I’ll try my best to not come off as being biased, but I’ll make no bones about it: Dark Souls is a taut, unadulterated masterpiece that simply deserves more recognition. Dark Souls was probably the only game of last year that completely eschewed all the casual tropes we’ve grown used to in games: waypoints and maps to guide you along? Forget it. Forgiving checkpoint systems and minimal punishment for dying? To hell with that – Dark Souls is an absolute rarity in the sense that it doesn’t really provide you with any real exposition, and nor does it insist on holding your hand and wrestling the controller away from you so you can ogle at dry, scripted moments that feel more like filler than something that’s actually interactive.
Dark Souls redefines the term hardcore – you’re treated to a brief tutorial in the opening minutes of the game, then the developers pluck you in the strange and incredibly haunting world of Lordrean and says: “Here’s the world, go explore and stay alive”. It’s cryptic and mysteriously vague, not to mention a masterful design choice that makes the world around feel that much more alien and strange. And those Npc’s are just downright creepy.
So yes, Dark Souls is menacing, tough and incredibly brutal, but at the same time it will make you feel like an absolute god when you eventually and ultimately triumph over one of the game’s many, many challenges. Dark Souls isn’t tough in the sense that it’s cheap, but in the sense that it tests your mettle and skill to the breaking point, and thus leaves you incredibly satisfied after a particularly nasty boss or enemy encounter. Everything about Dark Souls, from the tactile combat, to the suffocating atmosphere, to the incredibly well-realized world and to the extraordinary online features can’t be matched; it’s brutal, punishing, rewarding and all-around incredible.
And the sad part is: it hasn’t even sold a million copies worldwide. Why is it that rehashed, unremarkable shooters like Call of Duty keeps cracking more than a whopping five million copies within the first few hours upon release, whereas games like Dark Souls that are bold and innovative simply get decimated by the competition?
Dark Souls is a game that’s still unknown to many and not even terrific reviews and the word of mouth has led to many sales figures. While the game is still making a run for the PC – a platform that harbors more of a hardcore community where it can hopefully garner some much needed success – I still find it disheartening to see masterpieces like Dark Souls get tossed by the wayside.
What do you think? Do you get upset when genuinely amazing games don’t get the attention they deserve?