Skip

So the world may be mended.
October 5, 2011 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Dark Souls, the spiritual sequel to 2009's Demon's Souls (previously 1, 2) and heir to the King's Field series of games, is out in most of the world this week. Reviews have been excellent, sales have been surprisingly robust; Dark Souls was the top selling title in Japan last week, with 279,567 copies sold, compared to an estimated 40,000 for Demon's Souls first week of release. From Software has taken an interesting approach to players who somehow acquire the game early: rather than banning the player outright or limited online features, From Software is embracing Dark Souls' unique multiplayer model, sending super leveled invaders into player's games to hunt them mercilessly.

Gamasutra has an interview with producer Kei Hirono on the development of Dark Souls and how From Software was able to make an anachronistic genre exciting, the challenge of selling Dark Souls to gamers outside Japan, and why the passive online-aware components are important to keep players engaged in a relentlessly hostile world. For information on the changes between Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, Andriasang translated part of an in-depth interview with game director Hidetaka Miyazaki.

In other positive From Software News: The original Demon's Souls was a huge success for From Software and publisher Atlus, who recently announced that the Demon's Souls multiplayer servers will be extended well into 2012.
posted by 2bucksplus (51 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Unfortunately Namco Bandai is kind of screwing up the North American release, the contents of the collector's edition have been downgraded and copies of even the regular version have been hard to find. From has promised that they will print as necessary to keep up with demand. The official guide, which comes highly recommended, is already nearly out of print.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:08 PM on October 5, 2011


Hot damn, I've been obsessed with this. Demon's Souls was my pick for game of the decade. I'm 8 hours into the new one and so far it's even better.

Even the beginning tutorial is among the most intense and challenging game experiences I've had all year.
posted by naju at 1:13 PM on October 5, 2011


I am grabbing this one as soon as I am done with the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus Collection. Demon's Souls is just so ridiculously challenging.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:14 PM on October 5, 2011


sending super leveled invaders into player's games to hunt them mercilessly.

So, just like the rest of the game then?

More seriously, I'm actually thinking about picking this up. It looks like it's intensely challenging but also satisfying. The Giant Bomb Quick Look was pretty damn awesome.
posted by kmz at 1:15 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like RPG's, but not many Japanese-style examples. For instance, I do not like Final Fantasy, but enjoy games like Oblivion. Dark Souls sounds like fun, but I'm concerned it will be a disappointment.
posted by Shike at 1:19 PM on October 5, 2011


I had the game about a week early, looking back there were a few really odd looking player's "ghosts" in a few key spots that I haven't noticed since the official N.A. release. I think these were actually the invaders mentioned in the post. Dark Souls only allows the invasion mechanic when you are human and for most of the early period I'm been an undead/zombie/"hollow", so I saw these ghosts and then definitely saw me, but they were unable to fully invade, they just kind of haunted me. Creepy in retrospect!
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:19 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am really loving this game. I hit upon the idea that something in it summons the same feelings I had as a child looking at Escher's stuff. There's this sense of mystery and a shark-like, unthinking hostility about it that is very potent for me. (It's not that I think Escher's stuff is threatening now, but as a kid looking at some of those creatures - especially the human-headed bird thing - I found them both mesmerizing and scary).

I personally would recommend against guides; I resorted to some web resources for Demon's Souls and I don't think it made the experience better. Even the basic systems of the game of fairly obscure at first, and I think that's actually the way it should be.

And now I'm out of this thread until I finish the game because this place is a minefield with spoilers.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:21 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


sending super leveled invaders into player's games to hunt them mercilessly.

