Prepare to Die…
…A lot. But don’t fret! I’m here to help. Dark Souls is one of my favorite games ever made, and for good reason. It has amazing combat, intense strategy and near flawless RPG elements. It also has fully functional co-op play and PvP. To top it all off, it’s addicting. Very addicting.
I started my journey in the original game, Demon’s Souls for the PlayStation 3 in early 2011, the same year Dark Souls would be released that winter. It took me several months of playing, but I eventually overcame the obstacle that in Demon’s Souls and beat the final boss! Hurrah, but my journey was not over. A few months later, I was waiting patiently in the line at Gamestop for Dark Souls’ midnight release. I grabbed the collectors edition.
I was in love.
Three years later, I have all the trophies in Demon’s Souls and all the achievements in Dark Souls and Dark Souls II. I am here today to give my best three pieces of advise in honor of Dark Souls pricetag of FREE on the Xbox Live Games for Gold in the first half of June 2014.
If you’re new to the Souls series welcome. Most people will give up. You won’t because you have one thing they don’t. The knowledge that everyone who is in love with this game was just as bad as you are right now when they started. They became powerful demon hunters through hours of gameplay. They discovered these basic principals of victory through hours of play.
You’ll start with it.
1. Go Beyond Death
This is something you just need to come to terms with: Dark Souls is a game that will kill you many times. Instead of allowing the game to fill you with frustration, allow these moments to teach you what to do next time, after all, you have one chance to collect your Souls (character experience and currency) before you die again. Make sure you make that one chance worthwhile!
If you fell, remember there is a hole there. If you got crushed by an enemy’s attack while blocking, try dodging next time. The best advice I can give you with Dark Souls is to never let yourself get frustrated and to always learn from your mistakes, because most of the time you die in Dark Souls will be your mistake.
2. Environments are the Friendliest Enemy
Environments can both guide you and kill you. Out of all the tips you’ll hear, remember this one. Always take in your surrounding area, plan ahead and move at a steady and sure pace. Always watch your step in an area you’ve never been before and always be ready for the unexpected. Take note of the theme of the area because it can give you some powerful hints on what kind of enemies to expect.
If you are in an area that the enemies just seem impossible to kill because of how little damage you do, you’re most likely in a more advanced area. If you’re in a massive fortress, be prepared for floor and wall traps at all times. If you’re in a lava infested area, remember there will probably be hellish demons on the prowl.
You should also remember to always explore. You might find useful items, gear or even key items to help you progress more quickly.
3. Your Weapon is an Extension of You
Never be afraid to keep using a weapon you’re comfortable with as long as you know how to scale your character with it. If it’s a longsword, balance your points into strength and dexterity, if it’s a hammer balance them into strength almost exclusively, if it’s a scimitar balance them into dexterity almost exclusively.
Then again, if you’re using a weapon like the Drake’s Sword, one that does not scale, I highly suggest dropping it and picking up a standard weapon, one that you can reinforce and scales with your character. These allow for you to add additional buffs with pine resin and the likes as well as do extra damage from your character’s attributes.
And last but not least, don’t let someone tell you your weapon of choice is bad. Nearly all the weapons in Dark Souls are viable, which is one of my favorite things about the games in general.
… Again and Again.
You will die. A lot. Remember these tips and they will help you succeed where many gamers give in. The Souls games are about the reward you’ll receive through learning the game mechanics. The feeling of success you’ll receive playing through this series is a one-of-a-kind feeling that I’ve felt little of elsewhere in the gaming world.
I hope you fall in love with this series just as I did four years ago!