Posted by patrickklepek (3475 posts) -

There are two people that require an apology. First, I want to apologize to myself. Patrick, you should have played Dark Souls sooner, and I'm sorry I didn't give you that opportunity. Second, I'd like to apologize to Dark Souls. More specifically, apologize for how I've been talking about Dark Souls.

Pretty happy that I never, ever have to fight this jerk again.

A few weeks ago, had someone asked me to describe Dark Souls in a single word, that word would have been "difficult." Having now linked the fire and watched the credits roll on Dark Souls, I'd say that description is both a truth...and a lie. Okay, disingenuous might be more apt. To merely say Dark Souls is "difficult" sells the game, and what it does to the player who decides to partake in its dance, terribly short.

There are countless reasons, reasons now much clearer, why the Souls games have connected with people. It's partially the both gorgeous and depressing art. It's partially the subtle but evocative narrative. It's partially the sense of community derived from solving a master-level puzzle. It's partially the sense of accomplishment. Beating Dark Souls feels like an achievement for a resume, one I can brag about because so many haven't done it.

It's easy to get wrapped up in the word "difficult," thanks to the arc of modern game design. Dark Souls is more "difficult" than your average game, but the average game also expects much less from you. The average game is more concerned with making sure you see everything the designers have been working on for the past few years. They've been working really, really hard on it! It cost lots of money, and it'd be a waste if it went unseen! In your average video game, a standard playthrough might result in missing a few collectibles. In Dark Souls, it could mean missing out on whole areas of the game, sections that might take hours to complete. It's even possible to miss the downloadable content you paid extra money for, as the game never makes accessing these other worlds clear. They basically require a FAQ.

You get what you give from Dark Souls. When you push, it pushes back. But if you push back with enough force, the right kind of force, the game moves out of the way. There is a reason people do "naked runs" in Dark Souls, trying to finish the game without any clothing and often without leveling up. It's possible. Everything in Dark Souls is avoidable, though much comes through trial-and-error. But once you know, it's all up to you. Patience is a valued virtue in Dark Souls, and a player's most powerful asset. And that's where the tug-of-war between player behavior and the game world begin to intertwine. At first, Dark Souls feels like an immoveable, impenetrable object. But as it turns out, you were trying to move it from the wrong side. At the right angle, it nudges. Soon, the nudge causes it to tilt. Then, it falls over.

But I can already feel myself falling into the word trap that originally turned me off to Dark Souls. Since playing Dark Souls was so tremendously rewarding, I've built up the story of my journey in my mind. The personal narrative of playing Dark Souls, in which one graduates from peasant to lord, makes the act of playing Dark Souls sound impossibly difficult. It's a hard game, but it is not impossible. It's overstated.

If you turned on the game right now, taking my word for it, you might come back and curse me for it. "Patrick, Dark Souls is super hard." And you'd be right, but you'd only be right because you've played an hour of the game. Maybe a few. Playing Dark Souls alongside Spelunky has reminded me a few things about how I play games these days. I mostly play them for the story, a casual observer to worlds that I'm making a brief stay in. The design of most games today both accepts and encourages this behavior. By the end of most games, you may have achieved basic competency of the game mechanics, but mastery is a long ways away. But the game doesn't ask you to achieve mastery, so why would you? Dark Souls and Spelunky begin with this design premise: watch and learn. If you don't watch, you're punished. If you don't learn, you're punished. But if you do both, you're rewarded with mastery, and Dark Souls bends to mastery. Not only does it bend, it buckles and breaks, respecting the player's ability to learn its rules.

Dark Souls hardly ever feels unfair. The one time it's truly trying to trick you, the trap-laden area known as Sen's Fortress, you know what you're getting into. It's meant to be a house of horrors. Just about anything else in the game can be avoided by being very cautious. (And that's true of Sen's Fortress, if you have my kind of ridiculous luck!) Reckless abandon will get you nowhere, though I did find the game benefited from a healthy dose of aggression, a tactic that allowed me to dance around animations.

Spelunky, like Dark Souls, respects and rewards players willing to listen what it's trying to say and learns from it.

