So I just beat Dark Souls and I feel kinda proud of myself. This is a notoriously difficult game and now I can say that I beat it. I had the patience, the skill and the strategy to win. This is a big deal for me because I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the greatest at video games. I make lots of mistakes and I’m far from perfect but believe it or not I think that’s why I was able to finish the game. Yes its difficult and punishing, (nothing like loosing a large amount of souls to a cheap death, getting one shotted, falling off something, wonky physics) but I was always able to just try again, or try another way, or form a new strategy, or look one up, if I was stuck. There is no penalty for how many times you die and try again. Normally I don’t like re doing levels over again, or being sent back to the start, like old school games, but for Dark souls… I didn’t mind it. It was the appeal of the reward and the feeling of accomplishment that kept me going. So I wanted to write down a few of my thoughts on it and also Demon’s Souls (Which I still haven’t beaten yet, working on it now).
Beat it! Read the Demon’s Souls Review.
This isn’t really a review… I just felt like talking about these games a bit.
So the games boil down to this: You inch your way through the level, dying at every cheap death along the way. There’s enemies that pop out in front of you, some attack while you walk by them because they hid in nooks and crannies, sometimes the game baits you by showing a chest or whatever so naturally you run up to it only to be greeted by an armored dude with a big sword that kills you in one hit because you let your guard down or the floor gives out and you fall into a pit, or poison arrows come shooting at you because you stepped on a pressure plate. Eventually you’ll stumble your way to the end because you’ve memorized where all the traps and places to avoid are and you’ll get pretty good at spotting potential hidden enemies and cheap deaths. And you’ll figure out the best shortcut to sprint back through the level. But the hardest part of the game for me are the boss battles, because if you don’t know how to fight the boss or even the slightest idea of how they are going to fight, you’ll probably die pretty quickly. But like I said before, the more you do it the better you will be, and eventually you’ll figure out a strategy to win. Plus you can always cheat and look at a guide… There’s plenty of guides out there. I used to sit in front of the fog gate thing before a boss for a few minutes thinking to myself, “Okay, boss is next, oh man I’ve got a lot of souls, I’m probably going to die, should i go in, die and have to worry about grabbing my souls the next time I run in, or should I back track to the bonfire and spend these souls? Should I use a homeward bone?”
Your also limited by the stamina bar. Every move uses stamina. Swing your sword, sprint, dodge, it all uses stamina. So it forces players to plan out your moves and really be cautious in your actions. You’ll really need to study your enemies and find out the best moments to strike because if you strike at the wrong time it could be devastating. However you can be just as devastating. So this style of gameplay is really opposite of what the majority of gamers are used to. In other games its no big deal if you get hit a few times so you get comfortable and careless. Think about how many times you get hit playing god of war. In Dark Souls/Demon’s Souls you have to be constantly on your toes if you want to progress. Allowing yourself to get hit a few times is not an option. You need to be kind of a perfectionist with your fighting; aiming for no or as few hits as possible, because you only have so many healing items(grass/ estus flask), until you gain the ability to kindle, and you have to know when the right time to heal up is, or else you will get punished.
Now after saying all that, the games are super addicting. The atmosphere is dark and depressing and there is very little story. It’s there but most of the lore is found in item descriptions or by talking to npc’s. These aren’t really story driven games though, they’re combat driven. I kept playing to find out what the next challenge was and to find new weapons and items, and gain more souls so I could become stronger and build the best warrior I could. I’ve spent 77 hrs playing dark souls on steam and I just beat Lord Gwyn with the help of Solaire on my second try.
UPDATE: 110 hrs, working through NG+
End Game Stats/Gear:
Estus Flask +4
Black Knight Sword +5
Used Gargoyle Halberd +14 for most of the game
Black knight shield(for Gwyn), silver knight shield,
crest shield +3, grass crest shield +3
Elite Knight armor+10
Elite Knight legs +9
Black Iron Gauntlets
Mask of the Child (for Gwyn), Mask of the Mother
Rings: Havels Ring, Ring of steel protection, wolf ring
Chaos Servant +2 for saving Solaire, Way of white the rest of the game