Dark Souls Review

Dark Souls Review

Challenge is a word that's often missing when looking to describe video games these days, with almost every experience being developed so that your average consumer can complete it without too much trouble. Some games even have their difficulty set so that it's impossible to lose. Demon's Souls on the other hand didn't even have a difficulty setting and it was designed so that you'd lose on a regular basis - death was all part of the experience. Many people thought it was doomed to fail for that sole reason, people thought consumers would be turned off by its punishing difficulty. They thought that they were so accustomed to success that they wouldn't want to be tested. Those who thought that were wrong, and the fact that we now have a spiritual successor shows that more than anything else.

The story of Dark Souls is a very slight affair. At the start of the game you're given a brief synopsis about what has transpired before your time and after that, you wake in a jail cell. Oh, and you're undead.

In many games, not least the Action RPG genre, having a story that's so sparse would be a bit of a turn-off, but the story of Dark Souls isn't so much in the narrative. Instead, it's about your journey through the various obstacles you face. Without wanting to sound too cliche, the story of Dark Souls is all about your own trials and tribulations. Yes, there are tasks you need to complete as you progress through the game, but you won't be experiencing any grand cutscenes or lengthy dialogue sequences. Instead, you will be exploring new areas and learning how to deal with certain situations - it's a very different sort of story.

Despite there being almost nothing to the story, the world of Dark Souls is what will suck you in. There's so much to explore, from the stereotypical castle to the dank Blighttown and maniacal trap-fest that is Sen's Fortress. There will be at least one area that appeals to you in a big way and the areas are so expansive too. But this does highlight one of Dark Souls' frailties. Since the experience is now an open world one, it can be a little frustrating to get from A to B.

The world does have a lot of connectivity, but some areas aren't that accessible through shortcuts you can open up. And it does get a little bit tedious to have to go through long passages of play to get to back to the "hub" of the world. For example, if you're in the depths of Blighttown and you want to get back to the Firelink Shrine. Not only do you have to go through Blighttown, but you'll have to go through the Sewers, and then you'll still have a bit of a trek through the Undead Burg before you make your way back to the Shrine.

It makes things a little bit tricky, as NPCs aren't all in one convenient place any more like the Nexus. If you want to visit the Blacksmith called Andrei, you will have to actually go and visit him. There are pros and cons to this - it does make you venture out more and it does give the world a bit more personality. But if you're in a bind, far away, you may have to stretch those legs and find your way back.


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