Zero Punctuation: Dark Souls

Seraj33

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I'd just like to mention that you do not by any means NEED to go fight the Church roof Gargoyles first. There is this one great lets play were the player goes through the catacombs and pretty much every other area in the game before Anor Londo, before he even deals with the Capra Demon. And he did it all while only being level six too.
 

Alarien

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Seraj33 said:
I'd just like to mention that you do not by any means NEED to go fight the Church roof Gargoyles first. There is this one great lets play were the player goes through the catacombs and pretty much every other area in the game before Anor Londo, before he even deals with the Capra Demon. And he did it all while only being level six too.
Yes, to be fair, though, that's for experienced players who already know where every item and monster is and how to bypass everything that isn't flat out required.

Most of my games start with a run through the Valley of the Drakes, killing the BKH knight and Havel and then a quick drop by Quelaag for some souls (regardless of whether I wanted that BKH or not). Why? Because it's a fast way to get a lot of experience and Havel's Ring. However, the first time player should not do this unless they're Demon's Souls veterans or just really prepared to die horribly over and over without much progression.

The run up to the Parish tower is the most reasonable way for a new player to learn the game. It's also one of the most fun dungeon tromps in gaming.
 

Char-Nobyl

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chiggerwood said:
I hate dark souls for the simple fact that you can't pause. Fuck whoever thought that was a good design decision.
Ditto. I get the decision to not allow the game to pause (you can't pause online games for pretty obvious reasons)..but I don't care about any online aspect in this game. At best, I was utterly indifferent to it during those times when I was basically just playing a single-player game. At worst, I hated it, because the only substantial change in the game that happened when I stayed online was an ungodly powerful griefer teleporting into my newbie game and oneshotting me.

After that, I just turned off my router while my 360 spun up and turned it back on once I'd reassured the game that yes, I'm okay with playing offline.

Silentpony said:
Maybe I'm playing like a beta copy of this game. I got Dark Souls ages ago and I put it down after my first weekend play-through. I remember that every monster killed me for hours and hours and hours. I also remember how terrible the level layout was. At first I took an obvious path up a cliff where a bunch of unkillable skeleton knights killed me. I spent a good three hours trying to fight them, but everytime I did kill one (no easy feet mind you) they just re-spawned instantly. Then after reading I wasn't supposed to go there, I went down the second most obvious path - the elevator to the underworld - and boom! More skeletons and more death. Two hours there too before I realized that oopps, wasn't supposed to be here either. Boy would I like some sort of instruction telling me where I'm supposed to go and why, because at this point I had completely forgotten the entire plot.
It wasn't until, like Yatzhee said, I read a f-ing walk-through that I learned there was a third completely hidden path that led to where I was supposed to go. This was maybe...6 hours of gameplay at this point.
Yeah...that sounds almost exactly like my experience, except I loaded up a walkthrough by about the third encounter with the seemingly invulnerable skeletons. Apparently, it was supposed to be instinctive knowledge that skeletons are basically immune to swords and deathly vulnerable to maces.

Silentpony said:
See you can either have a game that's incredibly hard OR you can have a game that's incredibly obtuse. You can't do both because you'll get players like me, who know A. Monsters are really hard and B. Hate it when monsters kill you spending 3+ hours trying to kill one or two monsters, convinced the error is on my gameplay, NOT that the game was dumb enough to leave the door to the level 30 zone right next to the starting location.

That's why I can't get back into this game. It was trial and error - no no, it was something way worse. It was just error.
I think I quit after my 135th death, and I was sent back to the first camp fire again.
The problem I had with it was the utter lack of direction. You're not told anything and expected to learn by dying enough times to trial-and-error your way through.

Unfortunately, I went into the game with the expectation of "Really challenging but also very rewarding RPG" when what it played like was a 3D version of 'I Wanna Be The Guy.' Those are two wildly different experiences. They can both be fun, sure, but you have to know what you're getting into and design the game appropriately. I think a lot more people would enjoy the game if it was just a little more obvious what direction you're supposed to be going in. Not what direction you're required to go in, mind you. If you want to brave an area that expects you to be much tougher than you are, then by all means.

