Talk to anyone who has played From Software’s Demon Souls(PS3) and they will likely tell you it is the hardest game they’ve ever played. Dark Souls has been said, by From Software, to be possibly harder than it’s predecessor. It is also said to be longer and is going to feature an open world. Thought it won’t be a direct sequel it has been dubbed, but it’s creators, as a ‘Spiritual Successor’ (I hate that term, their words, not mine). So, it’s likely you’ve heard of Dark Souls but just what kind of game is it and what is it all about? To make things easy, Dark Souls is a 3rd person Action-RPG that is presented in a, for the most part, classic fantasy setting. I could just leave it there, but I’m sure you want to know what is going to make this game different from the others.
If you’ve read anything about Dark Souls or Demon Souls, or possibly played Demon Souls you’ve heard talk of how hard the combat is. There is good reason for this. Combat in Dark Souls is a much more tactical experience than we’ve become used to. Let’s face it, we’ve been conditioned, in the past few years, by games, that the faster you press X, and the more you press X the more enemies die. This isn’t to say that today’s Action-RPGs are bad, just that this is what we’re used to. Dark Souls handles combat by giving you one basic and one strong attack, a block and a parry button. Enemies attacks deal a great deal of damage to your character and critical hits are how you deal big damage to your enemies. Blocking will be the key to staying alive and parrying, then counter-attacking, will be the key to defeating the monsters of Dark Souls.
The monsters are also something that jumps right out at me every time I see Dark Souls. Right from the start you’ll be faced with some of the creepiest, and largest, monsters you’ve seen in any game. The open world is full frightening creatures that you will not always want to take head on. The developers have said that exploration is heavily rewarded in Dark Souls and often this means exploring the way around a huge dragon rather than trying to fight it right now.
Multiplayer in Dark Souls will be like nothing you have experienced before. I can say that with certainty. This isn’t starting a lobby, waiting for it to fill up, then jumping in to the level of your choosing. First, you’ll always be online and, as such, always part of the Dark Souls network. When you come across Bonfires, in the game, you will see other players as phantoms in your game world. These other players will be near the same bonfire in their game world and you can, at any time, drop down a sign that requests help from another player. When other players ‘near’ you see these signs, they can choose to jump into your game world and help you. On the flip side of this, you can choose to Invade another player’s world and attack them. It’s a strange idea, but definitely has me intrigued.
Lastly, one of my favorite things about Dark Souls is that we don’t know much about the story or setting. From Software has been very tight-lipped about this and all we truly know is that your character starts in a dungeon. You have been imprisoned for being ‘Undead’. No, you’re not a zombie or a vampire, rather you’re someone who doesn’t truly die as, in the game, when you do die you’ll just lose the Souls you have collected and start over from a Bonfire. Since Souls are the currency in Dark Souls, this affects you negatively, in an obvious way.
Though some people have said Dark Souls will “eat Skyrim’s face”, I’ll just say that it will offer a distinctly different experience. You can bet on that. Dark Souls will hit stores in North America on October 4th.
Read the expanded Preview at The Controller Online.