It doesn’t take a genius to realize that briefly after playing Dark Souls that it’s one of those games that you really have to cut your teeth into. Overflowing with depth, nuance and detail Dark Souls sends you head first into a world that is not afraid to treat you like an adult. It takes everything that makes modern games what they are and shoves it up your arse and sticks it’s middle finger at anyone that wasn’t prepared for it.
Because of this Dark Souls is often played with intense concentration, focus and at the end of it all, you feel as if you have overcome a game so obscure and complex that you don’t need any achievement popups or gamerscore to justify what you have been through. After all the hardship and hours poured into slowly crafting your character and seeing the now iconic “YOU DIED” message flash up onscreen hundreds of times. Something that seemed insurmountable was finally mastered.
You uncovered it’s secrets, the tragedy of a world that has come to its natural end and experienced the melancholic atmosphere that eclipsed every single area of the game. So harsh and oppressive, yet beautiful in all it’s grandeur and scale. To have experienced everything the game has to throw at you is truly overwhelming. It’s been about 2 years since I first played Dark Souls, it’s a game that I will remember for the rest of my life.
I don’t think I’ve really loved anything as much as I have this game. Finally I think I know why. Over this past year there have been a multitude of changes in my life that left me quite downtrodden. Everything from career aspirations to emotional problems. I was unfulfilled. I felt as if I was slowly losing everything that I once loved, enjoyed and was slowly slipping away. There came a time in this past year or so where my daily schedule was;
Go to work
Play Dark Souls
For months, I consistently kept this routine. I’ve completed Dark Souls more times than I can count. I feel as though I could walk through the game with my eyes closed. Why? It’s because Dark Souls is so wildly dark, hopeless and mysterious that I eventually found some sort of solace in coping with my situation with it.
Dark Souls was something I could control. Despite being obscure, difficult and damn near hopeless I knew it’s something I could fix and get through. It’s one of the only games that I have played consecutively for over 12 hours. I loved every single second. It was a break from seemingly seeing everything spiral out of hand.
For me, Dark Souls was the thing to turn to when the weeks were overcast and shrouded. It was the one thing I could turn to, a major stepping point about the game was not only how notoriously difficult it was, but also knowing that others were going through the same experience as me.
"All of you, forgive me. For I have availed you nothing"
Narratively speaking, Dark Souls may be fantasy, but it’s no Lord of the Rings clone like many big fantasy RPG’s try to be. Again it’s very low key and personal. NPC interactions in the game are short, brief affairs. A break from the relentless nature of the game. You can find NPC’s in a fair variety of places, from bonfires to holed up and stuck in an area of the game. You never know who or what is going to pop up.
Hopefully next week I should be posting Part 2 of this feature, focusing on the journeys each NPC takes in Dark Souls.