Dark Souls: Prepare To Die A Bit Less, Perhaps

By Alec Meer on September 4th, 2012 at 9:00 pm.

DEAD

In news that will doubtfless prove SHOCKING to that contingent of gamers who believe that playing a highly challenging videogame says something meaningful about what manner of human being they are, the lead dev of notoriously unforgiving and badly-ported RPG Dark Souls claims to be considering adding in an easier mode for those who are put off by its steep challenge.

Before you reach for that pitchfork, bear in mind that nothing is confirmed – in fact From Software’s Hidetaka Miyazaki seemed to be thinking aloud when he told free UK tabloidMetro that “it is true that Dark Souls is rather difficult and a number of people may hesitate to play. This fact is really sad to me and I am thinking about whether I should prepare another difficulty that everyone can complete or carefully send all gamers the messages behind our difficult games.”

He was equally aware of the part challenge plays in Dark Souls success’ and appeal, however – “I personally want my games to be described as satisfying rather than difficult. As a matter of fact, I am aiming at giving players sense of accomplishment in the use of difficulty.” He does go on to tackle the aspect of this game, or at least its reception, that has troubled me as I’ve watched assorted twitter folk wave their e-penises about their experiences in it – that there’s a difference between difficulty that adds to how “interesting” a game is and difficulty that is really just “hindrance or stress that does not attribute to such interesting and worthwhile elements.” In other words, Dark Souls is a great game because it a great game, not because it’s a hard game. Hard, by itself, means and says nothing. In Dark Souls, it’s merely one part of a much grander, much more ambitious design.

Despite these ruminations, I’d be very surprised if Dark Souls did have an ‘easy’ mode retro-fitted to it – more likely it would make an appearance in whatever the next Souls game turns out to be. Either way there’ll be scandal, of course, but he’s not talking about removing the difficulty – trouble is that won’t negate the outrage of those who feel the Souls games are their special members’ only club that the riff-raff shouldn’t be allowed into, even if they are restricted to the cheap seats.

Then there’s the other issue around Dark Souls. While Hidetaka Miyazaki isn’t pressed on why the PC port is so perfunctory – even to the point that it took fans mere moments to fix one aspect of it – and whether it’ll be improved, he does also reveal that “we did not plan to create the PC version at all on our development schedule. So the petition campaign was absolutely [a] big surprise for us. I believe that the petition was one of the main factors that we finally determine on creating the PC version.”

Online petitions do work after all then, eh? That’s very heartening (and frightening, given that mobs just as frequently form around insidious causes as quasi-noble ones), and I hope will spell good things for the PC-based future of the Souls games.

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205 Comments »

  1. wccrawford says:

    Never once have I heard anyone talk about the story. They talk about the difficulty and the gameplay and the fact that the game makes you pay attention to what’s going on and take care of yourself.

    Putting an easy mode on that is a horrid idea. I say that as an easy-mode player of almost every game. The fame of this game comes from its difficulty, not from the plot or atmosphere.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      You are completely wrong.

      The atmosphere and the setting are absolutely fantastic, as is the art direction. It is absolutely worth playing Dark Souls for these things and for the rewarding combat, not just because “it’s hard.”

      • Tuco says:

        The combat is rewarding exactly because it isn’t trivial.

        • HexagonalBolts says:

          It can also be utterly infuriating – I’m not exactly mr. Joe Casual, god knows how many hundreds of hours I’ve sunk into Starcraft, but having to replay 20 minutes over and over to get to the same boss who instantly smashes you is unbearably tedious for me.

          • DuddBudda says:

            wrong place

          • JackShandy says:

            That’s what a shield is for, dude. It blocks attacks, so that you are not hurt by them, so that you can study them without dying.

            What kind of game lets you study an enemies attack pattern without having it attack you?

        • DuddBudda says:

          combat is trivial compared to something like mount and blade

          the hard part comes not from any skill at arms, but from puzzle aspects – many elements/steps of which are obfuscated so the player’s only hope is trial and error (or the immersion breaking orange scrawls)

          and there’s the pointless demand that the player grind to reach each puzzle

          after all the hype I have been unimpressed by DS’s gameplay, though the world is quite intriguing

          • Kaira- says:

            … trivial compared to Mount and Blade? Trial and error? Grinding? I’m sorry, I can’t really reply because I’m laughing too hard. But I suggest you actually play the game.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I kind of know what you are talking about (except about the combat being easier than mount and blade, I just can’t see it) but I promise you, get beyond the orange scrolls tutorial areas and the game comes together!

          • DuddBudda says:

            ofc I’m not compaing any standards of grind to M&B – M&B is pure grind

            when I say combat is trivial, that’s because it is – compared to sword play in, say, M&B, which has four attack directions, four block directions (or a shield) and four insanely tightly timed parry directions

            DS has strong attack, weak attack, block, parry and oodles and noodles of dodging

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNSUK5gFC0Q
            or
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkPrgQhpkHQ&list=SPEE89EA70C9AD368F&index=21&feature=plpp_video

            don’t be a douche kaira, it’s unbecoming

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            He is right, you know. The most difficult thing about combat is timing the parry/dodge and learning that is just a matter of repetition per enemy. It’s immensely satisfying once you get it right, but that’s about it.

            The rest of the combat is indeed just a part of planning. “Which armour do I wear?”, “how much load should I have?”, “which weapon is best suited for this enemy?”, “where do I approach?”, “how to I defend?” sort of thing. To put it bluntly, it’s something you can read on a wiki and make the fight significantly easier.

            M&B melee combat is significantly more difficult in this regard and, as much as I like Dark Souls, its difficulty really seems very much tacked on by the intentionally poor placement of spawn points. Let’s face it, if the spawn was right at the entrance of each boss, the game would be a walk in the park.

          • Necanthrope says:

            There’s a lot more to the combat than just light and heavy attacks. Your full range of input’s are:

            - Light attack
            - Back step into lunging light attack
            - Roll into light attack
            - Heavy attack
            - Back step into lunging heavy attack
            - Roll into heavy attack
            - Kick
            - Jump attack
            - Fall attack (requires a leap from a higher elevation)
            - Backstab
            - Shield smash
            - Shield parry followed by a riposte (separate events requiring good timing)
            - Defensive back step
            - Defensive roll

            Now that’s just the basic inputs available. In addition you can two hand your weapon which put’s a different spin on most of the attacking moves above. You can also chain attacks which on some weapons changes the type of strike made after the first one.

            Also some weapons have unique attacks such as a charge or an area effect blast etc. This all before you figure in each weapon has its own reach, attack speed and attacking motions which all effect how you fight.

            Once you start factoring in the weight of your equipment affecting stamina recovery and move / roll speed, rings, spells consumable etc there’s a lot more going on that just jabbing light attack.

            The system is versatile and the weapons diverse. You can do a lot if you stick with one category. Ideally though you want to try them to see which works best for you. You should also stats permitting try every weapon you get. As mentioned more than a few have interesting abilities tied to basic inputs.

          • DuddBudda says:

            I believe I covered all those rolling and back stepping lunges Necan

            “oodles and oodles of dodging”

          • Inarborat says:

            Immersion breaking is the most overused cliched complaint in gaming today. It isn’t “immersion breaking” when it’s a part of the game! We get it, you dislike the game but to call the combat trial and error is an extremely poor criticism and just flat out wrong If you just go in blindly, yeah it’s trial and error. If you actually study that hulking boss and his movements and attack patterns, it’s not. Please stop spreading false information, it just looks sad.

            Mount & Blade, while fun games have shit awful controls.

            To those saying replaying the same part over and over is tedious, stop dying so much. Don’t blame the game for your shortcomings.

          • DuddBudda says:

            yeah man, I can study a Taurus Demon without getting smacked to death

            that was a lie

            I can study the patterns of a Drake’s attacks and isolate that the tail is the weakspot without getting burnt to death thousands of times

            that was also a lie

            how can these enemies be approached anything but blindly? please, explain

            as for the ‘immersion breaking’ – having one’s first encounter with a dragon (drake idgaf) spoilered seconds prior by glowing orange graffiti hovering about a foot above the stairs is immersion breaking – that criticism may be common but that indicates is games often suck at world building

            if a game demands [cf trial and error bossholes] such cheap and nasty mechanics to be playable, well shit, that game ain’t worth playing

          • dE says:

            Like, the moment where the Taurus Demon leans aaaaaall the way back, raising his weapon reeaaaaally high… with almost 3 seconds build up, an overhead attack with a huge weapon – by a creature four times your size – hell how is anyone supposed to know that this kind of smash will hurt like hell?

            I’ll happily agree that the difficulty in Dark Souls is at times flawed and that it is certainly not a very accessible game. Hell, things like the Stray Demon ceiling collapse. Or the wurm things that instantly corrode your weapons and armor for all time to come.

            But when it comes to combat, everything is telegraphed and with quite a lot of prelude as well. If you only ever react to the attack, then yes, it’s twitch based, will hammer you into the ground and appear incredibly dull as you bash your head against reflex based gameplay in a game that’s not based on reflex.
            You need to be proactive, react during the buildup. The combat in Dark Souls is much more a game of mind. Constantly weighing risk and reward. Questions like “I know I can block that attack once, with my shield, if I have enough stamina – will I have enough stamina after this attack run?”. Or “Can I wiggle behind that mob and try a backstab?” or “BY GOSH THAT’S A BIG DRAKE, SURELY RUNNING UP CLOSE IS A GOOD IDEA! NEVERMIND THE CHARRED CORPSES LEFT AND RIGHT”.

        • Archonsod says:

          It’s also somewhat tedious though. I mean it’s nice that it diverges from the usual hack and slash mould by making every combat challenging, but it would have been somewhat more effective to dial down the number of generic mobs (particularly given the setting) and perhaps up some of the mini-boss/set piece encounters to compensate. Most deaths don’t come from the challenge of combat, but the challenge of remaining awake while fighting through yet another mob of identikit zombies on your way to find something interesting to disembowel.

          • Slaadfax says:

            There’s an actual sense of weight and impact to the combat, rather than having you wave your sword around until everything in front of you breaks.

            In addition, very little of the game “should” hold any measures of trial and error, to be honest. Yes, there are going to be a couple of cases where you may just die, but something Dark Souls (hopefully) teaches a player is that caution is king. This might not be your cup of tea, but once you start to analyze every angle and take great care with how you approach a given situation, the frequency of death is much lower.

            I personally find it a compelling experience with a great deal of challenge to it. Yes, to me the challenge itself does add strong measures of satisfaction upon success, but I also understand that not everyone will be endeared to such a thing.

