Generally favorable reviews - based on 54 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 54
  2. Negative: 0 out of 54
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  1. Oct 4, 2011
    The most egregious of all faults lies in the enemy AI. Nearly all creatures in Dark Souls are hyper-aggressive and many of them to a fault. Some will completely ignore a gap between you and them, running off a cliff.
  2. Oct 4, 2011
    It's tragic that not all of us have the time or temperament to play through Dark Souls, but one truth remains clear: if you're ready for it, it's ready for you.
  3. Oct 22, 2011
    Few games combine tension, atmosphere, deep combat and interesting online play in a way that can even compete with Dark Souls.
  4. Oct 11, 2011
    It is not a game for everyone, but From Software can again be proud of producing an instant classic in the action-RPG genre, which will be talked about for years. It is not as surprising as the original Demon's Souls, as we had great expectations for this spiritual sequel, but it improves on it and becomes one of the greatest games of the year.
  5. Oct 7, 2011
    Like coal turned to diamonds, Dark Souls is capable of compressing frustration and hardship into deep satisfaction.
  6. Oct 3, 2011
    If entertainment is fun without failure and progress without pain, you'll have to find it somewhere else. But you'll be missing out on one of the best games of the year.
  7. 70
    Hard is hard. Though greatly satisfying at times, Dark Souls consists of many hours of pure frustration.
  8. Oct 3, 2011
    Dark Souls is an extraordinary role-playing game that transports you to an awesome and menacing world you may never forget.
  9. Sep 30, 2011
    If you just play games for fun, this isn't for you, and no amount of insistence on my part is going to change that. But if you're interested in the limits of the videogame form – to see just how focused, how pure and how uncompromising in its vision a game can be – Dark Souls is unmissable.
  10. Jan 5, 2012
    At the end of the day Dark Souls succeeds in producing a game that is both incredibly challenging and fair.
  11. Nov 29, 2011
    All in all, Dark Souls is a more difficult, but less enjoyable (and less accessible) Demon's Souls.
  12. This is at times a devastating experience – and, at times, it will leave you breathless with awe. There's no denying that a substantial part of the appeal is masochistic. The dedication and patience required to get the best of Dark Souls are steep, but its scope is staggering, and the rewards truly worth it.
  13. Oct 21, 2011
    Dark Souls is a twisted, depraved, unforgiving bundle of death, hopelessness, and despair, and I mean that in the best way possible because if you can overcome the many, many obstacles it will throw at you over the 20+ hours it takes to complete, you will come away with a sense of accomplishment that few other games can match.
  14. Oct 20, 2011
    Dark Souls provides an amazing experience through a fantastic world, and it demands your patience and control every step of the way.
  15. Oct 20, 2011
    Dark Souls is one of the defining RPGs of this generation that goes above and beyond the genre to bring us something terrifying and unforgettable. An unmissable gem for the daring.
  16. Oct 20, 2011
    For those claiming that Dark Souls is unreasonably difficult, all one can respond is that is that they are sorely missing the point. The reality is that Dark Souls is not too difficult rather most games today are too easy. It is perhaps the most balanced game one can play. To survive, one must have patience, persistence and a high level of concentration…nothing is spoon-fed or handed to you on a silver platter.
  17. Oct 18, 2011
    Dark Souls is one of the best action-RPGs this generation, as it pulls of the combination of both elements perfectly. It may only be suited for hardcore gamers, but they are given heaven.
  18. Oct 18, 2011
    One of the best games of the year and one of the most punishing ones. Dark Souls is superb, but it's not a game for everyone. You have been warned.
  19. Oct 18, 2011
    If not for the amount of bugs, the slightly disappointing graphics and the lack of a truly interesting story, this would have been the perfect sequel to 2009's frustratingly hard Demon's Souls. It's still a fantastic experience though... if you're up for it.
  20. Oct 17, 2011
    Dark Souls will easily dominate your gaming skill making you submissive to its will. It's a ritual in frustration, yet one that is worth the journey, if you are OK with a little pain.
  21. Oct 16, 2011
    If you know you're the kind of player that can appreciate the depth and difficulty of Dark Souls' experience, you should run out and buy it right now.
  22. Oct 11, 2011
    It's certainly one of the most difficult games I have ever played, but it's clear that every single element of it has been designed meticulously to reward the cautious and clever participant.
  23. Oct 11, 2011
    Dark Souls is easily one of the best RPGs on the market and manages to even eclipse Demon's Souls, its predecessor. The gameplay is slow and methodical, but never in a way that feels boring. The game is hard, but almost always in a fair way.
  24. Oct 10, 2011
    This is a game that rewards those who truly don't give up and explore to find solutions to the constant and seemingly insurmountable barriers that emerge.
  25. Oct 10, 2011
    If you push yourself through this nightmare and its spiritual prequel, you will find that you enjoy modern games a lot more. Dark Souls lacks the open structure of Demon's Souls, but might be even more rewarding.
  26. Oct 10, 2011
    Dark Souls is a form of game development that you just don't see anymore. It's tough, it's unforgiving, and you have to fight for every inch of progress, but it has an allure that keeps you coming back, and a sense of satisfaction that very few games can give you.
  27. Oct 9, 2011
    Dark Souls is one of the most difficult games of the year and adds a lot of crazy enemies and surroundings. The co-op could have been done better but that shouldn't stop you from engaging in this sixty hour long adventure.
  28. Oct 7, 2011
    Quotation forthcoming.
  29. Oct 7, 2011
    Dark Souls is Demon's Souls times two. A bigger world with more torture for your bucks, but also an increase in errors. The result is fantastic though: a huge game filled with secrets and a learning curve for only the most dedicated gamers.
  30. Oct 5, 2011
    Dark Souls isn't a game you play for fun. It's something you do to say you've done; like running a marathon or climbing Everest. You won't enjoy it like you will other games, but you won't forget it either, and you'll be damn proud of yourself for seeing it through to the end.
  31. 84
    Grinding, leveling, and, of course, dying over and over again will keep the most dedicated players immersed in this world for a very long time.