Finishing Dark Souls feels like I've joined a club, albeit one that comes with some caveats. During my streams, I would roll my eyes at some folks who downplayed my victories with comments like "oh, god, he is just so OP [over powered]." This insinuates that because I was not playing with a weaker build, purposely making the game more difficult, I was not getting the true Dark Souls experience. These responses became conspiratorial in nature, too. "Oh, he must have watched a lot of streams before playing." (I watched one episode of Vinny playing, that's it.) "Oh, he must have looked up the optimal build to break the game." (I used a guide to figure out the upgrade system, but, hell, I stuck with the first axe the game gives you for my first 10 hours or so.) These comments never really got under my skin, especially after downing one of the game's most notorious boss duos, Ornstein and Smough, without summoning another player--and on my second try. With those jerks under my belt, I surmised that, hey, maybe I'm just pretty good.

But these people had a point.

Playing Dark Souls when it released would have been far different. Besides patches altering soul drops and DLC that inflates the player's stats ahead of the endgame, so much of Dark Souls is known. This is big. It's is a game that is constantly throwing curve balls. By playing in early 2014, I avoided some of that. This is both a blessing and a curse, and it depends on your perspective. The hardcore Dark Souls players who have been with the series from the beginning, the players frustrated that someone is coming to the series so late and finally seeing the light, have reason to be peeved the experience is not as genuine.

But I'd argue there's never been a better time to jump in and play Dark Souls, and learn what all the fuss is about. If you're stuck, look at a FAQ, ask for help on a message board, or watch some professionals playing on Twitch and YouTube. Your experience may be less "pure," but what's far worse is writing off a game--and a series--because it's too intimidating. The walls have been weakened around Dark Souls, but it's still a hell of a climb. I'm much happier to sit here and say "I've beaten Dark Souls" than not.

Try to think about the last game you finished. When the credits appeared, how'd you react? Did you pump your fist? Did it feel like a genuine accomplishment? Did you feel so excited about the moment, you simply had to share it with others? Not every game has to produce these feelings, but few do. The Souls games are not just very good games, they're interactive adventures that remind one they're alive.

And until Dark Souls II, we have these memories. So many memories.

Staff
#1 Posted by Tennmuerti (8005 posts) -

Finally! The long promised writeup!

#2 Posted by Jawshua (253 posts) -

So where's the video review?

Online
#3 Edited by TurboMan (7401 posts) -

Welcome to GiantSouls.com

#4 Posted by Jayzilla (2555 posts) -

This write up gets awarded excellence points. Also, if you haven't modded the message your character gets when you die to, "Thanks Obama." you are missing out.

#5 Posted by ShadowSkill11 (1783 posts) -

Wow. I'd just like to know what happened at giantbomb. It seems like everyone has Dark Souls fever out of nowhere. I'm glad the guys now see the truth and love the Dark Souls gives you upon extended play but I'd like to know what the trigger for their combined love comes from.

#6 Edited by sravankb (66 posts) -

If only Giant Bomb had this attitude towards Monster Hunter.

And honestly, I would argue it's actually easier than both those titles. It's far, far less frustrating and easier to get into. The only hard part of that game is understanding a monster's AI and patterns.

Hell, it's far more satisfying as well. When you beat a monster it's because you have not just outsmarted it, but also out-maneuvered it. It has very little of the random traps and other bullshit you find in Dark Souls and Spelunky.

#7 Posted by HyperionXR (272 posts) -

The real Giantbomb starts here.

#8 Posted by INANTP (26 posts) -

420 praise it

#9 Edited by Rayeth (1021 posts) -

I still barely believe that gif of Sen's Fortress. I died on that bridge SO MANY TIMES.

#10 Posted by shinjin977 (748 posts) -

The true game of the generation and the generation is not even actually over yet, what with Dark Soul 2 and all.

#11 Posted by ajman1101 (3 posts) -

As someone who has just started to play Dark Souls on PC, with the only knowledge that it is difficult, this really gets me excited to finish the game. I want to have that achievement, not gamerscore or trophies.

