Dark souls opens doors and is such a breath of fresh air for me.

My inner pessimist and optimist were in complete agreement that I should wait before booting the game up.  One wined, a single player game hasn’t held my interest for more then an hour or too in so very long.  The other pleaded, so many people enjoy this game, it might not hold up to the hype, so save it for later.

Two weekends ago, later finally arrived.  I was an idiot for waiting so long. Simply put, this game kindled my enthusiasm for single player games again.

I had grown tired.  FPS’s put me against dumb AI.  Dead spaces, Bioshocks, Skyrim, Tomb Raider all did this. Not to say they weren’t fun in different ways but what they lacked in mechanics and AI they hoped to make up for in story and presentation. As a gamer that isn’t afraid to pick up a book I require a bit more in story to hold my interest.

Not to imply that games can’t tell amazing stories.  Most games just don’t manage it.

As an example, I beat through Bioshock Infinite solely to see as much of the amazing world and performances as I could. The game play almost completely broke immersion and boiled down to killing waives of enemys till you could move to the next room.  Most of the weapons and powers amounted to just a few actually mechanically different options.

Gaming is still my major hobby.  That time is spent in multiplayer.

Dark souls introduced me to a game that didn’t sacrifice game play for story or presentation and a world were AI wasn’t the focus.  In dark souls the focus is mastery of the mechanics.  Enemy’s are predictable but vary in difficulty not only by level, but my the build you chose.  So each build you create changes the game so much.  What was tough then is now easy and you are forced to come up with different approaches, which in turn makes me want to try other builds.

Much of Dark souls is completely a mystery to the first time player.  Which can make for a steep learning curve.  Items of value can easily be wasted or passed over.  Once I realized that the game was supposed to be about exploration.  I wasn’t afraid to just start over and try something new. It can be punishing but restarting is fun and feels like a world of new options.

This so far sounds like a game review, which is not.  I just want to explain where I am in terms of single player and Multi-player.

Other games do this but in much smaller scales.  Binding of Issac comes to mind.  Starting over and getting different items to beat through the game a very different way.

That scale of difference is what makes me so much want to just jump in to Dark Souls right now and try something new.  Everything in Dark Souls is build for a unique experience.  Almost every weapon, even the ones you start with, have potential to be amazing. There is no ‘best’ weapon.  It all depends on how you want to use it.

Even the Multi-player in dark souls is unique every run through.  Turn to human form for help with a boss you know your build isn’t ready to handle.  What do you know you were invaded and now you have a whole new experience and it all feels natural, even part of the single player.

I wish this game wasn’t such a rare gem.  I wish more major titles would focus on mechanically interesting and different games.  Till then, Dark souls 2 is coming out 2014.

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Unfulfilled promises that grind my gears.

It’s becoming a Monthly discussion. Grassy brings up fall out and we start arguments about player expectations. He sees Fallout as completely open but something like GTA as too restrictive. The deciding factor is the fact that GTA has so many buildings and the ones you are able to explore are very limited. For Grassy at least, That alone is able to turn the game into a jacket two sizes too small.

I don’t have much against the limitations of Games. Budget and time only allow so much to be open. It’s not a disappointment to me that, while playing Skyrim, I wouldn’t be able to take a quite morning outside crocheting or building a steam engine.

What can quickly make me start considering a game’s options to have as much stretching room as a southwest center seat, is when a game doesn’t warn when an option is going to disappear.

Bioshock says no, that gun I have been upgrading is now useless because it doesn’t have a red ribbon at the end. Yes, my old gun is mechanically the same and has money put into it but too bad. I have to switch and start upgrading a new gun because head shots don’t do the same amount of damage to the new more human, humans.

Deus ex, at least before the update, says no, there is no way to non-lethally kill this boss. Even though the game gave every option in the few hours I played before this point.

That moment was more then upsetting to me. I had slowly and very enjoyably, managed to make my way through the areas without notice. Then I got to the boss.

Had I read anything about the game, I’d know that the first boss is disproportionately difficult then the game up until that point and for a good while after.

The difficulty wasn’t the issue for me. I wanted to maintain my non-lethal status. After about an hour of trying to win the fight without actually killing him. I decided to look it up. Nope, no way to achieve my goal. So I tasered and shotgun him till he died.

Adam then decided to take it a step further, and stuff a grenade down the bosses throat, with a smirk in his face. Blowing his head clean off.

Game violence as a whole doesn’t phase me much. What put sand up my butt crack was the betrayal. I had gone out of my way to make it to this point without killing or even being seen. The game rewarded me with character comments pointing out that my Adam was not a cold blooded killer. Until he was, and for no other reason then the game decided so.

Oblivion did this same thing to me. I worked on sneak and made my way with a knife and nothing else. That is, until I got to a fight that mattered. The area gave no option to sneak up to him. My super, once a day, turn invisible to everyone move was useless. The boss would just stand next to me waiting to de-cloak.

There simply has to be a way to let the player know a head of time, the hard limitations of a class decision. At least let us know when an option is simply off the table.

These situations are always worst in games where you are creating your own character. They take a moment of immersion and break it as abruptly as a sneeze in the face as you lean in for the kiss.