  32. Oct 4, 2011
    Dark Souls has hooks, and those hooks are in me deep; I'm already planning my next several playthroughs as different classes, and for a game that is 80+ hours, that's a testament to its gripping quality.
  33. Oct 4, 2011
    In short, it's everything I could have hoped for in a (spiritual) successor to Demon's Souls. I'm pleased to recommend it to anyone who wants to see the medium pushed to its limits and beyond.
  34. Oct 4, 2011
    Because of its insanely high difficulty, Dark Souls isn't for everyone. That said, after playing a while, you'll eventually fall in love with Dark Souls, and spend mnay, many hours on it. Prepare to die!
  35. Oct 4, 2011
    Despite the difficulty and the uncompromising approach of From Software, what makes Dark Souls so special is the sense of accomplishment that it generates when you get things just right. There's never a moment when the game feels unfair, even the most abrupt (seemingly random) deaths are preceded by some kind of warning.
  36. Oct 4, 2011
    Get into the Dark Souls mindset and be prepared for repeated failure in one of the most engrossing gaming experiences available.
  37. Oct 3, 2011
    Dark Souls tests you. It puts you in an absurd situation and asks you to not only survive, but to conquer. You have to be careful but at the same time, you can't remain idle.
  38. Oct 3, 2011
    A gem of sublime darkness. In the same way that an infamous ring did poison the soul of the one wearing it, this game becomes both the burden and the treasure of the one playing it. Cruel, even more so than its predecessor from which it keeps almost everything, Dark Souls offers a singular atmosphere, one where the player is prey, gambles its life with each step he dares to take, and its sanity every time he makes progress towards more evil that can kill him in a single strike. If you feel crazy enough to dive in, though, Dark Souls will possess you like very few can: it's a drug, and it's in the poison it exudes that lies its virtue.
  39. Oct 3, 2011
    This game preys on your feelings, and is very skilled at manipulating them. Make no mistake, it takes a certain kind of person (never mind gamer) to stick with and possibly enjoy this game - we believe they are sometimes called Masochists - but Dark Souls does what it does extremely well, and it's to be applauded for that at least.
  40. Oct 3, 2011
    The cycle of Dark Souls is essentially the same: Hours of diligent, often frustrating work followed by a surprising, often spectacular payoff.
  41. Oct 3, 2011
    A fine example of how great forethought and a less than tepid attitude towards taking risks pay dividends in the hands of real gamers. It is nothing short of extraordinary, though perhaps a couple of years on from Demon's Souls, it is also less surprising.
  42. Oct 3, 2011
    Dark Souls is brilliant as its predecessor, but this time, thrown in an vast open world without hints, the player will be a little more frustrated than before. Sometimes the difficulty can be frustrating, instead of stimulating, challenging and rewarding. Dark Souls remains one of the greatest examples of dark fantasy in this generation.
  43. Oct 3, 2011
    Dark Souls beckons the masochistic with its chilly indifference. If you steel your nerves and persevere, the loot you'll uncover is an adventure so exquisitely morose and far-ranging that it will tug at your mind insistently during the hours you spend apart.
  44. Oct 3, 2011
    From Software achieves one of the most addictive games this year. Dark Souls' difficulty level can sound just as heavy as it is, but at the same time it's enough to keep you engaged to its addictive gaming experience.
  45. 95
    An incredibly addictive game and those who embrace it will most certainly end up living it.
  46. Oct 3, 2011
    Despite my complaints, I can't help but feel a rush of adrenaline just thinking about Dark Souls. I spent around 60 hours playing it over the last month and died nearly 100 times while doing so. I screamed, I cursed, and I threw down my controller in defeat more times than I'm proud of. I can't wait to get back in and do it all over again. Dark Souls probably won't be the biggest or best game released this year, but I'm already sure it's the one I'm going to spend the most time playing.
  47. 90
    An incredibly assured attempt to rewrite the rules of modern gaming, where even the smallest mistake can cost you dear but the tiniest victory seems like an epic achievement.
  48. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    Mar 6, 2012
    It would be foolish of us to pretend that Dark Souls is a game for everyone. It's perfect at what it does, but a big part of what it does is make you suffer for your mistakes. It is a harsh, uncompromising task master and you will have to work to win its approval, because it certainly won't work to win yours. [Dec 2011, p74]
  49. Play UK
    Nov 18, 2011
    A sprawling and beautifully built role-player from which there is no escape. [Issue#211, p.78]
  50. PSM3 Magazine UK
    Nov 13, 2011
    Utterly unforgiving... But stick it out and you'll see months of crushing lows and glorious highs. [Dec 2011, p.94]
  51. CD-Action
    Nov 9, 2011
    Put away Dragon Age, forget about Risen, let The Witcher be and don't wait for Skyrim. The feelings of fear and suspense that accompany you when you enter a new chamber in Dark Souls' castle cannot be described. You must experience it for yourself. And then suddenly die, of course. [November 2011, p.72]
  52. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    Oct 29, 2011
    But our perseverance was rewarded with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, making Dark Souls one of the most engrossing RPG's we've ever played. [Dec 2011, p.76]
  53. Games Master UK
    Oct 23, 2011
    Hard like a frowning diamond, but with huge depth to discover. [Dec 2011, p.82]
  54. Pelit (Finland)
    Oct 10, 2011
    It has a great combat system, a unique world to explore, and a difficulty level that made me count the hours to the review's dead line. One of the best action RPGs ever made. [Oct 2011]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1774 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Oct 9, 2011
    This is undoubtedly not a game for everyone, as I discovered. I read all the warnings about the difficulty, and the unforgiving gameplay, butThis is undoubtedly not a game for everyone, as I discovered. I read all the warnings about the difficulty, and the unforgiving gameplay, but figured it still sounded like my sort of game. It just isn't, and I'll tell you why. This is a game where you die a lot, and each time you do you'll redo a lot of the stuff you've just spent 30 minutes doing. And whilst you're redoing it for the second time, you'll probably die again, meaning you'll have to do it all again. And then you'll probably die again. And so it goes on.

