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#1 Edited by The_Ruiner (925 posts) -

Dark Souls is a pretty divisive experience. Those that love it reeeeaaally love it. And those that hate it kinda wish it would die. For months, I tried to get into it to no avail. It sat on my shelf for months at a time. I kept looking at it. I'd pop it in from time to time. But I just couldn't see the appeal. That was, until Vinny did the recent live stream, and I decided to give it one more shot. This time I started over, with a completely different class. And lo and behold, I'm really enjoying it.

Now what I'd like to know is what is it that draw you, dear reader, into the experience. I know for some it's the difficulty. Which it definitely is not for me. I'd be perfectly happy if it were a little less brutal at times. And for some it's the odd nature of the multiplayer. And again, I think if I could choose to co-op with my friends at any time I'd be having loads more fun with it. No, for me it honestly comes down to this. I get the same feeling playing this game, that I got when I first played through Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The joy of exploring this huge, inter-connected, brilliantly designed environment full of some of the most imaginative creature designs I've seen in a long time. The fact that this place feels packed with secrets and hidden items that you could play for hundreds of hours and never find. The only thing it's missing is the kick ass soundtrack.

So that's what draws me to Dark Souls. What about you?

#2 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

It's a really good game that has mystery about it. No games have mystery about them anymore.

#3 Posted by Rayeth (1000 posts) -

It doesn't treat you like an idiot. It simply presents you with a system and a world and tells you to figure out your own way though. There is no hand holding beyond extreme basics.

I love figuring out problems and solving puzzles (FEZ was fun for this reason), and Dark Souls is one huge combat puzzle.

#4 Posted by jimmyfenix (3680 posts) -

@rayeth said:

It doesn't treat you like an idiot. It simply presents you with a system and a world and tells you to figure out your own way though. There is no hand holding beyond extreme basics.

I love figuring out problems and solving puzzles (FEZ was fun for this reason), and Dark Souls is one huge combat puzzle.

@jz said:

It's a really good game that has mystery about it. No games have mystery about them anymore.

I agree with the both of you.

#5 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

People that play it like god of war are the people that hate it.

#6 Posted by falserelic (4941 posts) -

That survival aspect, trying to make it out alive in those medievil streets, son

#7 Edited by TheHT (10274 posts) -

The combat, the style, and the indirect multiplayer aspects.

#8 Edited by Pr1mus (3512 posts) -

The world.

#9 Edited by Zeik (2111 posts) -

I don't particularly care about the multiplayer or the lore. I think it's mostly the sense of progress you feel as you make it through the game and improve as a player. It's not just about leveling up your character, it's about leveling up you.

#10 Posted by darkwingduck (166 posts) -

@rayeth said:

I love figuring out problems and solving puzzles (FEZ was fun for this reason), and Dark Souls is one huge combat puzzle.

this.

i fell in love with this game when i realized that every encounter that seemed "brutal" or "unfair" was solvable if you were willing to put your mind to work (or, you know, look it up on the internet).i guess you just have to be willing to find stuff out on your own and accept that the game wont hold your hand. there is great satisfaction to be found in dark souls, both gameplay and story-wise if you do.

#11 Posted by Ares42 (2443 posts) -

The exploration is definitely a big part of it, both the world and the mechanics of the game. Secondly though it's a fresh melee combat gameplay system that's well executed, and by pushing the challenge level you're forced to engage with it. After having played the Souls games a lot I find it hard to get engaged in western RPGs (like Skyrim or Amalur) and even action titles like God of War or Diablo, just because the combat feels so bland. The beauty of the Souls combat system is that it really focuses on what is special about melee combat, every swing being meaningful and impactful and the brutality of close quarter combat all while presenting it in a way that makes it seem somewhat genuine.

#12 Posted by obcdexter (531 posts) -

It's just so much fun once you "get it", and a really challenging, yes, even frustrating but very rewarding experience until then. The different paths you can walk in terms of your character build, choice of weapons, armor, spells and such make it appealing to really dig deep and learn a lot about the mechanics of the Souls games. It actively encourages the player to create many characters; to try out new stuff until you find the play-style most suited for you. Took ages until I finally mustered up the courage NOT to go the hybrid-route and actually try some more straight-forward builds. Also: put down your soul sign whenever you can! I love helping people and you can always use the extra souls and humanities, not to speak of the learning aspect--analyzing another player's approach to the game can be enlightening, and it's fun to do so while playing alongside or against them.

