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Dark Souls

Developer / Publisher: FromSoftware
22 September 2011
Dark Souls - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.38 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
5,830 Ratings / 30 Reviews
#7 All-time
#1 for 2011
Centuries ago, Gwyn discovered the power of the First Flame. With it, he and his companions defeated the dragons which once ruled the land of Lordran. Now, with the flame dwindling, the Chosen Undead, cursed with undying, must travel the blighted land, overcome the most formidable of foes, and preserve the Age of Fire...or bring about a new Age of Dark.
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Title
There's not a lot to say about Dark Souls that hasn't already been said. It's a fantastic all round experience, from sound design, art direction, gameplay, story and lore, and its the way they all tie together that makes Dark Souls stand out as one of the greatest games ever made. No game has ever made me experience a theme or a feeling like Dark Souls has made me feel its atrophic decay.
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Diiny 2016-04-06T16:27:10Z
2016-04-06T16:27:10Z
4.5
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on behalf of a friend
As an ardent fan of the King's Field series (excluding 4/The Ancient City), I've always been wary of touching From Software's new games, partly because the fanboys of the Souls games are very annoying online, especially when they cite the King's Field series as "The Granddaddy of Dark Souls" when the games seriously have nothing in common. I know that especially now that I've tried this game.

After fumbling through the controls, dying several times not knowing where to go, attacking an NPC (and miraculously not soft-locking myself, because apparently if you attack them, they stay mad, but the one I attacked was not that tough so I was able to kill him), and even conversing with friends asking for advice, I made it through at least a good maybe 5% of the game. I figured out that killing the enemies was tedious due to them respawning after you save or die, so I assumed that it was intended for you to "speedrun" through them to the next area. Apparently that wasn't the case, as having more than 1 enemy run up next to you is a death sentence. Extremely bad game design in my opinion.

Anyway, I made it to the gargoyle boss, and I thought it wasn't that bad until I learned a second one shows up in the middle of the fight. That turned maybe a half an hour of trying to beat it into 2 hours. And that's where I dropped the game. Looking online for tips on the boss, most people are saying to either summon some guy to distract one of the gargoyles (I had no idea you could do this) or use the "Gold Resin" item which makes your sword shoot lightning or something (which I also had no idea you could do). Oh, and I forgot to mention the fact that every time you die to the boss, you have to run through the church place to get back there, and actually getting past all the zombie enemies without dying is like rolling a die. Whether you try to fight them or not.

Now I know what people are going to say to me. They're going to say "The game is hard", or "You just need to get good". The thing is, I actually love hard games. I've beaten games that are harder than any game a Souls fanboy will ever play. Kamilia 2, Boshy, other IWBTG fangames, really hard Roblox Obbies, 1cc'd some Touhou games, some arcade games, other indie freeware games that probably weren't even meant to be beaten (Kubus games for example). Dark Souls is not a hard game. It's a bad game. You can't just do a boss or level over and over again and learn it from muscle memory, because sometimes what the enemies choose to do is completely random. Every single weapon has too many complicated attacks that knowing what to do against an enemy—when you don't even know what the enemy is going to do—is completely impossible.

When you need guides and/or friends to tell you exactly what to do in a game, and they actually disagree with each other, and when you try all the options most of them don't even work half of the time, I don't think your game is good. Sorry From Software. I shouldn't have touched this game because now I feel like a dick. You've been going downhill since King's Field 4, and people just eat this stuff up. Guess it's back to retro games for me.
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tanasinn 2021-07-01T20:06:03Z
2021-07-01T20:06:03Z
0.5
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Wow, what a fucking game. I played this game originally on PS3 while my obsession for Demon's Souls was still on-going and I was always convinced this game was inferior. I felt there was a lot of cheap shit in the game like "how would I know that without dying to it?" etc. and it frustrated me a lot, even compared to the even harder Demon's Souls. I beat Demon's Souls and pretty much gave up interest in Dark Souls completely. Fast forward to the Steam Summer Sale of 2013, I bought Dark Souls on PC due to it being 75% off, a deal I couldn't resist. I installed it, and started over again.

As I started playing, memories of originally playing it were flying through my head. Quickly falling in love with it, I started playing non-stop. The opinion that this game was merely "decent" had been diminished. Demon's Souls is much different than Dark Souls considering it's linear level design, the complete opposite of the seamless open world feel of DaS. DaS is only a "spiritual successor" to DeS but the gameplay is pretty much the exact same. If you like one, you'll like the other, I guarantee it. The bosses are just as amazing, the npcs are unique and intriguing, and of course, the difficulty is very satisfying.

