Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dark Souls Review

Dark Souls' forerunner Demon's Souls was symbolic of all of them. Where most games do their most excellent to be something else – to tell a story like a narrative, to make an impression with cinematic techniques like a film – Demon's Souls is pure game, a complete and darkly fascinating vision that makes no concessions to the modern conception of how games should be. Instead, it was an exploration of how games could be; how bleak, how twisted, how focused and – most famously – how challenging. Most developers take pains to protect you from failure. FROM Software turns it into an artform.

Dark Souls Review

Dark Souls is the next step along that path. Like Demon's Souls, it is a brutal and demanding third-person action-RPG set in a world full of monstrous, disturbing things that are trying their hardest to end your life as quickly as possible. Using whatever weapons and armor you can scavenge, buy or forge, the challenge is to inch your way through this damned and deadly place, now and then coming across gigantic bosses that take especial valor and tenacity to kill. The eventual aim is to make it out alive, but there are about 50-60 hours of creative cruelty between you and that goal.

You will die, a lot. You will die on the end of a sword, on the edge of an axe, crushed by a boulder, impaled on fangs; you will be poisoned, eaten, stabbed, assassinated and pushed off cliffs. Death is everything in Dark Souls. It's education, it's progress, it's the recurring stylistic and thematic motif that runs through all of its spectacularly varied, decaying and depraved environments. The first thing that you have to understand about this game is that survival is in itself a tremendous accomplishment. It can be punishing, cruel, sadistic and uncompromising. It can also be the purest, most thrilling adrenaline rush in gaming – it can take over your life and reward you like nothing else can. Exactly because your chances of success are so slim, each victory feels monumental.

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