4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Praise the Sun,
This review is from: Dark Souls (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Dark Souls may well be one of my favourite games of all time. It is competing with Super Castlevania 4 on the Snes, Eternal Darkness on the Gamecube and Renegade on the ZX Spectrum to give you an idea of what that means.
The environment is masterfully depicted and memorable for two distinct reasons. Firstly because it is so varied and bleak. Stone castles quickly give way to Tolkienesque caverns and lava pits. And you can go deeper and deeper and never seem to reach the edge of its world. In the beginning you have no idea where anything is or where you are going. There is no map and non player characters are deliberately obtuse and quite often mad. Secondly you really have to remember the levels to progress. Anyone who has played an old school MegaMan will know what this means. I've been killed in the Undead Burg (a very early level) enough times to know the exact location of each enemy. There are two next to the bonfire, one with an axe another with a crossbow, a third that jumps up the stairs, along the bridge there are the firebomb throwers...and so on. Now imagine how daunting a new area is when you know that it was only by committing enemies positions to memory that you made it through the last one? So it is part of the experience to shuffle forward through a new level with your shield at the ready, terrified of your own shadow.
Death has weight in this game. It could mean being sent back miles and the loss of tremendous amount of XP points. If you are careful in Dark Souls you will learn not to die but there is no handholding. To complete Dark Souls you almost have to study it and very much play by its rules. It cannot be overstated how much the sadistic difficultly makes the game a cohesive whole. Not only does it provide a sense of achievement when you beat a boss but also gives weight to its bleak and lonely atmosphere. It almost seems as if that Dark Souls is actually trying to break your spirit. The story is barely comprehensible and as a player you have little to no idea how you victories are actually influencing the world. The back slapping of other games cut scenes is absent here as well as, for the most part, any feedback on how real much progress you have made.
I do wonder how well the game will age. Dark Souls is deliberately mysterious but is it to the point where it could be superseded by a game with a more concrete narrative? Time will tell. But for the moment I am just amazed that a game like this has the nerve to do what it does. To leave players so in the dark and to have an entire level housed behind a how-on-earth-was-I-meant-to-know-that secret wall. Dark Souls really is something very special.
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Initial post: 15 Oct 2012 22:04:33 BDT
Mr. O. M. Semple says:
Haha Renegade!! Awesome game, kneeing people in the nuts was never quite so fun.
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