Dark Souls II Announced

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by ♥♥♥, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. Kyrith Barry Herbers

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    I never used any fire bombs against that boss, and if memory serves I beat him on my first try. Not having those items regenerate isn't really a bad thing, it just encourages you to level up yourself or your equipment instead of buying healing items. At first I thought that was unfair too, but then a friend showed me that leveling up my mail breaker (short sword) would be more beneficial than trying to rack up enough souls to buy moon grass. I then made more progress in the level.

    now I shall say this yet again I'll say it again, if you want a game with fast and frantic combat, this isn't your game; but if you want a game with slow-paced, tactical, and thoughtful, combat then Demon's Souls has got you covered. In other words, your preference is not the only one that exists.
  2. hybridial Troll with a Sniper Rifle

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    I do get it, it's just annoying to see people with far less sense than you yell how it's a renaissance for the "hardcore, oldschool" gamer when it's really not. It's one viable avenue of it, perhaps, but only one of many.

    For me, Bloodrayne Betrayal was my equivalent of a game that gave me challenge and fun and proved timeless design cues mixed with sensible advances can still be incredibly captivating, and yet the game is a lot simpler than Dark Souls. It's not easier though, I'm pretty confident it's actually harder.
  3. Nathan Administrator

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    I liked the combat in Dark Souls to an extent, but after awhile it was a bit... repetitive? Even with all the different weapon types, the fact is the AI itself pretty much all use the same attacks, thus the same strategy can be used to kill all of them.

    Of course, you will make a mistake here and there and die, and I am "glad" the game punishes you severely for a death. But, there are things the second can do differently. Just because teh begining of the game may be more open to "new players", doesn't mean the challenge will be missing in the late stages.
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  4. hybridial Troll with a Sniper Rifle

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    Yeah, I guess that's what I'm trying to say Nate.

    Actually I'll go one step further and say, I don't see punishment as a good way of designing challenge. Reward skill, don't punish mistakes. That frankly goes for a lot of things in life I feel.
  5. Kyrith Barry Herbers

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    First off, thank you for the compliment. Second, I agree with you; I can't stand hearing people blabber on about "the good ol' days when gaming was hard compared to the games of today!" I like challenge in my games, but when I look at a lot of older platformers, I don't see challenge, I see arbitrary, and unfair, difficulty. It's also a bit ridiculous for someone to say that Demon's and Dark Souls are the only games that are challenging. I haven't played the game you mentioned, but I know for a fact that Demon's Souls is just one game among many (though, you do have to search deeper than just the most popular games to find them) that require the player to think on their feet and play intelligently.

    It's good to see we do in fact agree on a several of the things we've brought up, and though I do agree that penalty is not a good way to design challenge; I don't think that's what Demon's Souls is doing. At least for me, the penalty is there to make me care about dying, if there were no penalty for death then I'd never feel any sense of fear, and caution, or thinking, wouldn't be necessary; I could just keep trying the same reckless strategy until it works. The penalty encourages me to be methodical about how I play, and the tactful aspect of Demon's Souls in one of the primary things that draws me to the game. Not necessarily every game needs this, but when used correctly; penalty can be a great motivator to the player.
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  6. Dr. Flamingo Doomy Baby

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  7. Basler I go where I please and I please where I go

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    Dark Souls is godlike, the "my game is harder than yours" part is not.

    gif related

    1348473937122.gif
  8. ♥♥♥ lesbmer

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    In Demon's Souls, grass has a set drop rate from certain enemies, and is dropped by the most common form of enemy throughout the level you're talking about very frequently.

    You can buy firebombs from a merchant in the middle of the level.

    If your shield "randomly broke", you've been blocking way too much. Learn to roll.

    It's a fantastic way to open a game because it immediately filters out the people who don't have the attention span or patience to enjoy it. Judging by your comments (especially on the combat, which is damn near perfect), I'd say you're one of those people.

    Which is cool, there's tons of games that appeal to your taste. But this series shouldn't change to cater to people who aren't into its style of play.

    In my opinion, punishing mistakes forces you to get more skilled at the game, which is why I think it works so well in this series. These games are games you have to actively try to beat, instead of being a more passive form of entertainment like a lot of games now. In comparison, it seems like a lot of developers value guiding the player through so they can show them all the stuff they've created for the game, almost like a tourist attraction, instead of creating a game that is challenging and requires skill to complete. Which makes sense, of course developers want players to see all the content, but it's unfortunate that it often comes at the expense of challenge.

