PSXGAMEREVIEW

Dark Souls

Dark Souls continues the relentless challenge that Demon’s Souls offered two years ago. The game is bigger in terms of the journey as there are several winding paths that can take you through many different areas instead of having warps for each specific world. It is a great indirect sequel and did not try to fix what was not broken but at the same time giving you something different. Dark Souls is a welcome challenge and satisfies those that want more Souls games.

Presentation: This game is huge. Taking place in the Kingdom of Lordran, you are a dead soul who has been tasked to light the First Kiln. Fire is a huge plot point for this game because the former king of this kingdom used it as a means to fight off the dragons that ruled this world. The story is put together in pieces as you meet NPCsYour journey takes you from castle ruins to underground dragon caverns, infested swamps, the palace of Anor Londo, and other mideval locales.

Again, the world is expansive. In order to decrease the tread to a tiresome board, the player can warp at firepits. These are used as saving points throughout the game which could be a welcome to some players instead of having to start the stage all over again. Some might complain that this makes the game easier but there is a catch to saving. All the enemies respawn every time you save. This is a great concept and keeps the challenge up.

The soul system stayed the same but now you can modify your armor not just the weapons. This can lead to just focusing on farming for the materials that are needed for some players who like to collect items. Another addition to this game is the covenant system. There are NPCs around the world that can offer you an exclusive membership to their covenant group if you meet certain requirements. This can fetch you some nifty items for personal use or for multi-player mode which is as popular as its predecessor.

Graphics: Dark Souls is a more vibrant game. The graphics are great and the character models are even more refined this time. The different areas of Lordran range from grassy knolls to burning Again, I can say that the bosses are a joy to look at (if you have time battling them) and are some of the best designs that the PS3 can offer. The only issue could be the lag in time while moving across the Swamp lands (later fixed with a patch).

Sound: The same formula applies here. No music while you journey Lordran but when you fight a boss battle be prepared to hear a darker and more frightful soundtrack this time around. One that will stick in your head (because it’s memorable and so is the battle) is a fight that pits you against two bosses at the same time in Anor Londo. The voice acting although short is good as well.

Control: The control has not changed at all from Demon’s Souls which people will appreciate. Again you can roll, switch weapons on the fly, the use of the shoulder buttons for combat and the square button for item use. A welcome addition is the L2 shield block. If timed right you can stun an enemy with the R2 special block and leave them stunned for an open R1 attack. This does not work with all enemies but makes a one on one battle more strategized.

FromSoftware has produced another masterpiece. Dark Souls and its expansive journey continues the great series for fans and newcomers alike. Again, the game can be unforgiving but something about this series keeps you coming back for more.

UPDATE:
In 2012 a DLC was added named Artorias of the Abyss. This content leads the player to a secret world within a timeflux to do battle with four bosses and new locales. The added lore helps explain what happened to Artorias and his comrades. In the end the player fights the entity that will inevitably be a key figure in the Dark Souls series. This content would help Dark Souls solidify itself as the top notch RPG for the PS3, even topping Mass Effect 2 which was initially ranked higher.

Score: 9.4

2011 Game Awards
5th Place Overall Game of the Year (PS3/PS2)
2nd Place Best RPG (PS3)
3rd Place Best Multiplayer/Co-op (PS3)