It’s troublesome for me to complete any sport as of late. On this line of labor writers typically should flit between what’s cool and in style to maintain up with the tendencies, and meaning some video games sadly get left behind. But when there may be one title that haunts your record of video games to play, it’s Darkish Souls isn’t it? It’s solely the ‘Ultimate Game of All Time’ in spite of everything.
I initially began Darkish Souls again in 2020. I had joked about enjoying it on stream and my viewers had collectively egged me on to offer it a go. And since it’s considered one of gaming’s staples I agreed. I loaded it up, hit reside, and… despised it.
Calling Darkish Souls ‘laborious’ hasn’t helped its fame. Certain, it’s unforgiving, however for essentially the most half I take into account the sport truthful. Nearly each time I died I might calmly settle for that it was my fault (Capra Demon excluded). The world has particular guidelines and so long as you comply with them, you win the sport. Nevertheless, studying these guidelines within the first place sucks, and it takes 20 hours earlier than you’re feeling such as you’re truly enjoying the sport and the sport isn’t enjoying you.
I trudged via as greatest I might, operating away from ghosts with scythes for arms, getting jumpscared by undead round corners, and, after all, dying quite a bit. All enthusiasm for the sport hollowed as I reached the midway level of the infamously gruelling Blighttown, and it is there that I known as time on my adventures in Darkish Souls. I had seen sufficient. I obtained it, it’s darkish and gross and all the pieces desires to kill me. I could not put myself via any extra of its particular model of distress. I closed the sport and put it on my digital Steam shelf, although by no means daring to uninstall it.
However final November, a yr after placing it down, one thing known as to me. I wanted to complete Darkish Souls. It was like an itch. A burning, constructing want to complete what I began. And what actually pulled me via a second try was a neighborhood of people that cherished FromSoftware’s work.
As I sat on the flickering bonfire, overshadowed by the cadaverous bones of Blighttown a yr later, I had forgotten each the controls and what I used to be even doing on this dire place. This time the journey was totally different as a result of I used to be laughing. Each loss of life was both a lesson in what to not do, or an motion so silly I could not assist however chortle. My viewers had been in flip extra decided to evenly information me in the suitable path and ensure that I completed the sport. Or at the least get to Ornstein and Smough.
I stumbled via Blighttown down into Quelaag’s lair, complained my method via Sen’s Fortress (my viewers fortunately confirmed me the hidden bonfire), and eventually discovered myself within the heavenly Anor Londo. The principle areas didn’t pose a lot of a problem, and fortunately a kind of Black Knight archers fell off the roof so I used to be spared that exact provocation. However then comes Anor Londo’s foremost boss room, looming in the long run of the Cathedral.
Ornstein and Smough are powerful for any Darkish Souls participant, however now it’s time to confess two issues about my specific playthrough. The primary is that I’m cussed. After I meet a boss in Darkish Souls I’ll simply hold operating at it again and again and over till I beat it truthful and sq.. I by no means summoned, I by no means went away to stage or discover a higher weapon for a struggle—I simply obtained good. That was my philosophy. And the second element is that I used to be caught with the Drake Sword.
The Drake Sword comes from the Hellkite Wyvern, encountered early on whereas making an attempt to cross their bridge—actually the dude simply must chillax. As revenge you possibly can sit below the bridge, cheesing its tail with arrows till you’re rewarded with the Drake Sword. It’s extremely highly effective within the early sport, however doesn’t scale together with your character, making it ineffective at, let’s say… Anor Londo.
So I stroll into the struggle with Ornstein and Smough and am completely destroyed. I didn’t hold a loss of life counter for my playthrough, however I spent 4 streams and about 12 to 14 hours combating, dying and strolling again. New viewers would sometimes are available and ask me to alter weapon, to which my total chat would chortle on the suggestion that I had something extra highly effective. Some informed me to move again and get a brand new weapon which went in opposition to my headstrong angle. I even had Scottish comic Limmy are available and berate me for a way I used to be joking round with chat whereas in the course of the struggle. However finally on day 4, I beat them. I beat Ornstein and Smough. And now I used to be enjoying Darkish Souls.
Someplace in these hours of bashing my head in opposition to golden chest plates and rubble, I had come to like the sport. The unbelievable spirit of dozens of individuals cheering me on with each loss of life was reassuring. The nice runs had been congratulated. The dangerous had been shrugged off. My talent on the sport had so vastly improved I might beat these two beasts with the equal of a weaponised toothpick and it felt superb. Actually, after beating the golden boys of Anor Londo, the remainder of the sport was comparatively simple fight clever. And as soon as I had that below my management, I realised I used to be flawed about Darkish Souls.
Earlier I mentioned that I ‘obtained’ Darkish Souls. I did not. I did not ‘get’ Darkish Souls till the fight wasn’t what I used to be targeted on. I lastly ‘obtained’ Darkish Souls once I was making an attempt to avoid wasting NPCs, once I was selecting not to struggle a boss out of sympathy, and once I was questioning if I might assist anybody in any respect. The toughest bit about Darkish Souls stopped being the bosses, and have become the emotional toll of seeing the characters you meet get torn aside by circumstance. Your actions, even the effectively intentioned ones, ended with the demise of associates, and even the bosses you thought had been evil had been simply making an attempt their greatest to outlive. Shit man, that is deep.
I’ve to offer credit score the place credit score is due, as I might by no means have realised half of the story of Darkish Souls with out my livestream chat. As I gained confidence or cleared areas, they’d reveal info, inform me to test my merchandise descriptions and reply questions I had about NPCs. It wasn’t solely outdated neighborhood members serving to however model new ones who frolicked trying to find Darkish Souls newbies to help. Folks like me who come to the video games with 1,000,000 preconceptions solely to slowly however absolutely fall in love with FromSoftware’s worlds.
I do not know how anybody found out Darkish Souls when it first got here out—it will need to have been gruelling. I discovered my neighborhood important to benefit from the expertise. Typically once I was evenly caught, only a “flip left right here” or “return to Firelink Shrine” made all of the distinction. After I was at my lowest, phrases of encouragement spurred me on. It was the very best information, even when they often led me into traps simply to chortle at me. Falling via the ground of the Undead Asylum upon returning nearly gave me a coronary heart assault, rattling it.
However I owe my win to them. Months of labor, dozens of hours livestreaming, and all of it actually got here right down to Darkish Souls’ tenacious neighborhood, and the viewers who loved seeing me undergo. I by no means thought I would end Darkish Souls. Now, I am planning my Bloodborne playthrough.