I don’t know whether to pity or envy Xbox 360 owners for the fact that you missed out on Demon’s Souls. On the one hand, you missed one of the most interesting games ever released with a unique online mode and heavy focus knowledge sharing – but on the other hand, you missed having your balls [or boobs -ed] broken and your sense of worth as a gamer destroyed by its downright cruel and merciless difficulty.
Even the heads of FROM Software were surprised by how much of hit Demon’s Souls turned into. It seems that saying their game is “too hard for you guys” panned out as an unexpectedly brilliant marketing move, as tons of gamers bought it to try in vain to prove the developers wrong. So, when developing the sequel, Dark Souls, the developers didn’t make it any easier. Players will still die hundreds of times – in fact, the developers bet their reputation on it. And this time, Xbox 360 owners are welcome at the party – and the resulting group therapy.
Players create a character to enter a troubled world plagued by the undead. In fact, you start out undead yourself – but unlike the rest, you haven’t lost your mind, and it’s up to you to save the world. It’s not going to be easy, though. Standing in your way are everything from rats and zombies to 20 foot tall minotaurs and castle sized dragons. The kind of character you create, the equipment you find and your skills will be a huge determining factor in how you tackle each of these creatures. For instance, beefy warrior type characters stand a better chance in fair combat, while nimble but fragile thieves can’t afford to fight fair and magicians and hunters do best at taking enemies out from a distance.
If you play online, you’re not alone. You’ll be able to read hints from other players written all over the game world, detailing possible methods to beat enemies, directions to hidden areas, or ways to find secret items. You can also return to life from your smelly, decaying form, which allows you to do various things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to – not least of all summoning another player to help you through a tough section. If you’re feeling particularly malicious, you can invade the game of another “living” player and attempt to kill them and steal their stock of items that allows them to return to life – and they can do the same to you, of course. The game also has a new “Pledge” system allowing players to pledge allegiance to certain factions, granting various benefits both online and offline.
Anyway, had I the space, I’d love to explain the game’s complexity to you in more detail, but hopefully I’ve given you an idea at least. Besides, if you’re interested, and you’re up for one of the biggest gaming challenges you’re ever likely to face, why not tool up and enter the world of Dark Souls yourself?