Monday, 31 October 2011

Hands On: Dark Souls

Armed with my press pass, I covered London's MCM Expo for the Expo's magazine site, MCM Buzz. I managed to get a few artist interviews, play some hands-on demos and sit through some panels. It was great! One of the other writers had already covered Dark Souls, so here is my hands-on experience with the game.

Namco Bandai's Dark Souls was available for gamers to play throughout this weekends MCM Expo in London., which I managed to grab a go at on the Saturday.

The demo opens on the character customisation screen, where I quickly set up the characters stats and look. The game then begins in a moss-covered castle, full of winding staircases and plenty of enemies. Straight away I am confronted with a couple of rats, which I rather foolishly thought would be easy to defeat. But this is Dark Souls, of course this isn't the case. Thankfully though, they're much easier than the greater enemies you will confront as the game progresses.

If you haven't heard it already, Dark Souls is hard. Punishingly hard at times, and my demo play definitely proved this. It's hard to drop into a game like Dark Souls somewhere past the beginning, as there is a bit of a learning curve involved with the gameplay. Gameplay at times feels a little clunky, but for the most part, the controls were easy to pick up.
The games tagline "Prepare to Die" is an appropriate one, as you will die. Repeatedly, in fact. Due to this, the intensity of the game was increased significantly, and I was left feeling like I was always in danger, no matter if I was fighting merely a rat, or one of the larger, zombie-like enemies that I encountered in my time on Dark Souls.

I was highly impressed with the atmosphere conveyed. Dark Souls is not only incredibly creepy at times, but this demo play through also conveyed the tranquillity and beauty that can be found through exploration. The graphics are also rather impressive, and the crisp, vibrant look benefited greatly in full HD.

Whilst dying a lot may not seem that enjoyable, for some reason, I was left wanting more when my time on Dark Soulswas up. The sound and graphics add a creepy, almost survival horror-esque atmosphere which really heighten the intensity, and horror, of repeated deaths. Whilst my play-through on Dark Souls had been brief, it is definitely a game which has the potential to be an engaging, if somewhat frustrating, experience. Prepare yourself for a rough, but enjoyable ride-this is what's waiting for you on Dark Souls.

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