As I sat down to type this post, I looked at my bookshelf which contains all of my Playstation 3 games. Since moving to current gen, there aren’t many left. A couple of exclusives, as well as a couple of my favorites are sitting on that shelf. Each one possessing a feeling. A feeling that trading one in would be a betrayal to myself and the people who created the game. There is one game sitting on the shelf, however, whose memory differs from all the others. One game that has a much longer list of anger and disappointment than the fond ones I share with the others. That game is Dark Souls. A game I love, but I absolutely suck at playing.
When I was in law school, I remember IGN doing a live play of Dark Souls. I remember, because I watched about an hour of it during one of my lectures. I was enthralled with the game. I had gotten a chance to play Demon’s Souls, and even managed to complete the first section (the one that ended with that blob monster). During that period, my time was limited, so I had to put it away to focus on school. By the time Dark Souls was getting ready to come out, I’d basically found a way to get through school with as minimum amount of effort as possible, leaving much more time to be fully engrossed in the game. Anyway, watching the live playthrough of the game made me super hype to try it out. I’d resolved in my mind that I was going to buy it on the first day. And I did. There was one small problem though.
Skyrim came out the same month.
I’d play Dark Souls intermittently, but with Skyrim being what it was, I never stayed away from the game too long. Dark Souls is a game that forces you to understand it through trial and error. I didn’t have time for trial and error (not in conjunction with Skyrim anyway), so the game fell to the wayside. I did manage about five hours total of playtime, and that five hours has stuck with me for almost three years. I’d taken the upward path in Dark Souls and ended up in a boss battle with a gargoyle (which eventually becomes TWO gargoyles) on a rooftop. I never defeated either one. I found out later I could’ve actually summoned someone to help me, but that came way later. Dark Souls is a game very much based on it’s online community (via message boards and such) as a game you have to experience. There is so much stuff to do and see, so many systems to understand and balance, I just wasn’t in the right mind frame to fully appreciate it at the time.
I’ve been holding out hope that some day I would return to the game and give it the proper treatment it deserves…but it just never happened. Fortunately, Dark Souls II is on the horizon. Outside of Infamous and Ground Zeroes, I might have a chance to redeem myself. I’ve been reading about others gamers’ experiences for almost three years, and I’ve hardly ever seen a game as universally loved the way I’ve seen with Dark Souls. I want to be a part of the club. The club who’s withstood the brutal difficulty, the tightly woven mechanics, the awe of playing and besting such a highly revered game. I want to be part of the club that when people whisper of this game, I can stand proudly and say “what? You haven’t beaten Dark Souls II yet? It’s alot easier than people think.” I want to be that guy. So while I missed out on the first entry, I’m definitely copping the second one and I look forward to the many nights of pain, agony, frustration, and eventually, victory.
Have any Dark/Demon’s Souls stories you want to share? Hit the comment box! Also, we opted to skip the podcast due to some technical difficulties we’re experiencing this week, but if you haven’t heard any of them or missed out, feel free to catch up here.