I wrote a thing about secrets in Dark Souls, I hope you all like it. It's weird to think that after almost three years of constantly blathering on-and-on about it, that might have been my last blog about Dark Souls.
Because come Friday, I'll be leaving Lordran and resettling in Dranglic.
I've kept myself in the dark about Dark Souls 2. Studiously avoided the wikis, stayed away from the Streams, shunned the spoiler blogs. I'm ready to go into it mostly blind and deaf, just the way I like it. I want to stumble in Dark Souls 2, I want to fall. I want to not know where to go, to get killed by cheap traps, crushed by bosses until I figure out how to survive on my own.
What I really want, more than anything, more than I would prefer to admit, is to just play Dark Souls for the first time again. I've never had a game that resonated with me so well. It took everything I love about games, drew inspiration from my favourites, and implemented multiplayer features that I only dreamt about before and put them all in one place. It was like a gift.
I'm sure I mentioned it before in a Wrenchism or in a blog, but when I was a little boy, I remember reading a book that took place in an evil arcade that was clearly written by someone who didn't actually understand how videogames worked. Past the spoon-fed "videogames are evil" message, the thing I remember most about that book was how characters in the arcade games were able to leap from one gameworld to the next. How a player in one game could suddenly appear in another player's game and torment them. In the book it led to real life teen murder (as hysterical moral pieces always claim whatever they are against will lead to) but I remember just thinking how cool a system like that would be. Decades later, I'd be laid out in a marble hallway in Anor Londo, sucker punched by an invaders Crystal Homing Soulsmass sorcery for the first time, thinking it was the coolest, and most frustrating, thing of all time.
Dark Souls was the game I always wanted to play. It gave me everything I knew I wanted in a game, and a lot more that I never realized how much I was craving until it gave it to me. It provided a mysterious world I could never get enough of and my mind has been constantly chewing on it ever since. I will never forget my first playthrough of Dark Souls, every step filled with dread, every boss an unconquerable calamity, and the constant feeling of awe and mystery as I explored one wonderful/terrible environment after another. Every time I thought I at it all figured out, I'd learn something new.
What I really want from the sequel -- and what I know it won't, can't, deliver – is the experience of that discovery all over again. If I could have the memories I have of playing Dark Souls surgically removed and replay it again from a blank state, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
I know Dark Souls 2 will be amazing, but it won't match my first playthrough of Dark Souls. I can't unlearn the lessons it taught me.
But I can enjoy employing them in a new world, and that will have to do.