The Dark Souls series has been around for a while now and in it’s time, it has successfully crushes the souls of many gamers, something I thought a game was not able to do but low and behold Dark Souls has taken gaming to a whole new level. When the series first came out it revolutionized the way a challenging game was presented, bringing a realm of pain and agony to those who were not skilled enough to traverse the dangerous lands in the game.
Since then the series has expanded and continues to present challenging, beautiful, creative and agonizing gameplay that has most gamers coming back for more!
The first game in the series that I pickup up was actually Dark Souls III and I know what you are thinking “why did you do that?”, well in truth I was a bit skeptical about the series for a while and I mostly lean towards games I feel are challenging but still allow you to progress. So the world of Dark Souls was something I was not accustomed to and I learned this right away, for the game is not forgiving, not in the slightest!
I admit, before I started playing the series I actually thought I was a pretty good gamer, never consider myself a pro but at least on the level that I could beat any game that came my way. Well… that image was shattered, the first boss in DS 3 literally destroys any players that are simply not used to the DS fighting style or don’t have the skill to adapt quick enough.
I think for a lot of gamers, we grew up thinking we were actually pretty good at games and sometimes, even dominating friends or family (perhaps even others), so somewhere along the way the thought most likely occurred “i’m a decent gamer”, I can recall a specific incident growing up and playing against one of my younger brothers, who had been practicing for weeks at a game I had only played once. The end result we me obliterating him in a one on one competition (sonic adventure speed run), which of course boosted my “gamer ego” haha
Now, when I see the Dark Souls logo, I feel a scream within my soul, deep down, agonizing pain and yet some sort of twisted enjoyment of struggling against the odds and coming out victorious.
Yes the Dark Souls world is not just a game and I don’t say that lightly, the game is literally designed to change the way you approach gaming, the way you play games and the way you think about gaming in general, the entire concept, the entire design, revolves around this and excels at it so well, that it is bring a level of pain and enjoyment that will be talked about for years to come.
So why did the Dark Souls series
change how I play games?
It literally shattered my “gamer ego” and made me realize that in order to progress in the game, I didn’t have to level up in game, I had to level up my own personal skill as a gamer. This meant my tactics, my thought process, watching the bosses movements very closely, bullet speed reaction times, planning out an attack pattern prior to engaging, etc. etc. etc., in short I became a general of sorts, a general of a single man army that had to battle a horde of demonic beasts. It changed the whole perspective of the game being me playing a character, to me becoming the character and living through the characters eyes, breath, movements and life. I became the character in order to live.
After a while I was able to adapt to the game and even with adaption, I suffered a lot of deaths and hard trials along the road in attempting to beat the game. I got so far as to the second to last boss in DS 3 and simply was not able to get past it, at the time I believed if I put it down for a bit and came back to it at a later time, I would be able to beat it.
This in fact was true but not for the reasons I thought, at the time I thought time would solve my issues but in fact it was a humble bundle and a lot more pain!
A new humble bundle launched not too long after that, offering Dark Souls II at a very low price, as someone who enjoyed the third game my first thought was “it can’t be harder than DS 3”, boy was I wrong. Dark Souls II in itself brings a whole new challenge and while some say that DS 2 was not as hard, I would have to disagree, it actually seemed harder than DS 3, which was shocking to experience when diving it. There is actually various aspects of DS 2 that I enjoy a lot more than some things in DS 3 but both have their ups and downs, DS 2 however was a game I wanted to beat.
Having failed beating DS 3, I was almost determined to complete DS 2, the game presented such enchanting gameplay that it was not hard to continue on that path and finally I succeeded. After hours and hours and hours of gameplay, many deaths and defeating countless merciless foes, the battle was finished and DS 2 was complete, I of course took the time to complete all of the DLC content and so on. After I complete DS 2 I realized something, I was attuned to the Dark Souls mechanics now, so much so that it started to shine through when playing others games, even games with entirely different mechanics.
Dark Souls had done it’s job and done it well, I now see the world through the eyes of DS and the gaming world seemed to shine brighter than ever, with a tint of red.
Shortly after beating DS 2 I returned to the DS 3 world and quickly beat the game, this was another vindication that I had been submerged in the DS and it had become a part of my soul, I was actually a little disappointed when returning to DS 3 because then I realized that it was not as hard as I had previously experienced, making me consider that i should have played DS 2 before DS 3.
Ah but we live and learn and learn I have, so much so that I can honestly say DS will live on inside me, through every game I play and through every game I make, I have no desire to make a game like DS (considering it’s just so dam hard!) but I respect the creators decisions and the desire to change the industry forever.