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Dark Souls Thumbs Its Shadowy Nose At Casual Gaming

If there's one sore spot common to so many veteran gamers, it's that "mass appeal" video games have surged.

Many such titles are akin to the "summer blockbuster" movie (i.e., all flash, all stupidity, and no substance), and as a tangent to the argument, the long-time gamers toss in the fact that interactive experiences just keep getting easier.

I don't necessarily agree with the latter, but if there's one product that proves hardcore gaming remains popular amongst the core crowd, it's Dark Souls. Although we weren't quite as enamored with the game as other critics (due to some seemingly obvious mechanical issues), one thing is glaringly clear: only the hardcore will play and enjoy it; only the patient, the tactful, the dedicated; i.e., those who take their hobby relatively seriously. That's why the rewards are big and the satisfaction level is so high.

So Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and all the other shooters can own the top spots on the sales charts. That's fine. Still, top-quality productions tend to succeed in this industry and perhaps even more importantly, there are a few games left designed specifically for the hardcore gamer. Furthermore, those development teams that pay homage to the true-blue fan put a ton of effort into their work; they're gamers themselves, and they know exactly what the fans desire. So if there's any bitterness about how casual gaming has risen to dominance and the less-than-passionate gamers feel shortchanged, look at Dark Souls.

The accessibility is low. You'll take a lot of punishment. But you'll take some pride in knowing that you come from a generation when all video games had a "low accessibility," in that if you didn't sit there and practice for a while, you probably wouldn't get anywhere. It wasn't always fun and controllers suffered several beatings, but only a handful of people accomplished what you accomplished. Your sister who had barely played Pac-Man couldn't come in and play. She'd be hopelessly outmatched. You were one of the elite...and you can be again with Dark Souls.

Related Game(s): Dark Souls

Tags: dark souls, gaming culture, video games, hard games

10/6/2011 12:13:03 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (29 posts)

Oxvial
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 12:40:52 PM
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After Best Buy didn't deliver my CE,this challenge gonna wait for a few months.

I expect they patch the camera, can't believe the original game has a better one, hope the 360 version doesn't sell much and next game they go exclusive.

Last edited by Oxvial on 10/6/2011 12:41:51 PM

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TheAgingHipster
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 8:48:38 PM

I don't think the camera is any worse than Demon's Souls. I have the same issues with it, and it hasn't produced one of my deaths yet.

As an aside, my wife has been monopolizing the television since yesterday afternoon, and I'm having DS withdrawls....

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Alienange
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 12:51:04 PM
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The tactful? Say what?

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saini
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 1:18:09 PM
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never been a RPG fan but i do want to get into it, so could anyone suggest which one should i get skryim5 or Dark souls?????

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Underdog15
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 1:45:40 PM

Both are pretty intense first RPG experiences. Dark Souls may frustrate you, though. Either should be great from what I've read, but just know that Dark Souls will be very difficult.

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jimmyhandsome
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 1:47:24 PM

You should probably wait until Skyrim comes out to get a solid answer. Have you played Morrowind or Oblivion?

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Oxvial
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 2:44:30 PM

They are very different games, the Elder Scroll games put me to sleep asap but Skyrim looks great and I want to give it a chance, you should watch some walk trough to jugde them.

About Dark Soul looks like Demons Souls is slightly more enjoyable for the feedback I read, also more cheap at this point.



Last edited by Oxvial on 10/6/2011 2:45:31 PM

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TheAgingHipster
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 8:58:14 PM

It depends on what you're looking for in a game. In terms of story, Skyrim will win hands-down, as the Souls games are always very light on story, leaving most of the details for the players to fill in themselves. (There is still an ongoing debate about Vallarfax in Demon's Souls.)

Skyrim also wins out in terms of player choice and exploration. Admittedly, Dark Souls gives you the freedom to play however you want, but it harshly punishes you for being anything but cautious, and all players WILL end up in melee, regardless of character development. The Elder Scrolls prides itself on letting you play how you want, and the developers have worked hard to make that even more pronounced than ever. As for exploration, well, it's hard to beat 25 square kilometers of completely open world with (I think) randomly generating dungeon maps.

