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-   -   Dark Souls - First Impressions (https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15214)

Ball_Breaker October 27th, 2011 08:52

Dark Souls - First Impressions
After almost 30 hours of playthrough (where I haven't seen half of the game) I'd like to share some toughts with you:

- Dark Souls is free roaming in the sense of Divinity II: Ego Draconis, and not like Oblivion, which means that there are many areas linked together by tunnels, and some of them are locked for you at the start (unless you have the Mastery Key, which opens some paths at your risk).
Fortunately there are many shortcuts to help your trip, but you have to be careful because there's no map at all, just like DS.

- Bonfires (the checkpoints) are a sort of mini hub where you can rest, repair, store and upgrade your gear, but you have to buy the boxes that allow you to do that.
You have to remember where you can find merchants for items or magic, because of the lack of central hub.
Also, to upgrade your weapons apart from normal upgrade, you have to find smiths that allow to do that: there are four as far as I know.

- Lots of new content compared to its prequel: not only new stuff, but also more enemies and more bosses (and mini-bosses too), and some of them are totally optional.

- Bosses fights: oh well, just like DS, I have mixed feelings about this.
So far, I haven't found (except two cases) them too much difficult: in human form, you can summon spirits (or other players in online mode) to help you, which makes them a sort of PvE raid of WoW (a player 'tanks', while others do damage and/or heal), but much more quick and funny :).
Anyway, this lowers indeed the difficulty, so if you look for a challenge, I suggest you don't use it.
Sadly, some 'mini-bosses' are much more difficult than the area boss, and this leaves me a bit disappointed, but that's just me…

- Level design is very good: as its prequel, if you just want to rush, you have to know first the enviroment, otherwise you're going to die pretty soon :D lots of hidden traps, danger zones, enemies placed in hidden spots, you got the point.
Artwork is amazing, and there's nothing to discuss here: some monsters are incredible, and so the landscapes.

- Magic has limited uses, so sooner or later you are 'forced' to go melee: I've written it in brackets because depending on your character you can still win fights spamming spells, just make sure to aim correctly ;).

- About factions, there are nine in total, and each of them represent a sort of D&D alignment (if you want to know more, look at this:http://darksoulswiki.wikispaces.com/Covenants). So far I found just three of them, and they are intended to give you a sort of RP during online playing, because of the Covenant (and relative betrayal) you estabilish with them. Plus, there are ranks and in some cases you earn rewards for raising your reputation.
This is another thing that I have mixed feelings: it's a good idea, but for me it's too much multiplayer oriented, which I don't like too much.

- Almost total lack of plot: there's indeed a story, but even if you don't follow it you lose nothing, so if you're looking for a strong story-driven RPG, this is not the game for you, sorry :(.
I think that the true story is the struggle to survive in the world of Lordran, or at last that's maybe developers' idea, personally I don't care too much (if I want a good story I know other games to play with ;)).

Anyway, I'm enjoying quite a lot, and if you enjoy Demon's Souls, I'm sure you'll enjoy the sequel too, even if I have to admit that for now I still prefer the prequel.
Only time will tell… if I don't throw my pad over the window (just joking ^^).

Ovenall October 27th, 2011 16:41

I bought this game the Thursday it was released. I knew it was supposed to be painfully difficult. I knew I had some mental issues… But I also had a lot of free time and a love of RPGs and sword and sorcery in general. I'm 40 years old, married, no kids. Mid life crisis full effect.

I played as a wanderer my first character. A disaster. I'd never played Demons Souls, so I was brand new to the controls. Died over and over on the Asylum Demon. F**k. Gave up for a while. Few hours later, I tried a Bandit character. Killed the Asylum Demon on the first try. Felt like a bad ass.

Grinded away for several hours. Became hooked on the forums at Gamespot and Giant Bomb. The goddamn game wouldn't leave my head. I could not stop thinking about this damn game.

Long story short: I never got to even kill the Taurus Demon. I came close the first few times. After that I got sloppy, or else I was trying too hard to emulate youtube videos I'd seen. I ended up on my fourth character after reading the forums extensively… a pyromancer… I still couldn't beat the fu***cking taurus demon. I was literally dreaming about this game by now. I was becoming short tempered towards my wife, the one person who I really love on this earth.

I tried grinding out more levels on the sly… late at night after my beloved wife was asleep. Still getting killed. F***ck this I thought. Leveling doesn't do much iot seems.

One last rage quit. It was seven days after getting the game. I live in a big city surrounded by a few universities… there's college kids all around me.

