Magnificent And Important Advent Calendar: Day Ten

By RPS on December 10th, 2012 at 4:05 pm.


They say preparation is everything, but they’re wrong. What actually matters is the execution. Chop all the vegetables you like, if you forget to put them in the oven you are still having raw potatoes for dinner. Needless to say, day ten’s advent calendar offering is a lesson in kind.

It’s… Dark Souls!

Adam:

I would never have played Dark Souls for six days straight if I hadn’t been preparing a WIT. I’d probably still be playing it now, my progress slow and painful, like a barefooted man crossing a field of broken glass, or Joe Simpson’s remarkable journey back to base camp. There’s a man whose very existence makes me uncomfortable about my failure to go to the shops for some biscuits this morning because it’s a bit nippy out. In fact, thinking of that courage, grit and determination has inspired me. I’m going to get some biscuits. Back in a sec.

Caramel Digestives, if you’re wondering.

Playing a game to the exclusion of all others for a week isn’t natural for me. I tend to savour the things I enjoy rather than binging on them, which is why devoting almost every hour of my life to Dark Souls for a short period was so strange. It could have been the equivalent of receiving a bottle of good quality bourbon and drinking it by the pint, then waking up the following afternoon to find I’d signed up for a life at sea with a gang of ne’er do wells. Dark Souls will punish the prepared and unprepared alike, and it has a delicious, woody after-taste.

Despite the strange and hurried nature of our relationship, Dark Souls didn’t cause me to take leave of my senses. In fact, I benefited from the near-constant exposure. Spend a day in Lordran and when the sun sets, sick of being praised, you’ll know more about yourself than you did that morning. What is the limit of your patience? How many mistakes do you have to learn from before you start to make them deliberately? When will you turn to the wisdom and skills of others for assistance?

The first question is key. Dark Souls never challenged my patience at all because I was never wasting my time. I’ve killed the same enemies in the same locations hundreds of times and I spent six or seven hours trying to escape from what is, to all extents and purposes, a bloody sewer level – but I was always entertained and always inquisitive. The weirdness of the world is part of that. I never tire of speculating about its odd cultural collisions and patchwork nature, and even though it’s a world in which killing and dying are the only hobbies anyone really indulges in, the place feels alive – alive but dying. Exploring Dark Souls is sometimes like exploring a wound, picking away and gleefully scratching the itch, even though it’s likely to open up to fresh suffering at any moment.

So, I spent a week picking at a scab and, when all was said and done, was convinced that I’d spent that time with one of the cleverest and most challenging creations I’d ever encountered. The second question, about learning from mistakes, is vital. There’s always a way to succeed, whatever the situation, and some of the speedruns of the game show just how well prepared it’s possible to be. For every encounter that I’ve stumbled through, surviving with a thin slice of health remaining, there’s another that I’ve found far easier than the general consensus reckons it is. And then there are the creatures I’ve killed a thousand times but still manage to fall to occasionally, because my own confidence is the real knife at my throat. Mistakes are inevitable but reacting to them and applying that learning is not. Dark Souls demands that you put in that effort because it’s not your stats and your equipment that will drag you over the finish line.

The answer to the final question was fundamental for me. I needed people to help me because surviving all of that on my own would have been impossible. I didn’t have the time, the skill or the knowledge. But Dark Souls is a multiplayer game and not only in terms of the invasions and assistance that can contribute so much to the experience. It’s a game in which knowledge and understanding will save you far more often than a shield or a spell, so it’s only natural to turn to the knowledge of others when all of your efforts seem to fail. Knowing about a certain Rusted Iron Ring isn’t cheating and nor is knowing where to find it, because every step toward it is still one step closer to potential death.

Despite relying on the assistance of others, despite the pages of lore and advice that I studied, Dark Souls killed me thousands of times in that week and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. When I started playing, having loved Demon’s Souls, I was concerned that I might have doomed myself, worried that I could end up irritated by the game because I was being forced to exist within it rather than sampling it, piece by piece over a year or more.

I was wrong. A long, concentrated draught of something pure and powerful is what a body needs sometimes. If you have time off work for Father Christmas’ wedding anniversary, I suggest spending at least a few days building a bond with Dark Souls. It will punish you and reward you, and eventually you might just realise that they’re the same thing. I did. And then I died. Happy.

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154 Comments »

  1. Brun says:

    I’m currently about 67% of the way through Far Cry 3 and I’m debating whether to purchase this game or Assassin’s Creed 3 next. Also on the table: Borderlands 2, but I’d prefer to pick up a non-shootery game next.

    • luukdeman111 says:

      If you own a gamepad, Buy Dark Souls right now! It is one of the best games I’ve ever played but the PC port is awful….
      If you don’t own a gamepad…. go buy a gamepad and still play dark souls…

      • Deathmaster says:

        Or play it with a mouse and keyboa… YOU DIED.
        Ok, gamepad it is.

        • Quatlo says:

          After installing the mouse fix I had totally no problems with controls. But I believe that keyboard is the best fighting game controller available so not everyone has to be as insane as I am.

          • Bremze says:

            Keyboards are tied with hitboxes for the most accurate controller for fighting games, so you’re not off-base there.

          • masidnw says:

            This is good news! 10.1-inch Android 4.0.3 Rockchip2918 1.0GHz Tablet PC! 30% off! http://irwn.us/709

        • Stevostin says:

          Well, Dark Soul it is not, then. I can play Dark Siders with my keyboard easily or any other TPV game so this one has to allow it if it wants my money. Gamepads are dirty, revulsing things. I don’t want to see that on my desk.

          • Rawrian says:

            I’ve bought a gamepad to play Dark Souls, but I have to play in rubber gloves to dumb down the feeling of that wretched revulsing thing.

          • arccos says:

            You know you don’t have to plug them into the sound card anymore, right? And they can handle more than two buttons?

          • Unaco says:

            Yeah, I’m like Lady Macbeth after I play anything with the pad… Spend the night scrubbing my hands, obsessively, trying to get the taint out. And you don’t keep it on your desk! What are you? Mad? That’s like having your Grandmother’s severed hand mounted on your fridge. You keep it in a lead lined metal box that’s been blessed by the Parish priest.

          • suibhne says:

            Don’t listen to them. Mouse/keyboard control works very, very nicely. And I say that as someone competed in FPS games for several years (on PC, not consolebox), so my standards aren’t totally lax (even if I was never more than mediocre).

            The key is to apply dsfix and dsmfix. The latter took me quite a bit of troubleshooting. However, the website for the mod now lists the solution I found, and it seems to have helped some other people as well. Might save you some trouble…or you might be part of the group for whom the mod works really well pretty much out of the box. Either way, the worst that can be said about the game is that setup takes some fiddling. After that, mouse/keyboard is a great way to control the game, especially if you’re a fan of archery.

