Dark Souls & Darker Times
From Software’s, “Dark Souls” is a game that is capable of throwing you into a fit of unrelenting, controller breaking rage. During a single play-through, you will be broken, bruised, and burned. You will face enemies capable of striking you down in a single blow, if given the chance. One false step at any time can send you plummeting to your death, or straight into traps that will lead you to an untimely (and extremely frustrating) end. These facts shouldn’t deter you though, with patience and determination, success is always within reach.
Dark Souls is a very well put together game, though at first glance, players may shy away from it. One of the most appealing aspects of Dark Souls is that, while it seems to start a players out with hard-set classes, it actually it allows players to play with any type of build they wish to run with. The possibilities, while not endless, are definitely there. You want to play as a sorcerer who crushes their enemies with a hammer that’s larger than the typical human being? That fine. A knight who throws fireballs at an enemy, which then explode into pools of lava, incinerating threats in the process? More power to ya!
Every build you can make in this game has its own strengths and its weaknesses, and it’s up to the player to find out what works for them. Just because you see something that works well for a friend, does not mean it’s going to work well for you, and this is something players need know from the get-go. Once you figure out what works well for you, that’s when things really pick up. No more worrying about the typical undead (who, in groups are always capable of quickly overwhelming an unprepared player). No, no, now you’ve got bigger problems to worry about, as the enemies who were once one of your biggest threats give way to stronger enemies, terrifyingly grotesque, all of which will want to smash you, burn you, and literally devour your soul. This is where most players find their biggest challenges.
Dark Souls is not a hand holder – if you forget how to do something, chances are, you’ll have to figure out on your own. If you’ve forgotten where to go – too bad, you’ll have no direction. Unless you run into an NPC who tells you specifically where to go, you’ll be wandering and dying for a while.
Admittedly, I died at least 25 times in a particular area of the game, laden with traps and enemies who try their damnedest to drive players into them, but it was frustration (which lead to impatience) that made this part of the game difficult to me. A majority of my deaths here were caused by the failure filled speed runs, each of which were fueled by the frustration of a previous death.
Sure there is a lot of dying, but this is what makes progress all the more rewarding. Generally, death in Dark Souls means losing your souls, the main source of currency in the game, as well as what could be considered a soft form of experience, since it is also used to level up. On top of that, players also lose their humanity, a form of currency that has a wide range of uses, each of differing importance from boosting you defensive statistics and rate of item discovery, to allowing you to summon other player’s phantoms to your world for aid, or invade the worlds of others… In the same token, since death makes you lose these things, any significant progress followed by a death can make said death even more devastating. Despite the countless deaths, and lack of direction, Dark Souls is a great game, and if you missed out on it, I suggest you look in to playing it some time soon. It may be four years old, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it.
*Written by guest writer Lloyd W. Waller*