You know a game is hard when one of the developers, who has probably played the level you are being walked through hundreds of times, dies at least twice during the presentation, but then you wouldn’t expect anything less from Dark Souls really, would you?
So here we are, sitting in a small room inside the Namco Business centre at Gamescom, looking at a brand new level from Dark Souls. Given that the last game in the series, Demon Souls, was both awesome and practically impossible, just how the developer has managed to make it look even better and even more difficult is beyond me, however it is, and it is.
Kei Hirono, Publishing Producer was the man walking us through this new demo, which started with the main character in a jail cell looking for a way out. Having a scan around the room it was clear to see that there was no way out, although after a while you do spot a guard falling asleep against the cell bars; using your logic you soon discover a key and therefore your escape route, although unfortunately things aren’t so simple and as soon as you escape the jail cell some large octopus like creatures are set free. These creatures define Dark Souls, as even though the developer in our session was very experienced and the main character was bulked up with strong armour and weaponry, they still ran around these creatures in order to avoid them. Interestingly everyone in the game runs from these creatures, be it the guards or anything else that is bound to get in their destructive path.
The whole aim of the level on show was to go up the ladder at the top of the tower and escape through the door, unfortunately the door was locked, causing you to have to find the key at the bottom, which involved negotiating your way through the practically impossible to defeat octopus creatures as well as some snake like guards which were also a bit tough (they were the one’s that killed the developer playing the game twice).
So as you may have guessed, going for the all out attack in Dark Souls is not an option, in fact in this level the whole idea was to get to the bottom level, find a key and also pull a lever which then caused the octopus-like creatures to retreat into the room from where they once came, therefore clearing your path to the ladder and your escape route.
Given the developer died twice during this particular level it made us wonder how many times the average person will have this fate, well according to those in the room, you may actually die hundreds of times before you find the answer to completing the level. Hard? That’s an understatement. In fact the developers told us that this game is far more difficult than Dark Souls, so if you found yourself losing hair playing that one then you may want to invest in a toupee for Demon Souls.
So why make it so difficult? Well according to Kei Hirono, this was done in order to “give satisfaction and achievement” to those who persevere with the game, which is a nice way of looking at it I guess.
Unfortunately the demo we saw was quite short, although its length was slightly increased by the developer dying twice and having to start over. What we did see though has certainly whet our appetite for more. Dark Souls is a dark title, but it looks fantastic and is certainly very intriguing. The first game in the series was a huge success and really came out of nowhere. This time Dark Souls is bigger, better and is without a doubt a whole lot badder. Dark Souls is no longer an underdog, it’s a full on AAA title, although it’s probably not for the faint hearted.