Dark Souls Progress Report: A First Look

I’m not really feeling it.

That’s about the best way to summarize my start into Dark Souls. About 2 hours in, I’ve killed the first boss, died to Dragon Fire blasts a few too many times, and yes, the game is harder than Demon’s Souls. Is the game actually BETTER than Demon’s Souls though? So far, I can’t say definitively.

The more open world aspect of the game where all the regions of the realm are linked together, minimizing loading times is great conceptually… but then you suffer from a LOT of running back and forth that wasn’t previously necessary in Demon’s Souls. I’m not spoiling it for myself whether a quick travel system gets introduced eventually… and if it does, I’d assume it be from Bonfire to Bonfire, but in doing so… what was the point of making the entire world of Dark Souls interconnected? Why NOT have a Nexus? If there is no quick travel system, I can foresee the future of Dark Souls being way too much walking back and forth along with quite a few deaths being attributed to the dulling of senses from the long walks to and fro.

Add in the Bonfire respawning. Yes, definitely an interesting mechanic and choice, causing the player to have to weight in the choices of healing up versus undoing the slaying of enemies. It’s a great way to simplify the accumulation of souls that many Demon’s Souls players use world 4-2 for, but at the same time, isn’t the game just being made far too grind-y? In Demon’s Souls, enemies respawned if you died, basically as a punishment for dying, or the game’s way of telling you that you could have done better. In Dark Souls, it’s far more like… being punished for taking a single point of damage or wanting to repair your broken weapons/armor.

Then there’s the camera… I just don’t know. That thing does not like me. I think I need to crank the sensitivity down even further, but then I fear my camera won’t keep up with the fast paced of some boss battles… it just feels strange.

Moving on… glitchy movement. Oh man. It was a bit bad in Demon’s Souls how some walkways had little invisible notches that sorta blocked your character… but Dark Souls is FULL OF IT. That little stretch between the cemetery and Firelink Shrine? The worst, ever. I have gotten stuck on little tiny stone parts of the WALKING PATH too many times to count as I attempted to run from pursuing skeletons.

…Oh… and a tip for the newbies. Don’t block Dragonbreath with your shield. You are literally better off taking a blast of fire to your back and getting knocked over. Way to go FromSoft, you broke it now. Back in Demon’s Souls, if you didn’t block the fire, you probably died. In Dark Souls, not blocking causes you to only take some HP damage, but get knocked flat on the ground, but you’ll be invincible while knocked down. If you choose to block it, you actually get hit/stun locked as the flames multi-hit you through your shield, taking out all your HP and Stamina in one go until you die, no invincibility time or anything, and it cost me a humanity point. It’s ridiculous and illogical. Though… it’s starting to seem that a lot of things about Dark Souls are completely illogical.

Oh yea. For that first boss you’ll likely face, the Tauros Demon, or whatever. Take off your armor. Mobility > Defense. That was mostly true back in Demon’s Souls, but it is even more so now.

Oh, and be careful you don’t badly time button presses. That’s also the worst. Dark Souls seems to catch every button input you make. So while in Demon’s Souls, when you got hit by a boss before you rolled, your animation just got interrupted and the command doesn’t go through, Dark Souls knows you pressed dodge. So guess what you’re doing right after you recover from being knocked down? Rolling. Attacking. Somewhere. Not always where you want to go.

Dark Souls… I am somewhat disappoint. The game looks and… maybe feels a bit better than Demon’s Souls… but it seems to have come at a great cost. The tightness of character control/movement/combat and other technical aspects seem to have suffered and I can’t say I’m looking forward to the next 80+ hours. At all. :(

About Aaron

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