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Recollect Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
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× A place for boardgame traitors.

Talk to me about Dark Souls

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08 Apr 2016 14:27 #225566 by Disgustipater
The Souls games have always kind of interested me, but as I am not the biggest fan of loot games, I've ultimately ignored them. But being a fan of difficult games, and after seeing footage of Salt & Sanctuary, I figured I'd finally give it a try.

Bearing in mind I am limited to the PC, which game should I start with? The first Dark Souls game? Demon Souls? Something else? I don't know much about these games. I don't even know what the difference is between Dark Souls and Demon Souls.

Give me opinions.

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08 Apr 2016 14:44 - 08 Apr 2016 14:44 #225567 by the_jake_1973
You can fast track the results by just smashing your controller before buying the game.
Last edit: 08 Apr 2016 14:44 by the_jake_1973.
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08 Apr 2016 14:58 #225570 by Black Barney
lol, I'm thinking of taking my first foray into the series as well, but with Dark Souls III. Why not start with the most recent? It's all about gameplay this stuff, it isn't Mass Effect or anything.

I think you should definitely skip the first one which will seem dated, but yeah I guess you should start with the second one. It's supposed to be the best one with part III VERY close behind

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08 Apr 2016 15:13 - 08 Apr 2016 15:32 #225571 by jeb
Replied by jeb on topic Talk to me about Dark Souls

Disgustipater wrote: The Souls games have always kind of interested me, but as I am not the biggest fan of loot games, I've ultimately ignored them. But being a fan of difficult games, and after seeing footage of Salt & Sanctuary, I figured I'd finally give it a try.

Bearing in mind I am limited to the PC, which game should I start with? The first Dark Souls game? Demon Souls? Something else? I don't know much about these games. I don't even know what the difference is between Dark Souls and Demon Souls.

Give me opinions.

Not DEMON'S SOULS (or as my friend and I call it, "The Souls That Belong to Exactly One Demon"). The server-side stuff there must be discontinued by now, or de facto dead. You'd be eaten by sharks or floating in an empty sea, basically.

DARK SOULS 2 is great. It's a ZELDA game at its heart, like old-school TLOZ, but fancy graphics. You find stuff, you make it to the occasional save point, and all that. It's important to note that anything you CAN do is fair. Don't worry about cheesing the game by sneaking along that ledge or whatever. The game knows about the ledge and some dragon will knock you off it in about three steps anyway. Knock yourself out.

The multiplayer dynamic is totally fascinating. You'll be able to summon folks to your game to help against bosses and stuff, or sometimes folks are summoned to your game to beat your everlovin' ass. there are messages scrawled--sometimes helpful, sometimes not, and depending on how things go, the message author is rewarded for helping or tricking you. It's maddening and awesome.
Last edit: 08 Apr 2016 15:32 by jeb.

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08 Apr 2016 15:16 #225573 by hotseatgames
Demon's Souls isn't on PC anyway, so that one is right out. I'm with Barney, I'd go for Dark Souls III if I was going to do it at all. Prepare yourself for frustration. A lot of it.
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08 Apr 2016 15:38 #225577 by Michael Barnes
OK, I've said this before but here we go again. Remember the first time you hit a baseball? It seemed IMPOSSIBLE, didn't it? Maybe you got frustrated and missed 20 more times, sometimes clipping it foul. But during those 21 times at bat you learned to watch the ball, how to hold the bat, how to time your swing, how to follow through. And on the 22nd time when you hit it, it didn't seem nearly as hard because you had effectively practiced and trained yourself to do it.

Souls is like this. The games are actually NOT hard. They ACT hard. Sure, if you come up on an unexpected boss and you are ill-prepared, they will one-shot you and you'll feel like the game is somehow impossible. But the next time, maybe you notice something about the environment it or you try something and you get off a hit first. Maybe you try some elemental damage or another buff to see if it works. By the fifth time you get to the boss, you might be shocked at how EASY it turned out to be. You just didn't know that it was.

Granted, the games are VERY demanding and they troll THE HELL out of players with controls, misdirection, lack of documentation, inscrutable item descriptions, places where you just flat out die...but you learn the entire time you are playing and things even out. That area that SCARED you? two hours later you are carving through it almost to a rhythm every time you pass by it.

The thing is, it is very old fashioned in many ways. Like Ninja Gaiden, the same things happen at the same places every time. And like that fucking bird that knocks you off right after the jump, you learn to anticipate it and the next time you are ready for what it throws at you.

So don't be put off by this "OMG SO HARD" cadence. They are challenging, no doubt. They will test your patience. But they are also among the most rewarding games I've ever played.

I haven't played DSII or III actually, I keep thinking about it...but I've still not beat Bloodborne, which I think is the best thing they've ever done. I will say that I would expect DSIII to be a fine entry point, the stories may be connected but they're cryptic and nonsensical anyway.
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08 Apr 2016 15:41 - 08 Apr 2016 15:44 #225578 by Disgustipater
I'm fully versed in what the games are and how they play, I've just heard a lot of reverence for DS1 in the wake of DS3 discussion, as well as very mixed thoughts on DS2. And I've read that DS3 has a lot of subtle nods to the lore from previous games that I'd like to experience, especially if I end up enjoying the game.