#13 Posted by Video_Game_King (34600 posts) -

Although I haven't played it, I can appreciate it from a distance for the purposeful application of old school ambiguity combined with a strong sense of community and mythos.

Online
#14 Edited by Tennmuerti (7720 posts) -

Well the biggest appeal for me is the pressure, challenge and discovery. It's not a super hard game once you figure it out, but it's difficult enough, certainly more so then most games these days. It's the tension it creates by combining a punishing death system and the fact that if you stop concentrating and rush/madly flail at an enemy even the games grunts and peons can take you down. It's taking the next corner and not knowing what's behind it, having to be prepared for anything. It's about getting your ass kicked because you started to relax too much, then coming back with a vengeance and succeeding. It's about finding your own play style and making it work. (i remember near launch reading how almost everyone and their mother used a glitch to kill the Ceasless Discharge boss, while I just straight up man tanked him, felt awesome). It's knowing you failed because you yourself fucked up, and knowing you succeeded because of your own efforts. Basically it creates a rewarding experience most games can't match.

As a secondary reason I really enjoy the armor, weapon and enemy designs in Dark Souls. It might be an ugly game on a technical level, but the gear and monster designs are superbly crafted. Furthermore the weapons and armor all have a specific weight and feel to them and a lot of them have a very plain medieval aesthetic that is almost nonexistent in other games. Hell Dark Souls feels more like a medieval setting them most western RPGs. Where a lot of fantasy RPGs have moved onto gaudy and impractical armor designs a lot of gear in DS is just so down to earth it stands out. Combine that with the weight the designers give them both in terms of look, sound and movement (as well as the animation priority) and you get a very believable and tactile experience. Heck as a knock on effect even the more gaudy armor pieces you find later on still feel more in universe "real" for lack of a better term. I enjoy the grime, the dirt, the blood, and the depressing dark of a lot of levels as well.

Finally it's the unnerving feeling the game creates when playing alone. The dark atmosphere, the challenges ahead, the ones behind. It's good at being creepy.

#15 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

As crappy as it sounds, you actually are playing it wrong and you have to get it.

#16 Edited by Korwin (2721 posts) -

The methodical pace of the combat is great, also the less hand holdy approach to the game means that there is a good community aspect to the experience.

#17 Edited by The_Ruiner (925 posts) -

@jz said:

As crappy as it sounds, you actually are playing it wrong and you have to get it.

I'll play it how I want thanks. The only way I ever enjoy any game is playing how I want. If there's only one right way to play, I'll play something else.

#18 Posted by Skooky (473 posts) -

I like good video games and Dark Souls is pretty good.

#19 Posted by MormonWarrior (2484 posts) -

I actually wrote a detailed blog entry back at the end of April about this very topic. Give it a read and leave a comment, if you would!

#20 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

@the_ruiner: I meant the general you, not actually you personally.

#21 Edited by The_Ruiner (925 posts) -

@jz said:

People that play it like god of war are the people that hate it.

I don't know if that's entirely true. For some maybe, but the game has a deliberate methodical pace about it that not everyone enjoys. Everyone needs something different from a game. Some people just don't want or need what this game provides.

I actually wrote a detailed blog entry back at the end of April about this very topic. Give it a read and leave a comment, if you would!

sure thing!

#22 Posted by Nicked (237 posts) -

Internal consistency and elegant design.

One example actually relates to the "missing" soundtrack. The design intent is that you use the game audio to foresee (forehear?) danger. There is even a pseudo stealth mechanic in the game where you can sneak up on enemies in less noisy armor. And you can clang your sword against the wall to attract enemies out of hiding. Not to say the game couldn't use music outside of the boss fights, just that the silence is intended.

Additionally, the story is really fantastically tragic and the characters are great and memorable. Solaire, Siegmeyer, Sieglinde, Frampt, Marvelous Chester, Big Hat Logan, and good old Laurentius. Everyone's great.

