Dark Souls – A look back
With Dark Souls 2 just arriving I thought it would be good idea for a short recap of the first game’s story, as well as how the game plays. In the beginning there was nothing. The world was shrouded in fog. A land of Everlasting dragons and Arch trees. But then in an instant everything changed. A fire grew deep beneath the surface and within this fire were the lord souls. These lord souls gave birth to the great entities of Dark Souls.
Nito, the first of the dead. This skeleton made of skeletons is a gravelord, a god of death and decay. The Witch of Izalith and her daughters of chaos. These powerful witches used the power of fire to burn the arch trees to ashes. Gwyn, the lord of sunlight. Both he and his fateful knights used the power of lightning to tear apart the dragon’s immortal stone scales, allowing Nito to bring them to an end. The furtive Pygmy, said to be the first human. This tiny being possessed the Dark Soul, which he split apart in order to create humans. And finally Seath the scaleless. This dragon was born without the immortal scales of his brethren and out of jealousy he told Gwyn how to destroy the dragons immortal scales. This resulted in Gwyn giving Seath a lord soul for his loyalty to him.
That’s the basics of the Dark Souls story. Now lets dive into where WE come in. Dark Souls is set in Lordran, where an undead curse has swept across the land. This undead curse has torn the land apart. Resulting in most of mankind turning Hollow. To turn hollow is to slowly lose your humanity and all sense, basically becoming a very hostile undead. We play as the chosen undead, cursed with the Darksign, who has been sent from the undead asylum to either link the flame and keep the age of fire going, or let it die and bring about the age of dark.
In Dark Souls there is really no right or wrong. Your character is based on your own devices and you can choose to be a noble knight or a bringer of evil. You can take the help of the various NPCs around Lordran, or you can kill them and carve your own path to the end, littered with the blood of the innocent. Your character in dark souls represents you. You have ten different starting classes to choose from as well as various starting gifts (for the love of god choose the Master key!). Your class does not strictly dictate any mode of gameplay and it’s really up to you how you want to play the game. You can be a powerful wizard, a knight in shining armor, a beastly pyromancer, or if you’d like to go a little crazy, choose the class that has you starting in no more than your underwear, wielding only a wooden club and shield for protection (and if so, good luck)
A few things that I really think adds to the overall experience of Dark souls are: the online aspect, the difficulty and the boss design.The online part of Dark Souls can be easily missed, yet it plays a vital role in the overall experience.Others can leave messages that could help you or lead you to your doom, you could summon another player or be summoned to another players world to tackle a boss together, or you could invade another players world in an attempt to hinder their progress and claim their souls, or vice versa with someone invading your world.
The difficulty is a big part of the Dark Souls experience, it will either make or break the player. You have to be willing to die a LOT. The difficulty of Dark Souls is both experience of the game and trial and error. You can die a few times fighting an enemy or boss, but the more you do the more you map their attack patterns and what they are weak against. I know there are a lot of people that found Dark Souls very hard to get into due to it’s difficulty from the beginning, I was one of these people. I played Dark Souls for the first time for about 2 hours and then quit out of it because I hated how hard it was to get into but the day I turned it back on I realized that we have just become so used to games being pathetically easy in the beginning that we are too quick to reject something that breaks the mold and doesn’t just hold your hand from the get go.
Which brings me to my final point of what makes Dark Souls such a unique experience, the bosses.The bosses in Dark Souls are why we as the player are there. We must defeat these bosses to progress and get through the game. There is no question that the bosses get harder and more unpredictable throughout the game, they start getting harder to predict and start dealing ridiculous damage if you make the slightest error. But this is what makes Dark Souls what it is. These bosses are there to make us fight for our right to progress and get stronger. I think that the bosses are the most crucial part of the game, as you have to fight a whole labyrinth of enemies to earn the right to face these guardians of death.
Dark Souls is a lot harder than it’s predecessor Demon’s Souls, and I’m looking forward to finding out if Dark Souls 2 is going to take the same route. I personally hope so, I’m not one for hand-holding and I am licking my lips at the challenge Dark Souls 2 is sure to present!