Review by Oil_rope_bombs

"Dark Souls may not be for everyone, but if you want an engrossing, challenging action RPG, this game is for you."

DARK SOULS is the spiritual successor to 2009's Game Of The Year Demon's Souls. In this game, you're a typical undead who has been locked up in an Asylum. You eventually manage to escape with the help of another Undead Knight, and then have a tour of the mysterious world of Lordran. It's quite infamous for it's punishing difficulty, just like its predecessor.

So, why is Dark Souls so great? Well, let's delve into more details...

Gameplay: 9

The gameplay of Dark Souls a. There's plenty of variety in the game. You fight many different monsters, use a lot of weapons from your arsenal, wear plenty of unique armor sets etc. The gameplay is quite deep, too. Your attacks truly feel like your attacks have some weight to them. What makes the gameplay so deep, you ask? To name a few reasons:

1. It would take you much more stamina to swing a heavy greatsword as opposed to a light axe. Two-handing your weapon increases damage and moveset, but it costs more stamina to swing with it.

2. Enemies will get staggered when you hit them once with a heavy weapon, while it'd take multiple hits with a dagger to make them flinch. Iff you wear heavier armor, your poise will increase and you will be more resilient to attacks at the cost of your mobility. Wear light armor, and you will be easily staggered but be nimble at the same time.

3. Weapons swing in different ways. You can stab with a rapier, but not slash with it. A certain Greatsword will do a rushing attack will your press R2, while another Greatsword will thrust when you press R2.
And that's not even half of it.

There are a few glitches, albeit rare, such as input lag. The lock-on system and camera is also a bit shoddy, but it isn't too bad. There are some freezes and framerate issues in the game, and they frustrate quite a few players. Other than that, Dark Souls doesn't explain some of its mechanics too well. It's been almost a year now, and people still don't have a solid grasp on the Vagrant and Drift Item system. They're never mentioned in-game, and rarely happen to players, if ever.

Story: 6.5/10

The story of Dark Souls mainly revolves around Undead, Humanity, Gods, and Lordran. It isn't very special, and just a typical story to make you go forward. However, the lore of the game is quite deep and interesting. You will get to experience it to its fullest by talking to NPCs multiple times and reading item descriptions. For example, if you understand a certain part of the lore well enough, you might even start questioning your own morality in the game.

Overall, Dark Souls has quite an average story. There are very few cutscenes, and most of them are just introductions to bosses. But this has no negative impact on the game itself, and it's mostly overshadowed by the top-notch gameplay.

Music: 8/10

The music of Dark Souls is great. It plays almost exclusively in boss battles, and it really gets your heart pumping. Can't say much more about it.

Atmosphere: 9/10

Dark Souls has excellent atmosphere. It isn't as dark as Demon's Souls' atmosphere, but it sure can make you feel lonely and isolated. NPCs are scarce, and most of them are very hopeless and morbid. You see most of them go insane (Or "Hollow")W, and you unfortunately have to kill them with your own hands.

There are a lot of different and unique areas in the game. You have a library of a blind dragon, a pitch-black tomb, an infested swamp, a forest etc. I won't spoil it too much, so go and discover all of it yourself in this accursed world of Lordran.

Multiplayer: 7/10

Dark Souls has quite the unique multiplayer. You can see a vague ghosts of other people periodically. You can press X at a bloodstain to see the gruesome way a person died. You can read the messages of other players which are there to help or deceive you, or you can leave messages of your own. You can summon other players to your aid by going human, or get summoned into another player's world. When you go human, you might get invaded by a red or blue phantom who want to kill you.

The game follows a unique "Covenant" system which is basically a faction system. There are 9 covenants to choose from, all of them providing you different ways to play online. Some of these covenants include Blades of the Darkmoon, hunters of sinners, Darkwraiths, murderers who kill for humanity, and Warriors of Sunlight, who aid others in their journey.

The problem with Dark Souls multiplayer is that it's quite laggy when fighting. You can get hit from a mile away, and people also use various glitches online. Lower level players will get invaded by Darkwraith covenanters who use glitches to get powerful gear. At higher and competitive levels, people will abuse the broken backstab mechanic all the time. It makes the multiplayer component much less fun.

But outside of competitive play, the multiplayer can be good fun.

Overall:
+Excellent gameplay
+Lovely soundtrack
+Great atmosphere
+Unique multiplayer

-Weak story might drive some RPG fans away
-Framerate drops, infrequent freezes
-Multiplayer falls short at competitive play

9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/11/12

Game Release: Dark Souls (US, 10/04/11)


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