    Which is why I think the retrieval system in the Souls games is so brilliant. You lose your souls on death, but you can regain them if you touch the spot you died at previously. That mechanic alone goes a really long way to encourage players to stick with it and keep making progress, until eventually they complete the level or clear the area. It encourages progression while still being punishing, and I think it's an example of great game design.

    But I think the game rewards skill immensely, especially Dark Souls. In fact, the humanity mechanic is pretty much built around that. The longer you stay alive, the more humanity you acquire, which increases item drop rates so you're more likely to find rare items or upgrade materials to strengthen your equipment, and it also increases your defenses. If I had to sum up the style of play in the games in a phrase, I'd say "high risk, high reward". You're punished for playing badly, but playing well is rewarded more than in any game I can think of off the top of my head.

    Great points, and I think this image sums it up well

    1357418148110.jpg

    Please don't triple post.
  9. Kyrith Barry Herbers

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    Also on the subject of healing items; after playing Dark Souls for a "smallish" amount of time (I beat Deadburg, and started Dark Root Garden), I can say that the Estus Flask system is significantly worse than the Moon Grass system from Demon's Souls. The Estus flask is in direct contradiction with the open world feature. They keep the game from feeling open/adventurous because you're always on a metaphorical timer counting down the time until you die. So, rather than feeling like an open world to explore, Dark Souls feels, to me, like a bunch of levels that happen to run one into the next. On the other hand, the Moon Grass system allows me to collect enough healing items to continue my adventure, so Demon's Souls ends up feeling more open even though it really isn't. Strangely enough, I think that Dark Souls needs to have a tiny amount of over-time HP recovery, probably as low as 1 hp per 1 or 2 seconds. I really want to explore the world of Dark Souls, but I can't without feeling like I'm wasting my time/doing something wrong, and I end up dead without making any progress anyway.
  10. hybridial Troll with a Sniper Rifle

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    The problem with the examples given in that illustration is it merely highlights one point of challenge in the game; the traps. And I consider those very easy to avoid in comparison to most of the other issues with these games that frustrate me, which include but are not limited to abusing your line of vision/the camera, the game's poor lock on system, the sticky controls and most of these mechanics which to me feel more like a chore than an enjoyable game.

    I simply have my own ideas for what good games design is, in various avenues, and the Souls games simply don't merit inclusion on a list with games like Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, Thief 2, No One Lives Forever, Ninja Gaiden Black, Bloodrayne Betrayal, God Hand, Onimusha 2, Vanquish, or any other game that I consider to be frustration free gaming. Even Far Cry 3, whilst not above often being exploitable, simply rewards the player too well for their own skill (hang gliding onto the roof of an outpost and taking out every guy in a matter of seconds made me feel more badass than any other game, and that was hard not because the game itself was hard, but because I maximised my own use of the mechanics available in a creative manner) and that's what it comes down to. Reward the player for being awesome, don't make their life harder because they aren't willing to bend over backwards to play the game with a stick up their ass.
  11. Kyrith Barry Herbers

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    Camera intrusion (especially in Dark Souls) has been quite annoying; but unless you're playing a mage and, by extension, trying to use the god-awful magic system, I can't see an issue with the targeting. I thought it was great (except on the rare occasion when it would decide that it was a good idea to target a dragon I couldn't fight rather than the crossbowmen standing right in front of me), especially being able to switch targets by turning the joy stick.

    You've got a great point, more games need to let the player approach a situation from many, unscripted, angles. Thief 2 executed that incredibly well. I can remember many instances of close get-aways and sound-based misdirection that I had to think of on my own I really wish the Souls could have capitalized on its environments more. One of my favorite moments from Dark Souls was pushing an enemy back into a blazing fire to kill it. There were a few other instances like that, but there certainly could have been more. Environmental interaction is underrated.
  12. hybridial Troll with a Sniper Rifle

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    This system is used in a lot of games but I feel Demon's Souls does it poorly. I've been trying Darksiders out and it does it much better as an example. Not exactly a deep combat system though, but at least I always know that when I'm locked onto an enemy, I don't need to worry about the focus switching not acting like how I want it to or it making dodging the enemies I haven't locked onto difficult.
  13. ♥♥♥ lesbmer

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    That's an interesting perspective, I never really thought of Estus as a hindrance to exploration. I think the main reason it was implemented was because in Demon's Souls, it was too easy to just pump up your luck and farm grass and have essentially an infinite amount of healing items, destroying a lot of the challenge. I like the Estus system more, because it forces you to have to strategize on when you're going to heal, and makes you less likely to just eat grass after every time you get hit by an enemy. I also thought it added tension, but I can see where you're coming from in that it encourages you to rest at a bonfire more.

