hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Dark Souls

Preview: Dark Souls

6:30 PM on 08.31.2011 // Wesley Ruscher

While many gamers’ attention this fall may be on a certain open-world action-RPG -- which is awesome according to Jim Sterling because it has "f*cking dragons" in it -- I myself can't be more excited for From Software's punishing medieval romp, Dark Souls, for the same reason and much, much more.

I got the chance to check out the most recent gamescom build this week at Namco Bandai's San Jose offices. After walking by some kickass Tekken statues and the most Pac-Man swag I'd ever seen in one place, I hunkered down with a hands-off preview of the soul-crushing game.

Dark Souls (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 [Previewed])
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
To Be Released: October, 4 2011

My demonstration began with our protagonist slaying a sinister looking snake-man through the bars of a gate.  As the body fell to the ground, the next step was to see what loot could be scavenged from his body. With luck (well, I'm sure it was designed this way), a key was found and the gate opened.

As the gate swung forth, we stepped out and found ourselves in -- what I was told -- was a location that many may never see in the game, Duke's Archive. Walking in to this massive Harry Potter-esque library, the sense of scale was intimidating. As I watched our hero slay more snake-like creatures who were equipped with sword and shield, an alarm sounded to alert more foes. 

With the alarm tripped, the hero proceeded farther along the spiraling path to the top of the archive. At this point the snake-men were no longer interested in fighting our hero as they were too busy making a run for it. Even more menacing monsters soon appeared -- something the snake-men apparently wanted nothing to with -- large squid-like medusas.

These slithering blue nightmares were just as punishing as you would expect, but then again this is the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls. As our hero fought fearlessly against the medusas, he quickly learned why the snake-men had been hightailing it out of the Duke's Archive. In one nimble lunge, the medusa-esque monster swooped up the hero and impaled him with a spike created from its body, before turning and hurling the valiant warrior off the staircase to his would-be death.

Luckily for us, this demonstration was more of a showcase for one of the game’s mysterious locations that demonstrates how punishing Dark Souls can be to the untrained and impatient. As our hero fell to his death -- thanks to the power of a debug console -- he landed steadily on his feet to make the trek back up to the top of the archive.

True to Dark Souls’ predecessor, Demon's Souls, never once did the game try to reach out and hold the player’s hand. The fact that we were searching this massive library was all the motivation needed to push forward, exploring wherever mystery and adventure lurked.

As our hero made his way back up the spiraling pathway onscreen, I began discussing with the people at Namco Bandai about how Dark Souls is going to take the addictive passive multiplayer experience of its predecessor to the next level. Players can come to expect similar online systems from Demon's Souls still in place, but what has been added sounds truly astounding.

Dark Souls incorporates what they call the "covenant system," a sort of guild-like structure that has players swearing allegiance by oath to God-like bosses they find in their travels. With allegiance sworn, the player will be bestowed with certain powers and/or attributes that will help them overcome the game's many perils.

How this covenant system plays into multiplayer really depends on whom you've sworn allegiance to. When playing the game in its online state, players of the same allegiance will benefit from each other with what was only described as something truly sensational, the Miracle Resonance.

How the Miracle Resonance works or what it actually does still remains a secret, as does much of Dark Souls, but isn't half the fun of the game discovering every last detail for yourself?

Returning our focus back to the game, the hero finally made it to his destination -- the top of the archive -- where he was able to shut off the alarm. With the more imminent threat of the medusa creatures handled, the pursuit of exploration resumed. A key to a large gate had been discovered while in the Duke's Archive and our hero proceeded onward to unlock the mysteries behind it.

With the large gate opened, more stairs paved the way ahead. Crystal stalactites could be seen covering the walls and ceilings as the hero pressed on, but unfortunately this is where the presentation ended -- well at least what I'm allowed to actually talk about. Let's just say that what I saw was pretty freaking awesome, though something I kind of wish I would have discovered on my own.

Dark Souls looks to truly up the ante in every way from its spiritual predecessor. Bigger, more devious enemies and a true, living open world to explore -- which I was told was three times as large as Demon's Souls level-based world structures -- has me foaming at the mouth to get my hands on the final release.

Oh, did I mention that I got to see the standard-price Collector's Edition of the game too? Anyone who picks the game up during its initial printing on both PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 will be treated to a steel case that contains the game, a special redemption code for some extra goodies, and a lavish art book.

October 4 has never felt so far away...

Photo Gallery: (14 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Wesley Ruscher, Former Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure wesleyruscher Tips
Former Dtoid Weekend News Editor / Mash Tactics Host. Current Game PR Monkey Twitter @wesleyruscher more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Mark Plechaty avatarMark Plechaty
Well I haven't seen any levels like this on mario maker so maybe it's unique the I'd is 55BD000000961CBA GIVE IT A GO and let me know what you think
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Hey Stranger ... wadda you buying ? Want some crack ? Here ya go... [youtube][/youtube]
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
My brother caught me this Pokémon in our room yesterday. How should I name it? [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Yay, I got off of work early and may have Friday off! I have a sinking feeling I'm going to work 10 hours on Saturday as a result, though :/ We ran out of stuff to make stuff with so they must ship us stuff so we can ship stuff.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Yo yo I'm Marie and I got dat gangsta flow. High scores ain't no trip, cuz I whip that shit like Sonic quick. I-I mean no! I didn't say anything! Stupidrecordbreakingcombodolt. [img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm watching you.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Work noooooooooooooooooo D:
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I had such a awkward time playing Catherine because it shared the same name as my mother....
JayDGee avatarJayDGee
Broforce is coming out of early access on the 15th. I had no Idea it was an early access game.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
I have now played all 3 Witcher games. My verdict: Witcher 1 - alright, aged badly, lots of sex. Witcher 2 - good, very short, not much sex at all. Witcher 3 - Excellent in every way.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Dark Souls

  Jul 01

Play Dark Souls like a boss...literally

Get your own back with this new mod

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -