NeoMagicWarrior's Blog

Posted on Jan 27th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (NeoMagicWarrior)
Posted under Dark Souls, Xbox, Adventure

Praise the Sun! With the announcement of Dark Souls Remastered on the latest Nintendo Direct, I felt it might be time to give a full look at a cult classic, and to explain why it makes it pretty high on my "all-time" list. I know I already did a look at what I don't like (link http://www.rfgeneration.c...About-Dark-Souls-3506.php) but I thought it warranted a focused look at the good parts, especially with a re-release on the horizon.

I bought Dark Souls on release day, along with Rage (remember that terrible game?! Yeah, THAT one!) due to a coupon mixup at Kmart. After playing through all of Id Software's skybox simulator, I settled into a trip to the world of Lordran. Immediately, I was greeted with a cryptic cutscene, and then suddenly thrust into a new game environment with a strange control scheme that is now fairly standard (see Nioh, Lords of the Fallen, etc). I walked out of the cage I started in and pretty quickly died ( I don't want to spoil how, in case you have not played it).

I pretty quickly shelved the game for a while and moved onto something more friendly...but would dip back in every once and a while, eventually getting better each time. Eventually, a friend got into the series pretty heavily, and dragged me with him. Eventually, I slayed the great beast of a game and was triumphant! The feeling of accomplishment was amazing. I have since beaten it more times that I can count, and finished 2 and 3 as well (I'll write about them later on). 

Dark Souls is an Action/Adventure RPG with a handful of very unique-for-the-time quirks. First and foremost, it steals an idea from the Rougelike genre; harsh penalties for death. Every time you die, you drop all of your "souls", a currency used for everything from weapon upgrades to leveling up. You then have a chance to retrieve these from your corpse, but if you die again on the way there, the souls are gone forever! This makes particular sections of the game quite hard, as leveling up and upgrading is critical to your success, and if you don't get to spend the souls at a "bonfire", a save point, then you lose progress.

Next, it does not let you all. I played on the Xbox 360 when the game was released, and you could not even hit the dashboard button to stop the action. Bathroom breaks were always a stressful situation, as the game's PVP system would sometimes bring a player into your game to kill you after drinking too much soda.

The game also did not load noticeably, which was a huge deal at the time. Areas seamlessly transition from one to the other, without even a hiccup. A few areas require cutscenes to travel to, but skipping is possible, so the game really does not have much time to catch up.

Story is also handled in a unique way. Each other character has a pattern of behavior, and as you complete certain milestones, they move...whether you get to see them or not. This leads to a problem of not being able to find some storyline elements unless you know when and where to look, but it makes the world feel more organic. For example, a character will murder another and take their items and eventually come to fight you...unless you decide to kill them first! It is this fluidity that makes subsequent playthroughs still feel as alive as when you first play the game.

The story is also only told through a few brief cutscenes, your interaction with the world, and some sparse, cryptic dialogue. The story really only makes any sense once you have the whole picture, which can be a big turn off for some. I personally am not a huge fan of long cutscenes or codex entries, so this story style is perfect for me, especially for as sad a story Dark Souls tells. It would have been easy to draw out a "FF7 Aeris level" death sequence, but the developers kept most of the death off screen (except die a lot).

Coupled with some great controls, decent graphics, and a nice suite of playstyles (i'm a mage every chance I get) Dark Souls is a game I highly recommend, and being able to play it on the go in a Switch is something I can not wait to try!

Until next time...keep your wits about you and don't go hollow!

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I'm curious to see how they will handle no pausing on the Switch.
Praise the sun! \[-]/
I'm looking forward to finally getting into Dark Souls via the Switch version - good article, and a nice synopsis of some of the stuff I've read about the game, in brief.

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