So I finally beat Dark Souls...

Posted by JayEH (534 posts) -

Back in April, Demon's Souls was made available for Playstation Plus owners. I had heard how hard the game was over the years and decided to give it a try. To make a long story short, I beat the first real boss and quickly became frustrated with the game due to the amount of times I was dying.

Fast forward to October. By this time, I've been watching Load Our Last Souls and once again have gotten interested in the Souls Series. I kept telling myself that I didn't like Demon's Souls so this wouldn't change at all but one night I decided to buy Dark Souls from the Xbox Marketplace.Once again, I beat the first real boss and quit, vowing to never play these games again.

Fast forward again to mid December. Having finished my finals and I started planning out what I wanted to do for Winter Break. With almost no games to play for my PS4 at the moment, I decided to give Dark Souls one more try but this time I took a different approach. I decided that I'd give myself a couple tries of an area and if I couldn't figure out what to do, I'd read/watch a guide.

I did this for the first few areas of the game and once I felt comfortable with the game I went on my own. (I think this was around Sen's Fortress) Around this time the game started to really click with me. I get what everybody likes about this game and soon I found myself really looking forward to playing the game at night. And then a few days ago, I did it. I beat Lord Gywn and accidentally got the Dark Lord ending by stepping outside.

Reflecting back at it, Dark Souls isn't really a "hard" game. It's no walk in the park but the real hard part of the game is trying to figure out what's going on. What's kindling? What's the difference between human and hollow forms? How do I use magic? I think if the game would explain its gameplay systems more, more people may get into the game. But that could also be part of why the game works

So at the moment, I'm replaying the game as a Sorcerer and absorbing myself in the lore. (This game actually has a really amazing story and world for those who don't know) I'm really looking forward to Dark Souls 2 and the new challenges ahead.

#1 Posted by crithon (3307 posts) -

@jayeh said:

Reflecting back at it, Dark Souls isn't really a "hard" game. It's no walk in the park but the real hard part of the game is trying to figure out what's going on. What's kindling? What's the difference between human and hollow forms? How do I use magic? I think if the game would explain its gameplay systems more, more people may get into the game. But that could also be part of why the game works

that's what I love to hear!!!! But yeah, lets play and load your last soul help just inspire me too to just press on this game even if it looks bizarre design that feel like a sadistic joke.

#2 Posted by TruthTellah (9153 posts) -

@jayeh: Congrats on beating Dark Souls! Now it has you for good! :)

#3 Posted by ViciousBearMauling (1118 posts) -

Congratulations!

The lore is really interesting and fun to uncover! Fantastic characters all throughout the game.

\o/ Praise The Sun \o/


#4 Edited by noizy (669 posts) -

@jayeh said:

Reflecting back at it, Dark Souls isn't really a "hard" game. It's no walk in the park but the real hard part of the game is trying to figure out what's going on. What's kindling? What's the difference between human and hollow forms? How do I use magic? I think if the game would explain its gameplay systems more, more people may get into the game. But that could also be part of why the game works

Don't underestimate how much you've learned about enemy patterns, the behaviour of your character, and the motor skills you've learned playing it for hours. The game sure is opaque about its systems, but the slow learning of enemy AI and set pieces, in my view anyway, is the time consuming piece.

#5 Posted by JackSukeru (5916 posts) -

Discovering the systems of a game like Dark Souls is definetly part of it's appeal, yet I'd say it could definetly get better at teaching you certain things about itself. Things it clearly wants you to learn because there are attempts at conveying them in the game, some less successful than others.

These are not things like how to fight enemies or win boss battles, the things you naturally learn as you play, but the more obtuse systems like the difference between Reinforcing & Ascension, what Reqparam and BonusParam is, how Poise is useful, or even the simpler stuff like why you'd want to Kindle bonfires. Even just encouraging players to dig through their inventory and read item description could go a long way for some people (and making it easier to navigate the menus to begin with definetly would).

I think the developers have said something about this specifically when talking of making Dark Souls 2. That is, that they want to make it more approachable by making the game better at teaching the player its systems. Hopefully that works out.

#6 Edited by EuanDewar (4966 posts) -

@jayeh said:

Reflecting back at it, Dark Souls isn't really a "hard" game. It's no walk in the park but the real hard part of the game is trying to figure out what's going on. What's kindling? What's the difference between human and hollow forms? How do I use magic? I think if the game would explain its gameplay systems more, more people may get into the game. But that could also be part of why the game works

Yes yes yes yes this this THIS. What I'm about to say is gonna make me sound like a massive prick but I feel I do my best most of the time to be polite and understanding so I'm gonna allow myself this one time.

I really dislike how people view Dark Souls, specifically people who haven't played the game or haven't played very much of it. It has this damaging reputation(some of which is partly the fault of the marketing of the game) of being this big black monolith on the horizon, Patrick even called it a "Rite of Passage" on the GOTY podcasts. But it's not that. It's not the hardest game ever, it's not some rabid dog runnin about looking to fuck you up. It's the modern incarnation of the fucking original Legend of Zelda.

It's an adventure that says "fuck what'cha heard" and comes with its own set of rules and ideas about how you should approach it and that's what makes it stick out. It rewards you for taking risks and thinking outside of the usual box and inside of it's own box. I mean christ, it has a lore deeper, bleaker and more intriguing than most other RPGs and chances are you'll never even fucking realise its there unless you look long and hard for it! That's not scary, that's exciting!