            The comparison to Mount & Blade is very strange, especially because you mention something about immersion very shortly after.

          • Sardaukar says:

            Seconding Slaadfax. The concept of caution and discretion is something that has been utterly lost these days in games- and that’s not terrible! The wonderful freedom and expression in things today is nice. But something I noticed playing Day Z was how many players had no sense of healthy fear. They’d see a dead body, and their first reaction was to run and loot it- and then get shot. I spent an afternoon on a roof and people would actually watch someone die and then try to loot them a few minutes later. A dead body should be the scariest thing you see in your life, for survival reasons: It means something in the area kills people, a group you belong to.

            That sense of justified fear and tension when seeing a dead player that makes that atmosphere of Day Z so entertaining is also present in Dark Souls. It tempers my compulsion to do everything, gather every item, kill every enemy, because sometimes it’s not worth risking death. A bloodstain on the ground in an area that doesn’t seem dangerous is a very powerful gameplay element.

          • kanali654 says:

            It’s not really that reliant on dexterity, unless you’re going for a dodge build or the like. Tanking it with a shield turns it into a game of observance and timing – provided you use the right shield.
            http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4825DBA198EBE9B9&feature=plcp

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Seconding Sardaukar and thirding Slaadfax!

            I couldn’t agree more, you should play this game like you would play thief. Sometimes, you catch a glimse from a window which gives an important clue as to what is to come, or a stain on the wall or a loose stone or countless other tiny little clues all help to warn or inform

          • NathanH says:

            The problem I have with “caution” as an optimal strategy is that it is trivial to think of, trivial to implement, but also annoying and a bit boring to implement. Perhaps it is because I am a mathematician, but as soon as I am satisfied that I have worked out a solution and can implement the solution whenever I want, I’m not going to want to waste my time actually doing it if it isn’t particularly interesting to actually do.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @NathanH – Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend any criticism at those who don’t enjoy the game for whatever reason. I would say though that, whilst I’m not a mathematician, my mind works in the same kind of way and I know where you are coming from. Once you know what is around the corner, you don’t need the caution, its really only when exploring new areas! For example, if I enter a new room, I will have my shield up by default. I will have peered into the room by every angle I could. Lets say I have seen two enemies in there, but I couldn’t see into one corner. I’m going to check that corner before facing those enemies to ensure there isn’t a sneaky third in there.

            If there is a sneaky guy in the corner, then it’s time to problem solve, how can I defeat the three enemies. I could say dart in then out, leading them into the doorway where I could tackle them one at a time. If that works well, then I have my solution and I don’t really need the caution anymore, I can nip through in seconds on repeated playthorughs.

            Any bosses or mini bosses don’t respawn, so those uber tough guys who take real effort to kill won’t come back like the regular enemies.

            Not trying to change your opinion or anything, just trying to explain!!!

          • Necanthrope says:

            The basic hollow is a staple of the first few levels. Subequent regions have other mobs usually of a more mixed variety and off greater power. Once you get to the Undead Church to ring the bell you’ll start seeing other mobs in greater numbers. I can only assume therefore that you’ve not progressed too far. The first few levels are all deemed to be part of the same city and thus sport its undead citizens the hollows with a few elites thrown in. Head down to the Catacombs or New Londo Ruins both are open at the start and you’s see very different mobs and a very quick death!

        • frightlever says:

          Trivial is a relative quality. What’s “not trivial” to a twenty-something may be getting on for “impossible” to a fifty-something.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        I truly believe that if you were to take away the difficulty of the combat, you would lessen its effectiveness a lot.

        “Game ruining” is too strong, but something like this would have to be approached very carefully. For one thing, an easier difficulty is something that must not be changeable mid-game, otherwise the temptation to just click over to it every time things get tough would really ruing the massive payoff you get from persevering.

        • HexagonalBolts says:

          I totally disagree – I think changeable difficulties are fantastic. Partly because they’re useful when the developer has made a ridiculous difficulty spike above and beyond just a normal tough spot (e.g. the witcher) and partly because sometimes I have simply chosen the wrong option – it’s impossible to determine beforehand what someone’s abstract notion of ‘hard’ is, so why should I be forced to pick which difficulty I play at beforehand and have to stick to it for 40 hours?

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            I like changeable difficulties in general, but I wasn’t speaking generally. For this particular style of game, it wouldn’t be fitting.

        • NathanH says:

          I think we just have to trust people to play games properly. There aren’t many games where I fiddle with the difficulty constantly, and those tend to be badly-designed games rather than just hard ones.

      • Satanic Beaver says:

        I agree. The story here is nothing special, almost nonexistant, but the art direction, setting and just general mood and atmosphere are amazing. That giant crow picking you up at the end of the tutorial was pretty badass too :)

        • Inarborat says:

          The story IS there. It”s just not spoonfed to you at every single moment like most modern games. The lore is deep and like the game itself, it depends on the player as to how much you immerse yourself in that lore/story.

      • mondomau says:

        Read the OP again- the commenter doesn’t actually bad-mouth the story or setting, he/she is simply pointing out that the game’s difficulty is what has generated the most buzz. Which is correct!

        • TCM says:

          This is because people are dumb and enjoy waving e-penis more than they care about good game design, and don’t fully understand why the game is enjoyable, but settle on the fallacious repetition of ‘BECAUSE IT IS HARD’.

          • gschmidl says:

            If it weren’t hard, how would you wav…. oh, that’s not what you meant.

            Anyway, I don’t see the problem here — nobody forces people to play on a lower difficulty, and if other people want to “ruin it for themselves” (a stupid sentiment IMO), then why not let them?

            Personally, I will be CheatEngine-ing the hell out of the game because if it wants to screw with me, I certainly am going to screw with it.

          • Namey says:

            Is there something wrong in actually enjoying the game because it’s hard?

            I’m not playing it because of some weird appreciation of good game design. I am playing it because it’s difficult. The solid game design merely serves as a tool to further my feel of achievement for overcoming the challenges the game presents. The design is what sets the game apart from most other games that are difficult for the sake of being difficult . Games like I Want To Be The Guy.

            But if you take that exact same design and slap it on a game with average difficulty, say something along the lines of Skyrim, and I’d argue that the end result is nothing special.

          • Inarborat says:

            No one gives a shit about bragging rights in this game. It’s the sense of community and experiencing the same challenges as fellow players, finding secrets in the world, discussing strategies and builds. You know, like we used to do before the Internet. By all means completely miss the entire community aspect of the game and brush it off as some “e-penis” strokefest.

      • NothingFunny says:

        Not really, it looks average (bar few interesting monster designs) and the story is very minimal and well hidden. Most of the atmosphere comes from the fact that you realise you WILL die, adding much of the tension and the feel of absolutely deadly and insane environment. And that death has consequences. It makes you very immersed in the game. Also the huge range of upgrade choices that matter a lot for your survival and progress make you heavily ‘invested’ and attached to your character and the game.
        Change Souls into your typical challengeless button-mash action RPG where you don’t even feel the need to upgrade your gear for several levels and it becomes an unremarkable dull game (well, you still have good fighting mechanics but I assume it’d get old pretty fast) .

        If they would want to make the game more accessible maybe they could change some early game encounters to gradually teach the player without pretty much unavoidable deaths (unless player knows what awaits and what he needs to do)

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        Do you really not understand that the high difficulty is one of the reasons why people praise its atmosphere? If you could just breeze through the game and take a whirlwind tour of its locales you would lose a lot of what makes it hostile, unsettling, and kind of scary.

    • thekdawg21 says:

      I am in absolute love with Dark Souls. I love the fact that people get so upset that they can’t finish the game (for whatever reason). If they added an easy mode that made finishing the game an inevitability measured only in how long it took you to finish rather than IF if you finished I’d be really sad. Can’t we real gamers have just ONE title that we can look upon with fondness at having finished when the rest of the ADHD addled world just can’t bear to actually think about what they are doing in order to complete it? Just one? I promise, the Elder Scrolls VI will include your win button, just not Dark Souls.

      • TCM says:

        “Can I keep this one super special thing that makes me feel special and better than everyone else? They can enjoy other things, but not this thing, because I am part of the special group that can enjoy this special thing that only we ‘get’.”

        Or, in other words, stop being a gaming hipster.

        • remote says:

          Hipster? So the “gamers” get soft and weak and want their gratification handed to them on a platter and they’re… what… the hardcore? The TRUE gamers? I think you’re a little bit confused, kid. Why is it that ignorant, lazy failures are always the ones throwing the “hipster” tag around?

          • TCM says:

            Wow, way to make incredibly dumb assumptions about somebody you know nothing about based on one post — because if you even bothered to read anything else I’ve ever said on Dark Souls, you’d know I praise the frig out of its challenge. Any comment thread on Dark Souls RPS has, pick one. I’ll wait.

            It is one thing to want the game to remain difficult as a design choice. It is another to say it should remain difficult so that ‘people’ can’t play it, and only our special little clique can enjoy it.

            The former is a matter of debate. The latter is being a hipster.

            Also, ad hominem and whining about ‘things were better in my day’ is not exactly the debate technique of champions.

          • remote says:

            The “hipster” accusation still makes no sense. Is the guy with the world’s top score in Donkey Kong a “hipster” just because nobody else can play the game like he does? You’re being absurd. I’ve played well over a thousand hours of Dark Souls and when I meet someone with impressive skills and knowledge of the game’s inner workings I’m impressed. Why can’t you have the same grace? If an opponent with superior skills bests you, are you going to slag them with belittling insults? It only makes you a sore loser. And that’s where I see these “hipsters” insults coming from most often: sore losers and ignorant, self-important types. I mean, seriously, if you’re going to personally insult someone and then whine about ad hominem… How ridiculous can you be?

          • TCM says:

            Read the post above me.

            The entire reason — the ENTIRE reason — that this guy does not want the game to be more accessible is because he would be out of the special, limited group who have beaten it. He LOVES seeing people fail, because it means he is better than them, he has put himself above them.

            That is not somebody I can respect. I respect the heck out of good players, I have zero respect for players who don’t want anyone else to be capable of their ‘amazing’ feats.

            A hipster is somebody who is part of a unique subculture simply for its counter-cultural, ‘unique’ connotations. They enjoy things ironically, listen to music you’ve never heard of, and say ‘you just don’t GET what I like’ when asked why. This is exactly what the poster above me wants from his gaming experience — he wants to be a very special snowflake in a niche subculture, capable of things beyond ‘lesser’ people.

            I can take a loss gracefully, heck, I regularly lose at fighting games, and other high skill entry barrier games, and often wind up friends with those who defeat me — I can respect the effort that goes into learning how to do something well. However, I cannot, and will not ever, respect somebody who enjoys seeing others fail where they have succeeded just so they can feel good about themselves.

