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Dark Souls 2: a lesson in painfully balanced gameplay

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 08:02 GMT By Dave Cook

Dark Souls 2 finds itself in a precarious position. Change the format too much and alienate fans, don’t change enough and become stale. VG247′s Dave Cook quizzes Namco’s Takeshi Miyazoe about the conundrum.

Dark Souls 2

Developed by From Software, Dark Souls 2 is coming to PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in March 2014.

Dark Souls 2 beta sign-ups are now active on PS3. Find out how to register here.

You can check out footage of the game’s Mirror Knight boss here. It looks savage.

Details of the game’s pyromancy class, guard break and more can be found here.

If you read this site often you’ll know I’m nuts about Dark Souls. I blog about it often. Like, a lot. I even got an Ornstein and Smough tattoo after completing it, but even I’ve become curious as to just how From Software is going to advance its perfect storm of mechanics and design philosophies in a way that appeases die-hard fans. I don’t envy the studio right now.

Of course, there was the power-keg of criticism that erupted as soon as co-directors Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura said Dark Souls 2 was more “understandable” than its predecessors. The fact is these guys aren’t stupid, and there’s no way this game will coddle players explicitly throughout the experience. To do that would be to scrap the superb blend of challenge, risk and gratification that forms the series’ heart.

I recently had a chat with Namco Bandai’s Takeshi Miyazoe about this very issue and I wanted to first touch upon the notion of ambiguity in the series. After all, each ‘Souls’ title has left world lore and the motivation of their cast largely to the player’s imagination, whereas other games seek to spell out the fine details in plain sight. All we know at this point of Dark Souls 2 is that the main player is cursed, so sets off into the world in search of a cure.

“I think one of the methodologies that we used for story-telling was appreciated by fans, that indirect way of story-telling,” Miyazoe began. “That will continue with Dark Souls 2. What happened to the character is what’s going to be revealed throughout the game itself, but the player will first find himself in this world with this curse of the dark ring. His journey will be to find a cure to that curse.”

So it’s still largely ambiguous then, but I suspect that fans of the series wouldn’t have it any other way. This quest to uncover the truth of the player’s curse will be fraught with death because mortality is – and always will be – at the forefront of this series. While the process of learning through dying and advancing incrementally through the open world will remain, the rules of that space and its many mechanics will be delivered more clearly to the player.

Explaining Namco’s reaction to initial concerns over the game’s clearer mechanics, Miyazoe said with a laugh, “Apologies for using the word ‘accessible’ again, but it’s not that the game is going to be any easier, but it will be the process of streamlining a lot of the ‘fat’ that hinders people from enjoying the true Dark Souls experience. So that’s what we meant by accessible. It won’t be easier.

“Our reaction that was; our thinking behind how we designed the game itself hasn’t changed, just how we falsely communicated it. But I hope we can continue to communicate to players that the game won’t be easier at all, and it’ll be as challenging or even more. We wanted to make sure we deliver the full, pure Dark Souls elements more directly to players.

“It’s hard to quantify how much harder it is. The challenges are still there, but just enough for me to be able to play the game, over come the barriers and difficulties in the game, and still have that sense of achievement when the difficulties are conquered. We are still balancing the game to a point where it’s conquerable but not to easy and not too difficult. We’re still doing a lot of trial and error, but I don’t think any players will be upset by how we’ve balanced the game. I think we will be able to meet the expectations of fans – both hardcore and new.”

After checking out forums and sites in my quest to beat the original Dark Souls it became clear to me that completing the quest is often worn like a badge of honour. Doing it once isn’t enough for some players however, and to those players Miyazoe happily confirmed that From Software is trying to revisit the way New Game+ works in Dark Souls 2. The feature is also a question of balancing, but seasoned players can rest assured that it’s currently in the works.

The world of Dark Souls 2 itself will require a greater degree of balancing than ever before, considering the play of light and dark, as well as new traps just waiting to slaughter careless adventurers rushing into areas blindly. We’ve already seen a rather terrifying rope bridge being torn out from under players by dragons, and pitch black areas that can only be illuminated by swapping out your shield for a torch. The dilemma of sacrificing your primary means of defence for visibility is both fiendish and inspired in equal measure.

