4 months ago I wrote a piece about Dark Souls, my introduction to it, why you shouldn’t be scared of it, and essentially telling anyone who hasn’t played it why you need to go out, now – yes immediately now – and buy it.

Here I am facing the very end boss, Gwyn Lord of Cinder (Who’s awesome), actually kind of sad this particular journey will be over; yes I am very excited to possibly play it again and play everything else the souls experience has to offer but I will never be as fresh as I was to this or probably enjoy it quite as much….

Getting to experience such a well crafted and original game at my age is really unique so sometimes it is better to wait for these things when everyone else is going mad for it and I dare say this has been one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences of recent times… And I really must say this, these games aren’t as impossible as it’s often made out to be but the combat system is deep, difficult to master and the enemies are as tough as nails, especially the bosses.

You have to get used to dying a lot, repeating certain level runs continually and losing a lot of souls, which are your experience points. Has to be said though that after a certain point this gets easier and more enjoyable as you realise it’s such a big part of the core of the game, you’re supposed to struggle a lot, you’re supposed to get annoyed and rage quit, you’re supposed to feel that it’s impossible because when you kill that boss that you’ve got down to an inch of health 10 times but not defeated, when you destroy that bastard zombie/skeleton/demon/ghost/mutant/whateverthefuckitis, there’s no better feeling. There will be times you’ll get so stuck that you can’t face to play it for weeks, but you’ll always come back and find a way to do it, that I can guarantee.

This game has opened up my eyes to how much better at games I thought I was and also to a whole new genre of RPGS, something I’ve always loved but have definitely felt has stagnated for me in the last few years. Dark Souls does a lot differently and effectively and makes you just want to keep going and exploring and enjoying. After the first 20/30 hours the game really opens up, not necessarily with the map but with how you play and your understanding of enemies and your particular style of play, as there are many. I eventually have gone for a tank build with a shield and halberd and for the most part this works, especially for getting round and backstabbing enemies.

The thing is before this game I never gave a shit about builds or enemies names, or bosses. Skyrim is one of my favourite games but what can I remember from it? Sod all. With Dark Souls I dare say a lot more will stick in my mind because this game is just so memorable. You’ll remember the boss that took you 15 tries, or the area that punished you for weeks on end, or the area you had to grind to salvage as many souls as possible to level up. I really did enjoy level grinding in this game, more than I ever have before, and there is grinding to be done, it’s not all doom and gloom.

You’ll have times where you’ll lose 10s of thousands of souls in one go (Especially after bosses) and want to break the controller in half, but you can find areas with high level enemies which you can circle to gain these souls back, after you’ve learnt how to make them your bitch that is – And this factor will always astound you, well it did me anyway, there will be an enemy that will absolutely wreck your shit but give it a few tries and you’ll beat it and then, eventually, you’ll be coming back and slaying them and all their friends.

…And do you know why it’s all so damn enjoyable? The glorious glorious combat system. The combat system is so good that you don’t give a hoot about the story (I rarely knew what was going on). The game perfectly balances equipment weight, ability, enemy difficulty and weapon usage in such a way that just WORKS. When you start to learn to parry, or get round an enemy to stab them in the back, you start to learn how this game works and realise you need to take advantage of as much as possible to get through these hordes of undead demons. As soon as you put a piece of armour on that is slightly too heavy, you’ll feel it, equip an item that doesn’t work against an enemy, you’ll find out pretty quickly. It’s such a refined system and arguably the best I’ve ever used and it never gets boring or tiresome as you can always get over run, make a mistake, and be killed.

Dark Souls is a perfect game – In some ways I’m sad I’ve not played it until now but I am also very excited to be getting my teeth into everything FromSoftware has to offer. If you’ve never played this go out and get it, I can’t stress that enough, you will not be sorry and you will enjoy it! Right, I’m off to truly finish this game, see ya later!

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