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Today I Played: Dark Souls

Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

I brought this on myself.

Ever since the original Demon's Souls, friends of mine have been singing the praises of From Software's insanely difficult RPG series. And yet, every time I played Demon's Souls or Dark Souls, it made me feel miserable. I'd pick it up at a press event, play for 10 minutes and come away wondering whether my friends had bad taste or a masochistic side I was just never aware of. It felt slow, awkward and intentionally obtuse. The controls and HUD made no sense and the lack of direction often left me scratching my head. So, after 10 minutes, I'd put the controller down and walk away with a feeling of superiority, knowing that this was a bad series that I wanted no part of.

And yet, vocal love for the franchise persisted. So much so that one of the banner trailers at this past VGA awards was Dark Souls 2, yielding seemingly boundless enthusiasm across social media platforms.

Around the same time, a sale on Amazon dropped Dark Souls to $12 and I took it as a sign. I was going to play Dark Souls ... a lot of Dark Souls ... and prove once and for all that this game was not for me.

The playthrough documented above began at 10 a.m. on Jan. 4 and culminated at 6 p.m. There were no lunch or bathroom breaks. Despite numerous suggestions to the contrary, I went into the game completely blind, with no prior research about classes, game mechanics or where I should go first. My ignorance should become clear fairly quickly.



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