I’m Pissed With Dark Souls Fans

I’m Pissed With Dark Souls Fans

Ok let’s be fair, it’s more like mildly perturbed. Aside from playing Bloodborne for review last year, Dark Souls 3 is my first ever “Souls” game and you know what? It’s fantastic, it’s engaging and it’s only as tough as it is fair, delivering a heightened sense of reward that no one else seems to be capable of delivering. The tough parts frustrate you and ask you to learn adapt to overcome and at other times the game, while requiring focus, is completely manageable and enjoyable while you roam the beautifully designed world they have created. In short, it’s a really fantastic video gaming experience.

So then, back to why I’m pissed. I’m pissed because this is not the picture that was ever painted for me and had it not been for my need to review one, I may have missed out on something really special, all because everyone’s trying to brag to everyone about what brave gamers they are to tackle such a “ruthless” game.

The only picture ever painted about “souls” games was that it’s incredibly tough, you are going to die a lot and you will very likely rage quit and/or throw your controller into the wall a few times during your experience. That sounds horrible. It sounded so horrible in fact that I’ve actively avoided ever playing one.

“the Souls Fans were all moani- well no, they weren’t moaning were they? In hindsight they were bragging about it and that’s what’s clear now”

A couple of years back I got heavily into the competitive Street Fighter 4 scene. It required dedication, patience, knowledge and skill to get good and then continually get better, and while I loved it dearly it brought out a frustration-fuelled rage in me that I’d never experienced before and didn’t like, which ultimately led me to consciously decide that after investing over 1650+ logged hours in the game, it might be time to take a step back and move on to other things that won’t leave me feeling so on edge. A headset, an Xbox controller and a door were all victims of that dark time. RIP, We thank you for your service.

I’ll never forget, at around that exact point the Dark Souls’ name and reputation started rearing its head and I’m not sure if it was on social media, or just friends who had started playing it, but the idea of playing it sounded exciting. Due to my recent bouts with a new sort of frustration I quickly dismissed the idea of playing it. I wasn’t going to sit through the frustration and anger that all the Souls Fans were all moani- well no, they weren’t moaning were they? In hindsight they were bragging about it and that’s what’s clear now.

People seem to get a kick out of showing other people that they’ve gone through some shit, and it seems to have fuelled the entire atmosphere that surrounds Dark Souls. “You’re going to die so much”, “Prepare to die”… when I first played Bloodborne I was so surprised when I realised that dying was the point of the game. The only thing I’d played on that sort of level in the recent years was Ninja Gaiden 2, another game that came with a reputation for being fiercely difficult and most totally lived up to that reputation, I might add.

NG2

I considered finishing Ninja Gaiden 2 as one of my greatest modern gaming achievements, even though I played it on the new, easier setting they had introduced. That shit was tough, and when you die you didn’t go back to your previous bonfire with all your new equipment and items in the hopes of going back for your souls. No, in Ninja Gaiden when you died the game loaded back, no progression, no equipment stayed with you, you did not pass go and you didn’t collect $200. You got better or you didn’t get to play anymore.

People like me who grew up in the 80s are very well versed in the concept of playing fiercely difficult games that required perfection but only offered 3 lives to finish the entire thing. You want to experience true terror, Souls Fans? Try playing the old Ninja Gaiden 3 on NES until 2 in the morning to finally make it to a new level you’d never seen and then lose your last life on the first enemy you see. Fade to black. Press start to begin a new game. Die inside.

When compared to some of the things out there, Dark Souls is actually relatively tame and accommodating. It lets you try and try again, make bits of progression and finally overcome.

Thank heavens for backwards compatibility, PCs and remasters, because it seems like I’ve missed out on some pretty fantastic games over the last couple of years all because fans of the games couldn’t help but go and tell everyone what big boys and girls they were for braving such big boo-boos and making it to the fire thing. If you truly love Dark Souls, tell your friends how good it is, how great it is at providing fair challenges and how amazing you feel when you overcome. I now consider Bloodborne one of my favourite games of all time, and Dark Souls is very quickly snuggling up to it. There’s nothing quite like them and everyone deserves to know that, so they can experience it too.

Sure, don’t recommend it to your cousin who buys one game a year and still hasn’t gotten the hang of thumbsticks, but for anyone else who plays game a fair amount, give it a chance, give it some of your blood, it’s something special.

Update: I wanted to embed the recent Jimquisition video from Jim Sterling that says a lot of what I feel in such a great way, give it a watch here:

 

  • I’m not sure which DkS fans you’ve been interacting with, but ever since 1, myself and several friends of mine who all enjoy the series, recommend it to anyone looking for a different gaming experience.

