Review by tremault
Difficulty not the issue. Sensible checkpoints probably are.
First thing I'm going to say is I really like this game. Well I like various parts of this game. The game is fun, challenging, adventurous, intriguing and charming. I really wish I could get further in the game but it has major issues with the structure.
A lot of people have made comment on the game for being very difficult, or too difficult. To be honest, not enough games have the type of challenge I would like. I like to have the opportunity to get killed. I can try again and it is fun. The problem with this game is, when I die, I have to go back over the same part again, then again, then again. There would be a simple way to fix this issue; more checkpoints. This is the fundamental problem. The difficulty is not an issue. I would be happy to die. I would be happy to die over and over again on these enemies because they are good. They deserve to win now and then. But being forced to go through such a journey through so many enemies just to get back to where you were, is too much. The developer needs to realise that there may be some people who want an unforgiving slog, but there are equally as many people who find this a stretch too far. It would make sense to have two game modes. One mode with the current amount of checkpoints and another mode with 3 times as many.
The structure of the game is not the only major issue. The other major issue is the multiplayer aspect. If you have your Playstation connected online, then you are going to suffer, because other players can invade your world when you become human and kill you. You don't have to do anything to provoke them, they just invade and kill you. Why this kind of mechanic was introduced, I have no idea and for those who are not a fan of player vs player action, it is incredibly unwelcome and infuriating. It's almost like as soon as you start to make progress, other people come along and smash it to pieces. It is cruel and unwarranted.
The game looks beautiful, the environments are expansive and loading is unnoticeable. I can't remember a single loading screen throughout and the ability to show so much on the screen at one time is impressive. The animations are effective and the character are somewhat charming. The art style is pretty dark, this is to be expected, but it is ironically light in other places. It has a mixture of beautiful natural environments and death and decay all mixed in together. The music is not to my taste, it is good, but it can get depressing at times. I ended up turning the music down. The voice acting is haunting and yet whimsical. The characters sound almost as if they are citing poetry.
All in all, the game is fun, challenging and rewarding. I really enjoyed it up to a stage. Ultimately, the game became too much of a hard slog and ceased to be enjoyable. It is a crying shame that the developers did this because the game is a gem.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Dark Souls (Limited Edition) (EU, 10/07/11)
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