    I have a feeling though, that as you progress through the game and start finding the shortcuts and routes that connect the game's areas to one another, the world will feel a lot more open to you. A lot of the fun of Dark Souls is with the flexibility in its progression, and you don't really get to experience that during your first, blind playthrough when the world is so unfamiliar. For instance, it's possible to kill the second major boss before the first, or go down into The Catacombs first thing in the game, etc. And when you hit the halfway point, you can complete any of the remaining areas in any order. Limited healing items may make it seem like you're more limited in exploration, but really it amounts to planning small pit stops at bonfires along your way in my experience.

    I have over 200 hours logged in Dark Souls, and I can't think of many instances where the camera has caused my death. If there's one complaint I have about the camera, it's that you can't control it while sprinting unless you claw your controller. Otherwise, I found it to be appropriately responsive and it was never really an issue in my experience. Though that could just be because I'm so familiar with level layouts. In which instances did the camera cause you problems?

    I'll agree that the lock on system seems a bit sticky when you first start using it, but like most things in the game it becomes second nature once you experiment with it and learn how to use it properly. Simply pushing the stick in a direction rarely swaps targets, but a hard flick always will. In a way, I think this is actually a good thing, because you're less likely to accidentally switch targets by slightly brushing the stick. The rest of the controls have been incredibly responsive in my experience, I can't help but think your describing them as "sticky" is caused by unfamiliarity with the mechanics. Combat is much slower-paced than in the action games you keep mentioning, but it's still extremely responsive.

    In my opinion Dark Souls definitely rewards the player for being awesome. The humanity system I was talking about is the center focus of that. Stay alive longer, and you find more items and have higher defenses. You also get humanity from killing invaders (still can't believe we haven't touched on the multiplayer aspect of these games yet in this thread), or from being summoned into another player's world and helping them kill a boss. Not to mention how many souls you accumulate from killing multiple bosses and clearing multiple areas without getting killed. Going back to tough areas in the early game with a fully upgraded weapon also makes you feel appropriately badass.

    I still haven't experienced many problems with the camera, I'd love for you guys to point me to examples. I'm probably so used to the game that I don't see them anymore. Also, I thought magic was very well-done in Dark Souls, especially compared to Demon's Souls, for similar reasons to why I prefer the Estus system. You have a set number of casts, so no more popping Old Spice and taking out bosses with two or three shots of Soul Ray at high intelligence. The addition of Pyromancy was really neatly incorporated as well, since it doesn't scale with intelligence and is versatile enough to be used on nearly any character build, although that also makes it a bit overpowered.

    In my opinion, the scripted nature of these games is what makes them so fun. I can't see a Souls game working (or being fair for that matter) with randomized enemy placements, for example. I really enjoy how it presents you with a level or area, as-is, and it is the responsibility of the player to adapt to and overcome the challenges and obstacles presented. It feels very fair in that respect. But, that may just be a personal preference on my part, as I vastly prefer hand-crafted level design to randomized or generated elements in video games in general.

    I would certainly welcome more environmental interaction as well, and that recent interview with Dark Souls II's new director gives me a lot of hope. They seem to really want to stress the environment a lot more in the next game. There is a bit of flexibility in Dark Souls for that kind of thing, but not really much, as you said.

    Again, try flicking the stick instead of just pushing it. It helps a lot, and you'll never have problems switching targets. As for making dodging the enemies you haven't locked onto difficult, I think that's just a necessary trade-off for the level of precision locking onto an enemy gives you. As a general rule, if you're fighting multiple enemies you should keep the camera free, and keep all the enemies on-screen so you can be quick to respond to attacks from multiple opponents. Like a lot of things, the game really punishes you for singling out a single enemy when fighting a group of them, but I think of it as just another case of the game's high learning curve and the player needing to play by its rules.
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  14. Kyrith Barry Herbers

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    If I did start a new play through after beating the game, the sense of discovery would be severely hurt by my already knowing the general layout of every environment. I wouldn't be exploring a new world, I'd be scouring the world for nooks and crannies. Also I almost never play through games twice, I've only ever beaten 3 games more than once (and I've never 100%ed a game before).

