Dark Souls

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Dark Souls review
Chris Priestman


Meet Thy Maker

Good Old Grind (cntd.)

Dark Souls takes this challenge one step further by forcing the player to think tactically; quick reactions are not going to get you through the toughest parts. This will naturally frustrate your urges to rush through areas you have done over a dozen times. It can sometimes get annoying that your character does not react like you, but they are the one wearing the heavy armour and swinging the hefty weapons; this weighty immersion has carried over from Demon's Souls. The stamina bar constantly holds you back from expelling your foes, making guarding vital to survival - those who risk the parry are either stupid or brave. Making matters worse is that a lot of the battles take place in tight areas. As weapons do not pass through walls when swung, players have to consider their positioning and weapon type before crossing swords. It is evident that the developers have put a lot of effort into making the environments, with their many traps and fatal falls, as serving to the game's challenge as the enemies that occupy them.

Whispers Of The Dying

In an age when stories are told to us in games through exuberant cinematics, Dark Souls encourages a folk tale tradition of story telling. Players share their experiences with each other; gossiping of their tremendous victories and downfalls, veterans pass on their knowledge to newcomers and trade memories with the fellow battle-hardened. Technique and forewarning is the focus of the messages left by others in the game's utterly modern incorporation of multiplayer. These ghosts of players sometimes enter the screen and leave bloodstains at spots of death as a means to educate what is otherwise a lonesome single player experience. Upon acquiring a Soapstone, though, players can enter each other's private worlds to either assist or decimate their constant struggle. Perhaps the most innovative feature of Dark Souls is this subtle multiplayer incorporation, albeit a lot of it can just be ignored if so desired.

The most prominent multiplayer aspect is the warnings of your fellow players of an upcoming creature or area. With only a range of preset messages at their disposal, players plant an idea which then festers and can overwhelm its occupant before they even reach the abhorrent location. Their fears are often justified too: the fragility of life is constantly toyed with in Dark Souls. That is why features such as kindling the bonfires to grant nearby players an extra health item are fantastic features. The problem with these features is that they are so subtle that the sense of community that should be present by players helping each other out is completely overlooked. You usually have no idea that someone has sacrificed something of their own to help you and others out; this is a real shame, especially as the intention from the developers is there.

Grit Your Teeth

It seems to be both a positive and negative element that Dark Souls feels very similar to Demon's Souls. The gameplay and design that made From Software notorious is undeniably the same, although the small tweaks have improved the experience slightly. Unfortunately, the graphics look very much the same and the bodies of the dead still like to cling on to you, but luckily not as much as in the game's predecessor. These are minor gripes and serve as the only real criticisms to a very well-designed experience overall.

We all understand what Dark Souls is trying to achieve in us: pride in our work, sense of progress, and an indomitable spirit. The latter of those is definitely not encouraged in games enough. Due to this, there is no denying that Dark Souls is not going to be for everyone. For those up to the challenge, that gooey centre is waiting for you to crack through the tough shell. Blood and tears will be shed. This is what many of us will recognise as a true video game, it's just a shame that we have all grown so soft.


fun score


Nothing challenges quite like it, requires thought, wonderful level and creature design, addictive


Looking a little old, bodies still stick you, though not as much as in the original