Feeds
90%
Dark Souls

Dark Souls

Death awaits

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Roll the die

The constant gamble is magnified by the game's fragile economy. Soul points are carried over from Demon's Souls as the game's only currency, driving everything from levelling-up to purchasing consumables. Die, however, and all your hard-earned soul points are deposited at the scene of death. Fail to reach the exact same spot with your subsequent life and you'll lose them forever.

It's a system which instils an increasing sense of vulnerability the farther you venture from a bonfire, but it's also one that allows for some essential farming, as you learn to exploit gauntlet runs between bonfires to harvest souls.

Dark Souls

Shine on the shrine

While farming outstrips the difficulty curve in other RPGs, here it's vital just to keep pace with the exponential difficulty. As is discovering some of the many powerful items hidden around the world, such as magic weapons and rings. But even here, Dark Souls stays true to its exacting philosophy, demanding studious observation of the environment to scour for illusory walls, hidden paths and hard-to-reach areas.

There's little to guide your quest, too. Firelink Shrine works as a hub to connect Lodran's many lands, but it's a very different place from Demon's Souls' Nexus. It's populated with enemies, for a start. And there are no gateways or loading screens. Instead, you move seamlessly between lands with no world numbers to signpost the challenge ahead. So while you might be able to reach a new land through Firelink Shrine, death is the only indicator whether you're ready to.

Dark Souls

Don't look at the mantlepiece when stoking the fire

It's typical of the game's pervading reticence. There's little narrative to accompany your adventure, just a scant, opaque exposition casting you as the chosen one to make an undead pilgrimage to the land of Dark Lords. NPCs rarely offer anything in the way of elucidation, either - you're far more likely to receive their sneering derision than any odd titbit of guidance. And there are no maps, quest logs or objective markers to aid you.

Instead, Demon's Souls' revolutionary online features return to temper - or indeed, exacerbate - the formidable test. The messaging system remains an ambivalent tool for benevolent, malevolent or downright humorous use, but, in a heart-warming show of solidarity, it's cheering to see the vast majority of players continue use it altruistically.

Dark Souls

Statue of misery

And for the truly hardcore Souls' players, the esoteric summoning and invading options return to provide co-operative and competitive play.

Verdict

Dark Souls is the most difficult game of this generation and, outside of the high-score games of yesteryear, probably one of the most difficult of all time. It's also one of the greatest too. The relentless difficulty will deter most, and many will fall along the way. But while few games demand as much from their players, even fewer reward them so spectacularly. ®

More Games Reviews

Rage Ico & Shadow of the
Colossus Collection
Rise of
Nightmares
F1 2011 Gears of War 3

The essential guide to IT transformation

90%
Dark Souls

Dark Souls

Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more. Available on PS3 (tested) and Xbox 360.
Price: £40 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel
'Swing Copters' offers the same gameplay but in a different direction
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.