Thursday, June 12, 2014

Undead on Undead Action - Dark Souls Freebie Ryview

Dark Souls, by From Software.

Dark Souls is currently free on Xbox 360 Live Games with Gold until June 15th, 2014.

My recommendation: Unless you're a dedicated RPG fan and you're damn good at them, this isn't worth the space on your console.

Dark Souls is an RPG with a fairly open world, a nice item system, and streamlined xp/currency (in the form of "souls"). As far as RPG planning, I rate this game very high. It seems well thought out and it's an intriguing concept. There isn't a whole lot of required storyline, and most of what you get is from in game NPC dialogue. It's almost a kind of "it is what you make of it" game.

I'll start out with the things I liked. This game had a nice system of switching between weapons to attack, and I liked that it was easy to cycle through your items. The currency system offered a nice way of leveling up. And I liked the bonfire method, where you can heal but you also respawn your enemies, giving that are depth. Like I said, I liked the way the game was thought out.

I take some serious issue with the level of difficulty, however. In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn't beat this game. I didn't even get half way through. Unfornuately, that process would take weeks and/or months that I don't have if I'm trying to get this review out before the game goes off of Games with Gold. But I think that's highly relevant in this case, given that my main complaint is that the game is way too hard.

The first boss fight in the game, in which you battle this huge behemoth, took me at least 5 tries, each time having to fight my way back through to get to him. And in that time, I still had trouble with some of the incidental enemies as well. And even after I finally got past that boss, the first area after the prologue kept me at bay for several hours before I finally had to look up a walkthrough so I'd know which way to go.

See, in that area, you can go through most of the areas in the game. And some areas are so unbelievably difficult that you're destroyed as soon as you try to challenge an enemy. And if you don't want to lose your experience, you have to basically pick up your lost energy at the point where you died before you die again, otherwise it's gone for good and you have to grind again to make up for it.

I don't even have a comment, it was just too painful...

That has the happy consequence of forcing you to return to those horrifying areas each and every time, hoping you can reach your mangled corpse before you're slain again. It's frustrating, it's infuriating, and it almost made me rage quit in disgust.

This is not helped by the buggy guesswork known as the control scheme. Sprinting in the game, or to put it accurately, "slight jogging", is achieved by moving while holding down a button, but more often than not my character would stroll along, bolt forward a step, and then come to a screeching halt, all while I'm holding down the sprinting combination. And with enemy targeting (which could have made the game slightly more achievable) was filled with problems. I couldn't find a way to quickly switch from one enemy to another, or or to the closest enemy, or to the attacking enemy. So frequently, my two options were to stay focused on the enemy in the back, or hope I could switch fast enough to counter the attack from the closest enemy.

Needless to say, I didn't enjoy my experience. It was very frustrating, and I found it far too impossible to be fun in any sense of the word. If you're a die hard RPG fan and you like a steep challenge, or you somehow know something I don't about finding the magic forest where you can grind for 7 days in a row, maybe you'll like this game more than I did. However, if you're like me, and you don't like getting killed by the same enemy 15 times in a row while you're trying to advance through the game, do yourself a favor and don't play this game. It may be free but the hospital bills after you suffer an ulcer will not be.


Time Value
Money Value
Final Score
*As the freebie. If you're paying for the game, I'd give it roughly a 4.0.

Let me know what you think of Dark Souls (if you choose to)!

Until next time,


Images courtesy of Wikipedia

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