    I think that most of the good challenge in the Souls games comes from the specific encounters, not the connection between them. To fix this, I'd like to see one of two things.
    -The first possibility is simply adding in a small amount of over-time health regen, so the player can still just as easily die during the heat of battle if they get sloppy, but they won't enter any battles with low health and be killed unfairly.
    -The second possibility still has the over-time health regeneration, but there's a catch. If you get below certain points on your health bar, it can't regenerate the entire way until you reach a campfire-style checkpoint or alternatively have very rare bandage/medical items. Those checkpoints would also preferably be organically integrated into the world and not all the same. Perhaps NPCs, sometimes with buildings as well as healing springs, that sort of thing.

    It does make you feel badass, but it doesn't have highly open mechanics for the player to be given a lot of choice in how to do things. On the normal enemies I loved the fast-paced give-and-take combat, but I found most of the bosses (at least in Demon's Souls, I've only battled the bell gargoyles in Dark Souls) to be pretty lack luster. They were just slowly attacking mobile turrets with the skin of a creature; they didn't actually feel like the beasts they were usually supposed to be (though that didn't stop a few of the arch demons from looking epic, it did hinder their potential to be better bosses).

    There were a couple of bosses in Demon's Souls that I did like, my favorite being the Penetrator. I liked these bosses because they took the normal fighting mechanics and put them into over drive by being faster and stronger than most enemies, but still reacting in the same way as a normal enemy to your sword and shield. That really is the best kind of boss, the kind that takes the game mechanics the game has taught you and pushes them to their limit, making them a test of your skill in the game.

    The problem then, in the Souls games, becomes that the mechanics aren't open enough to provide epic boss fights while staying consistent with the skill that the player as had to learn. That's why I think they'd improve if more dynamic combat was added to the entire game. Imagine it like this:
    --
    you're fighting a humanoid enemy next to a ledge with a 10 foot drop. You run off of the ledge and land safely, sustaining a small amount of fall damage, next to a few broken pieces of wood. Your foe follows and falls a bit to the side of you skewering itself on a protruding plank of wood.
    --
    Throughout the normal parts of the level you would be able to use the environment to your advantage, but for the most part you'd probably have to handle the combat with your sword and shield (or whatever else you have) since the enemies are, for the most part, nimble and always in your face --you could also use it to get a surprise start to a fight--. The larger bosses however, would be too strong for you to take on with normal combat, but would be slow enough that you could use your surroundings to take them down. This does not mean the boss environments would have obviously scripted points for you to strike from (as is the case in most games), but rather the game would be versatile enough and the bosses slow enough that you could, in an unscripted manner, use the environment to give yourself the much-needed advantage. having both the quick, smaller, bosses like the Penetrator, and epic, contemplative bosses like I've described would make the Souls games even better (as well as the normal environments being interactive).

    The problem haven't really caused me to die, but sometimes the camera will just hit a wall in a strange way, small things that momentarily pull me out of the experience.

    I don't think you're interpreting what I meant by "scripted" correctly. Demon's Souls having less scripted combat than most dungeon-crawley RPGs is a large part of what attracted me to it in the first place. Having an environment be in a set way isn't scripted. when the scenarios are forced into a small set of (or in some cases 1) possible ways to play out, then it becomes scripted. A game like Thief 2 is largely unscripted so its scenarios can play out in a multitude of ways, and the game requires much more thought and skill. In a game like Uncharted, almost everything is scripted so the scenarios play out in largely the same way no matter what. Demon's Souls is somewhere in the middle, and I'd like it to move a bit more toward the unscripted side of the spectrum.

    I almost always locked onto enemies in groups, the game was difficult to control if you didn't lock on, I just played defensively and waited for the best moments to strike. Also, having to play more by the games rules is a bad thing (at least in this case). Again, that's one of my favorite things about Demon's Souls, there's no big meta game or learning curve. The controls are easy to understand and there aren't really any unintuitive strategies you have to learn; for me the only "strategies" I had to learn quickly were to look around corners and have my shield up as often as I could without ruining my stamina. Those are pretty logical and intuitive, and one of the main reasons I love Demon's Souls.

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