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Mohorovicic
30-08-2012, 05:50 PM
So now that I extensively played "the most difficult game this generation" I can safely say: Dark Souls is not a difficult game. There are two reasons for this.

1. Most of deaths in Dark Souls are - well, I don't want to used the word "cheap", but... they're "one time only" deaths. That is, they take you by surprise and you fall for them only once - the first time they happen. First time the group of baddies near Undead Burg waterway rapes you; then you learn to not rush in and lure them out one by one. First time enemy hidden behind a corner gets a surprise attack on you; then you learn to walk with your shield up and check corners. First encounter with a Black Knight who two-shots you; then you learn that not all enemies in the area are "your level". First time Taurus Demon jumps at you from nowhere and you panic and die; next time you are prepared. First time you're merrily walking on a bridge and suddenly get burned alive by the Drake; then you run for the alcoves. First time you stroll through Lower Undead Burg and suddenly doors bust open and you die in an ambush; then you trigger it and retreat to the stairs. First time a slime drops on your head in Depths, first time one of Blighttown fatsos pushes you out of the walkway with a ridiculous knockback, first time an Ent or Blighttown hollow eats your face.

But when you know all this and more(like where the bonfires are, where to find gear, who is weak to what, etc.), it's a breeze. It's a breeze not because you got good at the game - but because you know things. You're stronger because of your knowledge, and and that doesn't make for a difficult game.

Let's take what I consider a genuinely hard game in similar style - Devil May Cry(on Hard, preferably). There's little to know in that game. Sure you learn things like what sounds Marionettes make before throwing the blades so you can dodge them even if they're off-screen or attack patterns of bosses, but it still relies mostly on focus, coordingation and timing. So when you're replaying the fucking Nelo Angelo 3 battle for eleventh time, even though you know everything there is to know about the boss, you can still get facestomped because you messed up. In Dark Souls I've yet to fight a boss more then twice.

2. It's an RPG.

Wizardry alert.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of RPGs. There's the classic RPG which separates the player from the character. You can tell the character to do x, but you have no impact on the outcome of the action. The character's stats, skills, items and a pseudorandom number generator decide the result. Tell your Fighter to attack an enemy in Baldur's Gate; it's a pure spreadsheet battle.
And there are action RPGs, in which the player controls the character directly. The character still has its own stats, skills and items, but how he uses them is at least partially influenced by the player. Shoot an arrow at a Mudcrab in Skyrim; you decide whether it hits or not because you aim, your character's stats decide the damage.

Neither one or the other can really be made "difficult".

In the first case, it's always a dice roll. Sure you can boost your chances considerably, i.e. by attacking an enemy with a Fighter, not your Mage, but in the end it's always down to a dice roll. After all even a level 10 Fighter could lose to a lowly Kobold if the former got all critical misses and the latter critical hits. Difficulty in classic RPGs almost universally boils down to grind and basic common sense(use fire spell on ice monster).

In second case, which includes Dark Souls, the problem is that you can fill in your shortcomings in skill with your character's stats and equipment. Let's say you got stuck on Capra and you just cannot kill that guy because you keep messing up rolls. So you can keep on trying until you get better at the game - or you can drop a summon sign in front of the Gargoyles, kill them with other players half a dozen times, and spend a buttfuckton of souls on Vitality. Then go to Capra, mess up exactly like before, but win simply because you had so much more HP. You basically grind your way to victory.

Even aRPGs which go to great lenghts to fix this issue, like Diablo 2 which pretty much hard caps your level depending on what "zone" you're in, ultimately fail. In Diablo 2's case it's the random item drops. If you're struggling, why not go back and run some bosses for better gear... no need to get better.

gundato
30-08-2012, 05:56 PM
Congratulations, you now understand what all of us who played it on the console were saying :p

Ignoring the aforementioned cheap deaths (of which there definitely are more than a few), Dark Souls is a FAIR game. You basically learn everything you need to know in the first few hours (I argue first hour, but some people are a bit slow on the uptake), and the rest of the game is about applying that. And you only die because you got complacent.

But the thing is, people get complacent. Or they approach it as a normal "grindy" game as you mentioned in part 2. And that is where the difficulty pops in.

If you want something like this but (arguably) better: Godhand for the PS2. There are almost no cheap deaths in that, and that is another game where you learn absolutely everything in the first hour, then spend the next several applying that while realizing that a single mistake will probably leave you dead.

trjp
30-08-2012, 06:09 PM
You make it sound like it's actually a fair game and only punishes careless or lazy players - but that's really not the case is it?

The first place I got repeatedly kicked-in-the-face is just after the first 'boss' - you appear at the bonfire and wander until you drop-down into a cemetery full of skeletons - who will repeatedly murder you time and again.

They hit like buses - you get maybe 1-2 hits and there are at least 4, possibly more of them (and dying will, of course, force you to take them all on again) and so you think "did I miss something"??

It's stuff like that which depresses me in the game - I could have just gone the wrong way, I could have missed something really important (like a stash of weapons or - even better - some combat hints) and so on - it's discouraging, to say the least.

Even before that there are environmental tricks which can be annoying - the 'drop' into the room with the first boss will kill you if you do it wrong (and doing it right feels a bit potluck when you're that new to the game) and so on.

Hell even the combat tutorial stuff with the skeletons isn't exactly intuitive or smart - it's almost like they want you to try and fail.

Cheap is definately a word I'd use for Dark Souls - that it's conquerable is one thing (and it's a lovely feeling) but I really, really hate developers who have contempt for their players and like to waste their time.

That was the feeling I left DS with and I'm not really inclined to return to it.

gundato
30-08-2012, 06:16 PM
You ran into the skeletons.
The lesson you should take away: Go the other way :p

There are four general rules of Dark Souls:
Read the messages, but take them with a grain of salt (people are dicks)
Block and/or dodge
Hit the enemy when they are not blocking or dodging
Take your time. Always think about what you are doing



it's almost like they want you to try and fail.
They do.

DS is the kind of game where you are expected to make mistakes so you can learn from them. If it helps, go play Thomas Wayne's only notable line from the Nolan-films every time you die.

Excluding some moments, the game really is fair, but hard. For a game that is cheap, check out I Wanna Be The Guy. Dark Souls doesn't screw you over by changing the game mechanics.
For a more eloquent take on it, go watch Total Biscuit's review of Godhand. Most of what he says about "difficult but fair" applies to both games.

Henke
30-08-2012, 06:33 PM
Dark Souls "not a difficult game" lol. Sure thing tough guy.


So you can keep on trying until you get better at the game - or you can drop a summon sign in front of the Gargoyles, kill them with other players half a dozen times, and spend a buttfuckton of souls on Vitality. Then go to Capra, mess up exactly like before, but win simply because you had so much more HP. You basically grind your way to victory.
So just don't grind if you're finding the game to be too easy.

edit: 100 posts woot

SirKicksalot
30-08-2012, 06:34 PM
The first thing the Firelink Shrine dude says is going down is suicide, up is easier. So why are people going down to the skeletons? Look for a way UP.

db1331
30-08-2012, 06:52 PM
If you find yourself in an area where enemies are one or two shotting you, or you are doing almost no damage to the enemies, you:

A) Are somewhere you shouldn't be yet. Go somewhere else, level up, then come back
B) Don't have appropriate gear. Go somewhere else, gear up, then come back

I don't understand how people can throw themselves at those skeletons for hours on end and think that the game is just supposed to be THAT hard.

Shooop
30-08-2012, 07:29 PM
The first thing the Firelink Shrine dude says is going down is suicide, up is easier. So why are people going down to the skeletons? Look for a way UP.

Gamers have been conditioned to believe that kind of advice is just a trick to make them pass up good loot. It's actually shocking that a video game is being 100% serious when it tells you "Hey you shouldn't do that even though you can."

Kaira-
30-08-2012, 07:35 PM
Gamers have been conditioned to believe that kind of advice is just a trick to make them pass up good loot. It's actually shocking that a video game is being 100% serious when it tells you "Hey you shouldn't do that even though you can."

Well, that place has relatively good loot if you are going to make a two-handed STR-build. But then again, if you don't know where it is, you are going to feel like ramming your head against a wall.

