Dark Souls is far more popular than it was when it originally released, and chances are, there are those of you that got into the series after the original. No shame there, Dark Souls I, II, and III, are all great games in their own right, even if Dark Souls II is considered to be a little off compared to the other two. Let’s say you got into it late and played either one of the last two games, but never went back and gave the first one a chance. Either that, or you’ve never played ANY of them and have finally decided that now is the time to dive into the series. Whatever your reasoning is, I welcome you, fellow sun bro, to one of the greatest game series of all time! Not only that, I’ve got some tips for you to succeed and hopefully avoid dying too many times in your quest to link the First Flame (or not, whatever).
10) It ain’t as fast as Dark Souls III
Dark Souls III, in comparison to the original game, is practically like lightning. Dark Souls III came out after the successful Bloodborne, which drew most of its success around a revamped combat system that rewarded players for getting right up in the face of enemies. Dark Souls III took page out of that book and made every boss snort coke, so you’ve got no choice but to constantly be butting heads with every single enemy. Dark Souls came way before that time, it’s a slower, more plodding and methodical game. There are a lot more puzzles, traps, and cheeky enemy placements. That’s the thing about this game is that out of the three games, it’s the one where you really need to have your head on a swivel the most. It’s not as easy to just run past stuff in this game because you’re not as agile as you are in later games, and enemies are typically placed in ways that will swarm or block you. Don’t expect the super smooth, quick movements from the third game, here, this is the first game after all.
9) Upgrade those bonfires
Rather than using Estus Shards to increase the amount of Flasks you have one at a time, every bonfire will recharge 5 Estus Flasks by default. By spending Humanity at a bonfire, you can increase that number to 10, 15, 20, depending on how many you spend there, and as such, gives you some control over which bonfires you put stock in. Not every bonfire has a huge challenge between it and the next one, so it might be in your best interest to save the Humanity for a bonfire outside of a particularly hard boss battle. That, or for a bonfire the precedes a particularly bullshit part of the game (and yes, the first game has some pretty horse shit areas you have to traverse). The Estus Flask and Bonfires in this game are pretty different, compared to the other games, which brings me to my next point…
8) You Have to Unlock Fast Travel
Yeah, this is one part of the game that can go fuck itself, honestly, and just sort of pads out parts of the game. It’s built around it in some parts, in that a lot of the different areas loop into each other, mitigating the need to warp from one area to another. You can also level up at every bonfire, unlike in the second and third game, where you need to go back to your respective hub area to level up. It’s a pain in the ass, though, when maybe you realize that you missed something somewhere and you haven’t unlock fast travel yet. Meaning that if you wanna go back and find that item, or go to another area that you’re not directly connected to, you better get walking. It’s a shitty part of the game, for sure, but once you unlock it, it massively speeds up any backtracking that you need to do, just don’t expect being able to do it right out of the gate.
7) There’s Some Bullshit Afoot
This game has got a lot of areas that’ll make you very upset with how the fighting/weapons work. I’m talking about tight hallways, which this game has a fetish for, and will be the bane of your existence. Go ahead, try to swing that sword, it ain’t gonna go anywhere, and you’re gonna leave yourself wide open to get fucked by whatever you’re fighting. You’ve gotta either get real lucky and have your arm just kinda clip through the wall, or lure whatever you’re fighting into a wider area. There are some very clearly lazily put together areas later in the game as well, and From Software has actually apologized for this in the past. I’m sure they will look better in the remaster, but I’m not sure that they’ll be totally fixed, so be prepared in case they aren’t. Enemies are just sort of copied and pasted willy-nilly, and it don’t look so good (not as good as the first 2/3 of the game that is).
6) It’s Getting Some Other Upgrades
This is pretty cool, because 6 players are going to be able to play in one game at once (3v3 I’m assuming). There’s a lot to be excited about with this because PvP in the original Dark Souls wasn’t the greatest. A lot of hard-ons for the first game will tell you that it was the best but it was absolutely not. It was laggy and buggy and invaders would instant transmission up your ass and backstop you into oblivion. This game is going to have dedicated servers which is a first for the series, showing that From Software is definitely going in on this remaster. This isn’t just a quick cash-grab, which it totally could have been, and I wouldn’t have even blamed them for. I would have gladly paid the full price just to play the same game again in 4k at 60fps, but From Software ain’t hearing it, they’re pulling out all the stops.
