Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Dark Souls - Playstation 3
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on June 20, 2012
Months ago, the boyfriend called from Gamestop while returning a couple of Silent Hill games we foolishly bought one weekend. "Google games & tell me the first one that comes up that looks good."

For the next few weeks I sat beside him & watched in awe as he struggled to get through the Asylum Demon (the very first boss, maybe 10 minutes into the game). As time went by the two of us had our weekends consumed, him playing & me watching. I eventually started sitting with my laptop constantly on & at the ready in case he needed help finding items or wanted recommended strategies from the multitude of Wiki material available online. I remember at one point I actually started telling him he was doing things wrong, criticizing his play! Me who had never even played the game. I would tell friends about it with great enthusiasm, encouraging them to play too. These conversations grew awkward though, simply due to the fact that I had nothing to back it up. I had still yet to play..

I became so intruiged that I finally decided to give it a shot. Though I was sure I would fail, as games that required manual sight control (ie; Skyrim) historically have defeated me almost instantaneously. I struggled & got insanely frustrated trying to wildly maneuver around both joysticks just so that I could see where in god's name I was going, let alone try to fight something, hah! My journey ended shortly after it began in the Undead Asylum. I owned up my initial defeat to a combination of my struggles with the controls, my complete lack of practice, & not knowing when some scary monster might come around a corner & attack me! My level 2 Pyromancer forever sits at that bonfire.

A while later I got a bit angry with myself for quitting so quickly & mustered up the courage to try again. This game was just too cool to give up before I had even gotten to the first boss fight. I spent hours & hours in the Asylum just running around killing Floppys, (or Hollows, as they're referred to) but I prefer Floppys. I finally realized by accident how to LOCK ON to an enemy! Oh my god! I can actually fight now! Aghh I'm so awesome! Oh god the boss. And I'm dead. Omg plunging attack AGGHH!! And I'm dead again. Ok I'll stop.

Now.

After creating many new characters from scratch I think I've finally settled on one I can be happy with. The directions that you can take your character are endless & require careful planning & strategy early on, otherwise you, like me, may end up having to start over with a new one in order to get on the right track. Visually this game is stunning. It is so captivating & you allow it to draw you in without question. Dying becomes a bit less heart-breaking every time, & the run back to regain what was lost can vary between a slow strategic trek, to an all-out crazy, flailing sprint! This game will get your heart pumping. It will keep you up at night, which is why, fellow students, I recommend purchasing it over the summer. It will make you mad, FURIOUS at times! Furious enough to wake the neighbors. But when you FINALLY defeat that especially difficult boss, or that particularly annoying invader, with your very last shard of humanity, with only a fraction of your health left, I guarantee it will bring you to your feet for an immediate fist pumping victory dance Tiger Woods style.

Sorry for the somewhat disjointed review. There's just too much to explain in order to create an adequete non-bias review of this product in its entirety, so I tried to create one that depicted the way the game made me feel when I play. Hopefully you feel the same way. It's definitely a ride worth taking! :)

To those considering this game, I would give it 100 stars if I could. Expect a challenge, & buy it. If a noob like myself was able to get the hang of it, anyone can.

Praise the Sun!
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Well, these are exaggerations on both counts but... you get the idea.

I do not consider myself a hard core gamer but there were a few grand games that I played hard and long on the PS3: Oblivion, Fallout, Grand Turismo, Demon's Souls. Of these, Demon's Souls was the only Platinum I've ever earned and it clocks at over 500 hours of pure fear, strong anxiety and intense frustration punctuated by brief moments of pride and joy brought by the hard earned sweet victories.

I started talking about Demon's Souls because to us, PS3 gamers, Dark Souls is NOT the first coming of unspeakable terror onto our consoles. Dark Souls is the SECOND coming. And what a visitation this promises to be :)

Okay, here it is, after the first few hours. I am going to post updates (not spoilers) as I progress through the game.

THE COMMONS

Deomon's Souls has many, never-seen-before, amazing innovations. We hoped and we expected to see most of them again on 'chapter two' and Dark Souls does not disappoint even though Dark's seems to be a Universe unrelated to Demon's. It's not even a parallel Universe (I like to think of parallel Universes as those in which the other fellow Dark Souls players exist - if running around as a hollowed-out soul you can call 'existence'. It's a different world but a lot works in seemingly familiar ways.