The new Dual Swordsman class – seen above – is a key example of how this engrossing brand of risk-reward has been pushed even further to the fore in Dark Souls 2. While the class is both nimble and capable of dishing out a steady stream of large damage, getting the most out of its flurry of dual weapon attacks demands that players do away with their shield. It’s a risky strategy, but one veteran fans will surely relish.

Speaking of risk and strategy, I simply had to ask Miyazoe if Dark Souls 2 will include another savage boss battle like Ornstein and Smough, and to what extent players will have to grind in order to pass them. Of course, given the game’s expanded open world structure, it’s likely that such a bottleneck won’t exist this time around, but as a fan of the ruthless duo I really wanted to learn more.

“You won’t have to start from one venue, go through to the end, beat the boss and then start from a new venue. There will be be areas where you can meet the boss halfway. if you’re good enough or paying enough attention you might be able to defeat them early.”

“As much as the dev team is still balancing the game, I think there will be key moments in the game – not just challenges by story or difficulty – but there will be key enemies and bosses in the game that will challenge the players enough. There will be areas where we’re revisiting some of the boss battles as well, where you’ll be able to encounter boss battles part-way through the stage.

“You won’t have to start from one venue, go through to the end, beat the boss and then start from a new venue. There will be be areas where you can meet the boss halfway. if you’re good enough or paying enough attention you might be able to defeat them early. We’re trying to create a more interactive gameplay flow so that we sort of break a little bit in terms of the traditional ‘start point, boss and then new start point’ mechanic. I think that’s one of the challenges we’re trying to overcome through game design.”

In closing I wanted to quiz Miyazoe on the possibility of Dark Souls 2 on next-gen formats. There are – naturally – a lot of questions around the game’s March 2014 release and its proximity to both PS4 and Xbox One. I suggested that the game could eventually come to both formats as either a port or digital download of the current-gen build.

He replied, “At this point no. We haven’t discussed … or we haven’t made any decisions about next-gen. I think right now we want to concentrate on providing the game strictly on current-gen consoles as well as PC. We feel that with PS3 and Xbox 360 there’s a lot of potential we weren’t able to cover for the first Dark Souls, so we want to really capitalise on every aspect of current-gen consoles and get the game to players as soon as possible.”

Finally, on the shaky PC build of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition, he added, “It was a great learning experience for both us as publishers and From Software as the developers. As you know, the PC version last time was more of a port from console to PC. For Dark Souls 2 we are keeping PC in mind right from the beginning, so the release of the PC version will be a ‘PC Dark Souls 2′, rather than a port of the console builds.”

Are you looking forward to getting your teeth sunk right into Dark Souls 2? Let us know below.

Dark Souls 2 is out March 2014 on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

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38 Comments

  1. redwood

    i have officially quit reading DS2 articles from today :) might watch a full cg trialer but not gonna watch/read anything related to the gameplay.

    can’t spoil this for meself :)

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 :P I’m so excited. Even with next-gen, this and CLoS2 are up there on my most wanted list. Seriously excited for both.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. MFBB

    Its also my most anticipated game, more than any of the next gen titles.

    Would be great if new game+ offers something more than just a bit stronger enemies with a bit more health each playthrough (but dont ask me what).

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Deltaman42

    any word on the beta is it co-op or god forbid multiplayer???

    #4 1 year ago
  5. TheBlackHole

    An interesting, but slightly overrated game with some terribly broken mechanics, but an admittedly excellent art direction and refreshingly ambiguous story.

    I have nothing against the developers for wanting to make something challenging and unique, but my god to I despise every self righteous, self important, selfish player who bangs on about how offended they would be if FROM made the game any more ‘accessible’ for players not equipped to overcome the difficulty curve.

    Yes, it’s badge of honour that you completed the game – well done you. God forbid anyone less capable than you should have access to one of the more interesting, visually arresting RPGs of this generation.