But as it stands, it's a game with very little direction to give players that expects you to gauge which way you need to go based on whichever direction kills you the fewest times, and that's a problem. In virtually every game ever, 'death' is synonymous with 'failure.' If you didn't enter the game with the modified mindset that death does not equal failure, you're going to get frustrated real fast.

And when you have a dozen different types of weapons, spells, and magic doo-dads that can drastically change how effective you are against certain enemies, there will be players (like you and me, apparently) who hurl themselves into zones while wildly underleveled because the only information on the game they were told was "The game is super hard."
 

MeisterKleister

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Well, he did mention on his "Podcast" that he really did get into playing Dark Souls, but I wasn't expecting a review of it. Pretty cool.

But I'm curious as to whose Let's Play Yahtzee watched. Any chance to find out? Maybe in a future episode of Let's Drown Out?
 

UsefulPlayer 1

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I can't stop thinking about how the world IS designed for bigger people. Anor Londo is the land of the gods and giants.

That's why the halls and doors were so large. Think about how tall the smiths and knights where.
 

naiets

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I looked everywhere for this, and I was so surprised when I didn't find it when I first looked for it, because I thought he'd be all over it.

It did so many things right - the all you can get to sky box thing; the story not indiscriminately being shoved into our faces thing; the 'feel free to go this way to get your arse pwned by this other giant boss instead of the one back there' thing.

The DLC also turns the Sif (big wolf) intro sequence into one of the best game cinematic ever, and it doesn't even have dialogue. Though that's given that you complete the DLC questline and get the hidden Artoria's Greatshield before you challenge him.

If only I had a PS3 so I could play Demon's Souls.
 

gittonsxv

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after his demons souls review i just knew he would play this at some time, i did not expect him to really like it but then again it is a damn good game. good show ZP
 

Alarien

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I can understand the people who died over and over to the very first encounter with Asylum Demon. I really can. In fact, there's a pretty hysterical video of Angry Joe doing a Dark Souls Let's Play where he did exactly that, because he never saw the door.

That said, getting facerolled by the first monster you see is usually an indicator of "don't fight me right this second." My wife, who hasn't really every played this style of game before, immediately saw the giant monster and said "yeah, no" and found the door, first try. Still, as I said, I do understand the idea that "oh, yeah, I am supposed to fight that."

However, from Firelink Shrine, I just don't get the complaints. There is only one way that is basically screaming "climb me, go this way, I won't hurt you... as much." In fact, it's the only way that you can immediately see as a way to adventure from where you are first dropped. It's also the way off-handedly indicated by the first person you talk to (Crestfallen tells you there are two bells, one UP and then one down). So... go up the obvious path.

The only two other ways you can immediately go are down into the area with the invincible ghosts (should be an obvious indicator) or a little further that route, through a door that can only be initially unlocked with a special key, leading you to mosters who will immediately one-shot and/or poison you (should be an obvious indicator). The other main path is actually hidden a bit behind where Frampt comes and leads you to a bunch of skeletons who can 1) hit for most of your health and spawn in groups of at least 2... and let's not talk about the giant one and 2) respawn immediately. Something about that should also indicate that going here seems "off."

On the other hand, taking the obvious up-path into the generally feeble undead leads you to a pretty quick bonfire/respawn point with a fairly minimum amount of hassle.

Contrary to some of the comments, while the game does not force you to go in a direction, it does give a lot of blindingly huge "GO THIS WAY" indicators right off the bat. Further, once you get on that first path, the game itself gives you a linear path to follow all the way past the gargoyles, capra, gaping, and into Blighttown.

No, Dark Souls doesn't spoonfeed you, but it certainly doesn't just leave you twisting in the wind wondering why where you are is so insanely hard. In that respect, Demon's Souls was FAR worse with world 1-1 leading into 1-2, but 1-2 being nearly impossible to beat early and some of the other "1" worlds (3-1 and 5-1) being also absurdly difficult early. Dark Souls at least gives you a nice path of least resistance where Demon's Souls just sorta laughed as you are smacked by a monster off a platform again in the opening area of the Valley of Defilement.
 

Slycne

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anthony87 said:
Fuck that bit with the archers, just fuck it. I wonder how many billions of souls have been collectively lost because of that part.
It's got to be a lot. Easily one of the most frustrating sections in the game. I finally broke down and Poison Arrow'ed them both and waited out the minute or so it takes for them to die.
 

klaynexas3

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Dec 30, 2009
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Alright, now do a retake on Demons's Souls since you now understand the "Souls" mentality. It's only the slightest bit different but it's still damn good. Damn damn good good damn good. Damn.
 

KOMega

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Huh... I was prepared for him to rip into this one... Oh well. Pleasantly surprised.

Anyways, I am always surprised whenever someone can't seem to find the stairway up when they get to firelink and somehow head to the graveyard or the elevator first somehow. The entrances to both of those places are pretty obscured from where you get dropped off. The game does a good job of guiding you to places without explicitly telling you to go anywhere.

Still, it's fun to make a new character and go those ways first instead. It's hard, but not impossible. :)
 

Alarien

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Slycne said:
anthony87 said:
Fuck that bit with the archers, just fuck it. I wonder how many billions of souls have been collectively lost because of that part.
It's got to be a lot. Easily one of the most frustrating sections in the game. I finally broke down and Poison Arrow'ed them both and waited out the minute or so it takes for them to die.
Unfortunately, this one always sucks on NG. I hate getting past it. I think the last time I did it on NG, I just used a Ring of Fog to bypass the sentinels and demons and then made a best run to get up next to the main BK archer. Still died a few times. Bastard. Easily one of the most frustrating sections to get through.

On NG+ though, muahahahaha. Dragonslayer or Gough's Bow. Clear the trash and then shoot the archer on the right until he falls off. Reversal of fate. Jerk.
 

baba44713

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Sep 25, 2008
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I was kinda dreading pressing the play button because I didn't want to see Yahtzee tear a new one to one of my favorite games.

Now I kinda wish he did. It's not fun when he likes a game so much. :p
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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Char-Nobyl said:
Silentpony said:
Yeah...that sounds almost exactly like my experience, except I loaded up a walkthrough by about the third encounter with the seemingly invulnerable skeletons. Apparently, it was supposed to be instinctive knowledge that skeletons are basically immune to swords and deathly vulnerable to maces.

Silentpony said:
The problem I had with it was the utter lack of direction. You're not told anything and expected to learn by dying enough times to trial-and-error your way through.

Unfortunately, I went into the game with the expectation of "Really challenging but also very rewarding RPG" when what it played like was a 3D version of 'I Wanna Be The Guy.' Those are two wildly different experiences. They can both be fun, sure, but you have to know what you're getting into and design the game appropriately. I think a lot more people would enjoy the game if it was just a little more obvious what direction you're supposed to be going in. Not what direction you're required to go in, mind you. If you want to brave an area that expects you to be much tougher than you are, then by all means.

But as it stands, it's a game with very little direction to give players that expects you to gauge which way you need to go based on whichever direction kills you the fewest times, and that's a problem. In virtually every game ever, 'death' is synonymous with 'failure.' If you didn't enter the game with the modified mindset that death does not equal failure, you're going to get frustrated real fast.

And when you have a dozen different types of weapons, spells, and magic doo-dads that can drastically change how effective you are against certain enemies, there will be players (like you and me, apparently) who hurl themselves into zones while wildly underleveled because the only information on the game they were told was "The game is super hard."
I agree with you 100%. As a player, you had no direction and no basis from which understand and judge encounters. Like the first boss that you run away from. That killed me maybe a dozen times because I've never heard of a game where you run away from the FIRST boss. Especially when the first level is a training course to get familiarized with the controls. Usually the first boss is a test of the basic dodge/block/hit/more powerful hit mechanics. Not a beginners trap you're not supposed to fight.
Who would have guessed you're supposed to run away?! To me it would be the equivalent of having the first puzzle room in Portal be solved by leaving the area through the door you came in. You would never think to do it unless you were really REALLY desperate.