#23 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

@the_ruiner: you have to play the game in it's rules. You can't play risk like checkers.

#24 Posted by JackSukeru (5816 posts) -

With Demon's Souls it was simple, I saw a game that let you be a guy in armor faced with challenges that felt realistically proportioned to a regular human. A huge dragon will fuck you up in melee combat ten times out of ten, and you can only slay giants by felling them first. Otherwise everyone was your size and often more than your match if you weren't careful.

It felt refreshing after all the fantastical games that had you with little effort taking on and slaughtering several enemies at once or facing enemies twice or even ten-to-twenty times your size when it came to a lot of bosses, all without being in that much greater danger.

Then there was also the way that weapons were handled that seemed very interesting to me. How you could two-hand everything, or use 2 shields, or dual wield whatever you felt like, or strike the enemy's weapon away with your shield. It all looked very physical in a way I really liked the look of. And again, the human scale of it all really sold me.

My initial impression of the game eventually gave way once I understood its systems better, but by then I was already sold on exploring the levels and world. When Dark Souls came around I got lost in the game completely, even after finishing it the first time, and eventually even became pretty ok at it.

The way the game (or games) is (are) made is also a large contributing factor. There are a lot of different ways to play it, and the story and lore that it has is kept in the background, only there if you seek it out (which I did) yet never in the way once you'd seen it and stopped caring. This also made the game easy to go back to. Because there is just pure gameplay, with no longwinded unskippable cutscenes or scripted events to bog down the pace, it's easy to just PLAY, and enjoy the gameplay.

#25 Posted by Clonedzero (3720 posts) -

Everything feels completely intentional. If i die. It's MY fault. It's very challenging and punishing. But it's also SO damn satisfying when you finally figure out how to beat that enemy that's been giving you so much trouble, beating that boss you've been trying to beat for an hour.

The level design is pretty damn amazing. Each "level" is usually pretty small, its just so dense.

The way they hide things, hell i beat the game two full times before even knowing ash lake existed. I didnt know about the painted world till after i beat it the first time. They hide entire zones from you without giving you any real direct clues about it. No one else really does that.

I just really like the fully intentional feel of everything. That enemy is hiding behind that corner because they wanted it to be there. You can avoid all of quellaags attacks (aside from the aoe) by hugging her right hand side of her spiderface, that feels intended not like an exploit. Stuff like that.

It's just a completely unique experience.

#26 Posted by The_Ruiner (925 posts) -

@jz said:

@the_ruiner: you have to play the game in it's rules. You can't play risk like checkers.

That board game analogy doesn't work. You play how you want to and I'll do the same. Everyone wins.

@nicked said:

Internal consistency and elegant design.

One example actually relates to the "missing" soundtrack. The design intent is that you use the game audio to foresee (forehear?) danger. There is even a pseudo stealth mechanic in the game where you can sneak up on enemies in less noisy armor. And you can clang your sword against the wall to attract enemies out of hiding. Not to say the game couldn't use music outside of the boss fights, just that the silence is intended.

Additionally, the story is really fantastically tragic and the characters are great and memorable. Solaire, Siegmeyer, Sieglinde, Frampt, Marvelous Chester, Big Hat Logan, and good old Laurentius. Everyone's great.

I wasn't implying that it should have the soundtrack. Only that it was the one of the things that separated from Castlevania in my mind. Honestly though I do enjoy playing the SOTN soundtrack while I play. Also I didn't know about the sword clanging thing. Thanks!

#27 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11001 posts) -

It's brutal and uncompromising in a way that modern games simply aren't. I also love the constantly oppressive, gloomy atmosphere that really helps hammer in the fact that death is inevitable and you are going to die a lot.

#28 Posted by Aetheldod (3335 posts) -

It's brutal and uncompromising in a way that modern games simply aren't. I also love the constantly oppressive, gloomy atmosphere that really helps hammer in the fact that death is inevitable and you are going to die a lot.

This and also love the methodical combat (I just plain dislike the deadbeat styles of Batman /God of War etc,) , the weirdness of the multiplayer and how you can use the game´s traps and enemies to you advantage etc. Also like the music when it plays etc. Just a beautiful gme in its dark/heavy atmospheres.

