Death Mechanics and Dark Souls

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I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls lately (just got past the bell gargoyle(s), altough I feel like I cheated using both of those two knight guys you encounter) and enjoying the hell out of it. I only get frustrated when I die due to mistakes made when out of combat, like falling off a cliff by pressing the wrong button.
Never happens when I'm fighting, then I just accept it, and have another go. I don't get jaded and just stop caring about the death, I get slightly annoyed and worried that if I die on the way back, I won't see those souls again. This aids to make every death matter and to learn from my mistakes and not make them again.
And the sense of acomlishment is pretty damn awesome when you finally manage to take down the current boss encounter.

Which is funny, since I recently decided to finish Assasins Creed: Brotherhood, and the damn game almost made me break the controller out of frustration. No, I haven't finished it (AC:B). And I won't do so either in any foreseeable future.

For the first time against Taurus, I went by the rule of "if you can roll between its feet, that's probably how you should be taking it on" and killed the thing on my second try without any of that elbow-off-the-top-rope stuff.

Catacombs was a miserable place to fight through and the Tomb of Giants was so much worse, which is really the appropriate vibe for trekking through increasingly underground gravesites. It's an epic chore to deal with, enough to be worth dropping the conceit of your "character build" and load up on the proper stuff for that job: miracles and holy weapons. The worst is losing your shield or two-handed stance in order to hold a lamp as you go through the dark....

Wait...Yahtzee... what? I thought one of your major beefs with the Mario series was its blind adherence to the lives system and now you're saying you like that? I am confused...

EDIT: HA HA DISREGARD THAT DIDN'T READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE BEFORE POSTING T__T'

I prefer games that are difficult because of skill needed, not because they force you to fight a million creatures and then an over powered boss. Fighting with tactics is better than forced to fight through a horde of enemies. Its why enemies like the Flood in Halo suck.

SonOfVoorhees:
I prefer games that are difficult because of skill needed, not because they force you to fight a million creatures and then an over powered boss. Fighting with tactics is better than forced to fight through a horde of enemies. Its why enemies like the Flood in Halo suck.

Sounds like someone's never played Serious Sam....

Hmm. There's a couple of ways of looking at it. In the good old days (or 'bad old days', depending on your perspective) where life was limited and Game Over meant what it said (i.e go back to the title screen), lives mainly served to draw the game out and make it last longer. Remember, games started in the arcades where they needed SOME way to make you stop playing on a single quarter and when they went to home consoles they still weren't fantastically long, so forcing players to start over if they weren't good enough to beat the game in one go extended the playability of the game (Contra wouldn't be much of a challenge if you could just sit down and beat it through sheer bloody-minded stubbornness and even the legendary Konami Code only improves your odds from "ridiculous" to "plausible"). One of the consequences of this was that lives added tension to the game- each one you lost brought you one step closer to oblivion and forced you to lift your game or pay the price.

On the other hand, games where you can die but which do NOT have a life system of any sort (Jak and Dexter series is one of my personal favourite examples) lack that tension, but give the developers more leeway. You know how sometimes in games with a life system there's just that ONE DAMN BIT that you fail at EVERY time- the pixel-precise jump you have to make to avoid bottomless pits, the freaky part where you have to dodge multiple spinning blades all moving in different directions, that boss who has a brief berserk mode where his attacks suddenly become practically undodgeable? With a lives system these bits can become exercises in frustration and even lead to accusations of poor and unfair design. You can go through the entire game without trouble up until then only to lose all your lives there. In a lifeless system these aren't as punishing and the lack of a 'Game Over' threat hanging over your head means you have room to experiment, be a bit reckless. Instead of cautiously edging between the blades and hoping you don't get caught in a sudden unexpected convergence, maybe you should just sprint at them and jump, maybe theirs actually a sudden pattern in their rotation to let you fly through unharmed? Maybe there's an exact spot you can stand still in where the bosses berserk spray of attacks won't hit you, or maybe you just need to try a different weapon. While lives systems raise the tension, doing so also forces you to play more conservatively and carefully, not experiment, edge through with caution.

I do think Yahtzee is definitely right about having lives but infinite continues, though. Even as far back as Super Mario All-Stars, the first game I got when my parents gave me and my brother our SNES for Christmas all those years back, the challenge went to hell. The All-Stars versions of Super Mario Bros, the Lost Levels, Mario 2 and Mario 3 allowed you to save your progress at each world (and in the case of Mario 3, even go back to play through worlds again to get more items). Hell, in a concession to how bloody hard it was, The Lost Levels allowed you to save your progress at every STAGE! Losing all your lives would force you to continue from the beginning of the world, which was at least a BIT challenging, but it made the games absurdly easy compared with their original NES incarnations (admittedly, knowing where all the world warps where didn't help). As a result, I beat the original Super Mario Bros with comparative ease since I could always start from the beginning of world 8 (although to be fair, world 8 is BLOODY TOUGH). More recent games have been even worse, with 'Game Over' meaning you just lose your checkpoint progress (and maybe a few power-ups).

Ben has the problems of getting carried away on cuckoo land on his so-vaunted indie author heritage and losing touch with the shared common sense.

Lives in games aren't just relics from the coin-op era, they are a playful measurement of time and skill like the "three strikes and you're out" or equivalent of any sport. One red card and you're out, in the case of Dizzy.

You can see how Mario games have become aware of this when Galaxy started throwing 1ups at you, while going down from 8 (Mario 64) to 3 hit points. That's a children's playground method of timing how long someone does something and with what skill. Even at the arcade, people could not spend the entire afternoon using quarters at the last working SF2 cabinet without being massacred by peers.

Sadly reviewers don't "jump the shark" by displeasing fanboys or losing their funny touch... they start speaking nonsense that others seasoned readers know be bull.

Terramax:

But it doesn't really reward restraint and caution because there is no way to survive other than trial and error. The game is simply guess work.

And whilst the locations are great to look at, I don't find it a payoff enough. I've seen similar locations in other games (Ico, Vagrant Story). I'm not saying the soundtrack should be thumping, but it could've at least have been something like Vagrant Story (a game that does patience and strategy right).

And I don't consider the combat tight either. Arrows that glitch through enemies yet hit you, attacks that sometimes richoches off walls, other times glitching through it, my man rolling around when I don't tell him to, attacking enemies when I'm pressing the guard button.

During that second boss on the bridge, depending on where you land after you attack from above, you're pretty much cornered and unable to escape half the time. Why can't you roll under his legs? Why isn't the bridge's area big enough to manauver around him?

The game simply choses when you live or die. The game might as well just reset the console at random and it wouldn't be any different.

I will admit there are places where trial and error comes in, but most of the time it doesn't. If you keep your shield up and turn corners slowly, you can get through the game without dying as often.

All the problems you have about combat never came up for me. For me arrows always hit in the proper spot. As for the walls, different weapons and different attacks go through walls differently. If i get a mace, stand next to a wall, and attack it'll bounce. If i get far enough away that only the head of the mace hits, it'll go through. It's different for each weapon and attack. Sometimes the delayed attack/roll thing happens. It's a glitch they haven't been able to fix, but ive only experienced it like twice in my over 100 hours of game time.

For the second boss, you're given plenty of space to avoid him. You just need to understand that rolls have invincibility, so if you time it right you can roll through his attacks. I personally have never been stuck by him after the plunge. He attacks so slowly i can just strafe around him before he has a chance to swing after i do my plunging attack. If you want a little tip for beating him, there were some black firebombs in a building on the way to the boss. If you do a plunge attack, then get out of his range and bomb him, you'll win easily.

