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Review RPG Codex Review: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die

Crooked Bee

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Tags: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die; From Software; Namco Bandai

Dark Souls is an action RPG developed by Japanese company From Software (King's Field, Shadow Tower, Armored Core) and originally released last year for PS3 and Xbox360, with Namco Bandai as publisher. In August 2012, a PC port of the game with additional content, Dark Souls: Prepare to Die, saw the light of day. So how is the port? Average Manatee and praetor have set out to find out. In contrast to Average Manatee's general review of the game, praetor's review focuses mainly on the new content and the quality of the port. Have a snippet from Average Manatee's piece:

Dark Souls intentionally leaves only bits and pieces for the player to piece together from the little that NPCs you meet may tell you and the information you find from various historical artifacts. This may have been a lost art of storytelling in games, but expect no plot dispenser NPCs who will sit with you while you make your way through a 10-layer deep dialog tree of interrogation. Don't expect your all-knowing journal to track and summarize every plot detail you have found to hand you a cohesive narrative on a platter. Certainly expect no villains to appear and detail their dastardly plan while twirling their mustache and insulting the impudence of daring to face them. Arguably there isn't even a real antagonist in the game beyond the world itself. Only a large cast of characters big and small, most of them struggling to maintain their grip on life and sanity. Some of them are failing, and some you will cause to fail.

Along with not feeding you the plot on a platter, Dark Souls is equally mysterious about the choices you have to make. Because in the end, Dark Souls is a game about actions, not dialog choices. It expects you to figure out what your choices are and make one for yourself. Where some games may permit inaction, in Dark Souls that's the quick route to getting multiple NPCs that provide essential services killed. It's also entirely possible that the majority of players won't even realize the existence of a decision between alternate endings, so subtle and natural a thing it is.

Or you can ignore everything entirely and coast through the game as a series of go here and kill stuff-quests. I've been assured from very reputable sources in the gaming industry that the quality of a plot is entirely irrelevant to a game based around swinging your sword to kill things.​

And a snippet from praetor's part of the review:

The DLC gives you access to 3 new levels "proper" plus a couple additional side areas. Disappointingly, one of them is a reworking of an old area - Royal Wood being essentially Darkroot Garden (and a part of Darkroot Basic) set in the past with new enemies, loot and bosses and some relatively minor structural changes - and another, The Chasm of Death, is rather small and dark, creating the impression of a mere "antechamber" to the final new boss.

The largest and by far the most interesting new area is the Oolacile Township with its slightly slanted architecture further emphasizing Dark Souls' dark, oppressive atmosphere. In a way, it reminds me of a darker, more evil Painted World of Ariamis. It is a bit of a pity that it is so short and rather straightforward structurally, and does not offer much in the way of side exploration. In that regard, it is similar to Anor Londo or New Londo Ruins, in that it looks very large but only parts of it are accessible and as a whole it is quite simple to navigate. The Battle of Stoicism also deserves a special mention. It consists of two in-game multiplayer arenas, Ruins and Dais, designed for players to engage in PvP sessions (free-for-all deathmatch, 2 vs 2 team games and 1vs1 duels) without interruptions from random invasions... At least in theory. Unfortunately, the randomness of the multiplayer system also affects the arena, and playing with/against specific people is even more of a hassle than doing it the old fashioned way via summoning signs. Not to mention that the entire arena concept seems somewhat out of place in the game.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die
 

Crooked Bee

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Screenshots dont show up for me in the article. :/

All of them? It's just that Average Manatee's screens are hosted at the Codex, and praetor's screens at Iforce. (Don't ask why.) If you're having problems with both, the problems might be on your end.

P.S. Anyone else have this problem?
 

Surf Solar

cannot into womynz
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Yep, not a single one is showing for me. I see the captions under the supposed pictures, but not the actual pictures.
 

Crooked Bee

(no longer) a wide-wandering bee
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Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Yep, not a single one is showing for me. I see the captions under the supposed pictures, but not the actual pictures.

