Death Mechanics and Dark Souls

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Dark/Demons souls deathsystem is similer to and more forgiving than diablo 2. In diablo 2 you dont get to keep your gear when you die, and on nightmare or hell difficulty you even lose xp that you CANT recover unless you start killing again.

So whats so damn wrong with the system in this game? If you die, its most likely your fault anyway.

Zetona:

MonkeyPunch:

ManupBatman:
The difference the online is actually in the single player. Not a separate mode.

Indeed... yet I still fail to see what difference that makes.

The online component lets you enter other peoples' single-player worlds for various purposes. You can summon other players to your world to fight through an area or beat a boss together. On the other hand, there are various ways to disrupt other people's games. You can invade another person's world and try to kill them, which creates some of the game's most spectacular fights. Plus, you can leave hints on the ground for other players, and other players can rate those hints for helpfulness, which can confer a bonus for you. In short, the game is built around this subtle cooperation, and to play without it can be very frustrating.

Indeed: that's actually one of the reasons I quit playing Demon's Souls: I got into that game so late, that most of the people playing it weren't playing it when I was. As a result, I'd get all this good karma for giving positive advice when I wasn't playing, which serves me nothing. I'd rather get some XP if I'm offline but...oh well. Then the Sony servers went kablewy and I just figured; fuck it, I want a beer.

CyricZ:
... it becomes increasingly clear that I'm not controlling a character with thoughts, feelings, and drives, but a series of numbers trying to beat other numbers.

Not to be pedantic, but that sums up every single video game character ever created. The only difference is if you decide to invest emotionally in a character. Mario, Commander Shepherd and Bayonetta have no more thoughts, feelings or drives than do the characters you play in Dark Souls or Skyrim.

I totally respect your personal choice and preference in games, but I don't know if I respect your arbitrary metric for engagement in a particular game. You can't tell me that Rayman Origins or Super Meat Boy is any less a numbers game than Dark Souls. It's all code under the surface, just arranged in different ways.

so essentially the point is that when a game becomes akin to temporary office jobs...then something is wrong
yea I can roll with that loll...now back to work. when I'm done, hopefully I'll have some energy to game :P

Yahtzee Croshaw:
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Well, I'd say Yahtzee's problems/difficulties/dislikes with Dark Souls (and Demon's Souls) have less to do with the games themselves and entirely to do with personal preference. Not everyone will "get" a game like Dark Souls, especially a game like this that can be so challenging. Yes, it is punishing, but it's also very rewarding when you figure out what you're doing wrong.

Take the Taurus demon for example. If you pop out on that bridge and go meet that thing head on, most likely at that stage of the game it's going to turn you into paste. However, if you notice that there's a ladder up the tower you come out of and/or someone has left a message that says "Try a plunging attack" all of a sudden you're like, "Hey! So obvious!" so next time around you climb that ladder, kill the two dudes up there and then jump on that demon's head twice and all of a sudden you've beaten it and hardly broken a sweat. Much of the game is like that. You bumble along, encountering huge enemies and saying "how the fuck do I beat this guy?!" and then you discover the "trick" and you beat them.

I also wonder if Yahtzee is playing the game "right". A lot of us have been trained by modern games that if we simply run in to a mob of enemies and mash the buttons eventually we will win. We'll chop down the last guy, heal up and move on to the next group. Dark Souls doesn't work like that. You have to go slowly, you have to draw enemies out one at a time, you have to think about defense and offense if you wish to win. Run in swinging and most likely you die. I actually think that Yahtzee probably is playing teh game "right" because he strikes me as a fairly intelligent guy, but I get the sense that he's either too impatient for a game like this (gratification now, motherfucker!) or maybe he's just not good enough at playing the game.

"only to find that I was supposed to be going another way all along."

And when has this ever been a problem? We all holler about player freedom and open worlds and then a game gives you the option to take different routes and you complain? Granted, some of those routes are much tougher than others, but again, isn't that what we wanted? Everyone hated that the enemies scaled in Oblivion and we all wanted some areas to be easier and some to be tougher so that if you went to the wrong place you'd get your ass handed to you. And Dark Souls gives you this and in Yahtzee's opinion it's a "bad" thing? If there's any media consumer that is more schizophrenic in what they want and don't want, it's gamers.

