessible to me. The pace of combat isn't predicated around twitchiness. All the speed and reflexes in the world will not save you if you aren't *thinking* about what you are doing.

Yep. There are countless times in both dark and demons souls where a fight with a single difficult enemy would take 2-3 minutes, most of which is dancing around him waiting for an opportunity.

Also you have to anticipate what situation you're getting into because charging into of even 3-4 scrubs is suicide unless you know what you're doing.

It's also one of the only games that has conditioned me to press buttons in a thought out manner. With every action having animations that take time to complete, you have to think about what i'm doing. I just love (and hate) getting knocked out of a guard and panicking as an enemy is winding up a finishing blow, only to dive out of the way just in time!

#220 Posted by oldskooldeano (119 posts) -

@Bobby_The_Great said:

Find Astora's Straight Sword in the "Valley of Drakes" early on. You all with thank me later as you progress the game.

Also, on the 360 while playing the game, I've been able to party chat with my friends. So I guess that's a non-issue that didn't make it once the game shipped? Anyone else able to talk to their friends?

Party chat on the 360 is disabled. Last time I tried it, the game said, this function is disabled, auto-saved and kicked me to the main menu. No chance to turn it off, no option given. Brutal, just like the game and I love them for it.

#221 Posted by SatelliteOfLove (1369 posts) -

If I had to sum up the emotion that Dark Souls elicits in a single word, I’d choose “satisfaction." There are any number of immensely frustrating encounters to faced had here, but with a few more levels or an upgraded weapon, or a bit more practice with the combat system, you’re going to overcome the challenges you face, and when you do, the feeling is unlike anything that any other contemporary game can offer. This is a game that demands skill on the part of its players, to a degree that is almost unparalleled, but rewards that skill with moments of triumph so sublime that I was often moved to actually yell in triumph. Dark Souls offers you a brutal, uncompromising, and downright lonely world, but the act of conquering it is utterly unique.

 
 
This why I equate my time with the Souls series with my time in old school WoW raiding. The victory cry I let out upon killing a Souls boss that had barnholed me a dozen times is the same one that reverberated thru Ventrillo in those better days of 2005-2008 when some asshole boss that had stymied us for weeks.
 
It is, without hyperbole, a better reward than the guarentee of success that keeps both celebration of winning and game design crippled.
#222 Posted by Blatblaterryday (6 posts) -

Awesome read Rorie!!

#223 Posted by toadstule (280 posts) -

I hope the title of this article was a reference to NAS' Life's a Bitch song.

#224 Posted by Jethuty (1023 posts) -

Rorie, i love you and your articles so goddamn much

#225 Posted by The_LMFAO_Guy (192 posts) -

I always wished that guys like Matthew Rorie would get more pussy than man-love because of stuff like this.

#226 Posted by sissylion (679 posts) -

@The_LMFAO_Guy said:

I always wished that guys like Matthew Rorie would get more pussy than man-love because of stuff like this.

He's a dog person.

#227 Posted by _Dust_ (38 posts) -

Keep fighting the good fight, Mattthew Rorie!

#228 Posted by freakin9 (1113 posts) -

Played some more of the game today, the game is definitely more confusing than the first Demon's Souls which while at times confusing was semi-straight forward with the hub world and the areas you could go in. The open worldedness of this game and the many paths and nooks and cranies and forks in the roads which are rarely just the choice between finding a treasure chest and continuing on the bigger journey, there is sometimes 5 bigger journey paths to take and it can get overwhelming. There's also a lot more of those enemies that are there to be killed once, and while satisfying to kill that means more enemies that are really powerful throughout the world.

I have to be honest, I think I might hate the bonfires, not so much for what they are, but it's now become a bit of a bitch to become your human form. Before you had several options but now it's as if the game assumes you want to be hollowed/dead for most of the game so they've made you have to trek to a bonfire to perform the human switch. I'm going to guess there's an item eventually that lets you not have to go back to a bonfire to make the switch, but it's something that has really been irking me about the game.

#229 Posted by DeF (4863 posts) -

I can't believe this, if I had the spare cash, Rorie might just have sold me on this damn game (maybe even the original).
 
dammit!

#230 Posted by craigbo180 (1739 posts) -

Sounds like a beast of a game!

#231 Posted by Drebin_893 (2911 posts) -

Thanks Rorie, that was banging.

#232 Posted by Vexxan (4619 posts) -

The saving mechanism is this game really sounds like a bitch. Didn't play any Dark Souls but I'm thinking of buying this game sometime in the future.