#12 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

I feel like Dark Souls is like old school super mario 3, where you learn everything you need to win in the first level.

#13 Edited by Graham_Nix (99 posts) -

Wow. I'd just like to know what happened at giantbomb. It seems like everyone has Dark Souls fever out of nowhere. I'm glad the guys now see the truth and love the Dark Souls gives you upon extended play but I'd like to know what the trigger for their combined love comes from.

I released Dark Souls pheromones in their water supply, don't tell anybody.

#14 Edited by Jamin724 (157 posts) -

Finally we can praise the sun! Everyone Jolly ole Cooperation!

#15 Posted by patrickklepek (3475 posts) -

Wow. I'd just like to know what happened at giantbomb. It seems like everyone has Dark Souls fever out of nowhere. I'm glad the guys now see the truth and love the Dark Souls gives you upon extended play but I'd like to know what the trigger for their combined love comes from.

For me, it's about curiosity. It's really, really easy to write off a game or series because it hasn't been "for you" in the past or you had an unpleasant experience with another game in the genre. Monster Hunter and Dragon's Dogma helped unlock my understanding of animation priority, which eventually gave me an opportunity to give Dark Souls a real chance. Plus, Dark Souls II is almost out! It's the equivalent of binging before a new season of a TV show.

@sravankb said:

If only Giant Bomb had this attitude towards Monster Hunter.

I'd like to say I gave the last Monster Hunter an honest shot! I even wrote an essay about my 10 or so hours with the game on Giant Bomb:

Staff
#16 Edited by Fierrze (171 posts) -

Praise the sun y'all! That Bed of Chaos gif is amazing. Nice write up Patrick!

#17 Posted by amlabella (323 posts) -

Great article Patrick. And I agree about jumping into the Souls series now - I played it for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. Sure, I know a lot of stuff about the game already and I wasn't afraid to look up certain things, but even doing outside research about Dark Souls is fun in its own perverse way. I'm not concerned with having a "pure" experience... I just want to have a memorable one, and Dark Souls provided that.

That being said, I'm going to do my best to explore and discover for myself in Dark Souls II. Should provide yet another unique experience in its own right.

#18 Edited by pyrodactyl (1884 posts) -

@sravankb said:

If only Giant Bomb had this attitude towards Monster Hunter.

And honestly, I would argue it's actually easier than both those titles. It's far, far less frustrating and easier to get into. The only hard part of that game is understanding a monster's AI and patterns.

Hell, it's far more satisfying as well. When you beat a monster it's because you have not just outsmarted it, but also out-maneuvered it. It has very little of the random traps and other bullshit you find in Dark Souls and Spelunky.

Patrick got into the WiiU rerelease of monster hunter tri and liked it or at least understood the appeal. Not sure the repetitive grindy nature of those games would appeal to any other member of the crew. Jeff in particular won't come anywhere near games with high animation priority. I love monster hunter but it's even more nich and way more japanese than the souls series. It's just not for everyone.

#19 Posted by DFL017 (116 posts) -

I probably never would have played Dark Souls or Saints Row the Third if it wasn't for this site. I love those games.

#20 Posted by divergence (277 posts) -

I felt the game reached a peak difficulty wise with the Ornstein and Smough battle. After that the game opens up and you have some choices as to how you want to attack the rest of the game. That choice eased the difficulty for me because then I didn't feel trapped working on the same thing over and over until I got past it by sheer will alone. If I didn't like an area and wanted to tackle it later.. I could. Made all the difference.

#21 Posted by weegieanawrench (1935 posts) -

Hell yeah, Patrick. Great write-up, I am glad you finally saw the light and how gross incandescent it is.

#22 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11477 posts) -

@sravankb said:

If only Giant Bomb had this attitude towards Monster Hunter.

Patrick did a write up on Monster Hunter a while back. Sure, he only played like 15 hours (i.e. a drop in the bucket) but he came out understanding and appreciating it. But in general I imagine those games haven't caught on with the GB staff the same way as Dark Souls has recently because MH is way more of a time commitment. There's a reason why people float around numbers in the hundreds when describing that game.