Whatever the reason, I respect his preferences and I'm not going to try and convince anyone that a game they don't like is for them. Just like no one will convince me that I'll have fun playing MW online, because I won't. It's not my bag, baby.

However, when you go into a game knowing you won't like it, well, you probably won't like it. Personally, I think that both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls had great life/death mechanics. Demon's Souls always started you in the same place, but once you got far enough and opened up the shortcuts it was only a short journey to get back to where you died. And Dark Souls bonfires is a nice change up to that, but modified in an interesting way. They're pretty much exactly like checkpoints, but farther apart and more important to the total game. Sometimes when you've gotten really far and you've got a ton of souls and only one or two estus flasks left you feel like you must be close to a bonfire... but where is it? Can you reach it without dying? Can you even find it? Some are hidden! Yup, it's frustrating to die in that situation, but at the same time, you've (hopefully) learned the route, learned what enemies are there and will return to the same spot and farther, to boot.

To each his own, I suppose. And, I guess that these just aren't the games for Yahtzee. Then again, I'm not really sure which are the games for him. Guy doesn't seem to like anything.

i never found multiplayer a key part of dark souls. i barely ever played online and still loved the game. even if multiplayer was a key part of the game, its also a key part of cod and halo, but he doesnt play online when he reviews those games. feels like a flimsy excuse to me. and where did he hear it gets good after a certain amount of time? it gets easier after the first 10 hours but if you hate it from the start, it doesnt suddenly feel like a completely different game at one point.

im just really confused about how yahtzee could suck so much at souls games, considering he is not bad at games in general. rayman origins i couldnt even beat the demo and he didnt seem to have too much trouble finishing the game. i mean souls games arent brutally hard. theyre hard, yes but they are much much easier than old school games. considering how good yahtzee is at video games, i dont quite understand why he has so much trouble with these games

Zom-B:
To each his own, I suppose. And, I guess that these just aren't the games for Yahtzee. Then again, I'm not really sure which are the games for him. Guy doesn't seem to like anything.

This not true in the slightest

stop saying this

this is getting really fucking annoying

hermes200:
Because (it seems) you can't claim to have a "FULL" experience if your PS3/360 is unplugged from the web... Unlike MW3/BF3 which have fully functional campaigns that don't depend on whether you are online or not.

I agree. But my point here is that playing BF3 for example in single player is also not getting the full experience.
The multiplayer aspect of BF has always been the main part of the game. In fact the BF series (pure, not Bad Company) never even had a single player until this iteration. (BF2 had bot matches which just emulated the MP)

So Yahtzee has in effect played 30% of BF3 and portrays it as one of the shittiest games of 2011 but doesn't apply the same "courtesy" to Dark Souls.

I don't care whether or not he likes either MW3 or BF3 and I fully understand that some people just don't enjoy that type of game or playing online in general, but then in my view it makes his opinion meaningless seeing as he hasn't experienced the bear-share of the game.
In effect it would be like playing DS offline and basing your view of the game solely on that - totally ignoring the fact that DS has that multiplayer component.

It's undeniable that hasn't given his attention to either those titles properly.
He's saying you can't fully appreciate DS without playing it online but he also says that you can fully appreciate MW3/BF3 without playing them online.
Which is a double standard. (which in essence is all I'm pointing out)

Zetona:
stuff

I know. I have played DS a fair bit :)

Yahtzee is so right about needlessly long death sequences. I can forgive a game like Super Meat Boy being obcenely difficult because it takes about 1 second to restart the level. On the other hand, Cave Story which is pretty difficult and by all means a gameplay masterpiece suffers because every time you die it takes ages to start again. I actually get bored waiting for the level to restart. As long as a game can maintain the flow I can forgive a lot of it's other problems.

Yahtzee makes a few good points, but I don't think his argument is very well thought out.

So, if I'm understanding him correctly, games that send you back to the beginning (retro) are okay, games that instantly send you back 5 seconds (Meat Boy/VVVVVV) are preferable, but games that lie in the middle ground are somehow not acceptable? Didn't he devote one of these articles to how to give video game deaths more impact? I'm sure he didn't try to argue back then that instant respawns were the way to go.