            The use of the term ‘real’ gamer further contributes to that mentality — you again put yourself above those ‘lesser’ people who don’t have the skill, time, or ability to enjoy the same entertainment you do. It’s no different than being a film snob or an art snob — ‘you just can’t appreciate this eight hour film about two guys in a desert with no dialogue, it’s not FOR you.’

          • NathanH says:

            I don’t really agree; this is elitism based on fact, whereas hipsterism is elitism based on opinion.

          • Ragnar says:

            Why are we arguing terminology here? Whether he’s hardcore, or a hipster, or he’s dubstep, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the idea that there should be games that some people can finish, but others can’t. I don’t think there’s a need for such “elitist” games.

            There are a already a number of games for the “harder is better” crowd. Grimlock, Super Meat Boy, the Ninja Gaiden series, the Devil May Cry series, practically every NES action game.

            But does a game even need to be hard for it to present an elitist challenge? I say no.

            Take games with high scores. Do you need to make Donkey Kong or Ikaruga so hard that many people won’t be able to finish them? Of course not, just make it hard to get a high score. That way, people who play games casually (as opposed to casual gamers) can still finish the game and get the full experience, while those who wish to prove their proficiency know that finishing the game is only the beginning, and high scores tell of their prowess.

            Achievements feed right into this. God of War or Bayonetta are not particularly hard on the default difficulties. Someone with moderate game experience can go through the games without getting stuck at any one part for very long. But those who wish to show their mastery can go on to “Platinum” or “100%” or “Gold Star for Being Special” the game by beating it at the highest difficulty level. This can cover every game genre. Yes, you and I both beat Dragon Age, but you’ve got your Gold Star for beating it on the super-high difficulty setting and I didn’t.

            Given that so many games already have built-in challenges to overcome, is there any need for titles exclusive for their difficulty? If you’ve got your Gold Star that you can affix to your e-peen for beating Dark Souls on Masochistic, what does it matter if I play through the game on Carebear? Does my ability to finish the game somehow diminish your achievement?

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        jrodman says:

        So… people who play games for different reasons than you are fake. Is that it?

        I’m glad to see you deny reality openly.

      • Deano2099 says:

        If fans of really hard games spent as much time campaigning for more games to have well-balanced and fair ‘really hard’ modes as they do bitching about the possibility of an easy mode in Dark Souls we’d all be better off.

        • PopeJamal says:

          Agreed 100%. I get tired of hearing whiney internet man-children complaining about changing things to include other people:
          -Why do we have to let the “casuals” play?
          -Why do we have to let “women” play?
          -Why do we have to let “the gays” play?
          -Why do we have to let the console people?

          Stop being an exclusionary arsehole and let other peole have fun too. Being able to only have fun when others are excluded or unhappy is a sick fetish in the gaming community that needs to stop. Now.

          I don’t care when you and your buddies prattle on about how awesome you are for beating “Nightmare” mode, so you shouldn’t care if I happily trundle through easy mode and then move on to the next title. It affects absolutely ZERO people besides me.

          Sometimes people need to mind their own damned business.

    • JackShandy says:

      You haven’t been looking in the right places. Here’s 13 videos of a guy talking about the story.

      http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4825DBA198EBE9B9&feature=plcp

      Don’t click on that if you don’t want spoilers, obviously.

    • monkone says:

      Disagree. Lots of people discuss the story in this game. In fact it’s a very good game for the story as much of it is hidden, it needs to be found, deciphered and deduced. You can easily go from start to finish and not have a clue what’s going on.

      *potential spoiler, I’ve been vague but meh. Some people even view an implication they most likely won’t understand as too much of a spoiler*

      But if you scratch the surface and dig for lore, a rather poignant and interesting high fantasy “Gods and man” story emerges.

      In fact it’s the people who’ve dug into the story who come to realise that the seemingly “evil” end is technically the “good” from a certain perspective ;)

      The difficulty adds to the bleakness and desperation that drives this story.

  2. KauhuK says:

    I signed the petition to get Dark Souls for PC. Bought the game few days ago but I really suck at it. Need to give it more time to grow on me.

    • BarshSmash says:

      It really does need a little bit of time to grow on you, imo.

      I bought Demon’s Souls a while back and after about 20 min I was all set to give up. But, I thought “I’ve heard so much raving about how good this is, maybe I’m missing something…”

      Went online to do a quick search about the difficulty & the first post I came across said basically the reaction was something like: 1) Ooh, I can’t die, whee! 2) Whoa. I died in one hit… 3) Screw this game.

      So I figured, since that was pretty much 100% my reaction, maybe I should give it another shot. Then over the next hour or two I started to figure things out & get pulled in by the atmosphere… I slowly got better at the combat, learned my way around the world, and the rest was history. ;)

      After that, I pretty much knew what I was getting into w/ Dark Souls and *loved* it from the start. Give it at least a couple of hours to get its hooks in you & if it does (it won’t work for everyone, I’m sure), you won’t regret it.

  3. Dominic White says:

    This is ridiculous, because they already made the game significantly easier after launch via a patch that doubled the soul drops from just about everything. The game PC gamers got *is* the easier version.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Requiring less grinding is not making the game easier.

      • db1331 says:

        Actually, I did find the game much easier this time around. The double souls things makes sense, but I didn’t even realize it until now. I think I was level 90-something when I finished the new content and went to kill Nito for my last lord soul. And I had a fully upgraded set of black iron armor, the upgraded great shield, and a +15 great sword. And I had 20 lightning bolts I could hurl that would 1 or 2 shot most enemies. I was overpowered as hell. I never did any grinding for souls, and I’m sure didn’t even find half of the soul pick-ups. I probably only had around 5 successful co-op boss kills too. I was so OP, when I went to stand toe-to-toe with Gwyn, even if I missed my parry, he barely scratched me.

      • Satanic Beaver says:

        Actually, it is, as this game does not “require” you to grind. I finished the game with almost *no* grinding, because this game is not pure rpg, and a large portion of whether you can progress depends on how good you are at the game, not how many souls you have.

        • MordeaniisChaos says:

          It requires you to grind when you’re knew, because YO have to get better. Your character doesn’t really need it, but you sure as hell do. The whole point of the way that death works in the game is you trying to figure out the best way to get to the next bonfire with enough resources to keep alive. So sure, if you’re experienced like 80% of the player base and you use the wiki and all that shit, you can go through without grinding much, because you can just go for the stuff you know you need, you know the optimal paths, the strategies, etc. But if you’re new and not just reading a strategy guide, yes, you will grind, because you will die and you will keep trying at an area till you get it.

      • barfmobeele says:

        More souls / More stuff = faster gains = easier

      • RavenGlenn says:

        The game isn’t about grinding. And “requiring less grind” as you claim, would make the game insanely easy. Seeing as you can beat the game as a level 1, the higher level you are, the more powerful you are.

        So by making it easier to level, you are effectively making it easier to get more power than you need to be.

        The game doesn’t need an easier mode. Play it and get stronger. That’s how you get to easy-mode.

        • Archonsod says:

          It doesn’t make it any easier to level, just quicker. It’s remarkably easy to exploit the mechanics – you can quite easily simply farm the same enemies over and over to gather souls. There’s nothing stopping you in any version killing all the zombies on the way up to the aqueduct at Firelink, then going back to the bonfire at jumping off the cliff. Since you can always pick up your corpse and then repeat the only limit on how far you can level is your own patience. All changing the soul drop rate does there is alter how long you keep grinding to get to the level you want.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      There are speed runs flying around proving that amount of souls has nothing to do with beating the game.

      • Jesse L says:

        It does if you haven’t played the game 50 times already, like the speedrunners have.

    • Wedge says:

      Considering glitches in the original version let you get approximately INFINITY souls, no. There was also some very overpowered equipment/skills they nerfed in the patch. The game can be made quite easy if you level up a ton in the initial playthrough, and that is just a matter of exploitation of the fastest method to gather souls.

      I personally tend to play the game using the minimal amount of souls required to get the stat requirements for equipment/skills I want to use, simply because it’s entirely possible to play the game doing so.

    • Gorf says:

      you are absolutely correct.
      ive found this version a lot easier to complete then when i first played the game and i even feel its easier then the patched version of the console game, althought i’m not 100% sure that it maybe just from experience at playing.

  4. Wallllrod says:

    As long as it’s a selectable mode, i don’t give a fig. Sometimes the game feels like it’s difficult in a cheap way, but beating obstacles by finding your own way or fluking it is fun and satisfying. I’d have skipped most of the cutscenes if i could, though.

    • Unaco says:

      I, too, could not give a fig if it was optional. More options is great. I haven’t actually played much yet… had stuff on. Have encountered the difficulty, but more at issue for me is some of the obtuse mechanics, and the lack of any way to play around with them, without risking your precious humanity/souls, as well as some of them not being elaborated on at all.

      Also, as a side point… The last version of the DSFix (the graphics fix) introduced save scumming. Backing up your saves, which could easily be used to avoid death.

      • Alexander Norris says:

        Not easily. The absolute minimum time between backups is ten minutes. It is impossible to save-scum when backups are ten minutes apart.

        Also, that wasn’t the latest version but three or four versions ago. The latest version (0.9) introduces SMAA, though!

        • Unaco says:

          Yeah… I meant to say the last version I looked at, on Sunday I think. Saves being 10 minutes apart doesn’t make it impossible to save scum… It can still be done, with 10 saves over the last 100 minutes. The furthest you’d have to go back would be 10 minutes.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        1. You can just as simply create a CMD file that constantly copies the file around yourself.

        2. There’s a trainer for the game.

        3. The saves are unencrypted and contain souls and attributes in an easily editable format.

        In short: Don’t worry, there were already ways to cheat the game to shit before this consideration and the DSFix tool.

  5. Moni says:

    Dark Souls is very inaccessible, but just putting in an easy mode probably won’t solve it.

    I think the bigger problem is that a lot of the mechanics of the game are just plain obtuse. For example, the humanity system, what does it do apart from make you look less ugly?

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Allow you to summon phantoms/be invaded and increases your resistances and item find. It also buffs Chaos weapon/spell damage.

    • Coriform says:

      You also need to be human to kindle bonfires.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      You need to be human to:
      - Kindle bonfires;
      - summon people (NPCs or other players);
      - be invaded by other people (NPCs or other players).

      In addition, being human also buffs your item find rate (up to 10 humanity), your curse resistance (scales indefinitely but with diminishing returns above 15 or so humanity IIRC) and any damage done by the Chaos damage source.

