Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

The Soulsborne Diaries, Part 3: Quitting Demon’s Souls

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Renouncement

After more than two months since my last entry, I admit I’m in a bit of a rut.  I don’t want to go back and play Demon’s Souls and I also don’t feel I’m getting any better.  As it stands I’m trapped in area 1-4 about 15 or so hours into the game and I have no desire to play it.  Yes, as my previous entries have stated, I’ve found the right items, I’ve discovered how to outwit (and even kill) the red dragon, and I have upgraded my equipment.  I think my biggest problem is leveling, which is a grind of the grandest degree, and no matter how many times I run 1-1 to kill the red knight for my 2,000 souls it just doesn’t feel rewarding.  I’m at level 18 or so and none of the stats seem to have a large effect, especially compared to the gap from levels 1 to 5 or even 5 to 10.  This game’s jank is also starting to get to me.  Whether it’s the stuttering at the top of the stairs in 1-1 or the framerate hitches in the back halls of 1-3, I now get annoyed with the glitches.  I’ve heard all of the decries as well.  Play as a mage, do this thing here to cheat, do that thing there to by pass some of this, “git gud.”  Yeah, I’ve heard it all before and I don’t like any of it.

This is a conundrum I’ve dealt with before.  Sometimes the cultural zeitgeist becomes so intrigued by a unique experience – and I will definitely give that to Demon’s Souls – that too many people push too positive an impression in an attempt to counterbalance negative comments.  I’ve dealt with this with Shenmue and Deadly Premonition in the past, which are both flawed but intriguing games.  Games of this ilk have its fans and as such people like to replay these games frequently.  I am of the same mentality, with Resident Evil and Super Mario 64 getting replayed in my house about once a year, but my picks aren’t nearly as underground as these others.  No game can be perfect for everyone, it’s just not possible with the vast array of genres, mechanics, and even platforms that exist today.  All of that said, I’m still eager to continue forward into Dark Souls and every single moment of gameplay I watch for this Friday’s release of Dark Souls Remastered has me gnawing at the bit to play it.  I really enjoyed Bloodborne and look forward to seeing the series roots and the core mechanics that were established and refined long before From’s PS4 exclusive.  I just feel that Demon’s Souls is trying to take a 5 hour game and using a combination of 1987’s JRPG grinding mechanic mixed with 1987’s pathetic “read the developers mind” adventure game mechanic and then for good measure whipping in a little of 1987’s “look you died by walking forward, memorize the level and don’t do that again” mechanic.  It’s all too antiquated and not quite molded into a proper experience.  The people who love and run through this game have always struck me as people who have almost every aspect of it memorized and damn sure know a lot of lore and secrets never explained in the title proper.  I am incompatible with that type of game, simple as that.

From the Ashes

Despite my failure at the Demon’s Souls and my quitter’s mentality, I am going to hit the ground running with Dark Souls Remastered.  I intend to livestream this Friday night my first attempt at playing the original Dark Souls.  I know it will be tough and I know that my build alone will take more time than anticipated.  This time around I’m going to take the base knowledge I know from both Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne to craft my character without any true guidance.  I’ve done mild reviews of the stats and what they mean in the context of a first time player doing his first run, but otherwise I’m going in blind.  I will give this another chance.  I will have more regular diaries.  I will attempt to conquer Dark Souls Remastered this summer (now with 60 fps Blighttown!) and I will begin that quest Friday.

Written by Fred Rojas

May 21, 2018 at 11:00 am

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