    BTW – Battletoads would still kick all your asses.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Ekona

    @5 It’s a good point, and tbh it’s why I’ve avoided the DS series of games. I don’t particularly have the time any more to sit there and be frustrated with games that are too difficult and that I’ll never see the end of unless I spend hours working at them, so despite my curiosity about these games I’m leaving them alone.

    I default all my games these days to the Easy setting, as I get as much enjoyment from the way the game plays and seeing the story unfold as I do from the challenge of completing them. I don’t see why the game should be any worse for having an Easy setting, surely that just opens it up to more players?

    #6 1 year ago
  7. TheBlackHole

    @6

    The reason ‘Let’s Play’ videos have exploded is (aside from minecraft) because people watch things they can’t/won’t play themselves, so games that are too hard or too scary (dark souls, amnesia) tend to do very well.

    Also, you’re not alone – I used to work for a console game dev/pub and despite our core community purporting to be ‘hardcore’, stats showed us that 80% of people played games on the easy setting, and only 20% ever made it to the end of the games. These were high metacritic games too, all 85+

    “I don’t see why the game should be any worse for having an Easy setting, surely that just opens it up to more players?” This, + 1,000,000. too many gamers are concerned about how their own struggles will be undermined if others got the same rewards with less effort. IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!!!

    #7 1 year ago
  8. dotfaust

    @6 and 7

    No way, baby. The resources that would be used to craft an easy mode would have to come from somewhere, and that means less work put into that hardcore experience that only the souls series can deliver.

    I wouldn’t mind if they decided to use the dark souls series to break into the mainstream (massive budget, more “accessible”, etc) IF they revived demon souls as a lower budget series to fully cater to us masochists.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Ekona

    What extra resources would it need, realistically? A few hours of playtime to make sure that the stats are balanced, but other than that you just need to make the player more powerful or the enemies weaker. Job’s a carrot.

    Let’s say it costs an extra £5000 to sort, but because it’s more open you make an extra £25000 on sales. Why would you not do it, when it’s so simple to do?

    #9 1 year ago
  10. TheBlackHole

    @8

    No, you budget for it as a feature, like everything else. It has its own ROI (as @9 suggested), so it has no impact on the core product development.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. deathm00n

    While we are at it lets remove snipers from Battlefield, as they are hard for new players to play with. Super fast cars from Gran Turismo and Forza, they are too fast and hard to control. Combos from God of War and Devil May Cry, too hard for new players.

    Has anyone paid attention to the description of the mechanics of the game? Everywhere you read about the souls games it’s always about how hard the game is, it IS the main mechanic of the game, the devs states it must be hard, removing it would be as stupid as the examples I gave above. Without it, it would be an pretty ‘meh’ game with poor graphics. If you don’t like hard games, don’t play Dark Souls, and also don’t try to ruin it for the people who like it.

    By the way, I may be biased as my favorite game ever is Demon’s Souls

    #11 1 year ago
  12. TheBlackHole

    @11

    Okay, I’m trying REALLY hard not to feed the troll, buuuuuuut……..

    - Removing items or features from a game is NOT the same as changing how much health an enemy has. That’s why most games have several difficulty levels.

    - Increased/reduced health/damage is NOT a game mechanic.

    - Dark Souls is much more than a ‘difficult’ game.

    - Adding a difficulty level which changes nothing about the existing game does NOT ruin anyone’s experience. You can still play it the way you always have.

    - Video games are more than just a challenging set of objectives. Sometimes, good writing and good art direction are enough to thoroughly enjoy an experience (see: Gone Home, Dear Esther, SotC, Journey, Mass Effect, Skyrim), suggesting otherwise undermines the quality of games as entertainment.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. deathm00n

    “Okay, I’m trying REALLY hard not to feed the troll, buuuuuuut……”
    Trust me, I’m not a troll, I’m just showing my point at why I think the game don’t need to chenge.

    “- Removing items or features from a game is NOT the same as changing how much health an enemy has. That’s why most games have several difficulty levels.”
    Ok, now it’s more clear, what I was understanding you were saying was the the whole game should be more accessible. And I’m 100% against changing the game.

    “- Increased/reduced health/damage is NOT a game mechanic.”
    Agreed. My examples were over the top to show more clearly what I meant, english isn’t my native language so to show my point in a more clear way I do this a lot of times.

