I came to a rather startling conclusion about a week ago, and that conclusion has helped to create a conundrum for me. I’ll need to give a bit of a back story to have it make sense so here’s the set-up. It all started about a week ago. I’d had Twitter up and was casually checking in on my feed. It was about a week out from the Dark Souls 3 release and I was beginning to notice an uptick in tweets related to the game and the studio, From Software. Up to that point my interest had been at a high level, but nowhere near as high as it had been for other big releases. As the Dark Souls-centric tweets rolled in, my mind began to wander back to the countless hours I spent with Bloodborne. Bloodborne is the game that I consider the high point of this generation thus far, and I was reflecting on how much fun I’d had with it. I then found myself thinking about Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Dark Souls 2, all of which existed prior to Bloodborne, and again all games that I had a deep appreciation for. I thought to myself, “Man, those games are really good”, then I started to think “Man, those games are great”. I started to examine those feelings and ultimately this thought crept its way into my head, “Man, these games are my favorite!” I was shocked, but I was thrilled! So far so good right?
Well here’s where my conundrum kicks in. No matter how hard I think back to those games I cannot remember the endings. In fact for some, I don’t remember much after the initial areas. Why is that I wonder? Well, the answer is simple. The only game in that series that I have completed is Bloodborne. Even that comes with a caveat though as I purchased the DLC but have yet to beat it. Now if you know anything about these games, you know that beating them isn’t easy. If I’m willing to say though, that this series of games is my favorite, what credibility does that carry if I’ve only completed one of them? I’m a PHONY, a SHAM, a DISGRACE! The difficulty hasn’t been what’s deterred me, and if you bear with me, I’d like to discuss that aspect a bit more in just a moment. I think that the main reason I haven’t finished these games is simply due to poor timing. All the games seem to have landed during some sort of life-transition that didn’t allow my focus to be on video games.
The reason this series has impacted me the way it has comes down to several reasons, but before I get into that, I want to discuss the “difficulty” of these games. I hear people describe these games to people that have never played and 80% of the conversations gear towards their hardcore difficulty. I’m not saying that the games aren’t difficult but I feel like talking up the difficulty while trying to give someone an idea of why this series is so popular is lazy. If someone who is brand new to the series only hears about the difficulty, they are missing a large part of what makes these games so memorable. The fact is, these games have introduced some of the most amazing level designs you will ever see. The way branching paths and hidden shortcuts can intertwine with routes you’ve traveled dozens of times before can be at times jaw-dropping. The enemy design, specifically when it comes to bosses, is typical of what only the most psychotic people in the world must see only in their nightmares. The lore, which in all honesty can be very difficult to interpret, creates a mysterious and dangerous essence that shapes the world around you. Each game has made its tweaks here and there but the Soul’s formula is always present from game to game.
These are my favorite games, but now I have to prove that. I need to go back and play these games through to completion. More importantly I need to chronicle my way through these games. I need to detail the frustrations, and I need to note the fascinations. I need to discuss whether the older games hold up, and I need to quantify how the series has evolved from entry to entry. I invite anyone who is willing to tag along. I’ll post on a regular basis, typically in 8-10 hour chunks. If you are concerned about spoilers, I’ll try to keep them to a minimum. However, in order to accomplish what I am setting out to do, certain things will be divulged. I’ve already begun my trek through Demon’s Souls and I will get my first impressions up as soon as I can. I hope you enjoy what will surely be an amazing journey through what I now consider to be my favorite video game series!