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  1. #41
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    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.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackShandy View Post
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Swayze
    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.

  3. #43
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    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.

  4. #44
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus laneford's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #45
    Lesser Hivemind Node Jockie's Avatar
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    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/featur..._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.
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  6. #46
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Swayze View Post
    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.
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  7. #47
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgamemnonV1 View Post
    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!
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  8. #48
    Lesser Hivemind Node Shooop's Avatar
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    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.
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  9. #49
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    It ain't really that hard once you get used to it. But my god, this game gives you cheap shots
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  10. #50
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus laneford's Avatar
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    To say this game is poorly designed is comical.

  11. #51
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shooop View Post
    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.
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  12. #52
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shooop View Post
    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.

  13. #53
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    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.
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  14. #54
    Lesser Hivemind Node Shooop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post

    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.
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  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goateh View Post
    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.

  16. #56
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shooop View Post
    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?
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  17. #57
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    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!).


  18. #58
    Lesser Hivemind Node Shooop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    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.
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  19. #59
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shooop View Post
    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!"
    Last edited by gundato; 31-08-2012 at 06:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makariel View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Goateh; 31-08-2012 at 06:38 PM.

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