ss_c34cdf130b9ac71c99196007d1e78c05305652b9.1920x1080

Dark Souls Has Officially Forever Ruined Me For Other Games

I’ve owned Dark Souls on my Steam account for about two years now, but barely touched it until recently.

I’ve got several reasons for that. The biggest being that when I first bought the game, I was on a laptop that wasn’t exactly shouldering the full technical burden of the experience. Another was that I didn’t own a 360 controller at the time, and since native PC Dark Souls controls are the worst thing since Windows ME, I mostly relied on a PS3 controller ran through a legally iffy Chinese conversion program. Among other technical flubs, it would often randomly cause buttons to digitally press themselves. In Dark Souls, that’s not exactly optimal.

But honestly, I could have suffered through the iffy looks. I could have even just bought a 360 controller like I eventually did. Instead, the real reason I didn’t play Dark Souls longer is because I was scared.

DS

I had heard…things about the game. The shouts of how difficult it was to be sure, but also whispers of smaller horrors by the name of Blighttown, The Tomb of the Giants and Dragon Slayer Ornestein and Executioner Smough, as well as the terror of interacting with other players either directly or through some sort of troll friendly messaging system.

The details of these things were vague, but the fervor and fear they invoked among those who experienced them first hand were clear, and haunting.

DS1

More than any of that, I was afraid of losing my life to this game. I’d seen the hundred hour first run play times, as well as the people who’d invested well over a thousand on subsequent runs. Even with my wonky set-up and complete lack of comprehension as to what the hell was going on, I could tell that there was an appeal to the game that spoke to me in the form of some phantom voice amplified by echoes. Vague and  easily dismissible enough, but oddly clear nonetheless.

It all lead to me eventually giving up on the game, and uninstalling it with only a few pangs of regret for the next few days afterwards. Before long, however, I was able to put it out of my mind and move on to other games.

With Dark Souls II approaching, that became much more difficult. Suddenly Dark Souls was everywhere again, and ignoring it was suddenly a much more taxing effort than simply giving in was.

DS21

Besides, with my new rig recently built, and a 360 controller clogging up my desk drawer, the only trepidations I had left were mental, and I was damned if I was going to let a game I’d barely played defeat me with its name only.

So one night while playing South Park: Stick of Truth, I let Dark Souls install. I though it’d be nice to finally give it a chance before the sequel came out, and that I could use a break from the easy going style that SoT offered. It was 10 P.M when Dark Souls finally installed, and I thought I’d give it a shot before bed that night.

And that, as they say, was the first mistake.

DS2

After that initial all-nighter, I’m now about 50 hours deep into the game, and working my way through Andor Londo. While I’ve got a healthy set of armor to my name, and a +3 Black Knight Sword, I’m mostly cursing myself over the misused fire keeper soul that’s keeping my Estus Flask at a paltry +1. The archers of Andor Londo are eating me alive, making me consider the prospect of entering the painted world as a diversion.

What’s worse, somewhere out there I know that Ornestien and Smough are waiting for me, and that the pain wont truly begin until that moment.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I envy your innocence. Because let me tell you friend, Dark Souls has ruined me for every other game.

Ornstein_smough

I wasn’t aware of this effect at first, until I tried to go back and play Stick of Truth. As much as I loved the flavor of that game before, now it tasted like ash. Why was that? SoT is a great game, that barely relates to Dark Souls in any conceivable way. Why was I making comparisons between the two, and why were those comparisons causing me to upchuck at the notion of playing SoT further?

I think the answer goes back to a statement I heard on Dark Souls long ago that I can now very much relate to.

Dark Souls has been described as one of the most “pure” gaming experiences available. For some time, I took that to mean that it was a return to the roots that gaming was established on, and cut down on the fluff that has cluttered certain aspects of the medium since then. In a way, that’s true. But, in a much more serious way, describing Dark Souls as a pure experience effectively conveys its kindred resemblance to a pure narcotic, and the way that accepting it into your life can send your pleasure center into a downward, narrow spiral.

