Graphics:
8.5
Gameplay:
8.7
Sound:
8.9
Control:
8.3
Replay Value:
8.5
Online Gameplay:
8.8
Overall Rating:
8.6
Publisher:
Namco Bandai
Developer:
From Software
Number Of Players:
1-4
Genre:
RPG


When the game’s slogan is “prepare to die,” you know you’re in for it. But provided you have the fortitude and determination to push through Dark Souls , you will be richly rewarded. I’m not as impressed with the core mechanics as other critics seem to be, and I believe the beauty and mystery of this world often dulls in the face of ceaseless chains of death (which results in repetition), but the game’s hardcore appeal can’t be denied. Furthermore, there’s little doubt that fans of Demon’s Souls will be plenty satisfied.

Visually, the game is appropriately dark and intimidating. Something horrifying and downright deadly could lurk around every corner and every once in a while, you catch glimpses of breathtaking scenery. The diversity of the landscapes is fantastic and the detail on particularly large bosses is absolutely mind-blowing. I think From Software goes a touch heavy on the grays and browns – it gets a little monotonous – but then again, this is not an attractive, cutesy atmosphere. Besides, the environment has a profound effect on the player, and that’s what matters most.

In many ways, I think the audio of the game is the biggest highlight. Much of your adventure is surprisingly quiet as the soundtrack picks its spots, but it’s this subtlety that puts you in touch with your terrifying quest. The sensation is always palpable. Because you always feel on the verge of death, that silence often adds to your fear and anxiety; it’s as if the world is just waiting to unleash a fatal monster or event. The effects are crisp and accurate, and the relatively small amount of voice acting is great, too. It all combines to enrich the experience.

You are an Undead chosen to make a nearly impossible pilgrimage. You will first choose your class, a unique gift, and a little perk, and you’re on your way. During the introductory part of your adventure, you will take on some basic enemies and eventually take down a huge demon with a spiked club. The latter is plenty challenging enough (depending on your chosen class), but that’s just a taste. A huge raven picks you up and brings you to Lordran, a land full of secrets, ordeals, and nightmarish creatures. Your goal is to ring both Bells of Awakening.

You just gotta reach ‘em. Both paths are jam-packed with peril and trepidation and with every step, you’re risking it all…literally. When you die, you’ll be returned to the last bonfire at which you rested, and you will have lost any souls you collected. The good news is that if you can reach your bloodstain from the previous death, you can get all those souls back; the bad news is that if you don’t reach it and die again, the first batch of souls is gone forever. You just have to be resilient; you have to upgrade your equipment with shards, level up, and find helpful items.

There are some new elements we didn’t see in Demon’s Souls . First up is the chance to side with a certain Faction, a group that will grant you special abilities depending on the situation. This also has an impact on the multiplayer, as other players in the same Faction can’t invade your quest. More on that in a second. Another difference is the world, which seems bigger and less restrictive. Some areas remain locked until you take down one of the game’s many bosses, but this environment is more dynamic and larger in scope.

Souls represent the game’s currency. That’s why they’re so damn valuable, and why death can be immensely frustrating. But it also forces you to be conscientious; every step of the adventure requires your undivided attention. One misstep and all your hard work could be gone, which might result in some enraged controller snapping (I would have an extra controller handy, just in case). At the game’s central hub, you can pick up new skills and equipment, but remember that Souls are used for both, so you frequently have to make difficult decisions. Bonfires are also used for saving and resting; they become sources of great relief.

It’s an engaging, brutal, rewarding journey that features a ridiculous number of challenges, many of which are original and invigorating. But I felt continually cheated by a camera that sits way too close and a lock-on mechanic that fails in particularly trying situations. The lock-on for Demon’s Souls was iffy, too, but the camera is a whole new problem. You’re routinely blindsided because visibility in the immediate area is limited, and huge bosses can cause the camera to go completely haywire. It happens more when not locked on, but it remains an issue.

