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Dark Souls Review

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I get the feeling you docked a few fractions of a point on the difficulty. Dying a lot is the entire reason to own this game and to categorize it under "The Bad" or "The Ugly" seems a bit unfair. If you want a forgiving experience, go play the Hannah Montana game and get you an easy trophy. =)

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Posted : 03/10/2011 12:00 am
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I'm eagerly awaiting my copy which according to Amazon is en route to my mailbox tomorrow. I don't really have many complaints about Demon's Souls other than after 2 or 3 NG+, the world did seem a bit 'small' so I'm glad to hear this installment is a bit larger in that aspect.

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Posted : 03/10/2011 12:00 am
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When i first got Demon's Souls, i had no information on it whatsoever. I just had that little mentality of being Human and over coming something greater than Man. Also having some intrest in military stuff,medieval armour, combat, and a few other things are what made my decsion to get the game right then and there.
It turn out to offer alot more than i had hoped for which was great. And now the next installment is here and we will rise to the chanllenge once more or fall doing so.

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Posted : 03/10/2011 12:00 am
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I took off work, stocked up on chimay blue my fav beer and a half bottle of absinth a friend of mine give me yeah im ready for dark souls.

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Posted : 03/10/2011 12:00 am
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One question:

Who here is prepared to die?

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Posted : 03/10/2011 12:00 am
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I put 45 hours into Demon's Souls and was only 2/3rds of the way through the first run through. I then traded it in but ever since it's been there niggling away in the back of my mind...

It wasn't just a game. It seemed to be a way of life. The utter joy you experienced when you defeated a boss after 5 hours of total slog was out of this world.
The community spirit you felt looking around the Demon's Souls wiki site and forum asking for tips etc.
The walkthrough guide that you could pour over for hours.

That's oldschool fun that is rarely present nowadays!

So, that niggle at the back of my head... I promised myself not to re-enter that world. It's crazy I know but it's got me again.

Dark Souls you utter b*stard... I am yours and you've got me. Please drag me to hell. You can only experience the exquisite highs after the lowest lows...

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Posted : 03/10/2011 12:00 am
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Great Review Ben.

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Posted : 03/10/2011 12:00 am
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Yeah, I think he's mistaken. Skyrim is getting downloadable content a month before the PS3, but it will be coming to our beloved console. As for Dark Souls, I can find nothing that suggests the 360 is getting any exclusive content the PS3 isn't. In fact, FROM has explicitly stated that Dark Souls will be a complete experience, with no DLC of any kind, but if any console were to get exclusives, knowing FROM, they would probably put it on the PS3 since that's the main console they used for the game's development. (They tend to favor the PS3.)

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Posted : 04/10/2011 12:00 am
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I'm sorry, but considering that the majority of your posts in the past have to do with Demon's Souls love, I fail to see how you're unbiased in this matter.

This review is no different than any other review I've done. It's no more or less "personal." I'm sorry if it didn't cater to your tastes, but you may want to consider that your adoration of Demon's Souls might be playing too big of a role here.

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Posted : 04/10/2011 12:00 am
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Zettai, never lock-on when near ledges with multiple monsters, especially on 4-1 going down the sides of the cliff. When you lock on sometimes the lock-on will go to the Storm beast instead of the intended target. I've never had any problems in DS with lock on other than that, but I think that's because you are going up a slope a bit, and it'll lock on to either one.

I basically can play without it, if you are good enough and confident. You just have to remember where everything is when fighting so you don't fall.

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Posted : 04/10/2011 12:00 am
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If the lock on is the same as in Demon's Souls then it is definately not something that is to be used willy nilly.

It locks on to an enemy and can take you careering off a cliff or totally looking in the wrong direction.

Use it mostly from range or to get your direction set before attacking a group of enemies.

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Posted : 04/10/2011 12:00 am
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Ben,

Its true that most of my post or maybe all of them have been in regards to Dark Souls. Whether you think i am biased or not is not that matter of discussion. I already knew i was going to buy this game from everything that i saw and read. So when I read your review i was looking for the quality I expect from PSXExtreme. One could say i am biased to PSXExtreme reviews more than other sites.

