Dark Souls, the spiritual successor to the 2009 PS3 exclusive RPG game, Demon's Souls. After playing through Demon's Souls 3 times, I couldn't resist getting my hands on its sequel (although the only similarity is the 'Souls' name). After having my expectations raised (thankyou Demon's Souls) I really had high hopes for this game before I got it and let me just say it now, this game does not disappoint.
Whether it be exploring a lonely, desolate forest to a beautifully structured castle, the environments in Dark Souls have been professionally constructed to the point where the environments can be appreciated thanks to the tremendous amount of detail From Software have incorporated into this magnificent, fictional world. Because of this, Dark Souls has a respectable characteristic other games lack nowadays, this is one of the contributing factors that help Dark Souls shine in comparison to the competition. In addition to this unique world, both the enemy design and the soundtrack aid this game become mind-mindbogglingly immersible which means rather than spending the expected one hour on this game, you will be playing it for about double that time during your first play of the game. This leads me onto the feel of the game. Dark Souls will last you around 50 hours to complete once, thats right, not a 6 hour storyline like some games this generation (Call of Duty in-particular), this game will last you around 50 hours. With a very steep learning-curve thanks to the game's style (it doesn't hold your hand, in the world of Dark Souls you're alone)nothing is greater than success; whether it be beating a boss or traversing a section of the game you've been working on for a while, the gratification Dark Souls offers in success is huge; this will make you want to keep on playing, making you a Dark Souls addict thus; keeping you coming back for more. In addition to this, once completed you enter NG+ (the + symbolizing the amount of times you've completed the game so it can be NG+++++ as an example) the game's difficulty increases to keep the enemy AI at the same level as you're character's ability, making it worth playing a few times rather than completing a single playthrough then leaving the game on the shelf forever more.
One thing that really stands out in Dark Souls is the soundtrack's music that accompanies the sometimes chilling boss-battles. Bosses in Dark Souls are classified as a stronger-than-usual enemy of which stands out due to it's characteristics making it unique in comparison to other standard enemies. As I just mentioned, the soundtrack compliments the boss battles perfectly (usually reflecting the setting/mood of the boss you're fighting) helping raise the level of immersion and giving you a better feeling whilst battling these infamous characters. As an example, I recommend you check out this song from the Dark Souls soundtrack:[...]
This example reflects the chilling reality of the boss you're battling, all captured perfectly in a musical piece - simply beautiful!
The difficulty of Dark Souls has received critical acclaim for being a difficult however; the reality is once you've learned how to play the game, you will be ok. To succeed in Dark Souls the best thing to do is to learn enemy patterns, with this in mind, once you identify enemy attack patterns then the game will ask for your concentration of which leads on to success. If you are at all worried about the difficulty then fear not, at any point in the game you can summon either an AI character or a real player to help you on boss battles or you can battle them. Thanks to this feature, nobody has an excuse to get caught out on boss battles because you can summon up to 2 other people to help you defeat bosses, additionally, the people who hang around waiting to get summoned usually have good weapon sets and skill increasing your chances of success when battling a boss with either a online player or AI character. With this in mind, I wouldn't worry about the difficulty at all when debating a purchase of this game.
The controls in Dark Souls offer ease and are well-mapped to work with the Playstation 3 controller. Although not as good as something such as Uncharted 3 (Using the L3 button to sprint rather than what Dark Souls does and uses the O button to sprint), they shine in making the game a more enjoyable experience thanks to a smooth, useful control scheme.
Although the graphics in Dark Souls are not as polished as Demon's Souls (It is about twice as big as Demon's Souls so the graphics WOULD take a hit) they still look magnificent and are nicer than some games on the market today. Keep in mind this game has no loading screens so in some areas (Blighttown)the framerate can drop to below-average making the screen choppy; this isn't a surprise though because with the hardware for consoles being so old and the game being so big, there has to be limits.
Throughout Dark Souls you will find weapons, armour sets, spells, items, consumables and treasures all of which can be used by your character to enhance your experience within this fictional world. To buy new items you use a currency called 'Souls' which is taken from killed enemies, this helps you level up your stats making the game easier for you to play as well as buy new items.
To conclude, Dark Souls takes an incredible world, unique soundtrack, varied multiplayer elements and superb enemy design, then mixes it all together to create a package superior to its predecessor, Demon's Souls. Because of this, I would highly recommend this game and if you're debating to get either Demon's Souls or Dark Souls, go for Demon's then move onto the slightly enhanced Dark Souls for the best playing experience. Dark Souls is a game that keeps you coming back for more!
Thankyou for reading, I give this game a 9.2/10.