Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

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    densetsushun
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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by densetsushun on Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:53 pm

    I hope to hell not, but if Namco Bandai has its way it might just ring true.


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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by Animaaal on Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:42 pm

    Lol @ denset.

    I know what you mean. big grin

    But I meant when they made FF7.  When they were in their creative prime and kickin a$$.

    I think FROM is starting to have that "go to rpg" vibe in the current western culture.  I'm happy for them.

    I guess I'm just hoping Dark Souls 2 =/or > FF7 and Demon's Souls 2/Dark Souls 3 =/or > FF9...if ya know what I mean.

    Also, I can't remember if it was Square-Enix at that time, or just Square.
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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by densetsushun on Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:16 pm

    I'm sorry Animaaal, I don't quite get the parallel you're trying to draw. FF7 and FF9 are quite different in the way they approached the games.


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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by Slarg232 on Sun Jun 23, 2013 3:48 pm

    A Column I'm thinking about starting on Tumblr, Prepare To Read. Someone has to take initiative on this difficulty thing, figured I might as well do it. Rough Draft is here, tell me what you guys think:


    Prepare to Read:

     
    Prepare to Read:


    Dark Souls is not difficult.


     


                Dark Souls is a cult hit video game that has flourished despite, or perhaps because of, it's high difficulty. Against all game development conventions it actively punishes the player for every misstep, every failed block, and every lapse in judgment. Dark Souls does not have a constant checkpoint system, forcing players to traipse through the same sections a second time if they die to a boss. Souls, both the currency and experience of the game, are lost upon death, though you do have one more life to try to get them back. There is no mini-map, no in game hints past the brief tutorial level, and players are not told where to go after the tutorial. Yet to the bafflement of the gaming industry, Dark Souls has one of the most loyal, hardcore, and passionate communities in the entire medium.



                Developers and Journalists, Square Enix and Extra Credits respectively, have seen Dark Souls succeed and have tried to figure out why. That is how any industry grows and changes; something works, and so you try to incorporate it into your own product. Many tout Dark Souls as difficult, and so developers think consumers want harder games. However, there is one major problem with this line of thinking; Dark Souls is not difficult.



                If there are two words to describe Dark Souls they would be “Punishing”, and “Fair”. That may seem like an odd combination, but it makes sense in terms of Dark Souls. Dark Souls has a set of rules and follows them almost like a holy text. Players must have either the tools the skills they need to pass through any level, and they are granted every opportunity to get them with a little exploring. For instance, it is not impossible to leave the starting area as a Soul Level Seventeen character with a sword that kills most opponents in one hit and a shield that blocks everything thrown at them until they are a third of the way into the game.



                No, what causes Dark Souls to get its reputation is not its non-existent “grueling difficulty”, but how much the game demands from those who play it. If a player dies to a boss they must then retrace their steps, sometimes up to five or even ten minutes, back to the boss area to challenge the boss again. When a player dies, and they will die, they lose all Souls, the ability to co-op, and respawn at a checkpoint. If a player foolishly kills an NPC, the NPC are gone for that entire playthrough, as well as their equipment.



     



                This is not even getting into the bosses of the game. The tutorial boss can kill players in two hits, often coming one after another with little time to react. The first mini-boss in the game can knock it’s victims off the side of the arena, instantly killing players. The first actual boss of the game is a two on one affair where a wrong step will also knock players off the side of the roof, instantly killing them, forcing attention to not only superior numbers, but the surroundings as well. There is even a boss that can quickly become a four or five on one if not dealt with fast enough.



     



                However, through all of that, the game is fair. Bosses telegraph their moves as long as players pay attention. Twenty healing potions that can be upgraded to heal your entire health bar are supplied, in addition to items that immediately do so. If a player dies to some new challenge, his or her Souls are put seven feet before it, allowing them to be collected and then go a different route. If the player is connected online, they can see bloodstains of other player’s deaths, showing the last seconds of their lives, allowing for the preparation for what is ahead. With few exceptions, every move the enemies make can be parried, and those that can’t be parried are almost all blockable, and every attack can be rolled through due to invincibility frames.



                Dark Souls never tries to be something it is not, and difficult is not something Dark Souls is. Yes, bosses kill players in two hits. Yes, enemies will attempt to gang up on players. Yes, there are traps that can instantly kill players if they wander into them. There are even Mimics, chests that try to eat the player, most likely taking off half or more of their life before the player can truly react. The “difficulty” is supplied by wandering into the unknown or a player simply lowering their guard; it is not actually hard, players just do not know what to expect.



                Difficulty in games can be compared to Hot Sauce. Any fool can advertise their hot sauce as spicy; just add in some Jalapeno peppers and call it such. However, a good hot sauce only uses the burning sensation as another method of sensation, not the sensation itself. This is why certain “difficult” games succeed while others fail; Dark Souls, Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry 3 all have a distinct flavor of gameplay and the spicy difficulty accentuates it, but is not the gaming meals only flavor. To fully experience the taste of the game, you must be able to get past the spice and enjoy the flavor. Also just like spicy food, “Spicy games” might not be able to be enjoyed entirely in one sitting, and that’s ok. Not every meal has to be spicy, and that’s ok as well.