I'm not cynical about games, I don't think the industry is in a bad place right now, but I do think that even some of the best games nowadays could benefit from looking at the Souls games and taking some of it's principles. Not it's ideas, but it's principles.

I don't think it's perfect, I can recognize that it needs to explain some parts of itself better. But that doesn't matter. It doesn't need to be perfect cause it's the only game that can really give you that sense of discovery you had when you first got into playing games.

#7 Posted by VaddixBell (270 posts) -

Fantastic to hear. I agree with all your points the game isn't as hard as people portray it. It's given you tools and asks you to figure out what works for you and what's effective. It teaches you to pay attention to your environment and what the game is trying to tell you.

I think if From Software communicates some of its mechanics and design to new players a bit more coherently and clearly, Dark Souls could have a much larger fanbase because every other element of the game; the gameplay, environment, design, lore and all the other systems; are superb. If From Software can communicate some of the mechanics better in DS2 but maintains the other aspects that made DS1 a great game, they can appeal to a wider audience who does want a challenge in games.

#8 Posted by dudeglove (7906 posts) -

It might not be the best game of all time, but it's the best game of its time. Check out HellkiteDrake and VaatiVidya's vids over on YouTube (as well as EpicNameBro and AGermanSpy, but those two are a little dry) for really quite well done lore vids. Also, read the design works translation and don't mind me shamelessly whoring out my own blog post here http://www.giantbomb.com/dark-souls/3030-32697/forums/player-agency-gone-wild-or-why-you-should-play-dar-1458113/#28

#9 Posted by Sammo21 (3298 posts) -

Congratulations! I love the game but have always found it hard to stick with it...which is totally my fault. I am hoping that when Dark Souls 2 comes out that I can stick with it for the long haul.

Honestly, I wish there was a PS4 port of BOTH dark souls and dark souls 2.

#10 Posted by Deathpooky (1409 posts) -

I'm most of the way through, and I agree with everything you said. It's not hard, or at least not hard in the way that people have described in terms of combat and inability to make progress. It is punishing if you don't approach it right. If you slash eagerly in a combat encounter to get it over, rush and miss a cue on a trap or hidden enemy, take too many chances with too many souls, or don't think about a boss and look for attack cues, then you're going to die and potentially lose progress. But if you play cautiously, look for enemy and boss cues, and react appropriately, most situations you can overcome. Assuming you realize death is part of this process, it's not hard in the way some of the NES classics that I still can't beat to this day are hard. For most of the game so far it might take me a few runs, but I can get through it.

That said, a lot of its difficulty comes from the unknown. Obtuse systems, unexplained features, hidden bonfires and items, and the complete lack of a map. Part of that is to the game's credit, since discovery and learning is a big part of the process and the in-game messages fill part of the role, but part of it is to its detriment since you may just not understand certain features or be entirely stuck on how to access certain things. I think they did a better job in making the mechanics of the game much more enjoyable between Demon and Dark Souls, so I'll be interested if they step up the tutorials and other cues in Dark Souls 2 to make the game less incomprehensible without the Internet. Because I'm also with you in that I haven't been afraid to consult the Internet to understand parts of it or figure out how to get certain places.

#11 Edited by psylah (2177 posts) -

Now watch the speedruns, and realize how little you actually need to fight in this game.

And all the crazy shortcuts you can take.

#12 Posted by 5Figh (172 posts) -

It might not be the best game of all time, but it's the best game of its time. Check out HellkiteDrake and VaatiVidya's vids over on YouTube (as well as EpicNameBro and AGermanSpy, but those two are a little dry) for really quite well done lore vids. Also, read the design works translation and don't mind me shamelessly whoring out my own blog post here http://www.giantbomb.com/dark-souls/3030-32697/forums/player-agency-gone-wild-or-why-you-should-play-dar-1458113/#28

those other guys are cool but AGermanSpy is a total fucking mentalist

#13 Edited by dudeglove (7906 posts) -

@5figh: oh jeez, does he have an okcupid profile too?

#14 Posted by huser (1085 posts) -

@jayeh: If that story that Brad Muir cited as the inspiration to these games is true, the game not explaining itself, choosing to be inscrutable to casual interest might very well be intentional. It then requires an active community and indirectly the help of some anonymous faceless person out there to help you (or not) to survive let alone succeed at the game.

#15 Posted by JayEH (534 posts) -

Don't mean to needlessly bump this,but I've been away for a few days and I just wanted to thank everyone for the comments and recommendations to videos and such. Sorry that I can't reply to everyone.

Speed runs make this game look INSANE and I've watch two from Speed Demos Archive, it's absolutely crazy. I've looked at a few lore videos that some of you have recommended and they're really fun to watch.Also glad to hear that people have similar feelings regarding the difficulty of the game.

Praise the Sun!

#16 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5592 posts) -

This is the same way I came into Dark Souls. When it first came out, I picked up the game, played a few hours then, for whatever reason, I quit. It just wasn't for me. Fast forward to a little over a year later, when I came back to give it another try, and to my surprise the game who fully clicked with me. Ever since then I kept playing in obsessive spurt over the course a few weeks. In the end, once I gave the game the time it deserved I fell in love.

Real glad to hear you liked the game!

#17 Posted by dudeglove (7906 posts) -

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