My favorite part of this series is how you can interact with other players: messages which give warnings or hints, black phantoms which come to your world to wreak havoc, and white phantoms that come to aid you in your journey. The lore is deep and the world is immersive, there's just a LOT to love in this game. I've beaten the game, but I probably know about 40% of what the game has to offer. The replay value is very high as there is so much more to discover. I'm sure I'll have much more to say as I get more familiar with the material, but for now, the review ends here. Try this game anyway you can and give it an honest try before you give up completely, this won't be an easy journey.

Update: beaten all bosses explored all areas, gonna stay a 10/10 probably forever
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An ode to great game design and world building.
Dark Souls astounded me with it's masterful level design, it manages to pull so much depth from simple concepts - it's level design isn't revolutionary or particularly massive but it accomplishes an interconnected world with various paths of progression that urge exploration.

Each subsequent encounter you experience trains you for what to expect with FromSoftware, at the beginning of the game I would constantly be startled by the hidden enemies and foreboding and ambiguous signs people would leave, but once I had been grandfathered into the process I began to expect the unexpected and that's when the developers would often perform their double bluff.

Levels are designed with a plethora of shortcuts and hidden passages to open and explore which keep repeated visits of areas fresh and without the monotony of having to trudge through miles of re-counted steps. It also provides for many combat opportunities due to the ability to knock enemies from ledges and the plunging attack being particularly useful.

The multiplayer aspect of this game surrounds the experience in a gothic, post-death, gritty RPG world with a joyful, idealized communitarian journey. The summoning and messaging encourages the community to create the game inside the game, this is one of the many avenues through which the game earns character. It's many NPCs are brief and remain mostly in the background, but are memorable with their little dialogue and often can assuage the heart that this game rarely shows (Solaire in particular).

Combat, for the time it was released (an even now) is impressive - the standard RPG stats married with Poise and the critical hit mechanic, staggering, magic, weapon type, one-handed/two-handed stances - this combination of simple rules creating a complex system works very well to ensure that there are many viable weapons and weapon types to use, enemies are varied enough to where each one must be learned before they can be defeated comfortably.

I had previously not attempted this game as it's reputation professed it as stressful, overly-difficult boss grind. This could not be further from the truth, the bosses have their strengths and weaknesses and are there to be learned, once you delve further into the game, you begin to understand that deaths will teach you lessons and learning an enemies move set before you engage is necessary for knowing how to capitalize on opportunities and avoid unnecessary damage.

This was my first FromSoftware game, which I only began this year after a decade of avoiding it for the pointless headache I had been promised it would provide. Thankfully this was not the case, it's really hard not to give this game full marks - I left this experience thinking "Why can't more RPG's be like this?".
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More fun to talk about than to play
"What???" "How????" "git gud scrub" I hear everyone say when I tell them my opinion on Dark Souls but here's how it is: I haven't finished this game. I've watched multiple people play through it and have played it myself up to and not beating the capra demon. I've tried guides, asking friends, using exploits and nothing. I just don't have the stamina to keep playing the same one section again and again and again and again. And it makes me sad. Hearing people talk about this game with so much passion, hearing how it changed peoples lives, how it made them believe in themselves... I feel envy. But at times it seems that Dark Souls is more fun to talk about than it is to play.
And I get it. The vibes, the music, the lore, I really do get it. But this gameplay is not fun. Over my time with Dark Souls I've tried multiple build between being extremely heavy and wearing nothing and running in with just a cleaver in my hand but none of these felt enjoyable to me at all. Backstabbing doesn't feel consistent even though people claim it is and most of the time I was just sitting there holding my shield until the enemy had enough lag for me to mash whatever my weapon was (this obviously didn't work in bosses, most of them I either cheesed with the usual strategies or used summons). I just wish there were some proprer accessibility options (slowing down enemy attacks, less damage, also all the stuff celeste offers in its accessibility mode) or an easy mode.
And this isn't just a problem with Dark Souls, this is a problem that affects all of video games. I almost didn't beat Hollow Knight because I couldn't be the Soulskeeper, it was too frustrating. Now Hollow Knight is one of my favourite games (and no boss after the Soulskeeper was even close to the difficulty of that boss for me). The difference here probably was that the gameplay in Hollow Knight was more fun or not as clunky or the path from the respawn to the boss wasn't as long and annoying.
Of course I might be stopped from understanding a book for example because of it's complicated writing or confusing language but that doesn't stop me from reading it. I might not know what is going on in Nier Automata on first playthrough but I can still play it to completion.
And this problem is exclusive to video games. In no place in my life experiencing art was not able to finish reading a book or listening to an album or looking at a piece of art because I was mechanically incapable. The thing here is, is that I am fully able-bodied, I don't even need glasses, so I can't even begin to imagine how painful it must be for someone who actually has a real physical block and not just one of time/stamina stopping them from playing this or other games. If we want video games to be accepted as an artform we have to make them accessible enough so I can recommend them to my grandpa and finally stop talking about Dark Souls and finally start playing it.
So to come a conclusion as to why I gave Dark Souls a (insert score here): Great game, as long as you ignore the ,,game" part.
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Still, to this day, I consider this to be the best action/exploration game of all time. It's so good it quite literally spawned the now disgustingly over-saturated "soulslike" subgenre, which it is STILL the best example of. In fact I think DkS is arguably the most influential action RPG of all time. Not most popular, most influential - so many developers still take notes from this game.