I put the game on a newspaper box with a note attached: "Free game: it will ruin your life. You're welcome"

I went out a few hours later and it was gone. I obsessively thought about the game for weeks afterwards. I still think about it. I just don't have the patience or the time to do it. Dark Souls taps into the casino slot machine/ MMORPG kind of reward center of the brain.

I think it's a great game. Really, really great. Never played anything like it. Best sword(or whatever weapon)/shield fighting ever. Problem is it consumed me. I could not stop thinking about it. Even now, I'm thinking about picking up another copy. I'm comfortable money-wise and don't really care about the $60.

There are elements of this game that are ingenious. The design and look are one. Never felt like I was in a type of purgatory before. Really, actually inside purgatory.

Mainly it's the risk/reward factor. I think it's similar to the excitement gambling or an MMO offers. There's a feeling of compulsion that was driving me, and I could not stop obsessing on it. The pacing is the real mind-f**k though. There's a steady, slow progress through the low level monsters, which is almost peaceful and relaxing in a meditative way… then you reach a boss and there's loud music and a feeling of rush. You have to run and the taurus demon is gigantic. It's a mind-f**k, plain and simple. Brilliant.

I think watching Youtube vids of the Taurus demon messed me up more than if I hadn't seen them. The first time I fought him I almost killed him. I got worse and worse at it, trying to aim and jump at his head from the tower.

I think more than anything this game demands dedication. Which I cannot give. Hopefully someone out there is playing the copy I bought and having fun.

crpgnut October 27th, 2011 16:52


Our life situation is very similar. Midwest, married, no kids, good income, and a love of crpgs :)

I live in St. Louis, so I get to watch my team in the World Series, every so often. That's the main difference…

Well, and the fact that Chicago is about 10 times bigger than STL! My brother lives up there, working for Ford. Actually he lives in Valpo, but close enough.

Ovenall October 27th, 2011 17:11


Originally Posted by crpgnut (Post 1061101743)

Our life situation is very similar. Midwest, married, no kids, good income, and a love of crpgs :)

I live in St. Louis, so I get to watch my team in the World Series, every so often. That's the main difference…

Well, and the fact that Chicago is about 10 times bigger than STL! My brother lives up there, working for Ford. Actually he lives in Valpo, but close enough.

Well, stay away from Dark Souls then… Ha.

Not to get too meta about it, but Dark Souls is barely an RPG in my opinion… Yes, I'll likely get the usual suspects up in my face here with this opinion, but that's what I think. It's an action game with stats, though stats like strength and dexterity mostly unlock items you can use. (It's more complicated than that as some items scale, but whatever).

You cannot pause. You cannot pause in any way. Attempting to quit without saving to the menu can ruin a save file. This happened to me, which also really p*ssed me off. You also can have only one save per character.

Every aspect of its design is aimed towards demanding time and attention. That's great if you can be devoted to it, but not great if you can't. And please don't pile on me for attacking the game, as I said I think it's a great game. But it's really only great for a certain kind of person.

crpgnut October 27th, 2011 17:19

I wouldn't play it, I don't like tough combat :D I also don't own any consoles, so I'm not sure if this game is out on PC. I like exploration, stat manipulation, and loot acquisition. To me, combat is a way to try out new skills, items, etc, not a major feature for crpgs by itself.

Foss October 27th, 2011 17:24

Been playing this game aswell for around 7-8 hours I think.
I am not a big fan of high difficulty games so I was very worried if it was a game for me. And to be fair in the first 2 hours I was ready to go insane and curse the developers for making such an idiotic game.
But it was still very compelling to me and I was able to get over my frustration as I learned more about the game and the combat.

But it is a weird game. Its a little like a singleplayer game with MMO rules.
You cannot set difficulty. If you die you respawn at the last visited bonfire and every enemy respawns and you get a penalty by loosing all your currency (which you have a chance to recover).
You cannot pause.

But it has a great setting and the harsh rules makes exploring and combat more tense.
Not sure if I will end up playing it to the end, but so far its been fun.

skavenhorde October 27th, 2011 17:24


Originally Posted by Ovenall (Post 1061101749)
You cannot pause. You cannot pause in any way. Attempting to quit without saving to the menu can ruin a save file. This happened to me, which also really p*ssed me off. You also can have only one save per character.

Quit without saving bug? I haven't had one of those since Starflight. If you quit without saving you ruined your whole game and had to start over.

The game sounds good. I love a challenge. One day I'll have to pick it up for the 360. Have to order it though since my 360 is an American version. Can't buy games here because of the region restrictions.

Thanks for the impressions.