Finicky
30-08-2012, 07:42 PM
Agree with OP, it's mostly trial and error (which in itself would be fine imo) but the problem is that I always dread to fight through a section again because it is so tedious.

You get satisfaction once from figuring out how to beat a new enemy, then from there on it's tedium fighting them again next time you meet them. It should remain fun the second time, but it doesn't.

I love DMC (and also NG) to death and they are much more difficult games , but so much more rewarding, and the combat is so much fun that it doesn't get old to fight the same enemies again because the combat holds up on its own.

I'm immune to the rpg carrot so probably that is why Dark and demon's souls do nothing for me.

Shooop
30-08-2012, 07:49 PM
And back on the original topic...

You know what Dark Souls reminds me most of (from watching videos of it)? Vindictus.

Vindictus has a character called Lann (classes in that game are hero types) who's a twin sword user with no defense at all except a dodge that makes him invincible for a fraction of a second. Success with him means having absolutely perfect timing and knowing exactly what kind of move every enemy can make. But he was made basically impossible to use by the developers adding more and more enemies who don't telegraph any of their attacks and have long-lasting area effect ones.

Dark Souls has that exact same emphasis on learning your enemies and paying attention to what they're doing - they telegraph just about every attack they make. So to me Dark Souls looks like a Vindictus that doesn't suck.

Mohorovicic
30-08-2012, 08:17 PM
Ignoring the aforementioned cheap deaths (of which there definitely are more than a few), Dark Souls is a FAIR game.

So it's a fair game if you ignore all the numerous cheap deathtraps? Uh okay.

gundato
30-08-2012, 08:23 PM
A game can have some cheap deaths (an enemy right next to a pit in a platformer, sniper alley, etc) and still be a fair game.

Kaira-
30-08-2012, 08:38 PM
So it's a fair game if you ignore all the numerous cheap deathtraps? Uh okay.

"Numerous"? There's hardly a handful of them, unless you count being unobservant.

AgamemnonV1
30-08-2012, 08:48 PM
I've not played it so what actually makes it difficult?

In my experience few developers understand how to handle difficulty. Most build a game from the ground-up with the general feel of how to play the game. Metro 2033 is a good example of this. Difficulty doesn't mean a single thing in that game--all it changes is how much of a bullet sponge you and your enemies are (respectively). The hazards of outside levels, getting swarmed, and generally being helpless in a melee makes the game hard no matter what. This effectively hinders any user learning experience and discourages players from exploring an otherwise lovely game.

Consider how developers always seem to have "unlockable" difficulties that just make the game harder. Few ever actually make "easy mode" easy. They're leaving out new players (or players who don't have Olympic reflexes) out in the dust. This has pretty much been my experience with Max Payne 3 lately. Difficulty doesn't really do anything other than dictate how many times you die in an area. It's punishing and frustrating. I game to wind down, not to wind up.

Mohorovicic
30-08-2012, 08:48 PM
I guess dying to an enemy who falls on you from the ceiling that you had no idea even existed in the game technically does count as "unobservant"

If you want to fanboy it THAT much

Besides, them were gundato's own words.


Ignoring the aforementioned cheap deaths (of which there definitely are more than a few)

gundato
30-08-2012, 08:51 PM
I've not played it so what actually makes it difficult?

In my experience few developers understand how to handle difficulty. Most build a game from the ground-up with the general feel of how to play the game. Metro 2033 is a good example of this. Difficulty doesn't mean a single thing in that game--all it changes is how much of a bullet sponge you and your enemies are (respectively). The hazards of outside levels, getting swarmed, and generally being helpless in a melee makes the game hard no matter what. This effectively hinders any user learning experience and discourages players from exploring an otherwise lovely game.

Consider how developers always seem to have "unlockable" difficulties that just make the game harder. Few ever actually make "easy mode" easy. They're leaving out new players (or players who don't have Olympic reflexes) out in the dust. This has pretty much been my experience with Max Payne 3 lately. Difficulty doesn't really do anything other than dictate how many times you die in an area. It's punishing and frustrating. I game to wind down, not to wind up.

Dark Souls is difficult because enemies hit hard, the cost of retrying is high, and you lose all your moneys if you die twice in a row (without recovering said moneys).

Dark Souls is NOT a twitch game. It is not hard like Halo on Legendary (or whatver it is called) is hard. In fact, it is a very slow-paced game for the most part. You won't die because you didn't get a headshot fast enough or stand in the exact right spot. You die because you just got a sword rammed into your spine.

And the thing is, once you get into the swing of things, it is actually a really relaxing game. You won't scream "OH MY GOD YOU CHEATING SON OF A BITCH!" and instead will just think "Hmm, I totally deserved that" or "God damn it, I hate this boss"


I guess dying to an enemy who falls on you from the ceiling that you had no idea even existed in the game technically does count as "unobservant"

If you want to fanboy it THAT much

Besides, them were gundato's own words.

Don't be too quick to run around.

And you just learned from your mistake. Do better next time :p

And actually, I said exactly what you quoted. You are the one who decided to bitch about "cheap deathtraps".

Maybe I wasn't clear: Dark Souls is fair, but there are more than a few times where you are going to die to something that I argue is cheap. But compared to all the OTHER times you die, it isn't too bad.

Mohorovicic
30-08-2012, 09:10 PM
Dark Souls is difficult because enemies hit hard, the cost of retrying is high, and you lose all your moneys if you die twice in a row (without recovering said moneys).

The cost of retrying is zero. One humanity if you like to run around unhollified, which is next to zero. Death only sends you back to the spawn point. Even if you die again before reaching the stain, which is generally hard to do, you never permanently lose anything. Humanity can be obtained in many ways, and souls just keep flowing in no matter where you go.


Don't be too quick to run around.

I was walking, thanks. With shield up, for that matter.


And you just learned from your mistake. Do better next time :p

Mistake of what? Not checking every ceiling in every room in the game just in case the devs might have made an enemy that drops on your head? Should I look under the bridges too? See, in a normal videogame that kind of enemy would come with a small introduction so the player knows what to expect. Just dropping a slime on the player with no possible way for him to know it's there(unless he really is paranoid and really does check every ceiling in every room in the game) is just cheap, sorry.

And yeah, I did "do better" next time. That's the whole point here. After that I was checking out the ceiling just in case and no slime ever dropped on my head again. And no slime will ever drop on my head again no matter how many times I replay the Depths: because that kind of cheap trick only works once. And it has nothing to do with difficulty, it's just a matter of knowing it or not.

But these cheap tricks keep happening, and people keep dying to them, and suddenly Dark Souls is a "hard" game. But most of your deaths aren't due to actually dying in combat - it's just cheap tricks.

Kadayi
30-08-2012, 09:15 PM
The first thing the Firelink Shrine dude says is going down is suicide, up is easier. So why are people going down to the skeletons? Look for a way UP.

If you've got no souls on you suicide can be a useful thing. Personally once I spent all of mine at the starter bonfire, I just pegged it bare ass nekkid around the graveyard snatching up all the treasures, then just respawned with all my phat loot when they inevitably cornered me. Death has no consequence then, and you're super agile.

Patrick Swayze
30-08-2012, 09:16 PM
I guess dying to an enemy who falls on you from the ceiling that you had no idea even existed in the game technically does count as "unobservant"

If you want to fanboy it THAT much

Besides, them were gundato's own words.

Peeps were kind enough to leave me messages for that section.

Also http://www.roflcat.com/images/cats/Deal_With_It.jpg

trjp
30-08-2012, 09:36 PM
If you find yourself in an area where enemies are one or two shotting you, or you are doing almost no damage to the enemies, you:

A) Are somewhere you shouldn't be yet. Go somewhere else, level up, then come back
B) Don't have appropriate gear. Go somewhere else, gear up, then come back

I don't understand how people can throw themselves at those skeletons for hours on end and think that the game is just supposed to be THAT hard.

In fairness, I threw myself at them maybe 3-4 times before thinking "there's clearly another way out of here" - and then thinking "but there's also icecream in the freezer and beer in the fridge" and so turning off the XBOX and putting a movie on :)

I don't mind games where I die from mistakes but when it's blended with vague directions and vague instructions on combat and almost non-existant clues about everything else, it just leaves me feeling a bit down and that's not what I play games for.