New Super Mario Bros. doesn't send you back to the beginning of the level after a gameover. (Yahtzee gets his facts about Mario games wrong so often that I'm doubting he plays them thoroughly) It sends you back to the last time the game was saved, which is after every world/castle. Additionally, a limited amount of saves can be purchased by coins that are found through exploration, providing another incentive to do so if you cared to notice. Deaths without a gameover send you back to the beginning of the level or to the mid-way checkpoint, and despite what Yahtzee may think, it takes about 5 seconds to regain control of Mario after you die, which, I'd say, is just the right amount of time to regain your composure. (or punch a pillow a few times) It's also much less time than it takes to respawn in an online shooter or a game like Batman or Skyrim that goes through a loading screen.

Mario 3D is a different story since the game is so easy and feeds so many 1up's that most players never even see a game over screen....including me....I guess I can't speak for this game's death system since I don't know all the details, but this is a different problem altogether.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong death system. It all depends on the type of game and the theme/feel that the developers are going for. Super Meat Boy is an excruciatingly difficult game in which levels can be completed in a few moments each. The developers expected that their players may very well die a dozen times within a minute, so they were left with no choice but to make each death as quick and meaningless as possible, and since the game was already more comical than dramatic, instant and abrupt respawns fit right in. In contrast, a game like Demon's Souls (I've never played it, though interested, just assuming here) is going for a dark, tense, and apprehensive atmosphere, which wouldn't be possible if deaths carried no weight or punishment.

In conclusion, I found this article to be lacking in a clear and well thought out thesis, which is how I've thought about a lot of Yahtzee's EP's recently. (The one on Context, Challenge, Gratification was good) Yahtzee needs to find another reason to dislike Mario....preferably one that makes sense.

MonkeyPunch:

hermes200:
Because (it seems) you can't claim to have a "FULL" experience if your PS3/360 is unplugged from the web... Unlike MW3/BF3 which have fully functional campaigns that don't depend on whether you are online or not.

I agree. But my point here is that playing BF3 for example in single player is also not getting the full experience.
The multiplayer aspect of BF has always been the main part of the game. In fact the BF series (pure, not Bad Company) never even had a single player until this iteration. (BF2 had bot matches which just emulated the MP)

So Yahtzee has in effect played 30% of BF3 and portrays it as one of the shittiest games of 2011 but doesn't apply the same "courtesy" to Dark Souls.

I don't care whether or not he likes either MW3 or BF3 and I fully understand that some people just don't enjoy that type of game or playing online in general, but then in my view it makes his opinion meaningless seeing as he hasn't experienced the bear-share of the game.
In effect it would be like playing DS offline and basing your view of the game solely on that - totally ignoring the fact that DS has that multiplayer component.

It's undeniable that hasn't given his attention to either those titles properly.
He's saying you can't fully appreciate DS without playing it online but he also says that you can fully appreciate MW3/BF3 without playing them online.
Which is a double standard. (which in essence is all I'm pointing out)

Zetona:
stuff

I know. I have played DS a fair bit :)

But Yahtzee doesn't review multiplayer modes. He does review single player modes. Dark Souls decides to spice up the single player in a way that really isn't strictly multiplayer. That's why he felt the need to point out that he didn't want to scrap Dark Souls' mechanics as multiplayer because they are a quasi-multiplayer. However, you are just assuming that Yahtzee would have liked Dark Souls' multiplayer whereas in reality he would probably have hated it, given the oportunity.

MonkeyPunch:

hermes200:
Because (it seems) you can't claim to have a "FULL" experience if your PS3/360 is unplugged from the web... Unlike MW3/BF3 which have fully functional campaigns that don't depend on whether you are online or not.

I agree. But my point here is that playing BF3 for example in single player is also not getting the full experience. The multiplayer aspect of BF has always been the main part of the game. In fact the BF series (pure, not Bad Company) never even had a single player until this iteration. (BF2 had bot matches which just emulated the MP)

So Yahtzee has in effect played 30% of BF3 and portrays it as one of the shittiest games of 2011 but doesn't apply the same "courtesy" to Dark Souls.