#29 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

@the_ruiner: well doing things your way has not panned out well so far. So maybe your not always right. In demons souls I died a fuck ton, but in dark souls I've died like 12 times total in all two times I've beaten it.

In demons souls I was finding out the rules and seeing how to play the game. In dark souls I already knew the rules thus made the whole game waaaay easy. Dark soul is not hard or brutal or anything, you actually have to play it like dark souls, not devil may cry or god of war. It's only game ever now a days to actually say "hey pay attention." It's a real game not a theme park ride.

#30 Edited by The_Ruiner (925 posts) -

@jz said:

@the_ruiner: well doing things your way has not panned out well so far. So maybe your not always right. In demons souls I died a fuck ton, but in dark souls I've died like 12 times total in all two times I've beaten it.

In demons souls I was finding out the rules and seeing how to play the game. In dark souls I already knew the rules thus made the whole game waaaay easy. Dark soul is not hard or brutal or anything, you actually have to play it like dark souls, not devil may cry or god of war. It's only game ever now a days to actually say "hey pay attention." It's a real game not a theme park ride.

You're the only one who seems to care about "right". I'm having lots of fun playing the game...how is that not panning out so well? I'm glad you're not dying...congrats. But how someone I've never met or will meet plays a game means less than nothing to me. I just wanted to know what people found fun. I'm enjoying myself. You're enjoying yourself. Despite the "realness" of the game, fun is all that matters to me.

#31 Posted by Morningstar (2047 posts) -

The challenge, the satisfactory combat and the perilous exploration.

#32 Edited by golguin (3651 posts) -

Well the biggest appeal for me is the pressure, challenge and discovery. It's not a super hard game once you figure it out, but it's difficult enough, certainly more so then most games these days. It's the tension it creates by combining a punishing death system and the fact that if you stop concentrating and rush/madly flail at an enemy even the games grunts and peons can take you down. It's taking the next corner and not knowing what's behind it, having to be prepared for anything. It's about getting your ass kicked because you started to relax too much, then coming back with a vengeance and succeeding. It's about finding your own play style and making it work. (i remember near launch reading how almost everyone and their mother used a glitch to kill the Ceasless Discharge boss, while I just straight up man tanked him, felt awesome). It's knowing you failed because you yourself fucked up, and knowing you succeeded because of your own efforts. Basically it creates a rewarding experience most games can't match.

As a secondary reason I really enjoy the armor, weapon and enemy designs in Dark Souls. It might be an ugly game on a technical level, but the gear and monster designs are superbly crafted. Furthermore the weapons and armor all have a specific weight and feel to them and a lot of them have a very plain medieval aesthetic that is almost nonexistent in other games. Hell Dark Souls feels more like a medieval setting them most western RPGs. Where a lot of fantasy RPGs have moved onto gaudy and impractical armor designs a lot of gear in DS is just so down to earth it stands out. Combine that with the weight the designers give them both in terms of look, sound and movement (as well as the animation priority) and you get a very believable and tactile experience. Heck as a knock on effect even the more gaudy armor pieces you find later on still feel more in universe "real" for lack of a better term. I enjoy the grime, the dirt, the blood, and the depressing dark of a lot of levels as well.

Finally it's the unnerving feeling the game creates when playing alone. The dark atmosphere, the challenges ahead, the ones behind. It's good at being creepy.

The Ceaseless Discharge "trick" was never a glitch. People simply didn't understand what was happening. By running to the fog gate you force him to give chase until he reaches the edge of the ground he's walking on. At that point he jumps towards you and grabs onto the ledge. You smack his hands a few times and he loses his grip and falls to his death. I still remember this boss being brought up during the bombcast and Jeff criticizing the game for this apparent "glitch".

#33 Posted by NegativeCero (2925 posts) -

So many aspects of it are great and add to my enjoyment like the art design,the music, exploration. I really just like the sense of progression in terms struggling against X, but now that I've gone through this area or beaten the game, I have no trouble destroying this boss/enemy. It's just satisfying.

#34 Posted by golguin (3651 posts) -

@jz said:

@the_ruiner: well doing things your way has not panned out well so far. So maybe your not always right. In demons souls I died a fuck ton, but in dark souls I've died like 12 times total in all two times I've beaten it.

