As Dark Souls II hits stores on Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 next week, I thought I would take a look at my experiences playing the first game in the series and how I overcame the game’s difficulties and learnt to embrace my mistakes instead of hating the game for it.
When I first played Dark Souls; nearly two years ago, I wasn’t a fan. The game seemed cruel and unusual, it didn’t hold my hand or give me any tips. I couldn’t tell if I accidentally went to a part of the game that was too difficult for my new character (e.g. The Graveyard) or if the game was just brutally difficult in general. I played it for a few hours but when I reached an enemy names ‘Bell Gargoyle’; I gave up, the game bested me and I had enough, but something kept dragging me back into it. I was determined, this game made me feel like a fool and I wasn’t about to let it beat me.
This guy, seriously. Fuck this guy.
I decided to do a bit of research into some of the game mechanics before setting off on another horrible journey into Lordran. I know that’s something you shouldn’t do before playing and that the real joy of Dark Souls comes from overcoming things without help but when I wasn’t enjoying the game simply from the gameplay, I thought I would do a bit of cheating.
This time, my experience was very different. I learnt to take my time, be patient and learn from my mistakes. I learnt that getting angry at Dark Souls just caused you to make stupid mistakes which would then make you angrier and therefore making even stupider mistakes. Best of all; I learnt that when it got too much, I would walk away, but I would come back to it.
That’s the great thing about Dark Souls, nothing is spoon fed to you, not even the plot of the game. I decided to take its brutality as a lesson rather than a punishment and it made the experience that much better and learning from your mistakes made overcoming the challenges the game introduced so satisfying.
Even though I have learnt to love Dark Souls; I can understand that it’s not a game for everybody, because for the first 6 months I didn’t consider it a game for me either. When I recommend it to people I always end my recommendation with “You may want to try it first” or “You may want to get it when it’s on sale” because even though I grew to like it, it was mainly down to patience I had for it; a patience, I know most don’t have.
I have convinced some to give it a go, a friend of mine visited to give it a test play. I couldn’t stand to watch him face the game as blind as I did, so I helped him out for the first part before letting him go into the game alone. After a few hours he claimed he was done but by the time he left, he wanted to play more; he was hooked.
One thing I have never learnt from Dark Souls but always told myself to learn was to never be cocky. There will be a point in the game when you have just defeated an enemy that took you so long and made you so frustrated that when you finally defeat it; you can’t help but feel invincible. Here’s the kicker; you’re not, definitely not in Dark Souls. I have defeated so many enemies in this game to big up my Dark Souls ego only for me to be cut down by a basic enemy because I got too big headed and full of myself. One day I’ll learn from that mistake, but it’s probably not this day.
I may sound like a man who knows a fair bit about this title, I’ve actually yet to complete it but I’m still playing it and taking those break whenever it gets too much for poor old me, but by holding it off, it makes my return to the game feel spectacular. Also it means my wait for Dark Souls II is a lot shorter because I still have to finish Dark Souls, actually I think I’ll go do that now.
Note: I won’t be doing any writing on Dark Souls II for a while as I’m waiting for the PC version, but when the PC version is going to be released, I will probably write another Dark Souls based article on that.