    “- Dark Souls is much more than a ‘difficult’ game.”
    I know, but its difficulty is the strong point of the game. So, to me creating or changing the difficulty level is against the selling point of the game.

    “- Adding a difficulty level which changes nothing about the existing game does NOT ruin anyone’s experience. You can still play it the way you always have.”
    But there will always be the question, if they spent time creating easier modes, who guarantees that the game is the same as if the whole development time was spent in a single mode?

    “- Video games are more than just a challenging set of objectives. Sometimes, good writing and good art direction are enough to thoroughly enjoy an experience (see: Gone Home, Dear Esther, SotC, Journey, Mass Effect, Skyrim), suggesting otherwise undermines the quality of games as entertainment.”
    You argument can be twisted in another way: “Video games are more than just good writing and good art direction. Sometimes a chalenge is enough to thoroughly enjoy an experience.” This is subjective, and I enjoy them both, your examples contains some awesome games.

    I guess this is going to last forever so lets just agree to disagree.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. stretch215

    @11 +1. Dark souls is pretty hard, but not impossible or “broken” at all. Some people just lack the patience to learn the mechanics. Once I had the “formula” down, I was fine. Bring on DS2!!

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Dave Cook

    @14 agreed, it’s totally not impossible if you know what to do. Takes a lot of grit and perseverance but it can be done.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. stretch215

    Lol. I guess the learning curve was too steep for #12 :D

    #16 1 year ago
  17. AngryConsumer

    i had a lesson in painfully wasting money on the first game. so after that i never bought any of other games. you can say the lesson was learned. the game is over hyped rubbish and crap. enuff said!

    #17 1 year ago
  18. stretch215

    @15 exactly. There were times when I wanted to flip my entertainment center in frustration, but those are the moments that make victory even sweeter.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. stretch215

    @17 I think the only lesson learned here is that you’re crap at dark souls.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. Metroid455

    @17 well… I wouldn’t call it crap, everyone’s free to like whatever they want but yeah I could never get into the series either, I also think the series is overhyped and flawed in design but hey whatever.

    @6 completely agreed, I do this alot aswell.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. TheBlackHole

    @13
    I can appreciate that. I think we both agree that the core game should not be altered, but game development isn’t always a case of taking resources from one job to complete another. If enough RoI can be planned for a new mode/feature/addition, it can be built without affecting the core game or its schedule.

    @16
    Damn right is was :)

    Seriously though, I understand why people like DS the way it is, and I would never suggest changing that for fans of the series, but I DON’T agree that adding an additional mode that has no effect on the core game would be in any way a bad thing.

    Being more inclusive helps strengthen the brand as a whole, meaning more opportunities for sequels, new IP, new media, who knows. A key example is Diablo. Terribly easy on its most basic setting, but infuriatingly hardcore on Inferno. DS is not a one trick pony. It doesn’t need to be difficult to be critically lauded – it is already an excellent game.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. xonetwoseven

    It’s always really bothered me when the main focus around Dark Souls is the difficulty. And do get me wrong, it is extremely difficult but after playing it for awhile I find it one of the most liberating games I have ever played. From software has taken away my ability to hem and haw over the amount of effort I want to put into this game, they just tell me, “This is how hard our game is. There is no way around it.” They also take away my ability to constantly reload my game to get the perfect outcome. By taking away these to things you are left to your own fate.

    Most people can see this as a dick move and a sign that the developer could care less how the person who just spent 60 dollars on their game feels. But nothing could be further from the truth. These hard choices are made because the developer actually respects you. They know if you apply yourself, you will conquer their game. Each death is a lesson and that lesson is, most of the time, one of humility. Humility in turn teaches you patience and precision. It doesn’t take a “hard-core” gamer to play Dark Souls, just a dedicated one. It’s like that line in Fight Club ” A guy came to fight club for the first time, his ass was a wad of cookie dough. After a few weeks, he was carved out of wood.”