In terms of gameplay, however, Dark Souls wins hands down. You will likely not play a more demanding game any time soon, and it's probably been a long while since (unless you rocked Ninja Gaiden or DMC3 on Hard). It's punishing, but insanely rewarding, and I for one always feel like I'm learning something new every time I play.

Ultimately, Dark Souls is amazing, and I have no doubt that Skyrim will continue the Elder Scrolls pedigree. But they're totally different titles. If I want to just explore and take in a beautiful world and story, I'll play Skyrim (or Oblivion, until it arrives). If I want white-knuckle gameplay in an unforgiving setting that offers an endless challenge, I'll go for Dark Souls.

And personally, right now, Dark Souls is all I want to play.

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TheAgingHipster
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 9:02:59 PM

Additionally, if you're looking at breaking into the RPG genre, Skyrim might be a better option than Dark Souls. It's more forgiving, offers more exploration and options, and is much closer to a traditional RPG. But, Dark Souls is every bit the hardcore title it's been touted to be. Just reference my previous response about the differences between the two and know you can't really go wrong with either title (unless you're prone to controller-snapping).

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Oxvial
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 12:27:12 AM

Well its true DS would be a heck of a baptism in the RPG genre, better go with the less hard game.

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Oxvial
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 12:27:12 AM

Well its true DS would be a heck of a baptism in the RPG genre, better go with the less hard game.

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moss12
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 @ 7:51:26 PM

if this is a question you need to ask then the answer is Skyrim. I am playin Dark Souls now and it is in my opinion not as difficult as Demon souls was.Skyrim is gonna be on a whole different level of greatness.

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Lotusflow3r
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 1:55:05 PM
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That was a pleasant read.

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Teddie9
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 3:29:20 PM
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I will conquer Dark Souls in good time.

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Alienange
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 4:02:44 PM
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I'm pretty sure developers of fps will take offense to the before last paragraph. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if you get angry emails from them telling you how woefully inaccurate your slights against their preferred genre is.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 4:42:50 PM

Highly doubtful.

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main_event05
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 5:36:13 PM

if you do ben just forward them to me.

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Axe99
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 5:16:20 PM
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An interesting read, but games these days are still pretty inaccessible to non-gamers. In fact, due to their added complexity (most really old-school games run on 2 planes, not three), I find it easier to introduce gamers to games using classics from the SNES/Mega Drive generation. Back then, it was generally twitch reflexes and memorisation - these days there's a lot more complex 3D abstraction going on, twin thumbstick controls for many games, and what-have-you. Sure, there are the 'Flowers' of this world that literally almost anyone can play (and I'm a _big_ fan of it - making an entire hobby (or indeed even an individual game) inaccessible just for the sake of those hobbyists feeling elite is the same as buying an expensive car or house 'cos of the sticker price, and I'm equally disapproving of both).

Further, there's the difference between hard and punishing. I'd argue that any CoD on Vet is _harder_ than Demons Souls (haven't played Dark Souls), but that it's far less _punishing_ - ie, the hurdles you have to get over are really tough, but you've got a checkpoint every 2 minutes, so you don't have to trudge through stuff every time you die. The hurdles in Demons Souls are high, but not crazy high, but every time you don't pass them, it's back to trudging through a whole lot of fodder to get to that hurdle (and those precious souls). I died _less_ playing Demons Souls than in CoD, but the cost (punishment) for each death was higher.

Nothing wrong with this, I just get frustrated at D Souls fanboys getting all hyped over the difficulty, when they're really getting hyped over what is really just above-average difficulty combined with brutal punishment, which is a very different. No shame in getting pleasure from either - whatever blows people's hair back, but Souls fans should be talking up the punishment more than the difficulty. And then go and play a Roguelike ;).

So I think it's great that Dark Souls is a hardcore experience, but I think gamers that think "I played Dark Souls, therefore I am better" aren't far off people who buy $20K handbags to feel better than other people, and need a big dose of emotional development. Unless they're pre-teen, in which case it'll likely come with time :).

