10 Things Video Games Can Learn From Dark Souls
With the recent announcement of the release date for FromSoftware's Dark Souls 2, there has been an overwhelming reaction of excitement and of course, despair. The first Dark Souls was the spiritual successor of PS3 exclusive Demon's Souls. Dark Souls received much praise from the gaming community and has been a refreshing take on the video game genre. While it does not necessarily do anything new, it does offer gamers a different approach to how a game should be played. The new-era of gaming can learn a thing or two from what Dark Souls brings to the table. Here is a list of 10 things video games can learn from Dark Souls:
1. Old-School Approach
Dark Souls (and Demon's Souls for that matter) has been hailed as a love letter to old-school gaming. But why? Well it is simple. What Dark Souls does differently from most video games today is that from the very beginning you are on your own. There is no hand holding, you just play: exploring the world, running into death at every turn. Dark Souls emphasizes trial and error bringing old-school lessons to the new school generation.
2. Make It Challenging
Too often does it seem that video game difficulties are arbitrary. On difficulties "normal" and lower, the game is too easy, any higher and you're one controller throw away from the insane asylum. Dark Souls finds a good balance by doing away with "difficulties" and gives us one big challenging game. It's not that the enemies are scaled to hit harder and be cheap like on a game with a "video game from Hell" setting, but they are smarter. You are challenged to outwit them, and when you know how to deal with an enemy, while still challenging, the game gets a little easier.
3. Don't Rely on Cutscenes
Look, I like cutscenes as much as the next person, but there comes a point where enough is enough. Video games do something no other medium can do: be interactive. Games are made to be played, and that's what Dark Souls does for its player. DS will show a short cutscene to set up the scope of where you are and then leave it up to you to decide how to interact with it.
4. Reward Discipline
This goes without saying when talking about Dark Souls. It's the natural instinct of a gamer (and maybe humans for that matter) to want to be all powerful. We want the ability to walk into a situation knowing that we can take on any foe that stands in our way, and if it hits the fan we can just use our unlimited heals. This essentially strips away any challenge the game holds, and you have become the god-like being that can't be touched. This is NOT the case in Dark Souls. In this game it's imperative to explore like you would if you were really there, because one wrong move and you're going to meet your doom. Instead proceed with caution, not only will you probably live longer, but you will get to take in everything the developers want you to see from far off landscapes to treasures that you can get to if you tread carefully.
5. Don't Rely on DLC
Ah, DLC, the love / hate relationship we have. On the one hand, it allows us gamers to play even more of the game we have come to love, while on the other hand, it is constantly exploiting us to spend more money. Don't get me wrong; DLC is great. What I don't like about DLC is when it is "day-1" DLC or a pre-order bonus. Companies get away with offering more game that should already be there upon release. Dark Souls gives us a standalone game on "day-1". Yes, there is Dark Souls DLC, but it serves just as any DLC should: an expansion to the gaming experience.
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Garrison is a major enthusiast for the video game medium. RPG's, superheroes and oddly enough basketball satisfy his imagination just enough to function in the real world.
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