What is going on?

#1 Posted by beeftothetaco (425 posts) -

I recently picked up Dark Souls on Steam, and for the most part I am enjoying myself. But one thing that is really not working for me is the story. From the perspective of someone who has no outside knowledge of the Souls Universe, the lore/story of this game is absolutely baffling . I am 14 hours into it and I still have hardly ANY idea of what the fuck is going on. I don't want to go on the wiki, as I'd rather experience the story myself than through an online article. Have any of you guys had the same kind of difficulty in getting into the universe? If not, how did you learn about it? Did you use the wiki? Is that the only option?

#2 Edited by CaLe (4021 posts) -

If you came to this game for a story you'll be sorely disappointed. It pretty much has none. What it lacks in story it makes up for in atmosphere and setting. The characters around you all feel as though they have a deep history in that world, but they aren't gonna be telling you any of it. Apart from the odd snippet here and there, which of course people dissect and find deep meaning in; even though there's actually nothing of much significance.

#3 Posted by Buscemi (1106 posts) -

Reading stuff on items is a good way of getting scattered information.

#4 Posted by gaminghooligan (1465 posts) -

@CaLe said:

If you came to this game for a story you'll be sorely disappointed. It pretty much has none.

yea it doesn't really matter Dark Souls is all about gameplay imo

#5 Posted by samcroft90 (97 posts) -

The method of storytelling in this game is unconventional to say the least, a lot of it has to be pieced together through interaction with NPC's and even then there are lots of uncertainties (especially in the motives and actions of some of the characters). It is easily possible to play an entire play-through of the game and miss everything. I recommend going to the wiki after a full play-through to pick up things you might have missed.

#6 Posted by Heltom92 (714 posts) -

The title of this thread perfectly sums up how I feel when I play Dark Souls.

#7 Posted by Make_Me_Mad (3108 posts) -

Read item descriptions, talk to the NPCs. If you get an item that isn't a standard piece of armor or weaponry, odds are it'll fill in some background detail for either the characters or the world. Fortunately, there's a metric ton of items in this game, which means there's a hell of a lot of information to absorb- it's just delivered in a really unusual way. Talking to the NPCs until their dialogue starts to loop is also a good idea, and check back with them after any major developments and they'll probably have some comment on things.

Anyone who says Dark Souls doesn't have a story is being ridiculous and hyperbolic. It's got a downright fantastic story, you just won't even realize it's going on if you blow past everything.

#8 Posted by laserbolts (5331 posts) -

Apparently there's a story in there but the game does a piss poor job of telling it.

#9 Posted by Make_Me_Mad (3108 posts) -

@laserbolts said:

Apparently there's a story in there but the game does a piss poor job of telling it.

It's more like the game isn't going out of its way to tell you the story, but sure, you can look at it that way. They took dialogue away from some of the boss fights because they didn't think it made sense for some enemy to go into a monologue of its motivations for some dude who just walked into their home to kill them. Fortunately, they left in other ways to find the same information.

#10 Posted by mosespippy (4286 posts) -

Lots of information about the gods, covenants, lords and history can be learned from piecing together bits of information from item descriptions and talking to NPCs. Given that it takes a while to get a lot of items, it's going to take a while to open up the story. It's intentionally vague to begin with. "Just ring the bells and something will happen," is pretty much all you have to go on. Once you ring the bells then something happens and that'll tell you more about what you have to do and it's more specific that just ring the bells; it actually details why you want to do what you're doing.

#11 Posted by Akeldama (4253 posts) -

@laserbolts said:

Apparently there's a story in there but the game does a piss poor job of telling it.

No. Using inference, non-linear story telling, world detail, item description and NPC dialogue/.behavior, the game tells a very rich story. People who say otherwise are doing a piss poor job of interpreting and understanding. Just because the game doesn't spoon feed you the story (and everything else) the way every other game in the genre does, doesn't mean it doesn't have a story.

#12 Posted by golguin (3969 posts) -

There is one character that lays out everything in a pretty straightforward way, but reaching him in your first playthrough is very unlikely. He tells you the true nature of your quest and his remarks have lead to the endless discussion of the "best" ending for the game.