          • Synesthesia says:

            good lord. Its an interface device, not a freshly excised tumor.

          • The Random One says:

            Psht, keyboard? I only play using a typewriter and a butter churner. Only console scum would play games with a device designed to play games!

          • Panda Powered says:

            I only play with an old retrofitted Amiga 500 Joystick. Who needs keyboard and mouse or a console pad when you can have an eight-direction-stick with two whole buttons?
            It DOMINATES all shooters and platformers (move up for jump, always in any game). I shoot guns like super fast with the Turbo and super accurate with its Full Hand Non-Analog Ball Grip Stick.
            One hand comfortably switch between the buttons and the other keeps a tight grip on the Ball-Stick at all times.
            Its a Real Man Stick. For Manly Men who wants to get the most joy out of their sticks.

          • a2147180 says:

            The name comes from the idea that they were good as an antiacid, due to the bi-carb used in their recipe, an idea blown out of the water by the quantity of sugar they contain.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGuUbWspc7c

          • Ragnar says:

            Yes, whatever you do, make sure your gaming PC doesn’t come in contact with any PC gaming peripherals! You wouldn’t want to taint the purity of your gaming.

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            GiantPotato says:

            I don’t like using gamepads when it doesn’t fit the gameplay, but KBM combos can be just as awkward. Arkham Asylum is a good example of a game that has good KBM support but still plays better with a gamepad. And I can’t imagine playing Dark Souls without an analog stick controlling movement. Even with the mouse fix, aren’t you constantly running off cliffs when using the ‘w’ key?

          • eclipse mattaru says:

            @GiantPotato: There’s no denying this game was designed for a gamepad –the way the buttons are mapped alone make so much sense it’s impossible to translate to anything else. But my crappy generic pad was acting up so I started using kbm with the mouse fix, and I have to say, I have gotten so used to it I doubt I could go back. The things I can do with the camera now, I really doubt I could do with an analog stick, and that has become a major aspect of my play style by now.

            And no, I haven’t had any navigation problems whatsoever –in fact, it surprises me to see how many people die from falling off cliffs, bridges and such, it’s like 90% of the bloodstains I find are about that; while I think I fell a total of three or four times in some 100 hours (and every time I was weasely pushed, either by traps in Sen’s Fortress or by archer knights or white ninjas in Anor Londo).

      • Ginga121 says:

        I agree. I played Demon Souls and Dark Souls before the PC port was mentioned. In fact those games were the reason I bought a PS3! Not disappointed

      • Eschatos says:

        There’s really nothing wrong with using keyboard and mouse. I played through the entire game twice without a gamepad and I think I do just fine. It works!

      • paddymaxson says:

        With DSFix and the mouse addon for DSFix it’s entirely playable on keyboard/mouse. I find it easier than on a gamepad because I get precision for quick turns (especially on bosses where the target lock is not the most optimal way to strike them like the Bell Gargoyles).

        edit: It will take some configuring and some rebinding of keys though, the default keybinds are hilarious and confusing. a keyboard that lets you rebind keys works very well!

      • Teovald says:

        This needs to be understood : I have mastered many games that were recommending a gamepad with my trusty old keyboard, like SuperMeatBoy. Lost Soul on the other end is absolutely unplayable with a keyboard (and do not recognize my standard gamepad yay).
        To be honest I am disappointed to see it on that list. It may be an awesome game but the way it was released on pc is a very bad joke, noobie dev or not.

    • yogibbear says:

      Because of the crappy resolution… I’m waiting for a steam sale… hopefully around xmas :)… for some reason my steam backlog is getting ridiculous… so… playing DX:HR at the moment. I KNOW!

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      Dark Souls is probably the best PC game of the year in much the same way it was probably the best console game last year.

      • Suits says:

        More like the best console experience on PC, it’s hardly a PC game at all

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        Oozo says:

        Yeah. I mean, the game got plenty of love from RPS, but I can’t help feeling that under other circumstances (it not being the one game everybody gushed about last year already, a less than optimal port), it would have gotten even more respect than that.

        Honestly, while I think that, for example, XCOM is a fine, fine game that gave me hours of entertainment this year, Darks Souls seems to be in another league altogether. More likely to enter that pantheon of games people will remember for a long, long time to come. Don’t know if I could say that about any other game that came out in 2012. (Hotline Miami, maybe? The Walking Dead as the one game that did the “limited interaction, strong focus on fiction”-thing right? DayZ, if it didn’t risk becoming obsolete soon when the standalone game is released?) I know I will remember it fondly for a long time, anyway.

    • Lucas Says says:

      Picking between Dark Souls and Assassin’s Creed 3 is like picking between a slightly too rare steak and a half eaten by a diseased stranger fast food hamburger. One of them is a bad port, the other is an infuriating tutorial-a-thon.

      • Yosharian says:

        Haha I swear I did not read this post before I wrote mine..

    • Yosharian says:

      You’re debating between picking up AC3 or Dark Souls? What are you, braindead? That’s like being offered a plate of shit and a plate of juicy cheeseburgers, and actually contemplating which one you want.

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      Schmudley says:

      Definitely Dark Souls. I found AC3 to be completely underwhelming, a bloated rehash of the previous in the series. I gave up about half way through.

      Dark Souls is as good as everyone says it is. Reading this makes me want to play it again, but I still have Dishonored and most of Far Cry 3 still to go!

    • CyberPunkRock says:

      This is simply the best game for me in the past ten years. I bought an xbox in February this year for this game only and I never had a console all my life (no hate here just a fact).
      But the PC version is obviously the best if you apply the community patches, especially durantes mod DSfix (http://blog.metaclassofnil.com/?tag=dsfix). It is very simple to apply and the results a staggering if you compare it to console.
      And please use a gamepad. Please. It is so much better.

      I’ve followed the discussion about the quality of the port post-release. By now I’m just scratching my head wondering, why there are still potential players/buyers who don’t because “it should have been released with the fixes included and with proper k/m-support and therefore I don’t buy it out of principle”, depriving themselves of imho one of the best pure gaming experiences in a decade (me never having played Demon Souls). The great thing about DS being on PC is the mod-community. A day after release the first DSfix was available, fixing the most immediate problems and by now adding so many more features. This could never have happened on console.

      I’m playing it with my 10th character build right now adding a proverbial 3rd dimension via 3D Vision. If you use the following mod/fix it is absolutely stunning and a whole new experience for me (http://helixmod.blogspot.de/2012/08/dark-souls-prepare-to-die-edition-3d.html).