I realise some people like that - hell I realise some people stick forks in their arms and legs - horses for courses, just don't paint your hobby as 'easy' because it's not :)

grasskit
30-08-2012, 09:45 PM
some people just find absence of hand holding refreshing. i, for one, love that theres minimal to no direction, combined with this bleak world, its absolutely engrossing. to quote EVE devs, "heres a rubick's cube, go fuck yourself".

gundato
30-08-2012, 10:22 PM
Mistake of what? Not checking every ceiling in every room in the game just in case the devs might have made an enemy that drops on your head? Should I look under the bridges too? See, in a normal videogame that kind of enemy would come with a small introduction so the player knows what to expect. Just dropping a slime on the player with no possible way for him to know it's there(unless he really is paranoid and really does check every ceiling in every room in the game) is just cheap, sorry.
If you think there is a risk of enemies coming from the ceiling or bridges, check them. In "normal video games", any time I see a room with the door in the middle of the wall, I expect someone waiting in one of the corners.

Your warnings are a general sense of paranoia and the signs. You die, you learn to do better, you don't die again until you let your guard down. You let your guard down and got sodomized from the sky. It happens, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

trjp
30-08-2012, 10:32 PM
If you think there is a risk of enemies coming from the ceiling or bridges, check them. In "normal video games", any time I see a room with the door in the middle of the wall, I expect someone waiting in one of the corners.

Your warnings are a general sense of paranoia and the signs. You die, you learn to do better, you don't die again until you let your guard down. You let your guard down and got sodomized from the sky. It happens, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
You're lecturing people on what to do tho - that's missing the point.

The game should tease people into doing this stuff - you should not expect people to react to what happens, you should be teasing them along with visual and audible clues and other stuff.

Dark Souls has a reputation for being hard - anyone claiming it's not is effectively a flat-earther. Whether it's enjoyable or not will remain a personal preference but to claim it's entirely intuitive and deaths are almost always the players fault is fucking bizarre - it's like claiming making a moon rocket is easy, it is if you're Nasa...

gundato
30-08-2012, 10:36 PM
You're lecturing people on what to do tho - that's missing the point.

The game should tease people into doing this stuff - you should not expect people to react to what happens, you should be teasing them along with visual and audible clues and other stuff.

Dark Souls has a reputation for being hard - anyone claiming it's not is effectively a flat-earther. Whether it's enjoyable or not will remain a personal preference but to claim it's entirely intuitive and deaths are almost always the players fault is fucking bizarre - it's like claiming making a moon rocket is easy, it is if you're Nasa...

My point is: You can avoid almost all death if you are cautious and good at identifying patterns. Thus, (most) of the game is not cheap. But people are not cautious and most people need to die a few times to catch the patterns. THAT is where the difficulty comes in.

Hence: Hard, but fair.

Drinking with Skeletons
30-08-2012, 11:32 PM
I guess dying to an enemy who falls on you from the ceiling that you had no idea even existed in the game technically does count as "unobservant"

If you want to fanboy it THAT much

Besides, them were gundato's own words.

This.

"Tough but fair" is not an accurate descriptor of this game unless you have a very particular definition of "fair." Enemies hit brutally hard and are often placed in spots that even a cautious player won't see. For example, I made my way past the dragon early on and slowly, sloooowly crept up a spiral staircase. I didn't know which way to go, so I figured that going up would be a good way to get my bearings. Except that there was a knight up there who was basically positioned to chop my head off as soon as it peeked up and was in a spot where I couldn't position the camera without also losing sight of my character. I guess it's fair in the sense that if I were to knowingly wander into a monster-infested castle then I deserve whatever I get, but in a "I'm playing a game and feel I deserve a the opportunity to appraise the situation" it's patently unfair.

Which is fine, I'm not saying games like this shouldn't exist or that you are a bad person for enjoying it, but it simply isn't reasonable to sum this game up as "tough but fair." I recently gave Darklands a shot after reading an intriguing write-up, and I would consider that game as "tough but fair," thanks to it's reams (seriously, there's like 150 pages of it!) of well-written tips, hints, and supplemental material. Dark Souls is more like paying someone to hide in your house and leap out and wail on you with a baseball bat to toughen you up; it might achieve the desired result, but you're kind of on your own once things get going, and it isn't going to work for everyone.

My two cents; I assume the following posts will mostly reiterate how wrong I am and how I just need to be patient and all the usual arguments.

trjp
30-08-2012, 11:41 PM
My point is: You can avoid almost all death if you are cautious and good at identifying patterns. Thus, (most) of the game is not cheap. But people are not cautious and most people need to die a few times to catch the patterns. THAT is where the difficulty comes in.

Hence: Hard, but fair.

I think you're bonkers...

Kaira-
31-08-2012, 12:26 AM
For example, I made my way past the dragon early on and slowly, sloooowly crept up a spiral staircase. I didn't know which way to go, so I figured that going up would be a good way to get my bearings. Except that there was a knight up there who was basically positioned to chop my head off as soon as it peeked up and was in a spot where I couldn't position the camera without also losing sight of my character.

I don't know how you went in, but it's possible to actually sneak upon that knight and backstab him before he even notices you are there.

There is very rarely any moments where you will be ambushed completely out of the blue, and both of the cases I can come up with happen in the Lower Undead Burg, one of them which can be negated by simply being vary of corners. Also, speaking of the falling enemies from ceiling, you can lock on to them. Of course if you don't expect nothing, you'll get surprised. However, there are clearly hints to warn you of dangers - almost always when you see loot on the ground there are also enemies very close. "If something seems too good to be true, it is".

Kadayi
31-08-2012, 01:12 AM
I don't know how you went in, but it's possible to actually sneak upon that knight and backstab him before he even notices you are there.

Will it kill him outright? Or does he require further persuasion?

Kaira-
31-08-2012, 01:32 AM
Will it kill him outright? Or does he require further persuasion?

Considering character's low level it will take at least two or three backstabs with bandit knife, even with pine resin applied. However, you can chain backstabs in such manner that the knight never gets a chance to hit you. Otherwise the battle is just painful since there isn't much space to move and the knight hits like a train.

Finicky
31-08-2012, 02:19 AM
Painful ,cheap, paranoia, identifying patterns, ah yes those are all the right words one wants to hear when describing a videogame...

I think the Op's point was that there are many games that are harder, and they aren't harder by virtue of such arbitrary means as cheap deaths and cheap traps or forcing the player to go to OCD levels of second guessing their every move or building the entire game based on trial and error.

Pacing is a thing btw.

The whole game feels like an internet meme misinterpretation of the meaning of handholding and difficulty.

Again, this coming from someone who doesn't mind dying a dozen times on a boss in NG or getting obliterated half a dozen times by a pack of enemies in DMC. There is a fun learning curve, and then there is parroting patterns. Me thinks the former takes a lot more talent to design.

JackShandy
31-08-2012, 03:12 AM
It's a breeze not because you got good at the game - but because you know things.


You don't think knowing things about the game counts as getting better at it?

In response to the complaints about cheap deaths, I hope no-one minds if I re-post a comment I made in the Wot-I-Think thread.


Thereís a concept Iíve learned from D&D blogs: Games as Sport VS. Games as War. In a sport, everybody is given a totally equal chance to win; Boxing, or Street Fighter. In War, everybody tries to slant the odds in their favor so that you have an overwhelming chance of success before you even start the fight; An assassination attempt, AD&D, and Dark Souls.

In Dark Souls the enemies will lure you into the center of a room and then burst out of hiding behind you, use attacks you canít block, come out of the god-damn walls in droves, throw fire at you while you fight their friends below. This is all totally unfair. The only possible way to win is to use that clever human brain of yours and make things unfair in your favor. Lure them out, jump on them from above, kick them off cliffs, call on other players for help.

Almost no game today demands that of you. Games just donít let their enemies use a full range of tactics. There are these Ghosts in Dark Souls who hover over the edge of a cliff, stabbing at you. Stab back, and Iíd fall off the cliff. An enemy that melee players canít reach? Thatís insane! But it works, because I am a smart human and they are dumb robots, and I can use every system the game has to offer and outsmart those fuckers right into the grave.