Everything else comes from NPC talks and items descriptions. Boss Souls give a good amount of lore when you read about them.

#13 Posted by laserbolts (5331 posts) -

@Akeldama said:

@laserbolts said:

Apparently there's a story in there but the game does a piss poor job of telling it.

No. Using inference, non-linear story telling, world detail, item description and NPC dialogue/.behavior, the game tells a very rich story. People who say otherwise are doing a piss poor job of interpreting and understanding. Just because the game doesn't spoon feed you the story (and everything else) the way every other game in the genre does, doesn't mean it doesn't have a story.

Try reading a comment before replying to it. I never said it didnt have a story. I was saying that trying to tell a story through the ways you listed are poors ways of telling it. So if I miss an item I can miss out on part of the story? That seems less than ideal to me in my opinion. I love Dark Souls for the gameplay and challenge of it so I dont really care either way.

#14 Posted by j0lter (248 posts) -

It's a lot of reading into the text and taking deep meaning from what the npc's that are important to the story say. Mainly, kingseeker frampt. I knew what was going on the whole time, but i guess that's from my extreme amount of analysis i put into games to find out the story.

#15 Edited by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

There is an absolute ton of story in the game. However, it's mostly alluded to in item descriptions and interactions with NPCs.

If you really want the information, I highly recommend you watch the ENB (EpicNameBro) lore videos on Youtube. I might not agree with all of his conclusions, but you do have to commend him for being the one person on the internet to put something resembling a compendium together.

@golguin said:

There is one character that lays out everything in a pretty straightforward way, but reaching him in your first playthrough is very unlikely. He tells you the true nature of your quest and his remarks have lead to the endless discussion of the "best" ending for the game.

Everything else comes from NPC talks and items descriptions. Boss Souls give a good amount of lore when you read about them.

And even he might not be totally on the level!

It's great.

#16 Posted by Karkarov (3187 posts) -

The game has plenty of story and don't buy that crap from people who say it has none. It is just told through the atmosphere of the levels, the sparse conversations with npc's, item descriptions, very rarely a sign post or something similar, and in some ways through your own hypothesis and personal opinion. Just pay attention while you play and you will figure some things out for yourself.

#17 Edited by Dixego (386 posts) -

Item descriptions, carefully analazing everything you see is your way to get into the lore. And it is massive. If you're too lazy to figure it out by yourself there's always EpicNameBro like they already mentioned above me, he's basically the god of Dark Souls lore.

Edit: In the words of EpicNameBro, this game's lore is a puzzle you have to figure out, and when you do it makes it so much better than games that just spit out their lore on your face.

#18 Posted by rynbeed (143 posts) -

I just picked this up on Steam. I remember feeling the same way when playing Demon's Souls, so it's good to know that the story telling method hasn't really changed.

I would, and I am now, expect to get a ton of story right at the end of the game.

#19 Posted by lilbigsupermario (842 posts) -

After watching the introduction to the game, I already had a hard time understanding what's happening in the Dark Souls world...

Even after 70 hours into the game, I still barely understand what's happening. And usually I get the idea what's happening when I see stuff in wikis and forums.

But that's okay, since the game is still worth playing just for the gameplay and the atmosphere. It's awesome! :)

#20 Posted by Deusx (1910 posts) -

@CaLe said:

If you came to this game for a story you'll be sorely disappointed. It pretty much has none. What it lacks in story it makes up for in atmosphere and setting. The characters around you all feel as though they have a deep history in that world, but they aren't gonna be telling you any of it. Apart from the odd snippet here and there, which of course people dissect and find deep meaning in; even though there's actually nothing of much significance.

Watch this video. If you ever, EVER say that again, I'm going to hate you forever.

@laserbolts said:

@Akeldama said:

@laserbolts said:

Apparently there's a story in there but the game does a piss poor job of telling it.

No. Using inference, non-linear story telling, world detail, item description and NPC dialogue/.behavior, the game tells a very rich story. People who say otherwise are doing a piss poor job of interpreting and understanding. Just because the game doesn't spoon feed you the story (and everything else) the way every other game in the genre does, doesn't mean it doesn't have a story.