    • Satanic Beaver says:

      While maybe this should be explained in game, anybody that plays a game like this without a wiki, is insane.

      • Imbecile says:

        True dat. I’m all for secrets, maps, builds and stat details requiring web access. I”m less fond of basic information needing constant reference to the wikis. Still – great game

      • Sheng-ji says:

        I haven’t had to turn to the wiki yet, though I’m getting close to researching a strategy to beat a certain boss…..

        If you go to the character screen, you can press the back button (Or keyboard equiv) and highlight each stat for a decent explanation. You can also see the effects of various things for example, what leveling up each prime attribute does or whether an item of equipment is better or worse etc by the red and blue numbers.

        A wiki is a bit easier though if you’re used to researching in that way

        • Satanic Beaver says:

          You should definitely at least check out the weapon upgrading section of the wiki, it might save you alot of time a resources to get the type of weapon you actually want.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Hehe, funny you say that, since that post and this I’ve been upgrading my weapons and armour like crazy! I now have a wear all the time set, for most encounters, a fire resist set and a variety of weapons for different situations.

            God I love this game, so much! I love how weapons aren’t straight upgrades from one another and many that I disregarded now have important niches in my arsenal!

            Also got that boss :) :) :)

            My only complaint WAS that inventory management gets to be a nightmare, but I got the bottomless box now, thanks to a foray back to the start areas to see how godlike I am to those guys now (not very!!!)

        • Lowbrow says:

          I had to consult the wiki 10 minutes in. The game told me a certain movement let me kick, but neglected to inform me that a “kick” was actually a step back and a downward slash. Many of the basic instructions were obtuse like that, apparently out of laziness.

          • JackShandy says:

            Uh, that’s not the kick. Maybe you’re doing it wrong? Or you might have a weapon that specifically changes your kick animation to be something different.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            On a gamepad, kick is tap forwards and simultaneously tap the right bumper (I assume tap w and simultaneously tap “quick/weak attack”) which makes perfect sense to me. At first I struggled to get them simultaneously, but now I nail it every time; practice makes perfect!

          • Wolvaroo says:

            Thrusting sword type weapons replace the kick with that move. I assume you started as a thief with a rapier or something. This is an acceptable oversight I believe, though I understand your frustration. I myself had trouble learning to kick because I didn’t know I had to press forward and kick at the same time, as opposed to holding forward then kicking.

            The “tutorial” is commonly seen as one of the games weaker points, though I think it has it’s merits as well.

          • Lowbrow says:

            Not a thrusting weapon, but the Wanderer’s scimitar. I wasted a lot of time trying to get the timing right for a “kick” when I was doing the right movement all along. Could have been solved with a half-sentence explanation, and I had to get away from the game and google it.

    • MordeaniisChaos says:

      Which is about a third of what it actually does.

      • Qazi says:

        Added four more links to confirm the game telling us that only Humans can summon people, that only Humans can invade and that Chaos weapons scale with Humanity, and that only Humans can Kindle bonfires.
        It is awaiting moderation ‘cos flagged as spam for loads of links.
        In case it doesn’t get through, the Item description on the White Soapstone given by the Sunlight Knight Solaire, the Cracked Red Eye Orbs you can find, the description on the Chaos Ember you need to get Chaos enchanted weapons and when you sit down to Kindle a fire while a Hollow.

  6. Revolving Ocelot says:

    The easy mode would be designed to mock you.

    I remember firing up Devil May Cry 3 and promptly hitting a brick wall known as Cerberus over and over again. The game offered to switch me to Easy Automatic. I declined, and kept abusing poor Dante until he got past the demon dog so he could hit the solid concrete wall known as Agni & Rudra. Took me about 3 months to actually finish the game, on and off.

    Then I learned that the PAL “Normal” mode was the equivalent of Hard mode in Japan. And then I saw Dante Must Die mode, smirking at me.

    Smirking.

  7. Cold Steel says:

    The game itself is good but the shoddy porting left a bad aftertaste.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Yeah, i’m not one hesitating to play on grounds of difficulty, rather on grounds of the awful control system for mouse and keyboard. There’s a sale right there for them if it’s ever sorted out, modded or otherwise.

  8. MuscleHorse says:

    I’ve been coming back to it now and then and am now thoroughly enjoying it, despite having trouble getting past the starting block. I can’t decide whether the obtuseness of some of it’s features is an annoyance or a harkening back to the good old days, where one would have to work things out for one’s self.

  9. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    It’s an interesting issue. Dark Souls is a fantastic game, and one that I think a lot of people would get a lot from. There is a barrier to entry, but it’s one I feel has mostly been constructed by the coverage of the game: it’s not a mechanically hard game like a bullet hell schmup, but it does require a change in mindset from what you would normally associate with a third person fantasy game. And it is deliberately obfuscating in terms of game systems.

    That said, the I’d be happy for there to be an alternate ‘relaxing’ mode that didn’t require my constant, undivided, white-knuckled attention. That would be nice :)

  10. LilDeamon says:

    It’s currently £20 on shop-to for a retail copy that now registers on steam (if that’s yer thang). The game is fine with the DSfix patch and a gamepad. :D

  11. db1331 says:

    I can’t just mash X all the way through the game, therefore the game is too difficult.

    A lot of people are used to never dying in their games, thanks to things like wall cover and regenerating health. I’m currently playing through the Ocarina of Time Master Quest on the 3DS, and I died in the first room of the first dungeon, to a lone bat. I realized that although I had finished the game numerous times, on three different platforms (N64, Wii, and 3DS), this was the first time I had ever seen the death screen. So I think that when people play Dark Souls and die in the tutorial, they just assume something is wrong with the game. Never mind that they haven’t even attempted to grasp the mechanics of blocking, dodging, or stamina management. It’s the game’s fault.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      That said, the game is pretty damn terrible at communicating any of this, which is the game’s fault.

      • Satanic Beaver says:

        The game can be terrible at communicating that it is hard? I don’t quite get what you mean here…

        • dE says:

          No, the game is terrible at communicating how you actually play it. Don’t get me wrong, I think that this adds to the charm somewhat.
          But let’s be honest, which mage did NOT ask himself where the f- he was supposed to get new spells from? And all those stats you’re overloaded with? The game doesn’t even bother telling you that some of those stats have semi skill caps.

          • Satanic Beaver says:

            Ok, I see. It basically tells you where you are going to get spells once you meet the second npc though… but i agree.

    • running fungus says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever said the game is too difficult (so maybe my reply is off-base, I’ll admit) but I certainly don’t have the tolerance for repetition. DS may be a new turn in modern gaming but old gamers grew up with unforgiving memory-tasks disguised as games. I had patience for it (even enthusiasm) when I was 15. I really don’t anymore. Nor do I want a “press-any-button-to-succeed” rpg. But by the gods, a battle loses its shine the 20th time I’ve fought it.

      What some call challenge I call tedium.

      • JFS says:

        Exactly. Quite some games manage to get it right, but a lot don’t, so it’s either überhard or “press X to win”. Even worse, the problem extends to the gamer population, where one party basically demands “press X”, and the other is OMFGROXORR-super-elite and disrespects everybody who doesn’t play Super Meat Boy with a keyboard, blindfold and one arm behind the back because *they* sure can do it and if they can, that’s the standard.

        People are just ignorant, I guess that’s the problem.

      • Mman says:

        “unforgiving memory-tasks disguised as games.”

        Ridiculous statements like this do nothing but betray your own ignorance about the game; with a couple of exceptions there are many ways to handle every situation, which is pretty much the opposite of a “memory task”. In almost every situation in the game, if you’re relying on trying to do the same thing over and over until it works you’re probably doing it wrong.

        • running fungus says:

          Fight monster X dozens of times until you learn what patterns defeat it.
          Fight monster Y dozens of times until you learn what patterns defeat it.
          Fight monster Z…

          It’s not exactly Dragon’s Lair (a comparison someone else already made in this very thread) but it’s not far off. Learning through repetition what to do when. The “challenge” is devoting enough time to it.

          • thebigJ_A says:

            He was right, you’re doing it wrong. Oh, I suppose it COULD be played that way. Sounds awfully dull, though. I don’t know anyone who does.

  12. Alexander Norris says:

    You’re completely right, but to nitpick: Dark Souls is not a single-player game. Unless you’re playing in offline mode (in which case you’re missing out on a significant part of the experience), you are permanently connected to other players.

    • mrmalodor says:

      Does the game at any point require you to use its online feature to progress? No, it does not. Therefore it is a single-player game with optional co-op and PvP.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        I think really the single player game is designed to be enhanced by the optional multiplayer bit and significantly, the difficulty has been balanced around you getting coop help. Yes you can play the whole thing in offline mode, but it is true to say that this was not the vision of the designer.

        So I believe it is more fair to say that the game is a coop game with a pvp danger at all times with an optional single player mode.

        No need to rage.

  13. Satanic Beaver says:

    Jesus Christ no. This would ruin the whole point of dark souls for me, the immense satisfaction after you finally beat a ridiculously hard boss that has killed you time and time again, and then the feeling of terror when you realize that you could still lose the ginormous amount of souls that you just got from it trying to get to the bonfire. There are many other great things about this game, but its unique brand of difficulty, making you memorize the location and strategy of all the monsters in each areas to get to the boss with enough potions, is the best part for me. Granted, adding an easy mode would not mean that i would have to play it, but i think it would tempt some people and ruin a large portion of what this game is ultimately about.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Just a thought, a lot of players have given up on the game very very early, like cant beat the asylum demon after 3 attempts early. An easy mode may act as a gateway for these players to allow them to come back when their skills are honed and play the game as it was designed. Players who would never have experienced it otherwise.

      And no disrespect to those who play and enjoy the easy mode and nothing more. Its all good!

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Theres an earlier article, really interesting, about making games accessible to a wider range of people, including people with disabilities etc.

      Yourself and the rest of the people saying essentially “don’t touch the difficulty” have to realise that for some people the game may be impossible and in providing an easier difficulty they then have the opportunity to enjoy the game in much the same way as you did, therefore i don’t have a problem with it myself, noone is forced to make the game easier if they don’t want to.

      I do get some peoples sentiment though, what isn’t desirable is some rediculous difficulty system a’la Diablo 3 that does nothing more than artificailly extend the lifespan of the game by forcing you to be spoonfed for the first runthrough.

  14. Shadram says:

    It’s the US $70 price tag that’s putting me off…

    • Satanic Beaver says:

      You mean the us $40 price tag? It is 40 dollars on amazon and steam. Though even that is putting me off, for a shoddy PC port of a game i already own. I’ll get it when it goes on sale for/drops to 20 or 25

      • derbefrier says:

        he must be Australian or something those poor guys always get screwed over on pricing

      • Shadram says:

        $70 in New Zealand. Our american dollars are worth less, apparently.

