: What Draws Us To Adventures Like Dark Souls II?

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What Draws Us To Adventures Like Dark Souls II?

In a world where easier, casual games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds explode, in an industry where very often, the fastest and dumbest rakes in big sales, it's intriguing to see the huge success of a franchise like Dark Souls.

But what is it about these games that appeals to so many?

I've decided it's not merely the challenge. It's not just about a bunch of aging hardcore gamers nostalgic for a time when video games were actually hard. And it's not really about masochism, either. No, it's about the experience, which is drastically changed due to the inherent difficulty. It's the world in which we participate; it's not that we're frustrated at our inability to kill everything in sight. It's not that we want to throw the controller at the screen because a tiny pig-like creature just killed us. It's something much more than that.

The experience of which I speak may be unique to the Demon's Souls/Dark Souls franchise. I'm not saying you can't find exceedingly challenging games elsewhere, nor am I saying you can't find games that offer hugely in-depth and absorbing quests. What I'm saying is that I'm not sure you can find many titles that provide the player with both in great abundance. It's the combination of these features that we find intoxicating. The bottom line is that for many, having such a distinct lack of power is empowering, if that makes any sense at all.

It's not my cup of tea, but I can definitely understand and appreciate it. I didn't think Dark Souls II was worthy of a 9, but only because of some technical issues, including a poor frame rate. That score has nothing whatsoever to do with the game's unparalleled ability to suck in gamers and keep 'em there. Plus, when you factor in the dynamic nature of a multiplayer experience blended seamlessly with a single-player sensation, you've got an absolute winner. We come back for more, not because we're suckers for punishment, but because we're suckers for well-earned rewards.

That's really the long and short of it, I think.

3/14/2014 Ben Dutka

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (18 posts)

Friday, March 14, 2014 @ 10:58:06 PM

Absolutely nothing. Whatsoever.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 3:11:30 AM

The light of lord jebus

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Tim Speed24
Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 8:33:03 AM

Loved Skyrim but do not like this franchise for some reason. Difficulty doesn't bother me but the visuals and gameplay are not fun to me.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 8:28:03 PM

well not for you world.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 8:35:01 PM

@Tim Speed24

Well aside from the aspects of fantasy the atmosphere and gameplay are VERY different.

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PSN French
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 8:51:54 PM

@Tim, Dark Souls and Skyrim are two totally different games. It's like trying to compare Gran Turismo to Mario Kart, of course in this scenario Mario Kart is Skyrim!!! :P

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 12:16:28 AM

After I had played and beaten demon souls, I don't wanna ever try playing Dark Souls 1 and 2. Demon Souls is enough for me..

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 1:07:25 AM

It gives the mind a reason to invest time and thought into it. How do you know that boss was actually evil? What if he or she was simply defending their lord who is also a good guy. It makes you wonder if killing that npc who was rude to you was only that way because they were afraid.

That, and it gives you a challenge. Not like Titanfall which is like call of duty which is all about aim assist and shooting at things with guns while you get shot at with guns and everyone dies by guns. Its unique and it is its own thing because nothing else out there is like it. Its a dark fantasy based around you either pushing forward before losing yourself and living in denial that one day you will turn hollow. Its about surviving against all the odds and somehow managing to push forward even when no one believes you can.

Its a game people should be playing instead of shooting games. STOP PLAYING SHOOTING GAMES.
Seriously though guys, fps's are done now, why can't we all sit next to the bonfire and play something with a purpose?

Buy Dark Souls 2

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 1:41:49 AM

The Scottish accents drew me to Demons Souls (as a Scotsman we do a good line in manic desperation).

The gameplay utterly blew me away. Was like a breath of fresh air. 50 hours later. A zillion deaths and flamelurker seared into my nightmares.

I poured over the wiki guide that came with the collectors edition. I learnt all I could from the online site. It wasn't just a game it was a community of chastened comrades.

That's what I remember from Demons Souls.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 8:40:22 AM

Do you own a Shalaliegh?

