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.