My thoughts on Dark Souls (a review…sort of)

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Posted July 12, 2012 by ffeenn in The Daily

When Demon’s Souls came out, I thought I MUST play this game.  All the reviews said it was the hardest game ever made.  The reviews also said that you feel satisfaction as you progress.  Whether it’s getting that new suit of armor, or that new weapon, or that new spell, or FINALLY beating that boss that took  you 18 tries.  So, I added it to my GameFly queue and a few days later, I received the game.  I got a little nervous as I opened the envelope thinking to myself, “Oh Sh#t, here we go…”  I fired up the PS3 and then the rage started.  The first 10 times I died I thought to myself “they were right, this game IS hard.”  The next 15 times I died I said aloud “F@#K THIS GAME” and turned it off.  A few days later I had to make a decision…  Send it back for my next game, OR, try again.  So, I tried again.  AND again.  AND AGAIN.  I restarted a couple of times thinking that maybe I just made the wrong character choice.  NOPE.  I wanted to throw the controller through the TV.  I wanted to scream and punch babies.  I wanted to burn my house down to be rid of the game.  I stopped playing at this point.  The reviewers were wrong.  The only satisfaction I felt was when I mailed the game back.  I played the game a total of maybe 2-3 hours…

So, what happened next?  I read about Dark Souls and for some reason thought, “maybe I will enjoy this one.”  It claimed many of the same things from the first game and I thought maybe I had matured as a gamer and was up to the challenge.  I got it in the mail, fired up the PS3, and started my game…

Learning from my experience with Demon’s Souls, I picked what I figured to be the best class for me, the warrior.  I wasn’t going to attempt a game with a character that couldn’t swing a weapon.  I wasn’t fooling myself by thinking, “hmmm, how about the magic user!”  Nope, I wanted a character that could be fully armored, carry a shield and a giant sword.  That’s what I got.  There were several options for customizing the look of my warrior but graphically, it looked like a character from a PC game from 10 years ago.  I can’t say I had a warm fuzzy feeling at this point, so I picked something at random and began my adventure.

Apparently, you died at some point, and now you were back and looked kind of like a zombie.  I remembered back to customizing my appearance and how pointless that was.  At this point, I should mention that I put about 4 hours into this one and stopped playing it.  I didn’t restart at any point and try another character class.  This game isn’t as “hard” as Demon’s Souls.  Yes, I died many times, but it wasn’t something that made me feel frustrated.  I defeated 2 of the games bosses but felt no satisfaction.  I picked up different pieces of armor, and different weapons, but none of them made me feel any stronger.  In the end, the game was boring and didn’t have any kind of story that I would every care about.  Did it even have a story….?  I remember being picked up by a giant bird type creature that carried me to another area of the game.  I think that’s the coolest thing I experienced.  Maybe that’s the story?

The game plays like a third person adventure.  My character was able to carry a sword and shield from the beginning .  You have the option to block with the shield, or if you time it right, you can deflect and counter attack leading to an instant kill.  I found that the instant kill animation for each of the different enemies was the same every time you killed that type.  It is hard to time the counter attack at first, but then you learn the enemy attack movements and in no time, you are deflecting every attack.  Other than this feature, all of the fighting felt clunky and outdated.  You have the option to lock onto a target, but even then, I never felt like a badass in combat.  Guess what?  You die a lot.  That has to deal with the learning curve of the game.  Once you figure out how to defeat an enemy, it works every time.

When you are killed, yes, WHEN, you respawn at the last save point.  In this game, the save points are fire pits.  You then need to venture back out and find your dead body to collect all of your experience points, or “souls”.  If you fail to get back to your body and die again, you are not able to get the experience back from your first death.  The souls you collect are used to level up your character by spending them on stat increases.  For every one of your stats you increase, you raise one level.  Honestly, I didn’t feel like “level” meant anything in this game.  You are just making your character stronger so you have a better chance at surviving and killing enemies faster.

As you travel around, and when you are not fighting enemies, you come across items scattered about.  Anything from healing type items, weapons, or even soul stones which you can use as free experience.  My strategy was to go out, kill everything in an area, look for items, go back to the save point and “level” up.  Every time you save, the enemies come back, so you go out and do it again.  You do this a few times, and then try moving on to the next save point.  Do it all again.  Move on.  Rinse and repeat as necessary. That’s that.

I got bored.  VERY bored.  “Why am I even playing this” I asked my self every 15 minutes or so.  I think it’s great that game developers are making games challenging.  That can’t be all there is though.  There needs to be a reason you would want to continue other than being able to say you finished the game.  I want a challenge, but I also want to like my character and I want to care about what is happening in the game’s world.  I felt completely disconnected from what was happening.  Actually, I really didn’t even know what was happening.

You can hate on me all you want if you love this game.  You can hate on me for not finishing it.  Like I stated in the title, it’s “sort of” a review.  It’s a review based on the little bit of the game I actually played.  I didn’t enjoy it in any way and I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody I know.  I get that it’s supposed to be hard, and, in a way, it is.  It’s hard to keep playing it.  I hope that this is the only time I ever write about a game without actually finishing it.  Reviewing is a hobby of mine.  It’s not my job.  I’m not required to finish a game, but I know many readers out there may not respect somebody writing about a game they didn’t actually finish.  My apologies to all and I promise my next review will be of an entire game…  Maybe.

Did I mention this game was totally stupid and it sucked?  If not, it was totally stupid AND it sucked.

 

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ffeenn


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