    The ‘you’re going to die. a lot.’ is not so much a brag, as what it is pretty much a disclaimer. Hell, DkS even has “Prepare to Die” on its cover.

    It is a rewarding game. It can be difficult as hell. But blaming Souls fans for you not playing it sooner ain’t right, fella. If you were interested, you could’ve at least questioned the opinions of the few.

    • Nick de Bruyne

      For sure and you are definitely the right kinda fan then. That’s also why I say I am pissed, not that everyone should be, but from where my experiences took me I was always completely under the impression that I really need to stay away unless I have 4 spare controllers to be sacrificed. I tried watching some streams here and there too, but its very difficulty to get an understanding of what’s going on if you don’t really know what’s going on. In the end it was more like this intriguing dark and scary thing I would peek at and then back off to normal land.

      I want to stress that this isn’t just about difficulty, it’s about the way the game is designed, how you are supposed to die, dying is progression to a large degree. I don’t think any ol’ person is gonna like it, but I think that its worth giving it a shot, I think many people would be surprised, especially if its Dark Souls’ younger, more attractive sister Bloodborne.

    • SabakuBozu

      if you read the forums and such, when a new person asks about playing a souls game, a lot of ppl there say ” go away” “this is not for u” “ull die a lot” “ull rage a lot”

      ofcourse u will find ppl like you or me telling them to not focus on what the media keeps highlighting.

      this all happened because of the media and the publisher banking on one theme and ignoring everything else. Media says “damn this game is hard” everyother outlet “hard hard hard” namco bandai “lets call this ‘prepare to die edition'”

      you also have a youtuber called vaatvidya, i love this guys content, but there was this one episode where he talks about online and says “when you invade if you see someone with others, you should know that these guys suck”

      has it occurred to him (and others) that they were just two friends enjoying the game together?

      demons souls community rocks though

  • Aldo Nuñez Fondeur

    Growing up playing NES and then playing souls games, i know exactly what you’re refering to. I say the exact same thing to my younger friends who never got to experience NES games.

  • Zanaraxtarus .

    Well said! I’ve been a fan of Souls games since Demon’s Souls and I’ve never thought of them as anything except a fair challenge… Sometimes anger-inducing, but always (well, almost always) fair. I’ve talked several people out of their media-induced fear and they have all ended up loving the series almost as much as I love it. A large part of this fear of Souls games can be attributed to the propensity of media to exaggerate for attention, views, publicity, etc.. Much like mainstream news media, the gaming industry media exaggerates because it works, but it does serious damage to the very subject they are trying to make a career reporting on, recording, writing about, etc..
    It’s sad that exaggeration is such a great way to get more attention, but until this is no longer true, it will not only continue, but also get progressively worse.
    Anyone who reads this needs to make a conscious decision to not only avoid entirely, but actively speak out against exaggerated media and actively seek as non-biased and impartial media as possible. Those who do not do this will have only themselves to blame when they finally notice the exaggeration in media has proliferated to the point of being unstoppable.

  • ManuOtaku

    Very spot on article. I will like to add the series, which i include bloodborne, includes a lot of ways you can surpass the challenges throw at you, from grinding/farming, to character builds, to learning the patterns of the enemies, use of items, magic, etc., there are a lot of things at the gamers dispossal to succeed in the game. If that is not open and friendly, i don´t know what it is. But the game is hard and it will requiere patience and your complete attention.

  • Denis

    The problem here is you’re seeing it through other people’s eyes. It’s easy to blame the community and such, or the players for amping the game up to be something extremely difficult, but if that stops you playing it, then ultimately it’s your fault. Everyone plays games like this differently, and the beauty of Dark Souls is that there’s no one way to play it, you have a plethora of weapons, armour, builds etc, and it’s been a common theme since the beginning of the series. I’ve put at least 5,000 hours into the series, because for myself and many, it becomes a very relaxing game. The difficulty may be hyped, sure, but for most players that just reflects their FIRST playthrough of a souls game. Personally, the level design and combat system make this series, and it’s something to be greatly appreciated when playing through, but don’t let people who tell you ‘it’s really hard’ stop you from finding that out yourself. It’s a learning experience for everyone, and allowing others to change your perception of the game before you’ve played it is quite unfair, especially considering how rewarding the series is. To this day, I can think of fewer pleasures I’ve had in gaming that playing the whole of Dark Souls 1 through on a lvl 1 character, taking 4 hours on the last boss.