Dark Souls & Demon's Souls

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Francis Buck

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« on: October 16, 2013, 06:00:19 pm »
Does anyone else play these games? I'm curious because, in a weird way, I think a fan of Bakker would really like the lore of Dark Souls (I haven't played Demon's yet, plan on picking it up in the next few days). The lore of DkS, while very different from Earwa, is absolutely phenomenal. It genuinely has some of the best fantasy world-building and individual little character subplots that I have ever seen. What makes it so cool (and challenging), however, is that the story is subtle as hell. Many people, including several notable reviewers, can play through the entire game and come away with the impression that there's no plot at all -- and trust me, it's there. It's there in spades. But you have to work for it.

For starters, there's very little dialogue. You can go hours without speaking to anyone. When you do speak with someone, it's often brief and cryptic. The game does not hold your hand at all. No map, no guides, etc. In order to learn the story, you have to pay very close attention to every line of dialogue, read every description of weapons, armor, spells, and any other items, and even pay attention to the (beautifully rendered and brilliantly complex) geography of the world. This is genuinely a game where almost nothing is placed by accident. Everything has a purpose, and hints are scattered everywhere, if you look for them. A writer for Forbes described the effect of deciphering the story as being almost like you're an archaeologist, and I thought that was a great metaphor.

Beyond the story though, the gameplay itself is great. As many probably know, the game (and DeS as well) is notoriously difficult. You will die frequently, and death in this game is meaningful -- it makes you really, really want to live. The bosses are tough but wonderfully designed. Most of all, the game is very, very methodical. When you die, it's almost always because you fucked up, not because the game cheated (though there are a few sections that border on being unfair, but they're the exception). It rewards patience, awareness, planning, and studying of enemies. Despite the dark, almost oppressive fantasy setting, the combat is actually surprisingly realistic. There's a weight to everything, and the hitboxes are some of the best I've seen (a sword can literally pass beneath your elbow as you're turning and miss you by inches).

There's also the amazing multiplayer, which features both co-op and the ability to invade other player's gameworlds (or, conversely, get your own invaded). Players can leave messages all over the place, giving hints and tips for secrets or difficult areas, or sometimes causing mischief by cleverly tricking the player into a mistake. You also see "ghosts" of players at random points, letting you witness what they're doing in a particular area, and sometimes even seeing how they died (which can help for planning).

So yeah, it's awesome, but the story especially was my favorite part. I really can't think of another fantasy game storyline I've played that's quite as unique and powerful as that of DkS. I'm hoping some other Bakker fans have experience them.

Royce

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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2013, 06:57:35 pm »
What I remember most about Demon souls was that it was ridiculously difficult,and my ps3 got smashed after I had played the game only for a few hours.Looked like a great game though.

Wilshire

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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2013, 10:04:48 pm »
I've considered playing them, but extrodinarily difficult games are not always my style. I like a challenge but I've heard so many complaints about this game that I'm skeptical. I don't want to spent 100 hours playing a game I end up hating :P.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Callan S.

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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2013, 09:04:02 am »
I wouldn't say it's actually that hard...I'd say metal slug is harder than dark souls. But dark souls holds suspense so much better, over long periods. I'm just coming back to it now, after having stopped more for not knowing what to do next than because its hard. I'm not sure its hard - it just it will kill you every so often, instead of trying to use the kids gloves on you all the time.

Okay FB, story wise, what's up with the giant crow in dark souls?

Davias

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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2013, 07:40:01 pm »
I only own Demon Soul's on my PS3 and have watched some gameplay videos of Dark Souls. I must admit, I like the gritty graphic style, the horrorlike monsters and the dark story.
The game had all in it, what I miss in most video games today: a challenging difficulty, a somewhat cryptic story, cool monsters and bosses, tactic combat, etc...
BUT..., I never played more than 20% of the game, because I don't like the gaming experience at the end.
To start the whole level again, when a step in the dark, or one missed attack, send me to death...
Bosses, who killed me one hundred times, before I defeat them...
To see the same level over and over again...because I suck at this game... :-[


Maybe I am too lazy nowadays to beat challenging video games. Or I'm too bad and slow with the most action games.
Now I play old classics from nearly fifteen or twenty years ago, or some roguelikes where I could think a few minutes and drink a cup of tea between turns, before I took the next step to slay a few monsters. 8)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 07:41:35 pm by Davias »

Callan S.

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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2013, 11:02:15 pm »
I haven't played demon souls - but in dark souls in regards to bosses
(click to show/hide)
There was this butterfly that took about 15 goes, I'd estimate. Not sure what the trick was supposed to be with that one, so I just upgraded the heck out of my crossbow.

Anyway, it is rarely said and it is a shame that is so, but just having taken on the risk of the game at all is honourable and noteworthy. To not even face the risk is the real suck!

Francis Buck

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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2013, 02:12:08 am »
I do think that Dark Souls gets a little more heat about its difficulty then it deserves. While it's certainly hard, it's also hard in its own special sort of way. Like Wilshire, I almost never get into especially difficult games. I generally only like a moderate challenge, nothing overboard. I was in fact quite hesitant to purchase it, because of its reputation. But I think there's definitely a certain rhythm to the game that you get into eventually (it probably took me until around Anor Londo before I felt like I hit my stride, so to speak). It's also AMAZING how quickly you progress the second time around. I sort of screwed up my first character really bad stat-wise, so I started another, and I couldn't believe how much faster I went. What took me over thirty hours the first time was completed in under ten. Just knowing the layout and what's coming next makes a huge difference.

I picked up Demon's Soul last night actually. I only played maybe a little over an hour, but the early going felt much easier to me than my first time through DkS. I've heard that it's like that for pretty much everyone though (whichever game you play second feels easier than the other one, since you're accustomed to the style of the games). Having so many healing items feels like a huge advantage, but then again you're at half vitality when in soul form, so I suppose it compensates.

But yeah, I think it can help for people to reroll a character with better planned stats. I was having a really hard time my first go around of DkS, but when I started a new character (a strength-based pyro -- pyro's in general are great for beginners -- and I planned around using the zweihander, which is a monster when you get the hang of it) it helped enormously.

As for the crow, Cal, I haven't a clue, lol. I do remember watching some youtube video about the lore where I believe someone was speculating that there's a connection between the crow and Velka, Goddess of Sin (and also the leader of a particular Covenant, but I can't remember the name...the one that punishes sinners).

One of the cooler little side-stories is the one for the Onion Knight. It can be tough to catch the whole thing in-game, since you have to follow a certain course of events I believe, but it can be looked up the web. It's actually quite tragic, which is ironic considering the seemingly humorous nature of the character.


Francis Buck

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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2014, 10:22:53 pm »
So is anyone getting Dark Souls II? I'm so fucking psyched for it. I can't wait to play a Souls game at launch, when it's fresh, and before all the little secrets and stuff have been found.