Crack­ing my knuck­les to pre­pare my­self for an­other stroll through the halls of Dark Souls

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Adam Bryant

Pub­lisheR Namco Bandai Games / De­vel­oper From Soft­ware / For­mat Xbox 360 / re­lease date Oc­to­ber 2011

With the im­mi­nent re­lease of its re­mas­ter it seems like the per­fect time to head back into the bru­tal world of Dark Souls and re­mem­ber how to die. The Souls se­ries has had an im­mense im­pact on the gam­ing land­scape, from its min­i­mal­ist nar­ra­tive to its un­for­giv­ing com­bat. It was re­fresh­ing to play a game that didn’t hold your hand and ex­plain how ev­ery­thing worked and en­cour­aged you to ex­plore the way you wanted, but in fear. Never for­get the fear. The fear of ev­ery corner you turn hav­ing the po­ten­tial to claim your life in an in­stant. With that in mind I get stuck in.

I wake up in the Un­dead Asy­lum, dust my­self off and ven­ture forth. It’s been a while since I stalked these cor­ri­dors so I make my first ten­ta­tive steps and al­low that all-im­por­tant mus­cle me­mory to flow through my fin­gers. “You Died.” I fool­ishly take on the Asy­lum De­mon with my measly bro­ken sword. Es­cap­ing, I work my way through the asy­lum grab­bing a sword and shield along the way and run up a large flight of stairs. “You Died.” Of course, I for­got about the huge boul­der that comes bowl­ing down the stairs and smashes a hole in the wall. Through which I re­ceive a bunch of those all-im­por­tant Es­tus Flasks that re­plen­ish my health. I find my way to the up­per level of the boss room. Jump­ing from the ledge I plunge my sword deep into the Asy­lum De­mon’s head. Not too pleased, it swings at me. I roll away to avoid his crush­ing blow, and re­turn to land a few of my own. Rinse and re­peat. I’ve def­i­nitely got this. “You Died.” Serves me right for not pay­ing at­ten­tion and get­ting cor­nered. Af­ter de­feat­ing the mon­ster I’m whisked away by an enor­mous crow to­ward Fire­link Shrine.

Get­ting my bear­ings I wan­der over to the nearby grave­yard with an

“Jump­ing from the ledge I plunge my sword deep into the Asy­lum De­mon’s head. It swings at me”

un­easy feel­ing. “You Died.” That’ll be the bunch of vi­cious skele­tons ly­ing in wait there then. I choose a dif­fer­ent path up the side of a cliff face, which, if I re­mem­ber cor­rectly, is a much safer way to go. “You Died.” As long as you avoid the un­dead wait­ing to am­bush you. I con­tinue for a while, wan­der­ing around tak­ing out ev­ery un­dead that crosses my path, nar­rowly es­cap­ing death a few times but dy­ing in more em­bar­rass­ing ways un­til, sud­denly, I stand face to face with the Taurus De­mon. This hulk­ing mass doesn’t take too kindly to peo­ple cross­ing its walk­way but I bravely stand my ground.

Praise the Sun

“You Died.” Re­mem­ber­ing an old tac­tic I climb the tower be­hind me and leap, driv­ing my sword down in the beast, tak­ing away a large chunk of its health. But now by path is blocked. The de­mon swings and knocks me down, but I re­turn the favour. I run back to the other side of the walk­way and the mon­ster fol­lows. Quickly chang­ing di­rec­tions, I sprint to­wards it and roll be­tween its legs. I make my way fran­ti­cally to the tower. Reach­ing the top I re­alise I don’t have any Es­tus Flasks left to heal me. But the beast doesn’t have much health ei­ther. One more pile-drive into its head and it’s over. “You Died.” I miss and the de­mon squashes me.

Even­tu­ally I suc­ceed and re­unite with an old friend, So­laire of As­tora. I join him in ad­mir­ing the beau­ti­ful sun­lit sky and shed a tear not be­cause of the won­der­ful sight that’s laid be­fore me but be­cause things get much harder from here.

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