Dark Souls is for masochists – when games are so hard they’re no fun any more

October 2, 2011

If you like a little torture from time to time, in a purely recreational setting, then Dark Souls may just be the game for you.

I don’t know about you but I play games for fun, to relax, to forget about the harshness of life and the hard slog of working. Therefore I don’t particularly appreciate games which are so difficult that playing them becomes a chore, another hill to climb, another source of frustration and resentment. In other words Dark Souls isn’t for me.

There are obviously different levels of difficulty. I don’t mind a challenge, but when a game is intentionally made as hard as nails, and when the player is given virtually no help, advice, or leeway, then I’m out. I just cannot be bothered, and it has been that way for as long as I have been playing games.

Over the past 20 years games have become increasingly easy, or at least had options simplifying the gameplay to ensure as many people as possible can finish and get to watch the ending. In the old days when arcades ruled the roost the difficulty level was pitched just this side of demanding to ensure you’d keep paying for more, and would have to do so to get anywhere. Now that we pay all our money up front, this isn’t an issue.

There is, however, still the occasional anomaly, and Dark Souls is just that. Having read the reviews and watched the videos it’s clear Dark Souls is a game purely for the masochists among us. Hardcore doesn’t even begin to describe this game. It’s punishing, unrelenting, and has a difficulty level set so high that most people will realize it’s not for them after just a few minutes of playing.

Dark Souls is released this week on PS3 and Xbox 360. Just make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for before purchasing the game. Oh, and have a couple of spare controllers on hand for when you throw your current one through the window. And a spare television for when you put your foot through your present one. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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