Review by happygamer_uk

"Dire Souls more like....."

“Prepare to die....”so says the game as you begin it, and die you will, over and over again.Dark Souls is a role playing game with the main(only?) emphasis on fighting, sword play, spell casting and none on plot/story. It is without doubt the hardest game I have played, although not all of this is due to my lack of skill(poor controls, camera angle, target lock on etc all conspire against you). In the users manual the makers claim the game world is huge, it's not, it's just hard to traverse due to the games difficulty. All the reviews claim the graphics are amazing, they're not, they're dull, depressing and colourless(with the exception of a few colourful enemies) and there is lots of fog. The whole game has a rich depressing vein running through it, the music, of which there is very little, is particularly depressing(Firelink Shrine anyone?) . The characters you meet, apart from one, are depressing and mundane and boring.

When you kill a foe it loses it's soul, which you collect. These are then used to buy weapons, armour etc. The whole concept of collecting souls to level up your player is sound in itself, but to lose them when you die, then to lose them completely if you die again before reaching where you dropped them the first time you died is a terrible concept. Every time you die the enemies reset, every time you sit down at a bonfire(to level up, attune magic) the enemies reset. The whole game quickly becomes a huge,and I mean huge, grind of just killing over and over and over again the same enemies in exactly the same places they were last time you entered the level. It quickly becomes mind numbingly tediously boring.

The enemies AI is terrible. Here are a few things I came across while playing. They will chase you then suddenly stop if you move out of an area, they will run into flame and kill themselves by standing in it, they will chase you then stop at a ladder if you climb up it, If you are above them you can lob fire bombs or shoot them with arrows and they will just stand there in the general area, moving only slightly away so you can take aim again, a dragon which lets you shoot countless arrows into its tail, flying off every time you score a hit then settling in exactly the same place for you to take aim again. I know it's only a game but suspend any idea of logic in it. If you keep shooting the dragons tail you eventually end up with a sword made from its tail, the dragon by the way is still very much alive, happily sitting on a walkway above you. At one point in the game there is a birds nest, in it is an egg, a talking egg. Yes you read that correctly- a talking egg. Not only can it talk, it also has the ability to trade items with you!!!!!!! The mind boggles.

The games poor points:The plot. Still not sure what it is all about. I talked to an NPC who mentioned ringing two bells, one down below, the other way up above. After playing for 30 hours the only thing I wanted to wring was the game designers neck. The controls feel at times like treacle, the inventory screen is terrible, you can look at weapons, armour on one page but have to go to another to equip them, why? The inventory screen is just plain boring, with drab colours. The whole game has a drab look about it, with only a few colourful enemies. The odds are stacked entirely against you, most of the enemies have way more health than you and more powerful attacks than you have. The game turns into one huge grind of farming souls, look on the net for all the videos posted on how to do this-boring, boring, boring, this isn't being entertained it's rubbish, it's tedium defined, utter rubbish, why would I want to play a section of game over and over for hours on end in this way. The phrase “life's too short” came to me a lot when playing this game. Picture this, the designers are having a brainstorming session and want ideas on how to make the game even harder. “I know” says one of them, “when the batteries on the controller run out let the game carry on regardless, so if they are in combat it's curtains for them, that will teach them.” Yeah great idea guys, that takes some beating. This is the logic you are up against.

The games good points:Yes it does have some, so I will award it 1 point for each of them. The trader in the undead burg area of the game had me in stitches with his camp way of talking, the game auto saves constantly so you can't undo choices you make(there is no reloading of previous saves) and finally it's an RPG. So I make that 3 out of 10 then!!!On a final note I must add that this is a review of playing the game offline, having read a lot of reviews apparently it is much harder offline, one official reviewer stating that it is about 4 times harder offline. When online you can ask other players for help in defeating the bosses and read/leave helpful messages lying around the place. On the other hand a lot of casual reviewers have slated it as being flawed online as other players who are way higher leveled than you can invade your world and kill you in totally one sided fights and also leave loads of unhelpful messages designed to get you killed . This game has Rent written all over it, give it a try you might like it, looking at the reviews a lot of people have, it's certainly different, but don't buy it unless you can afford to waste the money. “Prepare to die....”, no................."Prepare to be traded in."

Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 04/02/12

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

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