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Dark Souls preview

Japanese developer From Software released Demon Souls in 2009 to massive cult acclaim from fans and critics alike. The gameplay for ridiculously difficult and the deep fantasy world beautiful, so why wouldn’t we want more of the same? Enter From Software’s next project, Dark Souls. Moulded from the same sculpture as Demon Souls, Dark Souls looks to up the ante and make for an experience that seems familiar to Demon Souls but has enough going for it to give its own legs stability.

Dark Souls is set in a fantasy world where dragons and all other manner  things of disgust exist. Players assume the role of a custom made hero that is cast into this ominous, unsavoury world; a world which is dark, dingy and not really where you’d want to be. Mystery and intrigue lurk around every corner and corridor. Ominous dungeons are littered with fallen bodies and zombies that give everything to the atmosphere of the game and really make the world a place to fear, while traps and death are lethally set-out to catch you by surprise and cause frustration. However this is the beauty of Dark Souls and what makes it an engaging challenge in staying alive, which is something that most games can’t replicate.

Gameplay in Dark Souls has relatively stayed the same to that of Demon Souls. The player is engulfed in an open world environment that is amassed with dungeons, passageways, colosseums, towers, pits and much more. Basic enemies comprise of Lizard men, Trolls, and skeletons. However the game doesn’t make its name with these petty battles. The chunk of the game’s difficulty comes from the large scale boss battles. Enemies the size of a castle are put in front of you and you’ve got to defeat them with your trusty shield and sword.

Much like Demon Souls, players can lay notes down on the ground to enable other players who are connected to the internet to see and heed your warning, or if you’re really cruel give them a false sense of security. Also included is the ability to see other players death – requiring an internet connection –  you can watch another person’s demise and can make the wise choice in turning around and walking away or facing the threat head on. A co-op system and PvP round up some of the features and abilities available to the player.

Developer From Software has done a great job in the visuals department. The game looks gorgeous from head to toe. Giant enemies cloud and congest environment as the ground shakes from their footsteps. Corridors and rooms being low lit adds heaps of atmosphere to the game. Textures are excellent and are visually appealing to look at. Make no mistake, this game does graphics well and makes for an exciting and visually gratifying game to play.

Controls are a simple layout in Dark Souls. You swing your sword with a press of the right should button and use your shield to block with the left. Your inventory is handled by a press of the select or back buttons and a streamlined inventory is accessible via the bumper or L1/R1 buttons. Controller face buttons are used to interact with people and the environment, cast spells, and jump. This is a very simple layout for the game with the aim of getting to grip with the controls before the hard stuff gets slapped in your face.

Although we didn’t get a massive amount of hands on time, Dark Souls, from what we have played, is a fantastic adventure RPG game that piles on more difficulty to create an experience that is more challenging than before and makes for a great gaming experience. Wonderful graphics and big ass boss battle will be etched in your memory from this title. If you played Demon Souls then you have to try Dark Souls.

Look out for more Dark Souls coverage from us following Gamecom next week.

Dark Souls releases October 7 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. You can pre-order your copy here (PS3), here (360).

Edited On 11 Aug, 2011

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