Tagged "Dark Souls"

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Feb 19
By Lauren Relph In Most Played 1 Comment

In just a few weeks time, Dark Souls diehards across the globe will be shunning their friends and loved ones to put the anticipated sequel through its paces. Before we cut off all contact with the outside world, we thought we would revisit Dark Souls for one last time, for it truly is the Mount Everest of games.

Even if you haven’t played From Software’s outright classic, chances are you’ll have heard it has the reputation of being tougher than frozen toffee. Indeed, since being released ‘Dark Souls’ has become a by-word for ‘brutally tough’…right to the point where comparisons have started to become a little tedious, if not wholly invalid.

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As the Chosen Undead, you’re the hero of the game, and much like From Software’s previous offerings (Kings Field, Shadow Tower, Demon’s Souls) the lack of guidance and hand holding leaves the player literally in a world of their own.

With storyline titbits only being offered by way of NPCs, you’d better hope you’re listening and paying attention, because they won’t repeat anything. Not even once.

This much is clear – everybody in Lordran is undead and cursed by the Darksign, doomed to die over and over again until they eventually lose their humanity, and hollow.

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The warrior near death in the very beginning area happens to mention something about some bells, and making them ring, and that’s pretty much all you get to go on from the outset. After that, everything is up to you.

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Oct 29
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

A sea of 5/10 reviews, leading to a current Metacritic of 51%, hasn’t put gamers off purchasing Medal of Honor: Warfighter. It’s the UK’s new number one, knocking EA’s own FIFA 13 to #2.

Forza Horzion makes a pitstop at #3. Then we’ve got Skylanders Giants, Dishonored and Just Dance 4 at #4, #5 and #6 respectively.

At #7 and #8 are two new entries – Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask and Moshi Monsters: Moslings Theme Park. It’s the DS version of Moshi Monsters that has sold the most so far, as opposed to the 3DS version.

DOOM 3: BFG Edition and Resident Evil 6 finish off the top 10.

That’s it for new entries in the top 40 this week, but there are a couple of new arrivals in the single format charts. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition makes #17 in the PlayStation 3 chart and #25 in the Xbox 360 chart, while Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz rolls in at #4 in the PS Vita chart.

Oct 24
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games 1 Comment

Microsoft hasn’t been shy about letting the press get their hands on Forza Horizon. Reviews appeared online nearly two weeks ago, including an 8 from EDGE, a 9 from Eurogamer and 9.0 from IGN. More of the same? Absolutely not. New studio Playground Games has turned the franchise upside down, and as the scores show it’s a better game for it. There’s a demo on Xbox Live if you’re not sure if you’ll take to the new open road structure.

It may be worth bearing in mind that Need for Speed: Most Wanted is out next week. The first review to surface was a 9 from EDGE, which generated a lot of excitement on Twitter.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter is also one that has got tongues wagging, but not for the best of reasons. EA didn’t send out review code until embargo day which really isn’t a good sign. The few reviews online at the moment are from smaller websites. “Medal of Honor: Warfighter is cradled comfortably somewhere between Call of Duty and Battlefield 3. Seemingly content to take as little risk as possible, and thereby offering little excitement outside of the aesthetic,” said AttackoftheFanBoy.

The fact that it comes with beta access for Battlefield 4 is sure to help it shift a few extra copies. If you are planning a purchase then be warned – there’s a huge day one patch.

There are quite a few handheld games out this week. Sadly, quality doesn’t appear to be high on the agenda. There’s the budget priced movie tie-in Hotel Transylvania on DS and 3DS, mini-game collection Merlin on DS, the bound-to-be-popular Moshi Monsters: Moshlings Theme Park on DS and 3DS, and the currently-review-shy Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Frozen City on 3DS.

Releasing that last one on the same day as Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask seems like an odd move, especially seeing as reviews have been full of praise, such as GameSpot’s 8.5 and GameCentral’s 8/10. The 3D investigation sequences are really well done, and there are new puzzles to download every day for the next 365 days too.

After being delayed from earlier this year, Atari’s Rollercoaster Tycoon 3D is also out this week. Don’t get too excited though – it appears to have been made on a budget of nothing. VentureBeat called it a “lazy, featureless shell of its predecessors” in their review, where it walked away with a resounding 25/100.

The PS Vita gets a couple of games of note in the shape of Street Fighter X Tekken and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz. The online retailers have been offering Super Monkey Ball for an absurdly cheap price – £13.85 at ShopTo is the lowest we’ve seen it for. Don’t let that cheap price tag put you off – the reliable Pocket Gamer called it a “job very well done” in their 8/10 review. Next week is looking better still for the handheld with three major releases out.

This leaves us with two titles that are distinctly hardcore. Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition offers ten hours or so of new content on top of that of the superb original. It’s currently £20 on Amazon. American gamers got their hands on 2D brawler Persona 4: Arena a few months ago, where it received decent reviews. It’s by the developers of Guilty Gear, so if you’ve played any of the games in that series you’ll feel right at home here.