Here's what I would call the Demon's heritage:

- One-save only. And this is a BIG thing because the game saves itself every couple of seconds. Once you get hurt or you hurt someone you didn't mean to you can't go back to the previous save because there's no such thing. Unless you have one hand on the power cord ready to pull it, everything you do has consequences and you can't go back and try again. Be VERY careful when you talk to them merchants or blacksmiths because one unintended slap and they will never deal with you again.
- Human vs. Soul form. Can't be invaded by other players while in Soul (Hollow) form. As a Human you can invade other words, help others, seek help.
- Classes. You pick yours from 10. Not exactly the same as in Demon's though.
- Stats. Again, 10 different categories, some differently named, some totally new like 'humanity' and 'attunement'.
- The ability to seek help and to help others. I believe that you can have up to 3 others helping.
- The Stones. They are of different colors but they have uses not unlike the Demon's stones, possibly more: to seek help, to leave messages, to invade.
- Souls as currency of the land and the price price you must pay to level up. And you lose them all every time you die so... use them (buy, uplevel) before you lose them.
- Every time you rest all non-boss enemies respawn.
- The ability to play nasty and invade other players' worlds.
- Blood stains. You can see how others died.
- Second (and ONLY second) chance. You can recover lost souls if you can touch your own blood stain before you die again.
- Messages. Can leave messages but don't expect to be able to type away detailed clues. You pick your message from a pre-approved list.
- Incredibly precise combat. Each class of weapons acts differently and you can see/feel the difference between hitting flesh, bone or armor.
- Uchigatanas!!! Need I say more? These are by far the coolest katanas you'll ever swing in any game and probably the best you can get through this one at least through mid-game. Demon Souls most terrifying black phantoms (invading players) where the 2-Uchigatana dudes. Most, possibly all of the Demon's weapons can be found in Dark: Claymores, Halberds, Clubs, Axes, Estocs and so forth.
- Practice makes perfect. Like Demon's Souls, this is a struggle for perfection because in most instances only perfect or near-perfect attacks and defenses will save you from yet another horrific death.
- Continues the Deomon's tradition of no difficulty levels. Like its predecessor, there's only one difficulty level on Dark and that's 'very easy', as in 'very easy to get yourself killed'. Seriously, for anyone who played Demon's, Dark feels like the second or third playthrough only you start at a low level, have no weapons or armor and find yourself in completely unfamiliar territory now so it takes a little bit of dying, observing and experimenting before your learn the ropes.

THE DELTAS (new and never seen before)

This, I'm sure, is going to be a growing list and I'm going to update it as I progress into the game. If what's going on in this game can be called 'progress'.

- One-world design. This appear to be a huge world but gates, bridges and passes are all well guarded so be prepared to shed a lot of blood and die a lot to earn your right of passage. Unlike Demon's which had a hub that was the only connection between the several separate 'worlds', Dark's world regrions are very much interconnected and much of the fun and mystery is your gradually discovering and unlocking sometimes secret doors and passages.
- The healing system. The role of 'grasses' is drastically reduced (there are some mosses that you can still use to cure ailments) but Dark doesn't make it as easy when it comes to your ability to recover health. It's no longer near-unlimited.
- The Covenants. Each of the 9 will open new play modes and, as always, every action brings about consequences. Joining may appear an easy decision but separation can be painful and costly.
- Pyromancy as a THIRD class of magic, joining sorcery and miracles. For anyone who likes fire and explosions... it's awesome.
- The Gifts. Interestingly some seem to have no effect while others such as the Magic Key you get if you pick the class of Thief is quite useful.
- Danger times 2. It may be just because I'm a little rusty playing Souls or because I know Demon's so well now it's like a walk in the park but Dark appears to be a lot harder. But... we play, we learn. We shall see :)
- More color. Can't imagine Demon's with colors but in this world the occasional bright splashes blend well and don't subtract from the feeling of danger.
- No Luck. You COULD get lucky in Deomon's Souls but that's no longer the case. That particular stat has disappeared, replaced by your ability to hold 'humanities' which you lose every time you die.
- Sweet revenge. One of the covenants mission is to hunt down and kill those nasty dark phantom bullies.
- And, of course, Dark Souls does away with all the gentleness and hand-holding occasionally found in Demon's. It really does. Remember that nice Russian lady in the Nexus that you must kill if you want your Platinum? Gone! My first impressions: don't trust anyone because everybody seems to be either evil or insane.

