Extended Impressions: Dark Souls

In case it wasn't obvious.

Another day, another way to die in Dark Souls.  This game has grown on me considerably since the last time I had written about it.  I still can’t say that I totally buy into the hype I’ve seen for Dark Souls online but I keep coming back to it even in spite of battles with the likes of the Capra Demon or Ornstein & Smough.  What’s becoming more apparent the more I play (I’m sure my girlfriend originally made note of this) is that Dark Souls is like Squaresoft’s Vagrant Story.  Both are games that offer an intricate combat system that places you, alone, in an unforgiving realm that is both ruined and beautiful.  What makes both games unforgiving though is how little insight they give into their gameplay mechanics.  There’s no avoiding death in these games, but it’s not because they are exceptionally challenging, they are just exceedingly difficult to learn how to play effectively.

These are games that have a high price of admission while offering:

  • Combat mechanics that you can spend dozens of hours exploring and mastering.
  • Impressively daunting boss monsters.
  • Dungeons fraught with danger and opportunity.
  • Understated stories that invites you to dig deeper.
  • An overstated sense of confusion and frustration.
I think Dark Souls will continue to endear itself to me (but not before inspiring a series of curses a mile long) and I’ve got a feeling that by the time I finally get around to playing Skyrim I will be a little disappointed when it treats me more nicely.

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