The thing is, the game's hard. It seems like trial and error because of the difficulty. Sure sometimes it gets really cheap (the dragon on the bridge for example. I think the only reason they kept that is because they wanted a recurring idea from demons souls), but a lot of the time it's just plain old difficult. The enemies are set up to ambush and surprise you, and you have to notice things like this. Bosses get tricky, and you have to learn how to deal with them. Sure you may die, but it's not because the game did something cheap (with a few exceptions), it's because you couldn't stand up to the challenge. What kind of difficult game would it be if you beat everything without dying and having to learn from your mistakes?

As for the music, you can't really compare Vagrant Story and Dark Souls. They aren't similar games. It's just like comparing dark souls to Skyrim. The styles are way too different.

Teresa Lass:

Warachia:

The tomb of the giants is scary? Really? Ok, that's your opinion, I found it to be one of the worst levels in any game I've ever played, it's even worse if you were using a ranged character because you don't know where your targets are to shoot them, not to mention having some areas that lead to dead ends and hiding the way you are supposed to go is just bullshit.

That aside, it's probably a good thing he didn't get too far, otherwise he'd run into the knight twin boss (executioner and dragonslayer), one of the worst bosses in game history, because it wasn't designed to work well with this type of gameplay, and often I'd find myself losing, not because of something I did, but because I would get stunlocked by one, then the other, and so on.

I do understand what they were going for, they were trying to tell a story through their environments and thus get you further immersed into the game, but interesting ideas don't necessarily make a great level.

On a side note, if you don't know the trick with the first boss, it's completely understandable dying to him multiple times, I didn't know it, because the game never tells you that you can do it, so he just kept knocking me off the side.

Heh well regardless of what class you were and whatever weapon you were fond of, the tomb of giants didnt let u see more than one feet ahead of you. I can assure you, being a piro-sword specialist or a dex-bow one had lil importance there.
You couldnt see the mobs to kill them? well yeah no one could, even after getting the lamp it was a tricky situation. And ironically i used the bow (not my favorite and i barely used it thro the game) and ranged spells a lot in that area combined with the sword for final blows. It was all about strategy and ofc, being carfeul enough to not fall into your death. But, the two bonefires there so near from eachother eased a bit the situation.

As for Ornstein and Smough, i infact got thro those bosses in the first try. And mostly because of paranoia, After the whole castle and the rough re-introduction to -dont open chests before you find out if they are alive or not- i figured i would need help for the next boss, whatever it might be. I called upon one blue-gold-phantom and the sun knight phantom, so i had an IA and another player to help me out, or at least distract the bosses while i atked.
The player phantom died almost inmediatly, so i was left with the IA, which helped alot as a distraction and allowed me to kill the bosses efficiently.
In NG+ i got cocky and killed them myself in what amounts to be the 5th time or so. Again its not bad design its strategy.

And the first boss, well they DO tell you that jumping over them is entirely a possibility, since well, the mini boss you have to fight for the first time in the tutorial.
Or if it didnt ocurred to you, if u watched one of the trailers they show that, so it all sumed up to:

-Go thro the fog
-Walk the bridge, having a feeling something is wrong.
-See the mino jump at you
-Panic
-Run back where you came from
-Notice stairs and in panic climb them.
-Notice that you are in the same position as the tutorial boss
-Idea to jump and strike at the boss forms and you execute it.
-Done. Half life of boss gone
-Avoid getting hit. Climb, repeat.
-Boss dead.

The main problem with the tomb is you can't see pitfalls or platforms. Most of the time I died was when I got pushed into a whole that I didn't know was there, the bullshit part I mentioned was the hole patches knocks you down looks like it goes somewhere, it doesn't, you have to go along a skinny walkway next to the whole which you can't see because it's too dark. The mobs got down to just being tedious, the four legged giants were incredibly hard for me because they'd wreck my endurance meter, and I can't run because I can't see where I'm going! Again, having a level where you can't see is an interesting idea, but it doesn't make a good level overall.

When I first went against the knights, I was a melee character, and I have a bad internet connection, every fight against them was 2-1, and that's why the kept stunlocking me, and if I finally did kill one, the other would spam area of effect attacks, and both were way too fast, which is why I said they don't fit into this type of game, just like the flamelurker in demons souls. Also, there is no strategy a melee character can use against them, all you can do is run, but they're faster, so they catch and kill you, or you can try to fight them, but one attacks from behind and the other finishes you off.

It's very easy to miss how to do that move in the tutorial, because they tell you how to do it wrong, they say "Push this button when falling" but if you do that you fuck it up, on my second character I figured out that you have to land on him before attacking, which is why I had no idea that you could do it to the first boss on my first couple fights against him.

Yahtzee, I think you're so close to finally figuring out what makes these game so amazing. It's not about a certain pre-set "point" in the game itself in which it suddenly gets better. It's once you die enough times that you forget about being angry about the deaths and start actually learning and understanding the rules of the game. There are these subtle nuances to the way you need to play these games that only comes through trial and error. Once you've figured out the system and start destroying those huge bosses with less and less deaths, that's when the game starts feeling really rewarding.

Though I have to say I thank you for at least playing it for a bit. Also, the Taurus Demon isn't bad once you discover you can fall on his head while attacking to do huge damage.

Zom-B:

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.

He has liked plenty of games. The top 5 of 2011 just came out recently and a lot of his olders videos are positive.

Warachia:

Teresa Lass:

Warachia:

The tomb of the giants is scary? Really? Ok, that's your opinion, I found it to be one of the worst levels in any game I've ever played, it's even worse if you were using a ranged character because you don't know where your targets are to shoot them, not to mention having some areas that lead to dead ends and hiding the way you are supposed to go is just bullshit.

That aside, it's probably a good thing he didn't get too far, otherwise he'd run into the knight twin boss (executioner and dragonslayer), one of the worst bosses in game history, because it wasn't designed to work well with this type of gameplay, and often I'd find myself losing, not because of something I did, but because I would get stunlocked by one, then the other, and so on.

I do understand what they were going for, they were trying to tell a story through their environments and thus get you further immersed into the game, but interesting ideas don't necessarily make a great level.

On a side note, if you don't know the trick with the first boss, it's completely understandable dying to him multiple times, I didn't know it, because the game never tells you that you can do it, so he just kept knocking me off the side.

Heh well regardless of what class you were and whatever weapon you were fond of, the tomb of giants didnt let u see more than one feet ahead of you. I can assure you, being a piro-sword specialist or a dex-bow one had lil importance there.
You couldnt see the mobs to kill them? well yeah no one could, even after getting the lamp it was a tricky situation. And ironically i used the bow (not my favorite and i barely used it thro the game) and ranged spells a lot in that area combined with the sword for final blows. It was all about strategy and ofc, being carfeul enough to not fall into your death. But, the two bonefires there so near from eachother eased a bit the situation.

As for Ornstein and Smough, i infact got thro those bosses in the first try. And mostly because of paranoia, After the whole castle and the rough re-introduction to -dont open chests before you find out if they are alive or not- i figured i would need help for the next boss, whatever it might be. I called upon one blue-gold-phantom and the sun knight phantom, so i had an IA and another player to help me out, or at least distract the bosses while i atked.
The player phantom died almost inmediatly, so i was left with the IA, which helped alot as a distraction and allowed me to kill the bosses efficiently.
In NG+ i got cocky and killed them myself in what amounts to be the 5th time or so. Again its not bad design its strategy.

And the first boss, well they DO tell you that jumping over them is entirely a possibility, since well, the mini boss you have to fight for the first time in the tutorial.
Or if it didnt ocurred to you, if u watched one of the trailers they show that, so it all sumed up to:

-Go thro the fog
-Walk the bridge, having a feeling something is wrong.
-See the mino jump at you
-Panic
-Run back where you came from
-Notice stairs and in panic climb them.
-Notice that you are in the same position as the tutorial boss
-Idea to jump and strike at the boss forms and you execute it.
-Done. Half life of boss gone
-Avoid getting hit. Climb, repeat.
-Boss dead.