  15. The Great Wayne says:

    I like dark souls, but you can chose to bypass almost entirely its rpg components, and play it like dragon’s lair. See the numerous speed runs on youtube, some of them under 30 mins.

    And it’s by no mean a negative, I loved dragon’s lair back in the day, but the e-peen wavers claiming dark souls is a revolutionary game and is not to be touched for that reason alone are just poisonous to the game and to the genre.

    An easy mode is fine, gamers just have to grow up.

    • Mman says:

      Trying to say that any way of playing Dark Souls is even remotely like Dragon’s Lair is utterly ridiculous. Even the most stripped-down runs of the game require frequent adaptions to the situation (in many cases, they require more) and can pan-out in very different ways even with tiny differences in actions and movement; any comparison made to a literal QTE game is inherently objectively wrong.

  16. JackDandy says:

    I’ve been really enjoying the level of difficulty so far..

    If they end up putting in an easier mode, I hope it won’t interfere with the game’s design.

  17. Imbecile says:

    The Games section of Metro is actually surprisingly good. It inherited some of the wriiters and readership from the teletext service Digitiser (and later Gamecentral). As for an easy mode on Dark Souls – I’d hate to see it, as really, its finely honed challenge and mechanics are the core of the game., and as its an RPG you can always make it easier for yourself by grinding or co-oping (as I did).

    Still, I can see why it might be a good option for some players, though I can see a similar number feeling slightly disenchanted, when instead of persevering they switch to Easy and ruin the game for themselves.

  18. MordeaniisChaos says:

    The moment to moment combat isn’t THAT hard, what they should do is A) fix the jank (tired of having to avoid fighting upstairs of someone for fear of flying over them and over the side of a level, falling of my death, or getting stuck on a bit of odd geometry, or the taurus Demon and his invisible thunder thighs) that leads to the death of even capable players, and then take the parts of the game that are exceptionally challenging and make those a bit more manageable. or the most part, the game isn’t THAT difficult. But, make things like buttstabbing the boar less of a crapshoot (ie, if you’re behind him, you get the fuckin thing, shut up all you people who have been playing the game for ages because we all know you had troubles with it early on before you spent 50 hours figuring out the exact weirdness of the backstabbing in the game).
    I don’t have a problem with the difficulty in the game. I think it’s fun, it’s a big part of what makes the game so interesting, and I wouldn’t play on an easier setting. But, there are certainly ways to make the game easier and more accessible. Just turning down damage modifiers isn’t going to do that, if you ask me though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Xantonze says:

      It’s true that you have to lock a foe, turn around it, unlock AND THEN backstab for the damn action to have a chance to succeed (hint: always look at the enemies feet alignment to know if you’re straight behind them). This is harsh.
      Mind you, some people find the time to wield their weapon with both hands right before the backstabbing for extra damage… crazy bunch.
      Anyway, I wouldn’t know, I play a mage ;) (just finished in 32 hours… Feels good to have been able to complete both Demon’s souls and Dark souls, though I still prefer the first one..)

      • thebigJ_A says:

        What? You absolutely do not unlock before a backstab. Oh, you *can*, but that’s an advanced tactic, something used in pvp mostly. You’re making it much harder on yourself by unlocking. Silly rabbit.

  19. Humppakummitus says:

    I am perfectly okay with this as long as they implement it the same way as I Wanna Be The Guy 2.

  20. derbefrier says:

    I have fallen in love with Dark souls. Its the best game i have played in years. I love the fighting, i love the difficulty (i think its just right) I love the atmosphere and art direction. I love they way PvP and co-op is implemented(well i wish it was handled more like Demon souls, I hear you could actually play with friends pretty easily since it used dedicated servers or something). I love how each sword handles differently but seems equal in usefulness(at least so far). I love everything about the game and as a fanboy, change frightens me. My biggest fear is the affect making the game easier could have on level design. Many fights are made artificially harder by it(valley of kings is a great example). I worry in an effort to make the next game more accessible that it would lead to boring but easier level design.

    • MordeaniisChaos says:

      Do you know what a difficulty setting is? Everyone seems worried that this is going to change the game they’ve been playing. Just giving an option to create a “non-hardcore” character as a sort of perversion of the Diablo difficulty system isn’t going to make your game handle differently.

  21. Drake Sigar says:

    Adding an easy mode would be like adding a mindless shooty shooty multiplayer to Spec Ops: The Line, even though the game is quite clearly making a statement against it.

    Ok maybe that’s not a fair comparision. Though it’s fair to say the difficulty has become a huge part of Dark Souls identity. I don’t know what Hidetaka Miyazaki’s intentions were, but it’s a little sad to see him back away from that instead of embracing it.

  22. CobraFive says:

    I really hope they do add it. It sounds cliched maybe but my girlfriend really wanted to play the game after watching me for a while (We have the PS3 version, but of course, its almost identical for better or worse).

    She really only got to the first bonfire in Undead burg. She actually died less then I did, once to the Asylum demon, and once to the skeletons behind firelink… but she said that *every* fight being a challenge made the game tedious, rather then actually challenging.

    But she really was interested, she really did like the gameplay, and there really is a lot to want to play in this game even besides the difficulty: The classless character creation really is something else, and not many games manage to have an action-y combat system that is also pretty slow paced and deliberate. Plus, the game’s atmosphere and art direction is pretty great as well…

    Even if not for dark souls, I really do hope whatever comes next does have an easy mode, even if I won’t be using it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Crimsoneer says:

      This is exactly where I am, and it’s infuriating. Not being able to kill the skelettons without killing the damn necromancer means my rapier is totally useless…I need to swap to another weapon and kick them all into the pits before i can move forward…and I die at every damn necromancer.

      • Rimesmoker says:

        Assuming you go through Anor Londo before the Crypts (which I recommend) you can find an occult club hidden where Havel’s armor lies. This can be downgraded to a Divine +5 club, which will keep the skeletons down and should make it a bit easier for you. That said, after a few runs through the crypt you’ll have no trouble avoiding the skellies and just going straight for the necromancer. Good luck, mate :)

      • thebigJ_A says:

        The game is telling you something. You’re not supposed to go that way until later. Try up, instead.

    • MD says:

      my girlfriend

      Man, I hope you meant your gaming-inexperienced acquaintance of unspecified gender and sexuality, or there’ll be trouble.

    • JackShandy says:

      “but she said that *every* fight being a challenge made the game tedious, rather then actually challenging.”

      Not attacking your girlfriend here, but I question this attitude. I feel like there’s no reason for an enemy to exist if it isn’t actually testing your skills.

      • NathanH says:

        One reason is that you can enjoy gameplay without having to be stressed and completely concentrating. Sometimes it can be better like this. Another reason is to give you opportunities to hone skills and test ideas in an environment where mistakes won’t be too costly. Finally, a sense of your character being sufficiently powerful to mow down some enemies is useful in most RPGs.

        • JackShandy says:

          Oh, sure. Dark Souls obviously disagrees with all of those reasons, though. It doesn’t want you to be able to zone out and stop thinking while playing it, and I think that’s admirable. Nothing is there just as a way to pass the time.

  23. barfmobeele says:

    Stop trying to screw up a great game!

    • Unaco says:

      Yeah Hidetaka Miyazaki. How dare you try… and… change the game you designed/directed? With something optional? That wouldn’t change the game for anyone who wouldn’t want it changed?

      • TCM says:

        I reiterate: People are dumb and entitled, and many feel that there is only one RIGHT way to play particular games: their way.

        • Grygus says:

          Their completely made up way, because at least some of the protest comes from fear that, if an easier mode is available, they would use it. So it’s not even really their way, it’s just some arbitrary way that they can live with if given no other choice.

  24. mr.ioes says:

    It’s not capped at 30 fps but 15 here. Very weird. Anyway… the port is so horrible, it doesn’t even matter anymore. Creating a character was fun tho, lovely descriptions of body types.

  25. TCM says:

    To drop in my terribly uninformed and completely made up two cents, there is a huge, huge difference between ‘difficulty’ and ‘challenge’.

    ‘Difficulty’ is negative. It is the player struggling to complete tasks they already know how to do, because, for instance, enemies have arbitrarily inflated statistics, or don’t have to follow the same rules as a player does. While there are exceptions — I don’t believe strategy game AIs should ever follow the same rules as a human player, they aren’t capable of it — as a rule of thumb, a game being ‘difficult’ is not a good thing. A difficult game is a game where the game designer has decided you should not be able to succeed before a certain amount of time invested, regardless of your skill. Trial and error gameplay is symptomatic of a difficult game — and by that I mean segments of the game that can be exclusively passed through trial and error, not segments that will be made easier with trial and error. ‘Difficult’ games force you to play through unenjoyable hours just for the sake of an extended timeframe.

    However, Dark Souls is very rarely a ‘difficult’ game. It is a ‘challenging’ game. It is a game that sets forth its rules very early — you will need to pay attention, act with care, and study both the enemies and the level design itself if you hope to succeed. However, once you KNOW those things, your avatar strength ceases to matter — a player who has never once bothered to sit down at a Bonfire and invest souls in their stats can pass by Gaping Dragon as easily as a player who has set themselves to grind up to level 90 in the sewers (and thus robbed themselves of hours of their time for no real gain). The higher level player might be able to do it FASTER, due to having higher strength, or have more wiggle room to make mistakes, due to having more health, but both players will be able to accomplish the task. A challenging game is a game where the game designer doesn’t care when you succeed, but is not trying to actively assist you either.

    Castlevania, the original for the NES, is a Challenging game. Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest is a difficult game. Mario is a challenging game (most of the time), Half Life is a challenging game, XCOM is a challenging game, etc.

    Final Fantasy is a difficult game (at times). Basically any RPG you can think of that ever requires ‘grinding’ is difficult. A huge number of poorly made Portal fan maps are ‘difficult’. Quarter-munching arcade games tend towards ‘difficult’.

    Also, despite what many may think, at most levels of play, Bullet Hell shooters, I wanna be the Guy, and other famously ‘difficult’ games are challenging — it is totally possible to succeed at them without ever failing, without knowing what is ahead of you, just unlikely. Also, there is a grey area, and it is totally possible for a ‘difficult’ game to be enjoyable and good, but it smacks of laziness as much as a poor tutorial does.

  26. Soon says:

    I like a designer who doesn’t mind being contrary to their fans.