     

    Who in their right mind would eat a Salad with hot sauce on it?


    If you have a problem with it, Skarekrow, I have no problem taking the hot sauce analogy out of it.


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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by Green__Eagle on Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:04 pm

    IMO, the hot sauce reference is not needed.

    Perhaps, in closing, you could submit the opinion of the elation of success after several defeats (because the player learned how to beat the boss). The player feels superior because they learned how to beat the game.

    Also, perhaps you should mention the player vs. player aspect which pits your intelligence and skill against fellow humans.


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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by Leeroy_Jenkins on Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:03 am

    My personal attraction too the souls series isn't difficulty at all, cause honestly i don't think either are all that hard especially after a little grinding, but the vast amount of freedom they provide. I stumbled upon ds browsing through the cheap games at game-stop and got it for like $17 i had no idea what to expect but the first things i saw that i liked and are still my favorite things about the game is how you have complete control over the advancement of the character i can have a mage wearing heavy armor or anything else i want. the second was the kinda retro vibe i got from it like it was all a puzzle and you just had to figure out a strategy for all the different baddies cause just charging in rarely worked, and i know a lot a people probably wont like this but i think finding those cheap ways to kill bosses magic spamming the tower knight from the wall, finding the spot wear the flameluker cant get you, casting plauge on old king dorran while hiding were just as much a part of the beauty of the game as anything else, again finding those things and the puzzle/ discovery aspect. in dks i feel that they were able to keep these things while enhancing or replacing aspects so it still felt similar but new. I felt making the whole map being interconnected and a kind of puzzle was the best thing ever, i felt it vastly added to the exploration appeal. I thought not having a carry capacity was also cool and shifted the gaming experience a little it was less which is better to have with me and more i gotta find it all, and it makes modeling my armor collection easier lol. I think the last thing i want to mention about both these games that is so appealing is how pretty they are, the armor is all awesome and unique, the weapons are cool and they all work with the surroundings to make in my mind the prettiest games around. and finally it's kinda cool that its perceived as hard so i feel that much cooler bragging about how good i am to all my friends.


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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by skarekrow13 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:12 am

    Slarg.....


    PLAGIARIST!  


    Nah, that's perfectly cool by me to use that reference.  Nice write up too, by the way.

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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by TheMeInTeam on Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:25 am

    And for the record, I still love the Dragon God boss.  From a philosophical and storytelling view it's amazing.  And still less cheap than arcing your arrows with the white bow into the final boss.

    I compare the Dragon God boss to Bed of Chaos; they're both capable of killing you very easily but require no stats or even an upgraded weapon to defeat.  However, Dragon God is much more fair.  His attacks were based on him seeing you and you had some visual cue as to how to react. 

    By comparison, Bed of Chaos is the only true fake difficulty in Dark Souls...a true example of trial and error gameplay with a somewhat-long trip to retry.  It's the only pure in-game design flaw I don't like about the game (I feel their net code is quite bad too, but that's more a technical issue than a flaw in design).

    What a lot of people will miss when they say "like DS" is that the vast majority of both games ARE fair (IE real difficulty), that the games are helped somewhat by grinding but completely non-dependent on it, and that the controls are seamless and excellent.  Difficulty is the game's popular calling card, but it wouldn't even be playable if its mechanics/balance/controls weren't so excellent.  Square couldn't possibly replicate it without losing a chunk of their fanbase on such a game; DS is not so given to hand-holding.


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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by Slarg232 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:09 pm

    skarekrow13 wrote:Slarg.....


    PLAGIARIST!  


    Nah, that's perfectly cool by me to use that reference.  Nice write up too, by the way.

    Sweet, thanks.

    I'm adding in one more paragraph, then I'll repost it here for one final overview, and then will upload it on my shiney new tumblr.




    Spoiler:

    [b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"]Prepare to Read:[/b]

    [b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"]Dark Souls is not difficult.[/b]

    [b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;"] [/b]

                Dark Souls is a cult hit video game that has flourished despite, or perhaps because of, it's high difficulty. Against all game development conventions it actively punishes the player for every misstep, every failed block, and every lapse in judgment. Dark Souls does not have a constant checkpoint system, forcing players to traipse through the same sections a second time if they die to a boss. Souls, both the currency and experience of the game, are lost upon death, though you do have one more life to try to get them back. There is no mini-map, no in game hints past the brief tutorial level, and players are not told where to go after the tutorial. Yet to the bafflement of the gaming industry, Dark Souls has one of the most loyal, hardcore, and passionate communities in the entire medium.