I've honestly no idea, sorry. I tried loading the article in different browsers, when logged in and logged out, and even on a different computer. It loads fine for me, and no one else has complained so far...
 

Surf Solar

cannot into womynz
Joined
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Yep, not a single one is showing for me. I see the captions under the supposed pictures, but not the actual pictures.

I've honestly no idea, sorry. I tried loading the article in different browsers, when logged in and logged out, and even on a different computer. It loads fine for me, and no one else has complained so far...

Hm, I don't have any adblock activated or other scripts here too, strange. It's not a biggie though, I play the game my self so I know how it looks. ;)
 

Cynic

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In b4 console popamo...

oh wait...

:incline:

Let me be the first to demand a :praisethesun: icon.
 
Joined
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So now it's on PC, all it needs next is to head to the bargain bin. Then I will buy it and try it out.

My instinct tells me the game isn't nearly as good [for someone who likes western RPGs/ARPGs] as the fanboys seem to make out, and that there's a stronger Asian influence (including console influence) than it appears from a distance, and I'm not even referring to the horrible port. For those reasons I am reluctant and doubtful, but I'll be open to being surprised
 

Balor

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"Demoed" it a bit. Seems worth buying after all - definitely not popamole... nice scenery and atmosphere, too bad about graphics and optimizations.
Will wait for a few patches/mods, a sale and will certainly buy it someday. Right now I have a FNV with Dead Money to finish.
 

Cynic

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So now it's on PC, all it needs next is to head to the bargain bin. Then I will buy it and try it out.

My instinct tells me the game isn't nearly as good [for someone who likes western RPGs/ARPGs] as the fanboys seem to make out, and that there's a stronger Asian influence (including console influence) than it appears from a distance, and I'm not even referring to the horrible port. For those reasons I am reluctant and doubtful, but I'll be open to being surprised

Your instinct is wrong.
 

Metro

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Yeah but you liked Dungeon Siege 3. Re: DS -- I'm not a huge fan of the desolate/lonely world trope but I guess it is what it is and this game is 99% about combat which it seems to do quite well.
 

Zlaja

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My instinct tells me the game isn't nearly as good [for someone who likes western RPGs/ARPGs] as the fanboys seem to make out

:balance:
 
Joined
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The argument in the DS thread was always "if you like ARPGs, then DS is basically the best ever"

I don't know what it is but DS seems to have a really rabid and insecure fanbase that lashes out at anyone suggesting it isn't the best ARPG ever.

When people use the term "best ever" it's usually a decision determined mostly by personal taste than any more consistent measurement. Needs real emotional investment to reach such a conclusion
 

eric__s

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So now it's on PC, all it needs next is to head to the bargain bin. Then I will buy it and try it out.

My instinct tells me the game isn't nearly as good [for someone who likes western RPGs/ARPGs] as the fanboys seem to make out, and that there's a stronger Asian influence (including console influence) than it appears from a distance, and I'm not even referring to the horrible port. For those reasons I am reluctant and doubtful, but I'll be open to being surprised
Don't go into the game expecting to have fun from the beginning. Dark Souls requires a level of perception and caution that takes time to develop. Until you understand what the game wants from you, it's a frustrating, unenjoyable death cycle similar to Groundhog Day. Stick with it, be persistent and you'll have a rewarding experience.
 

Gruia

Educated
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Aug 23, 2012
Messages
53
the best ever it is, but each player has different standards and values.
so many won't get to experience its greatness
 
Joined
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The argument in the DS thread was always "if you like ARPGs, then DS is basically the best ever"

I don't know what it is but DS seems to have a really rabid and insecure fanbase that lashes out at anyone suggesting it isn't the best ARPG ever.

When people use the term "best ever" it's usually a decision determined mostly by personal taste than any more consistent measurement. Needs real emotional investment to reach such a conclusion

Replace DS with Fallout and make the Codex the fanbase and this is something a Bethestard would say upon arriving here.

I would hesitate to call any game "the best", but among its sub-genre of aRPGs DS is certainly one of the best.
 

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