Online
#233 Posted by Lind_L_Taylor (3963 posts) -
Did any of you play Too Human?  That seems to remind me of  
how Too Human played out.  You would have a hoard of creatures
come up & you would have to time when to move when they 
attacked in order to kills some, however, due to it having a lot
of mobs to strike, made the timing really hard.  I was dying a 
lot.  And chucking my controller a lot.  And yelling at the TV
a lot.  So if it sort of mirrors that Too Human feel, but better,
I don't think I'll be able to play this game, at least not at full
price. :}
 
@swamplord666 said:

@magimix said:

@bearshamanbro: @bearshamanbro said:

@Lind_L_Taylor: It's a different kind of skill than other games that I've played. It's not a fast-paced action game like Ninja Gaiden. It is the type of game that will leave your hands sweating at times though. It's very much an animation based combat, so attacks are more life-like and take time to perform. Where the skill comes in is that attack animations have realistic windup and recovery times so you have to choose your attacks carefully to time with the enemies animations. The other skill is learning to read patterns, no matter how intimidating anything in the game looks, there is a pattern but you have to experiments and figure out what that is. The other skill is patience. The game is not incredibly difficult, just punishes harder than other games for mistakes. This is what makes it so tense. Fighting is only moderately difficult but mistakes are punished. For that reason, you have to be patient enough to only hit buttons when the time is right. You almost get rewarded for not hitting buttons in a way.

A thousand times this. I think of it as the swords-n-sorcery analogue of a tactical shooter. The wind up and recovery times mean you will not, and cannot, mash your way through fights. Every fight is as much a puzzle as anything. I actually find this makes the game quite accessible to me. The pace of combat isn't predicated around twitchiness. All the speed and reflexes in the world will not save you if you aren't *thinking* about what you are doing.

Yep. There are countless times in both dark and demons souls where a fight with a single difficult enemy would take 2-3 minutes, most of which is dancing around him waiting for an opportunity.

Also you have to anticipate what situation you're getting into because charging into of even 3-4 scrubs is suicide unless you know what you're doing.

It's also one of the only games that has conditioned me to press buttons in a thought out manner. With every action having animations that take time to complete, you have to think about what i'm doing. I just love (and hate) getting knocked out of a guard and panicking as an enemy is winding up a finishing blow, only to dive out of the way just in time!

#234 Posted by kingzetta (4307 posts) -
@Vegsen said:

The saving mechanism is this game really sounds like a bitch. Didn't play any Dark Souls but I'm thinking of buying this game sometime in the future.

it autosave every 5 seconds, you have to live with your choices.
#235 Posted by Nux (2334 posts) -

Really rood read. I'm pumped to play more.

Online
#236 Posted by subyman (606 posts) -

I liked Demon Souls, but didn't get too far in it. I picked up Dark Souls anyway and am loving it so far. Once you get past the gamer mentality of being a complete failure when dying, it is very enjoyable. It WILL take you 5-10 tries to beat bosses. You WILL die numerous times when exploring. You WILL lose all your souls many times. It isn't nearly as bad when I finally accepted this as a part of the game. It was very uncomfortable at first, but the tension it builds in-game is incredible. It reminds me of old-school MMOs where death penalties meant hours of gameplay were lost. My most memorable gaming moments are from those games.

#237 Posted by heretrix (84 posts) -

I'm digging the game (kinda) but I have to echo some of the comments here. I think that the heaps of praise for this game where other games would get bashed (controls, shitty camera, etc) is kind of amusing. It's a great game but I can't help to think how much better it would be if it were more polished. It took me a good two hours to get used to the framerate and the camera gets too goddamn close sometimes. It's a fantastic world though. It would be nice if someone created a game like this that didn't feel like you were playing with a broken controller.

#238 Posted by buckybit (1455 posts) -

I found this comment on gametrailers forums by user statikcat. Just wanted to share here:

Re: Games like Demon's Souls?

Posted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:23 am

The great thing about Demons Souls is that it makes you almost feel like a newbie again with games. These days you pickup about any game and at least feel comfortable with it. Demons Souls made me feel like I was a kid again on the PS1 playing Resident Evil 1 or something. You just don't get that experience these days. Therefor .. wait for DS2 lol.
#239 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@DeF: The Demon's Souls servers are now offline. Just so you know.

#240 Posted by supermatt333 (1 posts) -

I demand an endurance run.

#241 Posted by DeF (4863 posts) -

@Canteu said:

@DeF: The Demon's Souls servers are now offline. Just so you know.

no, I just read recently that they're gonna keep them running a little longer than initially planned even. till spring or something like that.

#242 Posted by Rorie (2858 posts) -

@Lucidlife said:

"picayune"? Seriously? You couldn't just say trivial? Smacks of deliberately trying to use words that you think will make you sounds smart. They don't.