Due to the cramped nature of so many spaces, this drawback never seems to go away. Plus, the fidgety lock-on system becomes more problematic with multiple enemies. Now, if you’re playing as a ranged character, the camera issue becomes minimal in severity. You might not even notice it much. But as a Warrior, Knight, or Bandit, you’re going to notice it instantly; it rears its ugly head during the very first boss fight. My last problem is a layover from the game’s predecessor: I just don’t think using Souls for everything is a good idea.

Overall, though, in a game where survival is key, you won’t find anything even remotely similar to Dark Souls (well, except for Demon’s Souls ). It challenges you on a number of different levels and the mesmerizing world will keep you coming back for more. Besides, the multiplayer feature remains highly attractive and innovative. The inherent difficulty encourages you to team up with other players, which is a great experience and one that can be supremely helpful. Furthermore, the ever-present danger of players invading your game is a nice touch.

Dark Souls tests you. It puts you in an absurd situation and asks you to not only survive, but to conquer. You have to be careful but at the same time, you can’t remain idle. You can’t sit around beating enemies after resting at a bonfire (enemies respawn when you do so), because you just won’t get anywhere. Sure, you’ll level up but you are tasked with progression. Everything from flaming barrels rolling down steps to freakish creatures lurking in the shadows can spell your end, and the surge of satisfaction that accompanies a fresh feat is indescribable.

However, I maintain that mechanically, the game isn’t as sound as it should’ve been. With slower characters, the responsiveness is called into question, and the camera simply accounted for too many of my deaths. It seems I have to fight the mechanics almost as often as the enemies. Lastly, because you die so often, you find yourself retracing your steps a lot . Some won’t mind but this got quite repetitive for me; it felt even more repetitive than the retracing in Demon’s Souls . Nevertheless, I’m sure this game is perfect for just the right person.

The Good: Fantastic, immersive world. Nail-biting audio. Beautifully designed bosses and epic encounters. Different classes offer very different gameplay experiences. Immensely satisfying and rewarding. Multiplayer is an innovative bonus.

The Bad: Brutal difficulty can diminish enjoyment. Camera is often a major issue. Lock-on system still isn’t quite right.

The Ugly: “Wow…getting pretty sick of all this dying.”

Subscribe
Notify of
133 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Toxin
Toxin
9 years ago

I will be getting this one twice. Going to have to get it for the 360 first as my old 80GB ps3 is down. Once I fix/replace I will be getting it again for it.

NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
9 years ago

Hopefully they fix the camera and lock-on system via a patch relatively soon. I do wish they would have went with Atlus rather than Namco, but all good things must pass.

I have the collectors edition pre-ordered through amazon, i'm hoping it comes tomorrow because i work the late shift wednesday and i can stay up all night playing Dark Souls.

Pretty good review, though, Ben. Its pretty much what i expected from the game, so i think i'll be very happy.

thj_1980
thj_1980
9 years ago

I didn't like how Xbox 360 got the exclusive content but it makes it fair for them since we got Demon's Soul as our exclusive.

TheAgingHipster
TheAgingHipster
9 years ago

What exclusive content? Near as I can tell from the press, the two versions are identical, with the PS3 supposedly winning out in graphics due to compression issues for the 360.

Oxvial
Oxvial
9 years ago

Wasn't that Skyrim?

TheAgingHipster
TheAgingHipster
9 years ago

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.)

The Real Deal
The Real Deal
9 years ago

Ben,

I am a little confused as to why you even posted this review. It seems like you didn't even play it enough to give it justice. This is more of a snippet of general information on the game rather than a personal account of your experiences.

Your reviews tend to have a certain quality that i respect. Your opinion tends to way heavy on my purchase of said game. Not because of the review score you posted, but the article itself. This is the one instance where i feel something is missing. If i could ask how long did you spend with the game? Where you able to get online before you reviewed it?

