User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 975 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 88 out of 975

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  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, 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.
  2. 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 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.
  3. Oct 30, 2012
    Let's be honest for a second, here. Seriously. Ask yourself: "do I really like this game?" or "am I really enjoying this?". I think Dark Souls is the perfect example of Psychological Marketing. Developers and the media MADE US believe that suffering exhaustively with some sort of "do it again until you get good at it" business is something nice, something we want, the ideal gaming experience. It's not. Dark Souls is, no question about it, a beautiful game, challenging and well crafted. That being said, the difficulty level is just way, way too high - to a point that there's not fun at all to play it. But we do, we play, we suffer, because "they" made us believe this was the best gaming experience ever. I gave up on Dark Souls as soon as I realized that I just don't have time for this. Being a gamer in my 30s, I have pretty much 1 hour per day to play games. And I don't want to spend these precious hours hating myself or hating a game because I cannot have any fun, because of frustration. I'm no masochist, sorry. For me, the ultimate gaming experience is HAVING FUN. And there's [almost] no fun to be had in Dark Souls, sorry. Expand
  4. Oct 9, 2011
    Inferior to the original in every way. After the initial "tutorial" area (which is reminiscent of the original and well-executed), I ran into a multitude of problems. Within a span of five minutes, I got stuck in a tombstone, attacked by teleporting skeletons (not INTENTIONALLY teleporting skeletons, which I'd be cool with), had my vision blocked by a giant crow, encountered massive slowdown and fell through a flight of stairs causing the game to lock up (and after restarting the system the game proceeded to berate me for turning it off without saving). I plan on changing this review if/when a patch comes out, but the game is completely unplayable for me at the moment. It's like trying to play Super Meat Boy with a trackball. I've tested 2 copies of the game on 3 separate PS3's, so it's not an isolated issue. Whomever was responsible for QA should be fired.

