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

#251 Posted by Crowbear (8 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@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.

It doesn't matter if you're human or hollow, you can always drop your summoning sign. You only have to be human to summon others.

Online
#252 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

@Crowbear said:

It doesn't matter if you're human or hollow, you can always drop your summoning sign. You only have to be human to summon others.

Ok, cool. But you do have to be human to invade... right? Or have I somehow totally misunderstood this aspect of the game?

Wait, never mind. I know that you have to be human to invade. I wasn't sure about the Summoning Sign since I haven't used it yet, but it's nice to know that you can use it in both forms.

#253 Posted by Thor_Molecules (732 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ: Yes, especially when you are hollow. It's the only way I know of to reliably gain humanity. While hollow, I helped around 8 different people beat the Gargoyles today, and I gained 8 humanity, and thousands of souls.

#254 Posted by Vortextk (418 posts) -

If anyone is still on the fence about this crazy fucking game, read this:(spoilers in a way)
http://darksoulswiki.wikispaces.com/Covenants
I'm not trying to learn everything before I play, on the contrary, but damn if that entire page just isn't absolutely crazy. I don't think it can be compared to honestly any other game in the world with it's online systems.

#255 Posted by SmiteOfHand (83 posts) -

The Souls games are like a disapproving father who you are constantly trying to prove yourself to and relish when you finally get as little as a nod. Any time you start to get a little full of yourself he will remind you how much of an insignificant little shit you are and how at any moment he can take it all away from you.

But he loves you.

#256 Posted by zymbo (84 posts) -

I'm about 8 or 9 hours into this game. I'm getting the living shit kicked out of me, stomping around, throwing my controller and using liberal amounts of the phrase, "fuck this shit!" ....but I'm having an absolute blast.

#257 Posted by Evan007 (6 posts) -

I am definitely going to give this a shot. It's not at all my type of game, and I am pretty sure I'll hate it, but I have to give it a shot.

#258 Posted by 3eeve (31 posts) -

This game looks wonderful. I want to play it so badly. But I just don't know if I'm masochistic enough to do it.

#259 Posted by rinn (6 posts) -

Great read! Rorie, I like you!

Just bought Demons' Souls, gonna play it and afterwards buy Dark Souls.

#260 Posted by slyely (154 posts) -

Missing out on the first game of this series because I do not own a PS3, I can't wait to play this. Man too many good games coming out this quarter.

#261 Posted by EternalGamer2 (111 posts) -

You got it absolutely right about the sense of reward unlike any other game. But unlike other "hardcore" games, this one doesn't really depend on split second twitch timing but rather on strategy, awareness, and execution. It's immensely refreshing given that most games nowadays are loaded with mindless trash mobs where you just hammer a button or a trigger. Every enemy conquered here is earned. I demand more Giant Bomb Dark Souls coverage!

#262 Posted by SearingLight (18 posts) -

I still can't help but feel that there's still something just so needlessly hollow about Demon's Souls - and thus Dark Souls - that prevents me from getting into the game like many others have. I usually sum it up like this:

-That you can destroy any and everything you see, including those NPCs necessary to progress? Fascinating and well implemented.

-A dual currency/exp. system? Same thing.

-Online play that actually immerses you into the game? ...I don't even... that's just bloody cool.

-Actually rewarding skillful and patient play? Freaking finally.

-Corpse running? Sure, whatever, it's been done many times before in a far less fun way.

-Making you run back through an entire level that you've already been through 5 times before just to attempt to figure out the second stage of the boss fight (only to die again)? Very tedious, unintuitive, and most certainly not fun.

#263 Posted by Mexican_Brownie (201 posts) -

Fantastic article, Rorie. Really summed up why I've fallen in love with this game. Really thankful for that quicklook of yours because it totally sold me on the game. 38 hrs in one weekend and all I wanna do is keep playing.

#264 Posted by MormonWarrior (2544 posts) -

@SearingLight said:

I still can't help but feel that there's still something just so needlessly hollow about Demon's Souls - and thus Dark Souls - that prevents me from getting into the game like many others have. I usually sum it up like this:

-That you can destroy any and everything you see, including those NPCs necessary to progress? Fascinating and well implemented.

-A dual currency/exp. system? Same thing.

-Online play that actually immerses you into the game? ...I don't even... that's just bloody cool.

-Actually rewarding skillful and patient play? Freaking finally.

-Corpse running? Sure, whatever, it's been done many times before in a far less fun way.

-Making you run back through an entire level that you've already been through 5 times before just to attempt to figure out the second stage of the boss fight (only to die again)? Very tedious, unintuitive, and most certainly not fun.

I agree with this entirely. These games are super intriguing, but what I enjoyed about the difficulty in, say, Meat Boy is that you're challenged to do one specific thing, and once you prove you can do it, you're done. Mega Man and other old games have become frustrating to me as I realize there's no point to lives or bad checkpoints when I've already proven I can get through the level just fine without dying and there's the one point later that I can't seem to grasp. Sonic 2 is a perfect example of obnoxious, pointless frustration. I can get to the end of the game with lots of lives and continues, but that end boss is so tough to figure out and the rest of the game didn't prepare me for it at all so I just ended up saying "well, I'm done with Sonic 2 I guess!" the third time I got to him and went through all my continues.