      So to people on the brink of buying it, just do, apply the fixes, have fun (and despair :-).

    • paddymaxson says:

      Certain websites which sell CD keys are doing it quite cheap! It’s a bargain at £10-£15

    • Vagrant says:

      Something that seems to always get overlooked when people talk about Dark Souls is the world. If you enjoy a well-crafted environment that seems to tell a story using only level design, then this is your game. There has never been a game that has given me such a thrill exploring.

    • Suits says:

      Borderlands 2, or whenever you are in the mood for shootery

      • Brun says:

        I’ll probably pick up BL2 when it’s on sale. I don’t really have anyone to play co-op with so much of the game’s fun will be lost for me anyway.

        The comments have me convinced. Dark Souls will be next, AC3 is now in the “wait for sale” bucket.

        • voidmind says:

          There is a matchmaking option in the game so you can enjoy it in co-op if you want.

    • Isometric says:

      I’ve just finished AC3 today and I’ve gotta say, it’s the same old rubbish. Get Dark Souls and play a real game that makes you feel GOOD!

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      Vartarok says:

      Dark Souls is not the game of the year. It’s the game of ALL years.

      Buy it, please. I beg you to do it.

  2. Paul says:

    Dark Souls is better than AC3, definitely.

    • Vinraith says:

      Being as Dark Souls isn’t trying to be a historical theme park ride, and Assassin’s Creed isn’t trying to be a nails-hard multiplayer-dependent action game, I don’t see that the comparison has much validity.

      • Baboonanza says:

        I prefer cheese to Vinraith.

      • Ian says:

        How does Dark Souls compare to the scent of freshly-cut grass on a warm summer breeze?

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          lazy8 says:

          Very well, as long as the you remember that hidden in the grass are hideous monsters out to kill you, that the freshly-cut grass is covered with bloody, frshly-cut limbs of your predecessors and that that nice, warm summer breeze is probably the fiery breath of a dragon.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Undoubtedly. But I am consistently frustrated at the response to Dark Souls as though there has never been anything like it. From Software are not new to dungeon crawling RPGs.

      Why do people ignore King’s Field? PLAY KING’S FIELD. Dark Souls was not created in a vacuum, From have a history of doing this stuff and doing it well. The King’s Field series is effectively first person Dark Souls but with FAR fairer difficulty curves, and simpler combat. Superior, if you ask me.

      Dark Souls is a success, but it’s a crime that its superior forebear continues to go unnoticed, forgotten. As has the entire notion of free-moving first person dungeon crawlers. Grimrock isn’t nearly enough!!

      • Emeraude says:

        As a King’s Field fan myself, I must say the game never really got the love I think it deserved.

      • MaximKat says:

        Because “people” don’t have Playstation?

      • megalosaurus says:

        I played Dark Souls and Grimrock this year and found Grimrock to be immensely superior.

        I loved Dark Souls to a point; the world was amazing and some of the ideas were superb but in the end I found it tedious and repetitive. It’s like the game was trying to drive me away and stop me from enjoying it – and believe me, I wanted to enjoy it. (And I loved undead burg, I loved some of the boss fights, I loved the multiplayer aspects)

        Unlike Adam I often found my time being wasted. Why was I killing the same enemies over and over? It did not make the game harder, only longer. Grimrock killed me plenty but I never felt my time wasted as I did not have to kill the same group of snails 50 times to get back to the bit that I died at.

        Maybe one simple change would have been enough for me: A respawn point before every boss fight. See, when I am enjoying fighting a boss and die, I’ve discovered that nothing annoys me more than respawning 20 minutes away from the boss and having to dodge past the same morons I just got past! Maybe that’s just me – if you liked it, good. I’m happy for you.

        Also I found that it crashed alot on my machine. Why? I have no idea. MOst other games, even Skyrim with 100+ mods installed, run ok so it beats me as to why it kept crashing. I stopped playing in An Lordo after another crash. It’s bad enough that I die and have to replay the same sequence again but when I have to do it for technical reasons? No thanks.

        • Torn says:

          I’ve completed both Grimrock and Dark Souls and can only imagine you approached Dark Souls from the wrong perspective. Dark Souls is light years ahead of Grimrock, which was entertaining but ultimately static and had a very weak ending – there’s no replay value there.

          With Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls you have to adjust your play style if you die. There’s no point trying the same thing again and again and rushing into combat – instead, you need to be blocking at the right time, and rolling away (or towards, underneath attacks) at others. Watch how enemies react and move — all of them telegraph their attacks, and you should be learning their patterns. When you die in Dark Souls it’s normally your fault as a player. The game encourages you to get better, and you need to achieve a certain ‘zen’ flow where dying and failure doesn’t matter, and you’re calm under pressure.

          As to redoing bits of a level, well it’s more opportunities for souls to level you and your equipment up. If you’re good, and learn from your lessons, then there’s not a lot of repetition apart from a couple of places which feel somewhat cheap (dragon greatbow knights in Anor Londo, for example).

          I’ve never had crashes in the game either. What hardware were you running on? i5 2500k with a 560Ti here, no problems and a solid 60fps at 1920*1080

  3. Sfitz says:

    Caramel digestives? You decadent cad.

    • Adam Smith says:

      They were cheaper than regular digestives because of a nonsensical festive offer! I’ve eaten too many now though and probably ruined my appetite. It’s a hard life.

      • Brun says:

        Ok, so I get that “biscuits” in the UK are basically the same thing as cookies in the US, but WTF are “digestives”? Going to take a wild guess here and say that they’re like graham crackers (in that they are meant to aid digestion)…

        • Ich Will says:

          They are a type of biscuit.

          You have cookies, to us those are only one type of biscuit, we have many other types, one of which is digestive. They are one of the most popular in the UK due to their nice flavour with tea and their suitability to be eaten on their own, dunked (though dunking them is a true skill) or eaten with cheese. They come plain or chocolate flavoured and can be topped with chocolate or caramel and chocolate.

          The name comes from the idea that they were good as an antiacid, due to the bi-carb used in their recipe, an idea blown out of the water by the quantity of sugar they contain.

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            Lambchops says:

            They are also really useful for baking, whether it’s for cheesecake bases or the rather lovely stuff that I have been reliably informed by a Northern Irish person (as they are the only other people who seem to have come across this delicious treat apart from my mother!) should be called fifteeens.

            http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/6177/fifteens.aspx

          • Hematite says:

            @Lambchops: I discovered that stuff a few months ago – I swear it’s related (probably ancestor of) the New Zealand delicacy/travesty known as lolly cake. The principle of the recipe is amazing – you favourite biscuit mixed with condensed milk and butter to make something like a cheesecake base; mix in some sweets, shape it into some kind of loaf then chill and slice. Calorietastic!

