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User Review : Dark Souls

Dark Souls is a videogame

You walk into a dark room, it's covered with blood and human remains. You stroll on through hardly even noticing it as you're paying more attention to the mini map in the top corner of your screen. Then a cut scene is played.

A huge enemy smashes through the door screaming at the camera making it shake, his armour is thick and is covered in skulls and fire. He shouts "I want your blood!". Everything about its design is trying to intimate you however you feel nothing and feel lucky that you chose medium difficulty so you can finish the game quicker so you can maybe unlock all the achievements/trophies. The letterbox cut scene also allows you to see the glowing red on his back. You know this is his weak spot, you've seen it hundreds of times before in similar games. You wait patiently for the cut scene to end so you can kill him and move to the next level. You then slice the enemy to death with the tune of the electric guitar backing music. You collect your reward for killing the beast from a farmer in the village.

You notice this farmer has great voice acting and almost perfect lip-sync as he's giving you endless lines of dialogue of his life which you didn't ask for in the first place. He goes on to explain the next quest involving mundane tasks. He will explain in great detail why he wants you to kill all the killer crows on his farm as he needs a good crop yield this season for his family. Amazing, you can choose a question to ask him. How many family members? How old? Any news in the village? What kind of crops? How long have you been farming? Each question followed by many lines of dialogue. It proves what the back cover of the case reads, "Over 50 hours of dialogue!".

You move along and tumble into a pit and die as you were not paying attention to the beautiful world the artists have created and were watching the navigation arrow above your head. This is annoying to you as you now how to sit through the loading screen before you carry on your merry way unpunished for your mistake.

I'm guessing if you are reading this "review" you know I'm not describing dark souls but instead describing the most generic fantasy rpg my mind can conjure. Now let's try this same scenario in the theme of dark souls.

You walk into a dark room, it's covered in blood and human remains. You immediately stop and scan the room and listen out for anything. Nothing to be heard. You walk back outside where you know it's a little safer to pause and check your souls and debate turning back or going through this unknown path and risking losing your souls and hard work. You take a deep breath and steadily walk through.

Along the corridor you see a figure blocking the way. You don't know if he it seen you but there is no way around it. You keep moving with your shield drawn. You see it's some kind of Knight but one you have never seen before. He doesn't look so powerful but you have learned never to trust this cruel unforgiving world. He's spotted you. He limps towards you. The sound of his clumsy footsteps echo eerily through the silent hallway. He strikes but your drawn shield deflects the damage. You see your opportunity to lunge back but before your blade hits he slices you numerous times almost ending you right there. You are out of estus flasks but decide not to run and examine this new enemy's unpredictable attacks.

After a harsh battle you defeat him. You feel the rush of relief as you loosen the tight grip of your controller and your heartbeat calms. And as this rush hits you, you spot a warm glowing ahead, a bonfire. Without hesitation you instinctively walk towards it. You can't believe your luck, you're so happy you fail to notice walking over suspicious looking panels triggering arrows which shoot you in your back. You died.

You stare in utter disbelief as the loading screen hits. You are pissed. Pissed at how you have to travel all the way from the last bonfire. Pissed at all the enemies you have to kill again. Pissed at the sadistic minds of FromSoftware to place that trap right before a bonfire and pissed at yourself for being so complacent. But does this anger make you switch off and play another rpg? Absolutely not. You know you can do better. You are wiser now, you may even get to your lost souls twice as fast and discover new things on the way. Pick up your controller boy and keep going.

These hypothetical comparisons may seem a bit unfair to you readers who haven't played dark souls before however those who have would completely understand. I, like many others who have played the souls games think even just playing through souls has actually made it difficult to enjoy other games. What I'm trying to write here is not much of a review really but trying to figure out what makes souls so great and why it's my favourite game of all time.

The world of dark souls fit the difficulty perfectly. You're an undead who is forced to complete a quest which would involve dying over and over again which will drive him to madness, sound familiar? You walk alone across dramatic landscapes, grand castles and the depths of the earth. Of course this is similar to most other fantasy games but the world has a gives the feeling that you are an outsider in a grand place built centuries ago, rather than a world built around you. This atmosphere makes you feel completely alone which makes any feeling of creeping though dungeons more horrific and the feeling of overcoming obstacles even more euphoric

The difficulty is one of the things which stands out in dark souls. This difficulty may scare people, including me, away at first as the game is not very accessible to new players. But for those lucky ones who stuck with it will be rewarded the highest prize a video game can offer. This is the euphoric feeling of overcoming obstacles which appeared impossible at first glance. It's punishing sure, but it's mostly fair. The game makes it clear from the start that everything is capable of murdering the hell out of you. You mess up, you die. And the added weight of knowing the price you pay when dying can turn this rpg to a straight up horror game. I had many moments of desperately finding bonfires, this one I remember clearly.