#265 Posted by Sam_lfcfan (139 posts) -

Excellent write-up, Rorie. Really interested in playing this at some point.

#266 Edited by megalowho (960 posts) -

@SearingLight said:

-Making you run back through an entire level that you've already been through 5 times before just to attempt to figure out the second stage of the boss fight (only to die again)? Very tedious, unintuitive, and most certainly not fun.

I'm not sure if you've played both games or just Demon's Souls, but in my opinion the open world aspect really softens this problem in Dark Souls. There are lots of shortcuts as everything is connected and so far I haven't been more than a few minutes away from a bonfire during each major boss encounter, allowing me time to regroup and prepare properly. They also don't respawn, and neither do the tougher enemies you encounter from time to time. It's one of the small changes that makes this new game much more playable than Demon's Souls, which I gave up on fairly early on.

Had my first co-op experience last night, my heart was pounding out of my chest once it was over and we'd taken down the demon. Even minor victories in DS make me feel like I've beaten an entire game. I'm completely hooked.

#267 Posted by Dan_CiTi (3188 posts) -

the fact that these games are thought of as masochistic when good ol' Mega Man games are just "old school" is hilarious.

#268 Posted by dvorak (1496 posts) -

@Dan_CiTi said:

the fact that these games are thought of as masochistic when good ol' Mega Man games are just "old school" is hilarious.

In fact, they really both play on the same skill - memorization. Once you know how to work out a Mega Man stage, and know all the weaknesses the games become a hell of a lot easier. I failed so much playing Mega Man 2 as a kid that when I eventually finished the whole thing and figured out all the weaknesses on my own, I remember that being one of the most satisfying moments of my early gaming career.

Dark/Demon's Souls is basically the same idea, just more complex and obviously, a lot longer.

#269 Posted by FreedomTown (258 posts) -

Great article, good work

#270 Posted by HerbieBug (4212 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.

Ha!  I actually just signed on specifically to say thanks for teaching me a new word.  :D 
#271 Edited by HerbieBug (4212 posts) -
@megalowho said:

@SearingLight said:

-Making you run back through an entire level that you've already been through 5 times before just to attempt to figure out the second stage of the boss fight (only to die again)? Very tedious, unintuitive, and most certainly not fun.

I'm not sure if you've played both games or just Demon's Souls, but in my opinion the open world aspect really softens this problem in Dark Souls. There are lots of shortcuts as everything is connected and so far I haven't been more than a few minutes away from a bonfire during each major boss encounter, allowing me time to regroup and prepare properly. They also don't respawn, and neither do the tougher enemies you encounter from time to time. It's one of the small changes that makes this new game much more playable than Demon's Souls, which I gave up on fairly early on.

Had my first co-op experience last night, my heart was pounding out of my chest once it was over and we'd taken down the demon. Even minor victories in DS make me feel like I've beaten an entire game. I'm completely hooked.

Opinion based on 12 hours of gameplay so far (and about 60 of Demon's):
 
-The bonfire placement is a little bit more forgiving for boss proximity than Demon's physical checkpoints were.  Of the bosses I've taken on so far, none required more than 5-ish minutes of backtracking (although one required membership in a Covenant to ensure minimal fighting between bonfire and boss).  There hasn't been any egregious bits like 1-2 or 4-2 Demon's where it's all LOL PLAY THE ENTIRE LEVEL AGAIN!   It's still a design decision I disagree with.  Boss fights are intended to be hard.  You are likely to die repeatedly on many of them.  To have to slog through tedious crap for minutes just to try again is pointless busy work.  I'll gladly take on a harder boss if it has a bonfire immediately next to the fight trigger.  As a player I don't like having my time wasted.   But, as you said, it's not so bad in Dark Souls.  
 
The only thing I really have a problem with in Demon's and this is permanent repercussions for committing certain easy to make mistakes (intentionally so).  Finite number of spawns for a particular breed of slippery ore carrying lizards in Demon's, and the HP curse/item degradation stuff in Dark.  The kind of thing where missing the thing/dying not only takes away your current progress, but additionally sets you back even further than you were when you started.   It's one thing if the mistake is something you can see coming and have an opportunity to prepare for without having to read an FAQ, quite another if its something the game springs on you quickly and without warning.  
 
