Dark Souls is gloomily gorgeous

When Demon’s Souls was released, I would frequently call it beautifully bleak — partly because it was true, but mostly because the alliteration made me feel smarter than I actually am. Dark Souls continues the tradition of mixing stunning visuals with a dark world. Indeed, it is gloomily gorgeous!

Dark Souls, like its spiritual predecessor, proves that “dark and gritty” doesn’t have to look generic and indistinct. I often find that bleak, dreary aesthetics carry their own beauty — whenever I’m in the area, I take a short tour of my British hometown Erith because I find the run-down, miserable, concrete nature of the place strangely compelling. Even after they keep trying to ruin it with modernization.

Most developers make the mistake of thinking a “dark” game has to look like all the others. We’ve seen so many bombed out cities swathed in perpetual night that it’s hard to tell them apart. A world that looks truly decayed and rained upon, with unique architecture that seems to tell its own story, can still stand out among all the other “brown and grey” games. I applaud From Software for doing so.

S’what I think, anyway.

Jim Sterling