Winning by using every single element of the game like that is just the best feeling on earth, and Dark Souls Ė along with D&D, and some games like Deux Ex and Thief Ė is the only thing that scratches that itch.

My favourite moment in Dark Souls so far: "Wait... why is there a bloodstain on the floor here? OHGOD" - and then I escaped the trap first time. That's absolutely possible for everything the game throws at you.

AgamemnonV1
31-08-2012, 03:22 AM
Dark Souls is difficult because enemies hit hard, the cost of retrying is high, and you lose all your moneys if you die twice in a row (without recovering said moneys).

Dark Souls is NOT a twitch game. It is not hard like Halo on Legendary (or whatver it is called) is hard. In fact, it is a very slow-paced game for the most part. You won't die because you didn't get a headshot fast enough or stand in the exact right spot. You die because you just got a sword rammed into your spine.

And the thing is, once you get into the swing of things, it is actually a really relaxing game. You won't scream "OH MY GOD YOU CHEATING SON OF A BITCH!" and instead will just think "Hmm, I totally deserved that" or "God damn it, I hate this boss"
Again, I haven't played it, so I reserve complete judgement for it, but that's not difficulty, that's frustration (at least the part about enemies hitting hard and losing all of your money). Difficulty challenges you on what you can do, as a person, through interaction in the game. If the game shoe-horns you into an insurmountable position where there's only one right move, then it's just a matter of how many times you need to die to find the correct path. Difficulty should challenge your critical thinking skills rather than throw beef buses at you.

Stuntman was marketed as a difficult game. Everyone went in understanding that. So when the game cast you as the role of a stuntman, you figured you had to get the entire sequence right or you'd have to start over (barring what actually happens in real life, where many cuts of many scenes are spliced together). This made Stuntman fun and challenging rather than frustrating, as why the game is difficult is made abundantly clear to you and it's rather fair.

As I said, I haven't played the game, so I don't know the full details.

Namdrol
31-08-2012, 04:48 AM
Again, I haven't played it, so I reserve complete judgement for it, but that's not difficulty, that's frustration (at least the part about enemies hitting hard and losing all of your money). Difficulty challenges you on what you can do, as a person, through interaction in the game. If the game shoe-horns you into an insurmountable position where there's only one right move, then it's just a matter of how many times you need to die to find the correct path. Difficulty should challenge your critical thinking skills rather than throw beef buses at you.

Stuntman was marketed as a difficult game. Everyone went in understanding that. So when the game cast you as the role of a stuntman, you figured you had to get the entire sequence right or you'd have to start over (barring what actually happens in real life, where many cuts of many scenes are spliced together). This made Stuntman fun and challenging rather than frustrating, as why the game is difficult is made abundantly clear to you and it's rather fair.

As I said, I haven't played the game, so I don't know the full details.

Dark Souls doesnt shoehorn anything. There are multiple ways to fight every enemy. There are many ways to build and equip a character. Platformers are shoehorn games with one way to do things, and Dark Souls is no platformer.

Having said that, it is not a game for everyone. Some (many) are going to despise its bleakness, its lack of pandering, and its willingness to induce ragequiting in order to maintain its internal consistency.

Critical thinking doesn't constitute difficulty in gaming; I cannot even think of a game that uses critical thinking as a mechanic. What makes dark souls difficult is that if your attention wanders, or you aren't willing to learn and master the games mechanics you will fail. Now, not everyone likes sustained periods of concentration or mastering game mechanics, and those people will hate dark souls. But for people who do, this is a rare gem of a game.

JackShandy
31-08-2012, 05:42 AM
Critical thinking doesn't constitute difficulty in gaming; I cannot even think of a game that uses critical thinking as a mechanic.

From wikipedia: "Critical thinking is a type of reasonable, reflective thinking that is aimed at deciding what to believe or what to do."

You can't be saying that no game has ever forced you to make a reasoned decision about what to do. I'm baffled. "As a mechanic" - you mean no game has ever had a Critical Thinking Bar that fills up as it detects brainpower?

It's also baffling that you think a game that demands careful, reasoned decisions isn't more difficult than a game that doesn't.

Mohorovicic
31-08-2012, 06:01 AM
Your warnings are a general sense of paranoia and the signs.

So if one's not paranoid and doesn't play online(or a particular sign is missing) there are no warnings at all. Welp.


You die, you learn to do better, you don't die again until you let your guard down.

You're preaching to the choir. As I said, after that I kept checking the ceiling and no slime ever go a drop on me(and never will). My point is that killing the player just to get the "enemies on ceilings" point across is cheap and makes the game seem more difficult than it is(since most players equate dying with difficulty).

Even Demon's Souls did it better - at the beginning of that game there is a section where you come down the stairs and there's some red barrels on the way. There are enemies with torches positioned behind the barrels; and as soon as they touch the barrels they explode. Since the enemies will blindly rush the player through the barrels, it is clearly a deliberate developer setup to show the player that red barrels explode when they come in contact with fire. So then you *know* and if you bring a fire weapon to a room full of red barrels, it's your own damn fault, no one else's.

In Dark Souls when you are walking down the bridge after Capra and suddenly dragon sweeps it with fire killing you instantly, what part of it is the player's fault? Especially since the only way to avoid this is to actually sprint through. So now we're being both paranoid and daredevil at the same time?

But of course next time, you know the dragon is going to sweep so you sprint on the bridge from the beginning. And you don't take a scratch. Only because you know better, not because you are better at the game.

JackShandy
31-08-2012, 07:54 AM
So if one's not paranoid and doesn't play online(or a particular sign is missing) there are no warnings at all. Welp.

You're saying you keep dying to things you didn't see coming. That doesn't make you paranoid? You rush into an area without a care in the world, and then once the first thing kills you, you have the ability to automatically defeat it every subsequent time?

I can't understand the way you seem to be playing Dark Souls, but hey, everybody plays games differently. You should probably play other games.

Patrick Swayze
31-08-2012, 09:36 AM
Are people still complaining about this game being difficult and complaining about deaths when it was expressly marketed as a game that is difficult and in which you will die A LOT?

Drake Sigar
31-08-2012, 09:49 AM
Are people still complaining about this game being difficult and complaining about deaths when it was expressly marketed as a game that is difficult and in which you will die A LOT?

Not exactly. They're arguing the definition of difficulty. This is what we do at RPS - argue definitions all day long.

Prokroustis
31-08-2012, 10:04 AM
But what is the nature of a man in the first place?

NathanH
31-08-2012, 10:04 AM
I haven't played this game, but the talk about checking every ceiling and so on struck me as one of the things I dislike seeing in video games: a need for caution when the caution is trivial. By this I mean the actions you need to take to be cautious are 1) obvious 2) trivial to perform and 3) time-consuming.

Mohorovicic
31-08-2012, 10:31 AM
You're saying you keep dying to things you didn't see coming.

I do?

Do you people even read posts here, or you simply enter autopilot the moment you see words "Dark Souls" and "difficulty" and immediately proceed to spew out hurhurhur tough but fair be careful mantra completely disregarding topic at hand?


Are people still complaining about this game being difficult and complaining about deaths when it was expressly marketed as a game that is difficult and in which you will die A LOT?

...oh.

Goateh
31-08-2012, 10:41 AM
I thought Dark Souls contained more cheap moments than Demon's Souls. Some obvious examples:

Slime on the head, as mentioned above.
Hiding bonfires (mild spoiler - the ones behind walls that vanished when hit)
Curses - oh, you didn't know you should have prepared for them a few hours ago? Have no health. This was limited some since release but it was incredibly punishing compared to the normal death mechanic.
The New Londo ghost mechanics
The mimics. Why on earth would I have expected that to happen?
Toxin in blighttown. I was fight some stuff then I suddenly got a debuff and lost all my health nearly instantly. What? I didn't even know where it came from for a long time because it felt so random. Knowing how it works now, it's an arbitrary punishment when the debuff kills so quickly.
The (not-black) knights around the cathedral early on with the shields. You get one shot with a mechanic that enemies hadn't used until that point and don't use again.