THE STORY

Not quite sure what's expected of me yet and I don't think I should spoil anyone's fun anyway. There is a prologue, of course and, clearly, terrible things happened that caused this not to be a happy world. Need to investigate some more but I'm not sure who's to be trusted, who should be used, who can be a friend.

MY RATING

If Amazon's 5 stars stands for 'I love it', what would be the star count for "I love it, I fear it and, 80 hours into the game I'm obsessed by it"? Well... 5's the limit :). I expect to spend hundreds of hours playing this game and, hopefully, with a little or maybe a lot of help from my friends and a lot of priceless advice from some of the game-focused sites - I will name my favorites on a comment to this review.

__________________________________________

July 2012 Update:

Several months and several hundreds hours of gameplay later, I'm still playing Dark Souls.

Sure, I 'beat' the game so many times already but finishing the game the first time is only the beginning. Then you play 'new game plus' (NG+), then NG++, NG+++ and so on where everything gets harder and harder. Can't get the platinum trophy unless you go through the game at least twice.

And there's the PvP (player vs. player) which is where, with your most deadly or your most fun character built to much your skills you can face other players in everything ranging from helping out a fellow player beat a boss or a fair 1v1 fight where players bow to each other in the beginning and pay their respects to the defeated one once the fight is over to no-rules melees where magic and poison knives fly, buffed greatswords or halberds hit hard and you may face up to 3 players plus whatever the game may be throwing at you at the same time. The fun never ends, the variety is almost endless and it's addictive.

--
>> Brush your teeth, it's the law! <<
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on February 7, 2012
Dark Souls (and its spriritual predecessor, Demon's Souls) is a truly unique and amazing gameplay experience. As a Demon's Souls player, I believe that Dark Souls is an improvement and worthy successor, and is actually one of my favorite games of all time. It is not for everyone, however. In my opinion, assuming a remote baseline interest in RPGs, people who would like Dark Souls fall into two general categories:

1) Those who love punishing, unforgiving difficulty; don't mind dying frequently to learn/memorize levels; or
2) Those who enjoy reading message boards, wikis, and FAQs to learn more about the game

I myself fall into the second category. I am not much of a RPG player nowadays, but something about the Souls series really feels nostalgic to me. It reminds me of the countless hours I poured into games like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasies as a kid, reading FAQs on how to obtain that rare item or defeat that optional boss. The unique thing about the Souls series is that almost every encounter, every level, every boss feels like that rare event in other RPGs you need to prepare for. It makes for a very gratifying gameplay experience, if you are willing to put in the time.

If you don't fall into one of those two categories above (or a mixture of the two), then I feel as though Dark Souls might not be the right choice for you. The game can be VERY unforgiving if you arent carrying the right equipment for the situation, or if you didn't do things in a certain order, etc. Almost all enemies (save for some "mini-bosses") respawn when you die, so if you don't want to consult a FAQ/wiki, you may find yourself dying 10, 20, or more times in certain sections of the games which understandbly can get very frustrating. Fortunately though, there is usually some trick / item / method to get by almost all difficult sections in the game, so long as you are willing to seek help online.

Bottom Line --- the game is indeed difficult, and sometimes very vague in how to accomplish certain tasks. However, if you are willing to play online and summon help, or to consult FAQs/Wikis online, there is NOTHING in the game that is not doable.

Let me start with the similiarities between Dark Souls and Demons Souls:

- Game saves constantly / Can't undo any actions / Save and Quit anytime, anywhere you want and reload at the exact spot
- Combat feels largely the same, aside from some nice changes I will list out later on
- Many "nods" to Demons Souls in gameplay (a dragon who breathes fire on a bridge you have to cross, a NPC who kills other NPCs, etc)
- Shortcuts are littered throughout the levels
- Souls are the currency of the game and are used to level up as well
- Souls (and new Humanity) are lost when you die. You have one chance to get back to where you died to reclaim them
- Still need to repair equipment. I find this annoying but most equipment lasts a long time before needing to be repaired.
- Crystal lizards return (they drop very nice items used to upgrade equipment) -- except this time they are MUCH easier to kill and the way they spawn is MUCH more forgiving than Demons Souls (in Dark Souls, even if the crystal lizard gets away from you, you can just reload your game and he will spawn again. In Demons, each lizard had a respawn counter based on how many bosses you've killed, and if that respawn counter went to zero you would never see that particular lizard again!)
- Online invasions and co-op return, largely similar to Demons Souls in practice