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 8:29:41 PM

Yeah I love the Soul's community when they're talking about the actual mechanics and lore of the game.. when it comes to justifying there reasons to play the game things can get a little nasty.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014 @ 6:08:07 PM

What's a shalaliegh? (Sorry if I've missed a joke).

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 4:53:33 AM

its the sense of accomplishment, its the sense of finished the game actually meaning something!
thats why people miss hard games, because if it was difficult, it meant you had to put allot of effort into it, you had to learn the art, you had to understand it and do things its way, and then and only then were you rewarded with completion.
i remember mortal kombat shaolin monks probably one of the most rewarding games ive ever played, not for the game, but for just the final battle.
everyone at my uni was OBSESSED with that game, every single second of every single day was spent discussing new tactics and new ways to try finish it, and when we finally did, which was me i will proudly add, everyone screamed like we had just won the lottery!

theres another side to dark souls though, people love it because of its self accomplishment, but people really stick to it because, well, what other series gives you such a sense of adventure?
back in the ps1 days we were flooded with true adventure games, digimon, pokemon, zelda, spyro, games that really made you feel like you were on a journey, and when you got to the end of the game you could look back and feel a sense of years have gone by, you as a character have evolved and learned so much.
thats what made the zelda series so popular and so engrossing, that sense of groth, that sense of learning and growing.
you dont get that in any other games these days, but the souls series really do make you feel like you have started with a character, and build him up and learn the ways of the trade, and go on a true adventure through the world seeing great amazing variety in both enemies and locations.
how many games can you say that about?
then theres the attention to detail with the combat system, so many RPGs have such a beautiful world and encompassing stories, skyrim for instance, but are let down by their boring simplistic mundane repetitive combat.
the souls series though manages to revitalize the combat and make it feel indepth, varied and most importantly, engaging, interesting.
its really the only series out there that has pegged down the perfect adventure game!
perfect combat system.
perfect enemy variety.
perfect beautiful weird disgusting varied world.
perfect beautiful weird disgusting varied enemies.
beautiful attention to detail out the ying yang.
and of course that attention to detail.
and thats why i always say its such a shame that all of that, the 99.9999999999999% of perfection, has to be spoiled by that tiny stupid piece of infuriating unfair cheapness!
i just wish they would add in a mode for us who do not find it fun having to redo the past 2 hours of gameplay because we turned around a dark corner and did not know there was a enemy there, how could we cant see around corners, nor can we see in the dark, got hit by the enemy flew back and fell to our deaths, forcing us to re spend the next 2 hours redoing what we spent the last 2 hours doing, and adding to the fun we now have to do it with less health, oh and thats permanent.
yup that totally spells out F U N now doesent it?
because when i only get 2 hours or so a day, if im lucky, to relax and have fun, i totally want to spend it doing the same thing i just did!
who wants to sit back and relax when you can spend the whole week doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again?
afterall its FUN to snap controllers in half!
and even more FUN to hurl them through your $3000 dollar TV!

Last edited by ___________ on 3/15/2014 4:55:13 AM

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 4:57:47 AM

I love it because it's one of the games that pushes you to be flawless in what you do and how you behave. Unlike other games which just let you do whatever you like. It is the closest sense of adventure that keeps me playing these kind of games; Exploration, huge number of obtainables and of course lurking danger.
It is the old Castlevania in disguised.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 6:38:22 AM

yeah i think in the age of online shooters which for me at least have become increasingly boring more and more quickly it's different and has difficulty and adventure and excitement and i have to say it's even starting to pull me in with intrigue to see what all the fuss is about. but i think it's the achievement because of the difficulty and the adventure and excitement also steems from that and it's different and well theres alot to it but i think it boils down to the achievement because of the difficulty and the adventure and excitement of advancement that's so infectious to the PC/console gaming community lately

happy gaming =)

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 7:48:06 PM

Aptly written Ben! You nailed in getting at the essence of what makes the Souls games profound in the eyes of those who buy it.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014 @ 8:33:27 PM

That distinct lack of power is empowering once you succeed. That is overcome an enemy who seems to be in a whole other league than your puny humanoid avatar.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014 @ 1:52:16 AM


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