And back to those annoying not-killable skeletons. I can go with you're supposed to judge by how horribly the monsters rape you the relative level of the area and whether or not you need to get the anti-rape armor from the tower over yonder first(Assuming you KNEW such armor existed but i digress) But my problem is this; I had nothing to compare those skeletons to. They were the first enemies outside the starting area, and its a very difficult game where any monster can kill you if you're not careful. How is anyone supposed to know those monsters are too high leveled for you?
What if in Pokemon you leave the Town and the first random encounter is of like an electric sheep, but they don't list the level. And it eats your small like blue turtle thing alive. You would think you didn't fight well, not that "OH! This sheep is obviously ten levels higher than me! I should go find that secret passage no-one ever mentioned and take the stupid dirt path out of town, not the paved road the game started me on!"

Somehow I don't think that would sell very well...
 

Alarien

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Silentpony said:
You would think you didn't fight well, not that "OH! This sheep is obviously ten levels higher than me! I should go find that secret passage no-one ever mentioned and take the stupid dirt path out of town, not the paved road the game started me on!"

Somehow I don't think that would sell very well...
Look, I realize that I'm one of the smug assholes that Yahtzee warned everyone about, but, as I indicated in my last post and several other people have, finding those skeletons was specifically NOT the "paved road the game started me on." In fact, to find them, you have to go hunting around through the buildings and completely ignore the stairs leading UP from the spot where you started next to the guy who tells you that your first objective is UP.

The stupid dirt path (amusingly, it actually IS dirt at first, as opposed to the nicely formed stairs to the burg) is actually the one that leads to the newbie destroying skeletons.

The comment is a more than a little misleading to people who haven't played the game because it actually suggests that the path to the Catacombs, through the skeletons, is clearly the intended path. It isn't. It's not even visible from where the game drops you off after the Asylum, whereas the path to the Burg is clearly visible, about 20 feet away and the guy staring you in the face says something about going up to ring a bell.
 

Saidan

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By Umbasa, he actually did it... And he liked it! Excelent job Yahtzee, I couldn't agree more with your review. Now let's just hope that the sequel is a worthy successor. Praise the sun!
 

k-ossuburb

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chiggerwood said:
I hate dark souls for the simple fact that you can't pause. Fuck whoever thought that was a good design decision.
The game relies on the constant threat of being attacked at any time and one of those threats are other players invading your world to give you a few quick backstabs and then run back to their world with all your humanity. If the game could be paused that system wouldn't work, it's actually a good design decision, not only because it makes the online presence run smoothly but it also links into the idea of being constantly oppressed, if you want to "pause" the game, find a bonfire somewhere, it's basically the same thing, the best one is the starter bonfire in Firelink Shrine as it's the only bonfire that's 100% safe from invasions.
 

chiggerwood

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k-ossuburb said:
chiggerwood said:
I hate dark souls for the simple fact that you can't pause. Fuck whoever thought that was a good design decision.
The game relies on the constant threat of being attacked at any time and one of those threats are other players invading your world to give you a few quick backstabs and then run back to their world with all your humanity. If the game could be paused that system wouldn't work, it's actually a good design decision, not only because it makes the online presence run smoothly but it also links into the idea of being constantly oppressed, if you want to "pause" the game, find a bonfire somewhere, it's basically the same thing, the best one is the starter bonfire in Firelink Shrine as it's the only bonfire that's 100% safe from invasions.
No it is not a good design decision. Let's just say, and I'm (not really) just pulling this out of thin air here, there's someone who wants to play this game, but unfortunately they have bowel issues where their bowels don't send a polite message informing them of an incoming movement that needs to be dealt with some time in the next half hour or so, but instead look at the person and say "Time to shit, you got ten seconds. In the chair or on the toilet, doesn't matter to me; this is happening now." Then the whole system just seems like a giant fuck you. Also there is no way I want to deal with fucking griefers while I'm trying to play a single player campaign, in a game that's as about inviting as leather face's family. So yeah the entire online gimmick is awful and should be optional.