'Dark Souls 2' And The Fine Line Between Challenge And Accessibility

Forbes - Dark Souls 2 will be helmed by new game directors who hint at a different approach. What does new direction for the game mean for fans?

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thorstein1962d ago (Edited 1962d ago )

Accessibility? Let's see. I have the game disc. It fits in my console. I turn it on. I play the game. I die (often). The controls work.

Not sure what isn't accessible.

Or do they mean, they must dumb it down for morons that don't understand the narrative. In that case, no thanks. I want the amazing games that have been made. Otherwise, it wouldn't be so successful.

Xof1962d ago

Accessibility just means making the game easier to get into.

Case in point: the Estus Flask in Dark Souls was implmented to make the game more accessible to new players, as were the bonfires. These helped to create more of a curve, letting new players into the game slowly, making it, you know, more accessible.

Accessibility is a good thing. It widens the target audience. Most everyone I know prefers Dark Souls to Demons Souls because of those accessibility options. Immediately assume that this will result in either toned down difficulty in Dark Souls 2 or a different approach to narrative (where the hell is /that/ coming from) is unwarranted and more than a little paranoid.

rezzah1962d ago

This game is simple, it is player who must adapt not the game.

The more accessible the less skill required; to be able to jump in and instantly play in its totality.

Not all games must be like Pac-man.

From a business perspective accessibility is a good thing because it is means more money. This is one of those lines that stand between passion and business; to which side does the devs lean more to?

Xof1962d ago

Good job missing the point, rezzah.

Accessibility is NOT the same thing as difficulty.

Not even close.

But, by all means, continue to bitch and moan about the game becoming too easy despite the fact that all you have to go on is a CGI trailer.

rdgneoz31962d ago

Xof, when directors / devs say they want to make a game more accessible, it tends to give the impression of changing a few things to get more people to play it, and people tend to fear that they will change was the series has been about (Looks at TR reboot with regen health and removing water levels, or Deadspace with human enemies with guns / cover and at first having universal ammo till people complained). And the one thing about the Souls series that has caused the huge fan base around it, is how it punishes the player for making mistakes.

The games have never been that hard, but you get raped for making mistakes. The mechanics stay the same and the controls are not complicated at all, so its always been about taking your time and not rushing in head on. Rushing into a group of even the weakest of enemies, and you can find your self stunned and dropped in a short amount of time. Dodge to the side or backwards without looking at your surroundings and you fall off a cliff for your stupidity? Now you have to work your way back to that spot that took you 30 minutes to get to. The game punishes you for your mistakes.

The story has always been a little vague and left up to the player to figure out and explore. And by the way, they have some amazing stuff people have found out or thought of from all the little hidden notes found throughout the games / items. One that has some good stuff would be .

But as for the story, if they wanted to be a little more direct it probably wouldn't hurt if they do it right. Though I love exploring the world and finding all the hidden things (items, people, lore) that you'd never know about. However, they should not at all touch how punishing the game is. That has been the trade mark of the series, that you will die... a lot.

p.s. Dear god, no regenerating health or saving wherever you want to...

VverdugovV1962d ago

Couldn't have said it better myself. People are accostumed to games that hold your hand from start to finish. They complain about the difficulty just because it requires patience and figuring out how to get past an obstacle yourself.

admiralvic1962d ago

Why does Demon / Dark Souls bring out all these elitist looking down on ANYONE that doesn't play the same way as them? Games need to make money, most people want to enjoy the game, why shouldn't they make it so more people can enjoy it?

Well regardless of the answer, most people don't complain about the Souls games being hard anymore... It's become that game where no one says anything against it or failed to compete it, since it would make them look like a noob. Either or, I have faith From Software will find a good middle ground. Ideally they won't focus on this and betray the fans that love it so.

ziggurcat1962d ago

@ thorstein:

sadly, it most likely means a dumbed down game.

@ Xof:

no, accessibility means making its difficulty easier. case in point: estus flasks, and bonfires made dark souls easier.

@ admiralvic:

xbox owners who hadn't played the souls games before didn't complain about the difficulty, but PC owners sure cried like a bunch of little children when they finally got a chance to play, which resulted in a patch to include an easy mode/dumbed down difficulty - that's "accessibility" for you. why shouldn't they make it so more people can enjoy it? well, why shouldn't they make it so that those who really enjoy non-hand holding, challenging games can continue to enjoy it?

admiralvic1962d ago

Fair enough about PC gamers.