And lastly i ask you to apply the same standard to the other RPG's that you have reviewed. Such as Two Worlds II which i picked up after reading you're review(note: did not like it)and White Knight Chronicles II. Just to name the most recent ones. These games have many issues but as far as i could tell you still were able to post a personal detailed review.

I understand your dislike for the camera but as with any game maybe its more about getting used to it rather than saying its a major issue. FYI i watched the 24 hour marathon at IGN and from what i saw the camera looks the same as Demon Souls.

ZettaiSeigi
ZettaiSeigi
9 years ago

I am still playing Demon's Souls and I understand how bad the lock-on camera can get during combat. I remember trying to lock onto one of the several enemies approaching me but what it did was made my character look at the opposite direction. That's quite bad, particularly for a game like this were a misstep can be really costly. Don't get me wrong, I love the game. It's something that I have to get used to, but it still is quite a big flaw. It's sad to see that it still seems to be an issue on Dark Souls.

Riku994
Riku994
9 years ago

If I may speak for Ben before he gets around to responding, he's a very busy man and he has a LOT on this plate for this season especially. He can't be expected to spent multitudes of hours on every single game he needs to review. I would also just like to say that just because you have differing opinions on Two Worlds II, it doesn't mean his review is wrong. In all honesty you should never let a review weigh that heavily on a decision to buy a game.
As a last note just let me say I am in no way trying to start anything here, I'm just letting you know that Ben is a very busy guy and opinions will more than likely differ on some issues.
And Ben if you have any issue with people speaking for you, let me know and I'll never do it again.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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.

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
9 years ago

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.

Gordo
Gordo
9 years ago

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.

The Real Deal
The Real Deal
9 years ago

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!

The Real Deal
The Real Deal
9 years ago

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.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

@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 2:36:57 AM

ZettaiSeigi
ZettaiSeigi
9 years ago

: 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)

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
9 years ago

@Zettai

Rofl. Indeed, I've had a sticky situation near the cliff with the gold skeletons once. Let's just say my heart was pumping so hard.

It was pretty scary at first and Intimidating as well, this was when I first started to play. I played with a friend first then I did it on my own, and man.. scary stuff. I died a lot but I conquered that fear and now I mastered the game.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Real Deal,
Beamboom hit the nail on the head here. It may well indeed be true that this Dark Souls review doesn't display the same level of passion as the WKCII review (not saying aye or nay on that, as that is not really the point of this post), but if Ben doesn't feel as strongly towards this game, or this type of game, then it logically follows that the flow of words will reflect that.

When writing, it's a problem that I frequently face when I simply can't get myself excited enough about a subject or story. The quality suffers and although I recognise this, redrafting does little to rectify those flaws.

The Real Deal
The Real Deal
9 years ago

Beamboom,

I understand it was a low blow to post the White Knight Chronicles review. But it was also a low blow to have Ben dismiss my initial comments based on his thinking that i am biased. But as far as the approach of this review being the same I disagree.

If you look at the two you can easily see that Ben describes his passion for White Knight Chronicles. Its a biased review but at the same time also effective because it goes into detail about the game. Where on the other hand the Demon Souls review is vague and inpassionate. The problem is, I don't think Ben even knows the specifics about the game. I dont think Ben played more than a couple of hours of the game. I don't believe Ben even went online with the game.

Ben Said: "Besides, the multiplayer feature remains highly attractive and innovative. The inherent difficulty encourages you to team up with other players, which is a great experience and one that can be supremely helpful. Furthermore, the ever-present danger of players invading your game is a nice touch."

This is the extent of the multiplayer portion of the review. The multiplayer in Dark Souls is half the reason this game is so great. That statement does no justice in conveying that.

