The Legacy of Dark Souls – A Shining Light in a Dark Time
Dark Souls 2 is one of 2014′s biggest releases despite it only being released on last-generation systems–and for good reason. The first Dark Souls introduced a whole new generation of people to the old-school unforgiving style of gameplay that was once the norm in videogames. No hand-holding, no cheap means to victory, no shortcuts, just challenge and death. Plenty of death.
The success of Dark Souls was something of a surprise given that the market was considered niche. The earlier release of the PS3 exclusive Demon Souls, arguably the harder game, proved there was a fairly large player base wanting more of the brutal gameplay, thus paving the way for its spiritual successor. But just why was Dark Souls such a success?
The key to Dark Souls‘ success is, of course, the risk-and-reward gameplay. While playing it safe is a viable option, taking a risk is where the real enjoyment lies. Ducking under an incoming blade only to slay your enemy with a well-placed hit was undeniably satisfying. Dark Souls‘ combat is almost an art form, a game of chess, as players counter-attack their enemy’s movements in order to obtain victory. At its very core Dark Souls was all about player skill and knowledge of the game, something that a lot of modern games abandoned in favor of fancy gimmicks and cheap thrills.
One of the more surprising success stories of Dark Souls was the social aspect. Streaming services (twitch.tv, in particular) provided a platform for players to showcase their skills to a wide audience, creating discussion about tactics, items, and stories of each player’s experience within the game. This social aspect allowed the game’s community to grow, evolve, and become creative to the point where their created content is set to appear in Dark Souls 2. In this vein, and given the transition the series has made, it’s no surprise Dark Souls 2 will go beyond the cult following status and release straight into the mainstream. The influence of the series has inspired various other titles to make their challenge an appealing element of their respective games, proving its significance in the market.
Dark Souls 2 is creating a buzz, an inestimably bigger buzz than the first game made, resulting in even more new players being introduced to the concept of a game that genuinely entertains and rewards players for skill.
A shining light in the modern videogame industry, the Dark Souls series has truly become something of a force, its own fiercely loyal fanbase being one of its biggest weapons. While Call of Duty, for example, may be earmarked as everything wrong with modern mainstream videogames, Dark Souls embodies what videogames were–and can still be–all about: skill, challenge, and enjoyment, even if it is through gritted teeth.