Dark Souls Xbox 360 Review
One thing I've decided to do with my time here on Hubpages is to write reviews on games I have played or games I am currently playing as video games have been, and still are, a large part of my life. So expect a good few articles and reviews on video games from me over the time I spend on here, I do hope these interest you and I hope you enjoy my articles, thanks!
As you can see, this article is a review of the video game "Dark Souls" for the Playstation 3, PC and the Xbox 360, I played this title on the Xbox so all my comments are on the basis of playing it on that console, so without further ado, let the review begin!
Dark souls at first would look like your traditional RPG like "The Elder Scrolls" or "Fable" and you would be right in some respects as it features fighting with swords, magic and bows, character customisation, a variety or armor/clothing for characters and a levelling system for your character. However Dark souls incorporates all this very well but from a different angle entirely.
The story is extremely vague throughout the game as the main focus is fighting and conquering the many bosses within the game. In my experience I really did not know what I was fighting for in the first playthrough, I had to play through the game again and do some reading on the internet to understand the plot fully, however this shouldn't put you off the game as the story seriously is not the focus of the game.
Still seem fairly generic in terms of RPG's? Well what sets it apart from other RPG's the most is..
How difficult the game is!!
Honestly, the game is well-known for it's high difficulty and it's Japanese developers knew what they were doing when they said they wanted players to feel the risk/reward feeling while playing the game. What I mean by that is that you can spend a while exploring somewhere interesting, collecting a massive amount of "souls" (souls are very important, they will be explained later) and just one wrong move can get you killed by a horde of vicious enemies which means you can lose ALL those hard earned souls in a mere second, it really gets your adrenaline going.
If you want a more in depth description of Dark Souls, here is the Wikipedia page:
Watch out for spoilers on the wikipedia page!
Here is a trailer for the game, after that I shall be discussing the good and bad of the game.
- Estus Flasks & the Bonfire System
Your most precious item in the whole game will be, without a doubt, Estus flasks. These are basically like health potions that can be upgraded to give more health with every flask. These are great as you can use them in the heat of battle if you get a chance and they are refillable at bonfires.
Bonfires are almost like checkpoints throughout the whole of the Dark Souls world, they are seen as the only real safe havens around. When visiting a bonfire, the player re-fills Estus Flasks upto how big the bonfire is, if the bonfire is small you may end up with 5 flasks, if it is big, it can have as many as 20. Other things the player can do is reverse hollowing to become human again which allows you to summon other players (will be touched on next) and increases some stats. They can do many more things but I think it's worth finding out for yourself.
- Mysterious Multiplayer
Players can help and hinder each other in the game. One way in which they can do this is by using the "Orange Soapstone". When this is used, the player can put down a message from a list of specific words anywhere on the ground that a player in their world can read. For example, someone could put "Beware of Trap Ahead" outside a door so other players are more cautious, however on the other side of the token, someone could write "Treasure Ahead" in front of that door and get other players ambushed without warning.
Another way in which players can interact is by summoning each other to help in boss battles. If someone has not defeated a boss in an area yet and is human, they can look for a summon sign on the ground put down by another player in their world who is 10% within the other players level and summon them to help out in the battle, each player gets souls for coming out victorious in the battle.
I like the type of multiplayer the developers have imbued into Dark Souls, it is mysterious almost and allows players the choice to do good or bad.
- Souls & the Levelling System
Souls are collected from killing enemies, generally the tougher the enemy, the more souls they give. How levelling works is that you need a certain amount of souls to add one point to either Vitality, Endurance, Strength, Dexterity, Resistance, Intelligence, Attunement or Faith. Every time you add a point to one of these categories, your level advances by one and the amount of souls you need to increase your level again increases each time.
Levels need to be advanced to be able to use certain weapons effectively, for example, a heavy claymore may need a high strength to be able to wield without dragging it on the ground, or certain dexterity level to wield an advanced bow.
I like the levelling system in Dark Souls as it doesn't make it too easy to become strong, but the prospect of making a strong character doesn't feel too much out of reach.
Here is a screenshot of the levelling screen which shows all stats etc.
- LOADS of Different Items, Weapons & Armor
One thing that makes a great RPG is the amount of different stuff you can get your hands on. You'll find no less than a plethora of interesting and epic looking armor & weapons. Weapons come in all shapes and sizes from a broken sword hilt, to a DragonKing Greataxe. Not only is there a lot of weapons to choose from, blacksmiths can upgrade your weapons as well as modify them to give them effects such as fire damage or an increase in damage depending on your stats. If you like a large amount of different bows, blades, axes etc in your RPG's, Dark Souls delivers.
Armor in the game looks epic to say the least. it can make you look anything from a golden paladin, to the grim reaper himself. As well as weapons, certain stats may have to be met to wear certain armor effectively, if these are not met, you will be slow and unable to dodge attacks in your armor. A balance between speed and defence is key.
There are many different items in the game that so many different things. For example. humanity will restore your health and turn you human, while an eye of death will let you invade another players world. Be sure to find uses for your items as you can't sell items until later into the game.
- Well thought-out Enemies & Bosses
Dark souls prides itself on having a variety of different enemies and bosses to fight with. Each with a different type of fighting style, from brute strength to casting devastating spells. You can see just by looking at the bosses that a lot of thought has went into each. This makes your journey in Dark Souls very interesting and surprising as you have no idea what you will encounter next.
Here is a picture of one of the bosses, Chaos Witch Quelaag.
- Beautiful Scenery + Good Graphics
You'll find plenty of Orange Soapstones saying "Gorgeous View" in certain parts of the game, this is players appreciating the scenery within the game, the last thing you'd expect in a violent and black game like this. Maybe it's to show that not all is doom and gloom? Either way it's sure to catch your eye at some point in the game.
- Framerate Issues
In one particular place in Dark Souls called Blighttown, there is too much going on in the screen frequently for the console to keep up, resulting in chopping frames which take a few seconds to catch up. In some instances this can pose problems in fights in such. However In my opinion it isn't a major problem, you will still be able to navigate through Blighttown without any problems, but no doubt you'll notice that the framerate does suffer.
- Less-than-Convincing NPC's
You'll probably find yourself laughing at the monotonous giggling of NPC's, seriously, most of the NPC's with laugh at the end of whatever they say. Plus some things the NPC's say are just downright weird. For example, a knight who helps you throughout parts of the game may say this if you talk to him. "You really are fond of talking to me aren't you? If I didn't know any better, I'd say you have feelings for me! Hahaha!". Very creepy indeed.
So yea, the NPC's are a fairly big let down, seriously don't expect any in-depth conversation with them, they're nothing like the NPC's in Skyrim.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing Dark Souls, it provides a challenge to those who are used to the generic RPG set-up of being some sort of "hero", as in Dark Souls you are just another guy who can be killed by any other guy with a weapon, there's no second chances.
The game has a lot of re-play value as you can enter New Game+ after completing the game where you are the same character with all your stuff and all your experience but the world is much tougher, this has kept me coming back and coming back for a new challenge.
This is honestly one of the greatest RPG's I have ever played on the Xbox 360 and I thoroughly recommend it to any hardcore gamer or RPG enthusiast up for a challenge!
FINAL SCORE: 8.5 OUT OF 10