Opinion
10 Comments

The rise of branching stories let us live hundreds of lives, die in most of them

A good, chewy binary decision can make a game, and it takes a great deal of work to make the decision convincing. You can usually only pull it off once or twice in a game. But choices don’t always have to be big. You can build a game from smaller choices, that are just as decisive but that don’t feel as huge: instead of delivering one big moment you can try to arrange a series of them, one after another, in a branching tree that expands out and out as the player makes more and more decisions. Not every choice changes the game, but each one can make the player sweat. If you ever read Choose Your Own Adventure books, you’re familiar with this model. The first decision can lead to a whole different set of endings, and if you’re like me, you probably kept flipping through the book...

Video
49 Comments

Dark Souls 2: tips for beginners and returning masochists

Character creation After a short introductory sequence at the start of Dark Souls 2, you'll create the hero you'll be spending the next 50-100 hours with. Choose your class carefully but also don't get too worried. Class choices work differently in Souls games compared to most role-playing games. Every time you level up, you'll choose which stat to pump points into, so even if you start as a magic user you can build yourself into a beefy, sword-wielding knight eventually. As far as starting classes, sorcerer is a great choice for beginning players who are a little bit cautious about wading into combat. You begin with a powerful spell, and you can take out a lot of enemies just by keeping at a distance. On the other hand, a lot of fans will tell you (rightfully so) that the real joy...

News
22 Comments

Want to know how many times you died in Dark Souls?

Dark Souls, From Software's 2011 action role-playing game, is known for being notoriously difficult and teaching players how to play by killing them. There's now a website that can tell you how many times you've been taught. The Dark Souls Death Counter allows those who've played the PC version to upload their save files, which are located at Documents/nbgi/darksouls/[username], and the total death count for each character. Clicking on a "Stats for this character" button brings also brings you to a brief survey and then a comparison between your deaths and others, a global average of deaths and more. There's death everywhere. The website is a collaborative project from four developers: Veret, who learned that Dark Souls save files include a death count; Facetank, who designed the...

News
18 Comments

Dark Souls 2's prologue sets the tone for the Cursed journey ahead

The latest trailer for From Software's Dark Souls 2 introduces players to the first part of the game's prologue before they embank on their own journey to get rid of the Curse. The prologue flirts with the protagonist's background, once a human now a soul-devouring Hollow, and features pre-rendered cinematic footage of Drangleic, the kingdom where the events of Dark Souls 2 take place. Dark Souls 2 will release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on March 11, with a Windows PC version coming April 25. For more on the game, read our preview from the Tokyo Game Show.

Video
11 Comments

Dark Souls 2 as an '80s action cartoon

What this world needs is some fresh 1980s cartoon action, preferably with a Dark Souls theme. Dark Souls 2: Rogue Warrior from YouTube user Veselekov merges retro animation with a deliciously old-hat soundtrack, to tell the story of our protagonist who is absolutely ready to rumble "They took his girl. Now he'll take their souls,"announces the throbbing VO. Dark Souls 2 from Namco Bandai is out later this month for Windows PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Opinion
20 Comments

Henchmen in games don't need a story, but they need a purpose

You probably remember how the series works: You, the heroic investigator, have to jet around the world chasing Carmen's henchmen, using clues that you pick up along the way to find your next stop and to identify who you're looking for. I wrote the bulk of the location clues, which meant that for each of the 66 cities in the game, I had to think of at least 50 things that would lead you straight to that spot. It was a pretty grueling job. I still can't look at a Lonely Planet or a Rough Guide book without thinking to myself, "I should look up the sports stadiums. Every city has one of those." As I was writing the clues, I often had a chance to write about those henchmen that you were chasing: The minions who weren't as colorful as Carmen Sandiego, or as dangerous, but who were somehow...

Opinion
79 Comments

DayZ, Dark Souls and the pleasures of being a jerk online

If that’s the case, being an asshole in an online video game makes someone else's real life measurably worse, and it makes you an asshole in the real world for doing it. There was a door on the outside of the "Roundhouse" map in Call of Duty: World at War that players could jump through to glitch under the map, after which they could run around shooting people from beneath the ground without fear of anyone shooting them back. My friends and I would be having a lovely evening of World at War multiplayer, and then Roundhouse would come up in the map rotation, and our good time would be dragged to a screeching halt. I’ll go so far as to call griefing evil when you boil it down, whether it’s the small-scale griefing of preventing your team from winning in a game of Halo capture the...

News
21 Comments

Amazon lists May 31 as Dark Souls 2 for PC release date

Dark Souls 2 will launch for Windows PC on May 31, according to an Amazon listing for the game. Publisher Bandai Namco confirmed the March 11 launch date for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Dark Souls 2, but has not announced a launch date for the Windows PC version, saying that it would be due "shortly thereafter." We have reached out to Bandai Namco for confirmation.

News
11 Comments

First set of Dark Souls 2 community-designed shields revealed

Two of the six shields designed for Dark Souls 2 by members of the community were revealed via the franchise's official Facebook page. From Software announced the contest in April of last year. Designers were invited to download and design on three shield templates, after which the community voted on all entries. From Software representatives then chose six winners from the top 30 submissions. "As a conclusion to the ‘Shield Design Contest' held in May 2013 on facebook.com/Darksouls, the six winning shield designs created by the Dark Souls community have been adapted by From Software to blend in the Dark Souls 2 aesthetic and become part of Drangleic, the mysterious fallen kingdom where the game's story unfolds," the post reads. Designers whose work was selected will be credited in...

News
22 Comments

From Software turned down mobile Dark Souls due to controls

Dark Souls developer From Software is hesitant to bring the action role-playing game to mobile devices because it would have to change the game's controls, according to publisher Namco Bandai's director of global strategy for mobile, Alex Adjaj. Speaking to Digital Spy, Adjaj said the publisher is interested in a mobile entry, but the developer has been less enthusiastic. "We'd like to bring Dark Souls to mobile, but it's very difficult because the guys at From Software are very much console-oriented," he said. "To change their mind about it, it takes quite a while. The leads on Dark Souls are saying, 'we don't want to do mobile because the controls would have to be changed, and therefore it won't be Dark Souls any more." Adjaj told Digital Spy the game "could work incredibly well...

Dark Souls Releases
North America
  • Xbox 360
    • Released 2011-10-04
    • Publisher Namco Bandai
    • Developer From Software
  • PlayStation 3
    • Released 2011-10-04
    • Publisher Namco Bandai
    • Developer From Software
  • Windows
    • Released 2012-08-24
    • Publisher Namco Bandai
    • Developer From Software
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