As far as difficulty, why does everyone automatically jump to the extreme of the game being ruined for core gamers? The game could easily have 2 difficulties, with all the trophies / cool weapons being in the harder one and add new enemies / additional attacks for bosses.

I am sure I will get more disagrees for this (as I get them any time I say anything against this game...), but people need to have SOME FAITH in From Software. "Accessibility" could simply result in more world tendency balancing, making it so you can take 1 or 2 more attacks, or something just as minor.

Canary1962d ago

You, my fried, don't know what difficulty is.

Difficulty comes from the bosses. From the low HP stats, and the souls/death mechanic.

All Bonfires did was cut down (a lot) on the tedium of constantly playing through the same areas over and over. Their inclusion doesn't make the game any harder or easier, it just makes the game less annoying.

Which, really is what accessibility means--less annoying.

I could kind of see the argument against Estus Flasks. But... does it have any real merit? Estus flasks make it easier for the player to heal, give the player a constant healing option, which therefore makes the game easier, right?

But before the Estus Flask was implemented, it was easy enough to farm healing herbs, or use magic to constantly heal your wounds. So, really, all the inclusion of the Estus flask did was make the healing option more evident... or accessible.

Difficulty doesn't come from healing mechanics or waypoint saving. That's absurd. Difficulty comes from ingenious level design (where Dark Souls excelled), combat mechanics (again, where Dark Souls excelled) and enemy AI (where it did NOT).

Instead of whining about the game suddenly becoming "easier" due to it being more accessible (which is a meritless argument based on an ignorance of the terminology) maybe you might work to a better purpose by advocating better artificial intelligence in the sequel?

You know, try advocating for REAL increased difficulty, instead of lamenting reduced tedium as some harbinger of the series' downfall.

jerethdagryphon1961d ago

lots of cutscenes to tell you what to do where to go how to kill and whats going on , regenerating health respawns all over and op weapons so it takes no skill
and a tacked on mp mode where you kill eachother randomly..

thats acccessability and it has no place in any souls game

do we want souls to be popular not really we want it to remain obscure hard and cliquish

in ps3 the skyrim plat means you have a lot of time the ac3 plat means your an average gamer

the souls plats bring awe to you
thats what we want

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Mutant-Spud1962d ago

Dark Souls has the same sort of appeal as a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of Vermont in the fall, not everyone has the patience to see the project through to completion and it's a special sort of person who finds that sort of challenge enjoyable.

VverdugovV1962d ago

"not everyone has the patience to see the project through to completion"

Then those people can get a 100 piece puzzle. Just because a large amount of people don't have the patience to complete a 10,000 piece puzzle doesn't mean it has to disappear.

MysticStrummer1962d ago

"Then those people can get a 100 piece puzzle"

or Call of Duty

Mutant-Spud1962d ago

So why are Super Meat Boy and Trials HD fun but Dark Souls isn't?
See what I'm getting at is that Dark souls is not a game as much as it is a project for enthusiasts, like a train set or a garden.
I'd compare it to a simulation of a hobby rather than calling it a "game" and I agree that it should stay as it is but it's enthusiasts need to realise that other people see them as hobbyists, not "core gamers".
Gaming is a pastime for the 99%, not a hobby, I don't talk about gaming with people in the real world even if I know them to be gamers.

@ Mystic Strummer,
And the Dark Souls people could just as easily be happy with an aquarium.....or an RC car, a dog or a pottery wheel, something that requires constant refining and tweaking of the way you do things rather than just picking up where you left off each time.

Canary1962d ago

Great analogy. Here's an idea for something I've been pushing since Demons Souls: a difficulty slider.

Those people who love 10,000 piece puzzles? Let them play the game on harder difficulties.

Those people who like 1,000 piece puzzles? Let them play their game, too. It wouldn't take much adjustment. Let them keep 10% of their souls after death, maybe boost their stat modifiers 5%.

It wouldn't take much work, wouldn't change the game at all, and would allow more gamers to appreciate it than are otherwise able to.