    Also, judging by other people's comments, it seems like user reviews are being pulled from the site...? What kind of crap is that?
  5. Oct 22, 2011
    There is a great deal of difference between being challenging and being unfair. This game is simply unfair, and, as someone said, this is the kind of game that you play just to say you played it. There is nothing to like here: is just a struggle, like putting yourself on diet, or working your biceps to exaustion at the gym. I could play this game for a wage, not for free. And if I think I even payed for this one, well, I can just blame myself... Expand
  6. Nov 2, 2011
    Demon's Souls was/is 1 of the best games I've ever played. the balance between frustration & reward was perfect. every death was your fault. I have never put so many hours into a game.
    as spiritual successor, dark souls lacks the same balance & polish the graphics are an improved, however the character animations are a step backwards - my deprived runs like a legless chicken. the levels
    in DS were tight, the game was about itching forward. in going more 'open world' ds loses the focus that DS had. o
    the combat feels sluggish in comparison, & there's a noticeable lag betwixt button press & action. every time, bar 1, I've died in my short time with dark souls, I felt it was the game at fault, not me.
    I score half what I give Demon's Souls minus 1 for disappointment.
    Return game to shop, back to Demon's Souls, maybe get Skyrim?
  7. Oct 5, 2011
    Horrible. That is the best way to sum up this game. Extremely difficult to the point of complete insanity. Make one mistake and you have to repeat an hours worth of play to get back to the same area. No story line what-so-ever. No explanation of what different symbols, stats, etc mean on your character. The game was definitely banking on previous reputation. Controls are very buggy with multiple button combos almost pointless because you can never get them to work. Expand
  8. Oct 16, 2011
    I had fun setting up my character, and starting thru the tutorial... That's about it. After I escape the first dungeon, I meet a knight and decide to fight him and take his soul (I'm a thief in the game after all...). He kills me in 3 hits... Fine, try again. Respawn/reload the game, he kills me again! The fighting is so lame... He hits me, and my character has to go thru this delayed reaction/animation, realizing he's getting hit, and by the time I regain control, I'm hit again, then dead... again. Fine, can't fight him, I'll reload the game and run away. Nope, he just follows me no matter where I go, and how far I run. My hits are so weak, they barely register, and of course, he has no slow down from my hits, just continues thru his attack motion as if I'm not hitting him multiple times. 9 Deaths later, and screaming at he TV, i quit. Not fun. Why not at least "reset the scene" if the player is killed? If it was a mistake to fight the first character I meet, why not let me learn that, and leave him be. Do i have to restart the whole game, and go thru the tutorial dungeon all over again? How many similar situations would ruin my evenings if I decided to keep this torture session disguised as a video game? I would have loved to play with a friend to help me, why restrict me from doing so? Muliplayer i random and can't be coordinated. Not fun. I gave it a rest and tried again the next day, still not fun. At all. Trading it in for Batman Arkham City. Expand
  9. Oct 18, 2011
    If you think Silver Surfer is the greatest game of all time, and that difficulty means out-of-nowhere deaths that require psychic abilities to avoid, Dark Souls is for you. Everyone else, stay away.
  10. Nov 12, 2011
    I have never written a review for a game before but I feel that in this case I need to. If nothing else than to lower the user score of this game ever so slightly so that someone else won't have to go through what I did. In short the game is unplayable and I would like to explain why so as both not to get flamed and just banished to the bottom of the pile as another person who says "its too hard waaaaaah". I do not deny that the game is hard and I have no problem with difficult games, I went through battletoads, Ninja Gaiden Series and Devil May Cry on the hardest of difficulty settings. However Dark souls is not a game end of. There is no reason this game has a score as high as it does but I suspect that it is where it is on metacritic because of very clever marketing ie One guy says this game sucks his friend says no its just hard you are being a **** its the same as saying "I can't punch my way through this wall" "well clearly you aren't trying hard enough and are just too weak". Thats what Dark Souls feels like to me. One of the main things is wrong with the game is the controls and the lag from pressing buttons to the character actually doing something. There is simply no reason for this kind of lag not on a console game. I have designed games before and the point is to make the character an extension of the player, the closer you come to that point where the player ceases controlling the character and the character becomes an extension of that player the better. Please take a look at this game and ask yourself why is it difficult is it because it requires me to think more about my actions, requires me to have lightning nay superhuman reflexes, or is it simply because the games bad game mechanics shoe horn you into a play style that goes against every natural instinct. Expand
  11. Nov 14, 2011
    This game just doesn't have quality like I guess I'm used to. The idea that a full screen announcement comes on to tell me that "You Lit The Bonfire" as if it was a significant achievement confuses me, especially since the game hides some much other information that is crucial for understanding how to play the game. The character classes are obscure and magic is pretty much a joke as everyone has to engage in melee combat due to the restrictive amount of spells that exist in the first 6 hours I put in the game. Since there is a heavy reliance upon melee combat and health is so crucial the game becomes even more difficult if you pick a lower vitality, magic strong class. And the game is difficult, but the difficulty comes not from the game itself but from the horrible UI and controls. I died more from fumbling my controls than I ever did from underestimating my enemy and the heavy fog of ignorance the game keeps you in that hides some of the games mechanics is the other side of the difficulty. I don't know why people enjoy a game that makes it hard for you to enjoy its many aspects but this game succeeded. I mean, the starting gift you choose, what could be more obscure and then overly useless than blindly picking an item from that list. I would have rather it not existed at all since the item I picked was never useful for me.

    The online aspect of the game is usually most prominent in messages left on the ground, many of them stating this: "I'm tired of this"

    How useful. I died to a boss because I rolled off a cliff, unintentionally, I didn't want to roll my hand just happened to mash down R3. I died to a simple skeleton archer because I accidentally unequipped my shield in the midst of battle when trying to quickly switch to the healing potion from some bombs I was using. Bad controls should not be the main contributor to a games "difficulty" level. The targeting system also needs some help...which is another part of, I guess, the difficulty. Fix the controls, sloppy controls are never fun, fix the targeting, and provide more information about items and the overall why for running around in the world so I can enjoy the world you created and I'd rate this game much higher.
  12. Jul 17, 2012
    This game is so good, everything about it is purely amazing, the visuals, the gameplay especially. It is so addictive and challenging and the feeling you get when you finally beat a boss that has been killing you over and over feels so good that it makes Dark Souls and Demon's Souls easily my favorite games of all time. The online is also very fun, it feels so good to kill that black phantom that breaks into your world. I wish Dark Souls and Demon's Souls were ported to the Vita because I would love to be able to play them on the go and I would be happy to buy them both again. Expand
  13. Nov 4, 2012
    Dark Souls start out in a similar manner to Demon Souls, but unlike Demon Souls - Dark Souls is rife with frustrating deaths and cheap mechanics that lock the player to play the game the way the designers intended instead of being open ended like its predecessor. No longer does the play have the choice of which challange to tackle next, instead we have an RPG on rails due to the design scaling enemies by area. Thus if the player is stuck in a specific area he or she can no longer try a different challenge instead the game forces you to try the same long sequence over and over, which can lead to frustration and annoyance. When you have to run the same 15 minute sequence in order to fight that boss that you keep dying with no option of game progression, the game become an exercise in repetition instead of exploration and progression.

