Dark Souls review (PS3)

imtheman2013 | 806d ago | User review
Reviewing: Dark Souls
A great game that'll really challenge you.
Have you ever wanted a video game that makes you break more controllers than hours spent playing it? Or a game that delivers so much tension that you have multiple heart attacks while playing? Or how about a game that fills you with fear every time you step around a corner? If all of these things seem pleasant to you, look no further than Dark Souls.

Let me start by saying that this game is not for the faint-hearted. This game is brutally tough and you'll spend a lot of time dying. That said, this game is absolutely brilliant. From the opening cut-scene right to the end, you'll be glued to the screen. It starts in classic RPG style with you picking between multiple classes, each with specific skill sets and weapons. Everything is going smoothly. And then, you die.

Dying isn't an end-all in this game; however, it's a crucial mechanic to succeeding. When you die you lose all your souls, the games currency that allows you to level up and buy things in the world, and your humanity, a more rare type of currency. But here's the catch: you can retrieve your lost souls by traveling back to the place where you died. At these times you have to decide if it's worth the risk to get back your precious souls, or leave them there for fear of dying again. This gives a great sense of risk and reward that you don't get from many other games.

Dark Souls story is unique enough to get you interested in it, but it's the world that really draws you in. Dark Souls is a beautiful looking game. The world is expansive and impressively interconnected. You'll see varied locations such as dark forests, brilliantly lit castles and even lava fields. The game falters however in some locations. Most noticeably in Blighttown, where the frame rate takes a precarious nose dive. While this doesn't necessarily hinder the game play or exploration, it is very noticeable and makes you wonder how the developers didn't catch it and fix it.

Controls are responsive and fair. Each dodge roll will be executed when you so please and every sword swing will hit with great impact. Of course in areas such as Blighttown, where the frame rate lacks, the controls can be expected to be a bit off. Fighting invading phantoms can also be somewhat troublesome and at times you'll be wondering how he back stabbed you while you were facing him directly. However, these flaws are very minor and don't affect the gameplay enough to make it less enjoyable.

A sort of faction system is in place in Dark Souls called Covenants. There are multiple Covenants and each one gives the player unique advantages. For instance, a very early Covenant, The Way of The White, allows other members of that Covenant to be summoned more easily by other members. While Covenants are a good edition to this game, some are very vague in what they are for. But hey, that's why we have the Internet!

The ambient sound fits Dark Souls' dark-fantasy world perfectly. The spooky score increases the tension while dungeon crawling and even the menu sound effects add too the scariness. Each sword clanged against a shield is perfect. The voice acting is also superb. Every character has a very unique tone and attitude.

The online play in Dark Souls is quite unique, unless you've played the games predecessor Demon's Souls. You can summon phantom's of other players into your world where they will silently help you with your endeavors. I say silently because there is no form of communication apart from the gestures you can perform. Likewise you can also be summoned into another players world. Invading is basically the same thing as summoning, except the invader isn't there to help the player. Rather, the invader is there to kill the player and steal their souls. These encounters can be frustrating when you're just trying to accomplish something, but they do add a great deal of tension and excitement into the game.

All in all, Dark Souls is a fantastic game. The amazing challenge it presents offers a great risk-reward feeling that is unique to this franchise. The world is huge, memorable and beautiful. The controls are well done and very fair. The sound fits the world fantastically and adds to the tension of the dark world. Dark Souls is a game every hardcore gamer should play. And on that, there's really only one thing left to say: Prepare to die!
Ups
Great risk/reward system.
Dark, beautiful world.
Combat mechanics are fluid and fair.
Downs
Frame rate can drop in some areas.
Invasions can be very annoying.
Covenants are sometimes confusing.
Score
9.0
Graphics The world is fantastically dark, gruesome, and beautiful all at the same time. Every piece of armor is extremely detailed. The character models are varied and each NPC looks unique.
10.0
Sound Every sword hit and dodge roll is perfectly accompanied by the appropriate sound. The background music is a perfect fit to this dark-fantasy world. The voice acting is spot on and each character has a lasting impression.
8.0
Gameplay The controls are tight in most cases. In areas such as Blighttown, the frame rate can take huge dives. While this isn't a huge hindrance, it is noticeable and gives an unpolished feel. Other than the frame rate dips, the combat is super enjoyable and most importantly, fair.
9.0
Fun factor This one really depends on if you like a good challenge. This game is amazingly brutal. Dying will happen, and often. However, this is a vital mechanic and isn't meant to be seen as an obstacle, but rather, a learning tool.
7.5
Online Summoning a random person that can't talk at all is very unique to this game and is a nice touch at times. But sometimes you just want to play with a friend. It's frustrating waiting for their summon sign to appear and at those times a nice invite feature would be welcome.
8.7
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
Nate-Dog  +   805d ago
Nice review and I totally agree with pretty much everything you've said, especially about the game and combat in general being fair and spot-on in terms of timing and responsiveness. One of the best things about the game is that you can rarely say "oh that was stupid that shouldn't have happened", you'll pretty much only ever die from your own mistakes or from rushing or from simply coming up against an enemy way more powerful than you but you'll rarely ever feel like you've been cheated by the game.
imtheman2013  +   805d ago
Thank you for that. This being my first review I am looking forward to all sorts of input and receiving positive comments is nice. And yeah, that's what I was trying to get at. The game never really falters. It was always me making the mistakes. But thanks again! :D
Blastoise  +   804d ago
Bed of chaos begs to differ lol :P
Nate-Dog  +   804d ago
Touché. Those sweeping legs / arms did irritate me quite a bit. :P
cpayne93  +   804d ago
The only deaths I felt were unfair in the game were the capra demon, where you just have to luck out in running behind him before he and those dogs kill you, and that damn chest that eats you. There isn't any way to see that coming first time around.

I liked Demon's Souls better, but Dark Souls is still one of the best games this generation. It's just that Demon's Souls IS the best game this generation imo.
Chapulin  +   804d ago
Invasions can be very annoying? Yes but I think it makes the game more unique and challenging.
garos82  +   804d ago
great review. the only downfall for me was that the online wasnt as solid as the predecessor in terms of back stabbing lag. that really annoyed me in many online battles. but other than that this is my fave game of this gen
Columbo  +   803d ago
Dark Souls was one of my most favorite games of the current generation. Reading reviews like this makes me want to get back into it and start playing NG+. I'll need to get back through the first half of the game so I can play the DLC when it is released soon too!
Kos-Mos  +   803d ago
The online system makes the game even more exciting. Complaining about that you cannot summon in seconds is not right. It`s supposed to take long time, it`s supposed to be frustrating. I love it.
But Demon`s Soul`s is still better. That game moved me like no other game has last 5 years.

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Dark Souls

Average Score 9.1 Reviews(182)
Release Dates
PC Release Dates
PS3 Release Dates
US 04 October 2011
EU 07 October 2011
AU 07 October 2011
Wii U Release Dates
Xbox 360 Release Dates
US 04 October 2011
EU 07 October 2011
AU 07 October 2011