SOULS SOULS A WEEK 2015 : WEEK 25 – DARK SOULS / DEMON’S SOULS

Written by G. Russell

One Game A Week is a bunch of words from my brain to yours about whatever game has been occupying my time the most over the last 7 days. Once a week, EVERY week for the duration of 2015. God help us


Oh god, SOULS. Someone take these games off me. I’m well aware how this ‘column’, this weekly series, or whatever it is, hasn’t exactly been particularly varied of late; since Bloodborne it’s basically been One Souls A Week, give or take. But I’m done now. I promise. This is the last one about Souls games this year. Trust me.

Well…um… when I say “I’m done”, it’s probably best to tell you that I’m actually currently part way through a new Dark Souls strength build (I’m in Tomb of the Giants and I’ve got a +15 Man-Serpent Greatsword, thanks for asking), but I won’t keep writing about them. Honest. For the time being, though, let’s talk about my last 7 days (give or take, cause this post is LATE) wherein I completed my ‘no fear’ Dark Souls run and also, finally, completed Demon’s Souls.

MILD SPOILERS AHEAD

Demon’s, then. In a nutshell – what a game. I’ve already detailed my initial impressions here (in case you don’t click that, basically – I’d never played it and was immediately in love with it) and my feelings towards it didn’t change at all. What struck me the most once I’d reached the end is just how many elements of Demon’s are reflected in Miyazaki’s Souls games since. It’s not too surprising, I guess, I mean they are all essentially part of the same series, but from Patches giggling next to a hole in the ground (I killed him as soon as I knew who he was) to the bell ringing Cthulhu nightmares of Tower Of Latria through to the Gwyn / Gehrman move set of Old King Allant and the Blighttown-style horror that is The Valley of Defilement, I was constantly reminded of other moments from throughout Miyazaki’s time behind the Souls wheel. Constantly reminded how much of a genius he is, and by how much he’s been calmly (brutally) perfecting his ideas.

Some other highlights : the Old Monk boss fight, which actually pulls in another player to take the form of the boss and forces you to engage in a delightfully stressful bit of PVP in order to complete the already harrowing Tower of Latria. The Nexus itself, which is one of the most visually stunning game hubs I’ve ever seen and a place which became a very welcome, slowly populating place of eerie calm among the chaos. Or how about the brilliantly convoluted sequence of events that you need to complete in order to rescue Yuria The Witch, including a bit of enemy cosplay and plenty of cross-area key hunting. And, lastly, the excellent switcheroo of the final boss, which, through a cut-scene and some ominous dialogue, is built up to look like a fight between you and an enormous old tree God, but turns out to be something completely different and, ultimately, pretty sad.

Yup, Demon’s Souls was an exceptional experience. So much so that after I’d completed it by playing the copy I had downloaded from PSN, I sought out and purchased a Black Phantom Edition physical copy, just so it can on the shelf next to all the other all-time-greats.

The rest of my time these last few days has been Dark Souls Dark Souls Dark Souls. I literally can’t stop playing it. I’m closing in on my 2nd completion of this game within 2 weeks now across 2 different builds and I’m already planning a 3rd run (I’ve never fucked with Faith, and I feel like it’s time). You don’t really need any more words from anyone about this game anymore, least of all me, but I’m proud to say that his game no longer feels like a terrifying mystery to me. My whole plan for this recent play through was for me to become as familiar with this game as I was with Bloodborne and Dark Souls 2. I can now safely say, as I plant my summon sign down near Ornstein & Smough for the 4th time this  evening , that this has come true.


 

For the next two weeks there won’t be a regular One Game A Week post cause I am on my holidays. Fear not though, cause there’ll be two scheduled posts going up; one per week to cover weeks 26 and 27 so that I don’t fail this ridiculous mission. I’m not sure what they’ll be about. Maybe just links to Slayer songs.

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