It took me a long time to beat this game and even after such a long journey, I didn’t want it to end.
Dark Souls is an incredible body of work from the general game design, the boss fights, the gameplay, the creativity that went into it and because of just how f’n challenging it is.
While some want to claim this is the hardest game ever made, it isn’t. There are games I haven’t beaten and I beat this one fairly easily and decisively, even if some bosses gave me real trouble. I’m looking at you Ornstein and Smough, as well as the black dragon, Kalameet.
I love the whole feel and tone of this game and even though it’s pretty well populated with monsters to fight and NPCs to interact with, it still churned up feelings of isolation and loneliness in a similar fashion to the masterpiece, The Shadow of the Colossus.
This game is dark, feels cold and you almost feel as if the kingdom you’re in is some form of Hell or Purgatory.
The two things that make this so great are the design of the large, interconnected world, as well as how different most of the boss fights are.
In regards to the world you play in, there are a dozen or more unique areas but most of them are connected directly to the other areas through multiple paths and shortcuts. This game has, hands down, one of the best and most well thought out worlds ever designed for a video game.
With that, you don’t have to conquer each area in any specific order. While there are certain tasks you have to complete to access some places, every playthrough of this game can be vastly different. Because of that, I’ve been playing through the “second quest” and who knows, I may playthrough this several more times. Granted, I need to move on to the second and third games in the series, as they’re already sitting on my shelf.
Looking at the boss fights, many are really damn challenging. There are a handful of bosses that took me a half dozen times (or more) to defeat them. Sometimes, I had to leave, build up my stats or hunt for better weapons and armor.
One thing this game did, is it gave you a real sense of accomplishment whenever you were finally able to topple a really hard boss. Other games certainly give you a sense of accomplishment but this game does it on a different level and much more frequently. Because of that, it makes you more invested in it.
This is a game that forces you to “get good”. You may find portions of it to be a breeze but if you don’t spend enough time building up your stats and holding on to your souls, you’re going to hit walls that force you to have to work hard to climb over them.
In the end, this is as good as people led me to believe. It lives up to the hype and even exceeds it. Frankly, it is one of the best video game experiences I have ever had.
Pairs well with: the other Dark Souls games, as well as other games by Hidetaka Miyazaki like Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne.