About the Game (From the Steam Store)
Dark Souls is the new action role-playing game from the developers who brought you Demon’s Souls, FromSoftware. Dark Souls will have many familiar features: A dark fantasy universe, tense dungeon crawling, fearsome enemy encounters and unique online interactions. Dark Souls is a spiritual successor to Demon’s, not a sequel. Prepare for a new, despair-inducing world, with a vast, fully-explorable horizon and vertically-oriented landforms. Prepare for a new, mysterious story, centered around the the world of Lodran, but most of all, prepare to die. You will face countless murderous traps, countless darkly grotesque mobs and several gargantuan, supremely powerful demons and dragons bosses. You must learn from death to persist through this unforgiving world. And you aren’t alone. Dark Souls allows the spirits of other players to show up in your world, so you can learn from their deaths and they can learn from yours. You can also summon players into your world to co-op adventure, or invade other's worlds to PVP battle. New to Dark Souls are Bonfires, which serve as check points as you fight your way through this epic adventure. While rested at Bonfires, your health and magic replenish but at a cost, all mobs respawn. Beware: There is no place in Dark Souls that is truly safe. With days of game play and an even more punishing difficulty level, Dark Souls will be the most deeply challenging game you play this year. Can you live through a million deaths and earn your legacy?
Previous Play Time
I'm having trouble remembering at the moment, but I believe I rented this game before, but was unexpectedly busy that week and thus did not play it for more than an hour or so. I may be thinking of another game, though. It didn't make much of an impression on me, whatever it was.
I have heard about Dark Souls by reputation, though. Its legendary difficulty has piqued my curiosity, but I doubt I would ever have gotten around to it, if it weren't for the generosity of Madcat.
I've played the occasional difficult action game before. I beat Bayonetta and Viewtiful Joe (on average difficulty). So, I feel like I have a reasonable idea about the trajectory of this sort of game - frustration, incremental improvement, a brief period of mastery before the difficulty increases again. I'd like to say that means I'll be able to handle it with equanimity. However, I've yet to play a hardcore action game that did not make me swear profusely.
I think that's how you can tell if it's a good one.