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Is Dark Souls Just A 100-Hour Waste Of Time?

Forbes: Is gaming its own reward, or do games suffer from a lack of deeper meaning?

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Noctis Aftermath2075d ago

This article is a response to a review of dark souls by someone who hates gaming.

Get someone not interested in gaming to play a hard game which you will die alot and the only out come will be a shitty and bitter review.

LightofDarkness2075d ago (Edited 2075d ago )

Short and sweet. The long answer...

Is Skyrim a waste of time? It too lacks a deep, meaningful narrative. But the game is focussed on its openness and non-linearity, where player choice and player-driven narrative is paramount, as opposed to a tight, director-driven narrative.

I'm not a huge Dark Souls fan but even I know this argument is ignorant of what it is that makes so many games so great: player interaction. It's what separates games from movies and almost every other art form.

Not every game needs a big story with cinematic presentation. IMO, very few games need that (but too many think they need it). For example, Madden doesn't need an over-arcing narrative about robots and the nature of existence. It just needs to look and play like football.

Dark Souls isn't about its story. The story, like Skyrim, emerges from the player's own interaction. It's YOUR story. Like how it took 22 deaths to finally put down that boss. Or how you had to remove all your clothing so you could run through a particularly tough area to get a powerful item early on. Yes, Dark Souls is a lot more linear than Skyrim, but it's in a similar locus with regards to it's approach: gameplay first.

Too many people seem to be using these same arguments lately, i.e. story is as important or more important than gameplay and graphics. This is simply not true. It's perhaps true in the few genres that are almost entirely story oriented (JRPGs, mostly), but in the grand scheme of things, it just isn't.

Awesome_Gamer2075d ago

FACT: Dark/Demon Souls > Skyrim

badz1492075d ago (Edited 2075d ago )

aren't all games supposed to be "time wasters"?

edit: lots of guys beat me to it already

NYC_Gamer2076d ago

Hell no,its one of best rpgs made in this era of gaming.

Nate-Dog2076d ago

Comparing every video-game to something like Tolstoy? That's like saying The Simpsons is a bad show because it doesn't have the depth of a Shakespearean play. Ah gaming reviewers never fail to amaze me nowadays, I can't see why someone could actually be interested in video-games at all if they expect that from every title they play.

deep_fried_bum_cake2075d ago (Edited 2075d ago )

The Simpsons doesn't have the depth of a Shakespearean play. How did I not notice this before. That means that the Simpsons is crap and by default every other show on television. What have I done with my life? So many wasted hours....

In all seriousness though, I will never understand people like this. I mean sure, games aren't always as deep as books can be but that doesn't mean that they can't be. I think that if a dev put the work into a game script they could produce a game that surpasses a lot of books in depth.

Saladfax2075d ago

I find this funny:

“In roughly 40 hours of reading,” Thomsen writes, “Tolstoy covers the range of human existence: love, premature death, villainy, class, the limits of friendship, the crucible of debt, the idea of humans as helplessly caught in the tidal forces of history. Dark Souls leaves you with the intimate knowledge of when to roll out of the way of an ogre’s club swing.”

Except when you really think about it, like, really really think about it, you can find most of the themes mentioned above in Dark Souls with the various interactions you have with NPCs, bosses, and villains.

The principle difference, the one which makes gaming such a great place for heavy emotional experience (though yes, there aren't many which do this), is that it's not you reading or watching some other character do this stuff. It's *you* who feels the loss, betrayal, love, the limits of friendship, the anguish of death.

Yes, not everyone experiences the same thing or even bothers to do more than just play the game, but it doesn't make the experience any less valuable.

kaveti66162076d ago (Edited 2076d ago )

I agree with the criticism of Dark Souls and am appalled by the article's defense of shallow storytelling in video games.

The article defends games that lack stories by saying that they're not supposed to or that "gaming is its own reward." I think that there are a few games out there that have proven you can have a good game that tells a good story.

Dark Souls is a brutal game that is supposed to teach you how to play. It's like Demon's Souls, right? The story is a throwaway, but you're supposed to feel really accomplished because you finally beat that one level or killed that one boss that you thought would be impossible to kill.

So?

Why can't you have a good story paired with that?

The writer of the article makes analogies to pizza and chocolate cake in an attempt to move the goalposts and divert your attention from the key fact that both literature and video games are mediums of telling a story. Most video games have stories. Super Mario Brothers has a story, Call of Duty has a story, Halo has a story, even Twisted Metal has a story. And yes, Demon's Souls and Dark Souls tell stories. I've played a bit of Demon's Souls and from perhaps 30 hours of play the only time a story was conveyed to me was during the intro.