          • Shookster says:

            So I’d say Brun is right. Sounds like graham crackers to me. Sweet, but not too sweet, can be used as a base in desserts or other recipes.

            You learn something new every day. Good to know!

          • Chris D says:

            Close but not quite. digestives tend towards being crumbly rather than crispy and are perhaps a bit sweeter than graham crackers

        • Baboonanza says:

          And what you call biscuit is really a savoury scone.

        • DiamondDog says:

          This biscuit talk is giving me a strong sense of deja vu.

      • nblake42 says:

        I went through a dark phase where I was addicted to caramel digestives. The trouble is, where do you go from there? The caramel digestive is the Class A of the biscuit drugs. There’s nothing sweeter, nothing more fattening, nothing more potent and crave-worthy and absolutely terrible for you. It’s the pinnacle of the regular tube packaged biscuits, yet also the lowest you can go.

        It’s a tough road to ween yourself off the caramel digestive. Expect to see babies crawling along your ceiling. But I made it out and can now survive on nothing more than a 40p pack of custard creams. Learn from my folly, kids. Stay off the caramel digestives. They’re not worth it.

  4. airtekh says:

    I don’t really know much about Dark Souls, other than its infamous difficulty.

    Is it an RPG or an action game? Or a combination of both?

    • Xzi says:

      It is an action-RPG. Those two genres are pretty much interchangeable in gaming today. We see very few “pure” RPGs released any more, save for a few from the indie scene.

      • GameCat says:

        Thank God for that. I hate dice-roll-for-everything based RPGs.

        Dark Souls perfectly nailed combination between character stats and player skills.

      • Snidesworth says:

        Of note is that all the stat buffing and upgrading in the world won’t save you from death, just increase the margin for error. Your own skill plays a much larger roll in your success than anything else (though getting a kickass sword certainly helps).

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          AmateurScience says:

          Indeed, I am working through a playthrough without levelling up at all (stats-wise). It is Challenging.

          • Torn says:

            Onebros unite!

            I’m currently on Four Kings as a one-bro, nailed O&S last week.

            reddit.com/r/onebros has some tips and advice as well as friendly people to help coop.

        • GameCat says:

          It have some simple and awesome stuff like “sure, you aren’t THAT strong to properly operate this sword, but you still can equip it” and doesn’t have simple and awful “you can put this sword in your pocket, but YOU CAN’T LIFT IT ANYWAY, ARE YOU CRAZY, you doesn’t have 11 strength” stuff.

          • Torn says:

            Yeah I really liked the animations for when you’re not strong enough to pick up a shield or use a weapon. It lets you do it, but it’s obviously and painfully slow, and you’re gonna get punished for it.

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        Matt_W says:

        Pretty much all MMOs are dice-roll RPGs under the hood.

        • Eschatos says:

          True, but they’re not turn based, which a lot of people think is mandatory for a true RPG.

          • NathanH says:

            At the very least, you need an active-pause mode to be a non-action RPG.

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      Matt_W says:

      It is an RPG in it has an experience leveling system, and you have total control over your character’s progression: stat assignment, equipment loadout, spells learned and memorized, etc. There are vendors who sell you things. And the stat system is very D&D-ish.

      It is an action game in that you control directly every swing of your sword, stab of your spear, block of your shield, and cast of your spells, and the focus of the game is on developing your timing and skill in using your preferred tools to deal death upon the enemies the game provides for you.

      And many of the game’s systems are unique and hard to classify: bonfires, humanity, the multiplayer component, the covenants, and the soul system in general.

      The game is incredible; I consider it the best game of the 21st century, and a strong contender for best game ever. You should play it.

      • Thammuz says:

        … and if you don’t have a gamepad try using just the keyboard. Everyone complains about the controls but i honestly found it OK with just the keyboard without mouse, only changing to a gamepad when I was gifted one around the time I got to the Great Hollow

        • eclipse mattaru says:

          That’s what I keep saying. With the mouse fix mod it plays beautifully. I managed to take down Ornstein and Smough like that, so I would know :D

          You do have to learn to translate the -admittedly obtuse- gamepad prompts to whatever keys you actually have mapped, and it takes some trial and error finally finding out a good layout (it’s a weird control system to begin with, and every button is important to have comfortable access to); but personally now I’m so comfortable playing with kb+m that I wouldn’t even consider going back to a gamepad.

      • eclipse mattaru says:

        It also has an uncanny level of complexity somewhere between the action and the rpg aspects. You keep learning new, impressively deep gameplay stuff all the time, and every new thing you learn opens a world of possibilities. Checking the wikis is not only not cheating, it’s actually necessary, the amount of stuff to learn is so much. I find myself actually studying for the f’ing thing.

        I’ve spent about 100 hours in the game, and only yesterday I learned that you can maximize the damage you do if you risk attacking while the enemy is in the middle of their own attack animation (a completely different thing to the parry/riposte mechanic). And for every aspect of the combat such as that, there’s a seemingly infinite number of possibilities depending on the combination of weapons/shields/buffs or what have you.

  5. Unaco says:

    “I’m going to get some biscuits. Back in a sec”

    Is this why the article came 5 minutes late/after the hour? Also, now you’ve got me hankering for Caramel Digestives… I only have Milk Chocolate Digestives. Even worse though, the thought of Caramel Digestives has got me remembering and thinking of a very similar biscuit/chocolate/caramel snack from the UK in the ’90s… they were round, very similar to the digestives, same taste but different shape. Might have been toffee, not caramel. Dammit, that’s gonna drive me mad all night.

    Anyway, on topic… I’ve been meaning to start over with Dark Souls again this weekend. I only put a handful of hours in around release… I felt it crossed the line from satisfying to cheap difficulty slightly, and didn’t fully explain everything. I don’t mind finding things out for myself, but when I have to go asking in forums or on a wiki for what a Statistic does, I get a little blue. Maybe over this festive period, I’ll find the time the game seems to deserve ne?

    • Chris D says:

      I believe you’re thinking of Toffeepops.

    • HothMonster says:

      In your character screen if you hit select it will give tool-tips for the stats. Sometimes you might still want the wiki for more info or to see how important the stat really is. But there is some info there in case you hadn’t realized.

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      darkChozo says:

      Yeah, the game doesn’t do an amazing job of explaining itself. It’s not as wiki-bound as, say, Minecraft, but it’s definitely helpful to get a rundown of what stats do what and what all the silly icons on the equipment screen are. I’d probably look up what the statistics are and how weapon scaling works; beyond that, finding out stuff for yourself is more fun.