The main problem with the tomb is you can't see pitfalls or platforms. Most of the time I died was when I got pushed into a whole that I didn't know was there, the bullshit part I mentioned was the hole patches knocks you down looks like it goes somewhere, it doesn't, you have to go along a skinny walkway next to the whole which you can't see because it's too dark. The mobs got down to just being tedious, the four legged giants were incredibly hard for me because they'd wreck my endurance meter, and I can't run because I can't see where I'm going! Again, having a level where you can't see is an interesting idea, but it doesn't make a good level overall.

When I first went against the knights, I was a melee character, and I have a bad internet connection, every fight against them was 2-1, and that's why the kept stunlocking me, and if I finally did kill one, the other would spam area of effect attacks, and both were way too fast, which is why I said they don't fit into this type of game, just like the flamelurker in demons souls. Also, there is no strategy a melee character can use against them, all you can do is run, but they're faster, so they catch and kill you, or you can try to fight them, but one attacks from behind and the other finishes you off.

It's very easy to miss how to do that move in the tutorial, because they tell you how to do it wrong, they say "Push this button when falling" but if you do that you fuck it up, on my second character I figured out that you have to land on him before attacking, which is why I had no idea that you could do it to the first boss on my first couple fights against him.

hmm i dont know, i guess it settles on the who likes entirely the game and who doesnt.

The dog-like skeletons in the tomb of giants, were indeed horrible, i did had to go back and train somewhere and upgrade my stuff to kill them since, well i was noobing it i would guess the first time i went thro there.
After my training i went thro them kind of easy.

In Ornstein and Smough, to have the sun knight summoned u didnt need an internet conection its part of the story if you have your human form. Either way i still disagree with you on the not belonging there part, i had fun with them both with and w/o help.
But flame lurker in demons souls, ahhhh i dont know, it was a tricky boss but i still belive it was a good one, even when it took me a lot to kill.

The jump and atack it seemed so logical to me that i didnt thot of the idea of being easy to miss. I guess if the player dont get the idea the first time it will have its concecuences on the mino.

The only bosses i had a hard time with were the iron golem and seath the scaleless.
While the way i used to kill the first, was among the lines of rolling under its feet to conect an atack; each time i rolled target system made me dizzy because of its spins and ofc i fell alot off the bridge due to being unable to see where i was going.

The seath tho was something im ashamed of as a player. The first time, i summoned 2 phantoms to help me. But i didnt knew i had to break the crystal in order to lay a hit at seath and my stupid phantoms didnt moved to do so.
We all died the first time. I figured then, i needed to see how it was done and so i left my sign down in order to be summoned and with that i saw how stupid i was to not destroy that crystal.
lol after killing my seath, i stayed in the library for 20 lvls helping others, which was very very fun since i helped the host get the moonlit sword efficently and kill the bastard fast. It all earned me a lot of co-op souls to lvl and ofc the satisfaction of owning the boss over and over and over again (to kill the trauma ofc hehe)

Teresa Lass:

hmm i dont know, i guess it settles on the who likes entirely the game and who doesnt.

The dog-like skeletons in the tomb of giants, were indeed horrible, i did had to go back and train somewhere and upgrade my stuff to kill them since, well i was noobing it i would guess the first time i went thro there.
After my training i went thro them kind of easy.

In Ornstein and Smough, to have the sun knight summoned u didnt need an internet conection its part of the story if you have your human form. Either way i still disagree with you on the not belonging there part, i had fun with them both with and w/o help.
But flame lurker in demons souls, ahhhh i dont know, it was a tricky boss but i still belive it was a good one, even when it took me a lot to kill.

The jump and atack it seemed so logical to me that I didn't think of the idea of being easy to miss. I guess if the player doesn't get the idea the first time it will have its consequences on the mino.

The only bosses i had a hard time with were the iron golem and seath the scaleless.
While the way i used to kill the first, was among the lines of rolling under its feet to conect an atack; each time i rolled target system made me dizzy because of its spins and ofc i fell alot off the bridge due to being unable to see where i was going.

The seath tho was something im ashamed of as a player. The first time, i summoned 2 phantoms to help me. But i didnt knew i had to break the crystal in order to lay a hit at seath and my stupid phantoms didnt moved to do so.
We all died the first time. I figured then, i needed to see how it was done and so i left my sign down in order to be summoned and with that i saw how stupid i was to not destroy that crystal.
lol after killing my seath, i stayed in the library for 20 lvls helping others, which was very very fun since i helped the host get the moonlit sword efficently and kill the bastard fast. It all earned me a lot of co-op souls to lvl and ofc the satisfaction of owning the boss over and over and over again (to kill the trauma ofc hehe)

The problem with the knights is I summoned up the sun knight (who looks like an onion and yes I know that's part of the point) when I first was going through there, and I didn't know what I was up against, while I was trying to not die, he got killed, and I could never summon him again which is a HUGE design flaw. The reason I say the flame lurker is a bad boss is because you can be screwed into a scenario where what you have makes the boss nearly (if not completely) impossible to beat, not to mention how fast he is combined with how he wrecks your endurance, I had to grind for hours to change a pure melee character into a partial magic character just to stand a chance (he's weak to magic arrow).

Again, I have a bad internet connection, I would love to play the game's online, but it doesn't work for me, in the beautiful castle area (I forget the name) I tested to see how the online was there as I heard plenty of people were having trouble, so I leave a mark and wait to get summoned, going on the internet on my laptop. THREE HOURS LATER AND NOTHING.

I did get summoned on different sessions, and I found those fun, shame the game doesn't make it easy to join games like inviting friends to the game you're on or something. They really kneecap themselves here.

totally heterosexual:

Zom-B:

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.

He has liked plenty of games. The top 5 of 2011 just came out recently and a lot of his olders videos are positive.

Perhaps you're not familiar with hyperbole or exaggeration for effect. I'm sure that Yahtzee likes games, or else he wouldn't be a game reviewer, however, I'll reiterate my point:

"... the guy has made a career out of basically trashing games and reviewing games negatively."

I've seen dozens and dozens, maybe even hundreds of comments in these forums from people gleefully waiting and hoping for Yahtzee to review a particular game in hopes that he will trash it. That's his rep, and like it or not, that's what people have associated with him and his reviews.

NamesAreHardToPick:
For the first time against Taurus, I went by the rule of "if you can roll between its feet, that's probably how you should be taking it on" and killed the thing on my second try without any of that elbow-off-the-top-rope stuff.

Catacombs was a miserable place to fight through and the Tomb of Giants was so much worse, which is really the appropriate vibe for trekking through increasingly underground gravesites. It's an epic chore to deal with, enough to be worth dropping the conceit of your "character build" and load up on the proper stuff for that job: miracles and holy weapons. The worst is losing your shield or two-handed stance in order to hold a lamp as you go through the dark....

Heh, luckily for me the order in which I did things I had the sunlight maggot hat to wear. That was a lifesaver.

Warachia:
The main problem with the tomb is you can't see pitfalls or platforms. Most of the time I died was when I got pushed into a whole that I didn't know was there, the bullshit part I mentioned was the hole patches knocks you down looks like it goes somewhere, it doesn't, you have to go along a skinny walkway next to the whole which you can't see because it's too dark. The mobs got down to just being tedious, the four legged giants were incredibly hard for me because they'd wreck my endurance meter, and I can't run because I can't see where I'm going! Again, having a level where you can't see is an interesting idea, but it doesn't make a good level overall.

It's very easy to miss how to do that move in the tutorial, because they tell you how to do it wrong, they say "Push this button when falling" but if you do that you fuck it up, on my second character I figured out that you have to land on him before attacking, which is why I had no idea that you could do it to the first boss on my first couple fights against him.