And, hell, if those juvenile "hardcore gamers" think optional difficulty levels somehow aren't true to the spirit of the game, there are other things that could be done. Like, for example, not letting the player choose to play on easier difficulties without dying several times in a row.

Which would make sense. In Souls games, the more times you beat the game, the more difficult it becomes (on a very gradual scale)... so why not make the game gradually easier the more times you screw up? Think about how many gamers simply gave up on either Souls game out of frustration because they kept failing to get past certain areas? Think of all those lost sales.

'Cause I can tell you FROM is. Souls games are their first real big hit in the Western market, and you can be damned certain they're going to be very careful with subsequent iterations of the series to make sure they can broaden the appeal of the series without alienating fans.

(Which, hell, is something worth pointing out to all these terrified fans who think the series will suddenly ruin itself: look at FROM's track record. They're very conservative developers. Once they get a game mechanic they like, they don't really (ever) change it very much).

And if that's still enough, I don't know, disable trophies/multiplayer for gamers on sub-normal difficulties.

See? Voila. The game can be just as difficult as its ever been (or more so, with better AI) while at the same time catering itself to appeal to a wider market without sacrificing a single goddamned thing.

Am I a wizard?

Mutant-Spud1961d ago

Good points but the thing I think that turns people off this game is the single save slot, even when I'd succeeded I would sometimes want to go back and try the battle a different way. For me it wasn't the difficulty which was a problem because I knew that the game was well crafted and that there was a way to beat every scenario but the punitive aspects of the game just made it seem like a waste of time.

sdozzo1962d ago

Everything will be cool. I like the wiki crawl or learning via trial and error. Really adds to the game.

1962d ago
League_of_Draven1962d ago

I've said it since the first one. Demon's Souls is for the hardcore audience while Dark Souls is for the casual audience and it will show that even more with the next game. I guess this means Demon's Souls 2 will be for the PS4.

MysticStrummer1962d ago

You persist in calling Dark Souls casual, which only makes me think you never played it. There were certain things about it that were easier, and there were certain things about it that were harder. Both games are the best I've played this gen.

Aghashie1962d ago (Edited 1962d ago )

I have to agree with league. demons was way more challenging when compared to dark. almost to the point where the game is frustrating and discouraging. I played demons enought to unlock all the weapons and stuff, but stoped on my 3rd playthrough cause I have many others games to play and can't spare more time dreaming to obtain the damned platinum. on the other hand, I am just beginning my 5th go in dark souls, already platinum the game on my 3rd. just going one more time to experience the game and the dlc from the very beginning. otherwise, I have nothing else to do in that game.

by the way, I agree w ur comment. both games are the best I have played this gen (with the obvious exception of metal gear 4).

Swiggins1962d ago

Agashie, the difficulty between the two games is completely objective. I played Dark Souls first and found it much harder, when I went back to Demons I found it leauges easier, but that's because I had the experience from Dark Souls to help me through it.

Demons Souls was also a much easier game to become overpowered on, By the time I hit the 3rd world I had a near limitless stockpile of grass and spice, aside from the odd fall or 1 shot, I was unstoppable.

Irishguy951961d ago (Edited 1961d ago )

I played Demons first, Dark souls is alot harder. With demons, starting out was hard because you weren't used to the gameplay. It got easier after that. Dark was just hard. Simple as.

The difficulty curve was good in Dark, Demons one simply dropped. But eh...yeah, best games this gen for me

theDECAY1961d ago

I also really not agree with League. I have played and beat Demon's Souls over 6 times and have still yet to finish Dark Souls. With work and girlfriend, and certain frustrations particular to Dark Souls, I have not even finished it. I am not talking about difficulty. I honestly find Dark Souls more difficult, despite bonfires and estus flasks. I agree with Mystic.

jerethdagryphon1961d ago

i have both plats so i can say dark souls was mostly much easier then demons souls there were a few points and a boss on hard difficulty levels which was much harder but in general dark was easier

red dragon easy on demons slightly harder on dark
creepy ass zombie dragon time consuming not hard
all 3 fat demons not that hard4 kings on ng+ and beyond prepatch not to bad post 1.05 hard very very hard

the dragonslayers hard if you dont know what to do
general gameplay was easier some boses ahrder when it was reversed on demons

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