Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Praise the sun!
April 17, 2014 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Ambient Dark Souls. Virtual field recordings from the world of Dark Souls.
posted by neuromodulator (18 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Warning: this will make you want to play the first Dark Souls again.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:33 AM on April 17


This is great. I hate how the narrative around this series is focused almost entirely about difficulty, when there's SO much more interesting about them. These are games that use sound design and ambience brilliantly. I've never played another game where I felt so fully inside of the environment and so immersed, so spatially aware of where I fit into a huge interconnected landscape. The closest I've come have been System Shock 2 and Dead Space, games where a creepy atmosphere is a huge part of the point. Dark Souls aspires to so much more. You have moments of brutal violence mixed with moments that are infused with an almost spiritual stillness. Anyway, if you'll indulge a self-link, I recently wrote a short blog post about sound design in the Souls games.
posted by naju at 9:37 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


Warning: this will make you want to play the first Dark Souls again.\

Or just go home and play Dark Souls 2. I'm quite near the end of NG and it's actually making me sad.
posted by Edgewise at 9:42 AM on April 17


I hate how the narrative around this series is focused almost entirely about difficulty, when there's SO much more interesting about them.

I have a friend who is really into the Souls games. I think he's already logged 100+ hrs. in Dark Souls 2. I really enjoy watching him play because the gameplay itself is the opposite of what I find 'fun' in a video game, and yet there's so many awesome things about that game if you can enjoy getting past that monument-sized stumbling block.

Everyone should have a friend who is way into Souls I think.
posted by griphus at 9:46 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


I feel this has carried over to DS2 - the last week or so I've been totally hooked on Sunbro-ing outside the Belfry Luna, waiting patiently in the lockstone room underneath the Servant's Quarters bonfire in The Lost Bastille to get summoned, and ever so faintly I can hear a wolf howling waaaay off in the distance. Sure it's hokey, but I'll be damned if it doesn't nail the mood.
posted by the painkiller at 9:48 AM on April 17


Everyone should have a friend who is way into Souls I think.

That sounds nice. I, for one, am glad for the narrative about difficulty, because I don't want to play a hard game, even if it's got nice bits, because I'll never get to experience those bits.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:50 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


I felt myself get sucked so utterly into Dark Souls 2 that today I took it into my office at work and locked it in a cabinet, where it will be for the next few months. There's too much in my real life I need to take care of, and these are the only games that I can sink 100s of hours into without any problem. More detrimental than any addiction I've had.
posted by naju at 9:52 AM on April 17


I've never played another game where I felt so fully inside of the environment and so immersed, so spatially aware of where I fit into a huge interconnected landscape.

I know precisely what you mean. At the bottom of Blighttown, I felt the weight of everything that was above me, the distance from the sunlight. It was marvellous.

IMO DS2 damages its sense of space by having insta-travel unlocked from the beginning. I never felt far from somewhere and that interconnectedness was damaged.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:04 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


This is cool, but I was kind of hoping for ethnomusicology tapes recorded by the Social Sciences Department of the Vinheim Dragon School.
posted by Iridic at 10:23 AM on April 17


When I think about sound and Dark Souls, there's only one sound I hear in my head. You know it. It's the same in DS1 and DS2. I can hear it right now. Over. And over. And over.

I'm glad that apparently there's more to it than that. Apparently, I'm missing the death-forest for the deaths.
posted by gurple at 10:47 AM on April 17


I think it's neat how you get the artfulness of the world design and the "oh dear god what is that sound" without the terrible prospect of having to go forth and conquer.

Yet it's eerie in a new way, as if there are remote cameras all over that world. Seeing stone knights and mushroom parents in these environments made me want to shout warnings to someone.

I'd love it if they eventually added stuff from Demon's Souls to this page, if only for the Tower of Latria and the Shrine of Storms. Both are beautiful and so, so scary.
posted by heatvision at 11:00 AM on April 17


DS2 damages its sense of space by having insta-travel unlocked from the beginning.

Yeah, it would have been nicer if things were as interconnected as in the DS1. If they had done that I feel like the ideal solution would be to only allow bonfire travel between the bonfires leading up to a primal bonfire that you have lit.
posted by cirrostratus at 11:01 AM on April 17


DS2 damages its sense of space by having insta-travel unlocked from the beginning.