I think it's still a better experience than Demon's Souls because of everything else it does, but it wasn't flawless. Dying is part of the experience and, while most were entirely justified, some deaths were just the game showing you its new toys by killing you in ways you couldn't reasonably avoid.

That said, it's a huge game and there aren't many bits that are outright unfair. It's not hard in any kind of twitch sense but there's plenty to learn for every enemy. They could just do with introducing the instant kill mechanics in a weaker form first so you're aware that these things are possible. Once you know they're there they work within the game, but learning is occasionally tough.

laneford
31-08-2012, 10:59 AM
I'm not really going to enter this discussion properly (having far too much fun actually playing this game) but I would say that difficulty, or lack, of Dark Souls is not a selling point. Or a non selling point. It's just a brilliant, sometimes hard, sometime easy game. Sometimes its fair, sometimes its not. A bit like in Demons Souls plonking a red eye knight (who you cannot possibly hope to kill) in the first level. Forcing you to go back later and explore later (like I did with the black knights early on in DkS)

There are some cheap deaths, granted, and a lot of fair ones. What I would say, things like the slime, and the aforementioned knights do, is they validate the use of the games messaging system. I avoided most of the cheap enemies, or lurking enemies, because of helpful messages, which led me to leave my own messages when I fell for traps (mimics!). It does make that mechanic/system (which I love) work brilliantly.

Jockie
31-08-2012, 11:08 AM
My position is that the game itself is not so much 'difficult' as it is misunderstood. Dying in Dark Souls isn't really failure, it's just part of the game and part of the process of learning how to play the game. The majority of deaths come due to lapses in concentration, or overextending yourself in situations where you don't yet fully understand your foe. You need to work out when to attack and when to be defensive, eventually these things embed into your muscle memory and it's pretty damn satisfying when you realise an enemy you feared before, is now virtually trivial.

As an example, the Dark Wraiths in New Londo do very high damage, have some fancy moves and look evil as hell, they also live in one of the most foreboding environments in the game. They are also exceptionally easy to backstab and have quite low health. I recall my first few visits to New Londo, being petrified of where they would pop out. But once you have a more full understanding of the area, their skills and weaknesses they're very easily taken down, even farmable. Similarly, Black Knights, Silver Knights, Capra Demons, Taurus Demons, Anor Londo giants etc. When I see them now, I see a walking source of titanite.

Here's a pretty decent article about what the author describes as the 'Darwinian difficulty' of DS from aorund the time of the PS3/360 release: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6531/darwinian_difficulty_how_throwing_.php
I don't agree with all the authors points, but he makes a pretty decent case.

There are a few cheap deaths, where your chances of survival are pretty short, but it certainly gets the pulse racing when you fall down into a dangerous area, find yourself surrounded by an unfamiliar foe and realise you have a ton of souls you really don't want to lose. And y'know, I like excitement. The only death I think is really cheap is the Hellkite Dragon first time around, because it's not really survivable if you don't know it's coming. Almost anything else can be adapted to i.e - falling off the bridge in Sen's into a pit of Titanite Demons, surviving, getting lost and taking out a massive giant behind a hidden door, before finally making my way back to the fireplace - that was an awesome moment in the game, that I remember vividly and it was almost a year ago.

The only enemies I properly properly hate now are Four Kings on NG + (they get buffed, a lot) and the Skeleton Dog Beasts in Giant's Tomb (because I always mistime it with those bastards). I also hate the Dragon Bow wielding Silvers in Anor Londo, because of how many times I have messed that bit up, over the course of my playthroughs. I also usually fuck up the Bed of Chaos jump for no real reason.

Kadayi
31-08-2012, 11:18 AM
Are people still complaining about this game being difficult and complaining about deaths when it was expressly marketed as a game that is difficult and in which you will die A LOT?

Apparently. The thing is the game gives you the means to redeem yourself. Get killed? Head back where you died and grab your dropped souls and retreat/retry. Tough situation? Use a homeward bone to get to safety.

gundato
31-08-2012, 01:38 PM
Again, I haven't played it, so I reserve complete judgement for it, but that's not difficulty, that's frustration (at least the part about enemies hitting hard and losing all of your money). Difficulty challenges you on what you can do, as a person, through interaction in the game. If the game shoe-horns you into an insurmountable position where there's only one right move, then it's just a matter of how many times you need to die to find the correct path. Difficulty should challenge your critical thinking skills rather than throw beef buses at you.

Stuntman was marketed as a difficult game. Everyone went in understanding that. So when the game cast you as the role of a stuntman, you figured you had to get the entire sequence right or you'd have to start over (barring what actually happens in real life, where many cuts of many scenes are spliced together). This made Stuntman fun and challenging rather than frustrating, as why the game is difficult is made abundantly clear to you and it's rather fair.

As I said, I haven't played the game, so I don't know the full details.
As mentioned, there are almost always plenty of right moves. The original post even points out: For most battles, you CAN grind the living hell out of the game and just tank it.

And most of the time, "finding the right path" is:
I can head down and get raped by Skeletons
I can head up and kill more zombies.

Finding the right solution to a non-boss battle is:
Hmm, I need to find a way to avoid letting them flank me. I know, I can use a corridor. Or pull them with a bow or magic. Or just get a really freaking huge weapon and one-shot them.

Finding the right solution to (most) boss battles is:
Gotta not die, gotta not die. Holy crap! Well, he looks somewhat vulnerable after that. But it could be a trap. Hmm, I guess I'll try and shove a spear in his ass next time he does that

And exploring is:
Crap.. crap... crap. Is there something there? No. Hmm. Ooh, look. An orange message. Yeah, pretty sure that is a lie. Dicks. OH GOD DAMN IT! IT WASN'T A LIE!

Shooop
31-08-2012, 04:37 PM
That is just poor game design, identical to I Wanna Be The Guy.

A game should suggest there is a new action you're supposed to take before throwing you into the situation. No it doesn't have to spell out exactly what to do, but to just put you in a room where you'll be killed instantly without warning because you didn't have prior knowledge of that room? Or on a bridge where you'll naturally be cautious but actually have to be reckless to survive? If there is nothing to suggest you should do something in a specific way it's just terrible design.

It's perfectly fine the game punishes you for doing stupid things like fighting enemies on small ledges and not listening to a NPC who tells you not to go somewhere. But it's not OK to make it into another one of those NES games where you can breeze through without a scratch if you know exactly where to stand, where to jump, and where to run. Because then it's the same damn thing we've been trying to get away from the past two decades. Punish stupidity and carelessness, not everyone who hasn't watched a video walkthrough first.

Voon
31-08-2012, 04:41 PM
It ain't really that hard once you get used to it. But my god, this game gives you cheap shots

laneford
31-08-2012, 05:14 PM
To say this game is poorly designed is comical.

gundato
31-08-2012, 05:17 PM
That is just poor game design, identical to I Wanna Be The Guy.

A game should suggest there is a new action you're supposed to take before throwing you into the situation. No it doesn't have to spell out exactly what to do, but to just put you in a room where you'll be killed instantly without warning because you didn't have prior knowledge of that room? Or on a bridge where you'll naturally be cautious but actually have to be reckless to survive? If there is nothing to suggest you should do something in a specific way it's just terrible design.

It's perfectly fine the game punishes you for doing stupid things like fighting enemies on small ledges and not listening to a NPC who tells you not to go somewhere. But it's not OK to make it into another one of those NES games where you can breeze through without a scratch if you know exactly where to stand, where to jump, and where to run. Because then it's the same damn thing we've been trying to get away from the past two decades. Punish stupidity and carelessness, not everyone who hasn't watched a video walkthrough first.

No, it is the opposite of I Wanna Be The Guy.

I Wanna Be The Guy works by changing gameplay dynamics and poor controls.

Dark Souls works by making fights difficult. I don't really like most of the traps, but almost all of them have warnings after the first few days of gameplay.

And for the umpteenth time: Player messages sure as hell suggest things. People just seem to want to ignore those.

I strongly suggest watching Total Biscuit's video on Godhand. Godhand is a MUCH fairer (and in many ways better) game than Demon and Dark Souls, but most of the commentary on the difference between cheap and difficult apply to both.