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    AlwaysRight says:

    I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE

  7. berv says:

    If anyone’s holding off playing this game due to resolution issues or not having/liking gamepads, I highly recommend checking out DSFix and the Dark Souls Mouse Fix. They really do solve your problems.

    This game is well worth your time.

    • Wedge says:

      Yeah, mods make it from the worst port into the best port ever. Might have to poke the settings a bit to get the framerate running steady, but it’s usually workable. You can even run it at a higher resolution than your monitor allows, then downsample to your actual resolution and it looks fantastic. It’s even got texture modding, though other than the UI, it hardly needs it. Even without any special hd textures for the PC port, it turns out the originals are largely of much better quality than the original game could display.

    • squareking says:

      I’ve made it to Blighttown on my first playthrough using KB+M. It’s definitely not ideal, but I haven’t blamed controls for a death since the first and second major areas.

    • Kadayi says:

      Agreed. It’s a distinctive game in that it really demands your full concentration, but offers you the room to breathe. The DSFix basically sorts out any resolution issues and the game plays surprisingly well. On the great M&K Vs controller debate I’d say either is perfectly acceptable, however must admit I favoured the controller because of the sense of relationship between the buttons & triggers in terms of actions.

      A lot of people are dissuaded by the games ‘difficulty’ but in truth, once you recognize that death is largely meaningless then you come to the understanding that effectively the game is a obstacle course you are learning to overcome. Once you’ve beaten an area, it should be second nature to repeat the challenge. The only time you fail is when you lose concentration. There in lies the real challenge.

      If you find yourself in a tight spot…retreat back the way you came..that way if you get killed then assuming you hold your nerve and don’t rush back but take your time to work your way to your corpse you’ll recover all your dropped souls without incident. Rushing/panicking is the worst thing you can do in the game .

  8. cjlr says:

    On the one hand, I still say Demon’s Souls is better. On the other hand, I’m afraid that sticking to that opinion makes me a cantankerous old man, refusing to admit of any progress. Ah well.

    Maybe I should try this on PC. It was the shonky and uneven performance on PS3 that had me putting it away for longer and longer stretches. Demon’s Souls was beautifully optimized; Dark Souls, not so much. IN THEORY my PC is way, way more powerful than that old PS3, so it shouldn’t be a problem. ‘Cept, I have heard very conflicting reports about the stability of the port. Ranging from faultless to serviceable to abortion. Guess I’ll be waiting until the price drops to pocket change territory, as it inevitably will.

    • Wedge says:

      Demon’s Souls had simpler environments that were easily contained in their own zones, it wasn’t optimized any better. And they’re both great games, making an argument for one being “better” than the other is unnecessary. Though I would say Dark Souls is the more “complete” game, especially after the DLC. It was obvious there was content missing for Demon’s Souls they never got the chance to implement like they did with Dark Souls.

    • benhagy says:

      Also, as far as the port is concerned, people truly do over-emphasize its badness. As far as game functionality, it’s a perfectly fine port, but, it DOES need some doctoring up.

      There’s been an article about this on this very site, but basically, one or two quickly installed mods will make your experience flawless.

      I’ve seen people bitch and moan about how having to use mods is precedence for their not buying the game, and it makes me cringe. Sure, the port could have been better, but with one mod alone (DSFix), and some quick messing about in an .ini file, you can have the game looking and running gorgeously.

      It truly is one of the best games that’s come out in recent years, and I recommend no one pass it up because of reports of its varying quality as a port.

      P.S. I also despise people that hate gamepads — they’re one of the reasons PCs rock so much: versatility, and some games just call for them (but you’d already know that, having played and loved Demon’s Souls :p)

      • Hematite says:

        I’m sad when I hear so many complaints about the port – afaik it was a very true port of the console version, including the fixed resolution that goes with it. Not ideal, but I think it’s a fair stab for a game which was never intended for PC release and may have not been a commercial success on PC. In particular, I don’t think anyone could argue that the console version was superior – see GTA4 for comparison.

      • Kadayi says:

        TBH I kind of read those posts as people finding a ‘reason’ to not play dark souls tbh. More their loss.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      I seem to recall that Demon’s Souls had some of the same localized framerate issues that Dark Souls has, though not to the same degree. Dark Souls PC is better than DSPS3 in the regard, but I still get occasional framerate drops in Blighttown with a decently powerful system, so beware. The port is stable otherwise, however.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Clavus says:

    I’m still wading my way through the game right now. It’s an amazing piece of work. Definitely one of the finest of its genre. The unrelenting world, strange characters, ominous atmosphere, intuitive multiplayer and incredible monsters all add up to one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve had in gaming.

  10. Soolseem says:

    Days 9 and 10 are not linked to anything on the main advent calendar page.

  11. dE says:

    For all the talk about mature games, I feel like Dark Souls really gets what it actually means. Dark Souls is a fairytale about good people setting out to do good, in a world that is the result of like minded people. It is full on subtle metaphors that tell more about the player and their perception of Lordran than some would think.
    My favourite part is how the player, by sheer progression more and more becomes what he hunts. Each step of this tour de force is a step further down the road to hell. I killed NPCs that literally begged me to leave them alone – because I needed their soul for a weapon. Which I quickly discarded for something else. I killed other NPCs because they had killed someone whom I perceived as innocent – and didn’t think about how I condemned a NPC for something I had done as well. Dark Souls made me reflect upon my actions as a player towards NPCs. Basically towards disembodied numbers and images on a screen.

    Something else I love about it: How everything you see, you visit. The huge tree you can see from the Firelink Shrine is the Great Hollow. From the Darkroot Basin, you can see the walls of the Burg and the walkways where you crawled along. Everything is interconnected in a way that seems like a logical conclusion, every structure takes exactly as much space as it needs to, to form a believable connection to other areas.

    And now, I’ll head back, after over 300 hours pumped into the game. Something I had never done before. I’m going to play a game I have bought twice (Console Toys -> PC). Something else I had never done before. I can feel that I’m nearing the end of its lifespan for me, but I don’t look back in anger. I dread I didn’t buy a PS3 when I was deciding on a console. I could have played Demon Souls too but that will forever be lost to me. Damn it.

    • Nate says:

      I’m totally with you. It’s like the game just sits and watches you: “Go ahead, kill your friends. It doesn’t matter to me.” It never tells you you’re a good person. It never tells you that you’re a bad person. And that makes those decisions ethical and personal in a way that no Fable or Mass Effect can ever do.