Some of the new changes are:

- "Open" World design. No more central nexus safe zone. The world of Dark souls is one open map with many areas being interconnected to several other areas. I put "Open" in quotes because while you can explore many areas to begin with, there is really one general path of gameplay for new players. If you deviate from this path and explore, you will most likely be slaughtered very quickly by the enemies in areas where you are not "supposed" to be in yet. Still, that shouldn't stop you from making "suicide" runs to obtain nice loot from these areas early on.
- Ability to jump. While running, releasing and pressing the run button again will cause your player to jump. There are actually some "platforming" areas where you have to jump across a gap. It is something simple but i feel like it adds a lot to the gameplay.
- Bonfires. Strategically placed by the developers throughout the world, these are your new resting points. When you die, you respawn at the last bonfire you rested at. You level up, switch out magic spells, etc at bonfires. When you rest at a bonfire, all enemies respawn.
- Infrequent loading screens. Makes farming much, much faster than in Demons Souls.
- No more item burden!! Carry as much junk as you want.
- You still have equip burden, but now arrows dont count towards your equip burden. So i can finally walk around with 500 arrows and not move like a slug.
- In Demon's Souls, your roll/run speed was determined on whether you were above or below 50% of your equip load. In Dark, this is further refined into 25% splits (0-25% of equip, you move fastest, 25-50% you move a little slower, etc)
- Healing is done through "Estus Flasks" which are limited in quantity and are only refilled when you rest at a bonfire (sounds tough, but actually works well)
- Magic has limited casts and the casts are refilled at a bonfire (also sounds tough, but i actually like this way better - and i play as a melee/mage character. No more needing to interrupt your battle by refilling your MP)

There are some issues with the game, most notably a sluggish framerate in certain areas. This is my only complaint. However, the framerate is bearable and is not game-breaking. I play on PS3 and yes, the area "Blighttown" is pretty bad in terms of framerate but I never died because of it and never felt like something bad happened to me because of it.

Now is a great time to buy this game, especially since patch 1.05 is out. This patch fixed a lot of things with the game, most notably making it much easier (enemies give more souls, you can buy upgrade materials at blacksmiths instead of having to farm them, etc). Pre-patch 1.05, this game was MUCH more difficult in my opinion. Patch 1.05 gives it a "comfortable" level of difficulty (still hard though).

Here are some tips for new players to make your life a little easier (minor spoilers):

- Choose the Master Key as your gift when creating a character. If you choose Thief, they automatically get it so choose something different or you'll end up with two keys
- Pyromancer is a good class that most recommend to beginners. You start with a fireball spell that is helpful
- Check online for a video that shows you a quick 8 minute or so run that you can do right after the tutorial, using the master key, to get some cool armor/weapons/items to help you begin the game
- Almost all bosses have some sort of method to defeat them pretty easily. For example, the first real boss, Taurus Demon, you can utilize the tower to do a plunging attack on him over and over. The next boss, Bell Gargoyles, is almost impossible to defeat solo but becomes a cakewalk when you summon help (and don't worry if you play offline --- I believe the devs knew this boss was meant to be beat with help so you can summon NPCs if you are playing offline)
- After Taurus demon, get the Drake Sword by shooting the tail of the red dragon on the bridge. Again, check online for videos. It is very easy to do, and gives you a sword that will carry you well many hours into the game and can 1 or 2 shot kill most regular enemies. Do NOT upgrade this sword --- by the time its damage is feeling low to you, you will have access to better weapons. This sword doesnt have any stat bonuses, so even a regular upgraded weapon will do better later on as your stats are higher.
- In the beginning, if you see a tall, black knight standing do NOT engage him. He will kill you (unless you are very comfortable dodging & backstabbing, or willing to kill him a cheap way). You can come back later to teach him a lesson.
- Once you come to the red dragon on the bridge, take the stairs down on the right hand side. Go across the room and there is another staircase down that leads you to the earlier bonfire. KICK down the ladder before jumping down and that opens up a shortcut between the dragon and the bonfire. Now you can easily farm souls --- run up to the bridge, trigger the dragon, and run back down. The dragon's fire will kill all the enemies on the bridge, netting you ~500 souls (in the beginning, each level up costs 700 - 1000 souls). Rest at the bonfire, and repeat. You can gain 10+ levels pretty quickly doing this, and it will give you some breathing room (plus it will help you equip the drake sword).