    #22 1 year ago
  23. phastings

    @everyone who is dissing this series: for one, if you don’t want a difficult game, go play something else; no one is force feeding you souls, just as no one is forcing the souls fans to play casual titles,
    hence why you dont see us on articles for other games whining about how they need to adopt souls standard difficulty.. There are soooo many games you can play, and there is just one series for us… So yea.

    Secondly, these games are catered to a hardcore base of fans, who namely are older, used to the old school games that offered very few concessions, and appreciate a challenge that is as precise in combat mechanics as the souls games are.

    And don’t go fall back on “here is another elitist souls fan.”
    I’m a fan of amazing titles, and this would not be the same if they changed the core formula to appeal to everyone; as 99% of the other titles already do that

    #23 1 year ago
  24. Telepathic.Geometry

    Ooh, good man Dave. I too am looking forward to Lords of Shadow 2 and Dark Souls 2 with baited breath. I platinumed the first two games, and am looking forward to platinuming their kin all over again…

    #24 1 year ago
  25. phastings

    Also, the reason 80% of people play games on an easy setting is because an easy setting is an option for probably 80% of all games lol; human nature & instinct compell us to the easiest way to complete a task.

    Another thing is most games that have easy/hard settings have generic mechanics to differentiate the two and do not reward completion on difficult, which makes it a moot point. Dark souls does just the opposite in brilliant fashion

    #25 1 year ago
  26. gowan

    People who who feel they are entitled to an easy mode are the same who feel entitled everywhere. The world is getting too use to getting whatever whenever. If they want a certain song, it’s a click away. There are 24 hour stores to satisfy whatever need they have. It’s not all bad. But, it spoils a person into believing that everything should be that accessible. Instant gratification is become the norm & game companies make it too easy for that trend to continue by making easy-to-complete games.

    Let’s look at how it works in real life. You want an iPod but your folks say “you want it, you earn it”. So you go out and mow lawns, keeping the goal in front of you. With every dollar earned, you get more & more excited about the experience you’ll have. Finally the day comes when you buy the device. You’re elated because you accomplished your goal! Cut to the kid whose parents just gave it to him. He might like it, but it isn’t the same experience because what he got was not earned!

    If you reduce the difficulty, you can only do it so much across the board and sure that would make the first few areas easier to get through however, without learning the mechanics, the average person would start to still get slaughtered because there is no place in the game where a person should just be able to button-mash to get through. At that point, cue the people saying “I thought this was EASY MODE? WAH! I HATE YOU, FROM SOFT!” ::watch chump gamer rage-quitting on easy mode::

    Lastly, Easy Mode is a lot like getting the Drake sword. Sure, it makes one-shotting enemies a piece of cake, but it doesn’t scale & the player ends up being worse off because it kept him from learning basic combat mechanics. They had an overpowered weapon allowing them to button mash & feel like they accomplished something. It’s deceptive. Eventually it caught up to them because they didn’t learn how to level up their weapons & armor or, and this big… learn how to fight! Combat is the game.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. Telepathic.Geometry

    @gowan: I agree with most of what you say, but I think good game design comes from balancing the difficulty correctly.

    For example, if you drive around the city in Jak II, you would have to drive like a fucking God to have a smooth and enjoyable drive. Every little mistake you make results in the cops gettin’ on your ass, taking serious damage, losing speed, and usually being stuck in a corner or some other shit situation.

    In short, the game punishes you, makes your situation three times harder and makes it very difficult to recover, and even if you do, your next mistake is barely seconds away. THAT is why it is too difficult to be fun in my opinion.

    By contrast, a game like Vanquish slows down time when you’ve fucked up, and are on the borderline of massive failure. It throws you a lifeline, and although it might be tough to get back, it’s fun, and it’s doable, and if you pull it off you feel like a nano-God, and your situation is that little bit better. This is GREAT difficulty balancing in my opinion. Borderlands’ Second Wind system is similarly inspired.

    NOW…

    Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls are both very well balanced in so far as, if you pay attention, it’s never that bad. And if you’re really feeling the pressure, you can summon dudes to help you gang-rape the enemy, and even then you don’t feel cheap. You feel empowered, and you feel the camaraderie of war (I guess).