Next week: Assassin’s Creed 3 (PS3, 360), Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation (PS Vita), WWE ’13 (PS3, 360, Wii), Need for Speed: Most Wanted (360, PS3, PS Vita) Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013 (PS3, 360), Nike+ Kinect Training (360), Dragon Ball Z: Budokai – HD Collection (PS3, 360), Silent Hill: Book Of Memories (PS Vita), Smart As (PS Vita), Thundercats (DS) and PlayStation Move: Sports Champions 2 (PS3).

Oct 31
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Nobody else stood a chance, did they? EA’s Battlefield 3 marches to the top of the chart, with the Xbox 360 version proving to be the most popular of all. Chart-Track tells us that day one sales are higher than the day one sales for the previous 17 Battlefield games combined. 17!

Batman: Arkham City drops to #2, FIFA 12 at #3, Football Manger 2012 at #4 and Just Dance 3 at #5. Activision’s purple dragon makes an appearance in the top 10 – Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure is up from #11 to #9.

Kinect Sports: Season Two is the next highest new entry after Battlefield 3. It’s in at #18. That’s followed by Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi at #23. With the movie now out, and apparently pretty good, TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn has managed to make an appearance at #35.

A few games have seen significant drops this week. Dark Souls is close to leaving the chart already, down from #18 to #40. For such a ‘hardcore’ game though it has had a bloody good run. Dead Rising 2: Off the Record falls from #20 to #36 while the two week old Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One drops from #24 to #37.

Disney Universe fails to make the top #40 but it does quite well in the Wii chart arriving at #10. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 owners haven’t taken to it in quite the same way, arriving at #28 and #34.

Lastly, there’s a bit of action going on in the PSP chart with four new entries. Football Manager 2012 and Pro Evolution Soccer 12 make #1 and #3 respectively while at #6 and #9 there are two RPGs that Ghostlight have slipped out – Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 IS CE and The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. With presumably low print runs, these two will no doubt be very hard to find in future.

Oct 24
By Matt Gander In UK Charts 1 Comment

Pow! Batman: Arkham City goes straight to number one in this week’s UK chart, shoving Forza Motorsport 4 down to #4.

At #2 there’s FIFA 12 and at #3 there’s a new entry – Football Manager 2012. Just Dance 3 at #5 finishes off the top 5.

The Sims 3: Pets is the next highest new entry at #6. Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One doesn’t do too brilliantly arriving at #24, but that’s still way better than Dance Central 2 which has to make to do with #40.

There are quite a few big dippers this week – Dark Souls drops from #7 to #18, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon goes from #12 to #21 and Resistance 3 can’t resist falling from #17 to #37.

The little purple dragon has done well though – Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure is up from #16 to #11.

In the single formats, Tropico 4 makes #32 in the Xbox 360 chart while Tetris on 3DS slots into #9 in the 3DS chart.

Oct 19
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

Hand holding. From fellow soldiers yelling what buildings to blow up to breadcrumb trails of collectables in platformers, the majority of games proverbially hold gamers’ hands even if we don’t realise it. This is where From Software’s Dark Souls is different from most – after a brief run down of the controls you’re dropped into a large, open world and left to figure things out for yourself. Not just where to head to first but also to discover the uses for the bizarrely named items in your inventory, no thanks to the game world’s initially bafflingly terminology. The deep end; Dark Souls chucks you right in it.

You aren’t totally alone though – a couple of hours into the game you come across a merchant selling an item that can be used to leave messages, formed from pre-selected words, that other players can read and rate. The fact that we didn’t realise these were written by other players until seeing the message “Need head” just goes to show how little is explained to those starting out. This isn’t a bad thing though. Quite the opposite in fact.

On the outside Dark Souls bares more than a passing resemblance to a generic western RPG, complete with an arsenal made up of typical medieval weaponry. Underneath though is a game rife with the craftsmanship we have come to expect from Japanese RPGs. The layouts of the environments often impress, with shortcuts waiting to be discovered by those keen to explore, while the placement of enemies has clearly had much thought.

The atmosphere is both tense and eerie, giving off the feeling of solitude not seen since the likes of Ico and Shadow of The Colossus on PlayStation 2. Like the environments in those games, the places you visit here genuinely feel like they haven’t been traversed for decades.

It’s Dark Soul’s challenging nature that makes it so endearing. Every enemy is as hostile as the last, able to drain your health bar in a flash if you don’t block, counter or evade in good time. Bosses are frightful beasts, not just aesthetically, but in the way that they can take a whole evening’s worth of attempts to conquer. Their toughness makes your eventual success so much sweeter.

When you finally make it to a new area and discover a new bonfire – a safe zone where you can level up and later repair weapons – the feeling is one of both relief and rapture. Exploring new areas can also be incredibly tense as well – enemies sometimes burst out of doors and whatnot. We’re not afraid to admit that Dark Souls made us jump more times than any other game before it.

Enemies respawn every time you rest at a bonfire. At first this seems like a twist of pure evil, but it soon becomes clear that this is one of Dark Soul’s core elements. The opposition always reappears in the same places, effectively making the game an IQ test. A glorious and grizzly IQ test. Remembering their locations is the key to getting further.