As Nabokov once said:

I do not care if a word is "archaic" or "dialect" or "slang"; I am an eclectic democrat in this manner, and whatever suits me, goes.

I apologize for selecting a word that you don't know. Actually, no, I don't: you're calling me out for a valid word choice that reads more colorfully than "trivial" would sound there, at least in my opinion. People's writing styles vary, and if you actually think everyone should level themselves downward to the dullest possible vocabulary - well, I politely disagree.

Staff
#243 Posted by Ulong (445 posts) -
@Rorie: Are you still playing dark soul's? I'm guessing this article was kind of in place of a review, since you haden't beaten it. But does the writing of this article mean you have stopped playing, or are you still poking away at it?
#244 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19330 posts) -

@Canteu said:

@DeF: The Demon's Souls servers are now offline. Just so you know.

No, they're not. Atlus extended the servers until 2012 and there's actually a Pure White Tendency going until October 17th right now. After that, it'll be Pure Black for the rest of this month.

#245 Posted by Rorie (2858 posts) -

@Ulong said:

@Rorie: Are you still playing dark soul's? I'm guessing this article was kind of in place of a review, since you haden't beaten it. But does the writing of this article mean you have stopped playing, or are you still poking away at it?

I hit a bit of a wall where I have two boss fights in front of me and no humanity to become human and summon in help. I also can't backtrack out of the zone I'm in. One fight's a two-on-one, one's a three-on-one. So I might keep pecking away at it, or start the game over and try a different plan.

Or I might just give it a couple of weeks and let the wikis flesh themselves out.

Staff
#246 Posted by buckybit (1455 posts) -

@Rorie said:

@Lucidlife said:

"picayune"? Seriously? You couldn't just say trivial? Smacks of deliberately trying to use words that you think will make you sounds smart. They don't.

As Nabokov once said:

I do not care if a word is "archaic" or "dialect" or "slang"; I am an eclectic democrat in this manner, and whatever suits me, goes.

I apologize for selecting a word that you don't know. Actually, no, I don't: you're calling me out for a valid word choice that reads more colorfully than "trivial" would sound there, at least in my opinion. People's writing styles vary, and if you actually think everyone should level themselves downward to the dullest possible vocabulary - well, I politely disagree.

Bravo, Sir. Without butterflies, this language of yours (native English speaker/writers) would dry out.

===

btw:

King's Field - The Ancient City for PS2 (US release)

In other news: I started playing a bit of the back catalog of From Software and browsing old PC games for the similar 'experience' as Demon & Dāku Souru. What kind of PC games come to your mind, fellow RPG veterans?

Idol of Sorrow - Brings tragedy to the one who holds it ...
#247 Posted by Rorie (2858 posts) -

@buckybit said:

In other news: I started playing a bit of the back catalog of From Software and browsing old PC games for the similar 'experience' as Demon & Dāku Souru. What kind of PC games come to your mind, fellow RPG veterans?

The old King's Field games for the Playstation are, of course, options, but I'm sure they have aged quite poorly. The movement speed in those games was tragically slow.

Staff
#248 Posted by Thor_Molecules (732 posts) -

@Rorie: Have you tried dropping your summoning sign in front of the boss areas to regain humanity?

I helped out a ton of people with the Gargoyle bosses before I actually killed them myself, and I got plenty of Sun medals, souls, and a ton of humanity for my troubles.

#249 Posted by kingzetta (4307 posts) -
@Rorie said:

@Ulong said:

@Rorie: Are you still playing dark soul's? I'm guessing this article was kind of in place of a review, since you haden't beaten it. But does the writing of this article mean you have stopped playing, or are you still poking away at it?

I hit a bit of a wall where I have two boss fights in front of me and no humanity to become human and summon in help. I also can't backtrack out of the zone I'm in. One fight's a two-on-one, one's a three-on-one. So I might keep pecking away at it, or start the game over and try a different plan.

Or I might just give it a couple of weeks and let the wikis flesh themselves out.

Here you go
http://darksoulswiki.wikispaces.com/home
#250 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19330 posts) -

@Buckfitches said:

@Rorie: Have you tried dropping your summoning sign in front of the boss areas to regain humanity?

I helped out a ton of people with the Gargoyle bosses before I actually killed them myself, and I got plenty of Sun medals, souls, and a ton of humanity for my troubles.

Can you drop a Summon Sign when you're a Hollow? Because by the sound of things, he's Hollow and he has no humanity to revive into a human so he wouldn't even be able to leave a Summon Sign if it works like I think it does.

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