Having been an Elder Scrolls fan boy for a while now, I had originally decided to give Dark Souls a miss. Compared to the Elder Scrolls series, it seemed clunky, slow paced and boring, and with what seemed like an awfully told narrative. However, once one has completed Skyrim enough times, there’s only so much more you can stomach. So hey, I decided to finally give Dark Souls: Prepare to Die a go. And well.. yeah, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This article isn’t a review on the game, so I won’t go into too great detail, but I will say that Dark Souls is an EXTREMELY good game. One thing that it is NOT, however is an easy game. In fact, it’s easily the hardest game I’ve played on next-gen consoles, a generation which boasts a library of games known for being significantly easier than the previous generations. You will die. A lot. And you’ll probably find yourself sobbing to yourself when you do die for the 1,000th time that night. Possibly waking up at 4AM in a cold sweat, hating yourself for putting up such a pathetic fight every time you try to take on the Capra demon, before he beats you down so hard your momma feels it. Believe me, I’ve been there, I have the tear-soaked clothes to prove it. However, since I’m such a nice guy, and I would never wish such painful long nights on anyone, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to give you people some tips on exactly how NOT to die a thousand times when playing dark souls.
1. Know when to run like a girl
You won’t feel very manly for doing it, but you will save yourself from heartbreak. Dark Souls features a very penalizing death system; when you die, you basically lose all ‘souls’ you have accumulated through killing foes, which you use to spend on new gear. So when you’re sitting on a nice big pile of souls and you’re being beat down by someone bigger, badder and scarier than yourself, you’re probably better off running away and finding another route.
2. Control your anger
Seriously.. Dark Souls will make you very angry. You might even lose a girlfriend over it. You’ll be coming up with an inventive new form of cursing someone every time you die. However, getting your panties in a twist won’t help you. If you’re not bashing your TV with your control pad you’ll be running into enemies head on, screaming oaths of vengeance at them; which is an even easier way for you to die. Keep a calm head, measure your approach to enemies, and be patient.
3. Take a break
The 2nd night I played Dark Souls for the first time I spent about four hours trying to kill the Capra Demon to no avail. I was tired, cranky, semi-drunk and very emotional. So I went to sleep. I came back to it the next day and I killed him on my VERY first try. Can you imagine how pissed off I must have been? Sometimes you just need a break in life. Time away from your busy schedule to bathe in the sunlight, soak in the pool, take walks in the moonlight.. enjoy the simple things in life. The same thing applies to Dark Souls. Take a break, think it over and come back, you’ll find yourself approaching things from a whole new angle, which usually pays off.
4. Learn to read
Dark souls features a very unique feature which allows you to leave messages on the ground which other players around the world can read providing they’re connected to the internet by way of using in-built templates. The nice people will use these templates to help other people out and warn people of any ambush waiting around the corner, or the best strategy to defeat a boss, or maybe even tell you about a hidden passage.. obviously these kind of message can be EXTREMELY helpful to you. No more tears! The not so nice people will leave random, blatantly obvious, sometimes downright mean messages. “ Try Jumping” next to a cliff edge. “Happiness Ahead” outside of the Capra’s lair(don’t get me started on that dude again..). A corpse bent over a well with an “imminent rear” message emblazoned at its feet. These messages aren’t so helpful.. but hey, a bit of laughter always softens the pain!
5. Don’t play the game
With all this said, maybe it’s better if you didn’t play dark souls at all. Dark Souls is not the kind of game to play if you have serious problems with patience. If you’re an angry guy.. yeah, you’ll have problems there too. Stick to Call of Duty, kid. Nothing is more badass than killing whiney 12 year olds online and calling their mum fat, right? If you’re ready to give yourself to a life of misery, and looking for a challenge the next time you turn on your gaming machine, give Dark Souls a try. It’s an extremely hard game, but that only serves to make it such an incredibly rewarding and morale boosting game when you finally do manage to be good at it. Which might take a while.