Drake Sigar
31-08-2012, 05:25 PM
A game should suggest there is a new action you're supposed to take before throwing you into the situation. No it doesn't have to spell out exactly what to do, but to just put you in a room where you'll be killed instantly without warning because you didn't have prior knowledge of that room?There are always exceptions. It's ok in Limbo, where all the unfair trickery works in it's favour, making you feel like the game itself is alive and out to get you. I'll grant you respawning isn't a hassle like Dark Souls, but we should consider all those life-saving player messages and just how they were intended to factor into all of this.

Kadayi
31-08-2012, 05:34 PM
There are always exceptions. It's ok in Limbo, where all the unfair trickery works in it's favour, making you feel like the game itself is alive and out to get you. I'll grant you respawning isn't a hassle like Dark Souls, but we should consider all those life-saving player messages and just how they were intended to factor into all of this.

True that. If I find something that's not marked I normally add a message and if there is one that's not daft I normally +1 it and spread the wealth around.

Shooop
31-08-2012, 05:55 PM
Dark Souls works by making fights difficult. I don't really like most of the traps, but almost all of them have warnings after the first few days of gameplay.

Key words: after the first few days.

Meaning this is another trial-and-error game just like I Wanna Be The Guy. It's a game of memorization or watching a walkthrough instead of player skill.

Combat against NPCs isn't what makes Dark Souls cheap, the scripted events are. A blob falling on your head killing you instantly? Same thing as a spike falling from the ceiling in I Wanna Be The Guy. Just replace blob with spike.

God Hand is fair because it actually teaches you how to play before throwing you into the wilds and shrugs when you get beaten. It already taught you everything you need to know to succeed, it's your fault you didn't apply it. The times Dark Souls does tell you there's something dangerous up ahead like "The basement is suicide" are fair because you've got only yourself to blame for not listening. It gave you the knowledge, and you chose not to use it - all your fault.

But being killed for crossing a bridge where a dragon shows up out of nowhere? When there's no logical reason to think you'd be in danger of being killed instantly that's cheap and crappy design by developers too lazy to make it difficult for all the right reasons.

Makariel
31-08-2012, 06:01 PM
I thought Dark Souls contained more cheap moments than Demon's Souls. Some obvious examples:

Slime on the head, as mentioned above.
I never managed to die to a slime.

Hiding bonfires (mild spoiler - the ones behind walls that vanished when hit)
What's "cheap" about that? Whats a game about exploration without hidden stuff?

Curses - oh, you didn't know you should have prepared for them a few hours ago?
Same as with the slimes, I have not yet managed to get cursed. After all, curses are not instant but take time to build up (unlike rumors on the internet have claimed). The cloud is pretty easy to get out of and everyone who got that far in Dark Souls should be aware that it's probably not a good idea to linger in unhealthy-looking grey clouds.

The mimics. Why on earth would I have expected that to happen?
I assume you never played DnD? Mimics are not really a new concept.

Toxin in blighttown. I was fight some stuff then I suddenly got a debuff and lost all my health nearly instantly. What? I didn't even know where it came from for a long time because it felt so random. Knowing how it works now, it's an arbitrary punishment when the debuff kills so quickly.
I've been intoxicated a couple of times in Blighttown but never died instantly because of that. Yes, health drains rapidly but it still leaves enough time to estus up and homeward bone.

The (not-black) knights around the cathedral early on with the shields. You get one shot with a mechanic that enemies hadn't used until that point and don't use again.
I don't even know what you mean by that.

Apparently you consider other things "cheap" than I do? Except for the mimic I didn't die to any of the things you mention and always went shield up while exploring and anticipated something that might kill me around every corner.

gundato
31-08-2012, 06:01 PM
Key words: after the first few days.

Meaning this is another trial-and-error game just like I Wanna Be The Guy. It's a game of memorization or watching a walkthrough instead of player skill.

Combat against NPCs isn't what makes Dark Souls cheap, the scripted events are. A blob falling on your head killing you instantly? Same thing as a spike falling from the ceiling in I Wanna Be The Guy. Just replace blob with spike.

God Hand is fair because it actually teaches you how to play before throwing you into the wilds and shrugs when you get beaten. It already taught you everything you need to know to succeed, it's your fault you didn't apply it. The times Dark Souls does tell you there's something dangerous up ahead like "The basement is suicide" are fair because you've got only yourself to blame for not listening. It gave you the knowledge, and you chose not to use it - all your fault.

But being killed for crossing a bridge where a dragon shows up out of nowhere? When there's no logical reason to think you'd be in danger of being killed instantly that's cheap and crappy design by developers too lazy to make it difficult for all the right reasons.
Except that it is not. Because almost everything is a tactic, not a pattern.

It is like the difference between Stuntman and games like Gran Turismo. In GT, you will have a "line" you want to follow in a race, but you react. In Stuntman, you follow the line and any deviation is going to result in failure.

And there are usually pretty good visual cues (if you are paying attention) for stuff like the dragons. And if not, you learned a lesson. Remember the poor nazi who got his head cut off because he wasn't a Penitant Man?

Lambchops
31-08-2012, 06:05 PM
Rab also does a good review of Godhand (not that I ever played it myself but people who have has told me it's spot on!).


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBqB5LUKh8A

Shooop
31-08-2012, 06:16 PM
And there are usually pretty good visual cues (if you are paying attention) for stuff like the dragons.

That's what makes all the difference - is there some kind of cue for even the slimes though? Or for anything else that kills you instantly? The combat is fine as far as I can tell - you don't require anything other than dodging and blocking to succeed at it, you just need to do it right. But it's the unexpected events that look horribly irritating.

The right way is to tell your player, "This is the mechanic, now go do it." Not, "Oh you didn't know you could even do that? Well now you do!" because then you're insulting them. In order to punish a mistake, the player has to know why it was even a mistake.

gundato
31-08-2012, 06:21 PM
Also, there is ALWAYS a reason to assume you are going to get killed. Because it keeps happening :p

Dark Souls (and Demon Souls before it) want you paranoid. They want you looking over your shoulder. But every trap is avoidable, and every fight is winnable. You have a bit of trial and error when you learn to fight a foe the first time, but once you figure it out, you are golden.

The rules don't change from level to level, and that is the key difference between this and I Wanna Be The Guy. Because the rules and what will kill you (everything) and what won't (???) change almost every level in IWBTG.



The right way is to tell your player, "This is the mechanic, now go do it." Not, "Oh you didn't know you could even do that? Well now you do!" because then you're insulting them. In order to punish a mistake, the player has to know why it was even a mistake.
Dark Souls does "showing, not telling" which I for one love.

It is a different mindset, but it makes for a really rewarding game. The game isn't insulting you or even punishing you. It is Thomas Wayne asking girly-boy Bruce "Why do we fall?". The game assumes you are smart enough to learn from your mistakes. Basically, it treats you like an adult. And it really emphasizes just how insulting it is for the voice on the radio to say "Hey Captain Awesome, you can throw a grenade through that window to kill the people inside!"

Goateh
31-08-2012, 06:35 PM
Apparently you consider other things "cheap" than I do?

Cheap in this sense is when the game kills you in a way you can't possibly avoid or using a mechanic that the game didn't tell you about until it introduced it with the kill. I don't mind dying because I messed up, I do mind dying because I had no idea such a thing was possible. If you're going to introduce it, make it not instantly fatal so you have a chance to learn before you'r back to the bonfire again.

I crept around with a shield up, I expected to die in each room. Almost every death was because I got something wrong. Some deaths I didn't have much say in, unless I was supposed to read a guide first.

To avoid multiquote hell (with some spoilers):

There are 3 places I can think of with the hidden locations in that style (Ash Lake is even multi-part). It's not exploration to randomly poke every wall in the hope that it's one of the tiny number of places the developers decided you should do that. Doom did it and it lead to walking down walls pressing space repeatedly. It would be different if they indicated that these walls were suspicious but they don't. You need either outside knowledge or a reliance on player signs to find them. I loved the exploration in Dark Souls, this wasn't it.