    None of this would be a problem if I felt I was being rewarded for my time spent playing - but you just don't. In fact each time you die you have less to fight with the second time round. And this ties into my biggest problem of all. I keep reading about "the hardest game ever made", maybe so, but isn't gaming meant to be fun? This game quite isn't. I turn on my PS3 for escapism, whether it's for 10 minutes or 4 hours - all Dark Souls offers is frustration, the 4 or 5 hours I spent playing were some of the most miserable I can remember.

    A huge amount of effort has gone into this game, it looks absolutely stunning and generates an incredible atmosphere, but that's not enough for me. My advice? Rent before you buy - I've already traded my copy in.

    I know this review will get marked as unhelpful, but I think it would be to someone who isn't already a Demon Souls fan, as I can see so many of the people leaving high-scores on here are.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 4, 2011
    omg awesome game im a huge fan of demons souls n this game is amazing not for everyone but for the few real gamers its deep and worth everyomg awesome game im a huge fan of demons souls n this game is amazing not for everyone but for the few real gamers its deep and worth every penny looks lke another 2 years of my life Full Review »
  3. Oct 12, 2011
    To start with let me start by saying that I love a good challenge. I like hardcore roguelikes and I enjoy dwarf fortress regularly - which isTo start with let me start by saying that I love a good challenge. I like hardcore roguelikes and I enjoy dwarf fortress regularly - which is known for its difficulty. The challenge in Dark Souls consists of learning by doing - you have to test your way forth. The tutorial is minimal and the character attributes do not come with an explanation. This is brutal, considering that there is no way to "un-level" and once you blindly raise a stat, there's no way back. The gameplay reminds of "oni", with the character moving towards the direction you point with the stick on your controller. The combat requires exact reaction from the player, the time window in order to execute moves is miniscule. Add actions that stack and are executed once the character recovers from his stamina loss/long fall/etc, you'll get a confusing control to add to the games "difficulty" layer.

    I haven't enjoyed this game since I don't see the point of wasting my time without making any progress. I like the idea of challenges being hard, but since this games difficulty consists of giving the player minimal information, grind through long distances through same enemies several times once your die (you can't respawn near bosses) in order to recover your souls and demands flawless execution of actions which is not entirely without technical faults, this game is not challenging - It's just tiring.

    Understand me correctly, I think it's silly that many of todays games hold your hand through the story (for example, FPS games that let you recover health just by hiding behind an obstacle or RPG games that shows you where the destination to your quest is on a map with a pin), but this game is trying the wrong way to give a challenge. Which is a pity, because this games visuals is truly beautiful to behold.
    Full Review »