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Dark Souls has been released on 360 and been provided for us to preview/review by the publisher.
Believe it or not we are still playing it. Here are some extracts of what we made of it in chronological order:
"Dark Souls has plenty of dramatic challenges to test adventurers, but it also has a more contemplative side. From its murky, disease-ridden depths to its radiant halls, the hidden corners of the microcosm reveal a rich, many-layered story to those willing to seek it out. The world is decaying -- full of overgrown ruins and abandoned buildings -- but it remains compelling and vivid..."
- Microcosm Gamer (Fri, 23 Mar 2012)
"Dark Souls is game that masters fully grown men. My conflicted juvinile state makes me far too easy a subject to dominate, maybe I just need to turn it off and do something more grownup instead..."
- Juvenile Gamer (Thu, 05 Jan 2012)
"Dark Souls is marketed almost entirely on the premise that it is difficult. There's actually a lot more to it and I found that the most difficulty thing wasn't the gameplay itself..."
- Novel Gamer (Sun, 04 Dec 2011)
"Dark Souls asks if you are hardcore, then sets about proving you wrong. Returning to games after so long away, it was refreshing to be reminded days when hardcore was a label you had to earn..."
- Returning Gamer (Fri, 21 Oct 2011)
Even with a different pallet and game structure Dark Souls is still the spiritual successor to cult PS3 exclusive Demon's Souls. Maybe the biggest difference is its arrival on the 360 as well as Sony's console.
There are many comparisons to be drawn between Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. Despite different worlds and stories both offer a similar medieval gothic style and the promise of relentlessly punishing game play. However, closer inspection begins to reveal subtle differences.
Demon's Souls present a cold world. Even in under the crackling orange glow of torchlight, blue and grey seemed to dominate. Dark Souls' sees new shades creep in. Green, orange and warm natural colours now appear in the colour palette. New environments move from the shadowy stone corridors and dark swamps to towering forests and sun kissed battlements -- again accentuate this shift in +.
The new world's design brings with it a new play structure. Gone is the hub world that tied disparate parts of the world together in Demon's Souls. This is now replaced with a single cohesive over-world. Though the many parts of this new land are drawn from different influences they are integrated into a seamless experience. Gone is the segmented feel of Demon's Souls.
Game play also focuses more on RPG elements, something that is reflected by the ability to customise your character much more than was previously possible. A fresh skill system will also provide more variety and development.
Ultimately, Dark Souls' is unlikely to draw in a different crowd than Demon's Souls did, despite all of its changes. 360 owners will bolster numbers but won't disguise the fact that this is a punishing game for a niche crowd.
Dark Souls is expected to be released on 360 and PS3 in 2011.
Dark Souls promises more gaming flagellation for those missing Demon's Souls super tough gameplay. This time though, both 360 and PS3 owners can enjoy the harsh task master.
Demon's Souls, as its name suggests, is something of an acquired taste. For those who invested time in it though, it offered on of the most impressive (and difficult) role play adventures on the PlayStation 3.
Dark Souls is the spiritual successor to that great game and updates the experience with new worlds to explore and creates to fight. It takes the action to an environment as rich and dark as you would expect from the previous release.
Although details are still only just emerging, Dark Souls will again encourage to play it their own way with plenty of opportunities for exploration and adaptable gameplay. Dark Souls promises an unparalleled sense of achievement for those that finish it, which again point to the super hard gameplay that so marked out the original.
The biggest difference for this new game is that, unlike Demon's Souls that was only available on PS3, Dark Souls will be released on PS3 and Xbox 360.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: