Ok, ok. I know I don’t typically review video games but if you watch our podcasts you know that the only game I had touched lately was Dark Souls III (and PUBG since last week but that’s a story for another time) and it’s an interesting experience to be perfectly honest. Most people when they hear Dark Souls think of the frustration and rage of constantly dying because of an unforgiving game in a dark and dreary mid-apocalyptic world. In fact, majority of the BAYOG staff and my friends were amazed that I, rage incarnate, was able to play this game without putting holes in walls and electronics. That’s when I realized this game doesn’t just NOT enrage me, but it calms me down.
So that’s definitely not what you hear with most gamers as you talk about Dark Souls. Personally, with playing with my oldest friend and even solo play, I really enjoy the game. I’ve died a lot but I found most of the game to be fun and interesting and that I also may or may not have chosen the cheesiest and easiest route of a pure strength and later Ultra Great Sword (UGS) build. This brings me to the second surprise about this game, the community. Unlike what memes would have you believe where majority of DS players are a bunch of irritating 12 year olds, or fat neckbeards screaming “Git Gud” its actually a pretty interesting community with some interesting lingo and abbreviations but for the most part are interesting people who have valid strategies and like to just theorycraft no different than other gaming communities. There are of course loads of memes though.
Alrighty funny and arbitrary videos aside, there’s more to be said about the community. Along the lines of what most people think about this game is that there are people who invade you to simply murder you and impede your progress. While invasions are a thing, there’s actually two things most people don’t know about the process. First being that the typical invader is a terrible player of Dark Souls and can be easily counter ganked/killed by NPC AOE. Second is that in DS3, you have covenants that can be used to summon help, so the hapless invader can find themselves in a 3v1 fight very quickly. Another thing I didn’t really know but isn’t common knowledge either way as far as I know, is that invaders are not targeted by NPCs, leading to a bit of balance where they can simply run and hide behind bad guys leading to some irritating fights by smarter invaders.
Now that I’ve talked about some of the commonly known components of DS, let me dive into the aspects most people don’t know (or at least I didn’t) about Dark Souls proper. First is the insane amount of lore and backstory to this game. It’s actually a beautifully done story with multiple endings and a timey-wimey style twist where spirits/phantoms from across time and space can come and either help or attack you or sometimes both. Fan theories abound about this and its a veritable black hole to dive into should you feel so inclined to research for yourself. Another part is that this game is super addictive. With the roguelike approach to death causing you to lose all your souls (currency in the game) and resetting progress every time you heal at a bonfire leaves you with a great balancing act and opportunity to practice farming and your fighting techniques. Also its hilarious to see when something just happens in a completely unexpected and comical fashion.
As far as the aesthetic of the game go, we have some beautifully haunting sites of cathedrals, caves, swamps, mountains, and spires. The distinctly Gothic style appeals to my 40k fandom and one of my backgrounds is a pixelated GIF of the view from Boreal Valley. Music is inspiring and has you feeling like at any moment a zombie dragon is going to arise from the earth to stomp your existence into nothing more than a pile of mortal remains and a shattered sanity. My favorite component to this immersive feel however is the sound effects of battle. Whether I’m swinging a no-dachi the size of my character Sephiroth style or smashing enemies with a tree trunk or blocking with a slab of stone shield, the weapons all sound the way you’d expect and want to hear. It’s satisfying as hell to swing a sword and miss and hear the CLANG of steel on stone, or to smash someone with a lightning infused greatsword and have a visceral slashing sound coupled with the static discharge of the elemental damage. You have to experience it to know what I’m talking about, but if you are a fellow enjoyer of this insanely fun and outright insane game, leave a like and/or a comment and good hunting if you happen to be a Finger…I’ll be waiting.