Death is something we all fear. For those of you who played Demon’s Souls, you probably realized that death should not be feared, but instead should be used as a lesson on how to become stronger and surpass the trials that caused our death. We’ll go through the pain and the meaning of death once again with the release of Dark Souls on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
As the successor to the highly acclaimed Demon’s Souls, players will once again journey to the world of demons and gods as Dark Souls is finally here. Boasting improved gameplay and new adventures, should you go purchase From Software’s newest title and experience the hardship you once faced in Demon’s Souls? Let’s take a look in the HOTs and NOTs of the game.
Slight Improvement in Visuals
There’s only a slight improvement in the graphics of Dark Souls. Compared to its predecessor, Dark Souls’ environments are about the same. The environments still look awesome and the designs of the dungeons are all laid out pretty nicely. Expect to see big bosses that will blow your eyes out and prove to be a great challenge for you to take down. In terms of the quality of the voiceovers of the NPCs, it’s pretty much similar to Demon’ Souls—they are great, and you can feel the horror that they’ve experienced through the game.
Gameplay is the Same
Nothing has really changed in terms of the gameplay for Dark Souls. For veteran players who loved Demon’s Souls, they’ll feel welcome to Dark Souls as 90% of the game is exactly the same. The only change that veteran gamers will notice is the new items and world terms that will be used in the game. Since Dark Souls is a spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls, the story of the game will be different but the objective is still the same—eliminate the demons in each world and regain your mortality.
If you are wondering whether or not From Software decided to tone down the game’s difficulty, the answer is no. Playing through Dark Souls, it seems that the game is much harder than Demon’s Souls. It’s not impossible for someone to finish the game but expect to die more than ten times in an area— sometimes even more. Just like Demon’s Souls there will be writing on the floor that you can view that either warns you or leads you to your death. Remember that it’s all up to you whether you take the advice that is left by other players, as it can be misleading at times.
The difficulty of its predecessor was the reason why the game received a lot of praise. Dark Souls is still hard and that’s why everyone loves it. The challenge that you get from start to finish is something you will cherish once you defeat the main boss. There are a decent amount of mini-bosses in the game that have a difficulty similar to the final boss.
Dark Souls is not linear, just like its predecessor. In every world you travel to, you are free to venture to different areas of the game. Just remember that some of the areas in each world are hard and depending on your skill, you might die instantly if you dare to enter the area where hard enemies lurk. The choice of what part of the area you want to enter is all in your hands.
One of the additions that you will use frequently is the Bonfire. The purpose of the Bonfire is that it acts as a kind of home base, like the Nexus in Demon’s Souls. The Bonfire saves your progress and whenever you die in the game, you’ll go back to it. Another purpose of the Bonfire is that it’s the only place for you to level up and use the Souls you gathered in the game. Furthermore, whenever you wish to change into the human form, this will be the place to transform.
Another addition that players will notice is the new job classes. Along with the ones available in Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls offers three more job classes: Clerics, Pyromancers, and the Deprived. At the beginning of the game, you will be asked what class you would like. Along with your choice, you will be able to pick a gift that you can use in the game. These gifts will help you along the way, like how a Thief can have a Master Key that opens the majority of the locked doors.
Furthermore, there are also covenants that act like factions. There are a total of nine factions in the game that you can join and they’re all scattered throughout the world of Dark Souls. Each of the factions has its own benefit but you’ll see some difference whenever you play online. When you join a faction, players will learn useful skills and they’ll be able to buy items that are exclusive to that covenant. Notable covenants that you will find in the game are Blade of the Darkmoon, Princess’s Guard, and Way of the White. If you wish to conquer hard bosses in the game, then learning the nine covenant ways will prove invaluable.
Get Help with Friends
One of the key features of Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls was the ability to play with other people online. Similar to Demon’s Souls, you can seek help from someone online that can help you beat the boss. Simply drop an item and someone that picks it up will aid you. Whenever someone aids you in battle, that person can only be with you until you defeat the main boss of an area. Once the boss is defeated, the online friend that joined you will leave the world with the loot that you will share.
Story is Still Weak
If you are a newcomer and looking for a story in Dark Souls, you will not find it here. However, if you played Demon’s Souls, expect the same thing. Story in both games has never been an issue, as it’s not the main aspect that players will appreciate. The game focuses more on the gameplay and how you will survive each area of the game. The story of Dark Souls starts out with you being Undead and your goal to defeat the Gods and Demons in the world. Nothing new here and, as mentioned earlier, you’ll love the game either way without the story.
Another thing that newcomers to the Xbox 360 version should bear in mind is that Dark Souls isn’t a relaxing, unwind-after-work kind of game. Dark Souls is a hard game and for newcomers, it might be hard at first to grasp the concept of the game. Once you learn how the game works and why the game is so difficulty, you will become addicted to the game. Be warned that playing Dark Souls might make you frustrated because you will die A LOT OF TIMES and it’s something that you should expect.
If you love Demon’s Souls and are looking for another challenge for this year, look no further than Dark Souls. Up to this date, Dark Souls is one of the games that you’ll appreciate after successfully beating a boss. The achievement you feel when you take down the bosses is something for you to be proud of. Xbox 360 owners who wish to get into this game should remember that this game isn’t something to be taken lightly. Even for someone who considers themselves among the best in the video game world, you will still die and it’s something for you to keep in mind. Overall, Dark Souls will once again remind us of the value of death and the meaning of not giving up—a game of the year of contender.
[Editor’s Note: Dark Souls was reviewed on the Xbox 360 hardware. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Dark Souls Review,