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Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Your comments on our articles.

Painful insights from the first to play it

Go ahead and call us game reviewers, but we saw ourselves differently. We were the first scouting party. We had no clue what we were doing.... read more

Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby Jabbermon » 14 Apr 2013, 12:56

ghost whistler wrote:Dark Souls is one of the worst games I have ever played. It is ugly, poorly explained, broken and far too difficult to be enjoyable. That gamers hype this poorly designed rubbish tells me everything I need to know about the parlous state of this hobby. Games should be enjoyable, they should accomodate the player at any skill level and not rely on poorly programmed frustration as a game mechanic. I would have hoped they wouldn't be making any more of this rubbish.


I can't help but completely disagree, I think it is one of the most well designed games of this generation, the amount of detail From Software put into the world is incredible, and even though you will die a lot, it will always be your fault, not because of bad game design. It is definitely not broken, backup your statements with evidence in the future. Dark Souls isn't about accommodating all players from the start, it's about teaching every player how to become better at the game, good enough to succeed. It's old-school like that, it's frustrating to get to grips with but the feeling of satisfaction you get from it is unlike any other game.
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby Xu En » 14 Apr 2013, 12:58

Ghost Whistler has it exactly right - this game is not worthy of the hype. Go to the top of undead burg (the round tower) and look down - look at the attrocious draw distance. The graphics in this game are truly bad. Mostly of the levels are plain ugly (not "gritty" or "atmospheric").

The review nailed the problem in the first page - describing the taurus demon battle - "without realising that a simple exploit of his attack pattern.." - the way to beat bosses is through exploits. Other enemies don't even move until you are within range - every playthrough is identical.

And yet the hype train goes on and on and on. (Becuase there is only one type of publicity)

A lot of of players are sick of this moronic upsell of low budget, niche games like this that only a minority will enjoy. Ultimately you'll be betraying your customers - when people end up spending their money on stuff that they simply will never enjoy.
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby Johnbhoy69 » 14 Apr 2013, 14:08

Some fair points made about how the game actually cheats a lot of the time. Barely visible enemies shooting poison darts at you is one such annoyance that had me more often than not swearing worse than Aoife in that Call of Duty video. Getting cursed is probably the biggest pain this game has to offer. The first time it happened to me I was so confused and shocked by how quickly my character died it took me a few minutes to notice my health bar. My heart sank, I thought F*ck this game...but I never stopped playing.

Admittedly I rented this game the week it came out and I did not have internet at the time. So I was completely alone. Knight Solaire was mistaken for an ''enemy with cool armour'' and promptly bit the dust. Then the Tarus Demon just had to ruin everything. I found it too hard, I hated it and didnt play it again after that 1st few hours.

Only after reading more about it did I want to give it another crack. I was glad I did. Having my internet in I found the game more enjoyable and easier to get into. The summoning ability is a life saver when you are a low level and a complete noob. I quickly learned about parrying and backstabbing just from watching summoned players, I even manged to best a few invaders along the way also.

Ill agree that after one or 2 complete play throughs the game is the exact same every time, unless you change characters classes. Knowing where every enemy is does get boring, especially as they stay completely still until you approach them.
There is no denying the world is beautifully created, even more so when it finally hits you that everything is connected.
I would love to be able to explore this world all over and discover things as if I was playing it for the 1st time. Its been said before but beating a boss in this game is more rewarding than any other game out there.

But there will always be people who say its too hard and its crap. And to them I say if you don't like it then no one is forcing you to play it. This game isn't being forced into your life the same way as some other games are.

Call of Duty for example with its Michael Bay-esque tv adverts with explosion after explosion and the ''cool celebrities'' saying how awesome it is to blow sh*t up and high five afterwards because that was so awesome that it refines awesome...yeah totally awesome bro. Not to mention the games themselves are the same every goddamn year.
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby RedBelmont » 14 Apr 2013, 14:24

ghost whistler wrote:There is no detail. If you can stand to make it to Blighttown you will be attacked and poisoned by mobs using poison darts that you cannot see.

The whole game relies on tediousness and offers nothing to sate the experience.

People seem to think that lack of features is a welcome feature. 'there are no waypoints'. This is absurdity; the reason such features have evolved to become part of game design is because they work, and because players don't want to spend time wasted doing tediuos busywork. Unfortunately the 'hardcore' players have convinced themselves this is 'handholding' - as if that kind of petulant arrogance elevates them to something more than they are: it's a video game. It's not real life.

There is nothing to engage you, nothing to pull you in and the lack of a proper save system was the final straw for me. There are plenty of other and better games than this.


That may be your opinion but personally I think Dark Souls is my favourite game of all time. I'm not gonna argue why with anyone as if you don't like the game by now then there's nothing I can say to change your mind.

