Back in 2009 From Software's Demon's Souls made numerous game-of-the-year lists because of its innovative crowdsourced hinting system, but at the same time honoring the tough-as-nails mentality that seems to have been lost in modern gaming.
Dark Souls is the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls. It doesn't continue any sort of linear story, but most of the mechanics remain in tact, including the unforgiving difficulty of the game.
But in a landscape where regenerative health and multiple save points are the norm, can Dark Souls find a place amongst the mainstream?
Jeff: Part of the difficulty that inherently lies in games journalism is remaining indifferent even when a given product isn't something you'd normally want to play. A perfect example of this was my experience with 2009's Demon's Souls. Forcing myself to play such a difficult title wound up making me appreciate so much about what I didn't know. I became immersed in the universe the game was able to convincingly create, even though I had died a thousand deaths exploring the world.
Of course I knew what I was getting myself into with From Software's follow-up, Dark Souls, and the game's tagline of "Prepare to Die" isn't really an attempt to be something it isn't.
Dark Souls can be infuriatingly difficult, and for the gamer who thinks he or she can just march right in with a sword and shield drawn is in for a world of hurt. Not only does the game punish those who play nonchalantly, it basically offers no real explanation of the various items, powers, and hollowing abilities that are at a player's disposal. This lack of hand-holding will be jarring for those not hardened by the "good-old days" of gaming, but Dark Souls is a crash course for the inexperienced.… Read more