Dark Souls is an action role playing game, developed by FromSoftware and published by Namco Bandai Games, releasing in 2011 on the console market, and 2012 on the PC. This is the second game in the “Souls” series, the original game “Demon’s Souls” was never released on the PC format. The series is set in a dark fantasy universe.
Game play in Dark Souls is something which a lot of people will have seen from online memes and articles depicting it as an extremely hard game to play. Whilst this is true, the game’s difficulty is also fair at the same time, with the game relying primarily on the player’s skill, rather than how they are geared and what level they are. At the start of the game you get your character creation segment, you can go as in depth or as basic into this as you like – choosing options such as sex, appearance, name and class. You play the game in a third person perspective, you have access to tons of different weapons, and each has their own unique style and even their own attack animation to add to the variety. Weapons require a certain amount of skill points in certain areas, which can be improved by leveling up your character through collecting Souls; this is the game’s currency system as well as experience points. The combat system in Dark Souls is one of the game’s most positive features, with system that is easy to grasp, but pretty hard to become a master of. With a lot of enemies having different attack routines, you are never quite sure how you should react, should you dodge this attack? Should I parry this attack? Am I just outright dead? Dark Souls has a huge learning curve and as you may probably already know, you will die….a lot.
Graphically, Dark Souls upon released looked like your typical PS3 release. By today’s standards it would be considered very dated. Thankfully with the game being on PC, we have options to a plethora of mods which increase the visual appearance of the game ten-fold. If you aren’t a fan of modding games, then the graphical side of Dark Souls may be something which puts you off a little, with low quality textures, and an even worse resolution cap in place. With mods not only can you make the game look beautiful, but you can crank the resolution up as high as you want, as well as increasing the frame rate to 60 fps. Dark Souls has some really good sound tracks too, and whilst the game has voice acting of the majority of characters; something just doesn’t sound right about them. Whether that is the style the developers were going for to make it seem very eerie; I am not sure, but there is something very different about the voice acting in Dark Souls.
The game is essentially an open world playground to adventure in. There are no loading screens, or “levels”. If you have the balls, you can actually go where ever you want from the very start of the game, that’s one of the games really difficult parts – making the player work out for themselves on where they need to go in the right order. Throughout the world you will encounter tons of different enemies, equipment vendors, and loot. The game feels very vast in the amount of content there is to see with plenty of paths to take you off your main route.
As you can see from my play time on Dark Souls, 73 hours is a lot. In fact that is probably about 1 and a half play throughs of the game. Your first play through Souls will probably take you about 30+ hours, depending on how you are with the combat system. Beating this game is no easy feat, and when you finish it, you will have a real sense of achievement because not many people have done so. Achievement hunters among us will also have a huge task on hand, with an estimated 130 hours needed to complete this game fully. There is also a large amount of replay ability factored into Dark Souls. You can simply start the game again with a different class and have a whole new experience, as the tactics you used to beat bosses last time will no longer be viable depending on your class.
Technically, on PC Dark Souls released in a poor state; thankfully with the help of mods all of these issues were able to be fixed. First of all, don’t even attempt to play this game with keyboard and mouse that will really take the difficulty level to all new heights. The most important mod you will need to make Dark Souls playable on PC is DSFix which can be downloaded here – http://www.nexusmods.com/darksouls/mods/19/? – The mod is very easy to install and configure, and there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube that will help you get the absolute most out of this mod.
Dark Souls is a real test of a gamer’s skill and patience. It is difficult, but fair at the same time. If you want to test yourself on one of the most difficult action games out there, Dark Souls will be for you. I had so much fun playing through this game and am thoroughly proud of myself for actually managing to beat it. If you want the full experience of struggle, try the game without the use of wikis or guides! Dark Souls will not be for everyone, and that is fine, but I strongly urge anyone who even has a passing interest in the action RPG genre to attempt to beat this game. The game’s regular retail price on Steam is £19, 99 – whilst this is still pretty high for a game that was released in 2012, you are getting a monster of a title. Sale season has been known to bring Dark Souls down to less than £5 though.