#23 Edited by GaspoweR (2807 posts) -

I've had DS:PTD on Steam for some time now and I haven't fired it up yet...Maybe when I'm done with everything I need to take care of I can finally...finally get around to it.

#24 Posted by Demoskinos (14562 posts) -

I don't always agree with you patrick but I gotta say I'm constantly thrilled at your willingness to go outside your comfort zone with new games and try them out at least before you cast them aside.

#25 Posted by LiK (916 posts) -

DEMON'S SOULS NEXT

#26 Posted by Tesla (1908 posts) -

Nice! Good read Patrick.

#27 Posted by LikeaSsur (1495 posts) -

Alright, so now we can stop humping Dark Souls' leg, right?

It's a good game, but I think the praise of how great it is gets way overblown, especially on this website.

#28 Edited by EuanDewar (4758 posts) -

Nice writeup, good to see you've come around so to speak.

I know its not what you want to do and this is just wishful thinking but I'd love to see you become GB's "go outside my comfort zone" guy. Vinny and Drew are the only other people on staff who really do that and we don't even always get to hear from them apart from maybe a section on UPF every now and then about the new plane sim Drew is playing.

Anyway, see you in Dark Souls 2!

#29 Posted by BenderUnit22 (1447 posts) -

I'm glad you played through Dark Souls and be proud, no matter what people in chat said. The Souls games have proven to be true masterpieces of game design and world building for me. Looking through a lot of the lore videos on YouTube, you can't help but marvel at the level of detail the world is crafted with, how items, corpses or environmental gimmicks are placed with purpose to tell a fascinating story to those who look closely.

They build a depressing world devoid of hope, yet you carry on, wondering where the next dark passage may lead you. The oppressive atmosphere and tension rivals that of true horror games like Amnesia for me, slowly stepping forward, my shield arm raised, staring into the abyss, frantically looking around everytime I hear an unnerving sound.

And the combat is, for the most part, simply excellent. It's definitely not a simulation, but the way each piece of equipment has its unique quirks and how you always feel in control of what you're doing makes for battles that are rarely unfair and when they are, it's usually with a wink and a nod by the developers. Honestly, I never felt frustrated playing Dark Souls, aside from the occasional "oh, crap" followed by a deep sigh after losing a bunch of souls.

I didn't pay much attention to Dark Souls 2 until recently, but with the release seemingly within reach, I get more excited with every snippet of video I can find online.

#31 Posted by sravankb (66 posts) -

@sravankb said:

If only Giant Bomb had this attitude towards Monster Hunter.

I'd like to say I gave the last Monster Hunter an honest shot! I even wrote an essay about my 10 or so hours with the game on Giant Bomb:

Awesome! Glad you understood why people like it. And yeah, I do agree to an extent about the time commitment needed for it. I suppose that must be the main deterrent for folks who want to give it a shot.

But yeah, I still believe that MH is easily the most satisfying game series I've ever played. It's especially exciting to fight a monster that you haven't faced before; figuring out its moveset, looking for opportunities to attack, planning accordingly and executing that plan is a buttload of fun.

@pyrodactyl: @arbitrarywater:

Yup, just read the article as well. Glad to see that he gave it a try. Although I don't really see the other folks at GB giving it a shot. Especially Jeff. He's not gonna touch it with a ten-foot pole.

#32 Edited by csl316 (8114 posts) -

I dunno, games can still be difficult if you knock it past medium. If you routinely do that then Dark Souls is no big thing. Cool game with a great aesthetic, but nothing too crazy.

I'd argue that the bonus missions in Vanquish, or Bayonetta on a higher difficulty, are way tougher to get through than DS. So what I'm saying is, I hope Dark Souls II gets more exposure as a well done game rather than some tick on your gaming resume.

#33 Edited by Wikmalm (2 posts) -

@sravankb said:

If only Giant Bomb had this attitude towards Monster Hunter.

And honestly, I would argue it's actually easier than both those titles. It's far, far less frustrating and easier to get into. The only hard part of that game is understanding a monster's AI and patterns.