That is my favorite response to game piracy ever. I thought the Red Phantoms in the first game were terrifying. You can figure out the AI behavior of even the most difficult enemies, but when there is none it feels like such a different game.
posted by heatvision at 1:24 PM on October 5, 2011


I'd like to read the stories of people who had to deal with these leveled up invaders. The funny thing is that the combat system is so precise and nuanced, and the environments have so many possibilities for being clever, that I could think of a few ways a skilled and thoughtful level 1 player could take out one of these phantoms. One sneaky stab in the back, right at the edge of a cliff is all you need!
posted by naju at 1:45 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I might try it eventually, but for now my relatively small need for PS3 RPG madness is filled by the latest Wizardry. Pretty much the same game I played in the 1980's, except translated into and then back from Japan. It has demons in it, too. And souls. Occasional bits of Japanese voice acting. Graphics and animation even better than the 1981 version! Although I kinda miss the wire-frame dungeon grid, really.
posted by sfenders at 1:59 PM on October 5, 2011


Dark Souls is simply great. While the game is incredibly challenging, it is not unfair. When you die, and you will, it is entirely your own fault. Also, the increased game difficultly really gives you the opportunity to take notice of the level of detail in the game and more fully appreciate the incredible art style, environment, and general sense of hopelessness and dread.

I highly recommend this game.
posted by axismundi at 2:05 PM on October 5, 2011


I really, really want to play Dark Souls (although I'll probably wait a bit; got kind of a backlog). People who have played both: do I need to play Demon's Souls to enjoy Dark Souls? How much more will I enjoy the second game if I've already played the first?

Hardcore mode: I don't own a PS3. I really want to play Dark Souls, which is available on the console I do have. Is Demon's Souls so good that it's not worth playing Dark Souls on my 360 without playing the first one first?
posted by penduluum at 2:40 PM on October 5, 2011


People who have played both: do I need to play Demon's Souls to enjoy Dark Souls? How much more will I enjoy the second game if I've already played the first?

I would say Dark Souls is both better and more approachable and that you need not play Demon's Souls first. There are plenty of nods to Demon's Souls, including secret and awesome gear that players of Demon's Souls will find but others will almost certainly miss. You can easily find that via online guides if you're interested or having a hard time. A certain dragon sword, for example, will make life really easy for the first 15 hours or so. Finding it is logical for players of DS, but not newcomers.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:47 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would rent either game before buying a whole new console. They're gorgeous enough to warrant buying a PS3, but at the same time, the play style is rather uniquely brutal and doesn't agree with some people.

It makes me happy that they have special Halloween and Christmas events for Demon Souls that cause the world light/dark states to behave differently. Hope they do the same thing with this one.
posted by heatvision at 2:57 PM on October 5, 2011


New players can skip Demon Souls and jump straight into Dark Souls; it is a 'spiritual successor' not a sequel.
posted by axismundi at 3:03 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Demons' Souls and Dark Souls are just so unlike most other games floating around out there. You'll hear lots of talk about the difficulty of each - too much talk, probably. I have the idea that it scares folks away who would otherwise give them a try (I was almost put off the idea of trying myself - I prefer my games to be more of a sightseeing tour than a challenge to conquer. I always play on easy mode and mercilessly exploit dumb AI and glitches). Yes, the games are more difficult than average, but unmanageably so with patience and a bit of a methodical approach.

Someone above asked where this falls in relation to your standard JRPG vs. a more open-world thing like Oblivion. In truth, it's somewhere in the middle. It's not really an RPG at all, aside from the many stats and inventory management that you'll do. The story is pretty thin and you can go and do as you see fit. However, there's not really the latitude to develop a really fleshed-out character like you might be able to do in a more traditional RPG.

To me, the difference has been the sense of atmosphere that these two games give. The locations are pretty bleak, but they feel so immersive. I'm not quite sure that I can explain why either. Maybe it is the difficulty of even the easiest enemies. It forces you into slowing down from a normal game page and really getting to know your surroundings. By the time you're done it feels like you know every corner of the game world. For that reason, the atmosphere and the story just seems to stick better than with other games.

