I’m almost certain that most people have heard of Dark Souls. After all, it is what game journalists just love comparing difficult games too. Its known for its brutal yet fair difficulty and the ever so iconic “You Died” prompt every time you slip up. Back when the game first came out it acted like a right of passage for gamers. It separated the casuals from men. If you ever asked for advice you were often told to just “git gud.” If you couldn’t git gud then you just had to get over it.
All the games in the Souls series tend to follow the same path: you are the hero destined to overthrow the lords and collect their souls. Throughout your journey, you will meet memorable and iconic characters like the beloved Solaire of Astora, and not so trusty Patches, who will punish you for being greedy. Often times the world is dead and dreary. Something bad has or is happening. The Dark Souls series showcases some of the finest world building and level design in recent years and this is part of why the franchise is so beloved by countless players all across the globe.
The game presents a dark and dreary world. The iconic line “don’t you dare go hollow” is often compared to mental health and depression. In the game a character will grow more and more hollow with each death. Finally they will reach a point where they have lost all faith and reasons to live. They accept their fate and give up. Several characters will go hollow in the series, but none more memorable than Oscar, Solaire, and Siegmeyer. Even the lords you fight along your journey are hollow. Gwyn, driven mad by his fear of the age of dark, hollows trying to keep the first flame lit. Artorias, one of Gwyn’s loyal knights known for walking in the Abyss, went mad due to overexposure.
What makes this game so special and memorable is the breathtaking scenes. Witnessing the beautiful Moonlight Butterfly majestically rise up in dark root garden, arriving at Anor Londo, or even returning to the Kiln of the First Flame in Dark Souls III. Even bosses are gorgeous in their own twisted way. The beautiful fluent exchanges of greatswords from Farron Keeps Abyss Watchers is one of the best fights in the series. Watching Sister Friede engulf the room in flames and Slave Knight Gael lose his sanity to create a new world are just some of the most memorable moments from Dark Souls III. Honestly, some of the best moments come from the third game. Yes, without the first game there wouldn’t be that nostalgia punch when players fight the Soul of Cinder in the Kiln or when they return to Anor Londo. It’s moments like these that make the games special.
I adore these games. I haven’t played anything quite like them. Bloodborne was good but it didn’t feel as special as the others. Hopefully Sekiro will live up to its hype and deliver the experience that SoulsBorne fans want it to.