5) Secrets Are Everywhere
Whack every slightly discolored wall and read every item description, because you’re going to need every secret you can get. Some of the best items/equipment in the game is hidden behind illusory walls or inside of Mimic treasure chests. Of course, thanks to player notes, there’s probably very few secrets that you’ll just walk by unknowingly. Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention, and even some bosses and areas are hard to figure out how to get to. There are certain trees that look literally just like every other tree, but you can kill these trees and unlock extra paths to travel/ important items. I would say that this game had the most secrets of all three games, though I think Dark Souls III had way more Mimic treasure chests.
Whack every wall that looks suspicious and pay attention to your surroundings, you might find something truly special.
4) It’s The Hardest Of The Series (Generally)
This is pretty subjective to the player, but the first Souls game is generally considered the toughest and most unforgiving. That’s not necessarily in a good way, because like I said, the games only got more refined as they went on, while remaining difficult. The first game is a little bullshit hard sometimes, for reasons I’ve already listed before, and unless they seriously overhaul certain parts of the game, I expect the bullshittery to stick around here. There are other parts that ARE fair but are just so god damn hard that they’re likely to turn away newer players or those that are faint of heart.
Ornstein and Smough have gained cult status for a very specific reason, and that’s because they can go fuck themselves. The first game gave us the most lovable NPCs in Solaire and Seigmeyer, and the most easily hatable bosses in Ornstein and Smough. If you hadn’t already cried by this point in the game, it’s totally okay to now, I really don’t think anyone will blame you.
3) The Weapon Variety is Lacking
Dark Souls I has some pretty cool weapons, that’s for sure, but the arsenal here has nothing on the other two games. If you’re expecting the level of weapon selection you had in II or III, you are not going to get it there’s no spoiling here. You get some swords, axes, hammers, spears, bows, and the like, but getting boss weapons can be a major pain. It’s practically like marrying your damn weapon because you’ll have to upgrade it to +10, and then turn it into whatever boss weapon it’s compatible with. Not only that, but you can upgrade THAT weapon to +5, so to max out a weapon, you’ve got to upgrade it 10 times, ascend it to the boss weapon, and upgrade it 5 more times. That is 15 upgrades.
Pick one weapon and just stick to it, or else.
2) It’s Got The Best Characters
Like I mentioned briefly before, this game had by far the best, most memorable characters of the whole series. Solaire, Seigmeyer and Oscar of Astora (even though he dies real fast, spoilers?) are some of the most genuine and fantastical characters in gaming. Solaire is just the nicest person in a world that is otherwise a complete and total shithole and will (if you keep him alive) fight the final boss with you, how sick is that? Seigmeyer is like Winnie the Pooh with a giant sword and armor, although his backstory is actually fairly heart-wrenching if you get into it. Oscar is the one who gives you your Estus Flask and frees you from your cell at the very beginning of the game, so to be fair, you owe him a whole lot. I’m sure that if you haven’t found your favorite Souls character, and you haven’t played this game, you’ll have one by the end of the game.
1) You Can Cheese Many Bosses
Remember when I said that this game is hard? Well it is, it’s pretty damn hard at times, and at other times, it is so stupidly easy that some simple parry timing can kill the final boss and leave you without a mark. Other enemies can be lured into doorways or walls that they can’t circumvent while you just whack them as they walk in place. You can probably find guides on how to cheese almost every single boss in the game. Of course, you could just call it speed running, don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. Ceaseless Discharge (that is a boss, not a porn video, don’t worry) was the only boss I’ve ever seen that you can’t help but cheese. You whack him like 5 times and his life bar just completely depletes for absolutely no reason. If that part stays in the game the way it is, I don’t think that too many people would mind that much because that area sucks balls anyway.
The faster we can all get through that lava-filled sphincter, the better.
So there we have it, 10 little tips for everyone that’s gonna be introduced to Dark Souls I with the remastered version. It’s a fantastic game that I hope will revitalize the love of the game that seasoned veterans have for it as well as bring new faces. Expect a lengthy, mushy, gushy review of it when it comes out here at Entertainment Buddha. Let us know if you’ve got any good tips for new players too to add to this list, or what you favorite part of the game is!
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