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