    • TCM says:

      There’s a difference between being contrary to your fans for the sake of it (George Lucas) and being contrary to your fans because they are objectively wrong about conceits of the medium (what is happening here).

    • D3xter says:

      You like a designer that is joining in with a chorus of other designers (probably led by a bunch of publishers who want “accessibility” and to “reach the largest possible audience”) in the type of button-awesome / instant gratification gameplay while there is a VERY limited amount using another philosophy, mostly Indie games like Super Meat Boy and near to no “AAA” experience?

      • TCM says:

        You do understand there is a difference between ‘accessible’ and ‘dumbed down/easy’, right?

        Half-Life 2 is an accessible game. The controls are simple, the weapon selection is fairly limited, and all challenges can be repeated endlessly from a point very close by. The original Super Mario Bros. is accessible, it has two buttons and two directions, and a very limited enemy selection — even a child can play it, heck, I played it before I could read, though I didn’t beat it until I was 8 or so. I’d even argue Super Meat Boy is accessible — anyone can play it, almost anyone can beat it given enough time. None of these games are EASY — they all have challenges that a player must work through, and the amount of people who will ‘win’ on their first try is very limited — however they are all ACCESSIBLE, presenting their mechanics and concepts in easily understood ways, primarily through gameplay.

  27. Eight Rooks says:

    While accessibility is great – every game should be playable by the largest number of people possible – at the same time I don’t like the unspoken (or, well, spoken) assumption difficulty is essentially meaningless and no game should concern itself with this overmuch. Yes, you can still appreciate the art design, the production values, the narrative – I think the writing in Demon’s/Dark Souls is horribly under-rated – but I still think it’s a perfectly valid argument to say you are not appreciating those things to the fullest extent if you’re well aware they have absolutely no practical impact on what you’re doing.

    If a game is created with the baseline experience being you are supposed to be constantly aware you could die at any moment if you don’t concentrate, that this is meant to have an emotional impact on players then if you remove that – yay, more people can have fun, but are they really playing the same game? Is it wrong to tell them they are not playing the same game? Seriously? I’m still convinced there has to be a compromise between “Waaah waaah waaah your incompetence is ruining my playthrough” and “Oh, you’re not enjoying this? It’s cool, just flick this switch and nothing can harm you”. And that it’s okay to say to people “If you play games to relax, have fun, sink a couple of brews etc. etc. perhaps you shouldn’t be playing a game which is clearly designed as the antithesis of this kind of approach“.

    I’m not comfortable with the idea every game has to be equally accessible to everyone, everywhere, no matter their level of skill, their physical state, their personality, their worldview or anything else. And while I am prepared to consider (fearfully) I’m basically wrong, and that the elation I feel when overcoming a virtual obstacle has no relation to good game design, the tone games writers adopt in pieces like this is doing very little to convince me of that.

    • Archonsod says:

      The problem with that argument is that death is ultimately meaningless in the first place. You die, you go back to the last bonfire. You might lose any acquired humanity or souls, but since most of the enemies you killed to get those in the first place respawn it’s not exactly a huge problem.

      In fact you could argue death is actually desirable in some circumstances – provided you can return to your corpse all it really does is double your available resources.

      • Ardyvee says:

        Yes, that is true. While I’d rather backpedal than die, it is true you could do that. That still doesn’t take away that dying is negative and we don’t want to do it. And, sure, once you can go past all the monsters while killing them rather quick it’s a non-issue. But even then you need to pay attention — make sure they don’t backstab you.
        Still, you’re expected to die. It’s the way the game has to tell you that you just made a mistake. I grabbed the game knowing that and I’m still not wanting to die (despite being alright with it). It’s a matter of perspective, but it would certainly be a lesser game (imo) if you took death away.

      • JackShandy says:

        That’s really not correct. When you die, the game holds the time you invested before that death hostage. Time is the only thing anything is ever worth in a videogame.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          I have to disagree, in this or in any game, or any leisure activity, if the only thing you are getting out of it is time passing, then what is the point? The experience is surely much more important than the time you have put into the game – lets say I go for an hours jog. I hate jogging. The best thing about an hours jog for me would be the passing of an hour. I love swimming, if I went for an hours swim, I would get to see friends and socialise a bit, have another go at beating my record and whether I do or not, I will have practised my stroke and legwork and turns etc and had an enjoyable time in the pool. I would have got far more out of the experience than an hour passing.

          So when you play a game and the best thing you get out of it is the passing of time, surely you should look for a different game?

          But if you play a game and lose everything you worked for in the last hour, but still had fun, still enjoyed what you were doing and got more out of it that the time you lost, then its not a problem that you lost your souls and humanity, right?

          And anyway, it’s not as if you don’t know that the game drops souls and humanity where you die – balance the odds a bit – draw the enemy to a place you can easily get back to if you die. Don’t step into the unknown fully laden with them all, make use of the fact that your inventory doesn’t get left behind, so you can carry a lot of souls as inventory items and much humanity too as an emergency backup in case you do need it!

          • JackShandy says:

            I should have been clearer. Obviously you still have the memories, happiness and satisfaction you felt before you died. But Souls, in real-world terms, are only worth the time it took you to gather them.

            When Archonsod says “Death is meaningless”, it seems like he means that you’ve only ever lost an investment of time, because you can always earn back the souls. I’m saying that losing an investment of time is the most serious consequence a game can have. (Ignoring gambling and such)

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Oh, my apologies!!! I understand what you were saying now!!

  28. Dorako says:

    I am all for plenty of difficulty options in any game. Adding more doesn’t change anything for me. In the case of Dark Souls though, I do think the game will lose some of its reputation by doing this, so, while I don’t care, it could have some negative effects from a public opinion standpoint, which is something the developers should be concerned about. I would say that they should probably designate the current difficulty as the one the game is designed to be played on, because some mechanics might be compromised when the difficulty is lowered.

    • goto_dengo says:

      Strongly agree with your last sentence. The games need to continue to be designed around a high difficulty level, and if low/normal difficulty modes are desired, have them added afterward. By another group of coders who don’t even get to touch the core experience. Can’t be too careful!

      re: reputation, interesting comment, and probably true. But there are a ton of reviewers out there who unfortunately cannot see past the game’s difficulty to all the other things that make it great. They’re keeping people who could handle it, from even giving it a try. Give them a ‘normal’ option, and maybe they begin to see the genius of the rest of it, and become more likely to communicate that in their reviews. Probably not, though, as most of these people seem essentially to lack insight.

      Addendum: re: reputed difficulty scaring off potential players–Just remembered that, when I was a wee lad, I was afraid to try Golden Axe in the arcade, because it had a THIRD BUTTON (for magic, I guess). So sometimes, it doesn’t take much, especially if a whole quarter is at stake.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      If a game is designed properly from the ground up there are ways to balance the difficulty levels so that it consists of more than just lowering numbers to the point where easier modes are just a walkover.

      It seems to me that a lot of the complaints about Dark Souls are based around having to replay content upon death, rather than the death itself, this can certainly be addressed in the game design, whether you give it the moniker of “Easy mode” or something else.

      If people are finding game mechanics such as having to repeat sections of a game a stumbling block to enjoying the game then of course it makes sense for the developers to do something about this. Its refreshing to see a game such as this on the market as trends seem to be to make games easier and easier and spoonfeed/handhold the player all the way through, at least the developer is not saying “we made this too hard, we won’t make the same mistake again”, whilst eying up potentially bigger sales figures due to higher mass appeal.

  29. Premium User Badge

    AlwaysRight says:

    But…Its not that hard.

    Edit: Just to qualify, you don’t need as much skill to complete/master it compared to loads of games; Tribes Ascend, Spelunky, Super Meat Boy, Dota, Spy Party.. Etc.

    If you’re patient and use a wiki when you get stuck you don’t even die that often.

    I played the game in its initial un-patched state, largely offline and as a mage and I didn’t find it hard, just awesome.

    • TCM says:

      Tell that to my brother, who couldn’t get past the Undead Burg in five hours of play, when I cleared it in only one.

      Is he a bad strategy gamer? Does he have poor twitch reflexes? No, not necessarily — he annhilated Guitar Hero’s hardest difficulty while I was still struggling with easy, and tore his way through Magic 2012′s challenges inside of a day’s worth of play, with only about a week’s worth of real-world MtG experience.

      Different people have different skillsets and skill thresholds.

      • Premium User Badge

        AlwaysRight says:

        If he was having difficulty there are a number of things he could do before just making the game easier. He could take it more slowly and patiently, or read up on some tips or go on a wiki and find out he could get the Drake Sword?

        What if he chose the easy mode because he was struggling at the start, then after undead burg it all just clicked with him and he was stuck playing a less satisfying version of the game?

        • TCM says:

          Then he would do what a real human being would do and restart on normal mode.

          I don’t see the problem.

        • NathanH says:

          At that point he turns the difficulty from Easy to Normal and carries on happily.

  30. hypercrisis says:

    The only thing that makes the game hard is the abysmal camera and oversized impassable space around certain enemy types that make certain situations a game of chance. The minotaur surrounded by dogs in the lower burg being a prime example.

    • Rimesmoker says:

      While the camera can be finicky, you get used to it. After 300+ hours the only issue I have with the camera is when im trying to aim my bow while using the Symbol of Avarice (texture from the helmet blocks my view). As for the “minotaur”, which is actually a capra demon, that encounter can be made a cakewalk if you prepare correctly. (pine resin + wolf ring + decent shield), although I agree that the difficulty of that encounter is upped from being in such a confined space.

  31. Cut says:

    To be fair on Miyazaki, he what he actually said was:

    ” I am thinking about whether I should prepare another difficulty that everyone can complete or carefully send all gamers the messages behind our difficult games” (highlights mine).

    I think he makes it pretty clear (reading between the possibly extra-polite-not-wishing-to-offend Japanese lines) that he understands as well as anyone the difference between “obtusely difficult” and “challengingly difficult” and considers that DS tries hard to be the latter, not the former.

    And as far as “accessibility for all” is concerned…

    No. Just… No.

    That is the argument used by those who think dumbing down the BBC was a great idea.

    Probably the same kind of person who gets upset there isn’t a chair-lift to the top of Everest so that *everyone* can climb it.

    Some things just should be hard.

    :s

    /rant.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      “Dumbing down of the BBC” – really? Did you watch accused last night. That wasn’t a dumbed down production. Or are you referring to the fact that some presenters talk with regional accents these days rather than the queens english?

      “Chairlift up Everest” – Did you know that they are making the entire southwest coast path wheelchair accessible. Do you have a problem with that? Should it be left to be difficult for me to take a “walk” along the coast of the county I grew up and live in. Perhaps I should be limited to running circles around my local shopping center. Isn’t there a footpath up the west face of the Eiger. Does that take away any of the achievements of those who scaled the North face?