                Developers and Journalists, Square Enix and Extra Credits respectively, have seen Dark Souls succeed and have tried to figure out why. That is how any industry grows and changes; something works, and so you try to incorporate it into your own product. Many tout Dark Souls as difficult, and so developers think consumers want harder games. However, there is one major problem with this line of thinking; Dark Souls is not difficult.

                If there are two words to describe Dark Souls they would be “Punishing”, and “Fair”. That may seem like an odd combination, but it makes sense in terms of Dark Souls. Dark Souls has a set of rules and follows them almost like a holy text. Players must have either the tools the skills they need to pass through any level, and they are granted every opportunity to get them with a little exploring. For instance, it is not impossible to leave the starting area as a Soul Level Seventeen character with a sword that kills most opponents in one hit and a shield that blocks everything thrown at them until they are a third of the way into the game.

                No, what causes Dark Souls to get its reputation is not its non-existent “grueling difficulty”, but how much the game demands from those who play it. If a player dies to a boss they must then retrace their steps, sometimes up to five or even ten minutes, back to the boss area to challenge the boss again. When a player dies, and they will die, they lose all Souls, the ability to co-op, and respawn at a checkpoint. If a player foolishly kills an NPC, the NPC are gone for that entire playthrough, as well as their equipment.

     

                This is not even getting into the bosses of the game. The tutorial boss can kill players in two hits, often coming one after another with little time to react. The first mini-boss in the game can knock it’s victims off the side of the arena, instantly killing players. The first actual boss of the game is a two on one affair where a wrong step will also knock players off the side of the roof, instantly killing them, forcing attention to not only superior numbers, but the surroundings as well. There is even a boss that can quickly become a four or five on one if not dealt with fast enough.

     

                However, through all of that, the game is fair. Bosses telegraph their moves as long as players pay attention. Twenty healing potions that can be upgraded to heal your entire health bar are supplied, in addition to items that immediately do so. If a player dies to some new challenge, his or her Souls are put seven feet before it, allowing them to be collected and then go a different route. If the player is connected online, they can see bloodstains of other player’s deaths, showing the last seconds of their lives, allowing for the preparation for what is ahead. With few exceptions, every move the enemies make can be parried, and those that can’t be parried are almost all blockable, and every attack can be rolled through due to invincibility frames.

                Dark Souls never tries to be something it is not, and difficult is not something Dark Souls is. Yes, bosses kill players in two hits. Yes, enemies will attempt to gang up on players. Yes, there are traps that can instantly kill players if they wander into them. There are even Mimics, chests that try to eat the player, most likely taking off half or more of their life before the player can truly react. The “difficulty” is supplied by wandering into the unknown or a player simply lowering their guard; it is not actually hard, players just do not know what to expect.

                Why then did Dark Souls succeed when “hard” and punishing games are not what the player base wants? While there are many answers to that question that are true, there is really only one true answer; accomplishment. Dark Souls beats the message of “You are not good enough to pass this area” into players, challenging them to prove the game wrong. It can take hours or even days to get passed one area, forcing the player to attempt different strategies, notice a path they didn’t before, or finally learn to read certain bosses or mini-bosses. When they do finally circumvent these challenges, they have done the impossible. They have bested the giant demon. They survived the ambush. They have saved the world.  They were given no help from the game; it all came down to them.

                Difficulty in games can be compared to Hot Sauce. Any fool can advertise their hot sauce as spicy; just add in some Jalapeno peppers and call it such. However, a good hot sauce only uses the burning sensation as another method of sensation, not the only sensation itself. This is why certain “difficult” games succeed while others fail; Dark Souls, Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry 3 all have a distinct flavor of gameplay and the spicy difficulty accentuates it, but is not the gaming meals only flavor. To fully experience the taste of the game, you must be able to get past the spice and enjoy the flavor. Also just like spicy food, “Spicy games” might not be able to be enjoyed entirely in one sitting, and that’s ok. Not every meal has to be spicy, and that’s ok as well.

     

    Who in their right mind would eat a Salad with hot sauce on it?


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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by WhatDoesThePendantDo? on Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:36 pm

    And here's Borderlands going back to the Dark Souls well...


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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by Slarg232 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:46 pm

    Did the Noobkiller REALLY just do the "Well What is it?" pose before that fight?


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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by WhatDoesThePendantDo? on Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:42 am

    It appears he did.:razz:

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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by densetsushun on Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:57 am

    Borderlands 2 already had a Dark Souls reference/easter egg, and I feel this is more of a throwback than what this thread is about(other devs comparing their games to Souls because of difficulty).


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    Re: Dark Souls is officially a buzzword

    Post by WhatDoesThePendantDo? on Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:36 am

    I know about Borderlands' past Easter Egg and I know that this video doesn't exactly "fit" the thread but I wasn't going to make a thread just to post this video and Random Off-Topic wouldn't have been appropriate either. This was just the closest thread I could think of to post this, because it is just another example of the continued latching onto the Souls brand by the wider gaming market, even though this had nothing to do with Souls re: difficulty.


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