Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - 10/20 hours

Dark Souls has inspired in me a complex stew of emotions. The highs are pretty good - arriving in Undead Parish after hours of slogging through Undead Burg felt incredibly satisfying. But the price for this is that the lows are pretty low - dying a dozen times in the opening area of Undead Burg and having to walk back from the Undead Burg bonfire is . . . less than satisfying.

My overall opinion of the game is generally positive. Exploring, when done with care, is fairly rewarding, and now that I've got a couple more hours practice, I'm starting to move forward more than I'm sliding back. However, I also find it incredibly frustrating. Both for the obvious reasons, and because of little things - like the lack of a pause function.

I understand that Dark Souls has a strong online component, and as a result, pausing is not really part of its core gameplay, but it's so damned inconvenient for my particular circumstances. Most of my game playing is done at work (I know, I know, I've got the world's easiest job), where I have several hours a night to fill, but those hours have around a dozen sudden interruptions. Since, of course, I must drop everything to deal with customers, this has led to a lot of unnecessary deaths. Maybe that's not something I should blame on the game, but pausing is such a basic quality of life feature that I can't help thinking it a major design misstep to leave it out.

I don't think I'm going to make it to the end of the game by 20 hours (and, honestly, I can't even imagine what the end will be like because it has been so long since I've advanced the plot), and I'm not yet sure if I want to take it all the way. Dark Souls definitely has a way of getting under my skin, but it also has a way of filling me with despair. Only time will tell which tendency will win out.

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