With the release of Dark Souls III imminent, I thought it would only be right to put to virtual paper my feelings on the series. Five years ago, when I was a stupid 18 year old boy, I played Dark Souls for the first time. After dying an inordinate amount of times I decided that I hated it and swore to myself I’d never play it again. It took last year’s Bloodborne to pull me back in, the gothic scenery and Lovecraftian influences capturing my attention and holding it for 100 hours until I was in possession of the platinum trophy, having done everything there is to do in the game. My Dark Souls loving friends urged me whole-heartedly to give the game another shot. I thought it would only be fair to give Dark Souls another try, for I had matured as a gamer, a consumer, and most importantly, as a man.
So here I am in 2016 whole heartedly declaring that the Dark Souls series are amongst my favourite games of all time. I am a true believer. Praise the sun! I’m currently playing through Dark Souls II for the first time, and I’m finding myself dreaming about slaying skeletons and fighting demonic beasts, waking up in the morning itching to play. Bloodborne is a great entry point into the series, introducing you to the core concepts and tropes of these games in a refined and streamlined fashion, stripping away the added confusion that may arise if you’re jumping into Dark Souls for the first time. These games are magnificent creations in so many ways. The combat is exciting, brutal and hugely rewarding. The level design is clever, intricate and unique. The story is there for you to find and piece together if you look hard enough, the lore deep and interesting and tied to every item that you find in the game. Exploration is actively encouraged and rewarded in a way which games just don’t do in this time where streamlined, linear adventures are commonplace. All of these things, and more, add up to form the perfect package. I was a fool to be afraid and against it for so long, as seeing it and experiencing it for myself has cemented why I love video games so much. No other medium could enthral me the way in which this does, and it’s something very special indeed.