Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dark Souls First Impressions

I hate it so much, but I cannot stop playing it. That sum's up my experience so far with Dark Souls. I've played the PS3 version of Dark Souls for 7 hours over the last two days and I've easily died twenty times, yet I am continually more and more sucked into the game. For every depressing set back, like losing a hours worth of souls (experience), there are gratifying achievements to draw you in. These aren't the kind of achievements that pop up and say here's a trophy or one hundred gamerscore, no these achievements are the kind that show just how far you have come; the kind of achievements that make up for all the failure. Never has defeating a boss been so satisfying, not from items or experience, but from knowing that you conquered something that will never come back, something that is generally very challenging. Everything about Dark Souls is epic feeling,whether it's the colossal bosses, huge areas or the vast amount of secrets to find.

Dark Souls is a great improvement upon Demon Souls. It seems to use the same engine, same formula for experience, but everything has been tweaked to make the game easier to play. To make up for all the player friendly improvements, the game has been saturated with difficult enemies. One of the most major of changes is the world. No longer do you have a nexus to travel from nor does it feel like you are doing a fairly linear level, everything feels open and massive. Throughout the game you continually connect shortcuts back to your main campsite. Any campsite will let you level up or repair your weapons, but the main campsite gives you several other options as well. There is a humanity counter in the game and the only thing I've been able to connect it to is summoning other players, you need to be hollowed (have some humanity) to be able to put down the summon marker. I'm sure it's much deeper than that, but I've never been able to get it above five points. If you die you can recollect your humanity and souls, but if you fail to collect your "corpse" then you lose it all.

Had to put this trailer up

The character/class selection in the beginning of Dark Souls is significantly better than Demon Souls. Letting you not pick by a large variation of classes, none of which truly make you, merely give you tools to play that class at the beginning of the game. If you so choose it you can make your character into any type of class, but it is very hard to try to become a magic user at the beginning if you do not choose a magic related class. The spells alone cost an exorbitant amount of souls nor is it easy to get to the magic trainers in the beginning. The environments and areas are very impressive, all of which seem to be designed very well. Dark Souls definitely is a step up graphics wise, presenting some beautiful and haunting areas. Enemies are still fairly stiff looking, for the most part, but animations are smoother and more fluid. The large size of enemies is also something new, sure Demon Souls had some huge enemies, but Dark Souls has giant enemies everywhere. For instance, the last time I played I was in a giant basin and at the edge of the basin was a small forested area filled with ice golems that towered over me. More impressively though was what was beyond them, something that I'm afraid to get to, something that looked like a tangle of tentacles, something that was truly gigantic in size.

Dark Souls is one of the few games in this last year that I've been completely enamored with, nor have I played any other game this year that I've been this addicted to, despite how much I writhe and yell every time I die. It is a gorgeous medieval world filled with undead, humans, dragons and all kinds of creatures. The world is shrouded with mystery, hidden areas and locked doors everywhere. It is a world that is constantly encouraging exploration, yet at the same time it makes you paranoid of every corner. This is just my first impressions, with many many hours more to go, but I can definitely recommend Dark Souls to any fan of Demon Souls or those who are drawn to challenging medieval/fantasy RPGs. Now it is easier to get into as well, since it is available on Xbox 360 and PS3. Thanks for reading and be back with more news tomorrow.

 -Written by Sean Cargle


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