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 5:45:17 PM

...it really doesn't have anything to do with feeling "better" than other gamers.

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PSN French
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 9:19:49 PM

The reward is that of accomplishment, not of arrogant elitism. Defeating Demon's Souls or Dark Souls is not about being a BETTER gamer, it's about determination and patience until you've made the game more predictable and essentially easier.

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Axe99
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 4:05:35 PM

Deffo not for you guys, but I often pick up a vibe of that from Demons Souls/Dark Souls players, and it's something that's reflected in a lot of forum/comment threads. I completely agree that it's awesome that Demons/Dark Souls exist - it's a great niche game in the same way I love that Gaijin Entertainment puts out flight games with sim-style physics on PS3. Sorry to ramble away a bit there.

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ebterp
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 9:21:23 PM
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I rather dislike the terms "Casual" or "Hardcore" gamer. The descriptions fails to take in the myriad of variables that contribute to why people do or do not like certain games. Perceived difficulty is just one of these many variables...

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ZenChichiri
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 10:02:09 PM
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Dark Souls is hard, but I mean, past generations were ridiculous. Battletoads almost made me rip my scrotum off.

In Dark Souls, when you die, you lose your souls and must start the level over again. In Double Dragon 3, when you die, that's it! Game over my friend! Better luck next time!

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Underdog15
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 8:50:46 AM

That's a pretty great point. Battletoads underground on those speed racers.....

oh... my... FRIGGIN'.... GOODNESS!!!!! lol I remember renting that game, loving it, and conceding I'd likely never get past that part.

I remember the first time I did... it felt like my thumbs were guided by angels. lol it was smooth and reactions were perfectly in sync with the NES's processor.... I became the machine, and defeated it. lol

I can even remember the rainy weather outside when I beat it... that must have been at least 20 years ago..... damn!

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ryu
Thursday, October 06, 2011 @ 11:16:51 PM
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the whole time i thought u were talking about rage

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___________
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:07:47 AM
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thats exactly why im so interested in it!
its so rare we get a developer make the game they want to make and say to hell with tradition!
allot of developers say oh no we better not do that it may frustrate some gamers and cause them to stop playing the game and tell people not to buy it.
only if we had more developers who said f*ck it, and less saying oh yea we cant have that.
LA Noire prime example, after the studios closure GG did a interview with the studios CEO and he revealed the team wanted to have harsh consequences in the game but shied away from it for that exact reason.
they wanted each case to present you with multiple suspects and you have to read the evidence and make a decision on whos guilty, just like real detectives have to.
and if you got that decision wrong, the captain would blow up at you and you would be demoted and have to work your way back up.
but they shied away from that because it would of frustrated some people.
f*ck some people!
i wish developers would stop making games they think will sell and start making games they want to make!
thats EXACTLY why games this gen are so f*cking boring!
developers have stopped taking risks, stopped making games they want to make simply because of sales sake.
back in the day even ps2 games developers made what they wanted to make, not what they thought what would sell.
thats why they were so much more fun then todays games!
now though.....
developers need to learn, and so do publishers, that make the game you want to make.
if you truly do, it will sell.
you have to remember developers are gamers to, and the chances are whatever they want to make is exactly what they want to play.
and thus is what other gamers would want to play.
look at david cage, he made what he wanted to make.
it was controversial.
and it sold quite well!
no obviously its not the new MW2, but it sold pretty well especially for a ps3 exclusive!
which, lets be honest have never been selling the best........

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saini
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 3:18:37 AM
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Thanks guy i think i will be giving demon souls, a go first if i like it then i will be getting dark souls..... i hope i like it.

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JackDillinger89
Friday, October 07, 2011 @ 4:13:20 AM
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CCUUURRRSES! AVOID THE DEPTHS!! GODDAMN THAT GOD FORSAKEN PLACE!!! OHH THE HORRORS!!! THOSE EYES OHH SOO HIDEOUS!!!

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BigBoss4ever
Saturday, October 08, 2011 @ 1:14:45 AM
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Dark Souls is the tomb of all the FPSs...nothing more to say.

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