DS3

Once I realized that, I came to understand that SoT, and all other games, do in fact relate to Dark Souls, because Dark Souls is a freebase gaming experience, that taps into the very core of gaming itself.

It tarnished my SoT experience, because SoT has combat, story, items, weapons, characters, levels and so on, and none of those elements gave me the thrill of accomplishment and discovery that they did in Dark Souls. Even though spiritually and mechanically they’re leagues apart, because Dark Souls is like a needle that aims directly for the heart of gaming itself, once you let it hit the mark, any entrant into the medium will draw some kind of inevitable comparison to Dark Souls.

DS4

Hey, I hear you. You’re saying “That’s not fair.” Believe me, I’m right there with you. It’s not fair to other games that I would knock them for not being Dark Souls, and its not fair that to me that I’ve now played a game that’s goal was to perfectly execute the fundamental concepts of a video game, and triumphantly succeed at doing so, and that I now have to be burdened with the knowledge of such a game when trying to fairly judge (or even enjoy) any other video game.

In a way, I look at Dark Souls as the video game version of the Project Mayhem movement from Fight Club. Its aim is to set the industry back to zero, and put everyone back on an even level. A level that purges us of many of the superficial burdens that modern society has left us, while at the same time taking the knowledge that we’ve acquired until this point, and using it to skip many of the rough years that come with learning several hard knock lessons along the way.

Also like Project Mayhem, this leads to lots of deaths (player deaths in Dark Souls case). Because, as Tyler Durden said, “You wanna make an omelette, you gotta break some eggs.”

Dark-Souls-PC-review-8

And man, I’m telling you that once you’ve really embraced Dark Souls and let it shown you its vision of the perfect gaming world in full, its hard to go back to the Ikea lifestyle. Instead, its like having that front row seat to the end of the world, and all you can do is hope to reach out, grab the hand of someone who is in the same place you are, and enjoy the simple pleasure of the shared comfort of the experience.

Of course, this being Dark Souls, that person will likely then lead you to jump off a cliff to your death with the promise of a checkpoint. But I digress.

maxresdefault

I feel there are two types of people reading this (or, more accurately, two people reading this). One type that’s played Dark Souls, and one that hasn’t.

To those that haven’t, let me just tell you that there is a very good chance that you will play the game and have absolutely no idea what I’m on about. You’ll struggle through the early parts of the game, and just not get the hype whatsoever. Don’t feel like an outsider. Hell, if anything you’re part of the happy masses, and I envy you for that.

But just be warned that there is a chance, no matter how slim, that it will get to you. That what the game is trying to accomplish will resonate with your personality, and affect you to the point where you too will be ruined for every other game, because you now have a prerequisite set of spiritual expectations going into that game that it will most likely not build upon. That you too will now be one of those people who can not shut the hell up about Dark Souls and just move on with your gaming life, because moving on in the sense those people are using the term means forgetting about the game entirely.

And you can’t just forget about something that gets in your blood like that. You can battle against it the rest of your life to suppress it, but it’ll always be there.

ss_77557feb237f87d67453c92baee73fb5bd93355c.600x338

Oh, and to those who already know everything I’m telling them, just remember that every time you hear the Undead Church bells ring that you should feel both pity and community, because another soul is now forever lost.

A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

  • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

    Yeah, I wanna play Dark Souls now :”|

    • kuygbuybggj

      dark souls will get under your skin. trust me.

      • KingKellogg The Waffle Haggler

        Ive been play since day one of Demons Souls….hundreds or even thousands of hours in the series already

  • Honorable Foe

    What a great article, I feel much of the same feelings you do! Good luck with O&S and Dark Souls 2 in general…

  • Dakan45

    There is nothing to say here. Dark souls sucks.

    1.Graphics and framerate suck

    2.the story is shit because the creator played western rpgs without knowing
    english so he had to fill in the blanks in the story. The result is a
    messy missonception about story in western rpgs. The whole game is
    purelly designed with little efort, i mean “you defeated” really? wtf is
    this shit?