Hell, it's far more satisfying as well. When you beat a monster it's because you have not just outsmarted it, but also out-maneuvered it. It has very little of the random traps and other bullshit you find in Dark Souls and Spelunky.

I agree with you on the "GB should try and get into monster hunter again at some point" angle, but saying that Dark Souls doesn't requite maneuvering and and that it has "random traps" is selling the game short by a ton.

Nice writeup Patrick. I catched some of your streams and it was enjoyable as hell most of the time. The people crying "OP build" have probably not played it, or have not played it through in a normal fashion in a long time. Dark souls doesn't really expect you to be a master player from square one, it just expects you to learn from mistakes and the environment, and that's what makes it amazing to me.

Once you scale the learning curve and get good at the game, it's not that hard anymore. It's kinda by that point you start understanding that the game isn't at all unfair as long as you're being observant.

I FUKKEN LOVE DARK SOULS YO.

#34 Edited by Trilogy (2645 posts) -

@shadowskill11 said:

Wow. I'd just like to know what happened at giantbomb. It seems like everyone has Dark Souls fever out of nowhere. I'm glad the guys now see the truth and love the Dark Souls gives you upon extended play but I'd like to know what the trigger for their combined love comes from.

Vinny always had it, even in the demons souls days. He was just usually jokingly dismissed when he talked about it on the bombcast (similar to how he was the only one that liked Lords of Shadow). Brad had an interest in Dark souls when it came out, but didn't play much of it. Rorie coming to giant bomb certainly helped since he's been a fan of these games. I think Rorie was the one that did the Quicklook. The souls seed has always been planted on this site. I'd say Vinny doing Load our last souls re-sparked an interest. And to Patrick's credit, he's been on this journey, for the past year or so, of trying to play games he stayed away from in the past.

All the Souls coverage certainly got me back into playing Dark Souls. I'm really enjoying it, but I'm somewhere in the middle of where Jeff is, and where the crazy super fans are. I think it's a pretty cool game, but not gotg material for me. Definitely looking forward to DS2, though.

#35 Edited by sarahnizzle (11 posts) -

I resisted Dark Souls as long as I could because it just seemed like the type of game I never wanted to play. A lot of the elements/features that make up Dark Souls seemed... counterintuitive to how I normally play video games. No map for my poor sense of direction? Parrying/blocking instead of all-out aggression? An unforgiving game that can punish grinding in one fell swoop? I noped as much as I could.

But I watched a couple streams here or there. My friends pushed me hard towards it, telling me to just "give it a chance." So one Steam sale and fiddling around GFWL later, I tried it.

And I was pleasantly surprised. The design of the map and the shortcuts (plus the constant runbacks) ensured that I knew how to navigate around the world of Dark Souls from the back of my hand. The satisfaction of getting a backstab/parry off was gratifying and finding that one slim opening to get aggressive on a boss fight was great. Losing 20k souls because I made one dumb mistake? Normally, I would rage at losing that amount of potential experience, but I shrugged and moved on.

I had the benefit of asking friends for guidance and watching Vinny's streams though, which helped immensely but none of that really helped while I struggled through Sen's Fortress alone for hours on end. Regardless, it still felt like a huge accomplishment and you really can't replicate the relief you get when you finally find a bonfire after going through a really hard section.

Long story short, I'm really looking forward to being part of the zeitgeist of Dark Souls 2 because, like Patrick said in his article, I don't think the "newer" players really had that genuine experience of going into these games blindly. One thing Dark Souls really imparted onto me was a little bit more confidence in my gaming ability and I'm hoping that translates horribly in Dark Souls 2.

#36 Posted by Tychoid (41 posts) -

Great writeup, Mr. Patrick. It really is hard sometimes to put into words what makes Dark Souls/Demons Souls such landmark titles, and I think you've articulated it well.