I don't care whether or not he likes either MW3 or BF3 and I fully understand that some people just don't enjoy that type of game or playing online in general, but then in my view it makes his opinion meaningless seeing as he hasn't experienced the bear-share of the game.
In effect it would be like playing DS offline and basing your view of the game solely on that - totally ignoring the fact that DS has that multiplayer component.

It's undeniable that hasn't given his attention to either those titles properly. He's saying you can't fully appreciate DS without playing it online but he also says that you can fully appreciate MW3/BF3 without playing them online. Which is a double standard. (which in essence is all I'm pointing out)

Maybe all the caps and the quotes when saying "full" was not clear enough, but I was being sarcastic.

He is not saying you can't fully appreciate DS without online. He is saying that many people would complain about his opinion because he didn't play online and they regard it as a big portion of the game. There are only two answers to that comment: either they are wrong and the campaign is completely judgeable without online; or that is just bad design, as an offline experience should not need an online component to be "complete". Make it more enjoyable or expand on it, fair enough; but not be instrumental to the point it invalidates someone's opinion. I agree more with the first part, but his comment is more a critique to people complaining about the validity of his opinions than a critique against the way DS is instrumented.

BF3/MW3, on the other hand, are totally different beasts. One could argue that the focus of those games is in the online component, or that he choose to base his review on the "worst" part (namely, the single player campaign), but that is what he always does. Even in game he likes, he pays little to no attention to the multiplayer options, but since they are entirely separated noone could argue "bwaa, bwaa, you didn't play Red Dead Redemption online, your opinion in the campaign is trash"...

CyricZ:
Oh God. Back in the relationship game for you, eh?

See, I just assumed he got himself a cat.

MiracleOfSound:
I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls lately and had pretty much the same experience.

The first few hours are maddening, obtuse, confusing, frustrating, and then after you beat the Taurus Demon and reach the parish, something just clicks. You learn to take it slow, to enjoy it for the oppressive, cruel but mostly fair beast that it is.

By the time you kill the Bell Gargoyles you'll have felt a kind of rewarding feeling that very few games these days can offer.

Totally agree. Once you finally decide to roll with the punches and go with it, the game can get really fun and exhilarating. (It helps once you realize that souls are essentially an infinite resource, so if you lose a lot of them it's not that big of a deal) It's also because that even though I've beaten it and played a significant amount of time more on other characters, that area between the Taurus Demon and Gargoyles still feels like such a fucking gauntlet.

00slash00:
i never found multiplayer a key part of dark souls. i barely ever played online and still loved the game. even if multiplayer was a key part of the game, its also a key part of cod and halo, but he doesnt play online when he reviews those games. feels like a flimsy excuse to me. and where did he hear it gets good after a certain amount of time? it gets easier after the first 10 hours but if you hate it from the start, it doesnt suddenly feel like a completely different game at one point.

I don't think he said those things as excuses, more as anticipated defenses to everyone that complains about his position in Dark Souls because:
A) He didn't played it long enough, and the game gets better after XXX amount of hours/YYY levels.
B) He didn't played it online, and online is such a big component of Dark Souls that he is wrong and he is playing it wrong.

Disclaimer: I don't agree with any of those statements, but seeing how defensive comments get in all his reviews, I can see those arguments coming out, several times.

CyricZ:
Oh God. Back in the relationship game for you, eh?

I anticipate the upcoming review in which you, once again, claim women are evil. :-P

Also, "I stopped caring" sums up my experience with Demon's Souls as well. I had no investment in it. Or to put it in your terms, the context was just not there. The challenge certainly was there, and I suppose there's gratification in knocking over the big guys, but after the thousandth little guy I knock over, the chore becomes more apparent and it becomes increasingly clear that I'm not controlling a character with thoughts, feelings, and drives, but a series of numbers trying to beat other numbers.

And yet, Binding of Isaac (which someone else brought up) stuck with me. Perhaps it's the brevity, or the style, or maybe I'm actually investing in Isaac due to the setup and his depressive state.

'Sup Cyric? What brings you from GameFAQs?