I was wandering in the sewers already pretty lost. I felt like I was going in circles, it was maddening. I killed so many creatures so had already built up a nice amount of souls. So I thought it best to just come back to the last bonfire and try going through this death pit another time. As I was walking back I walked on a pit trap which dropped me deeper down. CRAP! I was even more lost with no bonfire in sight. Then just as I stopped panicking haunting noise followed with the words "An invader has entered your world" CRAP CRAP CRAP! At the time I didn't even know this could even happen and knowing another player is in this world made me literally stand up and scream at the TV. I haven't done this since I used to play on my n64 as an 11 year old. I got killed and at that point I was on my knees with my head in my hands, I'm 25 years old. My girlfriend came running in from the next room and bollocked me for scaring the hell out of her as she thought I was having some kind of heart attack.

These moments can only be had in videogames, sure you can get immersed in a movie but you can never experience a movie. I could talk to a friend about a movie we both enjoyed and discuss how it terrified us, made us cry, laugh. You can watch a movie which can make you feel as though you're peering into another world. But I can never discuss how we experienced it other than how and where we watched it. This is why I love videogames and my point is that dark souls is the perfect example of this. From the pain and glory of defeating a boss to discovering something so secret you feel like you are the only one who found it.

Apologies for this not being a review and more like a cheesy love letter. Despite my sulky first paragraph shunting other games I actually think games are getting better in general, although I think something has been lost on the way. I play new games one after another and a lot of them become almost routine in the way they are designed. Then Dark Souls hit me like a slap in the face and reminded me the why I love games so much. So excuse me to overindulge as I believe Dark Souls to be more than a videogame. In the same sense that the Sistine Chapel is a building, Ayrton Senna drove cars, David Bowie sung songs and Dark Souls is a videogame.

Leaving scores seem a little pointless to me but I'll leave a 10 as It doesn't make much sense to me to rate my favourite game any lower.

Fun Factor
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ILikeGamesYeah1287d ago

I don't know how to comment on a report but this review which I put on here a week ago is for dark souls 1 not 3. I justified my score in my review if you disagree can't you please discuss in the comments not just report me?

Goldby1287d ago (Edited 1287d ago )

after seeing that its about Dark Souls 1 not 3 i removed my Report. the report isn't a bad thing, but a helpful guide on how to improve it, what i may suggest, is that you make the Title clear that its for Dark souls 1 and not three as DS3 just came out many people will be looking for those reviews.

As for the 10/10. as much as you did explain moments in the game that are memorable for you, think of the score section as quick bullet form notes, like you had this perfect review set up for a gaming site and you had to give the just of it on the elevator.

What about the graphics make it a 10/10. it obviously isn't the character model you play as, we all know the emphasis is on the environment, so try explaining that.

is is the voice overs that make the sound design a 10/10 or the atmospheric soundtrack?

gameplay you touched quite a bit, so take this are to do a quick recap.

Fun Factor is a great section to explain how even though the game is extremely difficult at the beginning, it is completely balanced and any enemy can be taken down with enough strategy.

Online, would be best to explain how the online portions work for the Souls games with notes and such.

Overall it a very good Review, definitly have a re read over some areas could use work in grammar. once thats all there, ill approve it for sure.

ILikeGamesYeah1281d ago


Yeah I could have used the score section as bullet points, next time I will. To be honest I just started writing about Dark Souls because I love it, never started out as a review and I agree that even now its hardly a review. The game is a few years old and a lot of people already think its great, I was trying to convey my reasons why I think it's great. It seems kind of arbitrary going through game mechanics.

You are right though this may not belong on the review section, I just wanted to create discussion, and to see what makes this game great for other fans.

Goldby1281d ago

Try doing a blog post next time

warriors_131282d ago

i like how you start off describing witcher 3 yet people love that game. i cant stand doing arbitrary/fetch quests.

bangoskank1281d ago (Edited 1281d ago )

Ha! I caught that too. Good thing I bought the Witcher III for over 50% off. I really tried to get into it but have no desire to play the game anymore. It's boring as hell and controls like I'm playing with my feet. Dark Souls is one of my favorites ever. I am more pleased with III than I thought I would be. I actually can't put it down. Wish I could take a day off work just to play it.

ILikeGamesYeah1281d ago

I'm loving DS3 so much! The only time I can play is early morning before work which is awful. I set an alarm for 5.30 every day, I need sleep.

ILikeGamesYeah1281d ago

Kind of had a bit of witcher in mind, although I did enjoy some parts of it I couldn't get into the story. So much dialogue shoved down your throat, so if you didn't care it can be tedious. With dark souls the story is simple on the surface, but can be as deep as you want it too. And the NPCs when chosen to speak say little but in my opinion a lot more interesting. 'Brevity is the soul of wit' as the good Mr William Shakerbate said :)

SinkingSage1281d ago

The intro is spot on, it is why I dislike most modern games, the hand holding kills the fun factor, I grew up playing Sega Arcades, punishing is my middle name.

ILikeGamesYeah1281d ago

Agreed! Dark Souls is not afraid to put things in the game that people would miss. If you're not good enough you can't progress, just like the good old days.