Arts & Culture

Dark Souls 1 Review

Nick Tocko, contributor

While difficulty in video games has drawn players in since the days of “Contra,” nothing has changed the landscape of game difficulty quite like the “Souls-Born” franchise. If you have been playing video games at all this past decade, you have probably heard of someone comparing a game to “Dark Souls.” The challenge of the game really comes from understanding enemy patterns as well as your character’s own limitations. While you could swing your weapon one more time to get that last bit of damage out on an enemy, what if you need that stamina to avert future attacks? Stamina management and awareness of your own resources are crucial in any encounter. 

Character builds and reliable equipment become the only thing on the player’s mind even as they get out of the tutorial, being that it is the first time you can level up. Weapon styles are plentiful, giving copious options for what combat style fits your character best. The rogue-like comparisons can be made from the slow, methodical gameplay. 

“Dark Souls” is not a game that likes to be rushed by the player. When comparing the gameplay’s speed to the rest of the franchise, “Dark Souls” has the player moving significantly more slowly. This makes every move feel more impactful and puts a sense of pressure on the player. 

When moving through a new environment, it is crucial to be aware of your surroundings. There could be traps primed or even enemies lying in the shadows that can cause trouble. Make the wrong judgment call, and you could have to start over from the last checkpoint. This means a simple mistake could cause you to lose all of your hard-earned souls or hours of explorative progress. 

While “Dark Souls” does fall within the category of an action role-playing game, it works much more like a rogue-like for players just starting out. Most rogue-likes follow a two-dimensional structure with the basis of hack-and-slash side-scrolling gameplay. Instead, “Dark Souls” exists within a three-dimensional space, which makes exploration (an important element of rogue-likes) a more immersive experience. Hidden and illusory walls also are common in this game and could reward players with a new item and sometimes even entire areas of the game hidden away. 

While the game itself is almost a decade old at this point, I think it’s worth a playthrough if you find enjoyment in getting lost in a lore-rich dystopian fantasy game. The challenges you face are grandiose in nature, with your character defeating demons and gods. It makes the success you receive after facing these oppositions all the more deserved. 

If any of this interests you, pick up a copy when you can and praise the sun!