I don't know if you missed it or what, but somewhere within the game it basically tells you to have something to give yourself light in the Tomb of Giants. There's the skull lantern, there's spells and there's the sunlight maggot hat, all of which expand your sphere of view enough so that you're not stumbling around in the dark. If you didn't properly prepare yourself, that's not a failing of the game.

For the plunge attack, I'm not sure about waiting to land on him to attack, but it's a relatively easy attack to pull off if you have far enough to fall and good timing. I think it comes down to making sure that your feet are not still "touching" ground and then hitting the R1 attack only in mid-air. The only problems I ever had with the attack were due to me trying it off of ledges that were too low or simply mis-timing my button presses. But once you get the hang of it, it's fairly easy. You can actually roll or leap off a ledge or platform and extend the range of the attack to get enemies you might not be able to just drop on.

I think the failings in the game you are pointing out aren't failings in the game, as much as your own mistakes.

Zom-B:

Warachia:
The main problem with the tomb is you can't see pitfalls or platforms. Most of the time I died was when I got pushed into a whole that I didn't know was there, the bullshit part I mentioned was the hole patches knocks you down looks like it goes somewhere, it doesn't, you have to go along a skinny walkway next to the whole which you can't see because it's too dark. The mobs got down to just being tedious, the four legged giants were incredibly hard for me because they'd wreck my endurance meter, and I can't run because I can't see where I'm going! Again, having a level where you can't see is an interesting idea, but it doesn't make a good level overall.

It's very easy to miss how to do that move in the tutorial, because they tell you how to do it wrong, they say "Push this button when falling" but if you do that you fuck it up, on my second character I figured out that you have to land on him before attacking, which is why I had no idea that you could do it to the first boss on my first couple fights against him.

I don't know if you missed it or what, but somewhere within the game it basically tells you to have something to give yourself light in the Tomb of Giants. There's the skull lantern, there's spells and there's the sunlight maggot hat, all of which expand your sphere of view enough so that you're not stumbling around in the dark. If you didn't properly prepare yourself, that's not a failing of the game.

For the plunge attack, I'm not sure about waiting to land on him to attack, but it's a relatively easy attack to pull off if you have far enough to fall and good timing. I think it comes down to making sure that your feet are not still "touching" ground and then hitting the R1 attack only in mid-air. The only problems I ever had with the attack were due to me trying it off of ledges that were too low or simply mis-timing my button presses. But once you get the hang of it, it's fairly easy. You can actually roll or leap off a ledge or platform and extend the range of the attack to get enemies you might not be able to just drop on.

I think the failings in the game you are pointing out aren't failings in the game, as much as your own mistakes.

I was NEVER told about that skull lantern, those spells, or about that maggot hat (the spells and hat I never heard of until you said it right now), all the game does is hint that something can help you out without telling you what it is or where you can get it. When I got frustrated enough with it I looked it up online, found the enemy that drops the skull lantern (those bearded guys I think, it's been a while since I played, all I remember is they carried the lanterns) and tried to farm for it, giving up after several hours. That is not good design.

Again the game tells you how to do the plunge attack wrong, and only gives you one chance to do it in the tutorial, the only reason I found you have to wait till you land is because I accidentally messed up on my second character, waiting too long (or so I thought), landing on his face, and then taking off half his health. That is not good design.

Warachia:
I was NEVER told about that skull lantern, those spells, or about that maggot hat (the spells and hat I never heard of until you said it right now), all the game does is hint that something can help you out without telling you what it is or where you can get it. When I got frustrated enough with it I looked it up online, found the enemy that drops the skull lantern (those bearded guys I think, it's been a while since I played, all I remember is they carried the lanterns) and tried to farm for it, giving up after several hours. That is not good design.

Again the game tells you how to do the plunge attack wrong, and only gives you one chance to do it in the tutorial, the only reason I found you have to wait till you land is because I accidentally messed up on my second character, waiting too long (or so I thought), landing on his face, and then taking off half his health. That is not good design.

Well, I think I was mistaken in that the game tells you that you need something, but it definitely hints at it. There is however the flavour text for the Skull Lantern:

"Skull Lantern of the Catacombs necromancer.
Droops from his long beard locks.

This lantern alights the Tomb of the Giants,
Nito's light-devouring domain of death.
Also serves as a fire damage strike weapon."

I ended up with two Skull Lanterns myself, one taken from one of the first necromancers I killed in the catacombs. As for the Sunlight Maggot hat, you can get that by killing the reddish insect like things that hop around in the passage way between Lost Izalith and the Demon Ruin. It also has informative flavour text:

"A loathsome parasite that inhabits Lost Izalith. It is completely immobile, yet still lives.
When worn on the head, it emanates blinding light, which is why its know as a Sunlight Maggot."

It's a bummer you didn't find those things, but they are out there. Also, I can understand that if you didn't play a sorcerer you wouldn't necessarily know about the light spell but I got it myself not being one. You get it from Dusk of Oocile after killing the Kraken, if you find her.

So, while I'll grant you that none of these things are especially easy to get, chances are that you should have found at least one of them if you did things in the "right order". Sure, you can get into the Tomb of Giants fairly early on, but then, obviously, you might not have something to make light for you. That's the game's way of telling you to go back and get stronger before going this way. If you didn't take the hint, you can't very well blame the game.

As for the plunge attack... again, you get one brief tutorial, but you can attempt the move anywhere you can drop on an enemy. If you're crafty, you'll use it whenever possible because on a majority of enemies it's a one hit kill. All that practice on the little guys should make it that much easier to use on the big guys. And once again, your failure to efficiently or skillfully use the attack, which I've never seen any other complaints about, isn't due to bad game design. I think you just need more practice. It's a tough game for most. It's easy for some, harder for others. It took me about 60 hours to finish one play through with a character that was SL 93 at the end. Other players have done it in a matter of a few hours with a character far lower level. Some people will never finish it.

Those people that fail to finish it aren't the victims of bad design. They are either not skilled enough or they are not playing "correctly". Dark Souls rewards a certain play style: slow, methodical and careful, with attention to detail. You have to craft a good build, matching weapons to stats and choosing the right armour, rings and weapons for different encounters. If you can't do those things, you'll probably have a tough time.

Sylveria:

Zachary Amaranth:

cricket chirps:
I started running into that mind breaking problem there at the end in some multiplayer games i play. It made me realise "Yahtzee is right," and so i've converted to Croshaw-ism and began shunning every multiplayer aspect in a game. Then guess what happened? I ACTUALLY enjoyed playing games more :D who would have thought?

-In seriosness games are meant to be enjoyed and any game that even allows for a moment that would make you angry at it or others is not enjoyable. It's not fun to be mad, and a game that is not fun is not worth playing :) clarity is nice.

It always amazes me, because all my friends get horribly pissed off playing MW3 or (multiplayer shooter here, I'm not just picking on COD). They scream profanities, call bull, and by and large seem to utterly hate the experience. But they buy every new shooter and spend months fixed on each.

And I really don't get why they punish themselves so much.

It's called Gamer Masochism. It's a psychological remnant from when you were a child and your video game library was small and generally consisted of awful or horribly difficult games. You had so few games, you had to beat them. You had nothing better to do like go outside or learn a language or faggy shit like that, no, you had to beat Battletoads, or Ninja Gaiden, or Blinx the Timecat, or whatever horrible game your misinformed parents got from a bin and gave you for Christmas.

It's the same reason that people play stuff like Dark Souls, Super Meatboy or IWBTG now when they're old enough to know better; there's that damaged part of their psyche that gets some level of satisfaction from their own self imposed suffering and humiliation. Scariest part? It's getting worse and it's the reason stuff like CoD and MW are doing so well; these young men (generally) like inflict pain and misery upon themselves and others which does not bode well for the poor women who view them affectionately.