    Also, a year after release the game is still rife with frame rate drops, graphical tearing, enemy glitches, and bad clipping. It is incredibaly frustrating when fighting a single skeleton and the game locks up or a two ghosts and the game drops down to single digit fps causing you to miss that roll. The worst though is enemies hitting the player through foliage or solid objects that should be impenetrable.
  14. Apr 22, 2013
    This game is the most overrated ever! Let me Explain why I think this game is bad.......1st: There is no choice of difficulty settings, instead you were force to be challenge all the time (which I hate).......2nd: Its exactly the same game as Demon Souls, only difference is the place, environment and the monsters, people was mad that "COD" always being a rip off from its previous game every time but what about Dark Souls rip off Demon Souls?..... 3rd: Its not "open world" type like Skyrim or Fallout 3 but instead your were force to go on a linear path anywhere........4th: There is very few dialogue choices while communicating with several NPCs (infact there were very few NPCs) on a game which its genre has being called an "RPG" game........5th There is no "cheats" or "easy mode" for players who are so frustrated by the game and doesn't want to be challenge.......6th: There is no storyline to it, just a linear dialogue and lame cutscene to push you forward? To me gaming is about "fun" and I find this game isn't about "fun" but "challenges". For me who has less "free time" and a busy person, I find this game a horrible game for me...... If I want to be challenged, I'll do it in real life like challenge myself in sports or any competition but not on a nerd virtual videogame that was made by someone who is successful at making money from giving others "challenge" which is unnecessary. Expand
  15. Oct 5, 2013
    who wants to play the same level for a day just because its too dam hard to finish....waist of time and a big waist of money there is no joy in dying 10000000 time .....maybe for you very good gamers out there this is good but otherwise dont get it
  16. Nov 9, 2011
    Simply put they advertised a game with Co-Op and Multiplayer. The game has none of that. Once again peer to peer networking is the bane of gaming,. They say the multiplayer is working as intended. Here's my stats.
    72 Hrs of gaming I have summoned someone twice and I have been invaded once. My friends all have the same issue. This is pretty much a single player game. It is no Demon Souls.
    Ps3 did it right the first time with DEDICATED SERVERS. Expand
  17. Nov 10, 2011
    This game is simply not worth playing. it contains a decent amount of flaws, such as, the lack of multiplayer and co-op as the devs have promised that it would be included, you are unable to change your difficulty and the character creation is horrible. there is no beauty in this game so if you want a dead or broken game with horrible voice acting, then this game is for you.
  18. Nov 19, 2011
    Good game, but the cheap deaths is a very negative aspect to this game, and there's a lot of it. The story is not as good as Dark Souls and the absence of a central "Nexus" also ruins this game for me. I feel that the bosses are also not as memorable as Dark Souls. Another negative thing is that the game is full of people who spam "soul" glitches to reach levels that are far too high (300-700) to even challenge against when you are in certain covenants such as the Darkmoon covenant. Expand
  19. Jan 5, 2013
    I played this game and hated it the first time I played it, then the second time, then the third and even fourth time. But when i played a fifth time it got a little better. It isn't so hard to get used to the controls even if they do suck so bad they want to make your face explode. I did yell "What the FREAK!!!" quite a few times when I died from pure lack of good controls, and I did hate the fact that the pretty backgrounds were just that, pretty backgrounds. The internet play sucked the story line sucked, but once you got used to it, it was ok. Definitely not my favorite game though. Ive played worse. What made me the most angry was that you couldn't pause it. It just expects you to play forever. Put the game back in and if it is still too hard to get used to a new game play style then you are a noob. Expand
  20. Aug 6, 2013
    In order to like this game you'll need to like tedium and frustration. Each time you die you respawn quite far from where you die and have to fight your way through enemies, obstacles you've already surmounted to get back to the part where you died.