And as far as the analytical part being the same, sure if analytical is a summary of the games description. And I never said that 8.6 is a bad score. The problem i have is the way in which it was given…

TheAgingHipster
TheAgingHipster
9 years ago

@TRD:

Of course, at the time Ben reviewed the game, the multiplayer was probably extremely limited since only reviewers had a copy. You're unhappy because he didn't give more emphasis to a portion of the game that was, effectively, unavailable to him until after launch. Sure, he could have waited to post his review, but with all the PSXE readers eager for this title, I'm glad he got it out in time to let us know if there are any glaring flaws we should know about.

Don't be too upset about Ben's review. As you pointed out, he gave it an 8.6, which is a great score, and the review's content was complete given what game features were available. Don't get hung up on the wording. 🙂

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

@Real deal
We all read his WKC2 review… instead of a huge copy/paste, just link to the article next time….

By the way…. he scored this game higher than WKC2… so not sure what you're getting at.

In all honesty, who give a flying frick about whether he's more passionate about jRPG's than something like Demon Souls? What matters is that in the face of jRPG's he likes, he still gives a fair review, and likewise, in the face of Demon Souls, which he may not have a personal taste for, he STILL gives a fair review.

What more do you want?

Lots of reviewers out there let personal preference affect their scores unfairly.


Last edited by Underdog15 on 10/4/2011 8:26:05 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

@Real Deal: With analytical I mean that he's using the same template on every review, where he focus on storyline, gameplay, audio, graphics, etc and try to weight these elements as best as he can. That's a pattern that seems to be followed almost like a checklist no matter what game is reviewed.
And in that sense this game is reviewed just like any other game.

That being said I think I understand where you are coming from. I am a fan of, well, anything BioWare really but in particular Mass Effect, and to me the ME2 review didn't really emphasis on what ME2 were really about; the wonderful persona gallery and the personal history of every person that is explored while making them loyal to you. To me that is a much bigger part of ME2 than the main story facing the reapers.

But I think you need to really love the ME universe in order to fully appreciate this! To an average player I guess the loyalty quests were just missions like any other, on the way to the finale.

So yes, to me too you do seem to be a bit biased. In my opinion you appear to be a "typical fan", but there is noting wrong in that! Enjoy the game, cherish the moments!
But as fans we do see a game through different eyes than the rest. We just have to live with that. 🙂


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/4/2011 8:28:13 AM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

I'm dismissing your comments because A. I don't have TIME to deal with them, and B. you HAVEN'T PLAYED THE GAME.

Do you normally get into debates with people about games you supposedly love, in ardent defense of them, when you've never even touched them? I don't know about you, but I'm not about to lecture someone on a game they've been playing for a VERY long time when I've never even played a second of it. THIS is where your bias is obviously coming into play.

Lastly, it's painfully obvious that you're going to get the game anyway. What do you even care? Why even make the comment and call me out for a lack of quality? Why the personal attack? Over an 8.6? Yeah, terrible score; I'd freak out, too. 'rolling eyes'

I'm through here. If you have a problem with the reviews, don't read them.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/4/2011 9:28:27 AM

Alienange
Alienange
9 years ago

Copying and pasting another review into the comments section … what next…

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
9 years ago

I was prepared to give Ben the benefit of the doubt, here, as his last words in the review make it versatile enough to warrent appreciation.

But i've been reading so many reviews since (something i rarely do) and this has to be the worst i have read (worst being a strong negative term here, but take note: It's still a decent review). So much personal experience has gone into these other reviews.

And that's just it. It ain't a problem about score, it's in the writing. There's no passion or enough detail….at times it reads like a features list rather than detail each feature (or at least new ones) for good and bad.

I just read one review in which the reviewer spent a paragraph detailing his awe of this small, new online feature. He mentioned that the innovations online have gone so many steps further that it now effects the atmosphere of the game. The example he gave was that the two bells you have to ring can be heard ringing in the distance anytime another player in another game (and within reason as to not have it too repetitive) makes it there and rings it.
That blew my mind when i read that.

