If your idea of an engaging fantasy role-play game is to spend several hours in an open-world environment gradually increasing your skills and armour in a leisurely fashion by picking off moderately threatening monsters, then you’ll find Dark Souls a chilling shock to the system – this is no Skyrim.
The spiritual successor to FromSoftware’s remarkably demanding Demon’s Souls from 2009, Dark Souls’ maker sets the tone for the game by calling its website Prepare To Die. In fact, it’s highly improbable that you will get to the end of the game without dying at least several hundred times – but unlike in more conventional RPGs, it’s almost essential here so that you learn from your mistakes.
Die… and die again
The world you inhabit is Dead Souls is decayed and despairing, inhabited by frequently giant, twisted and deformed demons who have wiped out the former dragons and are close to extinguishing the last original flame. Your role is to recapture your soul, battle by battle, until you can return to the land of the living. How you tackle each opponent depends on the careful choices you make about character class (ten in all to select from), weapon replacements and upgrades.
There’s no gentle learning curve here – you quickly learn to adapt or die. Repeatedly. For many newcomers this is likely to prove too daunting, but the most challenging games are always the ones where the solution can eventually be found.
Traps are frequent and bosses are tough, but you have the added online advantage of being able to track the ‘ghost’ footprints of other players who’ve gone before and thus learn from their mistakes and victories, using that knowledge to aid or sabotage your compatriots.
If you persist you’ll see an astounding array of landscapes in a vast apocalyptic land and the satisfaction gained from overcoming the tougher adversaries after agreeing the right fighting methods will be immense.
Company: Namco Bandai
- Epic boss battles.
- Not for the faint-hearted.
If you're a Demon's Souls fan, you should be hurtling to your local games store to snap this up as FromSoftware has created a much more extensive world where defeating awesome demons requires frequent dying to plan a more effective strategy.