In demons souls I was finding out the rules and seeing how to play the game. In dark souls I already knew the rules thus made the whole game waaaay easy. Dark soul is not hard or brutal or anything, you actually have to play it like dark souls, not devil may cry or god of war. It's only game ever now a days to actually say "hey pay attention." It's a real game not a theme park ride.

You're the only one who seems to care about "right". I'm having lots of fun playing the game...how is that not panning out so well? I'm glad you're not dying...congrats. But how someone I've never met or will meet plays a game means less than nothing to me. I just wanted to know what people found fun. I'm enjoying myself. You're enjoying yourself. Despite the "realness" of the game, fun is all that matters to me.

I believe the idea is that there is no "correct" way to play Dark Souls. However, you can severely ruin your enjoyment of the game if you play the game like a character action game or a beat em up like many people have done in the past. I remember Jeff complaining about the attack speed of the weapons, the attack animation, and the movement not being something he liked so he stopped playing the game.

Many people started the game with the same mindset, but eventually figured out how weighty everything was and adjusted their play style. If you can't adjust you're probably going to have a bad time.

That being said if you're making progress in the game and enjoying yourself however it is that you're playing the game then I don't think anyone would criticize you for that.

#35 Posted by The_Ruiner (925 posts) -

@golguin said:

@the_ruiner said:

@jz said:

@the_ruiner: well doing things your way has not panned out well so far. So maybe your not always right. In demons souls I died a fuck ton, but in dark souls I've died like 12 times total in all two times I've beaten it.

In demons souls I was finding out the rules and seeing how to play the game. In dark souls I already knew the rules thus made the whole game waaaay easy. Dark soul is not hard or brutal or anything, you actually have to play it like dark souls, not devil may cry or god of war. It's only game ever now a days to actually say "hey pay attention." It's a real game not a theme park ride.

You're the only one who seems to care about "right". I'm having lots of fun playing the game...how is that not panning out so well? I'm glad you're not dying...congrats. But how someone I've never met or will meet plays a game means less than nothing to me. I just wanted to know what people found fun. I'm enjoying myself. You're enjoying yourself. Despite the "realness" of the game, fun is all that matters to me.

I believe the idea is that there is no "correct" way to play Dark Souls. However, you can severely ruin your enjoyment of the game if you play the game like a character action game or a beat em up like many people have done in the past. I remember Jeff complaining about the attack speed of the weapons, the attack animation, and the movement not being something he liked so he stopped playing the game.

Many people started the game with the same mindset, but eventually figured out how weighty everything was and adjusted their play style. If you can't adjust you're probably going to have a bad time.

That being said if you're making progress in the game and enjoying yourself however it is that you're playing the game then I don't think anyone would criticize you for that.

I had a similar experience. I decided to go with a faster weapon and a Lighter equip burden. Once I tried out a bunch of the weapons I went with one that felt right for how I like to play games. The game has a lot of different options if you're willing to look for them and I applaud it for that.

#36 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (4435 posts) -

I approached Dark Souls at first with a very skeptical attitude. I didn't very much care for the lack of direction, oppressive nature or the seemingly overwhelming amount of trial and error. That was when the game came out back in 2011.

When I eventually came back, I slowly figured out that Dark Souls is in fact a puzzle. What at first seems impossible, then becomes a simple set of patterns and animation cues. Dark Souls is about methodically breaking down and memorizing sections of the game until it becomes second nature.The satisfaction of overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles through skill and perseverance is why I'm personally drawn to the game.

#37 Edited by Chop (1962 posts) -

Same thing that draws to most rpgs; Creating and molding a character to overcome bad dudes.

If you want something more specific to Dark Souls, I guess it would be the diverse weapons. I really enjoy how every single piece of gear has it own little ticks.

#38 Posted by The_Ruiner (925 posts) -

I approached Dark Souls at first with a very skeptical attitude. I didn't very much care for the lack of direction, oppressive nature or the seemingly overwhelming amount of trial and error. That was when the game came out back in 2011.