    3 the game is designed fro trolling, eg the creator said
    “i would choose the pednant and nothing at all” which does nothing and
    the dev trolled you.

    4. the ai is horrible from dodging your
    every single attack like a 1/0 computer script, to making them do it
    near clifs and falling off and dying.

    I dont care if you think it
    was hard to get past the part with the archers, bad ai is bad ai
    wherever its easy or its hard. Ai that keeps firing arrows even when you
    are behind a wall is not good ai, its amateurish basic ai scripted by
    high school kids. If you consider this to be good gameplay play alien
    rage, the premise is the same, having to beat sections of enemies
    shooting you through walls yet that games gets the ratings it worths
    4/10 and not get a freebie for being “hard”

    5. The upgrade system
    sucks, too much grinding little diffirence and having to use more souls
    each time even on skills you never upgraded is fucking stupid.

    6. the game is designed to kill you, chests that eat you and grow legs,
    this is not a fantasy world its a machohistic trial of patience and
    repetition….if you get off like this GOOD, but no other game has such
    low standards and focus on difficulity so much.

    7.Shitty level
    design, the enviroments feel like they were ripped from ressident evil 4
    but with the invisible walls removed. Do i need to mention the crytal
    cave with the invisible platforms?

    8.Shitty checkpoint system
    and messy combat system. Case and point bed of chaos to make the final
    jump you have to un equip everything to be light if you die it takes
    forever to get back there and you have to replay the whole thing, if you
    got time for this, GOOD but some of us have lifes.

    9.The combat
    sucks, there are times the stupid lock on will lock at enemies under the
    floor or your character will face the wrong way and miss, hell the
    dodge system is complete utter bullshit. Some games are designed to
    dodge huge monsters such as god of war and kingdoms of amalaur and yes
    those games are shit easy and some games are designed around 1vs 1 duels
    such as dark souls and skyrim, to make you fight enemies multiple times
    your size is a bad game design choice.

    10.the enemies respawn
    thus it feels like you are not making any progress at all. Hell the
    final battle is the easiest one, how does that make any sense or give
    you any form of achievement?

    You might get off by spending
    endless hours to defeat a boss and get “you defeated” in broken english.
    The rest of us however want a good story, good dialogues, decent
    graphics,framerate that doesnt die all the time, decent animation, some
    good level design, decent ai, some CHOICES from a get this ROLE PLAYING
    GAME, a godamn satysfying ending at the very list, some sense of quality
    in the game and dark souls is more and more repettive maschohistic
    bullshit. There are far beter rpgs outhere, wherever they are easy or
    not is irrrelevant, they got more substance and are better designed than
    dark souls, difficulity isnt everything.

    Trolling souls is a
    horrible designed game with no redeeming values made for maschohistic
    fanboys who got alot of time to spare and its a horrible RPG.

    The amount of laziness is trully insane, dark souls 2 graphics look worse
    than ride to hell retrubition, the graphics look like a 2003 game while
    this is 2014.

    There is nothing else that needs to be said, dark
    souls fullfills the requirments for being one of those 4/10 games, enjoy
    your shitty shovelware.

    • mad

      Holy shit you are the maddest person I’ve ever met.

      • Dakan45

        meh i wasnt even mad when i wrote this.

    • mehtal

      I like how you criticize the AI, yet you say the game is masochistically hard. Most of what you said is either false, or based on subjective standards for games. Even if you understand that you were wrong about certain aspects of the game, you’re not who fromsoftware is speaking to.

      • Dakan45

        like i explained, trying to shoot you through walls is a 1/0 difficulity system just like a monster dodging your every move like a 1/0 machine and then falling of a clif, its not a matter if its” hard” it is just stupid ai.

        A game doesnt have to be hard to be masochistic, it could be easy and have moments like asy those chests that eat you, to have em kill you instnatly or have checkpoints very far away like bed of chaos.

        On what am i wrong again?

        I know very well to who from software is speakign to, to l33t skillz douchebags who like to get trolled.

        Like they said “if it was up to me i would get the pednant and nothing at all”

        Which was proven to do NOTHING at all.