I agree with that; I'm thinking in particular of one earlyish-game dungeon crawl that just ended at a bonfire. No other way out, nowhere else to explore, just take the bonfire home. It felt kind of traitorous to the nature of the Dark Souls world.

And yet the change is so, so worth it from a playability perspective. Hey, maybe in addition to onebros, this time around there should be nobonfirebros.

Oh. Of course there are.
posted by gurple at 11:06 AM on April 17


Agree that the bonfire travel sacrifices some of the immersion for playability. There was something really special about making it to a bonfire in very difficult uncharted territory. Sweet relief, along with the horror that you're in way over your head, with no easy way out. Also yes, the designers put a lot of detail into making all of the disparate locations connect to each other in interesting ways. Discovering a shortcut used to be a huge reward, but not so much anymore. This is pretty minor stuff though, the core of what made Demon's and Dark Souls amazing is still very much present in the game as a whole.
posted by naju at 11:16 AM on April 17


Everyone should have a friend who is way into Souls I think.

I never played Demon's or the first one, but have a copy of the second. I really enjoyed what little I've played of it, but I want to give it a kind of uninterrupted attention that I don't often have the time to give it very often, so I've made very, very little progress. It's not as fun for me when I have to take a 30 minute break (or more) at every bonfire I get to to go do other stuff since you can't pause. That's not a complaint as that "no real pausing" aspect is a core part of the way the game works, but it does cut down on how much I can do with the game any given week.

However, while I do have a friend or two that's way into the games, my go-to for the vicarious experience are a handful of streamers on twitch. Watching a couple of my favorite speedrunners of the first game go through their first playthroughs was great, though obviously as hardcore people they're already done with that. Many of them have moved on to either proper speedruns or to doing ridiculous challenge runs. My favorite of the latter so far was watching this guy beat the game attacking only with a ladle you can get at the beginning of the game. I've watched some of the more "let's play" style streamers I follow go through it as well, and it's been a lot of fun watching people work out a lot of the lore and mechanics stuff that From was

The most striking thing about this link for me was that they included video. I hadn't expected that. I find the ambient soundscapes mostly soothing, but given my background with the games (especially the first one), there's part of me that also automatically treats a lack of footsteps and fighting sounds as "streamer's on break for a minute" and I kind of tune out a little.

Anyway, yeah. Dark Souls is cool even if you don't play it yourself! :D

PS. Here's a really striking gallery of screenshots of DS2 in 1080p. I forget whether this was the xbox or ps3 version. Presumably a similar gallery will be able to done once the PC release is out since they're doing a better job porting it this time (supposedly).
posted by sparkletone at 11:39 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


I love this! The ambient sounds in this game are works of art that stand on their own. Quite often I find myself rotating the direction just to hear the changes in the environment. It's sounds great in 5.1!

I've played the entire series since Demon's Souls and I love them all. Absolutely my favorite game series of all time. Sound is a very important part of many of the areas. (Tower of Latria, Shrine of Storms... amazing work.) It's crucial to the overall feeling of any Souls game.

I am that Souls fanatic friend that most people should have! Many of my friends don't particularly want to play for various reasons but they enjoy watching me play. It's a fun little social club.

I'm a musician myself and recently did a few tracks using multi tracked guitar. It was a lot of fun. Enjoy!

http://tonegrove.bandcamp.com/album/suite-of-souls
posted by Ululator at 11:56 AM on April 17


This... kinda makes me want to play this game.
posted by egypturnash at 12:15 PM on April 17


I've never played another game where I felt so fully inside of the environment and so immersed, so spatially aware of where I fit into a huge interconnected landscape

This is where I felt DS 2 really didn't work. The world doesn't feel like a coherent whole at all, just a series of videogame levels; the sense of slowly piecing together a huge three-dimensional puzzle was one of the best parts of DS 1 and it's completely absent from the sequel. Parts of it don't make any sense at all - how is Earthern Peak connected to Iron Keep, for example? The strong, slightly quirky art/design sense that gave DS 1 so much atmosphere is missing as well, probably because of the change in director. Then there's soul memory...

It's still really fun, though.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:35 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


« Older NOAA's Okeanos Explorer (previously 1, 2) is curre...  |  Apparently created in a schism... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments