Review by GameOverlord345
"Dark Souls: A Game of Soul Crushing Difficulty"
To put it simply Dark Souls is a very punishing and difficult game.The game continues its theme of a dark medieval world with a sinister atmosphere. However, this game, unlike Demons Souls, is open world, which allows for more exploration and secrets to be found. Unlike, many other games, you need to time everything you need to do, be extra cautious about every turn, every nook or cranny in the game, if you wish to survive. The game will not hold your hand at all, and within the first 5 minutes, you'll come face to face with a huge demon which you only happen to do about 2 damage to. They won't tell you how to defeat it, you need to find out yourself. The only help you will get when you exclude the online are messages sprawled along the floor written by other players. And they may be deceiving you as well.
The gamplay is terrific in about all aspects. As I mentioned before, you need to time each hit properly or you will end up with a sword through your chest or a hammer smashed on your head. For each enemy you kill, you obtain souls, which can be used as currency or leveling up.Leveling up happens at a bonfire A.K.A: the checkpoint. When you die, you respawn at the last bonfire you rested at, however. You lose all souls and humanity (which will be explained later) at the site of your death, which, of course, you must retrieve in order to obtain them. If you die again, say bye bye to your souls and humanity forever!
Dark Souls has a large variety of playing styles and weapons to choose from. You can play with daggers, making quick swipes, or you can smash foes upside the head with great hammers. maybe you want to use magic, pyromancy or Miracles as well? You can play however you want, as long as you survive the bleak world.
There isn't much to say in terms of story. The story is told mainly by talking to NPCs and by reading item descriptions, all while making your own interpretations. When it comes to cut scenes, the only cutscenes that relate to the story would be the first and last cutscenes.
The sound effects in this game are simply outstanding. The sound of your footsteps when wearing armor is a sound I will most likely never forget. There is an awesome sound effect for everything. Most of which I will never forget.
The music is also amazing. From haunting music to epic themes to creepy melodies, Dark Souls won't dissapoint when it comes to music, although it only comes during boss fights and certain special areas.
The graphics are a grand improvement from Demons Souls, but it shares Demons Souls atmosphere or the medieval-creepy feel. Sure, some areas will be sunlit and beautiful, but many will be dark depressing areas. This may seem bad at first, but it just comes to show you that the world you are put in is truly an evil one.
The ambience of the game is truly magnificent. The sound effects, music, and graphics come together to create the perfect atmosphere. Weather the atmosphere is dark, happy, menacing or haunting. if you have play Demons Souls You will totally understand. While the ambience is not as good as demons souls, it's still better then many games out there.
This is where Dark Souls really shines. When you beat Dark Souls, there still is so many things to do. The game contains 3 hidden bosses, 4 hidden levels, an amazing online system of coop or PvP, many trophies that require a lot of skill/ patience to get, many sidequests involving the Major NPCs, a difficulty increase with each playthough and 2 endings.
When you beat the game, you restart at the beginning with all of your equipment and levels. All you lose are your embers and keys. however, everything now does more damage, has more HP, and gives more souls when you kill them. So when you beat the game, play it again with more powerful enemies, and again, and again, and again! There are a lot of hidden items, some of which I bet I still haven't uncovered. With every playthrough I have a shock moment realizing I didn't get this very strong armor or unusual weapon. Many of the NPCs have sidequests which reward you with powerful rings, humanity, or weapons. Many of these have different endings, the majority of them aren't all that happy...
Now we go to the online, which is very unique. if you played Demons Souls, the same aspect of invasion and summoning, bloodstains, messages and ghosts returns into Dark Souls, but now is more unique, which I will explain later. Bloodstains are, as you may have guessed, bloodstains. In offline they contain all of your souls and humanity which you have to get unless you want it to go away forever. In online, you can view how other people have died by viewing bloodstains. I personally do not use bloodstains, but if you see a lot, you'll know you should be careful, and view some of them before advancing. Messages are.... messages that people online write. They select already made phrases and then they appear on the floor for everyone else to see. These are far more helpful as they can warn you saying "be wary of trap ahead" or "Use Sorceries ahead". However, sometimes they can be deceiving, such as when one writes "amazing armor ahead" and ahead is actually a trap that ends up killing you... Ghosts are other people playing online. You will see some appear and dissapear. You can see what the ghosts are doing, like running, rolling or fighting an enemy. Not useful, but pretty neat in my opinion.
Now I'll explain the major online aspects of Dark Souls. Invading and summoning. Summoning happens in 2 ways. You can summon online players or NPCs to help you beat a level. So if you have trouble beating a certain boss, summon a couple of online players and they will help you defeat the boss. Or you can be summoned to help people beat a difficult boss. You get rewarded with souls if you help someone. Invading happens in many different ways. This is because of a new aspect in Dark Souls called covenants. These pretty much let you play online in different ways, instead of simply doing invasions. Simple invasions are when you go into another persons game and try to kill them. If you win you get a humanity and a lot of souls. You can also get summoned to invade, using certain covenants, this becomes available. Another way of invading is cursing people worlds, which makes their game much more difficult as stronger versions of enemies (known as Black Phantom enemies) appear. They can then invade you and try to kill you for cursing your world. Or course, your world can be curse and you can be invaded as well...
This game is tough, you will die a lot when playing. However, the gameplay, music, graphics and lasting appeal are very good. You must learn from your mistakes and grow from them when playing this game. This game isn't for people who don't want a challenge. If you want a challenge, like RPGs and have the time and patience, I recommend you buy this game ASAP.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 01/04/12
Game Release: Dark Souls (US, 10/04/11)
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