Hope you guys have fun with this game. It is truly great.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.
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on April 26, 2012
I'll tell you what: when I first played this game, I thought it was a joke; I played for approximately sixty minutes and then gave up after I kept getting killed by the Asylum Demon at the very start of the game. I just didn't think it was at all fun, and thought it to be too hard. Plus, I'm not a huge RPG fan, so that was another turn off.

Several months went by, and I played through myriad other PS3 titles, and had run out of games to play. As I was sifting through my collection of games to find something fresh to play, I came across Dark Souls. I thought to myself, "Ah, what the hell... I'll give it another try." And, that I did.

Now, over 150 hours into the game, I AM HOOKED. I can't stop playing this game. Normally, prior to Dark Souls, I'd sit down and play videogames for three or four hours per day; now, I sit down and play ten to twelve hours per day, without so much as getting up to use the restroom (even if I have to do so).

I can only say that Dark Souls is THE most fascinatingly captivating game I've EVER played (and I've played a lot of games). Not only is it fun, it's extremely challenging (beyond challenging, actually), thought provoking, awe inspiring, frustrating (in a good way), and, in many instances, extremely frightening.

I recommend this game to ANYONE, but especially those who like to become fully immersed in their gaming experience. This isn't just a game where you go from start to finish in a linear fashion; this is a universe of its own, with vast landscapes and beautifully crafted worlds and characters and weapons and spells and dialogue and narrative. You could play through this game a thousand times and never have the same experience. Things are constantly evolving, and with such multi-faceted quest-lines, the number of different character builds and tools available to each player, the replay value is HUGE.

I really recommend that you visit the Wiki and follow a walkthrough so that you can get the most out of each level; it'll make things a lot less frustrating also. I mean, you'll still die regardless, walkthrough or no walkthrough, and you'll die a lot, but at least you'll know what to expect (kinda).

If I could, I'd rate this game 10 out of 5 stars.

Absolutely love it. But it's not really something for the "passive," or "average" gamer. You've really got to devote yourself, your time and your energy to this game.

Enjoy!

********UPDATE********

I wanted to check back in now that I've logged nearly 300 hours of time in this game, and am halfway through NG++ (third playthrough).

Not only have I NOT become bored with the game, but, rather, the opposite has occurred; I've become more intrigued and even more immersed in the game than I was prior. Not many games can do that (except, of course, for the one-and-only "Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots").

If someone like myself, who lacked a penchant for role-playing games, could become this involved in, and fall in love with, a role-playing game such as Dark Souls, then think of the possibilities for those of you who eat, sleep and breathe RPG.

I simply CANNOT wait for the follow-up to Dark Souls. I also have Dark Souls to thank for reintroducing me to a genre of gaming that I thought I'd lost any and all interest in; this game has rekindled my interest and love for RPG/Fantasy titles, and I'm glad to be able to expand my horizons instead of having nothing to look forward to except another FPS.

But, I digress... My main point is that this game is epic and beyond standard definition; terms such as "fun" and "amazing" don't come close to grasping this game's potential, its playability and its addictiveness. This is the first game I've achieved Platinum trophy status; no other game gave me a reason to try and achieve Platinum status (except, again, "MGS: GotP," however, trophies weren't present in said game; had they been, I'd have done everything possible to obtain each and every one).

So please... BUY IT, PLAY IT, BEAT IT... Then, start all over.
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on November 3, 2011
(300 hours in) I am a Demon Souls warrior. So going into this game I knew what I was getting into. Now I want to get one thing out first,this is 10 times harder then Demon Souls hands down. I won't make this an extensive review just pros and cons.