Try reading a comment before replying to it. I never said it didnt have a story. I was saying that trying to tell a story through the ways you listed are poors ways of telling it. So if I miss an item I can miss out on part of the story? That seems less than ideal to me in my opinion. I love Dark Souls for the gameplay and challenge of it so I dont really care either way.

Yes, you miss out on part of the story as you would in any kind of real world situation. Not everyone knows the whole story. The story of Dark Souls is bigger than ANY OTHER Lore I've EVER seen in any game. It has such depth and complexity. Dark Souls tells story as EVERY story should be told, by exploration, analysis and subtle details. It's the best way of story telling there is. Where a cut scene doesn't show you all there is to know, it is up to you to discover what's behind all of the mysteries in the game.

PEOPLE, DARK SOULS HAS A GREAT, BEAUTIFUL, EPIC, THOUGHT PROVOKING STORY. STOP SAYING OTHERWISE. I CAN PROVE YOU WRONG.

I A M SO BUTT MAD.

#21 Posted by Dixego (386 posts) -

@Deusx said:

PEOPLE, DARK SOULS HAS A GREAT, BEAUTIFUL, EPIC, THOUGHT PROVOKING STORY. STOP SAYING OTHERWISE. I CAN PROVE YOU WRONG.

I A M SO BUTT MAD.

Chill out, think about how you just opened a new player's eyes to this game's lore. Doesn't it feel awesome?

#22 Posted by Tesla (1932 posts) -

There is plenty of story, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's just not a story that is told overtly, you kinda just soak it up via item descriptions and countless hours of playing, as opposed to the conventional gameplay/cutscene mix in most games.

Everything in the game has it's context, therefor Dark Souls has more story than most games.

#23 Posted by envane (1164 posts) -

@rynbeed: lol no .. no spoilers , but if you are waiting for a demons souls esque exposition at the end .. forget about it hehe ..

@beeftothetaco: theres alot of lore and such but from software pretty much intended for YOU to tell the story through your own roleplaying, even the new dlc which fills in some pretty gaping lore holes , still leaves the fundamental aspect of "what it all means" for you to decide. that said .. epicnamebro has some good lore videos , so does quelaag (more speculative than item description fact based, but still interesting) .

for me the "story" is the greatest thing about the game and the reason that keeps me coming back to it , i just got some rather crazy dialogue from marvellous chester that has set me off on a lore tangent , im hoping epicnamebro covers this because otherwise its going to be a thread that i pull at forever.

#24 Edited by TruthTellah (9322 posts) -

@beeftothetaco: Everything is awful, the world has crumbled, all hope is lost, and the only thing you or anyone else can do is keep living and fighting for as long as you possibly can. Even in death, you keep clawing away. While all things turn to dust, you grasp for whatever painful, trying moments you have left.

That's the story of Dark Souls.

There are some elements surrounding it and some interesting things to learn about, but that most basic struggle is the core narrative of the game.

#25 Posted by Deusx (1910 posts) -

@Dixego said:

@Deusx said:

PEOPLE, DARK SOULS HAS A GREAT, BEAUTIFUL, EPIC, THOUGHT PROVOKING STORY. STOP SAYING OTHERWISE. I CAN PROVE YOU WRONG.

I A M SO BUTT MAD.

Chill out, think about how you just opened a new player's eyes to this game's lore. Doesn't it feel awesome?

I'm sorry. I just... You don't know how much I love that game. You know that feeling, right? When you love something so much that you get mad when people tell you something bad about it? I think it's called being a fanboy. Something which I'm not afraid admitting when talking about this game.

#26 Posted by McShank (1629 posts) -

@beeftothetaco: the story is what you make it.. As you go along you find stuff out. and then it leaves you with no actual answer but whatever you want to think of it as.

#27 Posted by Giantstalker (1690 posts) -

It has a story, but it's not told in a particularly effective way.

Which is why I make up my own story as I go along.

I'm down there to save the President, before undead terrorists get him. Suddenly it all makes sense!