        They are trolling people off.

        If you say you dont like dark souls for 100 diffirenr reasons from story, to voice acting to graphics to ai to lack of choices the treatment is always the same “you dont like the game because its too hard for you”

        Well i finished it in 15 hours and i didnt like it, so what about that? i guess i shouldnt bother at all with you douchebags and leave you to your shovelware maschohistic game.

        • Bruno Bessa

          This obsession about chests is a perfect example of how you’re the one playing it wrong. You know that if you spend ONE SECOND looking at a chest, you can notice if it is real or fake, right? I mean, the mimic chest actually moves and make noises before you try to open it. If you’re not paying attention to the hints the game gives you, then you’re going to die. And it’s on you.

          The game is pretty much like that for most of the time, and it’s rewarding as hell; you know you’re dying because YOU’re the one making mistakes instead of the game using cheap tricks. But I may give you the last 1/3 of the game, that was clearly rushed and had some horrible ideas (you mentioned the crystal cave, that is really stupid, even with the “falling crystals”).

          • Dakan45

            “you’re the one playing it wrong.”

            Aside from not having an obsession with chests you are telling me there is a right way to play it? Because the dark souls fantards actually bash gamespot for playing the game with magic, saying that its the wrong way to play it and nooby and real men use meele.

            Dafuq? The guy is fooling enemies with spells and playing smart, but just because he is not trying to “shoot down a helicopter with a pistol” short to speak, they bash him.

            Anyway, i didnt find anything interesting in it the story is hidden with lore googling, there arent any good characters or good dialogues there arent any skills like say lockpikcing or sneaking or making potions and it pales with other rpgs, the whole idea is being hard but its not skillfull, there are times the lock on picks targets under the floor rather the one infornt of you and seeing the huge mace that the big enemies use missing you, yet you take damage and from what i head dark souls 2 has even more spotty hit detection.

            In the end i didnt enjoy it as a rpg nor as a hard game and that last bossbatle was a joke, lords of the fallen looks like a better made game.

          • Jones Santiago

            May I ask why you’re here? I mean it’s always good to discuss why you don’t like the game, but to actually go to a point where you sound like a complete prick? Come on, man. Have some dignity, or better yet… Humanity. Heh Heh. I guess falling off cliffs and getting pissed at “spotty hit detection” really destroyed it, huh? Let me guess… You’re a Skyrim fan? Great job but please explain to me how that game requires more skill than all the games in the Souls Series? What? You have to aim? What? You’ve gotta time your attacks? What else? Oh. I think I know what it is: There aren’t any nude mods for Dark Souls.

            Anyway, I noticed how you used the word ‘hard.’ The game isn’t hard. You just need to respect it a little more. I know for a fact that a lot of Souls fans know that it isn’t that hard because once you know how to play the game it’s easy. However, it still doesn’t stray away from being challenging because there is a good possibility that if you go around thinking you’re a god you will be killed by a normal group of hallow soldiers. Why? Because there is no respect.

            Lastly, some of the big boss battles, if you checked you’ve actually checked some of the lore, were more of a symbolic battles. Dark Souls fans… You know what I mean.

            P.S – The chest thing… Yeah… If you have a brain and understand that a chest is capable of doing that to you… Why don’t you just hit it to make sure it won’t kill you instantly? I mean… You know what. It’s fine. Don’t worry. I understand.

          • Dakan45

            ” I guess falling off cliffs and getting pissed at “spotty hit detection”
            really destroyed it, huh? Let me guess… You’re a Skyrim fan?”

            By all means descredit someone as a casual because he doesnt like your medicore buggy, ugly borring game.

            I played many hard games, but dark souls doesnt have no story or good combat system or good dialogues, or anything its justa hard game and its borrign as hell.

          • Jones Santiago

            I think I grew a tumor after reading what you just said. I’ll be quiet now before my cancer gene acts up.

          • Dakan45

            Your trolling attempt is a complete failure but by all means continue being a douchebag that cant accept he got pwned.