I'm happy you didn't get hit with curses or slimes. I also didn't die to a slime, but only because I happened to be running at the point one first dropped at me. I got cursed once to a mistake in a fight with a group. That doesn't make either situation particularly fair. If you die elsewhere you get reset and lose your souls/humanity, which is fine. If you die to that you also lose half your health, and recovery relies on returning out through the massive area you just passed for an item you didn't know you needed or pressing on through a boss with half health. There's no indication that the cloud might be quite so bad (no, those statues aren't a hint that you can understand until after the fact), just the normal reaction to not stand in the thing the enemy does.

I've seen mimics, I didn't say the concept was new to Dark Souls. Why would I expect that here though? The game gave no hint and it kills you because you didn't think you might want to attack first and loot second. Sure, now I know mimics exist, that chest by itself in the middle of the room does look a little suspicious. I prodded all the chests in Anor Londo religiously, and even chests in Sen's after that first one.
Knowing such things can exist doesn't make it ok to announce their presence in your game by eating the player. High health characters might survive the first chomp, ones without don't.

They put some enemies with toxin outside of the load distance of the game, while they can still shoot you. How is that not cheap by any definition? You can't see them, you might see the dart come out of nothingness though right around the moment it hits you. If you happen to be not in combat at that point and facing the direction then it's blockable. Otherwise your first hint is that you're infected and dying.

The knights refer specifically to the parrying knights with the small shields. Every other enemy with a shield up so far has simply taken advantage and hit you. Those instantly kill you for the gall of hitting them in a mode that they can switch to during the swing time of your attack. I don't mind losing a lot of health but falling over instantly isn't satisfying. Yes, they have counters, but the mechanic is introduced by killing you.



If you're put off by some of the talk of cheap deaths, don't be. The game gets so much else right that it's worth playing anyway. Almost every death will be your fault and it won't let you see the world until you've learnt it. It's absolutely worth playing, it just has some moments that really shouldn't have been.

Drinking with Skeletons
31-08-2012, 07:27 PM
This game is basically a love-it-or-hate-it kind of deal. However, I have a question: if everything in the game were to remain the same, but enemies dealt 50% less damage, would the game be too easy? Would it lose its appeal?

kinglog
31-08-2012, 07:53 PM
This game is basically a love-it-or-hate-it kind of deal. However, I have a question: if everything in the game were to remain the same, but enemies dealt 50% less damage, would the game be too easy? Would it lose its appeal?

Yep - I say this because it is essentially perfect now. I'm older and don't have the time or reflexes I used to and this only rarely feels unfairly hard - it's more like a hard course of study with stunning results. Some of the short repetition works now as you progress from being scared of enemies through refining your tactics to owning them - it would get boring pretty fast if these guys weren't a threat. Certainly not for everyone but people are not lying when they say it's one of the better games in 5-10 years.

pkt-zer0
31-08-2012, 07:59 PM
That is just poor game design, identical to I Wanna Be The Guy.
IWBTG does it for comedic effect.


A game should suggest there is a new action you're supposed to take before throwing you into the situation.
I'm not so sure about that, actually. The game takes place in a hostile, alien world. Unexpected, sudden death lurking around every corner seems appropriate here. Maybe they're overdoing it though? I don't know, haven't played much of it yet.

AgamemnonV1
31-08-2012, 09:45 PM
From wikipedia: "Critical thinking is a type of reasonable, reflective thinking that is aimed at deciding what to believe or what to do."

You can't be saying that no game has ever forced you to make a reasoned decision about what to do. I'm baffled. "As a mechanic" - you mean no game has ever had a Critical Thinking Bar that fills up as it detects brainpower?

It's also baffling that you think a game that demands careful, reasoned decisions isn't more difficult than a game that doesn't.
You kind of like the word "baffled", eh?

The only games I've played that have given me a real choice about how to tackle a situation are RTSes. Most action games (especially of the FPS genre) have only one single predetermined path where the enemies will pour out of the same holes each time and use the same tactics each time. That isn't critical thinking, that's a memory game. Often these types of games will throw in "jumps" or things you can't possibly foresee and equate it to difficulty. How is something you can have zero knowledge of an aspect of difficulty? Do you think finding a key to a door is "difficult" because you don't know where it is or do you think it's just down-right frustrating and a waste of time?

I keep going back to Max Payne 3 because that's the most recent game I've been playing recently. Time and time again this game uses cheap gimmicks and tricks to give the false illusion of difficulty. Enemies can see through walls and know where you are at all times. The next wave of enemies does not spawn until you have left a position of safety and you're out in the open. The game employs "just around the corner with a shotgun" surprises so many times that it's become a habit in the game to bulletdodge a corner and open fire as you go around it.

This is a joke. This isn't difficulty. This is just "can you pull the trigger fast enough". All of my deaths in that game have been attributed to having no clue where the enemy would come from next because the game offers zero clues as to where, or when, a death squad will just spawn behind you with full cover while the only thing you have for cover is a tetherball pole. I die, I come back to life, I know exactly where the enemy will be coming from, and breeze through the gunfight.

This is a classic 90s developer's approach to difficulty--you waste the player's time, thereby making the game longer and making it appear it contains more content than it really does, giving the false illusion they have gotten their money's worth. Instead they turn every mook into a mini-boss. It's not difficult, it's frustrating, and the only thing it'll really get me to do is walk away the game and spend my time on something I enjoy instead.

grasskit
31-08-2012, 10:24 PM
yea why dont we talk about definitions of things some more, cause y'know it hasnt been enough, not yet.

AgamemnonV1
31-08-2012, 10:48 PM
I agree, people should stop talking forever altogether until the end of time because everything and anything has already been discussed.

grasskit
31-08-2012, 11:48 PM
now youre talking

Scumbag
31-08-2012, 11:52 PM
Gotta agree with Mohorovicic for once with a lot of this and people calling some of the moves cheap (even though stated he does not want to call them cheap moves). When the bolder in the Undead Assylum hit me I raised an eyebrow. "That was a bit of a dick move." and from then on I decided to deal with it.
They beat me over the head with sudden Drake attacks, with slimes on the head, with poisen fatties who two-shot my health heavy dude. Its not really fair, but its not as unfair as I grew up with so I can cut it slack by my personal standards. Dark Souls feels like a big retro C64 era love letter, but less of a "I remember how hard things were", its not they were hard, they were games bodged together by one person who never playtested anything. A game you would spend 3 hours on and suddenly kill you because you were killed "By a dragon" What dragon? That green... thing? Its unfair, but not as unfair as the games it reminds me of.
Actually Dark Souls is a 3D version of Barbarian 2 a friend gave you on a copied tape. You have no instructions so have no idea what you are doing, you bodged about with the joystick figuring out the basic moves you have, then you die a lot to mutent chickens, blobs, cavemen you could kill in one hit (provided you figured out how to do so) and get killed by loads of cheap one-shot kill monsters that bite your head off. At least Dark Souls just gives you a reset point rather then give you 3 lives and then ends when they run out.
Then again Dark Souls is crap next to Barbarian 2 as it lacks Maria Whittaker's tits and Wolf from Gladiators.

Sketch
01-09-2012, 01:05 AM
You can see the boulder above you before it falls down at all. Then where Drakes attack the ground is scorched etc. And even so, none of those things are even close to being one hit kills.

gundato
01-09-2012, 01:20 AM
Yeah. There are definitely some cheap moments in the game, nobody is denying that. But they are few and far between and even those cheap moments can be avoided with a disturbingly high level of paranoia.

If you play it "correctly", you can avoid every single death in the game. But that is no fun. We like taking risks. And that is where the deaths come from.

kinglog
01-09-2012, 05:02 AM
Even if you can't play it "correctly" you can generally recover anything you lost - it's when you become complacent in this that you lose souls and humanity, which you're going to get back anyway.

Scumbag
01-09-2012, 09:27 AM
Yeah. There are definitely some cheap moments in the game, nobody is denying that. But they are few and far between and even those cheap moments can be avoided with a disturbingly high level of paranoia.

If you play it "correctly", you can avoid every single death in the game. But that is no fun. We like taking risks. And that is where the deaths come from.

