Dark Souls eats faces

Modern video games have been slowly shifting towards holding players’€™ hands and gently nudging them along past safe checkpoints with “€œinvisible walls”€ everywhere and harmless enemy AI. Games have started to play themselves. Dark Souls is like no other modern video game. Instead of teaching the player through lengthy, contrived tutorials, Dark Souls teaches through death. You are never completely safe and every death is a cruel and bitter lesson.

Many players, after their tenth death on the second boss, will give up. Those who don’€™t are rewarded with the deepest and most engrossing battle system in any console adventure game. Say you want to be a spell-hurling wizard. Check. Maybe you want to be a katana-wielding samurai master. Check. Or maybe, you want to be a solid chunk of armor that laughs at any feeble attempt to damage you. Definitely check.

Senior Cole Stephan says the punishments and rewards in the game follow a predictable pattern. “€œIt’€™s like having your cake, and getting punched in the face before eating it. And then someone punches you in the stomach forcing the cake back up.”€

The battle system is not the only gem in this game. The online component is also incredible. Unlike other single player role-playing games with online functionality as a gimmick, online play is a huge aspect of Dark Souls . Players can either join other players’€™ worlds and help them clear stages or invade and try to kill them.

Unfortunately, the way the publisher, Namco Bandai, set up the game’€™s servers makes it almost impossible to quickly connect to anyone, let alone to one of your friends, even if he is sitting next to you, using the same Internet connection. The player vs. player aspect of the game is also hard to support when there is almost always about a constant half-second of lag while fighting.

This did not stop me, however, from experiencing soil-myself levels of adrenaline while fighting the hardest boss in the game with two other players and post-orgasm levels of bliss after we defeated it. Do not look up online guides for this title. I wouldn’€™t recommend anyone to ever look at a guide ever, but you should definitely not for this game, especially. The weapons and armor system is too engrossing and precious. Sure, there is a hidden fire sword available early in the game that does about ten times as much damage as the standard longsword, but the feelings of exhilaration associated with creating one of the best weapons in the game using the soul of a boss you spent three grueling hours of your life attempting to kill by shaving minuscule fractions of red from its health bar is absolutely and unequivocally, unmatched.

Thankfully Dark Souls does not have the option of showing the shamefully large death count, but I am confident I have seen the comically perverse “You Died”€ screen over eighty times. After playing Demon’€™s Souls (the game Dark Souls is essentially based on) to death and yet still experiencing one of the most frustrating moments of my life while playing this game, I can safely say Dark Souls is not for casual gamers.

In fact, their entire marketing scheme is “€œPrepare to die.”€ But if you’€™re a fan of overcoming masochistically difficult games (think Mega-Man), of tweaking the stats of your character to create an unstoppable force of death, or even of bragging to your friends how elite your gamer skills are, you should seriously consider checking this game out. Then consider going to a psychiatrist and reevaluating your life.