Anyways, if Yahtzee only pushed a little bit further would he have finally reached the gratifying part of Dark Souls. He says he went the wrong way, so I'm wondering if he was heading towards the Tomb of the Giants. That area is BRUTAL at the beginning of the game.

But, alas, he has had enough, and I won't pester him for it. He doesn't have enough determination to plow through the game, and I won't complain

totally heterosexual:

Zom-B:
To each his own, I suppose. And, I guess that these just aren't the games for Yahtzee. Then again, I'm not really sure which are the games for him. Guy doesn't seem to like anything.

This not true in the slightest

stop saying this

this is getting really fucking annoying

Hey, he wouldn't have the reputation if it wasn't somewhat true. But okay, I retract my statement.

Yahtzee doesn't seem to like very many games. I can't think of any except Rayman Origins, but I'm sure he must like something.

That being said, the guy has made a career out of basically trashing games and reviewing games negatively. He's not the guy you go to for glowing praise and 5 star recommendations.

That right there is pretty much the thing i hated most about dark souls. I understand that they want us to clear each gauntlet of trash between bosses as a discrete unit, I'm fine with them resetting everything when you die. What i wasn't fine with was being forced to redo the entire 20-30 minute trash gauntlet after every single attempt on the viciously difficult boss fights. There needs to be a save point before every boss. Its unbelievably irritating, and when your irritated you aren't as focused, and in a game like dark souls loosing your focus is suicide. It leads to a feedback loop, in which your pissed off at having to do the trash again, so you rush through it, and die getting more pissed off. Its a huge problem. Nearly a gamebreaking one for me. Its the reason i still haven't finished it, i can only make myself try a boss 1 or 2 times before i just get so irritated at the repetition that it just wasn't fun. That and the camera are the only two issues i have with the game.

The game actually managed to break me as well. When i first bought it i only played for like 2 hours before not bothering anymore. I picked it up again last friday, started a brand new character and just today i'd rang both Bells of Awakening and i've had probably just as much fun as frustration.

What turned me off Dark Souls in the beginning though was all the people telling me how "You have to play the game its own way" and "if you die it's all your own fault. you're just being punished for being stupid". Such half-assed arguments i can live without, thank you very much.

rembrandtqeinstein:
The original Aliens Vs Predator (the 2000 game, not the abortion released last year) was criticized because you had to start the level over if you died. And the human and alien characters died if an enemy so much as noticed them. An update added a very interesting mechanic to satisfy these complaints.

They gave you a limited number of "saves" based on the play difficulty. So now choosing to save or not was turned into a strategic gameplay element instead of an obligatory extra button push every time you passed a save point, or every 30 seconds in the case of games with quicksave like doom3.

If you screwed up and saved in the wrong place there was a chance you couldn't beat the level and had to start over. If you were too conservative then you had to go pretty far back to your last safe location.

It was a great way to modernize the gameplay while still retaining the tension inherent in the "make one mistake and lose" situation and a very long level.

That sounds awful. So if Im called into work, the baby wakes up, guest drop by unexpectedly, then the game gives me the shaft for having a life?

A game should let me save whenever I need too.

Terramax:

But Dark Souls doesn't do any of the sort. I eventually asked my self "why am I bothering? is there going to be any reward in this? Better locations, more amazing music, improved combat? No, there isn't... sod this, back to my other games."

And therein lies the difference between challenging and punishing.

bjj hero:
That sounds awful. So if Im called into work, the baby wakes up, guest drop by unexpectedly, then the game gives me the shaft for having a life?

A game should let me save whenever I need too.

You could still pause and walk away whenever you wanted (unlike diablows 3). You just couldn't save an unlimited amount.

rembrandtqeinstein:

You could still pause and walk away whenever you wanted (unlike diablows 3). You just couldn't save an unlimited amount.

Having one over diablo 3 doesnt make it right. Id rather not leave my game paused for hours on end either. Its fine if you have no responsibilities but my gaming time is more and more fractured by family life as I get older. It may have fitted me when I was a teen/student.

There really is no excuse not to let me save when I need to.

Zen Toombs:

Sargonza:

Two games that did infinite life wrong:
I want to be the guy
Prince of Persia (2008)

I actually thought that Prince of Persia did infinite lives well - when you screwed something up, you turned back the clock to before you messed up. And while I haven't played I want to be the guy, I have seen it played and it seemed to work fairly well.