    I’m no trigger finger SF genius or FPS crackshot, but I have relatively easily platinumed both games, so they can’t be regarded as all that hard, Shirley…

    #27 1 year ago
  28. DrDamn

    @gowan
    That’s quite harshly put, but I think your last sentence summed all that needs to be said “Combat is the game.”. That’s the core point. If you create an easy mode which means you can plough through the game button mashing like you can with most others games these days then you aren’t playing a Souls game any more. The very essence of the game is in how you are asked to play it. It would take the very core of the game away.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. rtd2

    always these comments trying to explain why there should be an easier difficulty setting, and yet no one seems to get the point across. this series of games is focused on death, and overcoming challenges. this concept doesn’t translate to your easy mode. its not the equivalent of removing fast cars from gta, but instead removing the cars entirely.

    many (of my friends too), are incapable of understanding this. you will make a lot of “mistakes”, which will first translate to frustration. not pushing forward is the biggest mistake you could possibly make. you will feel great overcoming the challenges, but the challenges are nothing without the amazing game they are scattered throughout.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. Telepathic.Geometry

    Who cares if there’s an easy mode? I cannot remember the last time I set a game to easy. It’s usually normal or hard on the first run.

    You say it takes away from the game, but I don’t see how. You play on your difficulty, and let everyone else enjoy their game the way they like. If you like a good bum-fuck it doesn’t mean everyone else has to.

    To each their own lads.

    If you’re worried about the multiplayer, well, dudes playing on easy all the time won’t have a hope against seasoned hard mode veterans. If it’s loot and gear jealousy, get over it. If you really want Dark Souls II to be difficult, then let the Easy mode dudes have the best gear and double health and let them invade you in teams of 8 and fuck off complaining.

    Jesus, sorry, but I hate all this sanctimonious shit. I want the classic Demon’s/Dark Souls, but if it helps draw more people into the Souls experience, give them an easy mode, and find a way not to let it interfere with MP…

    If we can do that, From get more money and can afford to invest more money in this franchise that we love with absolutely NO adverse effects on us. Personally, I think that a good way to do Easy mode for Souls would be to have a guy like Solaire take better care of them. Make that the option at the beginning of the game. Solaire says, do you wanna buddy up? You say YES! it’s easy mode, you say NO! and it’s regular mode. You attack him, it’s Hard mode. :D

    #30 1 year ago
  31. rtd2

    #30
    its strange. you argue for an easy mode, then present a great example of how they could keep the difficulty the same, and make the game “easier” within the current mechanics. +1 for a great idea with more persistent summons.

    i couldn’t agree more that i’d prefer the souls series get more attention, and that more people experience them. but yes, i do feel as though a different difficulty setting would take away from the game. given that the game’s creators seem to agree, i think the burden of proof belongs to you. i think the difference in the experience would be substantial, and as i said, the game’s creators seem to agree.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. Telepathic.Geometry

    @31: Well, I’m not really a fan of the Easy mode tick bx approach in general, and I’m a great believer in different difficultiy modes being handled skillfully in-game.

    For example in NG+ the standard enemies aren’t all that much stronger, but it’s just enough that you can’t one-shit them unless you double-hand them, and that small subtle little detail really leads to different gameplay.

    Likewise, in Yoshi’s Island, you can just get to the far right, or, you can choose to collect all dragon coins and red coins.

    In Deus Ex/Dishonored you can kill everyone, and plow through quickly, or go pacifist, and stealth through.

    In the best games, the difficulty s built into the bones of the game, and there’s no need to select it on the main menu. I like that way the best, but let’s face it. A lot of gamers expect there to be a double-health, double-damage button so they can beat the game. So fuck it, just give it to them I say…

    #32 1 year ago
  33. xonetwoseven

    Maybe an analogy will help clear up the difference. Let’s say that games with selectable difficulties are like going to the gym. If you’re not all that into working out, you can stick to some light weights or some aerobics and still get a pretty decent work out, feeling good about yourself in the process. If you are hardcore into working out you can run for miles and lift weights until you can’t stand it anymore. Regardless, everyone can co-exists in the same building without compromising what they want to do.