He also went onto detail the factions and, here, it doesn't sound like much, but after reading this guys personal experience with it, my mouth hit the floor with just how much further Dark Souls is going….and guess what? That same reviewer noted the at times iffy lock on system, infact, all the criticisms noted here, but remained that it does little to hinder the experience.

Dark Souls is doing an awful lot more than it's predecessor according to detailed reviews and footage. It is not more of the same, no, that's R3 or CoD.

It made me think that maybe that piece on hard games don't suck, but you suck….should be heeded by the writer lol 😛

But to end on a positive, this is still in no way a bad review and the score, not that i personally care, is good. It must be hard having to review so many games as mostly a one man army, at times, you're gonna hit a speed bump.

However, we must remember, reviews are just one person's view, no better than your own.


Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 10/4/2011 7:00:52 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Lotus: I understand that, but this is a relatively new trend in reviews. Because the idea is that reviews are "all opinion" these days, more critics are rambling on and on about how the game "made them feel" and other vague, personal opinions.

Honestly, I don't see how that helps the consumer in the least. I'm trying to explain what the game is, what it does well, what it does poorly, and who might want to buy it (if anyone). In my view, that's the point of a product review in any entertainment venue.

I might include some minor personal impressions but that's about it. Furthermore, I believe all those intimate "oh, Dark Souls made me feel such and such way" observations are PURPOSELY covering up what it mechanically wrong with the game. It's painfully obvious and I don't think it should be glossed over with some meaningless "impact" opinions of one person.

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
9 years ago

I get your frustration, but i think the backlash came from the fact that you usually do get very personal and detailed with the many great reviews you've done (see your Heavy Rain).

Check the comments on that review in which you got personal and detailed to see why personal experiences can move a reader to action i.e. buying or understanding. It's a ploy used by sales people to make them engage in a product. It can be used to truly make a reader see your view for what it is. Sometimes a personal connection to a game can lessen an impact of a lock on system that may occasionally mess up…because you're too engaged in everything else, that's what i'm reading elsewhere. SoTC had some irksome problems, but because of the emotional impact it has had on us, they're all but erased….that's why it's important. Sometimes the package might be too unforgettable to get caught up on a lock on system that may or may not mess up.

I know you know this, man. You own your own bloody review site, for heaven's sake lol, but, ya know….in case you forgot.

I might sound like i'm venting in my post like you may usually think i do, but that's not it this time. I'm just understanding why the original poster is getting mass agreement.

Again, i don't like sounding too negative when talking about others, so don't think you've done a bad review, just one that's not up to your standards, especially on a game which many probably eagerly awaited from you.

You don't need to defend yourself vigorously here, Ben. In fact, be glad there's a big community here that cares enough to write respectful paragraphs of some disagreement!

Rage next, right? 🙂


Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 10/4/2011 8:17:21 PM

The Real Deal
The Real Deal
9 years ago

Ben,

In regards to this new trend of reviews being to opinionated and that you are straying away from it. I believe that this site has lived and breathed through your opinions on such topics. Again if your trying to say that you don't have the time to put into this site then i understand and will find other sites that fill that void.

But i do believe that you are constantly contradicting yourself. Using the White Night Chronicles again as an example you said: I believe all those intimate "oh, Dark Souls made me feel such and such way" observations are PURPOSELY covering up what it mechanically wrong with the game. It's painfully obvious and I don't think it should be glossed over with some meaningless "impact" opinions of one person. But you obviously used the oh, White Knight Chronicles made me feel so awesome so don;t worry about whats wrong with it. I also believe your review on Skyrim will be in the same vain.

Not saying Skyrim will be bad, but if it has issues you will use the oh, Skyrim was the best ever and the issues never got in the way.

As far as the statement that i never played the game when i first commented was correct. But i had watched 24 hours of gameplay. 100 articles read about the game. Bought it midnight last night and am know posting having played it and its better than Demon Souls, granted there might be a issue with the camera control and lock feature. But they are small potatoes compared to the overall experience.