      For me, there came a point at the end of my playthrough when I figured I was ready for Gwyn, when I ran around killing all the NPCs for whatever armor they might drop. Not because I needed the armor, just out of a sense of completion. It started to affect me emotionally, where I was wondering, “What the hell am I doing?” Especially with Gough and Ciaran, for some reason. They’d never done me any wrong. And all the game ended up saying to me about it was, “Well, you didn’t have to do that, but you did it anyways.”

      It’s the same the whole way through– the game never really tells you that you’re doing the right thing, save through the mouths of the two manipulative and pandering serpents, and when you finish the game, neither ending is about making the world a better place. They’re just a place to stop the story. I think the only good ending is to make it to Sif, see him start to limp, and ask yourself, “What the hell am I doing? I don’t have to do what anybody tells me. I’m letting Sif live, going back to Fireside to just hang out, even if it means that the story stops here.”

  12. Meat Circus says:

    What everyone else said. Apart from the ones who didn’t like it.

  13. Premium User Badge

    bear912 says:

    Touching the Void. Man, it’s been a while since I’ve heard anyone mention that. While all of you are going on about how great Dark Souls is, I shall just leave this statement here, buried under the rest of the comments.

    Touching the Void (the movie) may actually be the single most harrowing and intense movie I have ever seen, and it’s a freaking documentary.

    • MultiVaC says:

      It really is quite the story. It’s definitely worth the read, it’s amazing that someone could survive that. The movie is pretty good, too.

  14. Synesthesia says:

    This is most definitely, one of the best games i’ve ever played in over 20 years gaming. The dsfix turned a shit port into something i will not forget. The game is full of poetry, and one of the few that i liked the writing of, even if its medieval fantasy.

    Can’t wait till i get my new video card, so i can replay it with big screen on my big tv. It will be good.

  15. Bullitt says:

    I have to say something because I completely disagree with all the people that say this a good game. I found this completely devoid of story and soul. A clunky, poor port. And infuriatingly difficult, without any real need to be that way. Frankly it annoys me that everyone likes it so much.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      There is a really good story, it’s just not spoon fed to you, you have to discover it for yourself! I can’t help you with the difficulty though, you got to enjoy this level of challenge I guess.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Voice of Majority says:

    What can I do. It’s about Dark Souls. I’ll have to comment.

    It made me die countless times. There was no room for thoughts about screen resolution.

    There is no reason to wait for further price cut. You’ll be playing lesser games while you wait.

  17. bigjig says:

    Not just my GOTY, this is probably one of the greatest gaming experiences I’ve had in my entire life! That sense of heart-wrenching trepidation you have when exploring through a trap-infested fortress for the first time. That heart pounding tension when facing off with the game’s toughest bosses and the sense of sheer fist-pumping elation you get when you finally slay them. That sense of wonder you get when exploring hidden worlds. Now THIS is a fucking game!

    I’m not saying every game should be like this one. There should still be the paint by numbers hold your hand, regenerating health, cutscene and tutorial laden bloated mess “AAA” games that everyone seems to love. But thank god for games like this one, games that focus on a pure gameplay experience, one where you are left to your own devices with all the challenge and exuberation that brings. It brought back a feeling I thought I had long since lost. The game is tough sure, but not unreasonably so. Dark Souls may seem like a harsh mistress that hates you in the beginning, but the more you push on the more she will start smiling upon you.

    I understand why this wouldn’t get RPS’s GOTY. The port leaves a lot to be desired sure, but to me as a game itself this is so far ahead all that has come before and all else that will follow. Tis a shame that Adam is the only one who seems to have played it, because while Dark Souls will push you around a bit at the start, those who decide to push back will find it one of the most captivating experiences in gaming. The only problem I have now is that a lot of games like Skyrim (last year’s GOTY) now just seem duller in comparison.

    • eclipse mattaru says:

      The only problem I have now is that a lot of games like Skyrim (last year’s GOTY) now just seem duller in comparison.

      I hear you. I interrupted my Dark Souls playthrough to play Dishonored, a game that in any other year would have been a strong contender for my GOTY, and -while there are a lot of good ideas in it and I adored the art style- overall I found it a bland, shallow waste of precious Dark Souls time, and I couldn’t help seeing errors and flaws all over the place –especially gameplay-wise.

      I’m afraid Dark Souls might have very well ruined games for me.

      • Outright Villainy says:

        Sadly quite true. I played Dishonored first as I was waiting for a sale, and I loved it, but Dark Souls has made it seem like a distant memory, a game that’s pretty alright, but that’s about it. Which is mental because after I played I thought it was one of the best games I’d played in forever. Also, when DS2 was announced, I felt giddy as a child on christmas at the thought of it.

        This game has ruined me…

      • Kadayi says:

        I hear you, and I feel your pain. There’s something so utterly pure about the way DS is constructed in terms of the relationships between the spaces that it kind of puts the boot into a lot of other titles. I love that you can see from the beginning of undead berg where you’re heading if you bother to get out of that mental rut of being focused purely on what’s right in front of you and simply look around and take in the space, and often doing so informs you of what’s ahead and how to tackle it.

      • Torn says:

        +1 on the ‘dark souls has ruined other games’.

        No other game even comes close on responsiveness of combat, or the feeling of challenge and satisfaction at learning and taking down a boss. PVP is blood-thumpingly exciting, coop play is a real buzz – especially with friends, and the fact that each weapon has its own moveset and animations is something you take for granted until you realise how lacking other games are.

        That’s it in a nutshell, really, other games are just lacking. There’s just something pure about Dark Souls, and a shared bond between the people that have experienced it.

  18. Vernalagnia says:

    I will never understand the unqualified love and willful ignoring of this kind of bad game’s massive, gaping design flaws. Replaying the same section twenty times in one hour isn’t fun. It never will be, and to say it to yourself is a lie and you know it. It’s not a “hard” game game – it’s relentlessly repetitive and cheap. That’s not difficulty – it’s bad design.

    • Emeraude says:

      Replaying the same section twenty times in one hour isn’t fun.

      Says who ?
      I’m always amused by how hard it is for us to acknowledge alterity.

      That’s not difficulty – it’s bad design.

      I think trying to link the repetitiveness and crushing adversity to difficulty is bad criticism. It’s missing the points altogether.

    • Premium User Badge

      AmateurScience says:

      Have you played it?

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      Not liking something doesn’t make it a bad design decision, and certainly doesn’t mean that the people that disagree with you are doing so because they’re delusional. There are plenty of games that are generally considered good that use repetition and learning a level as a core concept (eg. Mega Man, most precision platformers, Hotline Miami) for it to definitely not be “bad design”.

