Dark Souls Play Diary – Part 2

Raging about random deaths aside, if there’s one thing in Dark Souls I can say I enjoy, it is the battle system. I’ve seen Dark Souls labeled as a hack and slash title before and, to a certain extent, that is definitely true. But going in and flailing your arms about won’t get you anywhere. Watching your enemy is key to success.

Like a lot of titles, Dark Souls’ battles require the player to watch their enemy and strike when there’s an opening. But in Dark Souls the sense of urgency when doing this is a lot higher. Being able to attack your foe at just the right time often leads to their death as you can strike multiple times without fear of them being able to retaliate. When played correctly, enemies can be taken out in a single combo in Dark Souls.

Sounds easy, right? The difference here is that the enemy is essentially on equal footing as you. If they manage to strike you, there’s a good chance they’re not going to hit you just once, but multiple times. At least early on in Dark Souls, even on a heavily armored job, getting hit more than once is simply devastating. After three to four hits, you’re lucky if you’re still alive.

Approaching even the smallest enemy requires the exact same caution as approaching a boss. Even taking a single hit is wasted health. Without a way to restore potions without turning back and respawning all the enemies, being wary of every foe is a must in order to advance in Dark Souls.

Unfortunately, this is exactly why I feel the “loludead” random deaths of Dark Souls just don’t fit the title. Unlike Mega Man, where you can quickly run back to where your last point of death, Dark Souls requires an extreme amount of precision during combat. This makes the title incredibly slow-paced. After three random deaths, not including any normal deaths via combat, fighting the same enemies over and over again gets incredibly tedious, especially when, depending on the foe, each fight can take upwards of 30 seconds.

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