I own a few strategy guides for various games but none are as beautifully presented as this. The hardback and minimalist design makes for a well presented book far superior to its soft backed contemporaries - it is a desirable object.
The guide is presented in full colour with illustrations and screen-shots throughout. The paper is of a glossy quality and is pleasant to flick through.
The content also pleases. The layout is well structured and logical, covering basics, an enemy guide, a step by step area guide, gear and then some extras. The detail is very impressive which is required for a game of this calibre - a journey down a hallway simply doesn't consist of walking forwards in Dark Souls.
I do, however, find some minor discrepancies within the guide but they are not enough to deter me from granting it a five star rating. The following, I feel, are missing from the book:
- There are some details that aren't clear enough and in one case I found confusing, for example:
It mentions in the guide how to acquire the Demon's Great Hammer in only a few words. It says you need to defeat him on the first encounter to get it, not on an NG+, for example. Now, as I bought the guide after completing about 80% of the game I was under the impression that it meant to cut his tail off like the rest of the bosses. After a few attempts at this I still couldn't procure it! I then had to consult the Internet. It turns out that by `first encounter' the guide was literally talking about the very first time you open the door and see him and not the first time you fight him in general.
Just in case you were wondering, you can select the black firebombs as your gift at the start of the game and kill him in about five hits, but do you really want to play without a Master Key? It's ok if you're a Thief and already have one but otherwise you'll have to spend about 10 minutes hacking away at him with your broken sword and no Estus Flasks - good luck!
The previous example could just be due to my lack of understanding but a little more detail with regards to the situation would have gone a long way. I have also heard other people mention certain small details that are amiss in this guide, but this is only to be expected from a game so vast as Dark Souls.
- There is no advice on PvP
Although this is a play-style that I generally tend not to adopt I know (and have experienced) that many people do. A revision of the guide would do well to include information concerning builds, weapons, armour and techniques useful for PvP encounters.
However, I do understand why this was not included. It would take a lot longer to write the guide as testing every possible build would take forever. But, some general information would have be a nice addition to the book.
-The suggested area order
This is a very subjective matter as everyone has their own special way of playing through the game and everyone's way is always the best, but there is one route in the book I really believe should have a caveat noted somewhere to say that it's the harder of two ways and only take it if you want the gear.
The route I'm talking about is that into Blighttown. The way the guide suggests is the route through The Depths once you have the key from defeating the Gaping Dragon. Now, this is the route that the game also suggests you take but this way is, I find, the biggest headache in the game. The other way to Blighttown is a walk in the park and all you need to have is the master key to use that route. It would be much better if the guide told you of the other possible route, but again this is just a minor gripe.
All in all, this is a brilliant guide. Well presented and a must have for anyone wanting more out of the Dark Souls experience.