Prepare to hurl a colourful mixture of profanity at your screen.
Dark Souls is a funny game. It’s quite hilarious watching your character break every bone in their body when being struck with a hammer of impossible size, but, at least for me, it is equally as hilarious watching a small round shield completely nullify that damage. It’s also an experience that makes you question your RPG habits. I tend to favour heavy armour, sizeable weapons, and a reasonable health pool in most RPGs. But in Dark Souls I’m almost entirely sold on the idea of using Dexterity weapons and rolling as if my life depends on it.
Which, due to my armour, or lack thereof, it does depend on it.
However, the flexibility of character creation and development is fairly refreshing. There is absolutely nothing that prevents you from farming souls and levelling up multiple attributes. These attributes can open up the ability to use heavier armour, Sorceries, Miracles, and all manner of neat weapons. Each of which features a relatively unique move set and feel.
In that way, I really enjoy what Dark Souls is offering as it’s a fairly new experience. It’s not the first to offer a punishing and complex RPG experience, but it is one of the first I’ve played that allows you to really do what you feel is best with your character. Even though I started as a Wanderer- which is more of a guideline than an actual class- I’d invested points into Intelligence for Sorceries and even used a bow. I prefer the utility character builds. Ones where you’ve got access to multiple ways to approach the same problem. As sometimes you really don’t want to get too close to an enemy, but sometimes being far away is relatively detrimental, and sometimes certain damage types don’t even affect that enemy. So it’s a pretty great build overall.
Death is handled similarly to how it was in Diablo II. Wherein you leave a corpse when you die and must retrieve it, however, in Dark Souls, you’re not retrieving your equipment but your souls and Humanity. Both of which are fairly useful to character progression. Humanity becoming much more important once you can kindle bonfires. Bonfires act as a way to save your progress in a checkpoint fashion, too. With later developments allowing you to transport instantly between them. They’re pretty useful and definitely something you want to see when you’re exploring.
Likewise, blacksmiths give you access to weapon development.
Which, in most cases, will allow you to enhance the scaling that your weapon has or add an elemental damage type to it. You’ll need to find regular upgrade materials, special upgrade materials, and blacksmith specific items to unlock later customisation. But they’re all fairly self explanatory and it’s a pretty great system for creating a diverse character.
It is an experience that requires a fair amount of patience, too. Most enemies will require you to recognise their move set, look for openings, and take advantage of the opportunities you get. It’s also a fairly open world with few areas being gated by story progression. Fewer still if you take the Master Key at character creation. That said, I’ve been in various states of mind while playing and I’ve generally enjoyed much of what I’ve experienced. I’ve yet to progress to the DLC locations, but I’m likely to try a different character build for when I do as this build did defeat the final boss but does require tweaking. It isn’t nearly as impossibly difficult as some might suggest, though. Just take your time and be patient. Oh, and remember the colourful profanity.
Have a nice week, all!