      Then again, I’m the one with a Metroid reference for a name, so maybe I’m not qualified to speak on retreading old ground.

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      Faldrath says:

      I kinda agree that there’s a lot of subjectivity involved, but I think Dark Souls has generated a kind of sociological effect that does make people overlook its flaws – namely, that if you enjoy it you’re somehow part of a “gaming elite”.

      So yes, there’s a tradition of games that usually involves endless repetition and learning of levels, but that has never been met with overwhelming, consensual praise. Especially not RPGs – “being repetitive” is normally one of the major criticisms a game can suffer.

      I’m a bit skeptical regarding the “yes, you need to kill stuff all over again but it’s ok because you’ll learn” argument. Because it’s a truism (if you do something over and over again you’ll almost always get better at it), and it’s actually *not* an interesting way to learn things.

      Not to mention that you can’t even pause the game. I cannot think of any other game that would get away with the lack of a pause button. But Dark Souls does, for some reason.

      Yes, it’s an interesting game, good design, good combat, mysterious world, etc. But it’s not god’s gift to mankind, and I find it curious how many people seem to think it is. The only way I’ve found to explain this is the sociological effect I mentioned above.

      • Premium User Badge

        darkChozo says:

        I do agree that there’s something of a zeitgeist surrounding DS that seems to be related to the whole hardcorez vs casuals thing. It probably stems partially from the fact that the game feels a bit like an old school action adventure game brought into the modern era. A very apt comparison, I feel, would be to the older Megamans; while DS is more combat focused, there are a lot of similarities between the two games (level familiarity being a big factor, hard bosses following a somewhat marathon-y level, a concept of beating bosses in a certain mostly nonenforced order to proceed through the game).

        I think the problem with a lot of criticisms that people who don’t like the game level at it really do seem like a case of them just not getting it. I don’t mean that particularly negatively, but complaints about trial-and-error gameplay, or the need to fight through a level to get to the boss seem to stem from just not liking the type of game it is. That doesn’t mean it’s poorly designed, that just means it’s using gameplay elements that you don’t like, which is fine. I don’t particularly like Starcraft, but I’m not going to say Starcraft is poorly designed because it’s too micro or build order focused or something; those are just things I don’t particularly care for.

        As for the specific complaints in your post, I’d say repetitive games are different than games that makes you repeat parts of a level. Repetition in that sense is more about a lack of variety. You can have a game where you never die and you never ever retrace your steps and still have it feel repetitive. The lack of pause is a bit more interesting; I think it could do with a pause button separate from the menu system, that would suspend the game but not work in multiplayer situations. I say that because having to access your equipment “live” can actually add tension to the game, and is something that happens a lot in survival horror games, ZombiU (consoles *boo* *hiss*) being a rather prominent recent example. Doesn’t really excuse not having some sort of pause, though.

    • jalf says:

      Instead of getting dragged into a futile “this game is good” “No, it sucks” “No it’s good” “No it sucks”….. kind of debate, let me say why *I* enjoy it.

      It sometimes forces me to replay the same section 20 times, yes, but only because I screwed up, because I didn’t learn my lesson fast enough, because I didn’t adapt. And each of those 20 times, I can see what I did wrong, I can see myself improving and getting closer. And importantly, I didn’t actually need to die in order to learn. I could learn everything I needed to know about a boss before he killed me. But I typically screw up, or get impatient, and get killed as a result. It’s not the dying that teaches me to do better (because *that* would be repetitive and bad design), it’s the bits I do in between dying. Observing my enemy’s moves, experimenting with different weapon and attack types, watching and dodging. That’s why it’s not repetitive. I don’t need to die 20 times in order to beat a boss. I just need to watch his attacks, figure out how to get hits in without being torn apart, learn and adapt.

      Forcing me to replay parts of a game where I’m not in control, where it’s down to dumb luck, or to factors the player could not possibly have known about, would have been bad design in my opinion. That would have made dying inevitable, and it would have sucked.

      But a challenge that a skillful, observant player can get through, and and which you can *learn* to navigate, not by blind trial and error, but by looking at what you’re facing, by trying to understand your character’s abilities and by trying to read your opponent is not bad design.

      I understand where you’re coming from. But maybe others got a different experience out of it, and their view of the game is not less valid than yours.

      And while I don’t want to say that you “played the game wrong”, the game relies heavily on the player learning and adapting. In most games you don’t need to do that. In most games you don’t need to read an enemy to see when he’s going to perform his all-destroying area attack so that you can dodge away in time. In most games, you just need to equip sufficiently good armor and be high enough level. And if you approach the game like that, then yes, it will be very, very repetitive, because you’ll be dying to the same things over and over until by a stroke of luck you manage to defeat it and move on (and then you likely die a minute later and have to do it all over again)

      I’m a bit skeptical regarding the “yes, you need to kill stuff all over again but it’s ok because you’ll learn” argument. Because it’s a truism (if you do something over and over again you’ll almost always get better at it), and it’s actually *not* an interesting way to learn things.

      I think that is inaccurate in a couple of ways:

      - you don’t need to kill stuff all over again. If you play well, you only have to kill stuff once.
      - it is not killing stuff again that you learn from in Dark Souls. Some games literally require you to repeat actions in order to gather knowledge or improve (perhaps you have to grind for XP, or perhaps you need information that can *only* be gathered by trying and failing, like “oh, the invisible platform was not over there after all”). Some games *require* you to fail repeatedly. Dark Souls doesn’t. You get the information you need up front, you *can* kill everything in your first attempt if you pay attention, learn on your feet and just play well.
      Doing something five or ten times in Dark Souls doesn’t ensure you’ll learn more or improve more than if you only did it once. In short, you don’t necessarily get better by doing something repeatedly. (You could say that you only improve by *not* doing things repeatedly. If you have to go through an area again, it’s because you failed before. If you failed before, it’s not because your character wasn’t powerful enough, or because you were unlucky. It’s because you did the wrong thing at the wrong time. And so, you should *not* do the same thing again. If you want to improve, you should do something *different* this time around.)
      - it’s not really a truism in games that you get better by doing something repeatedly. Many, many games rely on chance, or on the repetition *itself* (you, as a player, won’t get better at a typical RPG by killing 300 rats. But your character will grow stronger, and thus, you need to do it), rather than the player learning.

      You’re right, doing the same thing repeatedly is not a fun way to learn. But as I’ve pointed out, Dark Souls does not require you to do the same thing repeatedly, so I feel your criticism misses the mark a bit.

    • dE says:

      Let me step right in and shortcut this discussion:
      a) waaaah wah, someone likes something I don’t. They’re delusional liars!
      b) waaaaaaaah waah, someone doesn’t like something I do. They just don’t get it!