I've got to dissagree with your assertion that people like games like these because of a damaged psyche. I play Dark Souls because it presents a challenge, in that I can't just throw my character at the game until I get lucky enough to progress to the next level. When I fail, I have to think, why? What did I do wrong here? How can I fix this? It requires you to constantly judge your strategy and consider your options, making for a more mentally stimulating experience. While the game could be just as challenging with less punishment for failure, ala the consequences of death, that creates a feeling of tension, which in turn helps supply the atmosphere of the game, and makes you value the souls and humanity which you have acquired. It makes you strategize as to how to spend your humanity and souls, rather than having them be increasingly meaningless numbers that rise as you kill enemies (looking at you, Elder Scrolls economic system). In addition, when an item is (almost) required to progress, you can generally find one by exploring the area, it isn't some scavenger hunt where you need to find a shield in the beginning of the game to get past the third boss. For example, I noticed someone mention that they had no idea about the helpfulness of a Skull Lantern in the Tomb of Giants, but I remember that a lootable corpse near the start of the area has one on it, and I remember that the item description and the loading screens hinted that it could be used as a light source. I know that alot of gamers play games exclusively to relax, and I value that too sometimes, but when I want a stimulating challenge, I opt for a game like Dark Souls.

Zom-B:

Warachia:
I was NEVER told about that skull lantern, those spells, or about that maggot hat (the spells and hat I never heard of until you said it right now), all the game does is hint that something can help you out without telling you what it is or where you can get it. When I got frustrated enough with it I looked it up online, found the enemy that drops the skull lantern (those bearded guys I think, it's been a while since I played, all I remember is they carried the lanterns) and tried to farm for it, giving up after several hours. That is not good design.

Again the game tells you how to do the plunge attack wrong, and only gives you one chance to do it in the tutorial, the only reason I found you have to wait till you land is because I accidentally messed up on my second character, waiting too long (or so I thought), landing on his face, and then taking off half his health. That is not good design.

Well, I think I was mistaken in that the game tells you that you need something, but it definitely hints at it. There is however the flavour text for the Skull Lantern:

"Skull Lantern of the Catacombs necromancer.
Droops from his long beard locks.

This lantern alights the Tomb of the Giants,
Nito's light-devouring domain of death.
Also serves as a fire damage strike weapon."

I ended up with two Skull Lanterns myself, one taken from one of the first necromancers I killed in the catacombs. As for the Sunlight Maggot hat, you can get that by killing the reddish insect like things that hop around in the passage way between Lost Izalith and the Demon Ruin. It also has informative flavour text:

"A loathsome parasite that inhabits Lost Izalith. It is completely immobile, yet still lives.
When worn on the head, it emanates blinding light, which is why its know as a Sunlight Maggot."

It's a bummer you didn't find those things, but they are out there. Also, I can understand that if you didn't play a sorcerer you wouldn't necessarily know about the light spell but I got it myself not being one. You get it from Dusk of Oocile after killing the Kraken, if you find her.

So, while I'll grant you that none of these things are especially easy to get, chances are that you should have found at least one of them if you did things in the "right order". Sure, you can get into the Tomb of Giants fairly early on, but then, obviously, you might not have something to make light for you. That's the game's way of telling you to go back and get stronger before going this way. If you didn't take the hint, you can't very well blame the game.

Yes, you get those descriptions when you get the item, but I never got the items even when I farmed for the lanterns, I also had no idea the game needed to be done in an order, I was a melee only character for most of the game, and so yes, I never knew about the spell, I did manage to kill Nito though, thankfully you don't have the darkness problem when fighting him.

Incidentally, when I went in there, I didn't find the larger giant's a problem at all (they took 3-4 hits to kill) so I had no problems until I ran into those dog creatures later on. Not to mention, the game has those light stones that at first are a little breadcrumb trail for you to follow, that's not telling me to stay away, that's saying for me to come in, there will be a semblance of a path to follow (which there was, until halfway through). If they had an NPC hint at what item you needed or a character that told you that you should get X before going to place Y or maybe hint at what place you can find X then I'd forgive the game for it.

For the most part though, I had no idea what to do in that area other than push forward, it wasn't until those dogs pushed me off ledges for the millionth time that I looked up what could help me online, and then I couldn't get them to drop it. While I can't blame the game for not helping you out enough I'd only say that's half my fault at most.

One thing I absolutely hated was I was able to look at the special addition mini guide, which doesn't help at all since it only has the very early part of the game in it.

As for the plunge attack... again, you get one brief tutorial, but you can attempt the move anywhere you can drop on an enemy. If you're crafty, you'll use it whenever possible because on a majority of enemies it's a one hit kill. All that practice on the little guys should make it that much easier to use on the big guys. And once again, your failure to efficiently or skillfully use the attack, which I've never seen any other complaints about, isn't due to bad game design. I think you just need more practice. It's a tough game for most. It's easy for some, harder for others. It took me about 60 hours to finish one play through with a character that was SL 93 at the end. Other players have done it in a matter of a few hours with a character far lower level. Some people will never finish it.

The plunge attack works differently on smaller enemies than it does on bosses (again you have to land on them, whereas small enemies just need to be hit) while it's pretty easy to learn (like I said I figured it out on my second character) you never have the opportunity to find it's a special attack if you do it like the game tells you to, I thought for a while it was only a stronger melee move, and thus wasn't worth it as I got hit when I tried to climb the ladder on the minotaur boss (of course I learned how good it was later).

Incidentally, the part where I quit was where the game forced me to die and lose the 40,000+ souls I had, I was in the old city, in a tower that kept going downward, when I finally reached the bottom of the stairs I saw a giant black hole below me, I had no idea what to do, so I ran back up the stairs, only to find I couldn't leave the tower because fog was in the way and my character wouldn't walk through it, I didn't want to lose those souls, so I ran up and down the stairs several times, before hopping into the blackness at the bottom, and dying instantly. When it came to that point I said FUCK THIS, and left.

The worst part about this is on my first character, the plunge attack didn't miss the first boss, it hit him, and did slightly higher melee damage which is why I thought it was nothing special.

Those people that fail to finish it aren't the victims of bad design. They are either not skilled enough or they are not playing "correctly". Dark Souls rewards a certain play style: slow, methodical and careful, with attention to detail. You have to craft a good build, matching weapons to stats and choosing the right armour, rings and weapons for different encounters. If you can't do those things, you'll probably have a tough time.

I actually agree here, you do need this playing style, which is why I disagree with some of the levels like tomb of the giants where if you don't get items the game never tells you about you CAN'T be slow and methodical, same with the knights.

Nito was a pretty good boss though, and for another good boss, I can look at demons souls, as the false king boss was awesome. He was pattern based, but you needed to have good timing you needed to watch and see what moves he was going to do, when he did his big blast attack, you needed to decide if it was close enough to charge and knock him out of it before he could do it, or if you should just run, and because of all of these you had a big feeling of accomplishment when you finally beat him.

Warachia:
Incidentally, the part where I quit was where the game forced me to die and lose the 40,000+ souls I had, I was in the old city, in a tower that kept going downward, when I finally reached the bottom of the stairs I saw a giant black hole below me, I had no idea what to do, so I ran back up the stairs, only to find I couldn't leave the tower because fog was in the way and my character wouldn't walk through it, I didn't want to lose those souls, so I ran up and down the stairs several times, before hopping into the blackness at the bottom, and dying instantly. When it came to that point I said FUCK THIS, and left.

At the risk of further pissing you off, please tell me you didn't have a Homeward Bone in your inventory? Those things are invaluable. I actually got my character stuck in the landscape at one point and couldn't get out. No amount of rolling, jumping, loading or anything would get me unstuck. I was actually thinking I would literally have to start the game over because of it. Then I remembered the Homeward Bones and simply teleported back to the Bonfire.