All that aside, I'm having a blast with this game.  It's a great sequel to another great game. 
#272 Posted by SearingLight (18 posts) -

@HerbieBug said:

-The bonfire placement is a little bit more forgiving for boss proximity than Demon's physical checkpoints were. Of the bosses I've taken on so far, none required more than 5-ish minutes of backtracking (although one required membership in a Covenant to ensure minimal fighting between bonfire and boss). There hasn't been any egregious bits like 1-2 or 4-2 Demon's where it's all LOL PLAY THE ENTIRE LEVEL AGAIN! It's still a design decision I disagree with. Boss fights are intended to be hard. You are likely to die repeatedly on many of them. To have to slog through tedious crap for minutes just to try again is pointless busy work. I'll gladly take on a harder boss if it has a bonfire immediately next to the fight trigger. As a player I don't like having my time wasted. But, as you said, it's not so bad in Dark Souls.

The only thing I really have a problem with in Demon's and this is permanent repercussions for committing certain easy to make mistakes (intentionally so). Finite number of spawns for a particular breed of slippery ore carrying lizards in Demon's, and the HP curse/item degradation stuff in Dark. The kind of thing where missing the thing/dying not only takes away your current progress, but additionally sets you back even further than you were when you started. It's one thing if the mistake is something you can see coming and have an opportunity to prepare for without having to read an FAQ, quite another if its something the game springs on you quickly and without warning. All that aside, I'm having a blast with this game. It's a great sequel to another great game.

I think that you quite well summarize my argument with the above, and bring up a fantastic point with the bolded statement below: the inherent scarcity not of resources, but of opportunity. Much like the blink-and-you'll-miss-'em 100% item completion criteria that plague some JRPGs (at least where completionists like myself are concerned), to me, one of the biggest wrongs that can be committed in game design is to give a player a - what I will confusingly deem - 'non-choice choice'. This is a choice that is formed around the player being able to obtain or do something (let's take, for example, killing a Crystal Lizard in Demon's Souls), where the possibility to do either gradually diminishes over time, not comparable with the vanishing of player capability, but with the deliberate taking away of the choice itself.

So, the player is presented with the "choice" to return and attempt to kill the Lizard as many times as he may seem fit, until the expiration of its predetermined number of appearances. Or, using the item degradation example: the player is presented with an item that is acquired through play and thought, but is shown that the acquired item will, eventually, have to pass from his/her hands via absolutely no fault of their own. In the Crystal Lizard example, the player's non-choice choice is to choose to attempt to kill the Lizard now, at the risk of never seeing it again (although the player does not know this); and in the item example, it is to use what the player has been trained to think is an item to be acquired by gameplay, only to know that it will be taken away all the same (which, although a conscious realization, it is one the player has very little to no input upon).

I think this kind of design is really what puts me away from some games, no matter how amazing their premise, and swell their execution. Because of this kind of design, the mere possibility of thoroughly "screwing up" one's Demon's Souls experience is so high that even walking around the Nexus causes me some slight palpitations, even though that very feeling of walking on eggshells is what I admire about the game.

Perhaps, in the end, while I won't be trying Dark Souls - I have ever so little time to even enjoy the games I've barely begun to play - I will feel comfort in that it's only going to get more interesting from here on out.

#273 Posted by SatelliteOfLove (1369 posts) -
@Mento said:

Hey Rorie, if you're over here, then who's watching Screened?

I was going to take issue with the "unique" thing, seeing as the game appears nigh identical to Demon's Souls, but instead I'm going to take the high road and ask why FromSoftware suddenly decided it hated everyone. Is it because we made fun of how bad EverGrace was? Or how uncomfortable that one particular character from Enchanted Arms was to be around?

They do not hate us, they respect us.
#274 Posted by Grinsa (40 posts) -

Rorie single handedly convinced me to buy Dark Souls, and I may never forgive him for the pain I am sure to endure.

#275 Posted by agemyth (92 posts) -

Rented this game and finished within the 7 day rental period. Total Time Played - 69 hours 49 minutes. Great game. I rented because I never picked up Demon's Souls so I wasn't sure what I was in for. I'm considering buying the game now for more play-throughs as different classes and to experience the other side of invading worlds.

#276 Posted by StrikeALight (1114 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.

That's the spirit!

#277 Posted by beanZfury (59 posts) -

I hated Demon's Souls. It was a game I have not been used to playing in many years. That kind of game was 'challenging'. Not to say playing games like Gears of War or Halo etc on the highest difficulty were not challenging. They were. It's just that Demon's Souls did not give me a choice. I played for about 4 hours and gave up. I swore I wouldn't play again. Now listening to Bombcast and, TVGP, and Tiltcast... I've been suckered into giving Dark Souls a go. I think I'm ready now. Like being in a relationship; there's a time you feel like you're ready. I'm ready to sink the time into this; and although it may be frustrating and cruel at times, I feel I'm ready for a bit of the old school experimentation that I have not experienced for many years. Winter's coming. Bring it on Dark Souls... but be gentle on these old gaming bones.

#278 Posted by subtleglitch (8 posts) -

@Kartana: so i'm guessing you tried playing it for a few hours max, and just ended up rage quitting?

i ended up platinuming the game on the PS3, and i enjoyed the challenge. you don't have to grind that much tbh, unlike in other games like FF for example. so i don't know what you're complaining about.

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