Why do opinions have to be so varied?

Edit: Just to be clear, the mechanics of the difficulty of the games are a major selling point for me, so I'm all in on that front.
Last edit: 08 Apr 2016 15:44 by Disgustipater.

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08 Apr 2016 19:20 #225595 by Dr. Mabuse
I played Dark Souls 2, finished it and started 1 a month ago. I love them both equally for different reasons.

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08 Apr 2016 19:24 #225596 by Black Barney
NOT HELPFUL
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08 Apr 2016 22:29 - 08 Apr 2016 22:36 #225600 by Gary Sax
I would go Dark Souls 2: Sins of the Scholar. I think Dark Souls 1, which everyone seems to love, is extra inscrutable and punishing but like for no real reason at all. DS2 struck a better balance for me. And had a better weapon/magic/styles balance and variety.

The big beef I've heard with DS2, which I could see, is that the areas do not feel well or logically connected to one another. DS1 has a much better sense of place where you transition from area to area logically instead of 8 oddly connected big areas.

edit: or read this?

www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/04/08/dark-souls-ii-best-game/
Last edit: 08 Apr 2016 22:36 by Gary Sax.
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09 Apr 2016 03:39 #225605 by ThirstyMan
I have all three (well preordered 3 anyway). Dark Souls I is just great and, I agree with Barnes, it takes time but once you teach yourself the techniques (and no amount of reading wikis really helps) you can breeze through levels that you first thought were fucking impossible. That isn't because of new power items or levelling up. It's because you now have the motor skills and coordination to beat that shit. I even tried killing the first boss naked with no armor and a dagger. It was easy but that is after many, many hours of frustration.

Each new boss is a different challenge that becomes easier. Dark Souls 1 is cheap now so I recommend it and you can see if you like this kind of tuition.
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09 Apr 2016 09:18 #225609 by Black Barney
If I pre-order dark souls III, i get Dark Souls I for free, I'm tempted...

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09 Apr 2016 10:01 #225610 by Chaz
Replied by Chaz on topic Talk to me about Dark Souls
I actually just started playing the first Dark Souls in earnest a week or so ago. It's hard, but not impossible. What I found was that the learning curve is really steep at first, because you just haven't had the opportunity to find and upgrade your equipment yet. I got through the first boss, then spent a solid 4 hours trying to make it through the next stretch of the level, dying over and over.

Eventually, I started to get my legs under me, and I got through. The nice thing was that as frustrating as all that repetition was, I actually came out the other side with quite a bit of stuff, which allowed me to make some major upgrades to my stats and gear, which helped a ton. Now I'm over the initial learning hump, and things feel much more reasonable. I'm sure I'll hit another wall, but I've got more options and skills to work with. I'm actually going to put the first game on the back burner on Monday so I can swap over to DS3, because I want to be in the initial wave of everyone learning what's up, and because I want the prettier graphics.

If you want to try them, I'd start with the first one. It's cheap, and a lot of folks like it best. Just remember that it's not a great PC port, so you'll need to do some light modding (it's called DSFix, and it's pretty easy to use), and I'll absolutely need a controller. One other thing is that it's very much not a loot game. There is loot, but it's not like Diablo where you're constantly getting new stuff. Instead, you're encouraged to find gear you like, and upgrade it as you go. I hear it's viable to find a basic longsword within the first hour, then use that through the entire rest of the game.
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10 Apr 2016 11:22 #225653 by SaMoKo
Replied by SaMoKo on topic Talk to me about Dark Souls

Black Barney wrote: lol, I'm thinking of taking my first foray into the series as well, but with Dark Souls III. Why not start with the most recent? It's all about gameplay this stuff, it isn't Mass Effect or anything.

I think you should definitely skip the first one which will seem dated, but yeah I guess you should start with the second one. It's supposed to be the best one with part III VERY close behind


Jesus fucking christ. Whoever told you this was trolling you, the second Dark Souls had some shining moments wrapped up in a delicate sheet of dried turd. There were some design glitches in that game that make it hard to recommend over either Dark/Demon Souls I or Bloodborne.

If someone has a PS4, Bloodborne is the way to start. Otherwise the original Dark Souls or maybe 3 (Tuesday can't come soon enough!)
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10 Apr 2016 11:29 #225654 by SaMoKo
Replied by SaMoKo on topic Talk to me about Dark Souls
Barne's baseball analogy is pretty accurate. I'll go further and say it's impossible to hit the ball until you become familiar with the pitcher and his tendencies. This game just happens to have a giant douchebag as a pitcher who enjoys throwing lots of breaking balls on the edge of the zone, but eventually you train yourself to hit them out of the park.

Don't worry so much about the loot gathering aspect. Dark Souls is an action game first, stat shuffling character builder second and completionist loot gathering game a distant third. There are far more similarities with something like Zelda than a traditional RPG, to the extent that this is the best Zelda-like game since Ocarina of Time.

It may seem punishingly difficult at time, but learn it's ways and you'll soon be tearing through previously impossible areas like a fuckin' badass. Not because your stats are better, or your equipment higher level. But because you know the area, the patterns of the enemies, and the traps the game tosses at you. Veterans of the series will breeze through sections of the new game because they speak the language of the game. Newer players will have to go through that period of suffering broken controllers.

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