Review by Golamosca

"The zenith of rage quitting"

First off, this review is intended towards casual gamers. If you are a hardcore gamer you probably know all you want to know regarding a purchase of this game and chances are, you already bought it or plan to.

Dark Souls is a sequel to the widely praised Demon's Souls. Sequel as in the "feel" of the game. It is not the next chapter in an already established story. By "feel" I mean the feel of a highly punishing dungeon crawler. The story is of no importance because it is there as a background. There is no character development nor an engaging plot and while it sound like a negative, a story is actually not necessary. This is a game in the purest sense of the word and a unique one at that. What sets apart Dark Souls from the others is the mixed sense of wonder and dread you'll feel as you explore a fantasy world. What's dreadful about it is the frustration factor that goes along when trying to progress in the world.

What makes Dark Souls the zenith of rage quitting?

Souls are the currency, as well as the experience. They are needed to level up, buy equipment, spells, anything in general to make yourself stronger or open new parts of the world requires precious souls. Gained commonly for defeating enemies, they are sometimes found as items.
Leveling up is almost as non-important as the story. You level up by increasing one stat point and it takes a lot of stat increasing for it to show any real effect on the player. It's importance lies in the fact that if you want to use a certain type of weapon or spell, an specific stat or stats must be set. For example, say you want to use heal. Your faith stat must be at 12 or higher. You must also buy the spell and a talisman that allows you to use it. It doesn't sound so bad, grinding is part of any dungeon crawler experience. Now here's the frustrating thing. You can easily die and lose all your souls. You are given a chance to go back where you died and recover those souls but if you die again they are gone for good. You can't cheat. Dark Souls saves automatically and the game is always saving. Always. Don't expect to turn off the game right when you're about to die and then load it as if nothing happened. You'll load directly at the moment where you are going to die.

Skill and strategy is required to progress. And damn good equipment. You cannot be reckless. No matter how strong your character is, enemies at the beginning of the game can easily beat you to a bloody pulp if you're not careful. Exploring feels great when you get to know a certain area and have already died countless times through trial and error but when it comes to a new area, you better be brave and willing to lose precious souls and humanity.

Humanity is the second important thing within the world of Dark Souls. You gain one randomly by defeating enemies or sometimes as an item. The more humanity you have stocked up the more likely enemies will drop loot. Humanity is also used to revive yourself. Most of the time you'll be undead and it won't hinder your gameplay. But if you want to summon other players into your world to help you, you'll need to be alive. Actually, it does hinder your gameplay. Which brings me to my second topic.

A multiplayer where I can't play with my friends?

That's right. The servers are always at random. Partly to encourage strangers to help other strangers. Partly to anger you because "encouraging" sounds very similar to forcing. It forces you to play with others because I can't in my right mind find a way to defeat certain bosses without the help from someone. It does go with the "feel" of the game but I felt that players that don't have the facilities to play online are losing a lot on the experience of the game. In fact, I question the possibility of beating this game without the online function.

Conclusion: If you are a person that loves spending time on your videogames, Dark Souls is for you. It requires that you invest a lot of time on it. I find that unacceptable. I have to work and study. Other people have to take care of their families. The free time that I spend on videogames is to have an enjoyable experience. Dark Souls is beautiful, the sound and graphics are fantastic. The accents of the NPCs, the sound of footsteps on the grass are as magical as the backdrops that go along with it. The sense of achievement when you've conquered an area feels great, but not enough for me to spend countless hours trying to beat the next one. The frustrations I have to endure pale in comparison with the ecstasy of feeling like I've won in this game.

Buy at your own risk.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 10/11/11

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

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