Which is what i wanted conveyed in the review. As far as why i am even bothering commenting on a game that i already was going to buy. Because this article does little to inform PSXEtreme members of the greatness of Dark Souls. And might even turn some people that were on the fence from even buying it.

When i see games like Fallout New Vegas selling like hot cakes even with all of its glitches it makes me mad that a game like Dark Souls or Uncharted doesn't. You Ben might be the reason someone buys or doesn't buy a game. And because of that your reviews should never be a summarized version of basic information but a detailed, descriptive masterpiece. Even if that means you score a good game bad or a bad game good. At least we get another persons personal experience to judge for our self.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Well, my problem with The Read Deal's comment was the very first line, which implied that I didn't play enough of the game to write an accurate review. That's insulting. I also don't understand how someone who has never played a game can lecture someone who has.

I admit I will put more personal opinion into a review if a game really grabs me, as with Heavy Rain. But you may notice that I don't do that with games that DON'T grab me, especially ones that I know are good. I try to be an optimist in that way. If I were to fill this review with my personal opinions about how the game affected me, the comments would've been waaaaay worse. Trust me on that. 😉

I maintain that this review is in no way a lesser quality than any other review. Just because it's lacking the personal, intimate side (which people probably wouldn't want to hear in this case), doesn't mean I'm omitting anything.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

The Real Deal: The problem is that you keep wanting to promote Dark Souls. You don't really have any other purpose here, I don't think.

And I'm not contradicting myself at all. I said exactly the same thing about WKCII as I did about Dark Souls: those who liked the predecessor will enjoy the new game. Just because I liked one more than the other does NOT mean one got a more accurate review. That's incorrect. Look, the camera, lock-on, and parts of the control ARE a problem. They just are. And a much BIGGER problem than it was in Demon's Souls.

As for personal opinion in my reviews, read the above comment to lotus to get a better idea of what I mean.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/4/2011 8:24:59 PM

The Real Deal
The Real Deal
9 years ago

Ben,

I truly have allot of respect for this site and think it ranks among the best. And i can't count how many times your reviews and articles have blown me away with there accuracy and scope. I will end this debate on my end. I have said what i wanted to say, and just to let you know i wasn't trying to personalize my comments it just happened because of the conversation.

I hope you have taking something from this conversation, because i have. I do respect you and know that you work very hard and it shows. Its why i am so critical of your work on this site. With lots of gaming love i bid you farewell until next time!

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

@Lotus: Those were two very well written posts, pal. And they made me realize even more how incredibly, incredibly challenging it is to write a per definition "good" review.

NightHawk17
NightHawk17
9 years ago

I'm gonna eat this game up tomorrow, bought Demon Souls twice:D

I've been dying to get back into this world.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

My brother has been dying to play this. I don't think I know a guy who has spent more time under the hood of RPG's than he has. Demon Souls to him was like mana from heaven.

I can tell this game isn't much to Ben's liking, but he respects it for it's place in gaming.

I won't be able to get around to this game until after Demon's Souls.. which, well, I don't know when that will ever be.

I will say Gamespot raves it, and I have to say I totally respect the writer of the IGN review who said this in his closing comments:

"The reviewer's job is difficult when it comes to a game like Dark Souls. I simply can't unreservedly recommend that you buy it. It's not a game that you play to relax. It doesn't care in the slightest about whether you're enjoying yourself, and it doesn't give a fig for your notions of entertainment or your mental well-being. If you just play games for fun, this isn't for you, and no amount of insistence on my part is going to change that. But if you're interested in the limits of the videogame form – to see just how focused, how pure and how uncompromising in its vision a game can be – Dark Souls is unmissable. If you take the time get into Dark Souls' mindset, to begin to understand the twisted way in which it operates and taste the rewards behind its cruellest challenges, this is one of the most thrilling, most fascinating and most completely absorbing experiences in gaming."