But after your dismissal of my comments because you think i am biased, I might have to reconsider where i get reviews from. I understand that PSXExtreme has grown over the past year with PS Home and other endeavors. But I will not except such endeavors to affect the overall feel of this site. This might just be the perfect example of a small company turning into a corporate company. Where small voices don't matter and only the loudest of crowds make the difference.

I hope that this site does not turn into a shell of its former self. I would ask next time that if you don't have the time to do a full review just say so. I would have loved to here that you quit on the game early on in the review and shared that experience. Rather than copying and pasting so to speak. Nothing personal Ben I am a fan of this site and come here frequently for my information Dark Souls or not!

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Posted : 04/10/2011 12:00 am
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Ben's: White Knight Chronicles Review

Role-playing fans have been waiting for White Knight Chronicles II. Boasting a combat mechanic that some may view as old-fashioned, a quintessential Japanese flair, and an intriguing and innovative blend of campaign depth and online adventuring, this production has plenty to offer. It isn’t without its flaws but provided the avid fan gets involved in the fluid and engaging battle, many of those flaws either diminish or disappear entirely. The story isn’t great and things can start to feel a little tedious and even frustrating, but the RPG goodness shines through.

Visually, WKCII features a lot of fantastic animations and colorful imagery, even if it can’t compete with the most graphically accomplished titles currently on store shelves. Many of the environments are beautifully drawn and the character and enemy detail is impressive. It just lacks that level of refinement and gloss we commonly see these days, so if you’re used to the best of the best, you might be disappointed. However, from a comparison standpoint, the sequel surpasses the original in terms of technical accomplishment, and even without that slick sheen, this is an attractive world, loaded with pleasing design.

The soundtrack is good; classical, invigorating themes accompany our epic adventure at every turn, although you may not like the combat theme. Initially, it didn’t really seem to fit but I got used to it. The crisp effects punctuate faster, more gripping battling, and the combination of wide, sweeping scores and effective audio add richness to the experience. The voice acting is mediocre, though, and unfortunately, this is one area where Japanese games have been left behind. Some characters aren’t bad – Leonard is decent – but others are average at best.

But above all else, this quest is all about the gameplay. If you gravitate towards this relatively complex and fast-paced combat, you’ll spend a great many hours enjoying the campaign. It reminds one a lot of Final Fantasy XII, as you run around open environments and encounter enemies in real-time, only to utilize a turn-based system once the battle begins. Your two allies will operate off set command lines (similar to, though not as complicated as, Gambits) and a tactic choice, and you can change characters at any time as well.

The key to success is managing your Action Chips and available MP. You can create your own Combo attacks (you can even name ‘em) based on the skills you earned by gaining experience. Those combos use AC, while individual skills use MP (although not all do). But you also need AC to summon your knight into battle. Leonard, for instance, has the White Knight, while other characters have knights of different colors. There are a maximum of 15 Action Chips; you need a minimum of 7 to call your knight in, but the longer you wait, the more powerful your larger persona will become. At 15 AC, he gets a 50% boost.

The whole thing works well, even if there’s a somewhat steep learning curve if you’re not familiar with the first title. It’s not quite as complicated as it originally appears and soon, you’ll be learning new abilities, creating fresh combo chains, and joyfully experimenting in combat. But this does lead me to the first problem: a distinct lack of balance. Even the strongest combo attacks can’t really seem to compete with what a well-equipped knight can do, so it’s usually pointless to waste your AC on combos instead of waiting for the knight.

Situations do change over time, though. The power and effectiveness of various strategies fluctuate depending on the strength and setup of your party, and certain bosses can be incredibly challenging. This always forces you to rethink and recalculate, but I still say the system isn’t as tight, as balanced, or as well presented as the real-time/turn-based hybrid mechanic in FFXII. Also, I have to say that the respawning of enemies in the same spot can get a little annoying, as you can’t really clear large areas because the foes just keep coming back. Great for farming, but…

While I’m on the subject, I should also add that to me, the battling started to feel a little tedious. The dungeons and sections of the map are typically quite large and while I love to power-level (never had a problem with grinding), this just gets a tad monotonous. And if you don’t take your time and eliminate a great many enemies, some boss encounters will prove overwhelming. However, all this being said, I think the most important message to take away from this review is as follows: the game in question is a role-playing game. It will very, very likely make RPG fans – especially old-school fans – happy.

