The video games market is more aimed at your casual gamers nowadays with your Mario’s and your Sonic’s but what about the hard-core gamers?
What about those who love a challenge?
Yeah sure we can up the difficulty on games but then FromSoftware and Namco-Bandai came along with the follow up to the successful Demon Souls named Dark Souls which tested the most hard-core of gamers with its tough challenges and unrelenting difficulty.
The latest iteration dubbed the Prepare to die edition adds to the unforgiveness Dark Souls contains by giving gamers more locations, monsters and challenges without ever making it easier.
The core game, however, doesn’t differ from its original outing; players take up arms in the fantasy world Lodran to rid it of an evil and its minions.
That’s pretty much it, however, the Prepare To Die edition contains a sub story which is also available as DLC named ‘Artorias of the Abyss’ where players attempt to take down the dark knight Artorias along with new monsters that he has brought along with him.
The story is sub-standard to say the least but it’s the beasts that roam Lodran that are the stars of the show.
Ghouls and demons that litter Dark Souls look as though they have been ripped straight from the depths of hell itself and they are not in the slightest bit easy to defeat from huge dragons to puny sword wielding skeletons - every single enemy presents a serious challenge.
The gameplay is a joy with the controls being very responsive and the combat, whilst requiring a lot of thinking prowess, is an overall ray of sunshine to this overall dark and dank game.
Players can use weak attacks and strong attacks to perform combinations as well as blocking which is more useful with a shield.
Don’t expect somersaults and diving super kicks as this game takes itself very seriously.
However, moves like a spinning sword slash or more useful jumping attacks differ corresponding to what class you choose when beginning your journey, whether you’re a big brutish knight or a quick and agile thief, the game will play to the gamer’s capabilities.
There are seemingly endless types of weapons and armour with different properties that can be found scattered across Lodran or they can be obtained from in game NPCs.
The only solace from the toughness are the inclusion of bonfires where the player can save their game, replenish their health and any health consumables they may have used up.
These are breaths of fresh air and you get a sense of relief whenever you come across one, especially when you have just defeated a gargantuan behemoth boss that took many many tries to take down.
The difficulty doesn’t let up throughout, however to make things that little bit easier players can now leave online messages anywhere in the game world to help other players overcome a particular challenge.
I thought this was a nice touch, however co-op play would have been a more welcome addition.
Multiplayer is now added thanks to the Prepare to Die edition, which pits teams of players up against each other which I thought was a pointless inclusion as the AI is tough enough without competing against real people however it’s a welcome break from the games hard-core campaign.
Dark Souls sports visuals to die for (sorry, pun) and are comparable to those of Skyrim with its skyline invading castles, beautiful sunsets and mountain ranges and of course dark and dingy dungeons and caves as well as the Prepare to die editions newly added woods and sanctuaries.
There’s not a lot of time available in game to just look and bask in the game worlds beautifulness as you’ll be too busy trying to stay alive but the outstanding looking and detailed game world makes it more enjoyable... and then there’s the monsters.
Each enemy looks menacing and jam packed with detail which helps them look all the more scary looking especially the bosses.
Bosses in Dark Souls including Artorias are the most intimidating looking bosses I have ever came across in any game and make Skyrims dragons seem like a walk in the park and they range from huge and ugly looking to menacing and fearsome.
Here we have one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played, where the difficulty alone might be enough to attract some gamers. It can be daunting for others putting them off however Dark Souls gorgeous game world and scary looking monsters are worth the effort.
The new areas and enemies bring new challenges and the multiplayer is nothing more than time filler.
No easy mode or co-op unfortunately making Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition an unrelenting journey through one of the most treacherous intimidating worlds I’ve ever encountered. Casual gamers beware.
Dark Souls: Prepare To die Edition
Publishers: Namco Bandai
Release Date: 26th October 2012
Story – 3/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Graphics - 4/5
Overall – 4/5