It’s Dark And Lonely Out There
The Dark Souls series has become one of the most iconic rpg series in today’s modern era of gaming. The punishing gameplay and required patience of tackling the dark adventure has created a genre all in its own. Nintendo owners will finally have the opportunity to take on the many challenges brought forth in the series, as Dark Souls Remastered officially heads over to the Switch.
There’s a lot to know about the blistering, curse-word inducing action-rpg, so allow us to shine some light for any newcomers to the series on what to expect, and how to cope with the many difficulties you’ll soon face within the series.
Patience, Patience, Patience
One thing new players to Dark Souls level of gameplay must be made aware of right away is that anything can and will happen. Along with the dark setting comes plenty of hiding enemies, most of the time coming in groups. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when enemies begin coming at you from all angles, even if they’re lower-leveled baddies. So the first, and possibly most important step in survival is to take your time.
This is especially true when exploring new areas in the game. One wrong move and you could easily end up as just another blood stain splattered on the pavement. If playing through Dark Souls in single player, most of the time you’re better off peaking around every corner, observing every open room and keeping your eye on the horizon for any life-ending traps that lay ahead. Patience is key, both in exploring and combat. Expect every new area to contain a trap, mob of enemies, or a powerful foe to end your run. There’s no time limit, so unless you’re a speed runner (which you shouldn’t be if this is your first time through, but if you are – kudos), it’ll pay to be nothing less than cautious.
Know Your Weapons
There are tons of weapons and spells to learn throughout the Souls trilogy (that goes for Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne, as well) and your first time through may confuse you how the weapon action and upgrading works. There are two variations of attacks: light and heavy attacks. Typically you’ll utilize the light attacks to deal more of a constant barrage of strikes, while the heavy attacks can perform charge attacks. Both are handy in combat, but knowing what your current weapon is capable of on all fronts can put you one step ahead of your enemies.
Some weapons are quick and fluid, while others are slow powerful – unless, of course, you’re using a variation of magic. Depending on the enemy and situation at hand, some weapons work better than others. However, often you may find yourself comfortable with a specific weapon, and that’s entirely fine, just as long as you remember to upgrade them effectively. Each weapon is linked to certain stats like strength or faith. Depending on the weapon one or more of these stats will have a letter rank which entails a specific build for that weapon. Increasing your stat every time you gain a new level where a weapon has a rank of, let’s say a letter A, that specific weapon will begin a massive boost in power; but only after you’ve reached a high enough level.
It may sound like an awkward method of weapon enhancement, but it’s totally worth it if you plan on building a solid offense.
Dodge, Duck And Dive
Unlike most third person real-time action rpgs, Dark Souls uses the stamina meter for a variety of actions other than attacking, such as dodging, rolling and sprinting. This makes combat extremely strategic as you must always rely on a sufficient supply of stamina for evasive maneuvers, but also when landing blows. The stamina meter replenishes after a few seconds of not using any up, but can be the death of you if you’re not aware of your current stamina level.
There’s something satisfying about going into a handful of enemies and slicing and dicing away as they topple to the ground. However, trying this tactic in Dark Souls can end up rather terribly more often than not. Pinching off a couple of blows followed by a dodge or roll at the ready is all-too important when surviving an enemy encounter. Of course, your character build may not call for agile movements such as those, so blocking must act as your back up.
To go along with patience and taking your time, knowing your enemy’s movements – this goes double for bosses – and what each of their attacks looks like before it happens is all part of the Dark Souls strategy for survival; and one that will stick with you the more cautious you become.
Companionship Is Key
Dark Souls can be played through its entirety as a sole single player experience. However, that doesn’t always mean it’s a better experience. Teamwork and cooperation has substantial benefits when looking to tackle difficult areas or towering boss fights. Utilizing summon signs and calling upon your Souls companions can help new players ease their way into the depths of the demanding Dark Souls adventure.
However, while co-op can allow players to fight together against the monstrosities found in throughout Lordran, teaming up does have its downsides. For instance, bosses and enemies have a boost in health and strength. This helps the game compensate towards the extra players can keeps the game challenging and often unfair. But that’s exactly why we choose to play, because the adrenaline during relentless fights and supreme gratification upon victory is fuel to the Dark Souls fire.
There’s a lot to know about the Dark Souls experience, but hopefully this little list of tips will help out a few new souls take on the dark journey. Dark Souls Remastered is set to release on the Nintendo Switch, while the Dark Souls Trilogy hits the Xbox One and PS4, both on October 19th, 2018.