When I eventually came back, I slowly figured out that Dark Souls is in fact a puzzle. What at first seems impossible, then becomes a simple set of patterns and animation cues. Dark Souls is about methodically breaking down and memorizing sections of the game until it becomes second nature.The satisfaction of overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles through skill and perseverance is why I'm personally drawn to the game.

I'll agree with you there. Once you stop being afraid of the enemies and really learn to watch their movements, you start to see openings and weakness. Allowing you to be more aggressive. That part is actually very rewarding.

#39 Edited by TobbRobb (4408 posts) -

@the_ruiner said:

No, for me it honestly comes down to this. I get the same feeling playing this game, that I got when I first played through Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The joy of exploring this huge, inter-connected, brilliantly designed environment full of some of the most imaginative creature designs I've seen in a long time. The fact that this place feels packed with secrets and hidden items that you could play for hundreds of hours and never find. The only thing it's missing is the kick ass soundtrack.

It's pretty much this for me. On top of that I like the feel of the sounds and design of the world, just the clinging of armor and heavy footsteps of a tired knight walking in a gloomy forest is amazing. The game also has the tools available ready for some fun character building and min/maxing that I really get a kick out of. Which plays well into the challenging nature making me not only adapt and build for fun, but out of neccessity, which is oh so rare in games these days. It really is just a mismatch of some of my favorite gameplay concepts, intertwined into one messy and dirty but oh so attractive piece of software.

Man I've really been building some Dark Souls 2 hype today. Why isn't it heeeeere yet.

EDIT: Ohey, I even found another quote so I don't have to think or write too hard. This perfectly describes my feelings on the games design.

@tennmuerti "As a secondary reason I really enjoy the armor, weapon and enemy designs in Dark Souls. It might be an ugly game on a technical level, but the gear and monster designs are superbly crafted. Furthermore the weapons and armor all have a specific weight and feel to them and a lot of them have a very plain medieval aesthetic that is almost nonexistent in other games. Hell Dark Souls feels more like a medieval setting them most western RPGs. Where a lot of fantasy RPGs have moved onto gaudy and impractical armor designs a lot of gear in DS is just so down to earth it stands out. Combine that with the weight the designers give them both in terms of look, sound and movement (as well as the animation priority) and you get a very believable and tactile experience. Heck as a knock on effect even the more gaudy armor pieces you find later on still feel more in universe "real" for lack of a better term. I enjoy the grime, the dirt, the blood, and the depressing dark of a lot of levels as well."

#40 Edited by The_Ruiner (925 posts) -

@tobbrobb said:

@the_ruiner said:

No, for me it honestly comes down to this. I get the same feeling playing this game, that I got when I first played through Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The joy of exploring this huge, inter-connected, brilliantly designed environment full of some of the most imaginative creature designs I've seen in a long time. The fact that this place feels packed with secrets and hidden items that you could play for hundreds of hours and never find. The only thing it's missing is the kick ass soundtrack.

It's pretty much this for me. On top of that I like the feel of the sounds and design of the world, just the clinging of armor and heavy footsteps of a tired knight walking in a gloomt forest is amazing. The game also has the tools availalble ready for some fun character building and min/maxing that I really get a kick out of. Which plays well into the challenging nature making me not only adapt and build for fun, but out of neccessity, which is oh so rare in games these days. It really is just a mismatch of some of my favorite gameplay concepts, intertwined into one messy and dirty but oh so attractive piece of software.

Man I've really been building some Dark Souls 2 hype today. Why isn't it heeeeere yet.

I think the first time i really started to appreciate this game was when I found the first shortcut under the Drake's bridge back to the Undead Burg bonfire. The way everything folds Back in on itself and the shortcuts you wouldn't have expected really let me know how well crafted the world of this game feels.

#41 Posted by konig_kei (575 posts) -

The lore and people in the game, that moment after killing Quelaag when you realise what you just did. man, great game.

#42 Posted by TobbRobb (4408 posts) -

@the_ruiner: Yep, the ladder under the bridge was my first real "OH WOW" moment in the game. Just realising that they had created this kind of map and game in a three dimensional setting was enough to sell me on the entire thing. Finding all the shortcuts and navigating the world, creating and filling out the map in my head as I went, it was just a great time. A game who creates this feeling this well is a game more than worthy of praise. And at this level, it will almost definitely land in my top ten games of all time, where i can hang out with SotN or Super Metroid for very similar reasons.

