Dark souls is highly challenging, incredibly engaging and an amazing experience.
I'll say one thing for Dark Souls, it does try to warn you about what you're getting into. When a game's tagline is ‘Prepare to Die', it's usually down to an over-excited PR department or something of the like. Unfortunately, in the case of Dark Souls, that's not marketing hyperbole - it's more in the nature of a friendly heads-up.
‘Friendly' is not a word I'd apply to the rest of the game, though. Lordran, the land you'll be travelling through, is populated almost exclusively by things that are trying to kill you; usually with a fair amount of success. Every enemy in the game is capable of making your stay extremely brief, including the diabolical traps that lie in wait for the unwary.
And that's even before you get to the bosses. Much like its spiritual predecessor Demon's Souls, Dark Souls holds nothing back when it comes to the boss fights; jaw-dropping, fiendishly difficult and epic all at once, these titanic encounters will stay with you long after you finish the game.
Make no mistake about it, though, Dark Souls isn't for everyone. If you're a casual gamer, chances are you'll be put off by how challenging it is. However, if you're willing to slog it out, you'll find a lot to like about Dark Souls.
Lordran is a wonderfully-crafted world, with some extremely memorable areas. When pretty much everything in the game can kill you, you're forced to be as strategic as possible in how you approach each foe; this emphasis on tactical gameplay is incredibly engaging and really gets you immersed in the experience. The combat system is one of the best around; it's so responsive and precise that you'll have nobody to blame for your inevitable deaths, but yourself.
In a time when most games practically lead you by the hand as you play them, Dark Souls is a breath of fresh air. When all the odds are stacked against you, your sense of accomplishment is that much greater when you eventually overcome them; and it's that genuine sense of accomplishment that really sets Dark Souls apart, it's not something you get from most games.
So, if you don't mind a good old-fashioned slog, give Dark Souls a whirl. Just don't say it didn't warn you.
(Note - You don't need to have played Demon's Souls before playing Dark Souls; while the gameplay mechanics are largely similiar, there is no connection between the two in terms of story.)
Developer - From Software
Platforms - Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Keywords: video games