#28 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

There's really not that much to understand. The game really doesn't shove the story in your face, and that's kind of the point. The world and your adventure in it is the real story, and you pretty much can derive what you need to know from the small bits of dialogue you get with random NPCs and occasionally reading important items. The idea is that the world is this open expanse that you simply need to go explore and do what you are destined to do, even if you don't really understand why or what that means.

I really think this way of "story telling" (if you want to call it that) adds to the mystery and danger of the world. It's unknown. It's as realistic as if you were simply thrown into this world as yourself, and the only thing you had to go off of was trying to survive and listening to what others told you.

The only thing I wish they did a better job of explaining in game is the covenants. Even the NPCs that you talk to in order to join covenants really don't tell you much about them, which can be interesting, but is ultimately kind of stupid. If you were joining some kind of crazy pact, you'd think the person responsible would tell you a little more about what the hell you're actually joining.

#29 Posted by Sterling (2466 posts) -

Dark Souls story is pretty damn impressive if you take the time to find and learn all of it. I can't wait for the DLC on console.

And I have to say, I will forever be waiting for the never coming DLC for Demon's Souls. I want to know what happened in The Land of the Giants a.k.a. The Northern Lands (the 6th archstone, the broken one), damn it.

Online
#30 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@lilbigsupermario said:

After watching the introduction to the game, I already had a hard time understanding what's happening in the Dark Souls world...

Even after 70 hours into the game, I still barely understand what's happening. And usually I get the idea what's happening when I see stuff in wikis and forums.

But that's okay, since the game is still worth playing just for the gameplay and the atmosphere. It's awesome! :)

The short is that, in the beginning, the world was ruled by dragons. This was the Age of Ancients.

Then Gwyn, the Witch of Izalith, and Gravelord Nito kicked in their front door and, with the help of Seath the Scaleless, kicked their shit in.

Thus begun the Age of Fire.

2000 years later, the Age of Fire is dwindling. This is a REALLY bad thing. Humans are becoming Undead, reverting to their original form from the Age of Ancients. You are one such Undead. There is a legend that, should an Undead ring the two Bells of Awakening... something happens. Brilliant, right? So off you go. Should you succeed in ringing both Bells, maybe something will draw back the curtains and shed some light on the whole sordid affair... or maybe they'll mislead you, for their own gain. Who knows? That's for you to figure out... that is why you came, isn't it? To this accursed land of the Undead?

#31 Posted by me3639 (1794 posts) -

I was thinking about this the other day, can somone get through Dark Souls without going to a Wiki or forum for help? There are some major unforgiven information neglect, but that is part of the draw to play one of the best experiences ever. Though i had to step away for a while. Fuck that Dog and his sword!

#32 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@me3639 said:

I was thinking about this the other day, can somone get through Dark Souls without going to a Wiki or forum for help? There are some major unforgiven information neglect, but that is part of the draw to play one of the best experiences ever. Though i had to step away for a while. Fuck that Dog and his sword!

I can imagine most things in the game being accessible with a little bit of foresight - though unlocking the Darkwraith covenent runs completely contrary to the entire stated plot that I'm honestly curious how somebody discovered it in the first place.

#33 Posted by Turambar (6813 posts) -
@beeftothetaco said:

I recently picked up Dark Souls on Steam, and for the most part I am enjoying myself. But one thing that is really not working for me is the story. From the perspective of someone who has no outside knowledge of the Souls Universe, the lore/story of this game is absolutely baffling . I am 14 hours into it and I still have hardly ANY idea of what the fuck is going on. I don't want to go on the wiki, as I'd rather experience the story myself than through an online article. Have any of you guys had the same kind of difficulty in getting into the universe? If not, how did you learn about it? Did you use the wiki? Is that the only option?

You read item and spell descriptions.  You note the locations and aesthetics of equipment, enemies, and areas.  You listen to dialogue with NPCs.  There is a story, but it is not presented in a traditional format.  The moment I fell in complete love with the universe was when I carried out the event that darkened Anor Londo.  
 
As an aside, on the topic of story related scenes, the Prepare to Die DLC does fantastic things with the Sif fight.
#34 Posted by Turambar (6813 posts) -
@me3639 said:

I was thinking about this the other day, can somone get through Dark Souls without going to a Wiki or forum for help? There are some major unforgiven information neglect, but that is part of the draw to play one of the best experiences ever. Though i had to step away for a while. Fuck that Dog and his sword!