I just wanted to say thanks to OXM for posting this feature, it brought back some fond memories of my first playthrough and thought it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. That was a good idea early on to tackle the game in such a co-operative way and totally agree with what was said about how despite being a single-player game it's very much a co-operative experience. Great stuff and bring on Dark Souls II :D
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby fracturedrich » 14 Apr 2013, 14:33

ghost whistler wrote:Dark Souls is one of the worst games I have ever played. It is ugly, poorly explained, broken and far too difficult to be enjoyable. That gamers hype this poorly designed rubbish tells me everything I need to know about the parlous state of this hobby. Games should be enjoyable, they should accomodate the player at any skill level and not rely on poorly programmed frustration as a game mechanic. I would have hoped they wouldn't be making any more of this rubbish.

You are talking complete rubbish,you are moaning about a game because it,s to hard,you need to trade in your computer a buy a ds,ive heard that the games on the handheld are really easy,ive heard the lego series will suit you down to the ground.Dark souls was a ground breaking game and everyone i no rate it as the best game of all time.
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby pg99 » 14 Apr 2013, 15:15

ghost whistler wrote:I don't need to do anything, silly boy.

I don't need to play games like Dark Souls either. Games need to appeal to me not the other way around.

Dark Souls' problem isn't that it's difficult, it's that it's just frustrating because of the tedious rewardless repetition. If i'm not getting soemthign from the game/experience, then that game/experience is doing it wrong.

I also don't care what call of duty does; that's apples and oranges as far as I'm concerned.

I can guarantee that if there were more decent games around at the time this rubbish was released none, but a sad few 'cool' p[eople would have given it a second glance. Sadly the last 3 years at least has been a complete desert of creativity for the xbox.


Like what? You get weapons, armour etc and a sense of achievement (or at least relief). I haven't got very far in the game and I'm struggling with a boss but I still want to keep playing because I know I'm getting better. I find the game fun, the battles are difficult but fair and if you don't stay alert (paying attention to your stamina bar etc) then you get punished. I like all kinds of games, this happened to be one that appealed to me (although only recently). I'm not an RPG fanatic but I like the RPG elements in this. The game can get fairly repetitive, but at least you are getting souls for your time. And no game in recent years has given me the feeling of panic I had the first time I got invaded (causing me to hide behind a wall with my shield up :lol:). I find the game quite thrilling, I think they got the atmosphere right. I'm sure I would have enjoyed this game no matter what other games were released at the time. Saying that people would be sad for liking it just makes you sound bitter.
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby OXM Aoife » 14 Apr 2013, 15:38

Each to their own of course, but I love this game, and I think one of the reasons why (which this article alludes to beautifully) is the sense of support and camaraderie that arises when you're playing it and relaying your experiences to people that can both help and empathise with your struggles.
The first time I attempted Dark Souls I played it entirely alone/offline and found it utterly frustrating. I didn't get very far.
The next time I attempted it, I had a support group. I was being encouraged by several people who had either completed it or were slightly further along than I was. Their advice and authoritative insight made me determined to succeed myself, and I felt genuinely euphoric every time a minor victory was achieved.

As to the art direction, I love it. Sure, some textures may be ugly, but the overall look and feel they're trying to achieve with the world is exceptionally well thought out. It's especially satisfying to look up the concept art for each boss after you've vanquished them.
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby Johnbhoy69 » 14 Apr 2013, 15:47

pg99 wrote:I haven't got very far in the game and I'm struggling with a boss but I still want to keep playing because I know I'm getting better.


Need a hand?
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby fracturedrich » 14 Apr 2013, 16:25

OXM Aoife wrote:Each to their own of course, but I love this game, and I think one of the reasons why (which this article alludes to beautifully) is the sense of support and camaraderie that arises when you're playing it and relaying your experiences to people that can both help and empathise with your struggles.
The first time I attempted Dark Souls I played it entirely alone/offline and found it utterly frustrating. I didn't get very far.
The next time I attempted it, I had a support group. I was being encouraged by several people who had either completed it or were slightly further along than I was. Their advice and authoritative insight made me determined to succeed myself, and I felt genuinely euphoric every time a minor victory was achieved.

As to the art direction, I love it. Sure, some textures may be ugly, but the overall look and feel they're trying to achieve with the world is exceptionally well thought out. It's especially satisfying to look up the concept art for each boss after you've vanquished them.