This game wants to kill you because everything is already dead, and so you should be too. "Dread" is the theme. There are no heroes, and that includes you. Everything in this game, including you, is suffering. The mooks don't attack out of anger, rather out of fear and confusion. The bigger enemies are more menacing and intimidating. Players are encouraged to leave and read messages on the ground to help or hurt one another. Invasions are essentially crimes against humanity.

That said, the combat is weighty and slow. Some describe it as "clunky," but that's silly. The mechanics here are extremely fluent, but they certainly make you eat your mistakes. That's probably the hardest part to get used to if you're coming from DkS3, Bloodborne, or Elden Ring, which have completely different combat feels. Those games rely on memory and rhythm, Dark Souls relies on critical thinking and mechanical fluency.

The level design of this game is without a doubt the best in the soulsborne universe. I don't want to spoil too much but throughout your first 10 hours of playing this game you'll know what I mean. Levels loop back on each other in ways that seem so obvious in hindsight, but you somehow never notice at first. You'll constantly find yourself looking up, down, or in the distance and realizing that you were just there, without realizing how far you'd traveled because of the constant struggle to survive.

I could go on for days. I'll just say this: it was a running meme for a while that Dark Souls was the game that would ruin all other games for you, and for a lot of people that was exactly the case. FromSoft hit the nail on the head with this one. I know it's not their most popular title but it is ABSOLUTELY their most defining moment as a company.
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C9PLMS 2023-12-27T13:55:41Z
2023-12-27T13:55:41Z
5.0
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Catalog

sdj457 Dark Souls 2024-05-30T11:32:27Z
2024-05-30T11:32:27Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Shivam Dark Souls 2024-05-30T11:05:24Z
2024-05-30T11:05:24Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bluealys Dark Souls 2024-05-29T21:45:00Z
Windows
2024-05-29T21:45:00Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
soulslike medieval fantasy dark fantasy
cannedhamsters Dark Souls 2024-05-29T17:21:26Z
Xbox 360 • GB
2024-05-29T17:21:26Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
audioshock Dark Souls 2024-05-29T14:05:01Z
2024-05-29T14:05:01Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
macharoni2 Dark Souls 2024-05-29T10:51:11Z
PS4
2024-05-29T10:51:11Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
JmoZ Dark Souls 2024-05-29T09:07:23Z
2024-05-29T09:07:23Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
mechanicalhearts Dark Souls 2024-05-28T18:59:04Z
Windows
2024-05-28T18:59:04Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 Dark Souls 2024-05-28T17:37:22Z
PS3 • XNA
2024-05-28T17:37:22Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
americanflotsam Dark Souls 2024-05-28T04:41:38Z
2024-05-28T04:41:38Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
itsisaacnotissac Dark Souls 2024-05-28T00:50:38Z
2024-05-28T00:50:38Z
10.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tabascochips Dark Souls 2024-05-27T22:29:49Z
2024-05-27T22:29:49Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
CERO: D
Media
1x Blu-ray
Multiplayer modes
Cooperative , Deathmatch / FFA
Multiplayer options
Online
Franchises
In collections

Comments

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  • Previous comments (390) Loading...
  • TheSheepMountain 2024-04-26 07:15:12.992563+00
    I'm enjoying this (playing DS(R) for the first time, Elden Ring being my first and only 'Souls' game I have played), but really, some deliberate choices from the devs are terrible for many players' experience.

    For instance, the use of the Fire Keeper Soul to upgrade your flasks, NOTHING in the item description tells you that you need to bring it to the lady in the cell and NOT consume it near a bonfire. I wasted the first one you get by doing the latter, thinking it was the right method. By the time I got that first FKS, I had forgotten about that line of dialogue vaguely telling you how to use one. At least, make it so that you can't consume it (without telling you how to properly do it).
    Another thing: the bonfires are often way too far from the bosses. Getting to the couple of Gargoyles is annoying with all the nonsense you have to go through EVERY time, When you die as often to said bosses, having to do all that beforehand just feels like a waste of your time. I know it's by design, to force you to play mindfully and patiently when facing the bosses, but the whole process of getting to the bosses itself is tedious.

