03 Nov

We’ve read your comments, and we get it. You want a Dark Souls video review. But what you should have been doing was watching our live playthrough of Dark Souls on our twitch.tv channel where we played the game from start to finish! Our head livecaster even posted a death counter for everyone to see how many times he died and kept it up to date in real time!


It's a dark fantasy geek's dream come true.

But, we’ve shuffled some priorities around for our fans and decided to put together a video review for Dark Souls. Just a fair warning though: anyone who is a diehard fan of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, cover your eyes. You may not like what we have to say.

A few years ago, our Demon’s Souls video review was one of our earliest hits. We gave the game some much needed media coverage. And the game itself was original, innovative, challenging, and to put it simply, it was a breath of fresh air in a market crowded with shooters. It took a western-themed fantasy action-RPG and injected it with some Eastern flavors.

But now Dark Souls is here, the semi-sequel / semi-spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls evil throne. This time around, it’s available for both the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, so 360 owners get to see what PS3 owners have been chanting about in cult circles for a few years now.

Dark Souls is set in a fantasy realm turned nightmare. You are one of the many undead denizens trapped inside its spiritual walls, awaiting your inevitable doom. Lucky for you, fate intercedes and you fight for your freedom, and more importantly, your humanity. You choose one of many pre-set classes before you begin your adventure making it easier for those new to the game to follow a path for leveling purposes. But those familiar to Demon’s Souls already know, your class easily gets molded to reflect your playstyle. So becoming a mage, does not mean you have to be stuck waving a wand around. And as you continue, you slay dragons, giants, your fellow undead, and more and collect their souls.

Souls are the game’s one all-encompassing currency. You use them buy new or repair equipment, and of course, you use them to level up and boost your stats at one of the bonfires found along the way.


However–and here’s where Dark Souls retains its Demon’s Souls difficulty–if you die, you lose all your souls and they’re left in a steamy pile where you collapsed. In your second try, if you manage to make it back to your blood pool, you can recollect your lost souls. However, if you die on the way to your marker, you lose all your souls and have to start building all over again with 0. At first, this level of punishment isn’t so bad, but in later levels when you need over 20,000 souls to level up and improve your stats by a whopping one or two points, it can get frustrating.

Every enemy encountered in the game is a challenge. If you’re caught unaware, they can all take you to meet your maker. Which means that most of the bosses are an EXTRA challenge, especially since they’re typically found far away from spawn points.

Pew! Lazahs!

We absolutely welcome the challenge and love how it makes us flex our nerdy video game muscles. However, most of the game becomes less about the skills and precise timing needed to defeat monsters, and more about learning how the game glitches and then exploiting those glitches. We’ve defeated giant bridge-defending red dragons with a single arrow only because of an exploit, and we’re not the only ones to have done it. We’ve slain other bosses without taking a single hit, and we’ve taken advantage of locations in the game that allows the quick and easy farming of souls of high value enemies. After you’ve beaten the game once and you’ve learned all the tricks of the trade, the game becomes a cakewalk. That’s a big red X in our book.

However, the game retains the same fantastic invasion system of co-op and PvP from Demon’s Souls which is a big plus. Invading and summoning depends a great deal on every players individual network, so it can get pretty buggy. There’s already been one patch for the game’s multiplayer, and it desperately needs a second.

Graphically, the game is on par with current offerings. It doesn’t do much to really wow the players. And occasionally, there is some significant slowdown when there is too much action on the screen.

Compared to Demon's Souls, these bosses are easy.

The vistas are very pretty and fans of typical “knight and dragon” fantasies will enjoy this dark escapism. The labyrinthine passageways of the main castle and its surroundings are a true triumph in environmental design. You discover how the entire map is interlinking and not built in standalone chunks.

Finally, and this is a mixed point, everything in the game is up to the player. Finding out where to go, discovering how to use the kindling system, learning how to upgrade specific items, learning which items remove ridiculous status afflictions… everything is up to the player. On one hand, it’s great to not have the game constantly tell you which button is the attack button. There are no annoying quick time events. And there are no “spam X to live” moments. But on the other hand, to get a full understanding of the game and even the game’s storyline, you need to pick up the strategy guide or visit a ton of Dark Souls wiki sites and walkthroughs.

But if you’re a big fan of fantasy games, Dark Souls is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a 360 owner and haven’t had the chance to try out Demon’s Souls. If you’re a Demon’s Souls fan like us, then you’re going to love it. It’s more of the same, and the game is practically tailor made for you. However, it is NOT a game for everyone. The learning curve is steep. The challenge level is through the roof for current game offerings. And to be blunt, the line that divides this game will separate it into people that love it and people that hate it.

We can’t recommend anyone rushing out and buying it straight away unless you’re already a fan of Demon’s Souls. We wholeheartedly recommend renting it first or borrowing it from a friend. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have more dragons to slay.


– – – – – – –

Name: Dark Souls

Available on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Developed by: From Software

Published by: Namco Bandai

Release date: September 22, 2011

EG Score: 3 out of 5 / “Worth Trying”

5 thoughts on “Dark Souls Video Review”

  1. My two biggest gripes with Dark Souls (from what i get from the casts and reviews) are related to making my usual female character.

    a) She’s gonna look hideous as f*ck in hollow state, which damages all sort of vanity i’ll get from playing Barbies with her.

    And b) they added a new “feminine” running animation that just dumb and ridiculous. I’ll hate it all the way.

    I’ll probably make a male character, but you know, guys are fugly…

  2. At the start about 0:23, when that purple thing is biting you it reminds me so much of the firts 3 Resident Evil games, he animations and hahah =P

    @zkylon, the guys in that game are ‘fugly’? kind of like Elder Scrolls IV, look like they all got the plague haha(brilliant game, one of my all time favourites) =P

    Might seem weird to alot of people but Demon Souls I prefered to watch a friend play than to play it myself, just one of those kind of games, this is the same =/

    Very nice review and that’s kind putting priorities out the way JUST to keep fans happy =)

    That ‘losing all your souls’ punishment sounds disgraceful, you make one mistake(and it’s a game so it might make one for you) and you have to restart at the beginning? and I’m guessing it’s a VERY long game?

    Sounds like the developers of this game are taking the game way too seriously.

    1. It’s kind of a wrong argument about Demon/Dark Souls that you lose everything when you die. Basically, yes, you have to go to the beginning and if you die twice you lose your souls but you retain the most important things: the items you’ve picked up and, more importantly, your knowledge of the map’s layout, traps, monsters’ attack patterns, etc. And even then, you can activate shortcuts to move forward easier.

      It’s a very methodical experience, but Demon’s Souls is pretty much about all what’s good about games.

  3. And @Randy, one other thing, at the end you said “excuse us, we have more dragons to slay” – oh yeah, on this game or are you already playing Elder Scrolls V Skyrim? =)

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