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Default Dark Souls II - No Easy Mode Allowed

April 19th, 2013, 11:25
Originally Posted by Mr Smiley View Post
Sometimes I wish that somebody would come up with a better name for our hobby than "gaming". Because I don't really like games. Seriously.

Don't get me wrong; since the early 80s I have spent a huge chunk of my life playing computer and video games. But to be honest, the "game" aspect has always been something I endure rather than enjoy. This might seem strange to some of you, but I'm in it for the exploration. Lore and worldbuilding, design and atmosphere is everything.

Dark Souls reminds me of another fascinating, but ultimately frustrating gaming experience; playing Air Ball on the Atair ST. Yes, I played Air Ball for the exploration. I loved the game world, the atmosphere and design of it, for what it was. In those days, the challenge was necessary, because the game would not have lasted very long without it. But it was a necessary evil, not something good.

Let's get a bit philosophical about the idea of "game" here. There is no such thing as a fair game when the goal is "winning" as opposed to "losing". If a game was truly fair, then nobody would ever win or lose. Because in order to win, you must have some sort of advantage. And any sort of advantage is unfair, if you think about it.

It doesn't matter if your advantage is an easy mode or your own skill. It's still unfair.

To me, if you take the "game" out of a game, and it's still worthwhile, then you have something. If "game" is all there is, then you have nothing.

I spent well over 100 hours playing Dark Souls. I estimate that about 70 of those hours was pure "game", which is not an acceptable ratio to me these days. But I'm not complaining. Since there are so many other promising titles in development, I happily leave Dark Souls II to those who appreciate "gaming".
Interesting thoughts - and I can certainly empathise with the notion.

However, it all depends on how you define gaming or gameplay. Because at the highest level - I don't think a game is necessarily an experience you can win or lose.

I think interactivity in itself is the key - and winning/losing is more an added motivation to interact.

I'm very much a gamer when it comes to the gameplay/mechanics - but at heart I'm more like you, as in I enjoy exploring and immersing myself more than I enjoy pretty much all the other things.

But, for whatever reason, I can't make do with those aspects alone. I need more than that, and I need moment-to-moment entertainment ON TOP of exploration and immersion. Maybe it's because I'm an impatient person - and maybe it's because I'm not disciplined enough, but my brain tends to shut down slightly when I'm not being actively engaged by some kind of gameplay.

So, I would not want a game without "gameplay" or mechanics - if you take my meaning. As I'm fond of pointing out, I'm a very greedy gamer and I really want all of it.

Dark Souls, to me, is not broad enough in scope in terms of gameplay and mechanics. It's a bit too pure - and I don't think the excellent atmosphere or "world building" is done with enough content density or interactivity to suit my demands.

We've had this discussion around here before, where people are telling me there's plenty of detail and content if you look for it. Truth be told, I haven't played Dark Souls that much - and I'm basing my experience on Demon's Souls which I played quite a bit.

My problem is that the stat-based development is not interesting enough for me to endure the checkpoint challenge design. I'm not looking forward to upgrading a stat, and I'd need tangible "toys" like added powers to be engaged.

As for overcoming challenge, that's really not a big draw for me. When it comes to singleplayer games - I consider overcoming challenge an inevitability. I'm a very experienced gamer, and that means there's no singleplayer challenge I can't overcome - because games are not made exclusively for super skilled gamers. Darks Souls is not aiming as wide as an AAA game - but it's not aiming at a tiny audience either. That means all challenges MUST be doable for the experienced gamer.

As jaded as it sounds, I'm not motivated by challenges that I KNOW all experienced gamers can overcome. I really don't feel I've done anything special by defeating such content. It's not like I'm winning a championship or that I really stand out in any way by getting through all of it. So, the main draw of the game isn't a draw for me at all.

I know the combat system is very intricate and that weapons have different behaviors - and I think that's great. But ultimately - the loot system is not interesting enough. I need more toys and more features tied to weapons.

Essentially, Demon's Souls is very much Diablo with a different perspective. If you look at the checkpoint design, the hub design, and the respawn mechanics - and the boss content gating design, it's pretty much the same experience. But naturally the perspective and nature of a 3D world makes it much more visually immersive.

Dark Souls does away with the hub design - and is non-linear in comparison, but it's not THAT different.

Unfortunately, it lacks the tangible powers and toys in terms of character development - and I find the world pretty barren when compared to exploration-oriented games like Bioshock Infinite or Skyrim. There's not enough motivation to explore and find stuff - for me.
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