Beware if you do end up getting into La Mulana. The combat and boss fights are very Dark Souls-esque, but the true difficulty in La Mulana lies in the EXTREMELY vague hints and puzzles (e.g. think Fez-like pen-and-paper puzzles, but dialed up to 10). Like in Dark Souls, some of the content is nigh unreachable for most people without outside help from guides or the chat. The difference is... that content in Dark Souls was optional, whereas in La Mulana, it is key to progression.

#37 Posted by Random45 (1051 posts) -

Yes! Exactly! With the exception of the DLC, I actually don't think Dark Souls is too difficult once you get the hang of things. If you just take things slow and play smart, you'll be fine.

I'm also kind of sick of this 'true' Dark Souls fan shit too. I HATE reading the Dark Souls forums because there's always that one asshole who won't help you and will just say something along the lines of "Why don't you go back to CoD?" or "That's Dark Souls for you." At first I thought it was cute, but now I just find it very annoying and downright patronizing. I'm sorry that I didn't have the genuine experience, since I played the game 2 years after it was released, freaking bite me, ugh...

I'm really looking forward to Dark Souls 2 as well, though there are some changes I'm not too fond of, but I'm cautiously optimistic that From Software will make it an excellent game despite what I consider to be setbacks. I actually might go ahead and get it for my PS3, but I really want to wait for the PC version... Eh, we'll see.

#38 Edited by Tennmuerti (8005 posts) -

Dark Souls and Spelunky begin with this design premise: watch and learn.

Well done Patrick. Well done. :)

It's hard for me to express quite how spot on you are, you well and truly show your understanding of the game's essence by making this simple statement.

All I can do is smile and give a heartfelt nod of approval.

/nod

#39 Edited by Draxyle (1793 posts) -

Great write-up! It's definitely not just the difficulty that sets Dark Souls apart from most modern gaming, it's the dedication to the atmosphere that every other big budget game can't even hope to emulate anymore, and that includes making you "feel" the atmosphere through its difficulty and sense of dread. It uses the medium's strengths to tell its story in a way you can't in any other medium, much like a lot of the best horror games out there.

I was an early adopter of Demon's Souls, and I will admit that the first level rubbed me the wrong way for a bit. I put it off for a month before coming back, and it finally "clicked" with me; the frustration I originally had and the pure satisfaction I felt upon finally defeating its first boss is exactly what the developers intended, and that's when the game turned into one of my favorites of the generation.

Not everyone has the patience to be pushed through the mud before experiencing joy, but for those that do, the souls games are the best out there.

#40 Posted by mangopup (70 posts) -

Wouldn't there be arguing if people thought Dark Souls was an easy game? Or am I too tired to read the headline correctly?

#41 Posted by patrickklepek (3475 posts) -

Alright, so now we can stop humping Dark Souls' leg, right?

It's a good game, but I think the praise of how great it is gets way overblown, especially on this website.

I want to warp back in time and have someone read this comment a year ago.

Staff
#42 Edited by Tennmuerti (8005 posts) -

Heh, and now I also notice that the title of this article likewise starts with the word -Learning- and it feels me with warm fuzzies. ;D

#43 Posted by krabboss (290 posts) -

@sravankb said:

If only Giant Bomb had this attitude towards Monster Hunter.

And honestly, I would argue it's actually easier than both those titles. It's far, far less frustrating and easier to get into. The only hard part of that game is understanding a monster's AI and patterns.

Hell, it's far more satisfying as well. When you beat a monster it's because you have not just outsmarted it, but also out-maneuvered it. It has very little of the random traps and other bullshit you find in Dark Souls and Spelunky.

I've never been able to get into the Souls games, but Monster Hunter is rad as fuck.

Giant Bomb (besides Brad) also needs to have this attitude towards Dota 2, though. Put some time into that and it's super rewarding.

#44 Posted by Chainsawleon (9 posts) -

Crazy timing, because after trying on and off (mostly off) since I bought it at launch (and then again on PC) I finally beat Dark Souls for the first time on Monday. I was so glad I revisited it, now I'm super excited for the sequel.

I did it with quite a bit of time spent on a wiki, but I know myself well enough to know I would have NEVER finished it totally on my own. Ain't nobody got time for that!