#43 Posted by davidwitten22 (1702 posts) -

I thought it controlled bad and wasn't fun to play, but that's just my opinion. If you like it that's super.

#44 Posted by The_Ruiner (925 posts) -

I thought it controlled bad and wasn't fun to play, but that's just my opinion. If you like it that's super.

I can see where you're coming from there honestly. But it won me over.

#45 Posted by hippocrit (213 posts) -

I was playing in super light armor and using a katana. At some point, I needed more protection, so I switched to some medium armor, but was too heavy to roll quickly. So I switched to a rapier and had to relearn how to fight! Proper technique with a katana wouldn't be the same as with a rapier; this is reflected in the game. That's awesome.

#46 Posted by Karkarov (2622 posts) -

I like immersive RPG's. From Software has been making good immersive RPG's since the days of Playstation 1. Dark Souls is a spinoff of Demon's Souls (which I consider the better game) which was a spinoff of those immersive earlier RPG's From made. For me buying and playing them was a no brainer, their trailers could have been a pig rolling around in the mud while a talking dog sang yankey doodle dandy and as long as it ended in "spiritual sequel to King's Field" I would have bought it.

#47 Posted by audioBusting (1299 posts) -

It's not boring.

#48 Edited by kerse (2037 posts) -

I just like playing it, its like the best melee combat in any action-rpg I've played. Sure it takes some getting used to not smashing the buttons and being patient, but its so rewarding. Also the bosses, especially your first time or two through, are just so fucking intimidating and you feel so awesome when you beat them. And when you fuck up, you know that it was 100% your fault for getting too greedy, not healing when you should have healed, letting yourself get too scared and freezing up (which I think is what kept happening to vinny on the stream), etc. I also really like how powerful you feel when you start making progress in your weapon and armor upgrading. I also love that it doesn't hold your hand in the game past the tutorial (and by that I mean I don't like the part where it doesn't at the tutorial, as much as I love the game, they really need to at least explain what stats like stability means and why its so important to have a shield with good stability, because for a new player that's probably the most important stat). I like how bleak and mysterious the world feels, everyone you talk to always has the most depressed sounding voice and the creepiest laughs. But most of all I just like to play it, every weapon is a different playstyle so you can really get your money's worth out of this game by just playing through several times gearing towards different weapons.

#49 Posted by Shirogane (3560 posts) -

@golguin said:

@tennmuerti said:

Well the biggest appeal for me is the pressure, challenge and discovery. It's not a super hard game once you figure it out, but it's difficult enough, certainly more so then most games these days. It's the tension it creates by combining a punishing death system and the fact that if you stop concentrating and rush/madly flail at an enemy even the games grunts and peons can take you down. It's taking the next corner and not knowing what's behind it, having to be prepared for anything. It's about getting your ass kicked because you started to relax too much, then coming back with a vengeance and succeeding. It's about finding your own play style and making it work. (i remember near launch reading how almost everyone and their mother used a glitch to kill the Ceasless Discharge boss, while I just straight up man tanked him, felt awesome). It's knowing you failed because you yourself fucked up, and knowing you succeeded because of your own efforts. Basically it creates a rewarding experience most games can't match.

As a secondary reason I really enjoy the armor, weapon and enemy designs in Dark Souls. It might be an ugly game on a technical level, but the gear and monster designs are superbly crafted. Furthermore the weapons and armor all have a specific weight and feel to them and a lot of them have a very plain medieval aesthetic that is almost nonexistent in other games. Hell Dark Souls feels more like a medieval setting them most western RPGs. Where a lot of fantasy RPGs have moved onto gaudy and impractical armor designs a lot of gear in DS is just so down to earth it stands out. Combine that with the weight the designers give them both in terms of look, sound and movement (as well as the animation priority) and you get a very believable and tactile experience. Heck as a knock on effect even the more gaudy armor pieces you find later on still feel more in universe "real" for lack of a better term. I enjoy the grime, the dirt, the blood, and the depressing dark of a lot of levels as well.