      Arguments against column a:
      There is no perfect game. Never will be. Every game can be torn apart and made to look like a design atrocity. People like different things. People are good with different things.

      Arguments against column b:
      People like different things. Every mechanic appeals to different types of people. It’s perfectly normal for people to “get” a game and still not like it.

      Arguments against both columns:
      Discussions over the Internet never end. They just die half way through. A will never convince B and B will never convince A. There is zero incentive to back down from a point of view. And people don’t have to. It’s a pleasant pastime regardless, so who am I kidding. Post and flame away. Ding, another post proudly presented by late night brain power shortage.

      • jalf says:

        The main reason discussions over the internet never end is that there is always some brain-impaired person who feels the irresistible urge to interrupt it with a few insults at everyone involved, by misrepresenting *every* argument made in the discussion, and rounding off with a sad attempt at boosting his ego by pointing out his world-shattering observation that everyone are wasting their time.

        Thank you for fulfilling that essential role. yes, you are very wise and clever to have made an observation about the internet, and we are forever in your debt for derailing everything to point it out to us.

        I have made an observation too. What you did is called trolling. Go away. I’d rather have my discussions die because silently people forget about it than because a troll needed the attention it’d give him to disrupt it.

        • dE says:

          Might want to take a chill pill. You’re a tad passive aggressive there. Especially towards a post that is clearly humorous in nature, a kind reply to the original rather obvious flamebait.

    • JackShandy says:

      “Replaying the same section twenty times in one hour isn’t fun. It never will be”

      You cannot post that as if it’s an obvious statement of fact. You’re going to have to put some arguments forward to explain why Contra, Super Meat Boy, Super Hexagon, Hotline Miami, Nethack, and the original Super Mario Bros. aren’t fun.

    • Torn says:

      Dark Souls is only difficult until you ‘get’ it. There’ll be a moment when you realise your deaths are down to your own arrogance, or lazyness, and that when you know what you’re doing you’ll wonder how you ever had problems with earlier sections of the game.

      It’s a learning curve, sure, and it’s not for everyone. It requires good reactions, and sensible strategies, and a willingness to learn and correct your playstyle.

  19. UncleLou says:

    “I will never understand the unqualified love and willful ignoring of this kind of bad game…”

    Of course you won’t, seeing how your two premises seem to be that it’s badly designed and people who enjoy it only delude themselves. Not exactly an open-minded approach.

    • Premium User Badge

      Voice of Majority says:

      I find it funny how people complain about the “faults” in Dark Souls. They are not faults. It is the way it is by design.

      I cannot really speak for the artist, but this is how I see it:

      The gameplay needs to have repetition to allow the player to become more skillful. Not to level-up. To become more skillful. This is necessary because a significant part of the game is in mastering the complex and varied fighting mechanics.

      Leaving out the pause button is a no brainer. It is to keep the tension. It is a design choice that adds to the experience. After playing a while you will learn to take little set backs more stoically. You will die, so what does one more time matter.

      The need to fight your way back to every boss fight is also by design. It gives the boss fight phase a rhythm . It is never a very long way back to the boss, and it gives you a while to contemplate what went wrong instead of just reloading the boss fight and dying the same way you did last time.

      There is a story. The developer _chose_ to put it into the details _in_:the_world_ and not explain everything at every turn. The story is left for the player to figure out just the same as mastering the fighting mechanics.

      And this is just the stuff people see as faults. As far as I’m concerned Dark Souls is a fine example of games as an art form. It will be a major milestone in game design history and AC3 will not feature there even as a footnote.

      Would you complain that an art movie does not have enough dialog? Or explosions? What about movies that were deliberately shot in black and white because the director chose to do it that way? Would you care if it is in 3D or not if you cannot forget the characters?

      • megalosaurus says:

        “Leaving out the pause button is a no brainer. It is to keep the tension.”

        Trust me, when my daughter is crying or the phone rings or I have to answer the door my need to pause never causes me to feel I’ve lost some “tension”.

        Or to put it another way, when I’m inching forward in the dark in grimrock and I have to pause, I’m still just as scared when I return 40 minutes later.

        This might have been a design choice (probably it was more to do with how they negotiated the offline and online) but if so it was a bad one which impedes a number of people’s opportunities to play the game.

        I suspect if the game had shipped with a pause button you would have found it tense enough and it would never have occurred to you to question it’s need.

        • Premium User Badge

          Voice of Majority says:

          Having a pause button would change the way the game plays. When you go through the white fog, you know there is no turning. You have one shot with that life. There is no possibility to distance yourself from the fact that Smough is pounding you while Ornstein is gliding towards to deliver the final blow.

          And for the record, I have children too and my time is limited. I just don’t think the experience would be same if it was served in a more player-friendly way – so I make the time.

  20. megalosaurus says:

    The biggest problem that I have with Dark Souls is that it is clearly a game that demands a lot of time (both to play and learn and to complete).

    Alas, I do not have a lot of time. For when I try do something time consuming inevitably Crusader Kings 2 returns from work and takes it’s belt to me. “Playing something else?” It says in it’s booming voice, “How dare you! Take this! And this! And a little of this!”

    “Wah, I am sorry Daddy Crusader Kings 2, please beat me no more. I shall download your latest DLC…”

    “Of course you will!” It shouts. Then it takes my latest diversion, be it Dark Souls or whatever, and crumples it before my tear-filled eyes.

    “Now,” its says at last, “load me up and play as King of Sweden. Your royal lineage shall be extinct before 10 minutes have expired! Then you can go online and blub about games being mean and hard to you!”

    “Yes, Daddy,” I sob, “I shall…”

  21. Dominic White says:

    And now in the correct thread: Just reiterating that everyone should run DSFix, but for chrissakes, don’t uncap the framerate! It breaks a lot of physics stuff under the hood. Jumping and rolling won’t work as intended if you’re running over 30fps, and there’s a chance that you’ll fall through the ground when descending ladders.

    • eclipse mattaru says:

      The broken physics issue is not that tragic, really (certain uneven terrains become slightly trickier to navigate and making long jumps is notably harder), and there are a grand total of 2 ladders where the falling-through-floor happens as far as I can tell, and only one of them has a lethal effect (the one past the rats under the HelloKitty Dragon bridge :P).

      Furthermore, later versions of the fix have a key to toggle the cap on and off, so if you *really* need to make a long jump/climb up some tricky terrain/slide down an unknown ladder, you can just go back to the default framerate with a simple keystroke. So there is no reason to not give in to the beauty of the 60 fps, really.