Metascore
89

Generally favorable reviews - based on 66 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 66
  2. Negative: 0 out of 66
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  1. Oct 10, 2011
    70
    It's a brilliant game, but I also found it maddening to sit down with, and despite the many hardcore players that are very satisfied with the game and insist that it's worth it, Dark Souls is simply not for me
  2. 70
    Hard is hard. Though greatly satisfying at times, Dark Souls consists of many hours of pure frustration.
User Score
8.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1594 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Oct 4, 2011
    10
    Back in 2009, I spent 120+ hours of my life on Demon's Souls, and since then, I have not found its equal. As dark, challenging, andBack in 2009, I spent 120+ hours of my life on Demon's Souls, and since then, I have not found its equal. As dark, challenging, and repressive as the game was, Demon's Souls still managed to feel like a breath of fresh air in the staling game market, throwing back to classic mechanics that were left in the 80s and early 90s with 8-bit, 16-bit, and arcade games. I find it interesting that Demon's Souls was far better received in North America than in its native Japan (790,000 copies in NA to Japan's 300,000, many of which were sold after the game's subsequest success overseas), as the game reflects more western RPG conventions and D&D-esque styling than the increasingly common anime-styled games that get labeled as "JRPGs." Dark Souls is a spiritual successor in the purest sense of the over-used phrase. Its controls are identical to Demon's Souls, yet they are even more precise than before. The artistic style, starting classes, soundtrack, and multiplayer options are all quite similar as well, but again, they have been tweaked to be a bit superior to that of Demon's Souls. The graphics are more detailed and crisp than ever. But the biggest change here is the open-world structure. Unlike Demon's Souls, which had the Nexus serve as a hub between several more fragmented worlds, Dark Souls has interconnected areas that form one gigantic, seemless world. It's also at least three times the size of all of Demon's Souls' areas combined, and the zones are still diverse and well-conceived. The linking of various zones works kind of like classic Metroid or Castlevania maps, where shortcuts to previous areas can be unlocked, making exploration valuable and rewarding to the overall mission. Instead of the Nexus hub zone, players can rest at bonfires, where they can also upgrade weapons and armor, among other things. Combat is also enjoyable and very deep, and enemy mobs are more varied than in Demon's Souls. In short, Dark Souls improves on every aspect of its predecessor, and with the new open-world structure, Dark Souls can easily stand up to the industry's western-developed heavy hitters (like Dragon Age and Elder Scrolls). In fact, I can honestly say that Dark Souls could steal some serious thunder from Skyrim by offering a more fresh yet hardcore approach to the genre. I also think that it's astounding that developer From Software could make lightning strike twice - it would have been far too easy for some developers to misinterpret Demon's Souls overwhelming success in North America and try too hard to tweak the subsequent formula to cater to American tastes. Instead, From Software stayed true to its original form, even deciding to increase the challenge for Dark Souls. And as one final point, let me also say this: Anyone who has not tried Demon's Souls or Dark Souls should not let the now-legendary difficulty of the series discourage them. The challenge that these games offers is not the same kind of hard-for-the-sake-of-hard frustration that some games fall victim to. Even if you are normally frustrated by difficult games, it's usually because of cheap mechanics and the feeling of having to fight the controls or poor design, and none of that is an issue with the Souls games. They just demand a little more observation, a bit of strategy and thought. From Software trusts that its gamers are intelligent, diligent, and skilled enough to handle that challenge, and that's what makes every victory in Dark Souls feel like a real achievement. The game may not be for everyone, but I would at least encourage every PS3 or XBox360 owner to try it. Full Review »
  2. Jan 11, 2012
    10
    Do not be fooled by angry rage quitters, 10 year olds and bad players! This game is hard, it wont hold you by your hand, it will not make yourDo not be fooled by angry rage quitters, 10 year olds and bad players! This game is hard, it wont hold you by your hand, it will not make your opponent easier so you can beat it, you will not be able to Hack and Slash everything with one sword swing or fight 10 enemies at a time.

    [How hard?] We have been spoiled! We are used to vanilla games that say you are playing in "normal difficulty" when in reality a 6 year old can play that difficulty and eventually win. We are used to bad, unrealistic and god-like-forgiving games where the AI usually allows you to punish them and continuously do damage to it. This game is hard for anyone that is used to going into a room guns blazing dying and that death meaning nothing. If you are used to walking with a big sword and doing tons of damage and your opponent be helpless then this game will be super hard. You could be level 100 and if you don't parry/block and wait you will die to a mouse.

    [Story and Gameplay] I won't spoil the game, there is a storyâ
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 13, 2012
    4
    Challenging, addictive and exciting but eventually proves to be too user-unfriendly and unrefined for it's unforgiving level of difficulty.Challenging, addictive and exciting but eventually proves to be too user-unfriendly and unrefined for it's unforgiving level of difficulty. Lacking of all but the basic plot and scenario, forwarding the story at a very slow and repetitive pace that strongly resembles the early 90's -fun- yet now obsolete trial-and-error mechanics.
    Compared to other titles of its age, feels more like an arcade than a complete-game experience.
    Unforgivable flaws include taller enemy attacks hitting you through walls, slippery surface glitches, frame rate drops, difficult multiplayer mechanics, dull combat mechanics, doesn't pause, and eventually subjects you to an unavoidable charade of almost endless farming and backtracking.
    Adult players should be warned that this game shows no respect of your time spent playing it. If you are playing video games only for a few hours of high-quality fun, then steer clear of this game.
    Full Review »