    Could have been a GOAT contender, but it cannot be for me because of things like these.
    reply
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    • INoLuv 2024-04-27 05:14:52.315295+00
      In my first playthrough i didnt consume it because in previous soulslike fromsoft games i learned that by consuming key items (on bloodborne), so when i started ds1 i knew that it is better to just consume flasks, then items to heal curse after. The rest i did go by intuition.

      The boss run backs are mostly fine, the only awful one was BoC, but at the end i also dont like bosses being far from save shrines, it is great that this ended.
    • ThrashingFairy 2024-04-27 07:19:53.518097+00
      The bonfire placement is actually one of the best and most intelligent parts of this game, the runbacks aren't even bad unless you're just a really inpatient person.
    • KesiMiao 2024-04-29 23:47:39.969001+00
      Eh come on, the Anastacia Fire Link Shrine thing is obvious as hell. You kill an NPC in a separate world using a very specific item in a very specific place, an NPC who literally sits near her before killing. For all the annoying bullshit things to complain about in this game, that's not the one. Once you do it, returning the soul for that bonfire is such an obvious thing to do.
    • KesiMiao 2024-04-30 00:01:27.684132+00
      I still fucking hate this hidden bonfire at the top of Sen's Fortress. Have fun finding it while getting chucked at with giant fire rocks with extremely questionable AOE hitboxes. After being ultra careful while traversing the bottom fotress, making small combat mistakes with the new enemies and their cruel placement which just whittles down you flasks, and then you get to those fucking rock throwing giants.
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  • ABG_GAMING 2024-04-30 16:21:57.429923+00
    dark souls 1 is pretty dark souls fun
    reply
    • INoLuv 2024-05-13 14:17:05.188769+00
      It is extremely fun, plus very memorable.
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  • marco29 2024-05-10 05:48:20.206775+00
    I came back to this after some years and holy shit it is so much better than I remember

    such a fun and pretty game
    I do prefer the faster gameplay from Bloodborne onwards but this is near perfect nonetheless

    funny how I used to think even DS2 was better than this game
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  • LedriTheThane 2024-05-16 19:29:56.805888+00
    Currently playing through this for the first time and this is so close to being perfect but there's two mechanics that I absolutely despise that IMO knocks it down a half score for having very obvious fixes.

    Not a fan of having to reverse hollow just to kindle a bonfire, because then I'm susceptible to getting invaded. I went to offline mode after losing some decent progress in the Tomb of the Giants as a result of dying from an invader, so I know I can always opt out such invasions, but now I can't see the messages as a result. If kindling was a separate mechanic from potential pvp, I would not have this complaint.

    The other one is accidentally killing an NPC and not being able to absolve sins as a result. Sorry Dusk, I guess I'll have to buy whatever you got on NG+. Really frustrating.

    Otherwise, this is easily one of the most memorable games I've played yet. Also fairly easy when you grind out souls early on for a while.
    reply
    • ThrashingFairy 2024-05-17 03:10:38.459373+00
      You can absolve sins at Walter.
    • LedriTheThane 2024-05-18 02:53:53.797404+00
      Absolving sin didn't bring back Dusk nor was her summoning sign around. Unless I missed something else, it didn't work.
    • ThrashingFairy 2024-05-18 13:21:47.956598+00
      Well, resurrecting NPCs is something else entirely.
    • INoLuv 2024-05-26 10:45:15.002399+00
      Just do like i did: reverse hollow, kindle the bonfire you want then kill yourself, obviously spend points before reversing
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  • cassio_ 2024-05-18 00:13:34.194938+00
    the game is such a classic at this point, the atmosphere, the combat, the areas etc you can easily pick this game up at any time and try some weird build or just play for the sake of it
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  • Bungo 2024-05-20 16:31:27.757673+00
    desperately wish I could play this game for the first time again
    reply
    • NickFerrant 2024-05-21 03:12:10.797781+00
      same. If there's a game i wish I could experience for the first time again, it would be this.
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  • tabascochips 2024-05-27 22:29:35.575169+00
    Pretty good game but some small things are just annoying like how you can't teleport to every bonfire or how some bonfires are like 2 minutes away from the boss, making you waste unnecessary time
    Also Manus is some bullshit
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  • aidan_sun 2024-05-28 21:47:16.137493+00
    bumping this up from a 4.5 to 5 because i cant stop thinking about the world. playing ds3 rn and its so good and fun but i cannot stop missing the beautiful world of this one and the interconnection. so good
    reply
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