Anyway, it's worth a try if you're at all interested. Don't let all the talk around difficulty stop you.
posted by owls at 3:29 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I only have an XBox 360, so I'm psyched for this but I wonder if I'm hardcore enough. I got halfway through Viewtiful Joe on Normal, beat both Gears of War solo on Hardcore, and beat Bayonetta on Normal... but I don't think I have the skills to pull off Dark Souls.

I may just try though.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:43 PM on October 5, 2011


The two most important skills necessary to beat Dark Souls are intelligence and patience. I think the franchise's difficulty is often overstated to its detriment. If you give the game 5 solid hours of trial and error you'll figure out what works for you in the game. Every minor encounter is a puzzle box with multiple right answers. Taken as a whole the game promotes creating a highly customized that works both for you and for the environment. I played DmnS as a magician with a backup rapier, but I'm playing DrkS as a warrior with battle axe.

The game keeps evolving so that feeling of being 50% in control and 50% running for your life continues throughout, and you have to constantly evolve in tactics, gear and strategy.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:07 PM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


So how would this compare with the Ninja Gaiden stuff difficulty-wise? I tried a couple of those, II and Black iirc, and just got annoyed with the continual dying in boss fights. Dark Souls has me intrigued, and I'll probably pick it up used at some point. It sounds like there's a bit more depth, which is appealing.
posted by calamari kid at 5:52 PM on October 5, 2011


The difficulty is not at all like Ninja Gaiden actually.

Ninja Gaiden is very much about quick reflexes, speed, and non-stop action. If you find Ninja Gaiden difficult, it's almost certainly because you just can't react or move quickly enough. That was true in my experience anyway.

Dark Souls and Demons Souls are nothing like that. Their difficulty derives entirely from not knowing how to solve the puzzle. The pace in the Souls games can be glacially slow in comparison. It's totally possible to stand still after you've defeated an enemy and have no further bother from the other enemies in the room until you're ready to engage them. Enemies always behave very predictably, and most have only one or two ways to effectively approach them. The challenge is in finding that approach, not necessarily in executing.

No doubt that you'll bump up against difficulty in finding the solution, but once you do you'll find it surprisingly approachable, I think. I'm only beginning to work on Dark Souls, but I recall my time with Demons Souls - near the end of my play through I knew all the tricks of each level and could literally run through with no bother at all. This was a drastic contrast to the early stages of play where you're still figuring out the effective approach.
posted by owls at 6:03 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Ninja Gaiden games are difficult in a twitchy arcade way, which is just a way different approach (and one I don't have much interest in.) A lot of the people complaining about the difficulty in Dark Souls seem to be approaching the game as if they were playing Ninja Gaiden, and they're simply not going to get very far at all with that play style. I started getting seriously good at Demon's Souls and dying rarely around... the 30-40 hour mark. And the shift occurred because the game had been implicitly teaching me all that time to think like a methodical tactician, swapping gear out on a dime to change the speed and strength of my character, adding the right points to my stats in the right ways and right moments, watching for gaps and patterns in enemy movements, inching forward slowly through every minute with shield raised, thinking about what traps could possibly be around the next corner. The game taught me to think smart and slowly. Which is vastly more interesting and rewarding than the kind of twitchy skill it takes to beat Gears of War or Ninja Gaiden Black, in my opinion.
posted by naju at 6:07 PM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


(That said, there are certainly moments where you have to strategize and act lightning fast. The boss battle with the two Maneaters comes to mind, nearly giving me a heart attack every time I played it.)
posted by naju at 6:13 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The game taught me to think smart and slowly. Which is vastly more interesting and rewarding than the kind of twitchy skill it takes to beat Gears of War or Ninja Gaiden Black, in my opinion.

I found Gears to be really strategic. Is it that level of puzzle thinking, or really hard Professor Layton style puzzle thinking?