Zom-B:

Warachia:
Incidentally, the part where I quit was where the game forced me to die and lose the 40,000+ souls I had, I was in the old city, in a tower that kept going downward, when I finally reached the bottom of the stairs I saw a giant black hole below me, I had no idea what to do, so I ran back up the stairs, only to find I couldn't leave the tower because fog was in the way and my character wouldn't walk through it, I didn't want to lose those souls, so I ran up and down the stairs several times, before hopping into the blackness at the bottom, and dying instantly. When it came to that point I said FUCK THIS, and left.

At the risk of further pissing you off, please tell me you didn't have a Homeward Bone in your inventory? Those things are invaluable. I actually got my character stuck in the landscape at one point and couldn't get out. No amount of rolling, jumping, loading or anything would get me unstuck. I was actually thinking I would literally have to start the game over because of it. Then I remembered the Homeward Bones and simply teleported back to the Bonfire.

No I didn't have any more on me, they had been used previously when I was trying to get through the tomb of giants.

Warachia:

Zom-B:

Warachia:
Incidentally, the part where I quit was where the game forced me to die and lose the 40,000+ souls I had, I was in the old city, in a tower that kept going downward, when I finally reached the bottom of the stairs I saw a giant black hole below me, I had no idea what to do, so I ran back up the stairs, only to find I couldn't leave the tower because fog was in the way and my character wouldn't walk through it, I didn't want to lose those souls, so I ran up and down the stairs several times, before hopping into the blackness at the bottom, and dying instantly. When it came to that point I said FUCK THIS, and left.

At the risk of further pissing you off, please tell me you didn't have a Homeward Bone in your inventory? Those things are invaluable. I actually got my character stuck in the landscape at one point and couldn't get out. No amount of rolling, jumping, loading or anything would get me unstuck. I was actually thinking I would literally have to start the game over because of it. Then I remembered the Homeward Bones and simply teleported back to the Bonfire.

No I didn't have any more on me, they had been used previously when I was trying to get through the tomb of giants.

For the record, I also died falling down there, despite having the Ring of Artorias in my inventory. I did not know that was the entrance to the Abyss until after I had died.

It's a sunova bitch game, isn't it? But it's also awesome and I was really happy that I finished it.

Zom-B:

Warachia:

Zom-B:

At the risk of further pissing you off, please tell me you didn't have a Homeward Bone in your inventory? Those things are invaluable. I actually got my character stuck in the landscape at one point and couldn't get out. No amount of rolling, jumping, loading or anything would get me unstuck. I was actually thinking I would literally have to start the game over because of it. Then I remembered the Homeward Bones and simply teleported back to the Bonfire.

No I didn't have any more on me, they had been used previously when I was trying to get through the tomb of giants.

For the record, I also died falling down there, despite having the Ring of Artorias in my inventory. I did not know that was the entrance to the Abyss until after I had died.

It's a sunova bitch game, isn't it? But it's also awesome and I was really happy that I finished it.

what I find sad is all of the problems I bring up have very easy fixes, like letting you out of the entrance to the abyss, telling you only holy weapons can kill some skeletons, or telling you about the skull lantern, it's not like I'm asking for much, but a bunch of small things add up to big problems.

Warachia:
what I find sad is all of the problems I bring up have very easy fixes, like letting you out of the entrance to the abyss, telling you only holy weapons can kill some skeletons, or telling you about the skull lantern, it's not like I'm asking for much, but a bunch of small things add up to big problems.

I think the things that you see as problems, like the lack of information on where/how/what you're supposed to do, is a big draw for a lot of players. The game throws you into a game world and says "survive or die". Many of us only have patience for a certain amount of trial and error. Myself, I'll usually give a boss, a section, certain area or problem a good 8 or 10 tries on my own and if by the last time I don't feel I'm any closer to a solution or overcoming the enemy, then I'll refer to the wiki. I'm willing to give it a good go, but I'm also not willing to spend hours and hours repeating the same thing over and over.

Sometimes my problem has been lack of knowledge, sometimes just employing the wrong tactics, but rarely did I feel like the game really needed more in game information. I liked the fact that at the start, and even throughout much of the game, we all felt somewhat lost or baffled. I don't want to say it's like real life, but in some ways it is. There's no manual for real life. You don't always have someone telling you exactly what needs to be doen. Sometimes you just have to muddle through as best you can. And Dark Souls, just like life, can be frustrating, baffling, annoying.

Personally, the things you dislike about the game, I see as strengths. A return to gaming as a brain exercise, not a fast twitch experience. Not that fast twitch gaming is bad, it's just different and it's nice to have variety. I have my own preferences for gaming and I'm not a huge fan of FPSes, for example. I'm not great at the modern shooters and if I play on line, I regularly get my ass handed to me because I don't put in the time to get all the nuance down. Dark Souls is the same way. If you're not willing to sit there and endure some frustration and confusion while you figure out how the game works, you won't be satisfied. Heck, with both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls I had to start a second or third character before I figured the game out. My initial characters always seemed to run into a wall because I didn't allocate my Souls in the best way. A second start usually helped me correct those problems.

What can I say? I love the game. I think it's as good as anything out there, hands down. It doesn't work for you? Bummer, I guess. I won't lose any sleep over it, but it's too bad that you can't appreciate it in the same way I and others do.

If you keep plugging away, good luck and don't hesitate to consult the wikis out there. They can mean the difference between rage quits and a fun play through.

Zom-B:

Warachia:
what I find sad is all of the problems I bring up have very easy fixes, like letting you out of the entrance to the abyss, telling you only holy weapons can kill some skeletons, or telling you about the skull lantern, it's not like I'm asking for much, but a bunch of small things add up to big problems.

I think the things that you see as problems, like the lack of information on where/how/what you're supposed to do, is a big draw for a lot of players. The game throws you into a game world and says "survive or die". Many of us only have patience for a certain amount of trial and error. Myself, I'll usually give a boss, a section, certain area or problem a good 8 or 10 tries on my own and if by the last time I don't feel I'm any closer to a solution or overcoming the enemy, then I'll refer to the wiki. I'm willing to give it a good go, but I'm also not willing to spend hours and hours repeating the same thing over and over.

Sometimes my problem has been lack of knowledge, sometimes just employing the wrong tactics, but rarely did I feel like the game really needed more in game information. I liked the fact that at the start, and even throughout much of the game, we all felt somewhat lost or baffled. I don't want to say it's like real life, but in some ways it is. There's no manual for real life. You don't always have someone telling you exactly what needs to be doen. Sometimes you just have to muddle through as best you can. And Dark Souls, just like life, can be frustrating, baffling, annoying.

Personally, the things you dislike about the game, I see as strengths. A return to gaming as a brain exercise, not a fast twitch experience. Not that fast twitch gaming is bad, it's just different and it's nice to have variety. I have my own preferences for gaming and I'm not a huge fan of FPSes, for example. I'm not great at the modern shooters and if I play on line, I regularly get my ass handed to me because I don't put in the time to get all the nuance down. Dark Souls is the same way. If you're not willing to sit there and endure some frustration and confusion while you figure out how the game works, you won't be satisfied. Heck, with both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls I had to start a second or third character before I figured the game out. My initial characters always seemed to run into a wall because I didn't allocate my Souls in the best way. A second start usually helped me correct those problems.

What can I say? I love the game. I think it's as good as anything out there, hands down. It doesn't work for you? Bummer, I guess. I won't lose any sleep over it, but it's too bad that you can't appreciate it in the same way I and others do.

If you keep plugging away, good luck and don't hesitate to consult the wikis out there. They can mean the difference between rage quits and a fun play through.

