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January 2nd, 2013, 05:47
Just thought I'd resurrect this impressions thread rather than create a new one, since I'm currently having my first run at the game. My basis for interest in Dark Souls is a love of the combat from Gothic I and II, a fascination for heavy atmospheres and slow yet rewarding exploration.

This thread also features some quite harrowing tales of pure Dark Souls malefia (hope those dreams are ok, Ovenall mate!) and so provides a very apt introduction to my experiences with the game so far.

First up, thanks to SpoonFULL and others for providing links to both the mouse and resolution fix. I'm playing with keyboard and mouse and can confirm that it's definitely possible to do.

I would say that so far I'm enjoying the game's almost soporific pace, with the repetition upon death and respawn at bonfires having an almost hypnotic quality to it. The desolate lonely atmosphere and sense of menace that the world exudes is fantastic and the exploration within it really shines when you take your time and notice the details.

My action and twitch skills aren't very good, but I'm a cautious and plodding gamer at the best of times and so enjoy the learning curve and challenges involved.
With continual practice and some leveling for instance, the Undead Burg becomes mere child's play. I remember when I started it initially and how it was a cycle of trial until you die and learn a pattern or something to try not to repeat again.

The sense of achievement in overcoming the odds is strong and one of the key features of the experience of playing Dark Souls. Killing the first large knight, one of the first sub-bosses in the Undead Burg felt incredible, as he'd positively murdered my character quite a few times. Luring him out to a firebombed death, then not having him reappear again, was a good feeling.

I started with a Warrior and played for a few hours but decided to restart after making the very stupid mistake of accidentally killing a merchant and discovering to my horror that it had saved my utterly ignoble deed. This is a great example of having to accept consequence for action!

My second and current character is a Cleric, which I'm now about 20 hours in with; at around level 28. I limped past the Asylum Demon (though not in his first iteration) and stumbled past the Taurus Demon in similarly unconvincing fashion.
My most recent boss victory however was against the Bell Gargoyles. This must have taken at least 30-50 deaths; hearing the Firelink Shrine theme music became a kind of somber ritual to a journey toward the Undead Parish. My method when I finally lucked out? Very simple. Stay close and double-handed mace the rotter, throwing a firebomb or knife here or there whenever he's in the air. I'd be killed more often or not when the second Gargoyle joined the fray, usually by fire. It's nasty with two, so getting rid of the first one as soon as possible meant all I had to do was dodge the fire and pick off the second whenever the opportunity arises.

My next big mission is to suss out some methods for the Capra Demon, who I've had the unpleasant misfortune to discover recently. Or I might try to get a little further in the Darkroot Garden; found a bonfire there but the creatures that inhabit the area don't make me want to respawn there. I also managed to find my way to the Catacombs, but finding skeletons who reform in seconds made me take refuge in the "better part of valor" and all that. These choices show the non-linearity present within Dark Souls.

It's a brutal and unforgiving game and I can see why players both love it and loathe it. There's still plenty more for me to learn about and it'll be interesting to see how far I can get before the difficulty threatens to claim another victim.
Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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