There are also dozens, perhaps even countless, techniques to learn. If you get enemies to chase you down a small alleyway and equip a spear, the chances of hitting more than one at once are greatly increased. Back stabbing earns more souls – which are used both as a currency and to level up – while often it’s a good idea to lure enemies out of their habitats and attack them one at a time.

Freedom is another thing Dark Souls excels at. Finding a boss too hard? You can either call in support from another player or summon an AI controlled comrade. Alternatively, you could return to previously pillaged area and grind to get enough souls to level-up half a dozen times. This last option is time-consuming and a little repetitive, as you may expect.

If you do get stuck, which is more than likely, online guides and YouTube videos are there to assist. There’s no dishonour in using these – the way that the game has been designed suggests that the developers wanted gamers to flock to forums to show off their winning ways and top tips.

Requiring much time and commitment, this isn’t a game for everybody. Those that are man enough for the challenge and see it through to the end will earn the greatest achievement of all – a personal achievement.

Oct 10
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Glowing reviews for Dark Souls and heavy TV promotion for RAGE haven’t helped either to dethrone FIFA 12 from the top of the UK top 40 chart. Both have done very well though – RAGE makes #2 with Dark Souls at #3. It’s the PS3 version of Dark Souls which has shifted the most, which makes sense seeing Demon’s Souls was a PlayStation 3-exclusive. Gears of War 3 at #4 and F1 2011 at #5 rounds off the top 5.

After just one week ICO and The Shadow of Colossus Collection has left the top 10, droping 10 places down to #17. X-Men Destiny is on the slippery slope already too, down from #18 to #28.

At #39 there’s a surprise entry – El Shaddai: Ascesion of Metatron. This failed to make the top 40 on release, but now the price has been dropped it has managed to make its way in. We suppose a #39 placing is better than never breaking the top 40 at all.

In the single formats we see The Cursed Crusade and Power Up Heroes hit #30 and #40 respectively in the Xbox 360 chart while Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 makes #24 in the DS chart.

Oct 06
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

id Software’s RAGE provoked a bit of a sharp response from the developer’s fan base when it was first announced. There’s no multi-player (id themselves invented the term ‘death-match’ lest you forget, back when Doom was released) and it also features racing elements, which is something rarely fused into first person shooters. The developer’s response was that Doom 4 will cater for people’s death-match needs – they wanted to focus on giving RAGE a brilliant single player mode. And the racing? Although you can upgrade your vehicle and stuff, only two races in the entire game are compulsory. In an interview they claim that they’re designing it to be a frustration free experience, with plentiful health packs. The main character even has a defibrillator built into his armour to rise up back from the dead.

But is it any good? Put it like this: would id Software really piss off their incredibly loyal fan base? Eurogamer gave it an 8: “As a toy box full of things you can only do in games, Rage is warm-hearted and refreshing.” IGN gave it 8.5, awarding the graphics a perfect 10. Most people have described it as a mixture of Fallout 3, Borderlands and Mad Max. As well as the standard version there’s an Anarchy Edition with some extra weapons, amour and a new vehicle.

Whereas RAGE has been designed to be a smooth experience in terms of difficulty, Namco’s RPG hack ‘n’ slash hybrid Dark Souls is quite the opposite – it’s hellishly challenging, but all the better for it. Those on our Twitter feed who have been playing it simply can’t get enough. Reviews have mirrored this including 9s and 5/5s from just about everybody. Early purchasers will be treated to a special edition at no extra cost, with a bonus DVD and music CD.

The Cursed Crusade is certainly going to have trouble going up against Dark Souls. It’s a third person hack ‘n’ slasher with over 400 moves and 100 different executions. The trailer didn’t make it look particularly exciting but it did look fairly solid, although perhaps a bit too similar to the recent The First Templar, which most have already forgotten about.

Fans of basketball are well catered for this week too – NBA 2K12 bounces onto Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii and PC, while NBA Jam: On Fire Edition (which includes characters from SSX) misses retail and heads to Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. EA are also releasing the original Crysis as a download on consoles this week.

Power Up Heroes is Ubisoft’s latest Kinect-exclusive, and allows you to turn your avatar into a superhero and fight other superdudes online. The videos online don’t inspire much confidence. Tropico 4 may (or may not) but out this week on Xbox 360 too. Amazon says the 7th October but Play says 21st.

Finally, there’s Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 on DS. NGamer gave it 85%, claiming it to be one of the best spin-offs they’ve seen and praising the visuals and character design.

Next week: Forza Motorsport 4 (360), Kinectimals Now with Bears (360), Ace Combat: Assault Horizon (PS3, 360) Dead Rising 2: Off the Record (PS3, 360, PC), PES 2012 (PS3, PS2, PSP, 360, Wii, PC), Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition (PS3, 360), Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS, DS), Spider-Man: Edge of Time (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS, DS), The X Factor (PS3, 360, Wii), World Rally Championship 2011 (PS3, 360, PC) and Michael Phelps: Push the Limit (Xbox 360).

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