by Alexander R. Campbell
Over the course of time I have heard a number of horror stories about how ‘brutally difficult’ and ‘completely unforgiving’ “Dark Souls” is. To be honest I felt a little discouraged in my curiosity about the “Dark Souls” sensation because I didn’t want to buy a game I couldn’t finish, that is, until the beginning of this year when I finally just went and got the PS3 version for myself. And after playing through it in it’s entirety (aside from the DLC) I can honestly say that it’s not even close to being the ‘pinnacle of soul crushing difficulty’ that people say it is. Although, this is not to say that “Dark Souls” is a cake walk, and it is definitely not the kind of game that anyone and everyone can get into.
What it is about “Dark Souls,” specifically, that people often mistake for difficulty is that it is largely based around two major concepts that work in conjunction with each other. The first being that the game itself, as every new player will invariably figure out, is actively trying to kill them as players, and to a degree that many other games don’t, as many of the areas are specifically designed so that players will not be able to complete them on the very first try. “Dark Souls” is the kind of game where you can’t go blindly charging into a room at the end of narrow corridor without something waiting for you behind either side of the entrance, ready to gnaw on you and on your delicious polygon face.
And it is when the game succeeds in doing so that the second concept comes into play, which is “learning from your mistakes.” As in, maybe this time you don’t run over that trapdoor that killed you last time, and also remember that this treasure chest will separate the upper half of your body from the lower half, again, if you try to open it.
I’m dead serious when I say that once you take both of these concepts to heart, Dark Souls becomes just like any other game. Just because it requires you to think every once-in-a-while does not mean that it’s some insurmountable challenge that only the video gaming gods themselves may enjoy. There’s always a more effective weapon, or piece of equipment, or a secret that will make an area easier just around the corner. So relax, take your time, and enjoy the thrilling experience of “Dark Souls” if you’ve been on the fence because of what you’ve heard.