Dark Souls is changing me.

This is perhaps, one of my most favorite games that I have ever played. Never before have I felt like I was exploring not only a world in a game, but the core mechanics as well. From Software does something that I, having never experienced Demon's Souls, have never before seen. Everything is so obfuscated, but in such a way that it's not inaccessible -- it's just not laid bare before you. Take stat scaling on weapons for example. This is something that it feels like you could go through the entire game and miss, if you aren't either carefully examining the information the game gives you or using a Wiki page. Between that and crafting, the exploration of the world and actions of the NPCs, everything about this game just feels so damn... sublime.

When originally fighting an enemy, I felt tense. I felt anxious. I felt worried and on edge. Groups of enemies could dispatch me easily as I buckled under pressure. But as time wears on, I feel myself becoming more experienced, becoming more collected and tactile. I continue to better myself with my weapons and armours, learn my limits and how to stay within them. I take notes on how an enemy attack, what they're attacking with, where they are positioned, what they are weak to, and more importantly, what I myself am weak to and how to keep myself out of a situation where I will have to face that weakness. All of this information is accessed so routinely in every combat scenario, that it becomes second nature and a part of my actual self.

I have never come across a game that has made me pay such painstaking attention to what I am doing in order to progress. I've only just passed what I believe could be the midpoint of the games, but it has already left such a defined impression upon me. It's almost zen-like, really. It forces you to grow, both as a gamer and as a person, something you see upon introspection. The turning point was when I realized that I no longer care about souls -- they certainly have their uses and I would not forsake them -- but they are not my objective. What you gather and collect is unimportant. Rather, the journey is the key. Knowledge and progress, continual forward movement, regardless of how much or how slow. That is all that is asked of you.

Dark Souls amazes me, and I believe it will continue to do so, long after I have beaten it, which I will do. Eventually. Slowly, but surely.

19 Comments
20 Comments
Posted by xxizzypop

This is perhaps, one of my most favorite games that I have ever played. Never before have I felt like I was exploring not only a world in a game, but the core mechanics as well. From Software does something that I, having never experienced Demon's Souls, have never before seen. Everything is so obfuscated, but in such a way that it's not inaccessible -- it's just not laid bare before you. Take stat scaling on weapons for example. This is something that it feels like you could go through the entire game and miss, if you aren't either carefully examining the information the game gives you or using a Wiki page. Between that and crafting, the exploration of the world and actions of the NPCs, everything about this game just feels so damn... sublime.

When originally fighting an enemy, I felt tense. I felt anxious. I felt worried and on edge. Groups of enemies could dispatch me easily as I buckled under pressure. But as time wears on, I feel myself becoming more experienced, becoming more collected and tactile. I continue to better myself with my weapons and armours, learn my limits and how to stay within them. I take notes on how an enemy attack, what they're attacking with, where they are positioned, what they are weak to, and more importantly, what I myself am weak to and how to keep myself out of a situation where I will have to face that weakness. All of this information is accessed so routinely in every combat scenario, that it becomes second nature and a part of my actual self.

I have never come across a game that has made me pay such painstaking attention to what I am doing in order to progress. I've only just passed what I believe could be the midpoint of the games, but it has already left such a defined impression upon me. It's almost zen-like, really. It forces you to grow, both as a gamer and as a person, something you see upon introspection. The turning point was when I realized that I no longer care about souls -- they certainly have their uses and I would not forsake them -- but they are not my objective. What you gather and collect is unimportant. Rather, the journey is the key. Knowledge and progress, continual forward movement, regardless of how much or how slow. That is all that is asked of you.

Dark Souls amazes me, and I believe it will continue to do so, long after I have beaten it, which I will do. Eventually. Slowly, but surely.

Posted by Three0neFive

Deep.

Posted by Mrsignerman44

This game is excellent, it truly is. But I wish it had a story soooo bad.

Posted by Awolf007

Well said. Agreed totally. I was home sick from work the last two days and even while feeling like hell I was playing. Truly a game that encompasses the best qualities you could ask for with a few extra that you don't normally receive:

1. aesthetic beauty

2. fantastic weight of action/game play controls and physics

3. absurdly in-depth character and item development

4. very unique (although sometimes very "gotcha" style) world design

5. Very challenging in the way the game plays (no pausing, starting over at bonfire, difficult enemies, no answers to anything you encounter provided)

#5 is the rare quality that you don't typically get in most great games. I've heard it said time and again that Dark Souls is "very difficult, but not unfair". However, I disagree, it is DEFINITELY unfair the way that they throw you in a dark cave with monsters jumping at you and only a 10 foot in diameter cliff to navigate during your battle. However, if you think about it, HOW ELSE will they make the game challenging? With games today, they're always stacked in the player's favor. If FROM was going to make a game that is TRULY challenging, those are the types of situations they would need to create. (i.e. - Bosses that you die within 10 seconds the first 5 times you attempt to fight them - not to mention the gauntlet you typically have to run each of those times you want to get to the boss, which is 70% of the challenge).

