By crithon 19 Comments
Last night, I spent 6 hours playing Dark Souls Prepare to Die edition. I had played the intro sequence like about 3 months ago when I bought the game on sale through steam sale. And before then I played maybe 4 hours into Demon's Souls which was also a good experience. But I still feel like I'm going in blind, because the introduction just left my mind playing too many other games in between.
So with that, I opened up a livestream through twitch.tv and had anyone come in and help me out. Now to be fair I was dicking around, running up to anything and whacking it. I completely forgot why the crow dropped me off here who were these two guys and why I'm here. The biggest problem I have is this is written like a 11 year old's idea of fantasy. Throw out fancy words and say it with phony English accents to make it feel like it's fantasy, and that's a problem in letting me fallow along with the game. Now this isn't just Dark Souls' fault in fact a lot of JRPG voice work sounds like this, and even some poorman fantasy books are written like this and I should know since I use to write like this when I was a teenager too.
First reaction is how pedestrian the art of this game is. It's hard to imagine this is a JRPG, nothing really spiky hair, androgynous or over the top about it. In fact it's rather classic fantasy, but I'm just amazed at the amount of color in this world. It's dark, creepy and haunting but there's always a sense of light just as it bounces off objects. The colors stand out more as punctuation in a world that's just dark so it's never really boring. The armor designs look really awesome later down the line and the giant monster designs are just glorious. So it's not like it's not a JRPG, it's actually really smart way of handling atmosphere so rich you can make yup your own story.
So within 2 hours I'd receive 4 or 5 viewers, and one of them would bravely comment over my dumb fun. I shut off mic and video, because then they would see me just humming along to Super Mario music. I don't enjoy seeing videos of teenagers screaming while they play a game, even though I myself am a goofball while I play myself. I tend to watch more nerdy videos where someone comments about the back story of how this game was made. So there was a slight disconnect with the viewers. I'd break from time to time just to politely say "hello." It's quite a uncomfortable experience just to have voyeurs coming into my game experience, because I play different then most gamers. People say they beat Portal in less then 2 hours I'm like 10 hours because I'm looking at the walls and admiring the graffiti. But still everyone is rather polite and is probably a teenager, because everyone commented "Are you on 360 or PS3?" all of them confused to be playing on PC. So it's awkward looking from one screen to another, seeking out quite spaces where I can type without getting ambushed. I might want to turn the mic on, but it's difficult doing this alone then without a friend reading off chat.
What works best in this game is the combat, it's quick, it's reactionary, it's deep and it's actually rewarding. Within 4 hours I got the countering down perfect rhythm and I felt like dancing a little jig in celebration. Still what makes the game difficult is really fighting more then one enemy so it becomes more about trying to lure out enemies away from one another and making it into a single one on one fight. And because of that, the fights becomes really tense.... actually they feel tense when I know what I'm doing, so I keep trying to be optimistic and say "every single death is a learning experience." I have no one to blame but myself, because a lot of the movements are very slow and telegraphed. The reaction time is the key, instead of number crunching which is what is what RPGs are economy major's spread sheets. Even the MASSIVE bosses have slow tells, they have small spots to run in between their legs and there's always one key move to stun them. So it's a excellent design that never feels like the game is holding your hand and every experience just feels fresh and exciting.
Well withing my 6 hours of streaming, there later came off a rather hostile viewer who turned into a backseat gamer. "TURN LEFT, HEAL, HEAL HEAL HEAL, YOU SUCK." The rest of the chat was yelling back at him. I didn't care too much, kept picturing him just terribly young and I actually listen to him a bit. The parts that were advice, but those kids really do give streaming a bad name and he was only one kid. The rest of the audience was supportive, and always kept asking "what do you think of this game?" or "are your really new to DS?" So there was a honest sense of enthusiasm to get someone new into this game.
Live streaming added another surreal quality to ghosts and the messages. It help illustrate how I'm not alone on a single player experience. I have no idea why anyone would want to watch me play even when I posted "this is my first time." But at the same time I enjoyed the help more then going through a message board or reading a FAQ afterwards. I may or may or may not try this again.
I really had an excellent time with Dark Souls, I'm eager to play it again. Now GFW has less users then console, on my experiences with Demon Souls I could spot at least 30 or 50 ghosts walking by me. So GFW's last dying breaths could be a wonderful sign when Dark Souls migrates to Steam. Still the combat and the rich atmosphere really make me excited to continue playing this game.
but first, I should do the DSFix to fix the PC textures.