    Now let’s say games like Dark Souls are like climbing a mountain. There is no way around how tall that mountain is or how treacherous the climb might be. Most people can make it some part of the way but If you want to get to the summit you have to put your heart into it.

    So what I’m saying is this; giving Dark Souls an easy mode is like putting an escalator on Mt. Everest.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. Telepathic.Geometry

    Most Mountains have roads leading much of the way up, and hikers can start t various different levels to suit their physical capabilities. And I view ths as a good thing.

    I would say that a very busy middle-aged man with bad knees would appreciate being able to avail himself of that service to be able to enjoy the view from the top.

    We gamers all have different lifestyles and abilities. I say let’s be inclusive. Let’s try to bring as many people into the flock as possible and who knows, they might gradually start climbing mountains honestly some day…

    #34 1 year ago
  35. xonetwoseven

    SO, we should let people start 3/4 through the game with maxed out stats and equipment? You know what, you totally win. Let just make sure everything is accessible to everyone. In fact, on top of the difficulty being off turning, some of the imagery is awfully violent, that is surely turning off a pretty big market. I mean if we can get a TEEN rating on this, that’s a whole new demographic that can play this game. Let’s try to think of a way to make this game by offending no-one but not alienating the core fan base but at the same time holding the hands of people not quiet up the challenge so they too can see the view from the top. Think of all the money FROM software can make; then they will be able to make MORE games.

    Oh wait, that doesn’t really check out, it seems like FROM made a little game called Demon Souls. Based on it’s core values of unrelenting difficulty that results in unparallelled satisfaction, it got a following of dedicated fans. This is despite the fact no one thought a game that actively tried to kill you over and over again would make any money. With their follow up, Dark Souls, it became a Mainstream success, even though they didn’t even waver on their values what so ever. It seems like FROM has no problem generating the revenue to make the games they so dearly want to play themselves.

    Your opinion makes sense only from a marketing stand point, and a very short sided one at that. Thankfully FROM software doesn’t have to make any concessions, due to their already proven ability to make large amounts of money by doing what they are artistically driven to do. And I am grateful for it, sure they have a golden goose on there hands, but they know better then to cut it open just to drain a few extra cheap bucks out of it.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. Telepathic.Geometry

    You are unreasonable.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. DrDamn

    @35
    I don’t think a mountain is a good analogy for the game, the enjoyment is not the view from the top, it’s the journey there which is important. You can’t change that and still have the same experience. That difficult journey is the essence of the Soul’s games (and should be of any game) – completion is secondary. An easy mode Souls game is no longer a Souls game, because the difficulty is essential to it’s make up. The developers shouldn’t be asked to do that any more than they should be asked to do a My Little Pony game. It’s not what they are trying to achieve or produce. Would you consider asking The Beatles to put a bit more dubstep into their songs because more people might enjoy them?

    #37 1 year ago
  38. Telepathic.Geometry

    Fair enough man, it wasn’t my analogy to begin with, and I agree, I think the moment to moment, what’s around this corner or down this hole or whatever is what drives me in this game. Just trying to engage the other guy using his analogy.

    #38 1 year ago

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    Capcom has revealed a tonne of new details about Raid mode in Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Capcom has confirmed that Raid mode will launch with the first episode of Revelations 2 in February. You will be playing it offline only though, either solo or in split-screen co-op. As for the online portion, Capcom promised it […]

  • Watch the first 20 minutes of Life is Strange

    The first 20 minutes of Life is Strange have been posted online for anyone to watch. The opening 20 minutes of Life is Strange set the stage for what kind of game it is. The kind that you’ll probably like if you’re a fan of Telltale games. The video is courtesy of consolewarsofficial and you […]

  • Don’t blame Ubisoft for cancelling keys – blame the culture of overpriced games

    Publishers need to drop PC games prices in order to stem the flourishing grey market, says Matt Martin. “How are you going to sell me Far Cry 4 for £45 when I can pick up Far Cry, Far Cry 2, Far Cry 3, Far Cry: Blood Dragon and extra DLC for just £30?” Some players […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online is real, full reveal in this week’s Famitsu