But as you said, it forces us to grow, and learn, and in doing so, there is a true sense of accomplishment. I am currently in possession of all 4 LORD souls and could go fight Gwynn, but I don't want to do it. I decided to go jump into the painted world instead, so that I could squeeze as much out of this game as I can before I'm done with my first playthrough.

Posted by tekmojo

*slow clap*

Posted by kingzetta

soon the transformation will be complete

Posted by JCTango

Profound :). Pretty interesting how the game could have that deep an effect on you. Cool stuff :D.

Posted by Jonnyflash80

Your post was both eloquent and insightful. I feel exactly the same way. No matter how frustrated the game makes me I still come back to it the next day to try to scratch out a handhold and make that slightest little bit of forward progress.

Posted by jetsetwillie

whilst i agree DS is a great game. it certainly is not a life changing experience.

my daughter being born yes

playing a harder than usual video game err no

Edited by xxizzypop

@Mrsignerman44: That's probably one of the few shortcomings that I will hold against the game. It's a shame too, because the opening cutscene is amazing, and the world they've crafted is so damn intricate, yet, just like everything else, the story is so heavily shrouded that it's really more of a detriment.

@Awolf007: I agree with literally everything you just said. And anyone who contends that it's a completely fair game is rationalizing too much to justify the difficulty. The game is certainly unfair at times -- but it wants to be and I'm glad that it is.

@Jonnyflash80: Exactly. And that feeling is something that isn't inspired in most games. I've never had one where I started up deliberately knowing that today, I may not even make it that far with over an hour of play -- I might not make it anywhere. I might even set myself back farther than I started. But I'll still keep playing, virtually every day.

@jetsetwillie: I was maybe a little hyperbolic, but only to make a point :p

For the record, I always thought people who said they were on like, their seventh Demon's Souls NG+ were insane. I couldn't picture why anyone would want to play and beat a single game that many times. Now... I think I'm starting to understand.

Posted by CaptainObvious

Man I just lost like six thousand souls and seven humanities. Fuck this game.

Posted by CptBedlam

@Mrsignerman44: Actually the game has a great and extremely deep story.

Posted by TheDudeOfGaming
@jetsetwillie said:

whilst i agree DS is a great game. it certainly is not a life changing experience.

my daughter being born yes

playing a harder than usual video game err no

This pretty much sums it up.
Posted by CptBedlam

@TheDudeOfGaming: I'm sure the OP was not talking about a life changing experience like that.

Posted by Panpipe

Alright, stop the forums!

Nobody talk about any experiences that games have given them, apparently someone has made a baby!

Edited by TheDudeOfGaming
@CptBedlam: Yeah and I'm pretty sure i didn't read what OP had to say, just the title. Then i jumped to conclusions.
Posted by impartialgecko

I haven't finished Dark Souls yet but Demon's Souls certainly made me think more about how much I could put into a game that challenged me. It's worth considering how much gamers actually devote their efforts to games yet give up on the real world stuff

Edited by Mrsignerman44

@CptBedlam said:

@Mrsignerman44: Actually the game has a great and extremely deep story.

It has a deep lore but I wasn't expecting to be forced to read item descriptions in order to get a grasp of whats happening. The scene with kingseeker frampt was one of the only scenes that actually put a goal in front of you, it presented you with a task and more importantly, a plot. There may be an excellent story somewhere in this game, but I don't want to have to go out of my way to find it.

Posted by CptBedlam

@Mrsignerman44: There's much more there than what Frampt tells you. Actually, the player is being lied to and used by Frampt, Gwynevere (she's not real anyway) etc.

http://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls/comments/lc454/spoilers_welcome_who_or_what_is_the_furtive_pygmy/

Posted by Mrsignerman44

@CptBedlam said:

@Mrsignerman44: There's much more there than what Frampt tells you. Actually, the player is being lied to and used by Frampt, Gwynevere (she's not real anyway) etc.

http://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls/comments/lc454/spoilers_welcome_who_or_what_is_the_furtive_pygmy/

I already acknowledged that dark souls has a deep lore but my only gripe with it is that it needs to be pieced together. That whole post was pieced together by the community, I expected the game to have cutscenes of some sort, or at least a proper ending. It was a great game and it's definitely a game of the year contender but a more plot-driven experience would've made it a better game.