Ok, I can see why people like the idea of being thrown in a place with next to no information, but even if life you can ask people for advice, something you can't do in dark souls, the problem for me is the same problem I had when playing nethack, I feel like I'm missing out on a massive portion of the game, and after I started checking the wiki (which happened somewhere around 20+ failed attempts on the giant's tomb) I found out that indeed I had missed a massive part of the game. Maybe if the game was more sandboxy with more emphasis on exploration, and seeing the new world they'd created I'd be able to get into the feel of it more (but then it would be an entirely different game which I realize would ruin the point), as it feels now, it gives more of a feeling I get when I miss a collectable, that I missed it and don't care any more about the stuff I missed. This just dulled the entire experience for me, tainting even the really fun parts.

Another problem is that a lot of the game is more obtuse than anything, and this can lead to a situation where my character is built in a way that makes taking on the next section a lot more frustrating than it should be, because I built a character in a way that went well with the current level and for how I liked to play, and the game was really fun in those parts, but then you run into, for example, Ornstien and Smough, and they seemed to have only one solution which is a form of ranged attacks as I could not physically run fast enough to escape the attacks of the guy I was going to kill second after I killed the first one. So I had to grind (never a good thing) to get my dexterity up, grind to buy arrows, then grind every time to buy more arrows after they killed me. When I finally did kill them it took 200+ regular arrows, and that's only one fight against the second form, not the times I died as well, I was stuck on them for far longer than the tomb of the giants. A funny thing though is they'd be okay bosses, if you could fight them one at a time, maybe fight the spear one will the fat one rarely supports by throwing stuff and mostly watches, or fight the fat one and the spear one occasionally shoots a lightning bolt at you, then when you kill one, you switch over to the other. Or better yet, have it so the survivor doesn't gain all of his HP back after you kill one of them, then you could use some tact wand whittle them both down.

Another thing I'd like is if the game stuck to it's own rules, there are skeletons outside the skeleton dungeon, but these can be killed without any holy weapon, so not knowing about holy weapons at the time, I explored it a bit, got almost to the first checkpoint (I just kicked the skeletons on the pathway down that pit) where I suddenly realized that the ones I couldn't kick down a pit weren't staying dead like the outside ones. So what did I miss to avoid dying there?

Also, I did manage to beat demons souls, and I don't hate dark souls, I just feel that, like demons souls, there were several things they could have done that would immensely improve it. Incidentally, I did mention that I tried different characters, and I got far enough to kill Nito before I called it quits.

Warachia:
Ok, I can see why people like the idea of being thrown in a place with next to no information, but even if life you can ask people for advice, something you can't do in dark souls, the problem for me is the same problem I had when playing nethack, I feel like I'm missing out on a massive portion of the game, and after I started checking the wiki (which happened somewhere around 20+ failed attempts on the giant's tomb) I found out that indeed I had missed a massive part of the game. Maybe if the game was more sandboxy with more emphasis on exploration, and seeing the new world they'd created I'd be able to get into the feel of it more (but then it would be an entirely different game which I realize would ruin the point), as it feels now, it gives more of a feeling I get when I miss a collectable, that I missed it and don't care any more about the stuff I missed. This just dulled the entire experience for me, tainting even the really fun parts.

Another problem is that a lot of the game is more obtuse than anything, and this can lead to a situation where my character is built in a way that makes taking on the next section a lot more frustrating than it should be, because I built a character in a way that went well with the current level and for how I liked to play, and the game was really fun in those parts, but then you run into, for example, Ornstien and Smough, and they seemed to have only one solution which is a form of ranged attacks as I could not physically run fast enough to escape the attacks of the guy I was going to kill second after I killed the first one. So I had to grind (never a good thing) to get my dexterity up, grind to buy arrows, then grind every time to buy more arrows after they killed me. When I finally did kill them it took 200+ regular arrows, and that's only one fight against the second form, not the times I died as well, I was stuck on them for far longer than the tomb of the giants. A funny thing though is they'd be okay bosses, if you could fight them one at a time, maybe fight the spear one will the fat one rarely supports by throwing stuff and mostly watches, or fight the fat one and the spear one occasionally shoots a lightning bolt at you, then when you kill one, you switch over to the other. Or better yet, have it so the survivor doesn't gain all of his HP back after you kill one of them, then you could use some tact wand whittle them both down.

Another thing I'd like is if the game stuck to it's own rules, there are skeletons outside the skeleton dungeon, but these can be killed without any holy weapon, so not knowing about holy weapons at the time, I explored it a bit, got almost to the first checkpoint (I just kicked the skeletons on the pathway down that pit) where I suddenly realized that the ones I couldn't kick down a pit weren't staying dead like the outside ones. So what did I miss to avoid dying there?

Also, I did manage to beat demons souls, and I don't hate dark souls, I just feel that, like demons souls, there were several things they could have done that would immensely improve it. Incidentally, I did mention that I tried different characters, and I got far enough to kill Nito before I called it quits.

Well, without getting to long-winded...

- Difference of opinion. Again, I felt the opposite as you. I thought the exploration was quite sufficient, even if it was limited by a landscape that was impassable in many areas. That was the idea. If anyone went in expecting a Skyrim type exploration game, then yeah, they'd be disppointed.

- Yup, I agree here, somewhat. The game will punish you for a build that isn't well rounded or highly focussed and specialized in some devastating way. Many problems can be alleviated by equipment though. I used Havel's armour to defeat Ornstein and Smough, when usually I wore a lighter kit for speed. It took me a few tries, but with the right combination of equipment, a little luck, a little strategy and a little skill, I beat those fuckers. But I too had to spend some time getting stronger after I first met them before I could beat them. It's the nature of the game.

- The skeletons in the catacombs are resurrected by the necromancers. Once you kill the necros, they stay dead even after you die, so the skeletons they were linked to no longer resurrect. There were no necromancers in the Tomb of Giants, so I suppose that's why the ones in there didn't resurrect. Same for the skeletons in the cemetery outside Firelink Shrine. No necro there either, so they stay dead when you kill 'em.

- I never did finish Demon's Souls, but it was only partly because I got stuck. I was having a hell of a time with Shrine of Storms and had decided to put the game away for a week or two. Then my PS3 died. I'm starting over now, right from the start and hopefully I'll be able to apply everything from my last game, plus beating Dark Souls, and finish the damn thing this time.

Cheers

Zom-B:

Well, without getting to long-winded...

- Difference of opinion. Again, I felt the opposite as you. I thought the exploration was quite sufficient, even if it was limited by a landscape that was impassable in many areas. That was the idea. If anyone went in expecting a Skyrim type exploration game, then yeah, they'd be disppointed.

- Yup, I agree here, somewhat. The game will punish you for a build that isn't well rounded or highly focussed and specialized in some devastating way. Many problems can be alleviated by equipment though. I used Havel's armour to defeat Ornstein and Smough, when usually I wore a lighter kit for speed. It took me a few tries, but with the right combination of equipment, a little luck, a little strategy and a little skill, I beat those fuckers. But I too had to spend some time getting stronger after I first met them before I could beat them. It's the nature of the game.

- The skeletons in the catacombs are resurrected by the necromancers. Once you kill the necros, they stay dead even after you die, so the skeletons they were linked to no longer resurrect. There were no necromancers in the Tomb of Giants, so I suppose that's why the ones in there didn't resurrect. Same for the skeletons in the cemetery outside Firelink Shrine. No necro there either, so they stay dead when you kill 'em.

- I never did finish Demon's Souls, but it was only partly because I got stuck. I was having a hell of a time with Shrine of Storms and had decided to put the game away for a week or two. Then my PS3 died. I'm starting over now, right from the start and hopefully I'll be able to apply everything from my last game, plus beating Dark Souls, and finish the damn thing this time.

