Sept. 11, 2020 | By Ky-Leigh Boyland| Illustration by Xixi Qin
Fighting with the promise of infinite death has made “Dark Souls” a household name in the universe of video games.
Released on Sept. 22, 2011, “Dark Souls” has since gained a reputation for being one of the hardest video games of its time. Despite its difficulty, the “Dark Souls” fan base has amassed millions, leading to the creation of two more games in the franchise. While both games came with increased difficulty, smoother mechanics, and awe-inspiring graphics, the original “Dark Souls” stands the test of time and should be visited or revisited by players.
“Dark Souls” takes us back to the beginning of it all — a time where the second cycle of the age of fire began to fade, and the player makes their journey to restore this flame. Not only does the relinking bring a welcoming nostalgia to loyal players, but it serves as the basis of this amazing franchise.
The best word to describe this game is ‘brutal.’ Players of “Dark Souls” must learn to dodge at the perfect time, and deal with armor and weapons that change mobility and wind-up speed. While a lot of games have these concepts, none of them punish the player as much as “Dark Souls” does. One wrong move can send the player straight to the ‘You Died’ screen, overwhelming them with frustration.
I, myself, have cursed multiple times after getting stuck in a boss’s hit combo, executing an untimely dodge, or fumbling through a gang of high-level enemies. But that’s what makes this game so addictive!
Any player that thinks they can enter this game and run through it is sadly mistaken. Rushing through areas will either make you easy prey for nearby enemies or dust as a boulder crushes you due to your ignorance.
“Dark Souls” forces you to overcome impatience and greed, drilling assessment and strategic planning into your brain. It trains the player to learn from mistakes and infuses them with emotion every step of the way. Fear from the unknown, panic from the sudden danger, and exhilaration from the long-awaited victory. Trust me, the satisfaction from finally overcoming a boss is euphoric. Honestly, the feeling never gets old.
Aside from the addictive mechanics of the game, “Dark Souls” gives the player well-designed areas, friendly (and familiar) non-playable characters, and a soundtrack that makes boss fights engaging. Every place, boss, and non-playable character has a meaning and a story behind them.
From gorgeous sunsets in a gothic city, a smoky and vibrant blue-green sky against a glimmering lake, to a broken, glacial castle resting under a starry night, areas in “Dark Souls” take your breath away. It’s even better when you fight a boss in one of these areas and the music is loud, engulfing, and well-suited for the atmosphere.
It’s tear-jerking to know the boss you’re about to slay is only trying to protect their long-gone master’s grave. On the other hand, I love finding my favorite non-playable character in various areas, slouching forward with armor rolls and constantly saying, “Hmmmm … Hmmmm …” only to turn around to face me and courageously charge into a poison pool of squid demons. I fangirl every time!
No game exists without its flaws. “Dark Souls” has a few irritating mechanics and buggy, poorly designed areas with boss arenas that urge you to pull your hair out. However, the positives outweigh the negatives. With numerous nods of nostalgia for returning players, and fantastic, heart-rattling experiences for newcomers, “Dark Souls” remains an ageless game.