Just my two cents.

No he means the confusingly titled Prince of Persia game that came out in 2008 where the graphics were cell shaded and the game was hard as sin to learn but patronized the shit out of you every step of the way by having a motherly figure waving away all your problems whenever you messed up which made death about fifty times more annoying and humiliating.

You know, the one where what passed for combat was shuffling around counter attacking everything over and over. The one where you came back to life after a boss kills you but they regenerate most of their health as well which serves triple shift ruining tension by making all your actions devoid of consequence, ruining satisfaction by making you feel like you suck at the game and finally ruining the very purpose of anti-death mechanics by reverting you to a point near the start of the battle thus wasting your time anyway in the same way that a checkpoint or save would have done.

The REAL Prince of Persia games were awesome I agree, the only anti-death mechanic that served a storyline purpose a gameplay purpose and was genuinely satisfying to boot.

The worst part about delay between attempts, is pesky loading screen tips that state the obvious.
"Tip: If you struggle with this boss, try avoiding the swirly, green chaos vortexes of death"

Yes I already figured that out. And on the off-chance that there happens to be a boss that is not completely obvious, I'd rather miss the spoiler.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
The the slightest mistake while fighting any single enemy could leave me dead in two hits - only to find that I was supposed to be going another way all along.

The skeletons in Firelink Shrine, right?

I like the way Dungeons of Dredmor ( and other roguelikes) do it. If your character dies, your character is dead and it's time to roll up a new character.

walrusaurus:
That right there is pretty much the thing i hated most about dark souls. I understand that they want us to clear each gauntlet of trash between bosses as a discrete unit, I'm fine with them resetting everything when you die. What i wasn't fine with was being forced to redo the entire 20-30 minute trash gauntlet after every single attempt on the viciously difficult boss fights.

That's why Dark Souls and its predecessor are all about opening shortcuts as you go along. Take the Taurus Demon... your first go through, you'll clear all the zombies including rooftops, get owned by the fire trap, fight the big black knight, go up the tower and start fighting Taurus. Good times, then you die. By the 10th time, you'll probably just sprint down the bridge until the bit of broken wall, roll and fall down to the ledge guarded by the black knight, and sprint up the stairs to the tower with those zombie knights half-heartedly chasing you. There's a little danger, but it's a speedy run compared to the first go through. Just at a guess there are never more than 10 enemies on the shortest route from a bonfire to the next boss or area. That bonfire might be hidden and/or a trap, but it's still there and the rule holds.

Personally I think Dark Souls' death and revival mechanisms are the best videogaming's ever had it.

Compared with other RPGs, failure and revival are part of the story instead of an ugly vestige of videogaming's roots in quarter-eating arcade cabinets. Compare with FFXIII, Deus Ex, Fallout, any of them: those stories have no answer for those times when the best-laid efforts of a whole programming staff result in someone finally managing to off your character(s). As a player, you can only get in the way of the story... at best you get the sense of keeping things on-script, and otherwise the whole production comes screeching to a halt. For a compulsive enough player, it's like watching the filming of a movie, instead of the movie itself... CUT! used too many bullets. CUT! come on, you could have dodged that. CUT!! do-over on that last level-up. The inevitable failures don't break immersion, and the save system isn't prone to all kinds of perfectionist gaming.

At the same time, Dark Souls' cranks the stakes WAY up when it comes to death as well. You feel it deep in your guts when you die just short of reclaiming a big pile of souls, or in your human state - especially with a couple phantoms helping you. Sure a lot of the time you can throw your character off a cliff with no other consequences than a good laugh, but knock off a boss or two and the exact same game mechanics have you fighting desperately for survival.

Terramax:
I'm kinda with Yahtzee. For a day or two I was addicted, but in the end there came a point where I just couldn't be bothered with Dark Souls. The game has no payoff what-so-ever.

I like challenging games. I love my manic shooters. When I become good enough to dodge 100 bullets whilst elegantly blasting the s**t out of the enemy, all in beautifully hand drawn 2D graphics, with an unbeatable soundtrack, I almost fall into a high.

