sackmanjones's Dark Souls (PlayStation 3) review

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Dark Souls hates you. But you love Dark Souls

   Why are you so mean to me Dark Souls? I give you so much of my time and all you do is throw me to the ground, kick me in the nuts not once but twice and wait for me to get back up so you can do it all over again. Believe it or not, this is why Dark Souls is such an amazing game.  The risk/reward and satisfaction is unmatched compared to any game on the market.  If you can suffer through the nasty swamps of Blighttown, or risk a valley filled with dragons, you might just love Dark Souls too...... even thought it hates you.

Believe it or not, this guy is not a main boss
Believe it or not, this guy is not a main boss

     Story wise,  there isn't much to Dark souls.  There is a land filled with the undead and some nasty spirits and are casuing hell on earth.  You are an undead knight (or one of the other nine classes) and are "the chosen one" to banish this evil from the earth.  So you begin your quest of failure and success, grinding through some of the most intense fights in a video game.
    Dark Souls is a SCARY game.  From every turn you make, to every sound you hear, you are on the edge of your seat. Whats so scary you ask? Well the fear of death, unlike many many MANY games, death has consequences that can literally having you flipping off the tv.  Walking up a tower to be greeted by a black knight creates some tense fights. You're thinking at 1 million miles an hour? I have to get past this guy to get my souls and humanity back, I gotta roll just as his sword is coming down, I cant roll into the stairs because its too narrow and I will be dead for sure, I need to put my shield down for a few seconds to guarantee a back stab.  This is the constant flow of things in Dark souls and it really makes you fear death. There is however some sections of hope.  Bonfires checkpoint your progress as well as fill up you estus flask (health pack) and refill you magic. However, every time you checkpoint all the enemies except a few large enemies and bosses respawn and are ready for revenge.  Its a bitter-sweet feeling finding bonfires.  You feel relief that you don't need to fight through that fortress again, however if you missed something and need to go back your gonna have to fight those enemies all over again.  
      Next up are the boss fights which make up a large portions of the game.  I would  categorize these into 3 different types.  There are the mini bosses such as Knights.  These enemies are difficult but can easily be defeated with some practice.  The game does not lock you into a section with them so in a way this is more of a strong enemy than it is a boss fight.  However, they do not respawn and that is why I consider them mini-bosses.  Next up are the secondary bosses (see picture above).  These are much more climatic and feel like the standard boss fights you've learned to know and love from other games.  These bosses are hard to beat, the one in the picture above took me around 3 or 4 tries.  You're really going to need to come up with some creative (or explotive) ways to defeat these guys.  And last but not least are the main bosses.  These guys are what make Dark Souls, well Dark Souls.  First off you are locked into an area with whatever creature is inside the zone.  Second, there is a chance there will be more than one boss inside the zone. Last, they are verrrrry difficult.
I hate you soooooo much
I hate you soooooo much
    You will die on these boss fights, sometimes once, sometimes 15 times.  But everytime you die the need to best this beast increases and it almost becomes an obsession.  You really need to take your past experiences (meaning death) and decide what you did wrong and what you are going to do to fix your mistakes.  Dark Souls has the most infuriating yet entertaining boss fights I have ever played.
  Now if you want to learn all the crazy systems like humanity and being hallow and stats, I suggest you use the internet and find a wiki or somethin else to find that out.  There is simply too much to explain in my review.  I will go into the online play though which I consider to be crucial to your Dark Souls experience.  While playing, you are always online and this leads to some interesting things.  You will see ghosts of actual players running around with you trying to fight through the same hordes you are at the same time.  You can see bloodstains of other players which you can touch and learn how they met their unfortunate fate which may also help you in the long run.  Leaving notes for players is also helpful.  Maybe someone tells you about a hidden bonfire or you can share your tactics on how to beat a certain enemy, or be a total ass and lead people the wrong way to certain death.  The choice is yours.  Obviously the most useful the the way of co op.  If you are human (by spending a humanity point) you are able to summon two more players to help you.  This makes boss fights much more fun and much easier. In return you may also be summoned into anothers game and as a reward you gain half of the souls of enemies and a humanity point of the areas boss is defeated.  
    On the other hand, people may also invade your game to make Dark Souls even harder, losing these fights and your humanity is gone but winning them steals humanity from your opponent.  Dark Souls simply has a very unique online experience that is essential to the game 
    Technically, Dark Souls look fantastic but with some draw backs.  First off the camera can be fine in one hallway but the other be a terrible mess that gets you killed.  There also seems to be a few frame rate drop and one section where the frame rate is almost unbearable. Other than that the game looks great.  The enemy design is very creative and unique.  Bosses are massive, scary and intimidating.
OVERALL:   Dark Souls is on hell of a game. I mean hell literally, this game is hard and is not for the faint of heart.  But if you can brave the the steep learning curve, Dark Souls is one of the best games this year.

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