Pros:
Giant Bosses which are beautifully designed
Beautiful Open World of Death and Despair
Music is Amazing,never in a game the music sets the mood just right
Battle Mechanics
Tons of Secrets
Endless gameplay

Cons:
Enemies that are harder then bosses
Flasks instead of herbs
Being cursed(a pain in the a$$ to get rid of if you are broke)
Cheap sometimes
Losing souls but that comes with the territory

All in all this game can be GOTY. It's well crafted and difficult but not to a point it's unbearable.. Just grind and level up..Also a tip,be sure to save after you defeat bosses,you may go in a area that you won't make it out with your souls.10/5 Must buy

UPDATE: I am now level 193 and all I can say is wow. This game is on my mind all day,I'm at work and all I can think was kicking a$$ in the forest and invading the guilty. This game is massive and kept me so infused with it I don't care to look at the past exclusives that released. Like crack this game has me addicted. Beautiful,Amazing,Masterpiece and captivating. Dark souls will suck you in with no remorse. GOTY!
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on May 23, 2014
While I admire the chilling atmosphere this game provides, you have better be ready to die and taken back to the beginning of said section at any given moment, because that is just what will happen. This game is Nintendo hard, and nope, its not SNES or the original GB hard, this is old-school NES hard. With that being said, the visuals are fantastic, and the sound effects are also quite great, but this game can get incredibly frustrating, even though its still a good one. If you are looking for a game to relax with and breeze through, unfortunately, this one isn't it. They could have provided a difficulty option, but then again, they wanted to live out the old-school 8-bit era where every game came with incredible difficulty. Those are my two cents.
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on January 31, 2012
I love Dark Souls. I have played it for four months now. I usually lose interest in a video game after two weeks. I honestly believe this is one of the best games I have ever played.

For the uninitiated, Dark Souls is a combat-oriented RPG. The world is beautifully designed and rendered. The aesthetic of the game ranges from gorgeous, breath-taking vistas to eerie, haunted locales. The sparse NPCs are laconic, have their own agendas, and come and go despite your desires. There are no random, unimportant NPCs in this game. The world of Dark Souls is dangerous, mysterious, and lost. The game designers leave a lot of details unspoken and allow your imagination to fill in the gaps.

That said, this game can be very frustrating. I die a lot. I have fallen off cliffs. I have lost encounters with monsters much stronger than my character. I have been killed by other players repeatedly. I have been poisoned. I have been ambushed.

So is it fun? Yeah, I think so. There is something exciting about exploring your way through a booby-trapped fortress that would give Indiana Jones a run for his money. It is rewarding to fight a near invulnerable opponent until you find his weakness, beat him to a pulp, and walk away with his magic ring. It's exciting to truly be worried about what is around the next corner when you've come way too far to go back, but don't want to dare fate and push ahead. It's exciting to sneak through the dark hoping you hear the monsters before the monsters hear you. This game has lifted my spirits and brutally dashed my hopes.

Will you like it? Maybe. I love it. It's a hard game. I spent an hour trying to figure out how to finish the tutorial level. Here are five things I have learned playing the game that might help you:

1) If you're stuck (especially on the tutorial level), ask yourself "What am I missing here?" because you are probably missing something. Check every corner.

2) The best offense is good defense. Wear a shield and keep it up. In general, let your enemies make the first swing and then hit them. Learn to dodge.

3) If you are really struggling, watch a walkthrough. I highly recommend the GameFront Dark Souls walkthrough by Mitchell on YouTube. Mitchell's commentary is very funny. Sometimes seeing it is possible to overcome some great difficulty is all you need to do it yourself.

4) Patience is the key. Starting over sucks. Dying when the boss has one hit point left sucks. Falling off that ledge AGAIN sucks. It's easy to get frustrated, lose your patience, make more mistakes, and then die again. It can quickly spiral into an unfun gaming session. Turn the game off when this happens and come back later. It's so much easier.

5) Finding the Drake Sword early in the game will make the game so much easier. Upgrade your weapons and armor. Better equipment makes a huge difference.

I hope there is a sequel. I'd buy it in heartbeat. I haven't played Demon Souls yet, but I'm going to play it if / when I am tired of Dark Souls.
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on January 28, 2012
I picked up this game after platinum-trophying Skyrim (which was incredibly fun at first, but then became incredibly unchallenging after boosting all my gear, practically making me invincible even with light armor and master difficulty.)