Disclaimer: I have no ability to think ahead.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:16 PM on October 5, 2011


It's entirely unlike either of those, Lovecraft. Give it a rental and see if it clicks!
posted by naju at 6:45 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gears isn't the stupidest shooter on the planet (imagine that as a pull quote on their box art), and there is definitely some quarterbacking going into where you hole-up, when to move, how to work with your squad in different situations. In Gear though you're not concerned with longer term strategy.

DS certainly requires these kinds of tactics (and somewhat twitchy fighting with boss battles), but on a longer term you have to be planning for 5-25 hours in the future. Which weapon to use or save, what consumables to keep for a rainy day, who of the NPCs you will save and who you will murder because they are creepy (trust me on this), which guilds to join, in what order to attack the areas and bosses. Gears doesn't make you play the exact same room more than once or twice, in DS the world is open and sprawling so you'll revisit scenarios doing better every time, getting a little farther from safety. DS is ultimately an RPG, but an extremely minimalist interpretation that rewards cunning, boldness and exploration.
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:48 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


People are saying that the difficulty of the 'Souls series is overstated. I may agree with you in the case of Demon's Souls, but my experience so far with Dark Souls has been far more punishing. I'm having a hell of a time getting to/finding the next bonfire after Undead Burg. I keep expecting it to be around the next corner, but then I run into poisonous rats the size of sows, metal-scaled bull/boars and various other unpleasant individuals, all of whom are only too ready to stomp on my dreams (and face).

I'm impressed with the improvements to the ways that computer opponents fight. The first time an enemy hopped backwards to evade a sword thrust, I was pretty surprised. I'm still waiting for it to stop being surprising, goddamn it. The skeleton warriors you encounter near the initial bonfire are fearsome, especially in pairs. Then I tried venturing down below, and I ran into ghosts that I couldn't hit or block (limitations which they didn't reciprocate), and skeletons that keep coming back with full health no matter how many times I bust them up. Demon's Souls, in comparison, seems like a mug of hot chocolate and a freshly laundered comforter. Ah, warm memories of surviving for entire minutes...
posted by Edgewise at 9:22 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


From Penny Arcade:

Dark Souls reminds me of nothing so much as Zork. That’s where all this sense memory stuff is coming from: I went down a staircase in Dark Souls, and by the time I got to the bottom I was eight years old, going down another staircase in The Great Underground Empire. The air was the same wet-cold it was then, and I didn’t want to be there. I can’t stress that enough: I was playing a game, ostensibly a device I had explicitly sought, and I wanted out. The young man I was and the man that I am made the same decision, then and now; I left. You could set your watch by my cowardice.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:50 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


what if i want to fight the superleveled monsters and get the game later/legit

also the last game is based pretty heavily on Berserk
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:46 PM on October 5, 2011


I think if you get the game later the role of superleveled monsters will be played by those who bought the game earlier. They will be bored and looking for sport.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:33 PM on October 5, 2011


I've been keenly anticipating this game ever since I heard that it wasn't going to be PS3-only (the only reason I haven't played Demons' Souls). It comes out here tomorrow and I will be there. I might even buy a month of Xbox Live just so I can be repeatedly hacked to death by scary red phantoms.

It's a minor shame that the Western versions of the game are using this box art rather than the original Japanese version. There's something about that armoured figure huddled in front of the fire that is just a hundred times more interesting than the "mighty warrior striding forth" thing on the version I'll be buying.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:36 AM on October 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fear is the mind killer.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:38 AM on October 6, 2011


I'm currently making my way (sloooowly) through Demon's Souls. I am really enjoying it so far.