True, but its typically cheap moments that stick out in people's minds. Like having a good day then someone acts a total dick in the afternoon and ruins things; some people can get over it, others wont. I know people can say "You can see this coming" maybe you can, but unless you know what you are looking at chances are you wont notice until its too late. Bridge is scorched? Well, that COULD mean something, but then again unless you go around paranoid as hell the first time you play it could well just be a different texture there meaning nothing more then a change in graphic for the ground.
Though as said the game likes being a dick with you, it just really comes down to if you can deal with it.

gundato
01-09-2012, 02:57 PM
Exactly. Dark Souls is a dick. But it isn't a dick about being a dick :p

arccos
01-09-2012, 07:31 PM
Exactly. Dark Souls is a dick. But it isn't a dick about being a dick :p

Well said! I think as long as you can consider the first unanticipated death to be fair game, the game is very fair. It seems to never, ever screw you over twice in a row. You always know what to expect the second time. It always lets you get back to your corpse if the player skills are good enough.

If you think about it, the boulders and such that fall down and usually result in instadeath only occur once per game, which is almost kindly of Dark Souls. ;-)

Kadayi
01-09-2012, 08:24 PM
Even if you can't play it "correctly" you can generally recover anything you lost - it's when you become complacent in this that you lose souls and humanity, which you're going to get back anyway.

^This

I restarted (again) as a warrior today and managed to face plant spectacularly fighting the Taurus demon a couple of times (not managing to roll past him to the ladder...twice..) dropping a massive bunch of souls and about 4 accumulated humanity in the process. Instead of rushing back asap like a loon I just dusted myself off, took my time going through my routine approach (range to eliminate/neutralize/draw as necessary) got myself back to the tower, retrieved my souls, killed the archers and then finished him on the third attempt. I'd of rather I succeeded the first couple of times, but I managed to snaffle a couple of Titanite shards for my troubles which have come in handy now I've reached the Blacksmith in the parish.

JackShandy
02-09-2012, 05:53 AM
The only games I've played that have given me a real choice about how to tackle a situation are RTSes. Most action games (especially of the FPS genre) have only one single predetermined path where the enemies will pour out of the same holes each time and use the same tactics each time.

Action games let you chose your weapons, abilities, and movement (jumping, rolling, where to run, etc). That is a decision which you can apply critical thinking to. Memorization only comes into it as a back-up plan if you fail.

On difficulty: Dark Souls requires more skill than the majority of modern games. That's it.

Baffled is obviously the greatest word.


---

A lot of people here are complaining about traps. This baffles me!

Games include traps to challenge your assumptions. Up until the slimes, you carried the assumption "I will never be attacked from above: I can safely ignore anything above me." When a slime drops on your head, it sends the message "You will be attacked from everywhere; you cannot ignore anything." You should have already learnt this lesson from the boulder than almost kills you in the tutorial.

Challenging your assumptions makes everything in the game important; the wall textures, the backgrounds, the floor and roof, the way that treasure chest is placed. (Many people believe not everything in a game should be important: From disagrees.) When you enter a new area you pay attention to everything, because you don't know what will be a trap or a secret. Every new area and enemy has a great aura of mystery surrounding them, because you know they could (and will) do things that you haven't seen before.

Introducing you to a trap in a controlled environment would totally miss the point.

Mohorovicic
02-09-2012, 06:45 AM
Exactly. Dark Souls is a dick. But it isn't a dick about being a dick :p

Your arguments(?) get more and more bizarre.

Kadayi
02-09-2012, 08:56 AM
A lot of people here are complaining about traps. This baffles me!

Games include traps to challenge your assumptions. Up until the slimes, you carried the assumption "I will never be attacked from above: I can safely ignore anything above me." When a slime drops on your head, it sends the message "You will be attacked from everywhere; you cannot ignore anything." You should have already learnt this lesson from the boulder than almost kills you in the tutorial.

Challenging your assumptions makes everything in the game important; the wall textures, the backgrounds, the floor and roof, the way that treasure chest is placed. (Many people believe not everything in a game should be important: From disagrees.) When you enter a new area you pay attention to everything, because you don't know what will be a trap or a secret. Every new area and enemy has a great aura of mystery surrounding them, because you know they could (and will) do things that you haven't seen before.

Introducing you to a trap in a controlled environment would totally miss the point.

indeed. Also read (and rate) player messages. Sure there are the odd dumb ones (the jumping off a cliff kind) but a lot of the time they are quite useful. I try and put down ones I think are apt when I spot an opportunity (like 'Try dashing past' for the electrical demon thingy).



Your arguments(?) get more and more bizarre.

I think what he means is there's some scaling to the dickishness. You might be taken by surprise initially, but it's early on and it's not generally the end of the world and the situation is recoverable.

Scumbag
02-09-2012, 11:57 PM
1861
DARK SOULS


well said! I think as long as you can consider the first unanticipated death to be fair game, the game is very fair. It seems to never, ever screw you over twice in a row. You always know what to expect the second time. It always lets you get back to your corpse if the player skills are good enough.

If you think about it, the boulders and such that fall down and usually result in instadeath only occur once per game, which is almost kindly of dark souls. ;-)

And thus we go back to the issue of its actual difficulty. Once you have played through it and know the traps a second play through is possibly a trivial experience. The combat still needs skill, but its more routine then actually a pure skill based battle where you don't know what will happen. You know where the bad guys will be, you know when the boss will jump, you know how hard the cannibals hit. Take something like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. where you can get jumped by a pack of bandits or a chimera that you have never come across and that seems somehow a darn site harder in that context, though the quicksave feature does cheapen it slightly.
Also, combat can be tough, but like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and maybe something like Red Orchestra (multiplayer, so difficulty is debatable) it rewards caution, and being cautious is not really too hard once you have played a dozen games like it.

I have yet to finish the game, but watching some people doing boss or just general playing vids in NG+ etc... they waltz about without too many problems simply running through the motions. Not saying its a bad thing, but the difficulty of the game is blown out of proportions when looked at in the long run.

gundato
03-09-2012, 12:03 AM
When you look at the "long run" for anything, it is easy. Even (effectively) random games like Tetris look insanely easy when the person playing is an expert.

Hell, go watch a speed-run for just about any game. Looks easy, don't it? :p


Dark Souls is difficult, but fair. It is a dick, but it isn't dickish about it. Yes, there are some cheap deaths (even if there is the argument that even those are avoidable). I for one hate just about every trap. But if you are cautious, you can avoid them. The thing is: Being cautious sucks :p

And in terms of combat: The combat is a challenge. It isn't anywhere near as difficult as games like Godhand (mostly because Godhand very rarely gives you a 1on1 fight), but it still requires a level head and an eye for openings. Difficult.

Also: I am godlike in STALKER (that is one game where years of OFP and SWAT 3 actually helps) and need to crank up the difficulty and (generally) use mods for the guns if I want it to be "hard". But I wouldn't call it an easy game just because I have spent way too much time shooting Russians and mutants (but not shooting suspected criminals unless I have no choice).

Scumbag
03-09-2012, 12:25 AM
When you look at the "long run" for anything, it is easy. Even (effectively) random games like Tetris look insanely easy when the person playing is an expert.

And the problem comes with the fact that while its hard (for some) to run through the Undead Burg the first time, after that it is kinda simple and after the third run through you can possibly be given a map and mark the exact points where a hollow zombie will be standing. My issue with it is its predictability, where in something like Stalker you can guess where some things will appear, but that third time you visit the hospital in Pripyat and suddenly come face to face with a pack of Monolith / 3 bloodsuckers etc... is a bit less predicable.
Not saying Dark Souls is easy or bad, its just not as hard as people make it out to be. If there was a level where things were a little more unpredictable and almost (note: ALMOST) bordered on unfair it would be worth that much. Is there a stretch of the game anywhere that is entirely optional that borders on insanity?

JackShandy
03-09-2012, 02:29 AM
Scumbag, why are you interested in proving that this game is easy?

For an expert, the game is easy. But it is hard to get to that point.

Scumbag
03-09-2012, 09:09 AM
Not saying this game is easy, its just not as hard as people made it out to be.

Kadayi
03-09-2012, 12:27 PM
Not saying this game is easy, its just not as hard as people made it out to be.

Well nothing is hard once you know what you're doing, all it requires is concentration. I'd say Dark souls demands a high degree of dedication.