I also plat'ed Demon's Souls, so I thought I'd have few troubles with Dark Souls. Nope. The first couple hours are pretty insane (and like many others, I tried to fight my way through the skeletons at Firelink.) Best advice I can offer for new players is to follow an online walkthrough guide. Even in the first couple areas after the tutorial boss, there are so many T-intersections that turn into more T-sections, very confusing. After surviving the first couple hours or so, you can farm certain areas (easiest place is Darkroot Garden) to boost your stats if you need, but even so, you will still die multiple times when exploring new areas, which keeps the game fresh and challenging.

tl;dr Fun game (difficult, but very gratifying) for hardcore gamers.

More tips: Drake Sword is the best weapon first half of the game until you can find and upgrade other weapons. Lightning Spear+5 is my weapon of choice.
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VINE VOICEon January 13, 2012
I almost skipped this game. I was pre-ordering several games (can't even remember what they were) but I was not familiar with this title. I don't know why I pre-ordered it, but when I did, I almost cancelled my order. Then, when it came, I popped it in the PS3 and played for about 10 minutes, died about 3 times, and got very frustrated. Why is this fun? What is going on? I took it out of the game, and played Drake 3 (which really is a fantastic game in its own right).

I was about to move on to Skyrim when my wife put Dark Souls in one night. Why? I'm not sure. Neither is she. But she died. Quickly. And died again. And again. And then we realized that dying was part of the point of the game, and we should just let it roll. So we did. And then about 12 hours later, we came up for air.

We have been playing this game nonstop, every day, for a couple months now. We have not yet completed this game to our satisfaction. We will continue to play it. It inhabits our thoughts, our plans, our dreams. It is beautiful, frustrating, haunting, and fascinating. The slow spinout of the story line is incredible, told with much inference and deliberation. The graphics are peerless--simply magical--and the sound design of worthy of the Lord of the Rings movies!

We love this game. It is amazing. If you are into dark fantasy, and are willing to be a little frustrated up front but know you can hang in there, then get this game. This is easily the best game of this genre that we have played, and one of the best in the last 3-4 years. I give it an enthusiastic 10/10.
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on November 7, 2011
Dark Souls . . .How does it stand up to the Legacy of Demon's Souls?

Some background; I absolutely LOVED Demon's Souls. I plat'ed it and still put at least another 100 hours in it. I was counting the minutes till Dark Souls came out. That being said, I didn't want to post a review till I played it through at least once. Since I have, here it is -

Dark Souls - The PROS:

*New combat abilities! Demon's Souls combat remained largely unchanged (see cons tho) but they added the plunging attack and the kick. Both moves have huge strategic implications and, when utilized correctly, add a lot of fun to the game.

*humanity - Its complicated but once you know how to use it and, more importantly, where to farm it>>SPOILER ALERT-skeleton babies before Gravelord Nito fight: souls farming + humanity farming = W!N!!!<<, it adds an awesome spin on gameplay. Boost humanity and use a Chaos flame weapon for quick kills!

*No more leaving gear behind because of encumbrance. You can carry all the gear you can find.

*open world - I liked Demon's Souls Nexus structure, but the open world feels so much more foreboding. Its also more colorful and vibrant.

*No more playing with half a hitpoint bar![unless, of course, you get cursed lol]

*Boss fights are largely fair, with some exceptions (I'm pointing at you Smough!)At least none of the bosses suck away your levels, like the King in Demon's Souls haha.

*Kingseeker Frampt - Not only is he a great NPC(He's the Primordial Serpent btw), he is EXTREMELY useful (figure what I mean on your own, no spoiler for you this time :P)

*Farming stones is not nearly as hard as in Demon's Souls (I'm pointing at you, flawless Bladestone:P)

*Covenants - A great direction for multiplayer. Could have been implemented better but the core concept is great

*Difficulty - Its still the barometer from which all other games are measured. There is no way a person is going to play through this game without equal parts skill and patience. Casual gamers, stay away!

CONS:

* targetting - omg, what the heck happened here? You knock down a mob who is targetted, the target drops off . . .even if it is still alive! I died a few times because of this shortcoming alone. I strongly suggest you get used to re-targetting as soon as they hit the ground to avoid blocking issues. This was perfect in Demon's Souls, a definite step backwards . . .