The depth is definitely there. The satisfaction and fulfillment gained from taking down a tough enemy, questing with friends and locating a powerful new piece of equipment, and creating bad-ass combos for both your characters and knights is unquestionable. The large areas do allow for plenty of exploring, even if the game remains linear. The vividness of certain outdoor areas and intimidating nature of the darker regions contributes to the experience. Lastly, there’s no doubt that this one can be mucho addictive.

There’s just so much stuff. There’s so much to see and do, and you’re always seeking a new, even more powerful skill or set of skills. Multiple and diverse characters allows you to pick and choose your party, and with numerous skillsets ranging from short sword to divine magic, there’s a veritable bounty of in-depth RPG grandness. The combat works exceedingly well (albeit with that aforementioned lack of perceived balance), the AI isn’t bad at all, and you will be justly rewarded for your efforts. It feels like a solid RPG and that's what counts.

Going online with friends is a big part, too. Personally, I never like the idea of adding an MMO theme to potentially great single-player RPGs, so I’m not the biggest fan of this particular element. However, there’s no denying what it does for the WKC universe. It allows fans to come together and reap the benefits of teamwork, and it greatly expands upon a game that is already jam-packed with tons of content. I had a few minor issues when going online but nothing worth getting in a twist about, and the fan appeal is obvious.

I’m not that impressed with the story, but as I said before, the gameplay is of the utmost importance. Furthermore, for everyone complaining that WKC2 doesn’t hold your hand with a lot of tutorials, maybe we should remember that we’re dealing with a sequel. The fact that our characters start at Lv. 35 should be a clue. Furthermore, all the information you could ever need exists in the Travelogue; if you’re new to this game, just read. Yes, it’s more effective to have in-game tutorials but this is hardly a big issue; RPG fans know what they’re doing.

White Knight Chronicles 2 is a captivating, nicely put-together game with tons of content, a great online component, a streamlined battle mechanic that is faster and more fluid, and some interesting characters. I don’t think much of the story, the balance between combos and magic and knight abilities seems a little off, and the respawning enemies and very large landscapes can feel tiring. But overall, if you enjoyed the first game, you’ll probably love the second and as far as RPGs go, this is a good one. This is one example where many critics miss the point, in my opinion.

The Good: A boatload of content. More streamlined yet still in-depth combat mechanic. Going online with friends is a huge bonus. The dedicated will be richly rewarded. Overall, a solid role-playing experience.

The Bad: Lacking technical polish. Battle balance seems a little off. Constant battling and grinding feels tedious. Story isn’t great.

The Ugly: “‘sigh’ So I really can’t ever eliminate every monster, huh?”

I believe Ben that this is a good review and shows your personal opinion. I am posting this review again because of your statement that Demon Souls review is no different than any other review you've done.

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Posted : 04/10/2011 12:00 am
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@TRD: Oh come on man, this is not fair. To compare a review of a kind of game that he time and again has declared his love for (jrpgs) with the review of a game that he numerous times has said that is not his cup of tea is just not right.

The basis of both reviews are the same, his approach the same, the analytic part of it the same.
But you can't really mean that it is required that a reviewer should feel the same level of enthusiasm for every game he reviews? That's not humanly possible!

This review should come as no surprise whatsoever to any of the fans of this game. Ben is not one of the fans - he would never write a fan review.
This review made it abundantly clear to me that this is not my kind of game, regardless of meta rating. At the same time it should give the fans the info they are looking for. Ergo it did what a review should do.
And 8.6 is NOT a bad score!


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/4/2011 257 AM

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Posted : 04/10/2011 12:00 am
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@Clamedeus: I actually do not rely much on the lock-on because of that particular problem. It's actually just one of the minor things I find odd about the first game that somehow appears to be still an issue on the second game. But you're right, it's easy to target the enemies. I just have to space things out a bit (read: don't get mobbed! LOL)

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Posted : 04/10/2011 12:00 am
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