That game does feel immersive like owls said in a comment above. I think I have an idea why... The game commits to its brutality from minute one and it is in every aspect of its design. The world is bleak, death happens often and without mercy and only the hero who has the strength to stand up and try again and again will prevail. There is actually an NPC in the Nexus who is a hero who has just given up and is encouraging you to do the same. It's not about difficulty per se: it's about perseverance against immeasurable odds. The item descriptions are vague, the NPC's are cryptic, there is no world map, the game gets harder the more you die and even the weakest enemy can kill you in a few hits if you lose concentration. Conversely there is no such thing as 'cheap victories' in the game. If you have to farm enemies for souls or use a blind spot on a boss to whittle them down to zero health using 200 arrows over 15 minutes, it doesn't feel like cheating, it feels like a triumph. I swear I play Demon's Souls like I would if I were in the dungeon myself: slowly, cautiously and without being afraid to run away shrieking like a little girl.

Progressing in Demon's Souls is like being Bruce Willis in Die Hard: though you will be beaten, bloody and bruised you will also be triumphant as long as you continue to stand up and keep pushing on.

A friend of mine also uses Demon's Souls to highlight difference in Japanese and American game design (simplifying greatly, of course):

Americans reward success while the Japanese punish failure. I normally prefer the former, but cannot deny the appeal and sense of elation when succeeding against the latter.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:33 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love the idea of Demon's Souls/Dark Souls. It appeals to me on a very fundemental level; a dense world of threats, challenges, and rewards. I am put off by how hard it is supposed to be. I haven't played console videogames in a long time and I lack the cognitive vocabulary of how to interact in 3d space. I'm playing masseffect 2 and really struggling with simple things like aiming and not getting surrounded and by most accounts it isn't a particularly challenging game especially in its early portions. Then again with the muliplayer compentent so integral to balancing the game's challenge I think if I wait I might also miss out. Maybe I'll just watch a walktrhough online and live vicariously through someone else.
posted by I Foody at 7:50 AM on October 6, 2011


Americans reward success while the Japanese punish failure.

That doesn't apply to any JRPG I've ever played. Demon's Souls is rather a thing unto itself, I think.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:50 AM on October 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does Dark Souls also have the infuriating camera issues that Demon Souls had, leading to my ass getting perforated by off-screen archers I couldn't locate? Because as much as I like the *idea* of the games, nothing will make me say 'fuck you' and punt the controller faster than cheap bullshitty deaths at the hands of crap camera and ranged attackers.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:25 AM on October 6, 2011


I swear I play Demon's Souls like I would if I were in the dungeon myself:

Exactly. It punishes you for thinking like someone playing a video-game: "Oh, I'll just run in here and kill these guys" gets you dead, not them. Thinking like you, yourself, were in a horrible dungeon is the key to success. "Hrm. Perhaps I can stick this monster with my sword through the openings in a grate" or "Let's see if I can't just drop a bunch of greek fire on all these guys from above" are what will work (and sometimes not even then).

I lack the cognitive vocabulary of how to interact in 3d space.

Yeah, that's something that would make the game basically impossible, I think. I've had to resort to things like walking backward to draw enemies with large weapons into tight corridors so I can jab them relentlessly with a pike or estoc while their battle axes get snagged on the walls, and for that, I needed a sense of where I was going without being able to see it. There also aren't any invisible walls keeping you safe -- if a walkway looks rickety or the floor isn't complete, well, you'll go right though if you misstep.

That said, there were some very good Let's Plays of Demon's Souls on YouTube and I'm sure people are starting ones for Dark Souls right now. You'll avoid a lot of the "I just lost HOW much progress?" frustration, yet probably keep much of the "I really have to fight THAT?" enjoyment.
posted by Amanojaku at 12:45 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been playing too much Game Development Story; those stats just give me a flush of pride that I've got a game into the top ten.

This sounds very interesting, though. I'm still pretty new to this generation of consoles, but even I can tell that "harder" is in, and I'm glad for it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:09 PM on October 6, 2011


Does Dark Souls also have the infuriating camera issues that Demon Souls had, leading to my ass getting perforated by off-screen archers I couldn't locate? Because as much as I like the *idea* of the games, nothing will make me say 'fuck you' and punt the controller faster than cheap bullshitty deaths at the hands of crap camera and ranged attackers.

