Souls was never a series I got into (I can hear fans screaming as I write this). As a proud PC gamer which can’t give up on the accurate controls of the mouse and keyboard combo, playing this series without a gamepad adds an extra layer of difficulty and frustration. I’ve never dived deep into the series but I’ve always been able to identify its flaws upsetting with my remarks many people over the years. Let’s be honest, no game is perfect, and while the Souls series is critically acclaimed, its PC ports are hardly something worth of praise. The technical state of the games has always been questionable with clunky controls, a weird camera and a targeting system that doesn’t work well with m&k (not to mention the 30fps lock of DKS). Add to this some false advertisement and outdated graphics and the hate I’ve been accused of it’s actually justified criticism. But despite my objections to the technical state of these games, I’ve always had a distinct level of appreciation for them.
Somewhere in the late 2000s games reached an insulting level of simplification that plagued even the more complex of genres like RPGs or strategies. It was Demon’s Souls success that opened up a path in the mass of games that was aiming for retardness, rekindling the hope of feeling the frustration of challenge. Together with the challenge the Souls series has created and honed a set of game mechanics that have been embraced by more and more games lately.
Focusing on meticulous action combat, character progression, level design, weird storytelling, difficulty and even PvP, the series has got a lot of followers and for a good reason. It’s a certain dungeon crawling atmosphere that these games have, built through the unease given by not knowing what lies around the corner and how that could kill you resetting your progress in the process. As someone who’s always up for something innovative and genuinely different, I’ve appreciated that despite disliking the execution.
Dark Souls III is launching on April 12 marking the end of the series and with that in mind I searched my Steam library and found hiding in a dusty corner: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition. I installed it, fired it up and after spending some time tweaking its technical issues through mods, I got it into what I could consider an acceptable state. I’m not really bothered by the graphics, despite always having something to object on this matter, as I see the value of good graphics in any game. But I rarely have problems at overcoming older graphics in order to play a game.
Dark Souls is somewhat as I remember it, buggy, clunky and annoying to play with m&k even after being modded. But there is a mysterious attraction to it, something that makes you want to continue past the trial and error phases of each fight. The sense of discovery and the itching for progression can carry you further as long as you can adapt to its nature. I’m not particularly good at the game and I can’t say I’m bad either, but I don’t feel any elitistic desires. I let the game carry me in tandem with my time and patience, wherever I get I do it because I want to see more of the game not because I feel the need to prove something.
Knowing myself I’m pretty sure I won’t get to the end of the game, but I shaped my skills in preparation for what could be the first game in the series that could be considered technically acceptable on PC: Dark Souls III.