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Praise The Sun I have beaten Dark Souls: But I still don't know what fans are raving about.



PRAISE THE SUN / VICTORY IS MINE!

Finally I beat Dark Souls. I started playing Dark Souls a couple of years ago but took very long breaks in between because I never really was able to dedicate the time and energy it asked for. Until these last few months. I played it when I could and explored and experienced as much as my version allowed me until I thought that enough is enough. Strangely however that after the game ending and starting all over again I could not resist to find out how much stronger the enemies were. Seeing how I was leveled up considerably they are not threatening at all and now got to a point that previously would take me days to get. I don't think I really see the need to play it again although curiosity concerning my skill set does beckon me. Have I really improved my skills that much? I must have some but I think the better equipment and items is what truly makes the difference. Most of overcoming the difficulties is recognizing actions and patterns but first and foremost you must have a lot of patience. You can't just waltz into a room or level and think you will get on top. Every mistake you make will be severely punished unless you are one of the lucky few. Of course if you have played this game for hours and hours you will get to know the mechanics well. Usually your gaming only will be affected if you are tired and lose focus.

So what do I think of this game? When I first started playing I thought the game was ultra sadistic and no fun at all. After sticking with it and being able to upgrade my gear and character I saw that most of the dangers and threat only looked more intimidating than they were. However I still think that some areas and bosses are cheap. Good example is the Capra Demon. A boss that is already quite challenging on his own is made more so because he is accompanied by two dogs and you are forced to fight in a cramped room.  You can defend this all you want but that is cheap. The fact that you also have some tools and means to make the odds even doesn't negate it's cheapness. Still at one point I could appreciate it that the game forced me to be zen always and overcome the obstacles within the possibilities given. It is here where the games shines. Dark Souls has so many items, weapons, magical powers and what not. It boggles the mind. I think I explored pretty much everything I could explore excluding the DLC and I am certain of it that I missed some stuff. The world you play in is huge. That being said the game does not really open up to you until you follow a certain path first enabling you to find keys and shortcuts making life in Lordrand so much easier. The first time you do this you are reminded every step you make that the game wants you dead. Even very late in the game you still can easily be killed by the lowest of enemies if you are not paying attention. That is something you have to accept about Dark Souls. But even if you fully embrace this you still will not find that much fun to be had with this game. Only with certain parts and bosses did I feel a sense of accomplishment.

Because the one thing that is bothering me since I started playing this game is how the fans keep saying how rewarding it is. I have finished the game and chose the supposed good ending. My reward a cutscene that lasts twenty seconds plus the game starts all over again granted with most of what you collected still in your possession. (The bad ending. I checked on Youtube is longer and one that makes more sense to me. Go figure that.) And yes I get it. The discovery and victories achieved can be seen as rewarding for the hard work you put in. Is it enough though? I don't know. Even finding out of what is going on requires work. The few directions you get are cryptic as hell and the only way you can find more about it is if you literally check and examine every pixel and items you encounter. That might be fun for some people but for me who started out with old school adventure games on pc that always had been the least appealing element to adventuring. Usually the few hints you get involves defeating bosses to get the items they drop otherwise you are prevented from progressing. You need to do a lot to get very little in return. But at least those adventures provided you top notch storytelling throughout. It made you get involved into events on a more emotional and logical level. Here you are thrown into a world you know nothing off. You have no past whatsoever but somehow the happy few seem to know you are the chosen one. It is something you will have to accept. And only a few times in the dialogue with some NPC's will you feel like you are special. But apart from getting the required items the game doesn't explicitly tell you why you of all people are so perfect to be the one. On Youtube there are some fans who immersed themselves so much into the game that they have found meaning and understanding of what Dark Souls is about and have shared their thoughts to anybody who is interested. While one could admire someone for this dedication one could also ask him or herself if it is not taking things too far. Dark Souls fans seem to be completely obsessed by the game. Finding meaning in littlest of descriptions that may or may not have been intended. I for one are never impressed by abstract storytelling. Because that way you always can give your own explanation to events. I have a huge imagination. And it is very easy for me to fill in gaps or give my own take on things. However that goes against of what I expect from storytelling in general. I like to to be challenged with other people's ideas. I want to know what others think or experience so that I can give it some thought to see if I agree or not. It's very easy to keep things dark and abstract. It doesn't require much skill. To tell a fully detailed story where you connect all the dots is far harder and much more deserving of my time and respect.

Naturally the game has an appeal. The way it mocks you constantly and how you feel the need to show and tell the game that you do have what it takes to play and beat it. But that is all there is to it. Deep down it comes to you finding a way to beat what seems impossible and when you have another challenge awaits you. I do realize I just described the majority of video games. However most video games I play are fun while you are playing. It is exhilarating or exciting to destroy an enemy with a new found ability or skill. In Dark Souls it does not really matter how you kill as long as you manage to deflect or avoid them unless you have to fight them because the game requires you to do so. Ninja Gaiden on the XBOX was the first game that truly challenged me as and made me evolve as a gamer. It was THE game that made me appreciate that it could be fun to dedicate time to increase your skills. That game does reward your hard work in the most satisfying way. If you managed to defeat a difficult enemy you can honestly claim that it was you who did that. In Dark Souls the hit detection was so off sometimes that it seemed more like you had been lucky to get in the hits needed. Upgrading your character and weapons seemed to increase this luck factor. 

So what do I think? It certainly has been an experience. But whether it has been worth my time or a waste I honestly can't tell you. I just don't feel the same satisfaction as I do normally when completing video games. Normally I feel ecstatic and happy. Especially if the game was engrossing and made me immerse in a natural way. Now I felt like: "Wait, this is it? Oh well let's play it again to see if now it will be more fun." There is something real wrong with that. 

Edit 09-09-2016:
Apparently Dark Souls did have an impact on me since I have been so foolish enough to buy Dark Souls 2 and currently are playing it. I can't seem to let go of that game. In this sequel I had more moments where I felt like taking breaks only to do the opposite and face the obstacles head on. 




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