Cheers

Fair enough then, guess we'll just agree to disagree, like I said I realized a skyrim like game would ruin the feel, and for the most part dark souls exceeded my expectations of what it would be, except for the latter problems. You can tell we play the games different though as I found the shrine of storms the easiest of all of them.

Incidentally, I must have a bugged copy then, because on one of the runs through when I didn't have a holy weapon, I killed some necromancers, and the skeletons still didn't die. Oh well.

The whole Dark Souls is so hard ranting totally confuses me. It's hard? Since when, it's a good bit easier then recent ball busters like Binding of Isaac. And it shys in comparison to some of the horrendous offerings of old like Ikaruga, or Jak and Daxter 2(so hard so fucking hard). And if we jump back to the early 90s and late 80s the average game would make dark souls look like a walk in the park. Go boot up an old Gold Box AD$D game and tell me how many battles it took until you died, some of them are essentially impossible with out an imported party from previous games.

Are gamers just soft around the edges, are jokishly easy games like Portal 2, Bastion, and Skyrim really the bar of challenge nowadays? I hear people tell me about struggling in Skyrim and it baffles my mind, the game has a quick save button, no game with a quick save button is hard, no matter how you slice it. Except Half-life 1 on Hard mode...

And Yahtzee, who is a critic with a wide audience can't take it? Like couldn't even beat the Taurus Demon take it? I would except critics who play games for a living and make purchasing recommendations to be some of the most decorated gamers... guess not.

On the Taurus Demon. If you read the notes they will tell you to climb the tower and kill the archers before fighting the demon. and if you remember back to the asylum demon, fall attacking is a good trick as well, and that gold pine resin in the chest just outside his lair might be useful, you never know.

(Note: If you fail to go up into the Burg at the beginning of the game try to brave the tomb of the giants or New Londo at soul level 1, then you yes they game would be hard, very hard, but, I assume the path of least resistance will eventually show up. Especially since both those paths can lead to dead ends).

You know what is worse than seeing a "you died screen" and then a option to lower the difficulty? Dying to a timed puzzle that not only has infinite foes, but instant death traps if you fail the puzzle. I'm looking at you, god of war (one & two). No, lowering the difficulty will not help when an one hit KO spiked ceiling falls on me. Otherwise normal isn't too difficult. Just a couple trys here and there, and you will be set.

I was really looking forward to seeing what Yahtzee's reaction to Dark Souls would be. It improved upon almost everything that was in Demon's Souls, and seemed to me to be a bit easier. Blocking seemed to be improved, in fact, and even a Hollow Soldier's Shield and a little endurance made even Smough and Orenstein laughable. Dying to the first boss more than a handful of times? I'm not sure how it's possible, and then I realized there is a recurring comment in every argument about Dark Soul's "fake" difficulty. People complain about the hoards of mobs that weaken you between the bonfires and the bosses. You should not be taking damage. There are several ranged weapons, shields that block 100% physical damage, and a roll with invulnerable frames. These tools are available before the first boss fight. People who do not use these tools are playing a completely different game from the people who enjoy Dark Souls for its "difficulty," and don't realize it. If anyone wants evidence, there are plenty of people's playthroughs on youtube, and observing clips from several different players will show that skill can make this game heaven or hell. I am certainly sympathetic to those who did not wear the "Covenant of Artorias" at the right time, did not know about the first fight with Seath or the path to fight him again, or did not have any idea how to get the Peculiar Doll, and I feel that those are very legitimate complaints. Unfortunately some players don't make it that far, and I am disappointed that there were no comments about this game after the first real boss.

I never really read these extra punctuations and I'm going back to read them but it also baffles me that people find dark souls hard. It is hard in the beginning but its an unusual game. It has hints which tell you what to do and where to go.

Theres an npc that tells you where to go, if you talk to him. If you don't thats a different story. He gets replaced by a giant worm and goes mad shortly after but the worm then tells you what to do.

Taurus demon, probably hard if you can't read the hints. But he's a joke for the most part.

I had a divine crossbow and went in with a divine sword into the catacombs wasn't hard at all to clear though the mess of mobs there. Skeletons just drop dead with a divine weapon and necros can easily be taken out at range with a ranged weapon. Making your life easier.

Tomb of giants is tricky but if you don't run and walk slowly with a shield out you'll make it far and safe enough into it to get the skull latern drop. I was a sorcerer on my first playthrough though so I had the light spell which made the entire place a joke. The enemies have a severely reduced aggro range and you can easily skip and ignore a majority of them. You shouldn't be in there before sen's fortress anyways and sen's fortress gives you a ring that silences your footsteps which makes the task of avoiding them all the more easier.

Shield + Spear and your pretty much on easy mode. One thing with this game is that stats however nice are not really what make the game easier its your gear. If you fail to keep your gear up then the game will become significantly harder. An unmodified longsword does a joke for damage, but upgraded down any path and it suddenly becomes a monster of a weapon.

These things are somewhat lost on a lot of people, though for some unknown reason.

WWmelb:
I loved the shit out of demon's souls and dark souls and became hopelessly addicted to both for a period of time. It's the masochist in me.. and the need to feel loved...

This game hates me so much.. i just want it to care... why won't it hug me? Why won't it say it even likes me? if i keep playing with it maybe it will learn to tollerate me!!!

LMAO

But yes. It's rubbing your face in it after you die that generally does get annoying and even infuriating. Though i managed to accept it with these 2 games.

Solaire will give you a hug :)

Whoops, I'm a year late on the discussion, but I like to add my 2 cents anyway. Only now did I play Rayman Origins, so I can finally relate to what Yahtzee writes. Or can I?

Whatever Yathzee's problem is with Dark Souls, that's my problem with Rayman Origins. I'm sure he didn't play it the way I did. I managed to finish 90% of the game with 100% collectables received before I realized I was just wasting my time with a game I wasn't enjoying. And why was I not enjoying it? Because this game tells me it's too hard for me, which I find pretty damn annoying. Beating the levels is easy, no sweat, I beat most levels in one attempt, some take a few, but it's easy, no problem. I beat Super Meat Boy, so it's easy to call this a casual platformer.

What is wrong with Rayman is when you try to get 100% collectables. The levels' aren't too balanced in collecting all 350 points. In some you finish with 400 where you clearly forgot some things; in other times I barely not make it to 350 while I thought I found every secret. At this point you become a bit greedy with your hearts (because picking up a new heart represents points). Sometimes I make a tiny mistake, and lose the heart. This is fine, I just jump in a pit and try it again. Or I miss hitting a bubble; same story. This is where the frustration comes. The game tells me every 10(?) deaths that the level is too hard for me and that I should probably try something else. Well, in some parts it is a challenge to collect all points between two checkpoints; (to find out later you could have done it without those specific points) and I die repeatedly. On purpose mind you, because I want another change to collect all the points.

I instantly quit playing when that menu popped up and I accidentally agreed and was thrown out of the level. All my hard work for nothing!

Rayman is fun to play through, but a huge pain in the *ss when attempted to collect 100%.

--
About Dark Souls, I don't see how this is ever frustrating to people. Same for Demon's Souls. It's unforgiving but never really unfair. It's rare that you die from something that was not your fault. The mechanics are so super smooth and perfect that you can always blame yourself from dying.

Hard games can frustrate me, especially when I feel they are unfair. I would beat them and then find out I didn't really enjoy it. Dark Souls is the big exception. I am not irritated in the slightest when I die. That's why I love it so much. I'm eager to get past a difficult part and it's satisfying when I do. The more you die, the more satisfying getting past. I guess if you die tenfold it could get annoying; but I suppose you just suck as a gamer if you die that often.

I really hope Croshaw ends up reviewing Dark Souls 2, if only so he can understand the nature of it's appeal, which is the same as problem gambling. Each failure teases the ego, which causes the player to become more and more convinced that triumph and grand achievement is just within his grasp.

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