But Dark Souls doesn't do any of the sort. I eventually asked my self "why am I bothering? is there going to be any reward in this? Better locations, more amazing music, improved combat? No, there isn't... sod this, back to my other games."

Only reason I keep my copy is in the hope my limited edition rises in value in time.

The thing is dark souls isn't about pure skill, it's more about patience.You have to pace yourself, keep your shield up, and keep yourself from getting greedy.

What kind of payoff are you looking for? The locations are nice and varied ranging from ruined castles, swampy shanty towns, crystallized libraries, and icy worlds inside paintings.

Dark souls isn't a game to have fast paced awesome soundtrack because it goes against the atmosphere. What music there is is there to help the atmosphere.

The combat is already tight, and there is a massive variety of unique weapons to choose from. There are 17 different categories of weapons that each fight differently, and each weapon is usually different from the others in the same category. Also this is the only game i ever played where straight swords and scimitars fight differently, and the only game that actually implemented rapiers properly.

Dark souls is a different game. It's slow and rewards restraint, cautiousness, and preparation over just skill. It's different from a lot of other challenging games that reward reaction and speed. It's a niche game. It's not lacking in payoff, it just goes about it a different way.

I think the reason people say Dark Souls gets better is that the further you get into the less you care about leveling up and since level ups are more expensive than everything else it's not so big a deal when you lose a bunch of souls. My characters around lvl 45 right now and giving a +1 to any of his stats just doesn't do much for making me stronger. One more point of strength gives him +4 damage but spending a 5th as many souls upgrading his sword gives him +40 damage.

MiracleOfSound:
I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls lately and had pretty much the same experience.

The first few hours are maddening, obtuse, confusing, frustrating, and then after you beat the Taurus Demon and reach the parish, something just clicks. You learn to take it slow, to enjoy it for the oppressive, cruel but mostly fair beast that it is.

By the time you kill the Bell Gargoyles you'll have felt a kind of rewarding feeling that very few games these days can offer.

Exactly, the path to reach the Tauros Demon (plus the fight itself) is the harderst part of the game because the player is still learning how to play, after beating the boss he will be ready to fight multiple enemies and while he may still die from time to time he will have control over the battle and understand what has to be done to win.

You know what I find strangest in this article about failure conditions, death, flow, the disconnect between games with challenges and win/lose conditions and interactive experiences? That in the entire article loss is instantly equated into death. I just feel it's very strange that we are constantly discussing immersion and storytelling and interactive experiences yet we still instantly jump to death and enemies as obstacles. That we can't evolve past "You kill the things" to win or "You get dead, kid" as a lost. I don't want to come off as one of those violent games are evil type but I just find it strange that we get hung up and use death and combat as central themes regardless of the story or message games are trying to tell.

Nice article, I honestly don't know how we can remedy the problem since depending on your views or personal preference the act of coming back to life can both break the flow of plot and the gameplay.

Yahtzee's a funny guy and I like his videos, but godamn he is one whiny bitch.

Yeah, the idea of infinite lives seems kinda arbitrary if you have to go through a "Game Over" screen everytime you die. Perfect example for me would be God of War 3. Love the game to death, but I'm playing through the hardest difficulty right now, and the game treats me like an idiot, asking me if I would like to quit the game or load my previous checkpoint everytime I die. This breaks the flow of the game, and just aggravates me, causing me to die more.

No God of War 3, I don't wanna quit. Now load up my last checkpoint so I can get back to murdering Gods. If i wanna quit the game, I'll choose to from the options screen, or just turn the system off!

I played Treasure Island Dizzy when I was a kid and can honestly say that I beat it! It was one of the hardest games I ever played... but I stuck with it anyway.. all the way through the kick in the balls ending.

I tell you this though, if you do manage to beat TID, Dark Souls will be a walk in the park!

I was going to post a link to an emulator I found today where you could experience the difficult masterpiece that Treasure Island Dizzy is, however after doing a little research, it seems that CodeMasters still won't allow online distribution of the game (any of their games) for some reason (According to World of Spectrum). So posting a link to the emulator would be posting a link to copyrighted material.. which is a real shame.

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