I'm not that far yet, but DkS seems to be much better in that regard. Because DkS is open world, you can scout out around corners and over rooftops better than in DmS, which was basically a linear meat grinder because it was built around one-way traversal. Hope that makes sense. Also there are some great opportunities to traverse routes "backwards", taking out snipers and bomb throwers unaware.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:15 PM on October 6, 2011


Does Dark Souls also have the infuriating camera issues that Demon Souls had, leading to my ass getting perforated by off-screen archers I couldn't locate?

A little bit. I didn't have this problem much in Demon's Souls, and I'm running into it a little less in Dark Souls. For me, camera issues in these games mainly manifest when something gets between me and my character and I can't see him clearly. There are a few times I've already been hit by archers that I didn't see, but that was my fault, not the camera's.
posted by Edgewise at 2:18 PM on October 6, 2011


It punishes you for thinking like someone playing a video-game: "Oh, I'll just run in here and kill these guys" gets you dead, not them. Thinking like you, yourself, were in a horrible dungeon is the key to success. "Hrm. Perhaps I can stick this monster with my sword through the openings in a grate" or "Let's see if I can't just drop a bunch of greek fire on all these guys from above" are what will work (and sometimes not even then).

Well put! I'm between a casual and hardcore gamer, and not the most fluent with the controller, but I love love love Demon's Souls. I think that supports what others are saying about the challenge being more strategic than totally controller/twitch based. So the infamous difficulty is a really fun difficulty.

I'll nth all the comments about atmosphere, too. You know a game is great when the sound of a dog barking in the distance can freak the f. out of you.

I have only two cautions to semi-serious gamers like myself: first, it's not a relaxing game, and second, it may take you a long while to get through it. So for me, accepting that I only want to play it in certain circumstances where I know I can devote a big chunk of time to it not right before bed, and accepting that I may not finish for some time, has been key.
posted by lillygog at 5:17 PM on October 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Treating other games as if you're playing hardcore also tends to have that effect. Fallout 3 became even more engrossing when I wouldn't simply reload because an encounter didn't go my way. I'd live with bad decisions, poorly-executed good decisions, basically anything that didn't get me actually killed. Suddenly I'm using health and anti-rad items I'd tended to have stockpiled, and looking for risk-averse ways of getting around or defeating foes.

That said, I'm playing Torchlight *not* on hardcore, because there's nothing more annoying than a bit of lag or some truly unavoidable RL event to spoil a sequence of cautious play.

There's something about that armoured figure huddled in front of the fire that is just a hundred times more interesting than the "mighty warrior striding forth"

Wow, yeah.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:25 PM on October 6, 2011


So I picked up this game on impulse yesterday after work, after reading this thread and a few other things online. Explicitly gaming-related sites are blocked at work, so that wasn't an option.

I played for probably two hours, and made it as far as the big gold/bronze colored demon knight thing in the Undead Burg. I'm still kind of processing the experience. It's a real mind-freak that resting brings back all non-boss enemies. It's kind of a good thing from a grinding perspective, but when I get far out from a bonfire, I've used all or most of your flask and need to go back to heal up, the feeling is more akin to hopeless or forlorn than aggravation. The world really sucks me in, moreso than many games in recent memory. Especially the bit about the saves, and not being able to just reload away a mistake.

Umm... this is getting kind of long and rambly and I'm not really sure where I'm going with it(hey, reminds me of playing last night, and not in a bad way!), so I guess... Thanks?
posted by owtytrof at 2:16 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I defeated the Taurus Demon! It took three hours and countless deaths, but I did it! And then as I'm basking in the glow of a well-earned accomplishment, some ghoul with a pike steps up behind me and rearranges my innards.

GAH.

See, I didn't know that defeating bosses removes the white mist that blocks doorways, and since I'd DODGED the last guy before the doorway instead of killing him, the fucker followed me through and took my ass out.

And oh look, a giant dragon breathing fire.