#45 Posted by bearshamanbro (284 posts) -

Don't know any other game where I can watch other people play it over and over again. Had your stream archives up most of January (while working) and thank you sir for the entertainment. Always looked forward to new episodes.

And you were good at the game. Most notably, you seemed to have a knack for not panicking under pressure and not hitting buttons without purpose.

I think you've done great work in dispelling the "difficultly" wall that has kept people from trying the game. The more people on the Dark Souls train the better.

#46 Posted by Tracer223 (7 posts) -

It's awesome to see this game get the recognition it deserves. I remember when this game came out around the same time as Skyrim and I bought both games, I ended up putting in only about 50 hours into Skyrim and then getting bored of the core game mechanics. The game is huge and there is a lot to do, but it gets boring very quickly when you see the same environments getting recycled over and over again, removing any incentive to actually explore the game. Also, I don't like the fact that you can change the difficulty in Elder Scrolls games. It makes any sense of accomplishment feel cheap because if you want, you can just cheese through all the content with no consequence. Dark Souls, however, I devoured upon release and could not stop playing it until I beat it. It's one of the only games I've owned where as soon as I finish it I want to play through it again using a different build or attempt to finish NG+. The replayability factor is insane. 2 years later I still play it in between major game releases, it has become my "go-to" game along with Counterstrike and DOTA 2. It's a quality game that assumes you're not an idiot, and I wish there was more of that in modern gaming.

#47 Posted by ThunderSlash (1555 posts) -

I'll admit I was always a bit miffed when you guys (with the exception of Vinny and Rorie) would dismiss the Souls games as "those difficult games for crazy people." But I'm glad that the staff has started changing their opinion on that. Praise the sun! Now if Jeff can be as grossly incandescent. Patrick, you know what you must do!

Also, screw those elitists. The Souls games are the type of games that allow the players to adapt to the game in any way they want. Just look at Vinny and his VinnCo(TM) build!

#48 Posted by smokyexe (254 posts) -

It's nice how you interdependent the "you are playing it wrong" comments with people just wanting you to have a more pure experience and you are totally right on that one. That's why it's so hard watching Brad play a Royal and just laugh at the level and enemies while he sits back 10 meters away shooting Soul Arrows, one hitting them without breaking a sweat.

#49 Edited by dahlis (44 posts) -

Been looking forward to reading your thoughts on this game. One of my favorite things about DkS is that the actual storytelling requires you to "dig it up" . Nothing is thrown in your face and you have the choice to almost completely ignore what's going on in the world of Lordan. I just love the thought of going through the game and knowing that most places, items and monsters have a backstory - but one that you'll never find out because you're a reckless (and hopefully cautious) killing machine :)

#50 Posted by Deathpooky (1376 posts) -

Having also played through it within the last few months, I'm with you on the difficulty thoughts, both positive and negative. Be patient, learn attack tells, take advantage of openings, don't over-extend, and judiciously block/roll. Those will get you through almost any encounter. The game punishes you for mistakes, but as long as you don't get frustrated by death, then you'll make it through.

Looking at the recent changes, I do understand why people think the experience is now watered down. In a game where your defense is directly tied to your level and upgrades are incredibly important, those extra souls and materials matter a lot. And the DLC difficulty and additional souls basically make that the hardest part of the game, to the point where everything after is a joke. The "using heavy armor is OP" crowd is kind of ridiculous, but otherwise the game is much easier than where bosses would likely take four times as long and be able to one shot you in vanilla Dark Souls.

But really the biggest change is, as you note, things like understanding the upgrade system, stat scaling, equipment load, good weapons, and associated useful stats. Knowing about those prevented me from building my character into a corner or wasting materials, eliminating a lot of difficulty. Though I don't think it'd improve the game if all of those systems are obfuscated. Difficulty from mechanical challenge, learning the bosses/levels, and requiring careful play is one thing, but difficulty through obtuse systems wasting hours of your time and souls are not.

I'm wondering how things will be in DS2 given the changes they made from Demon's Souls in terms of improved menus and explanations and within Dark Souls in terms of souls/grinding.