    What’s been heavily-rumoured to be the next instalment in the Dragon’s Dogma franchise, Dragon’s Dogma Online, will be fully revealed this week. According to a recent post by Famitsu, the magazine’s upcoming weekly issue, which releases January 29, will contain a massive feature on Dragon’s Dogma Online. The magazine will dedicate 18 pages to all […]

  • Valve responds to recent Counter-Strike match-fixing scandal, bans offenders

    Valve has investigated the recent case of match-fixing involving two teams in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive professional scene and decided to ban those involved from future tournaments. Recent allegations involving match-fixing between iBUYPOWER and NetcodeGuides.com – two of the professional teams that played in Cevo Season 5 – came to light. Valve has took notice […]

  • Having issues playing Grim Fandango Remastered on PS4? Sony is offering help

    Sony has offered a few steps to help those who are having issues with their pre-loaded PS4 installs of Grim Fandango Remastered. A few reports have started to appear online from users who’ve pre-ordered and pre-loaded Grim Fandango Remastered on their PS4 consoles. Sony has since posted a support thread on the official forums, to […]

  • Get Dragon Age: Inquisition for $36 and more in EA’s Xbox One sale

    Many EA digital games are being offered at considerable discounts on Xbox One right now. The latest EA sale is pretty good, offering sales on many AAA titles. It’s only available on Xbox One, with extra savings for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. The list below covers prices for Gold Subscribers. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare […]

  • Grim Fandango Remastered reviews round-up, all the scores

    Grim Fandango Remastered is a classic game brought into the new generation, so it’s time for everyone to know how great it is. The reviews for Grim Fandango Remastered have started popping up and as per usual, we’ve collected a few of them below. Grim Fandango Remastered is, as the name suggests, a remastered version […]

  • The Witcher 3: latest build is 1080p on PS4, 900p on Xbox One

    The recent preview build of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was running at full-HD resolution on PlayStation 4 and 900p on Xbox One. German website Gamestar attended the recent preview event for The Witcher 3 and examined the three versions that were on offer, PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Here’s the quote, courtesy of Google […]

  • Joystiq is likely to close – rumour

    AOL is rumoured to be closing its video game site, Joystiq. Re/code is reporting that AOL is likely to close its video game site Joystiq soon, according to “various sources.” The move is part of a company-wide restructuring that will affect Joystiq and other “under-performing content properties.” Joystiq is one of the most renowned sites […]

  • The Last of Us movie will be “pretty faithful” to the game

    The Last of Us will bring many of the same elements to the big screen as the small one, according to writer Neil Druckmann. Although The Last of Us will have to be adapted in various ways to make the transition from lengthy interactive adventure to cinema-friendly story arc, Druckmann is hoping to keep the […]

  • Microsoft is fixing Xbox One’s slow controllers

    Xbox One control pads have many charms, but quick start up is not one of them. The Xbox One controller currently takes up to five seconds to connect to your console after switching on, which is an eternity for someone with an attention span as short as mine. Luckily, Microsoft is working to fix this […]

  • Lucius 2 releases on Friday the 13th (of course)

    Lucius 2 has a really fitting release date. Lucius developer Shiver Games has produced a follow-up to the dark tale of an evil child, and it’s coming your way on February 13 – which just so happens to be a Friday. Lucius 2: The Prophecy will set you back $20, and release through Steam. As […]

  • Saints Row 4: Re-Elected PS4 recalled in Australia, incorrect content to blame

    Saints Row 4: Re-Elected has been recalled in Australia due to a mysterious manufacturing issue. An Australian PR representative said that the retail PS4 version of Saints Row 4: Re-Elected has “a serious manufacturing issue” and has been recalled nation-wide. Here’s what we were told (emphasis mine): “A manufacturing issue has caused an incorrectly classified […]

  • The Whispered World follow up now coming to PS4, too

    Deadalic’s gorgeous-looking adventure Silence has been confirmed for a fourth platform. Originally announced for Mac and PC with an Xbox One port one revealed at a later date, Silence is now on its way to PS4 as well. All versions are due later this year. Silence is Deadalic’s first multi-platform release and in my mind […]