Yes, it is far easier to do this in Dark Souls than Demon's Souls as Lautrec is no Yurt.  Sure, you might miss out on some of the more hidden covenants, specifically Darkmoon and Dark Wraith, unless you pay very close attention to item descriptions and NPC dialogue.  But you can certainly beat the game with no outside help.
#35 Posted by Deusx (1910 posts) -

@Terramagi said:

@lilbigsupermario said:

After watching the introduction to the game, I already had a hard time understanding what's happening in the Dark Souls world...

Even after 70 hours into the game, I still barely understand what's happening. And usually I get the idea what's happening when I see stuff in wikis and forums.

But that's okay, since the game is still worth playing just for the gameplay and the atmosphere. It's awesome! :)

The short is that, in the beginning, the world was ruled by dragons. This was the Age of Ancients.

Then Gwyn, the Witch of Izalith, and Gravelord Nito kicked in their front door and, with the help of Seath the Scaleless, kicked their shit in.

Thus begun the Age of Fire.

2000 years later, the Age of Fire is dwindling. This is a REALLY bad thing. Humans are becoming Undead, reverting to their original form from the Age of Ancients. You are one such Undead. There is a legend that, should an Undead ring the two Bells of Awakening... something happens. Brilliant, right? So off you go. Should you succeed in ringing both Bells, maybe something will draw back the curtains and shed some light on the whole sordid affair... or maybe they'll mislead you, for their own gain. Who knows? That's for you to figure out... that is why you came, isn't it? To this accursed land of the Undead?

Hey man, I like you. Very good summary. Everyone should watch the video I posted or just read this. You didn't even put any spoilers! clap clap clap*

#36 Posted by NathHaw (2794 posts) -

@Deusx: That video was impressive to the point that I wondered a few times if he wasn't just making it all up. :P

#37 Posted by JackSukeru (5922 posts) -

@Turambar said:

As an aside, on the topic of story related scenes, the Prepare to Die DLC does fantastic things with the Sif fight.

Ah, man, I didn't know that. I just went and watched it. Ah, man.

Now it's even sadder!

#38 Posted by wsninja (68 posts) -

@Giantstalker: Are you a Dark Enough Soul to save the President?

#39 Posted by PillClinton (3291 posts) -

@Make_Me_Mad said:

@laserbolts said:

Apparently there's a story in there but the game does a piss poor job of telling it.

It's more like the game isn't going out of its way to tell you the story, but sure, you can look at it that way. They took dialogue away from some of the boss fights because they didn't think it made sense for some enemy to go into a monologue of its motivations for some dude who just walked into their home to kill them. Fortunately, they left in other ways to find the same information.

Ha, I like that explanation. It's just a really to-the-point gamey game with no pretense.

#40 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3882 posts) -

@CaLe said:

If you came to this game for a story you'll be sorely disappointed. It pretty much has none. What it lacks in story it makes up for in atmosphere and setting. The characters around you all feel as though they have a deep history in that world, but they aren't gonna be telling you any of it. Apart from the odd snippet here and there, which of course people dissect and find deep meaning in; even though there's actually nothing of much significance.

This. I find it quite effective though with its minimalist dialogue. It has a tragic and dark tone that is very fitting.

Never was able to stick with the game too long but I loved that aspect of it. I love that it doesn't feel the need to spell out every detail. I hate that about say Bioware's games. Save the Codex, especially in Dragon Age. Why would I know everything? Too many things are conveniently tied up in the narrative.

#41 Posted by Deusx (1910 posts) -

@nrh79 said:

@Deusx: That video was impressive to the point that I wondered a few times if he wasn't just making it all up. :P

I know! Epic Name Bro is great. His lore videos are some of his best work. If you're a fan of DaS you should watch more. He's doing a new Let's Play getting ready for his Lore video about the new DLC.

