Dark Souls is the spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls, with one key difference: It’s multiplatform. So for those of you who don’t like the PS3, you can now get a taste of the brutally challenging gameplay Demon’s Souls was famous for on your 360. And yes, Dark Souls definitely keeps the brutally unforgiving and challenging gameplay intact – at least so far.
Whether or not that is a good thing is really up to you. I’m enjoying the challenge and difficulty found in Dark Souls, although I did have about a 3 hour period where I thought there were only two ways to go – and since both of those directions were positively impossible until later, that was a bit frustrating. I guess the moral of the Dark Souls story is if you run into enemies that are a HUGE step above what you were fighting a second ago… chances are you’re taking a path that isn’t meant for your ‘level’ and to explore a bit more. Overall, however, the difficulty is a nice change from most of what we see nowadays, and they made it a bit more accessible than Demon’s Souls was, but not enough to make a person looking for that difficulty feel cheated.
The controls are a bit… odd. The game plays largely like a shooter would, except that it’s a third person action rpg. Which takes a lot of getting used to. Once you’re used to them, however, the controls have been suitably responsive so far. That being said, the game feels almost identical to Demon’s Souls so far in terms of gameplay and combat, so I imagine veterans of Demon’s Souls will not have any problems with any of this. However, sometimes the rolling and parrying can be a bit unresponsive, but not often enough – nor unresponsive enough – to really bother me yet. But I can see it being quite frustrating to lose when fighting harder enemies just because your roll or parry didn’t respond when you wanted it to.
The graphics, audio, voice-work, and soundtrack all add up to a fantastically presented early game that definitely sets the right mood and encourages a person to want to go on. The story, on the other hand, has a very slow build. Hopefully this picks up a bit later on – because if it keeps up at the snail’s pace it is now, I may go insane.
All that aside, however, Dark Souls’ first 8 or so hours of gameplay have definitely set a good stage for what could be a phenomenal game – if you can handle the challenge.
Written by: Sean