Ovenall October 27th, 2011 17:34


Check out some Dark Souls forums first and read the topics where people are requesting help. Look and see how many people get killed over and over to the "Capra demon," for instance. He's in a small room with two giant dogs that can stun lock you literally seconds after entering if you don't dodge just right. Check a few youtube vids as well… Really, the insanity of this game is mind boggling, but there's a lot of hardcore video gamers out there. Maybe you'll enjoy it, but before you put down cash see what's in store. Read what people have to say about "Blightown"…

Regarding "quit without saving":
The game auto saves very often, and you have no choice in it. So if you screw up (you can permanently kill vendors or trainers for instance, and just hitting them makes them not do business with you) you can't go to a past save. I think what happens with this "bug" is that I quit at the same time it was trying to save, which corrupted the file.

The game is pure abuse. But extremely well done. Monster design is the best I've ever seen. Google a video of the Gaping Dragon for instance. Truly, the beasts in this game look like monsters from Hell.

skavenhorde October 27th, 2011 18:15

Thanks for the warning, but I love me some roguelikes and stun locking puppies are nothing to those instant death monstrosities in ADOM and a few of the other RLs I've played. I really hate those dang things. :)

I will check out those forums though. Thanks again.

Ball_Breaker October 27th, 2011 19:05

My hate for Capra Demon is nothing compared to that for Great Gray Wolf Sif (you probably saw it in many Youtube videos), I hope to kill it sooner or later…

About saving, as Ovenall stated, there's the autosave function always active, whenever you die, use an item, or just quit the game. When you load your game, you'll start EXACTLY from where you stopped: if you stick with it, you get used to it, and this forces to think your next move.

Thrasher October 27th, 2011 19:21

Yuck. This game sounds like work, not play. ;)

crpgnut October 27th, 2011 19:33

My thoughts exactly, Thrasher.

Thrasher October 27th, 2011 19:53

If they just had a save/load anywhere function, I'd try it. Was this purposely left out to be more "hardcore"? Or is it a symptom of consolitis?

Grimlorn October 27th, 2011 21:26

The game autosaves with every action you take, so that's why you can't really save/load. When you quit and reload you'll be in the same spot you quit in.

I'm pretty sure you can pause if you're playing offline. Demon's Souls was like that.

I think Demon's Souls is a better entry point into this kind of game series. But these games are still fun and hardcore. And most of the time when you die in this type of game it's because you made a mistake or did something stupid. The game is very stat based, it's just weapons/armor are also very stat based too.

I wouldn't recommend beginners trying to play purely melee. You'll probably want to have some sort of magic or range in this game to help out with bosses or other situations.

Thrasher October 27th, 2011 21:30


Originally Posted by Grimlorn (Post 1061101800)
The game autosaves with every action you take, so that's why you can't really save/load. When you quit and reload you'll be in the same spot you quit in.

That's no excuse for missing a save/load anywhere function. And no pause either. What is this retro year 2000 Diablo?

Grimlorn October 27th, 2011 21:38

What are you talking about? It does save anywhere. It saves everywhere. Did you read my post? I just said when you load, it puts you in the same spot you quit in.

It pauses offline. You can't pause online because of the pvp factor.

It only gives you 1 save per character. It doesn't give you the option to save on multiple saves so you can reload and metagame. If you make a choice you're stuck with it. If you die twice and lose your souls, you're stuck with it. No reloading when you make a mistake.

Thrasher October 27th, 2011 21:42

Apparently you missed the point. The player should be able to save and load anytime and anywhere. Save/load not just the last autosave but any named file he wants.

Not being able to pause just to support multiplayer is also a bad excuse. Many multiplayer games allow pause in single player mode.

Grimlorn October 27th, 2011 22:06

Yes but online isn't single player. There are messages on the ground from other players you can rep. There are bloodstains on the ground from when people died. You can click on them and see the last few seconds of someone's life. You can occasionally see ghosts of other players in their game moving around and fighting. There is also the invading/helping other player's worlds. You can help a person defeat a boss or invade and try to kill them. The online mode isn't single player in any way. You have to play offline if you want it to be single player.

Your save/load point doesn't make any sense. You haven't played the game and don't know how it works. It would be too simple and take away from the game if you could just reload older saves.

JDR13 October 27th, 2011 22:10


Originally Posted by Thrasher (Post 1061101805)
The player should be able to save and load anytime and anywhere.

He's already stated twice that you can do that. The only inconvenience is that you have to quit to the menu each time.

Thrasher October 27th, 2011 22:16

You only have one save, that was my point, though not very well illluminated. I thought the save anywhere meme was understood as that.

Only having a single save is just a stupid irritation. Not fun.

Similarly not being able to pause. I won't be playing this. Good thing it's limited to consoles. :p

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