      If the game is made more accessible to others, how does that 1) Affect your experience or 2) Be in any way a bad thing?

      Lets be honest – we don’t even know he is talking about an easy mode here, he may be talking about a much better tutorial and clearer explanations as to the systems of the game. You obviously enjoy the game, that’s great, so do I. But can you not understand why people are giving up on it before the end of the tutorial level? I do understand why and I firmly believe that allowing these players to also have fun with the game, whilst still leaving the original vision intact is no bad thing.

      After all any idiot can get to the top of the Eiger, but you know that you scaled the North Face. You know what you achieved, you had that experience and the footpath on the other side didn’t take that away from you. Isn’t that enough?

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Unfortunately some people only seem to want to achieve things others can’t so that they can be very vocal about it and use it as a reason to put themselves “above” others, rather than gaining an intrinsic feeling of accomplishment for doing something challenging, there are plenty of games with a rediculously tough “Hard” mode,
        i guarentee a lot of the people rattling on in these comments about the difficulty of Dark Souls don’t even go near the hard mode on most games as it gives them no reason to go yelling loudly to others about how great they are.

      • Cut says:

        No I’m afraid I didn’t, and no I certainly don’t. And reading back, I’m not really sure why I used that rather irrelevant example – I guess I was feeling provocative, so my apologies.

        The point I was trying to make is that in exactly the same way that there are a million wonderful views, a million enjoyable airport books and a million blockbuster films which are already accessible to the majority (and which can and should of be made even more accessible if necessary), there are a million games designed for people who (perfectly reasonably) *don’t* equate “exceptionally challenging” with “fun”.

        Given that this is the case, I don’t really see why the few iconic exceptions ( whether that means Everest, Góngora, Greenaway or Dark Souls…) should need to be redesigned a posteriori in the name of “access to all”.

        The artist (or plate tectonics, or whatever :p) had a vision. In a few cases complexity or difficulty formed part of that vision. You wouldn’t ask James Joyce to rewrite Ulises just so “everyone” can read it, would you?

        PS I recognise that “accessibility” has more than one meaning – especially for those with special needs. In that sense, I am all in favour of making sure books are published in braille, films offer subtitles and popular or useful locations are provided with ramps. (and games having sensible UIs)

  32. goto_dengo says:

    I’m fine with this option in future Dark Souls games, but only if the games continue to be designed and calibrated around the more challenging end of the spectrum by default. The ‘easy’ option should then be added ex-post.

    This approach results in a more organic, natural level of challenge, than if you built a ‘normal’ experience and heightened the difficulty after.

    Both difficulty modes could not possibly be given equal attention, or fit the gameplay, level design, combat systems, etc. equally well. And this is dark souls–so ‘easy’, or even ‘normal’, should be considered merely a bonus, and not have excessive developer time devoted to it.

    Fully agree with those who have stated the world, lore, enemy and level design, atmosphere, etc., make this game worth playing even if it wasn’t especially difficult. Some of these qualities though are inextricably linked to the challenge of the game itself; if not constantly at risk of death, the experience would be diminished, IMHO, but still far preferable to trying the game and giving up, or never picking it up in the first place.

    I just pray that From doesn’t sacrifice anything in considering this other part of the gaming market. They’ve produced two masterpieces, and are working at a level so far beyond most other designers and developers that it almost beggars belief. Sorry for the hyperbole; Dark Souls has ruined most other games for me, obviously.

    • Kidane says:

      ABSOLUTELY AGREE! When I first read Hiyetaka Miyazaki’s comment I honestly felt like they were going to adapt the game design to make it an easier, more approachable game. BUT if they maintain the current challenging design-template as the norm/standard and then ADD the easy mode as a choice for casual players, I don’t think anyone should really be bothered by the additional choice/s.

      But most importantly is that they keep their attention and focus on the current challenge/difficulty. When you start the game and venture in to your first Soul-journey, it should be exactly like the previous games, with one exception where they make aware that the game is hard and recommend an easier mode for ‘casual players’. I’d put an emphasis on RECOMMENDING EASIER PLAY for the casual player, rather than (what I hope is NOT the way they’ll solve the issue at hand) adding the classic EASY, NORMAL, HARD choices and revolving the new Game Design around that.

      Dark Souls is the first game in the Soul-series that I’ve played, and I was truly immersed in the whole 90+ hour rollercoaster of emotions that it offered from inception to completion. The challenge is a huge part of Dark Souls/Demon Souls appeal. It has perfected an unforgiving risk&reward system that WILL suffer if the difficulty is lowered by default. The same skeleton warriors that many times killed me at level 20, later killed me at level 80 because I relaxed and let my guard down for a second. I spent the next 15 minutes intensively immersed and focused on getting my 100,000+ souls back from small minion-skeletons that should’ve never been allowed an opening in my defenses. LOVED EVERY SECOND of it!

      And to FromSoftware, for what it’s worth, I am now on my way to buy a PS3 (never owned a PS console in my life) so that I can play Demon Souls. Can’t wait!

  33. Archonsod says:

    It’s not really that reliant on dexterity, unless you’re going for a dodge build or the like. Tanking it with a shield turns it into a game of observance and timing – provided you use the right shield.

  34. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    I trust Hidetaka Miyazaki.

    That is all.

  35. Vander says:

    I played a few hours of DS, and i didn’t find the game that hard. Its just punishing. You get to a new enemy, you don’t get how to kill it, you die (wich is the punishing part), rince and repeat until you get how to kill it.
    Don’t get me wrong, its not easy, but when i heard stories about the difficulty from console gamers, well, i expected more than that.

    And to be honest, i like when game are hard and have no easy option. Some things are meant to be hard.

  36. botonjim says:

    I don’t particularly have a problem with an easy mode for Souls games, but I do have a problem with the underlying reason why it’s even being considered: the need to appeal to a wider demographic next time around.

    It may not be unexpected but still it saddens me for what it probably means. From will never again craft another game as unique and wonderful as Dark Souls if they start second guessing their designs (will this map be too complicated?, is this secret too obtuse?) in the name of accessibility and (god forbid) focus testing. There won’t be another Anor Londo, there won’t be another Sens Fortress, and none of their future worlds will be half as beautifully intricate as Lordran.

    Already the DLC zones seem restrained and straightforward for their standards, and they’re becoming quite fond of leaving “fake” player messages with fairly blunt hints for things that may well have been left for the player deduction and experimentation.

    But what do I know? maybe the complexity of the Souls games is also just a part of the ‘grander, much more ambitious design’ one can happily throw away so more people may experience them.

  37. Ruffian says:

    I have to say I’m on the side of “leave it how it is”. Combat is hard, but it most certainly does not come from being unfair. I died about a hundred times the first two days playing, getting used to the combat system, and the level of attention it actually requires you to pay to what’s going on around you. I was hollow all the time and couldn’t keep souls/humanity on me for the life of me. Now though, I play cautiously, keep my shield up in new areas etc. and rarely die. I think i died twice today, during a 2-3 hour play session.

  38. ShatteredAwe says:

    As long as they don’t put guns into it and rebrand it “Dark Souls: Modern Warfare”, I’m fine. Also, I haven’t bought the game yet (Too busying playing Sleeping Dogs)… so can anyone tell me how bad the port is? And more about the difficulty of the game.

    • TCM says:

      The port is abysmally bad. Buy it anyway.

      That is all the summary you need about Dark Souls.

      • ShatteredAwe says:

        ONE LAST QUESTION…

        How many Characters can I have at one time? Also, are there multiple playable races?
        Sorry, I’m a noob.

        • TCM says:

          On consoles, there’s 3 save slots — I don’t personally own the PC port (have seen a friend play it, and tried it a short while, but don’t own), but I’d assume there’s 3 slots for each GFWL profile, at the very least.

          You can pick male or female. Everyone’s the same race, but the class you pick gives you a good amount of variety in starting stats and equipment. The character editor is better than Oblivion’s, worse than Skyrim’s, imo.

          • Kaira- says:

            3 save slots? My 7 characters speak otherwise. I think you can have around 10-20 characters, haven’t bothered calculating yet.

        • Vander says:

          A precision: if you dont have a controller and don’t plan to buy one, don’t buy the game: it is really bad with mouse and keyboard.

        • Rimesmoker says:

          You can have a maximum of 10 characters at any given moment. There are no different races (except if you count asian, eastern, western etc. as races). Beginning stats have little to no bearing on the game after the first few times you level up. Pick a starting character that looks appealing to you, and don’t worry about it :)

  39. lexoneir says:

    I like how the article starts with a condescending assumption about people who like difficultly in games. Classy.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      It was placed there to counterbalance the condescending opinions about people who might choose for some reason to play on an easier difficulty level.

  40. yourgrandma says:

    I have been playing this game in a completely blind play (and avoided reading pretty much any article and comments about the game) through and the game really isn’t that ridiculously hard it just takes a little determination. Combat takes about a hour to get used too then the rest of the game to really master the intricacies.

    Yes the game can be cheap at times and expect to die 5-10 or more times when new enemies are presented and a good bit of grinding is necessary for those of us that don’t have inhuman reflexes when versing multiple enemies. The difficulty really just comes from the unknown and sheer panic of not knowing what to do or how to defend yourself. I highly recommend exploiting any advantage you find in the game and playing unfair because the game wants you to do just that. The strongest weapon in this game really is knowledge and learning how to master every new obstacle and is the best part of the game.

    Spoiling yourself by looking through a wiki or learning every secret with out exploration on your own ruins the experience IMO.

  41. Crosmando says:

    Sign of the times.

    Most gamers aren’t very bright, and have very low attention spans (or seem to be suffering from an acute form of ADHD).

  42. aepervius says:

    The only part I found really tiring, boring and frustrating was so far the fortress which opens after the second bell, the one with the trap blade which run back and forth over the path. There is a part toward the end where I get always insta-death from being kicked out of a small narrow bridge. Otherwise i don#t think the game is difficult, it require instead patience and reflex.

  43. Xan says:

    The game isn’t hard, it’s clunky. Half the time I die to bugs or the enemy randomly deciding to hit me even while I’m blocking, or the targeting system deciding not to activate properly or the game putting enemies behind corners and making it impossible to dodge unless you know beforehand that they are there or the game randomly not spawning your souls on the place where you died, making you lose all progress.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hardlylikely says:

      It definitely has some bugs and clunkiness, but the blocking behaviour sounds as intended. Some enemies just smash through your defences, and if you run out of stamina your character will not block until it replenishes.

