Originally Posted by DeepO
Itīs combat AND exploration (and both reinforce each other).
AND great level design, rewarding exploration, unique atmosphere.
I wouldnīt call tight design focus and weaving various gameīs facets into coherent, organic experience a "one-trick pony".
Yes. Boss fights, as designed in Dark Souls, can also be overcome through skilled execution of combat abilities and as such constitute a natural, honest way of gating content - once you reach these "gates" thereīs nothing artificial standing in your way of overcoming them (like, say, a massive damage resistance providing invulnerability against level 1 characters). In essence theyīre no different to other obstacles in the game, combat or non-combat.
Now, level scaled loot in Skyrim, thatīs the kind of gating that needs to go.
Personally Iīm only finding this grating when itīs present in a game where Iīd consider it a design contradiction, or inconsistency. Like, for example, in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
In Dark Souls itīs in line with its design focus. Itīs not a game with major stealth or speech skill systems as one of its cores.
Btw, Iīve only seen it on youtube, but Iīm quite sure that the last boss in Demonīs Souls was designed to be truly pathetic and the last boss in Dark Souls happened to be a pushover in both of my playthroughs (though I donīt think this encounter was designed specifically as such, I probably just was very powerful )
Thatīs how boss fights (bar those two exceptions Iīve mentioned earlier) in Dark Souls work.
Tying this back to the "gating" point - boss fights are one of the forms in which the game gives you a feedback about how much you (or your character) learned throughout the game.
How typical .
The gameplay focus is on combat (which includes character building) and exploration and the content is built around that, with being challenging for players in mind.
Lore and a lot of story bits not being served on silver platter is consistent with the overall design philosophy behind the game and only reinforces the sense of the gameīs strong and consistent identity.
Itīs a game with narrower design focus than, say, Skyrim, but what it focuses on is largely of great quality, whereas in the case of Skyrim the majority of its facets fall flat and the only consistent quality is quantity.
No, I really donīt.