It's a good thing to criticize games for not telling compelling stories because it encourages developers to work harder on that aspect of their game. It's a bad idea to look for excuses to discourage developers from working on good stories because that doesn't benefit anybody.

If you have a problem with a studio working on both gameplay and story, keep your mouth shut because you're not going to do anybody any favors by saying you don't care.

DrPepper2076d ago (Edited 2076d ago )

i don't know maybe im reading your comment wrong but it sounds that you don't think dark souls has a good story? the story is full of so much lore and history but very well hidden at the same time. everything in that game has purpose and is there for a reason.

SlickShoes2075d ago

As has been said already, Dark Souls actually has some great lore, you just have to actually find it. The story of the game is not thrust in your face you have to actually seek it out.

The whole game is one of trial and error and learning as you go, after you escape the asylum and land at firelink shrine its up to you pretty much to decide what area you go to, and what parts of the lore you want to learn about.

It comes off as vague because people are used to the story in games being told to them rather than them having to engage their brain to work it out.

personally I like the lore in dark souls, it gave the game some extra meaning and gave me some extra gameplay seeking it out.

kaveti66162076d ago

I was criticizing the author for defending video games in general that have bad stories.

I haven't played Dark Souls.

In the article the writer uses the criticism of Dark Souls as a jumping off point to defend games for not being as in-depth as literature like "War and Peace." I think it's a terrible idea to defend video games in that regard. The criticism is valid. No one is asking for video games to tell a completely original story, just to tell a good one that has some depth and theme exploration. Games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, Gears of War, Mario Brothers, Zelda, Borderlands, and more, all have pretty simple, shallow stories.

From my experience of Demon's Souls, the story was pretty familiar, a generic good versus darkness type affair. The world is cast into darkness, and you have to save it. There could be a whole lot more.

See Bioshock as a decent example.

Saladfax2075d ago

It's interesting because both Bioshock and Demon's/Dark Souls have a fairly similar method by which they describe the world to the player.

Pretty much every piece of scenery in both games is designed with the specific purpose of establishing the situation, atmosphere and narrative of the world.

Whereas Bioshock takes this and uses it with a detailed script and characters to tell a more focused story, Demon's/Dark Souls has the player explore around more, having chance meetings with the varied NPCs to give more depth to the world. It's less about telling a fantasy epic than it is immersing a person within a detailed realm.

Neither approach is invalid; what you might like boils down to mood and preference.

Hicken2075d ago

Games don't have to be as in-depth as "War and Piece." Games are, first and foremost, about enjoyment. I don't need a deep, engaging story to play Mario or Pac Man or Street Fighter. I don't need plot twists and turns to play Forza or GT. I don't need well-written characters to play Super Stardust.

Granted, when a story is present at all, it still needs to be executed well. But that's fundamentally different from having a massively deep story. And even a "bad" story, when executed well, can still be enjoyable.

Your entire position rests on the assumption that Dark Souls has a bad story; yet, at the same time, you acknowledge that you haven't even played it. Given this lack of interaction with the title- and its spiritual predecessor- how can you say you have an accurate description of what the story is like?

A general understanding doesn't equate to true knowledge. I think most people have general understanding of how a plane flies or a combustion engine runs. That wouldn't necessarily translate into keeping an F-22 in the air, or fixing a lawnmower's 2-stroke diesel. If you want to discuss these things- if you want to say the games have a bad story- you need to know more than you currently do.

Somebody2075d ago

I don't remember any of the character backstories in Street Fighters 4. I just pressed X to skip the cut scenes to get to the next round.

I still find it an enjoyable game regardless of whatever stories it has.

smashman982076d ago

dark souls does have a good story

all he lore and iformation is there bu just like every other part of the game it doesnt hold your hand and tell you, you have to want to find out, andtalk to the npcs look at the achitecture and find everything out yourself

MEsoJD2075d ago

That's part of what I love about the game. The information and lore aren't given to you. You have to uncover and come up with your own answers. For example, many believe lighting the bone fire is the good ending, but for me it's the bad. This as a result of reading item descriptions, observing, and talking to npcs. god I love this game.

Saladfax2075d ago

That is the "bad" ending. It'd be like if Kratos surrendered to the Gods and let them continue their rule of humanity.

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