Fuck you, Dark Souls.

But I can't put the game down.

I will never complain about the difficulty level in a game again. I will continue this masochistic exercise in brutal defeat until Skyrim comes out, at which point I will slide Skyrim's difficulty slider down to "stroll through the park" mode, and I shall bask in the sweet, sweet sunlight of Tamriel and pick flowers.

For, like, A YEAR.

I swear this game leaves psychic scars.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:54 PM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hahah! I think the Taurus Demon is basically a miniboss, isn't it? Wait until you get to the Belfry Gargoyles.
posted by naju at 11:15 PM on October 7, 2011


Hmm. Ok, I like Dark Souls, but I think the most brilliant thing about it is its marketing campaign. "You're going to die" (a thousand times) is actually an extremely old-school approach to video games. Someone said above "It punishes you for thinking like someone playing a video-game". That may have been meant in a very specific way, but to me "Oh, I can't believe I forgot again that this crossbowman is in this tower -- how many times is this going to take?" is the very epitome of having to approach this like a video game. Because you're going to replay the same encounters, over and over and over again until you get them perfect. I had it all wrong. This is the very opposite of hardcore play.

I don't mind the difficulty. I don't even really mind the memorization (talk to me about 20+ chained attacks, every time, in Vagrant Story). But it kinda takes me back to Dragon's Lair, and not in a good way, except I guess that it sucked up all my quarters up front.

The multiplayer aspect is interesting, though.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:26 AM on October 8, 2011


Again, the marketing/buzz is clever, but all wrong. "You have to be ok with dying" is not the same message as "you have to be ok with near-endless repetition". One of those messages sounds like a challenge a lot of players are going to want to rise to; the other isn't.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:28 AM on October 8, 2011


That sounds harsh. Let me provide a concrete example.

I was learning how to defeat a black knight. He's not even a boss! Just a tough guy who's techniques I had to learn. No argument with that -- if you don't want a button-masher, opponents are going to take practice. Thing is, he's about 15 low-level opponents from a bonfire, and given the souls/humanity drop mechanic on death, what I would do is kill all those low-level dudes -- perfectly at this point, backstabbing almost every one for max souls -- to get to the knight, let him chase me back to my bonfire so I'm not in danger of losing all that loot, and then fight it out. That last bit isn't strictly necessary, but the first part is -- the ten minutes or so of play to get the privilege of 20 seconds of studying this guy's moves before he kills me. Again and again. Hence my weariness with one of the 15, some crossbowman in a tower. It's a lot of "Ugh" on the way to some "Whoah!" as far as emotional content goes. What wonder I feel (and there's some neat stuff here) gets stripped out on the tenth or fifteenth of twentieth repetition of the same corridor, same tower, same courtyard battle.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:52 AM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the Taurus Demon is basically a miniboss, isn't it?

Fine. Whatever. If anyone needs me, I'll be over here in this well-lit corner, rocking back and forth, playing Lego Star Wars.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:27 AM on October 8, 2011


No I won't.

Drake Sword: acquired. Armored rhino-looking thing: firebombed to shreds. Good thing I splurged on that repair box, as I didn't realize the Drake Sword was made out of wet cardboard and bone china, since it seems to be FALLING APART IN MY HANDS. Guess I got a little carried away beating it on the ground and watching the Super Magical Attack Powah floofing out.

*sigh*

This game is going to drive me insane.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:30 PM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Finished it. 125 hours. Would happily keep playing except that spending 125 hours playing a game over three weeks have made me feel like Gollum.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:33 PM on October 24, 2011


Also: my favourite game of all time. Interestingly, it's a lot more like a Metroidvania game than anyone seems to mention (that I've read). It's all there in the level design: save rooms, warp rooms, boss areas, elevators between stages, sprawling world centred on a Castle and its surroundings, etc.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:35 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older David Bedford RIP   |   Risky Risk Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post