Dark Souls: An Addiction

DSR

Last night was a quiet night in for us. Our whole family has been suffering with a winter lurgy for the past week, so I ended up sat on the sofa alone with a couple of beers while everyone else snoozed upstairs. Making the most of sales on PSN I had early bought Dark Souls 2 and 3 (and I owned the DLC for 3 on my previous PSN account, so had the full experience. I already had them on my Xbox One, but seeing as I am soon to put the two consoles into different rooms in different floors, I figured I’d get them while they were cheap (€23 for both) so I can play them in either room.

Around 11:00 last night, expecting to stay up well past midnight with my two cats, who were already disturbed by New Years Fireworks, I was playing Dark Souls 2, but remembered that Dark Souls Remastered was on sale right now. €30 instead of €40. I’d ignored it previously, knowing that in a few months it would be cheaper still, but I was drawn to it. Strong Belgian beer may have been a factor. Or maybe it was that Lemon Meringue Pie liquor I’d quaffed earlier in the evening. Whatever it was that influenced me, I drained my struggling bank account yet further and proceeded with the 7.5GB download of what I think I can safely call my favourite game ever.

I mentioned that I have the sequels already on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I also have physical copies of Dark Souls Remastered on Xbox One and Switch. The latter is a lot better than you might be expecting. I’ve been playing the two concurrently with slightly different builds, and just yesterday beat Seeth the Scaleless on both to earn a second Lords Soul. Now those two versions can wait while I catch up on PS4 with yet another load out. Shouldn’t take too long…!

It’s not common that I will buy a game on more than one console. There are a couple of Indie titles that I’ve picked up for less than €5 on sale that I may double dip, particularly buying a second copy on Switch, which is a perfect home for those games when you can’t use the TV. Dark Souls though I now own on Steam, PS3, and in “Remastered” form on PS4, Xbox One and Switch.

It’s been out now for seven and a half years, and I’ve had it since then. It took a long time for me to get into it, having struggled previously with the extreme difficulty of Demon’s Souls. I suffer from a lack of focus in general, and this series demands that you crawl inside it and forget everything else you could be doing instead. You have to live it. The moment you let your mind wander, you are overcome and returned to the last bonfire you visited. This is part of my reason for playing is concurrently on multiple systems – I will run through a zone, defeat a boss, then swap to the other version and do the same zone again. This time I’m more familiar, and it’s slightly easier to progress through the area. The bosses are often easier the second time through, when you’ve gained a better grasp of their patterns. This second run through a zone acts as a kind of cleansing, the next best thing to a rest. And it sharpens my skills, even if only a little.

I couldn’t quite tell you how this game succeeds in keeping me so entertained over multiplier plays through; such a discussion would become an even messier ramble than my typical writing. But needless to say I do love this game. And as much as I’ve enjoyed the sequels, it’s this first title that truly captures the imagination in a way that even Bloodborne has failed to do for me.

It’s a good thing there are only a handful of upcoming games on my radar. I’ll buy New Super Mario Bros U on Switch next week (even if I am annoyed that they’d re-release it at full price instead of a new game). The Last of Us 2, Yoshi’s Crafted World and Resident Evil 2 are pre-ordered, though I may just wait a few weeks before the inevitably appear on sale. Other than those I am waiting on Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3 and Nioh 2. That’s it. Of course there will be occasional indie games popping up that may take a few of my credits. Otherwise I’m planning a relatively sparse update to my games library this year. Instead, I’m going to beat Dark Souls Remastered, and for the first time ever beat the other two games in the series. Maybe I’ll even get into Bloodborne, why not.

We all have a game or a series that captures our imagination like no other. A lot of Nintendo’s series do this for a lot of people, with Super Mario, Metroid and The Legend of Zelda often chock full of inspirational design and characters. I’ve enjoyed all of those series also, but there’s something that pulls me back to Dark Souls time and again. I wish I could give it a name. Jeff. I’ll call it Jeff.

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