-IGN


Last edited by Temjin001 on 10/3/2011 10:16:27 PM

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
9 years ago

Wow, that was a good tid-bit. I liked it. 🙂

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

speaking of ign's review. wow, what a well written and in depth review. one of the best reviews i have ever read. quite surprised by the quality of the writing and how it perfectly conveys what ds is all about. a really compelling reveiew and i'm not even a fan of demon souls/dark souls. there was another line in review stating at about 30 hrs in after making your way through the posinous swamplands you will be happy just seeing the sunlight again. qoutes like that made me feel like i was right there with reviewer playing the game with him. great stuff.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I think I've noticed a general quality increase over at IGN – they must have recruited several new reviewers over there or something, cause I've read some really smashing reviews there during the last few months.

They should disable the comments field though. Just get rid of it.


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/4/2011 5:34:42 AM

SoulController
SoulController
9 years ago

@boom yea ign has some of the worst comment posters on the web. Everyone is constantly insulting & flaming one another.

I'm gonna grab dark souls but won't be able to get into it right away. It really does take a ton of focus no nonsense when you play but the feeling of accomplishment is undeniable

Oxvial
Oxvial
9 years ago

Problems with gameplay mechanics? okay this is brutal, Demons Souls gameplay mechanics were smooth and never got me into problems.

I blame the time they spent on the 360 version instead of polish it more.


Last edited by Oxvial on 10/3/2011 10:34:43 PM

JackDillinger89
JackDillinger89
9 years ago

So a rather average shooter like resistance 3 get a 9.3 with too many elements heavily borrow from *cough* cod *cough* totaly unorigional. Yet this gets a 8.5? Its still a fair review but im just saying either way many other sites give it high praise (gamespot a 9.5 didnt see that 1 coming) dark souls is still a win. Demons souls vets know whats up.

PSN French
PSN French
9 years ago

agreed, thumbs up to you sir.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Jack, you should've saw Gamespot's score coming. They gave Demon's Souls their GotY in 2009.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

So I have to score a game the same as other sites now?

…when did THAT rule come into effect? And I'm hardly the only one who loved Resistance 3; stop trying to state your opinion as fact.

FM23
FM23
9 years ago

Agreed…granted I never played RE3, but Demons SOuls is one of my top 5 games ever, so I'm pretty sure the sequel will be as epic…I still play Demons Souls. But after tommorrow…Demons Souls is being retired for obvious reasons


Last edited by FM23 on 10/4/2011 12:48:54 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

@Ben: That rule is in effect whenever you rate a game lower than another site. Never the opposite. You should know that by now. 😉

@Jack: R3 was not an average shooter. It was a good shooter. It was "just" a shooter, but as such it was one of the better ones. FPS games borrow a lot from each other, that's hardly anything new. While I personally find the 9.3 rating to be maybe a few notches higher than I would rate it myself, it still is a rock solid, beautiful production.


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/4/2011 4:07:24 AM

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

A shooter is a shooter is a shooter. They don't borrow from each other. The core gameplay is the same… shooting things.

What an unfair thing to say… The comparison doesn't even work.

Alienange
Alienange
9 years ago

I agree. The score for R3 was too high. But so what?

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

@Alien: Glad to see others agree with me there. R3 did receive a very kind score. But it is still a good shooter!

@Under: I don't think that is unfair at all. Everyone borrows from each other. It's the main source of inspiration!

One of the greatest composers and artists alive today, Prince, borrows from every music there is out there. That does not make him less of a musician, quite the contrary.
Every living artist borrows from other artists.
In movies it's almost a common courtesy to not only borrow ideas from eachother, but also pay homeage to other movies by putting "hidden references" to other great movies and directors.


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/5/2011 3:44:31 AM

PSN French
PSN French
9 years ago

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. =)

FM23
FM23
9 years ago

lmao…WTF! True though, that is the point of the game.


Last edited by FM23 on 10/4/2011 12:51:02 AM