I have the limited edition,the art book what comes with that is stunning.It is the only game where someone can invade you with the worst timing,like within reach of that bonfire,then come back to help you with that boss you have been stuck on for hours.I have good friends from all over the world that i speak to every day because of dark souls,for a game with no voice chat option,this is quite something.
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby Metalrodent » 14 Apr 2013, 16:31

heh I haven't even considered buying this due to the difficulty, I will one day though
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby TronZler » 14 Apr 2013, 17:04

Woah what have i done?
It wasn't until Dark Souls II was mentioned,that i started to hear about this unique game. Old school gaming you say? I'm definatly old school but now after this well timed article (thanks OXM!) i can't help but have a hint of fear and trepidation about this weird unknown wolrd i'm about to enter,where seemingly,if i've followed this article right,tells you nothing to aid you.
I ordered Dark Souls :Prepare to Die addition last thursday ya see,after i watched the trailer for Dark Souls II then heard all these discussions about it's predecessor.
Now though,i expect when it comes through my letterbox around tuesday it shall be followed by a large thunderous BANG as it hits the ground,an then the sweating starts!
Good times or bad to follow,we shall see ...
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby Rewave Acid » 14 Apr 2013, 19:00

"without realising that a simple exploit of his attack pattern"

But it really isn't though! Cheating my way through a boss gives me no satisfaction, and honestly dying so many times going through the same enemies and losing so many total souls just to figure out a weakness through either deceit or trial and error is a rubbish way for a game to work.
However the graphics weren't a problem, the world was immersive and beautiful, well thought out with absolutely phenomenal dark fantasy monster design. I just wish it didn't laugh at you and punish you so much for straying off the beaten track and trying new things. However it definitely is better with a 'support group'. Also the messages on the floor and the ghost thingymabobs were pretty woeful to be honest, a really confusing system. Maybe others found it more helpful though!

This has been compared strongly with Monster Hunter, and my personal opinion would be to say that while the two games aim for the same level of graft->reward, i think Monster Hunter nails it in a way Dark Souls can't even fathom. Just my thoughts :) (out of curiosity has anyone else played MH here?)
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby pg99 » 14 Apr 2013, 19:29

Rewave Acid wrote:"without realising that a simple exploit of his attack pattern"

But it really isn't though! Cheating my way through a boss gives me no satisfaction, and honestly dying so many times going through the same enemies and losing so many total souls just to figure out a weakness through either deceit or trial and error is a rubbish way for a game to work.
However the graphics weren't a problem, the world was immersive and beautiful, well thought out with absolutely phenomenal dark fantasy monster design. I just wish it didn't laugh at you and punish you so much for straying off the beaten track and trying new things. However it definitely is better with a 'support group'. Also the messages on the floor and the ghost thingymabobs were pretty woeful to be honest, a really confusing system. Maybe others found it more helpful though!

This has been compared strongly with Monster Hunter, and my personal opinion would be to say that while the two games aim for the same level of graft->reward, i think Monster Hunter nails it in a way Dark Souls can't even fathom. Just my thoughts :) (out of curiosity has anyone else played MH here?)


I was interested in it a while ago but never bought, it definitely looks like it's is more forgiving of those with less free time though, so I think I can understand where you are coming from. Yea Dark Souls can be pretty harsh if you don't progress in the optimal order, but to be fair I was rewarded for straying off the beaten path thanks to my ability to run from enemies, as I was able to grab a winged spear from the graveyard which helped me a lot with Undead Burg. I found the messages to be helpful. One saved me from taking damage from an archer. I have seen a few of them telling players to jump, even though it looked like I would most likely fall to my death if I did so. All part of the fun imo, although one of them did lead me to a glitched corner which I was stuck in for a while. I wondered about the ghosts at first, but it was nothing that distracted me or negatively affected me. I actually think it's a great system, the messages are the opposite of woeful for me, the ghosts aren't really necessary but they remind me I'm not the only one on this arduous journey.
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby kronk10 » 15 Apr 2013, 08:58

First of all this was not a review just a feature on how a game can quickly make up its own community dragons dogma did the same thing! And second of all this game is MARMITE i love it, i have not completed it yet but i find it fun and i have laughed my ass off plenty when you plainly see that its trolling you. I just hate it when people who do not like it come on here and say its the worst game ever and when people who love the game spout crap that the people who do not like it cannot play the game because its to hardcore etc etc Just be thankful developers are still making games that divide opinion so much because if they did stop making games like dark souls we would all be playing the same old boring crap every year :roll:
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Re: Reviewing Dark Souls: the (Email) Chain of Pain

Postby Insaneyokel » 15 Apr 2013, 09:43

After seeing my big brother launch a controller across the room when he was playing it on his Xbox I thought I might give it a miss. Have to say it probably wasn't the best Xmas pressie I ever bought, or maybe it was, the swearing and ranting was quite funny :twisted:
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