Finally it's the unnerving feeling the game creates when playing alone. The dark atmosphere, the challenges ahead, the ones behind. It's good at being creepy.

The Ceaseless Discharge "trick" was never a glitch. People simply didn't understand what was happening. By running to the fog gate you force him to give chase until he reaches the edge of the ground he's walking on. At that point he jumps towards you and grabs onto the ledge. You smack his hands a few times and he loses his grip and falls to his death. I still remember this boss being brought up during the bombcast and Jeff criticizing the game for this apparent "glitch".

Yeah that's almost definitely not a glitch, especially if you read up a bit on the Ceaseless Discharge lore. It seems intentional, in fact there's another way to 'beat' him that causes him to do that jump in a way that makes it seem like he wants you to kill him.

#50 Posted by eroticfishcake (7780 posts) -

WARNING: BIG POST

I wrote a blog a long while ago explaining why I love it. Can't remember what I wrote exactly but I'm pretty sure my opinions haven't changed since. However, I will mention that the most crucial thing about playing Dark Souls (and Demons' Souls) is to understand why it is, the way it is. Yes, the combat is slow and clunky, yes, you can easily get yourself killed, yes, the odds are stacked firmly against you but rarely does it feel unfair. It may not look like it at first but the game treats you with respect and wants you to get better. You may be slow to swing a sword but your enemies can move just as slow and are thus are working your level as well even if it doesn't look like it.

There's no difficulty slider or easy mode when you start. Everyone starts off on the same world and challenge and the only way to progress is to play with their rules and if you understand and respect those rules, it's immensely satisfying. Despite the challenge it's managed to breed a group of people who play the game in such eccentric manners like the Onebro challenge (finishing the game at only level 1), a shield only run or even a cosplay run. Of course there's always people who want something harder so they create these bizarre, self imposed challenges that are still completely viable given with enough practice, observation and willpower. Games rarely have this "culture" of sorts surrounding it.

Game design aside it's also managed to create a fascinating sense of immersion and aesthetics that we rarely see in other games. It's a low fantasy game and it feels especially so with it's heavy armour covered in a dull sheen of forged metal to the point you could almost feel the weight of it as your character lugs about the place so whenever the fantastical elements come to light it feels even more profound. Everything feels like it makes sense because it's justified in some way or another whether through text or environmental details. It's incredibly video gamey but very rarely does it remind you that it's a video game.

On a side note the first black knight you meet in the Undead Burg is one of my favourite enemies in the game, him specifically. The first time we see him the visual language immediately tells us that this is something dangerous and we've never fought anything like him up to this point and more importantly, his silhouette is shaped just so to tell us what we need to know, he's bigger and tougher given his size and the intimidating black armour he dons. But at the same time there's an item near him and he has his back to you. The game acknowledges his threat but at the same time wants to tease you, to bring you out of your comfort zone and thus learn something about the it's world and inner workings. If you do die to him you're given a second chance with your bloodstain and hopefully you would've learned why you died. That one knight is just one of the many examples of how the game teaches you in a manner that's understandable on a subconscious level. Dark Souls may like to smack you with a hammer you every now and again but like a sword it's slowly tempering you, making you tougher and more hardy to better you as a player.

I could write much more paragraphs regarding the world/level design, the sound, the characters, the art style, it's innovative and anecdotal multi player elements, the story (and it's projection) but I'm rambling. I've clocked over 700+ hours into Dark Souls. It has it's share of faults no doubt (of which I can give you five at the top of my head right now) but the things the games wants to do it achieves phenomenally well and thus you can probably guess why I think it's one of the most interesting games I've ever played if not my personal favourite. Every now and again I sometimes read about someone else's experience with the game or we're discussing some lore or other tiny details we've overlooked. Whatever the case it's like fine wine, the more you play and spend time with it, the more you begin to appreciate and understand why it's designed thusly. It's reliance on playground knowledge is something we rarely do today thanks to this age of internet and game wikis and that's something I really miss about games. Not only playing them but discussing about them.

I don't know the staff at From Software but I could definitely feel the passion and identity that they've carved into this game and that really gives it, I dare say, a soul of it's own.

(Erm. Must excuse the ponciness of my post. I really get worked up for this game.)