    • Rimesmoker says:

      Certain heavy weapons will crush through your puny shield, unless your poise and/or stability is high enough. The targetting system is, imo, a crutch, and you should become used to switching it on/off all the time, as needed. As for mobs hiding behind walls, that’s just a proper, completely understandable ambush, isn’t it? Besides, by placing yourself at the corner and manipulating the camera, you can see around the corner without exposing yourself.

  44. Wolvaroo says:

    As someone who heard of the souls games, wished they would come to PC, but never really looked much in to it until it did:

    I was frankly surprised how NOT difficult the game actually is. It’s not easy by any stretch, but I personally have not had a single incident where I felt lost or hopeless. I’ve only just passed the Abyss so take that how you will. Sure I died a few times, but I never once thought it was something I could not have avoided. The “Cheapest” death I’ve had was being riposted by a Baldur fencer only because at the time, I did not think it was possible, even though he was CLEARLY telegraphing something when he switched his stance. Lesson humbly learned and I picked right back where I left off for the better.

    Scratch that, I got instagibbed by the bridge dragon and that seemed a bit harsh. You can clearly see the scorch marks and the the whole scene looks VERY suspicious. Apparently they did reduce that initial flame’s damage so it wasn’t supposed to do that anymore but there is a bug when trying to block it I think, which I had raised my shield when I heard the dragon flying in. So it was more of a bug I think.

    Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that everything in the game I’ve experienced thus far can be observed and anticipated. There are many ways to approach almost every situation, and I never once felt like the game required an unusual amount of dexterity. I play a lumbering knight with a good shield, because Monster Hunter has taught me I’m rubbish with invulnerability roll frames so I didn’t bother with the “lighter” classes. I think a lot of people having trouble early in the game should consider trying different weapons and armours. Take the time to read the tool-tips for all the stats and if you get lost read the item descriptions on the keys. Pryomancer is a very powerful starting class if you’re having trouble early on.

    Anyone commenting on grinding I do not think has a full understanding of the system, which actually discourages you from over-leveling, which can make coop nearly impossible as you need to be within 10% of each other’s level, and coop is by far the most fun and easiest way to progress through the game. You should in fact be spending much more souls on upgrading your equipment and buying new spells and such than leveling up early in the game. I do think that should be more clearly described in game as I over-leveled early on and had a lot of trouble finding summoning signs. Solaire and Laurtec do a good job of introducing the system, just the level restrictions should be explained somewhere or perhaps laxed a bit.

    I believe an “easy” difficulty option would certainly diminish the game. The mechanics themselves are what kills you, not the damage or HP numbers. You can’t easily change the mechanics with difficulty setting, especially in a multiplayer environment. I feel a lot of the tension is the player’s fear of losing their souls/humanity and thus, their progress, even though both resources are extremely plentiful. Perhaps the next title should do away with that, but keep the respawning enemies and bonfire checkpoints as a bit of a compromise. Though I fear any compromise wont be enough until the game is in a state where it is easy enough that everyone can complete it without much trouble.

    For the people who honestly want to experience the story, art, level design, ect, but can not “get in to” the mechanics should probably watch a Let’s Play or something on youtube. I don’t mean that in a derogatory manner, I sincerely think it is an enjoyable way to experience games when I can not or will not play them myself. Certainly a better option then any difficulty setting which would allow near-everyone to breeze through the game.

    Well that turned out a lot longer than I planned, and wasn’t very eloquent, but I hope I got my points through clearly. I don’t feel I’m part of some special club that “gets” Dark Souls, but I certainly think making it easier or more accessible would be for the worse.

    • Wolvaroo says:

      I would like to also share a very unique experience I had with Dark Souls I don’t think could be replicated by many other games.

      I was making good progress, but found myself quite far from my last bonfire and low on estus. I had a nice stockpile of souls I was saving for when I finally found a blacksmith (I didn’t know about the one below firelink or that the soul cost of upgrading was so minor). So I come across this narrow walkway to a small chapel like building outside the church and suddenly hear loud metal clanking with a stairway down. I paused there for a solid moment, fearing what sort of horrible monstrosity could be making such a racket down those stairs, this is DARK SOULS after all! (I have spotty internet so I was kicked in to “offline” mode so there were no orange signs). After some deliberation I decided to run back to my bonfire and refill on estus and try another route.

      Sometime later when I had become much more proficient in combating Baldur knights, I decided to brave those horrifying stairs only to find a bonfire and a blacksmith.

      Those orange signs are very interesting in that if I had read them, I would have not done as I did, but they can be very deceptive. I learned from the big black knight earlier that the baldur knight (who was the first I had seen at the time) with his back to the doorway was probably a trap. I would backstab him, he would not die, then kick my butt I thought. There was an orange soapstone sign suggesting I try backstabbing. HAH! an obvious trap! I thought, only to have that same knight come up behind me while I bumped in to another further down the battlement and had a very tense combat surrounded by three foes, two of which were the biggest and baddest non boss monsters I had encountered at that time.

      Bah, too long again. Dark Souls is just so uniquely interesting I tend to ramble about it.

  45. Sayori says:

    Don’t know why some people are mad.
    It’s called OPTION.

    • yourgrandma says:

      Because it would miss the entire point of the game if it was easy. You simply wouldn’t have to learn how to defeat the enemies properly and just use standard tatics the entire game.

  46. JackShandy says:

    It’s a bit like “I didn’t like a lot of that whole “Female” thing Alien had going on, could you also film a version with a male protagonist?”

    They could obviously make an excellent male-centric Alien, but they’d have to fundamentally change the subtext of the film to do it. It would be a different movie, good for different reasons. Dark Souls without the omnipresence of death would be a very different game with a totally different atmosphere. It could be an excellent game, but it would be good for totally different reasons.

    The demand for options sometimes bothers me. The level of difficulty in Dark Souls is part of it’s artistic statement. There’s a strong belief in other mediums that the artistic statement is this holy thing that shouldn’t be subject to mob rule. In games, we feel like we have the right to demand that the artist change their art to reflect our own beliefs. Like we should be able to choose the version of Romeo and Juliet that has a happy ending – it’s fine as long as it’s an option, right?

    I also think that a player that gets smashed by the Asylum Demon and quits has honestly had a totally legit Dark Souls experience. Like, they’ve got a full solid chunk of the games artistic statement to chew on, and if they don’t want to go any further that’s totally fine. Finishing the game really isn’t necessary for any reason.

    • frightlever says:

      I hope you never get trapped in a room with an artistic statement. Given half a chance an artistic statement will kill and eat you. Artistic statement. Artistic statement. Artistic statement. If you say the phrase “artistic statement” enough times it stops making sense. How many times? Once.

    • Wolvaroo says:

      I really agree with your last paragraph. Although they may be a bit upset about their dollars spent to time played ratio, which could be avoided by more thoroughly researching something before you buy it.

      I think the fact that games don’t always have to be beat is something we’ve started to lose over the years. When I was young I very rarely was able to beat any games, never stopped me from enjoying them and becoming an enthusiast as I aged.

      • NathanH says:

        Haha, yes, I remember old games. I completed virtually none of them. Any time I did it was a huge deal. I’m pretty sure there were games that it wasn’t humanly possible to win, and it didn’t really matter.

  47. frightlever says:

    I never finished Far Cry*. That last level always defeated me. I was playing on the easiest setting I could get at the time. I kinda think me playing Dark Souls would be like that final Far Cry level, right from the start.

    Charlie Brooker had a rant about game difficulty and dying repeatedly on Screenwipe I think, but I couldn’t find a discrete clip. Anyone?

    *having said that – I had to replay the level where you get out the crashed helicopter without your gear countless times before I figured it out and when I did I was ecstatic. Hmm.

  48. Crosmando says:

    Wait, people actually play games in “Easy” mode? How do you sleep at night, isn’t the shame too great?

  49. monkone says:

    I’m 32, have nowhere near the gaming skills and reaction speed I had when I was young and yet I did not find dark souls too hard.

    The game’s challenging but hardly impossible, you just need to actually think about positioning in combat more than usual. No mindless mashing a single button over and over while running into an enemy.

    Watching idiots die over and over without learning on youtube videos IS NOT SOMETHING THAT YOU RESOLVE BY MAKING THE GAME EASIER!

    Lame.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The problem with not having a choice between the degree of hard is that some people will be able to dodge-riposte with one eye closed and one-shot almost anyone they want, and some people, especially those that want to play rather than enjoy after-work-job-nr-2, wouldn’t mind at least a smidge more tolerance and margin of error allowable on their side.

      From what I’ve seen the problem also isn’t so much that its impossible to learn how to beat ONE guy.
      The problem is that the game without hesitation enjoys mobbing you. And from all sides at that.

      • D3xter says:

        Then those people can aswell buy the about 98-99% of other games out there that do exactly that instead and baby you every step of the way to the “finish line” and make you feel all special with button-awesome, no?

        One or two games that are possibly more challenging than that a year is obviously asking too much?

        • RegisteredUser says:

          There has got to be more middle ground between “zomg mash X really quick coz QTE solves ALL the challenges” and “every single guy can kill you in 1 or 2 hits no matter what you do, and if you miss a 0.4 second window to parry you’re SOL” than just take it or leave it in the most extreme version.

  50. RegisteredUser says:

    I just wanted to second everyone/anyone who said that Dark Souls sadly manages not just to challenge, but needlessly force your nose against the grindstone that is its mechanics. Having to retread a xx mob gauntlet run, just because the last 2 dudes are always so much more insane than the rest, without any real point to the first 90% of that run, just makes me think its an utter dick move and not in any fricking way a test of my skill in a proper way.

    The last 10% is the test, which is what quicksaves / anytime saves are for. The first 90% I have dozens, dozens, and DOZENS of times proven I can do by now.
    Why do I need to prove it again? Because it satisfies some retarded masochist fantasy, or unlocks the “mighty member of the e-peen brigade” achievement or something?

    No, its needlessly cruel as in redundant so many times, and all the much lauded “beat you with a stick instead of helping you in any way” stuff just seems to me like someone were trying to say its great if someone constantly beats you up and steals whatever you have in real life, because really, without constantly having to try and get past point 0 again, what worth do you attribute to the penny earned?
    Me, I get that money is precious and getting beat up hurts after the first time already, thank you very fricking much.

    I find this over-designed dickishness frustrating, off-putting and not “zomg GOTY every year forevers, such a gift from the developer gods” material.

    (And I’ve endured a huge portion of Kung-Fu Strike; partly I feel because at least the time spent enduring the torture along the way feels more actiony-fun.)