Review by bailer4life

"Dark souls is the spiritual successor to Demon's souls, an action adventure game of notorious difficulty."

The game continues its theme of an atmospheric medieval environment however this instalment has opted for an open world style, a wise decision that adds to exploration as well as helps create a larger more terrifying world. There are multiple branching paths possible from the off, advancing and testing different out routes is a new and welcome addition to the strategy.

The same punishment of death mechanic is incorporated from Demon's Souls providing the same risk verses reward gambit to progression. However the game play has been reworked and tightened up to refine the already excellently balanced design. Aside from some frame rate issues that only become bothersome in a select few areas the technical experience is solid. Visuals have been ramped up and the aesthetic design is stylish and fitting to the experience.

Combat is even more intense with a slew of new enemy formations and improved AI, a whole new list of considerations are introduced. Trying to reach as far out into the dangerous world as possible, while retaining as many supplies as you can makes the decision to press on or make a hasty retreat a constant consideration. Being rewarded with the unlocking of a short cut or the reaching a bonfire will always be met with a huge sigh of relief.

The excellent and innovative online functionality makes a much welcome return. It remains nonintrusive during regular play sessions and a vital boon for those all important hints left by fellow players. Of course becoming invaded when in human form is another matter and one to be explored to a fuller extent in the later stages of the game should you want to become a part of the large PvP community.

Dark Souls has a larger more terrifying world, filled with secrets and surprises. This game is leaner, meaner and improved in every way from the original. It's as horrifyingly difficult as it is technically brilliant. A must experience for the gamer who can stomach the challenge.

9/10

Pros
Expands on its predecessor's innovative and technically masterful design to produce one of the best action/adventure experiences in the genre.

Provides hundreds of hours of game play that's worth the investment thanks to the great online functionality.

Uncompromising design ethos, seen in every aspect of the game from its crushing difficulty, lack of online coop options and its blatant unwillingness to explain the specifics of the game. All this just to make the player feel more isolated and alone.

Cons
Frame rate issues can become bothersome, and are specifically worse in a few areas.

Depending on your preference: Uncompromising design ethos, seen in every aspect of the game from its crushing difficulty, lack of online coop options and its blatant unwillingness to explain the specifics of the game. All this just to make the player feel more isolated and alone.

Release Date: 2011


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/23/11

Game Release: Dark Souls (Limited Edition) (EU, 10/07/11)


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