#42 Posted by Bassario (146 posts) -

@CaLe said:

If you came to this game for a story you'll be sorely disappointed. It pretty much has none. What it lacks in story it makes up for in atmosphere and setting. The characters around you all feel as though they have a deep history in that world, but they aren't gonna be telling you any of it. Apart from the odd snippet here and there, which of course people dissect and find deep meaning in; even though there's actually nothing of much significance.

this is totally wrong, the story in the game like everything else you have to seek out to truly understand, it is told by everything ranging from flavour text on hundreds of items to the bare minimim NPC interactions which there are tons of if you find them all. It is told very gradually, I too had no other background in this universe and picked up my copy about 2 weeks ago or less and the game surprisingly really lived up to what it promised (this is rare in games these days) Most games try very hard to thrust a lot of knowledge in your face at the start explaining everything from top to bottom and this can sometimes get tedious and horrible and kinda instantly harms that important first impression that is so important, meanwhile Dark Souls forces you to get addicted and start to crave wanting to know and understand more. This is done beautifully....

I sort of know what you mean tho, in that... the intro kinda encompasses everything but almost in bullet point short form [Left me thinking ... wait what? who the hell is this NICO guy and does he want to go bowling!!?] (I think they did this to avoid having a 10+ min intro as many of the peoples with their tiny attention spans would get bored xD) But it explains the history and how the land once thrived but now has been reduced to ruins as everyone went undead and ultimately most went hollow (insane), a really grim fate but that was the idea to make it insanely dark and cruel, but there is so much more detail to it than that and you can look up the lore or play the game exploring 100% and reading 100% which is very difficult but I am hoping I will at least come close :P You are the chosen undead who I suppose has the power to ultimately change that fate but that is all I would say coz we dont want spoilers PLUS I dont know that much more because I am only about half way into it if that :)

#43 Posted by Dixego (386 posts) -

@Deusx said:

@Dixego said:

@Deusx said:

PEOPLE, DARK SOULS HAS A GREAT, BEAUTIFUL, EPIC, THOUGHT PROVOKING STORY. STOP SAYING OTHERWISE. I CAN PROVE YOU WRONG.

I A M SO BUTT MAD.

Chill out, think about how you just opened a new player's eyes to this game's lore. Doesn't it feel awesome?

I'm sorry. I just... You don't know how much I love that game. You know that feeling, right? When you love something so much that you get mad when people tell you something bad about it? I think it's called being a fanboy. Something which I'm not afraid admitting when talking about this game.

I think we can both proudly say that we are Dark Souls fanboys.

#44 Posted by Fallen189 (5036 posts) -
#45 Edited by Terramagi (1159 posts) -
#46 Posted by kyokushin_nanaya (40 posts) -

One environment that got me thinking was the New Lordo Ruins. When you first travel there, you see all the Undead mopping about, acting if there was a great tragedy. When you look at the items and the name (Ruins), you can see that it was once a great city which fell indirectly by the Abyss. If you look even carefully, you can see a body that only could have happened if that person consumed by grief, jumped off a staircase and committed suicide.

Remember how in Fallout you would see skeletons, sometimes in a pair that made the environment more haunting? One example would be the irradiated bones of a mother embracing a child. What about Half-Life 2 where you walk into a desolate playground where the only sound is the shifting chains of a lonely swing? Environmental story-telling sometimes seems a waste of time in an age of high-octane action games. Still, it's a very nice non-verbal form of communication.

#47 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@kyokushin_nanaya said:

One environment that got me thinking was the New Lordo Ruins. When you first travel there, you see all the Undead mopping about, acting if there was a great tragedy. When you look at the items and the name (Ruins), you can see that it was once a great city which fell indirectly by the Abyss. If you look even carefully, you can see a body that only could have happened if that person consumed by grief, jumped off a staircase and committed suicide.

Remember how in Fallout you would see skeletons, sometimes in a pair that made the environment more haunting? One example would be the irradiated bones of a mother embracing a child. What about Half-Life 2 where you walk into a desolate playground where the only sound is the shifting chains of a lonely swing? Environmental story-telling sometimes seems a waste of time in an age of high-octane action games. Still, it's a very nice non-verbal form of communication.

Best part is how, if you read the Sealer set, along with other environmental cues, you can figure out exactly what happened.

And then promptly undo it, and release the covenent it was meant to contain.

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