*Limited spell casts - lets say you have 4 casts of Great Fireball and you use them up. The only way you can get them back is to go to a bonfire, which re-spawns all mobs! It makes it really difficult for you to play a caster character and go forward. You absolutely need to know how to melee.

*Uneven amount of Bonfires in different areas- Who the heck planned this? You have 3 bonfires in Anor Londo, which is pretty close together and then you go to a wide open New Londo (with all the ghosts)and there are none. NONE! I'm sorry, but thats just ridiculous and cheesy.

*Story - The story is pretty muddled and confusing, so if you are looking for compelling storytelling, look elsewhere.

*multiplayer - invading other worlds can be fun and being in different covenants determines the awards you receive, but playing co-op with a friend is extremely difficult.

All being said, there are some worthwhile innovations in Dark Souls and the playthrough will definitely be punishing and rewarding. I would definitely say its worth playing through for the experience at least once but it falls short of being as compelling as its predecessor. I may continue for the Platinum, then again I may not. I feel like I am finding it harder to work through the second playthrough, not because of the difficulty, but the interest isn't as strong as it was when I played Demon's Souls. Then again, Battlefield 3 may have something to do with it :)

UPDATE: I have been playing off and on and got the Platinum Trophy this weekend. Some additional observations -

*Smithing trophies are hella easier in Dark Souls vs. Demon's Souls! The slabs, which are needed to achieve the highest smithing, are ground spawn in different areas or even accessible from lizards! You may have to play through 2x to get them but if you are going for the plat, you'll have to play thru 2 times anyway

*The Four Kings battle in NG ++ is IMPOSSIBLE to solo with a melee, from what I can tell(This is a DPS battle). I used a Pyromancer/Melee hybdrid with 8 spell slots and got them down to 20% health spamming spells and swinging a max level Chaos Lucerne w/ 26 humanity. I had to relent and ask for assistance to finally beat them. Luckily I got a caster, who killed them so fast we had to wait on respawns lol.

*The Weapons trophy (something of a knight) hardest drops are Priscilla's Dagger and Seath's Moonlight Greatsword. Priscilla goes invisible and has a small tail and Seath spins like a spaz. The Dark Hand USED to be difficult, because you had to get it through the Darkwraith Covenant (which is a pain to get imo) but it now drops off the Dark Wraiths in New Londo thanks to the new patch.

*There are a ton of rings in this game, but there is no trophy for getting them all (as in Demon's Souls) Makes life a bit easier, since I hate collection trophies.

Of the two, I still believe the hardest to platinum is Demon's Souls for the following reasons -

-No boss that steals levels from you
-No ring trophy (the "Friend" Ring and "Foe" Ring in Demon's Souls were a @#$%& to get!)
-No "Pure Bladestone" type drop to try and farm, rare smith stones are ground spawn in certain zones.
-Full HP bar pretty much throughout

One thing I miss from Demon's Souls - The Monk Battle (playing other players as a boss battle was an awesome idea!)

FINAL TIP - There is an item called the SYMBOL OF AVARICE that is extremely rare which I believe was recently added. Its a helmet that makes you look like a cursed chest lol. In addition to the cosmetic effect, it increases item discovery and boosts souls earned by 20%! Downside is it drains HP (kinda sucks BUT you can use it to drain your HP to a certain level to activate the +attack ring to kill from a distance with a bow quickly . . .remember that trick in Demon's Souls with Muramoto ;)?) Anyhow, I digress. Here's how to get the Symbol of Avarice -

-Approach a CURSED treasure chest
-throw a Lloyds talisman at it (bring a bunch, you'll probably need it. Male undead merchant in Undead Burg sells for 500 souls per)
-The talisman will simultaneously wake it up and put it to sleep! (Weird huh? Not its supposed intended use lol) The chest will start snoring with a purple glow around it and there will be a gold glow in his mouth. Loot the first item, thats its intended drop.
-Stand to the side of it, so it won't wake up and eat you. When the purple aura dissipates, throw another Lloyds Talisman. Rinse and repeat until you see another gold glow. Once you see it loot it, thats your Symbol of Avarice!

Note - I tried it on multiple chests in different areas, it seems like each chest can drop the Symbol once (I have 4, 2 of which I gave away). Once you throw the first Lloyd's, you better be ready to fight because they WILL eventually wake up and aggro.
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