Header Ads

Dark Souls: An Ambitious and Fearsome Series

Since its release in 2011 Dark Souls has conquered every gamer who has dedicated time to crossing the numerous obstacles and bosses, and has earned nothing but high scores from critics (lowest score on Metacritic for the series is 87/100). So everyone’s excitement came as no surprise with the announcement of the final chapter of the ‘Souls series. But what makes these wonderful games so special?


When the name Dark Souls is mentioned one word comes straight to mind: tough. In fact the most defining aspect of any game in this series, it goes beyond simply challenging the player. Often it will mistreat you, humiliate you, and then, just when you feel confident and think you’ve figured it out it still finds a way to frustrate you. Countless PC screens and controllers have been smashed in rage quits caused by the series, so why continue?

Let’s face it though; a true gamer is competitive and proud, and the developers know that. No matter how hard it gets we continue, through the longest levels filled with monsters and unholy creatures, through countless boss fights, often dying before even reaching the dreaded “fog walls” that define boss arenas. But here comes probably a better reason to persevere: the satisfaction from beating the boss and from defeating the hordes of enemies that keep coming at you, never giving you a rest.


The story is both rewarding and enraging in Dark Souls. The main quest line is never there as an objective, instead it is perceived through conversations with all the curious NPC’S, but it’s never a necessity. As a matter of fact you could go through the whole game without having the tiniest clue of what is going on, and it is down to the player to track every quest line and discover as much as possible, even using item descriptions to decipher clues.  At the same time the developers have left gaps in the plot, as if they wanted the player to turn into a scholar and make their own interpretation of the story and what’s going on.


Which leads to another of series stronger points: the playing community. Leaving the story mostly untold and leading the player to work it out lead to a lot of confusion and speculation, creating a community in which people have come up with hundreds of theories regarding what is actually going on. 

Many developers idea of online gaming today can be broken down to two things: having set maps in which players are ranked by experience and play time (or teams) and put into play, or the ever rising MMO style play where we’re all just roaming around minding our own business and eventually get to cooperate with other players or teammates to complete missions or to challenge each other in dedicated PVP arenas.

Here the Souls series breaks completely apart from everything we knew. When playing online it’s possible to interact with other players, whether it’s to help, or be helped, in a boss fight (the uncanny and often frowned upon “invasions”), or just to cooperate through levels, or the entertaining duel arenas. The point being the whole game suits any need you don’t care for playing online? No issue. Want to play online and challenge friends? No issue, it’s all there.


When I first started playing video games they were called expansions and would be developed and published months, sometimes even years, after release and always adding a chunk of game which would add countless hours of gameplay. Nowadays it mostly feels like paying for cut content, most of the times it never adds anything useful to the gaming experience and we end up feeling robbed. 
Why say everything we already know? Because the souls series, like other notable series (like The Witcher), has brought back what we’ve wanted: getting our money’s worth and actually giving us something substantial that adds an extra chunk of game, new places and even extra insight on the storyline.

Open World

If you see it, you can go there. As a slow pace player I find myself wanting to enjoy the scenery and after clearing all threats, I like to have a good look around and Souls rewards you for having a look around and exploring, rather than rushing through everything, sometimes uncovering new roads, shortcuts, special reward items and even secondary bosses.

What do you think of the Souls series? Have you braved any of them? How would you describe your journey? Let us know in the comments!

Richard Di Stefano | @richup5

No comments

Powered by Blogger.