    On top of this the game forces you to take time out because e.g. you might get cursed, or need a new weapon. This means you have to do
    soul farming, killing and respawning lots of times to do the required amount of kills to win the necessary souls. then you go traipsing across the levels you've already completed to find the guy selling the rock weapon whatever before traipsing all the way back. then if you're unlucky, you might get cursed again or your weapon might break again and get to do all this again. not my idea of fun Expand
  21. Apr 27, 2013
    This is not a horrible game, that being said it is not a good game either. It has very minimal story and once you get going you realize that its basically a grind fest. The difficulty is overrated, its not hard because your opponents are smarter than you, and you need to figure out tactics to beat them,its difficult because the are stronger than you, the game plays like this. Get killed by a big strong guy 10 levels stronger than you, grind out 11 levels, beat strong guy, go two feet, rinse repeat. It just gets really boring really fast. One thing that is a major nuisance is the lack of a pause feature, for people who get telephone calls or occasionally have someone knock at their door or simply have to take a piss, you have to either find a relatively safe place to stand, die, or use an item to transport to your campsite, i guess the reasoning is that it makes it more difficult where in reality it's just annoying. Expand
  22. May 10, 2014
    I did not like this game but I still finished it (which seems to be relatively unusual). Aside from the difficulty Dark Souls is pretty average. Yes, it is good-looking and atmospheric with a large catalog of combat-related items to collect and manage but no new ground is broken here. The PVP system is an innovative idea but ubiquitous latency issues have essentially transformed it into a griefing mechanic for invaders who like to exploit the laggy netcode.

    The difficulty can indeed be refreshing but reaches diminishing returns when deaths that have little learning value start to pile up. These include, but are not limited to, frumpy hit boxes, oddly-clipping cameras, misinterpreted lock-ons and other things that are basically normal in an RPG engine but are occasionally pushed to the forefront in Dark Souls. Some areas and bosses become more tedious than challenging which takes away from the satisfaction of getting through.
  23. Dec 20, 2013
    Terrible software. Masochism shouldn't even be marketed as fun, which is what somehow happened with this game. Unbelievable to read the amount of 9's and 10's this game got when it is nothing but pure frustration. The worst thing about it are its fanatical followers that just won't see through a thick curtain of bought reviewers and artificial hype.

    A game shouldn't be unforgiving in
    order to be difficult. Dark Souls isn't only unforgiving but it also shows the middle finger to the player by forcing a sluggish character with pretty consistent input delays into a world filled with enemies that can kill you in the most absurd and random ways.

    Spent hours trying to like this game but couldn't. I got really good at it but had to quit since I realized I was starting to feel really upset since it wasn't really my fault but the game's that I was making little to no progress.

    It is ridiculous and games that push their difficulty in such cheap ways shouldn't be scored that high. According to several people, gamers are masochists and love horrible gameplay mechanics coated with gorgeous graphics.

    Oh wait. That's actually true these days.

    Sad times for gamers.
  24. May 21, 2014
    I do not get it. When I heard all the great things about this game, I immediately went out to buy it. I regret ever spending money on it. This game taught me to do more research on games. I honestly think the only reason people like this game is because of how hard it is. This game is hard, but to me its slow, and boring. I creating every type of class in the game, and played through the game with the different classes just to see if i was missing something. Every time I did, I did not have any fun. I do not have a problem with a hard game. I just have a problem with a boring game, and this is a boring game. so if you are considering getting this game then rent it first. Because what people are praising this game for may be to only thing they like about it. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 54 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 54
  2. Negative: 0 out of 54
  1. 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]
  2. Jan 5, 2012
    At the end of the day Dark Souls succeeds in producing a game that is both incredibly challenging and fair.
  3. Nov 29, 2011
    All in all, Dark Souls is a more difficult, but less enjoyable (and less accessible) Demon's Souls.