I swore that I wouldn’t get suckered into the hype this time. After being burnt by Dark Souls II, I was going to remain as uninterested in Dark Souls III as humanly possible and go into it with no excitement for the final instalment in the trilogy. This plan failed when I saw the recent preview footage and lore speculations and I’ve been dragged right back into the hype cycle yet again, an overexcited fanboy who’s already deciding what character build and weapons he will use once he pops the Dark Souls III disc in.
I didn’t understand the Dark Souls hype at first, being one of those people who bought it on a whim after hearing reviewers singing the praises of Demon Souls and thinking it might be a good game to fill the time until the true lord of RPGs, Skyrim, released in November. I got up to the Bell Gargoyles, eventually beat them after realising how to summon people in and then quite promptly put the game on my shelf and didn’t touch it for another few months. There was no moment of the clouds parting and the god Miyazaki shining down upon me with his brilliance, Dark Souls was just a really hard RPG which had a menu system designed by a blind person and a drunken camera with a tendency to panic and hide in the corner whenever you were fighting enemies in a corridor. I was only hit by the Souls virus once some of my Xbox Live friends refused to stop talking about it whenever I jumped in a party.
Tales of beating the Capra Demon with only a smidgen of health left, the glorious city of Anor Londo and the intricacies of the combat system would echo round the party chat. This seems to be the first step for anyone who on their path to becoming a dyed in the wool Souls fan; they get cornered and entranced by some Souls evangelist online or in person and you’re enamoured by their enthusiasm. So, I gave the game another go and with the guidance from my personal Warriors of Sunlight, I completed my first run of Dark Souls after about 40 hours. I still remained confused by the whole experience, unimpressed by the dodgy framerate of Blighttown and the story which didn’t seem to make any bloody sense, despite being told ‘you just have to figure it out’ by the brothers of the Church of From Software. I started another character and began to play with all the knowledge I had acquired from my previous journey and I beat it in 20 hours this time. Then I beat it again in 15. The Artorias of the Abyss DLC launched so I had to start a new character and spend 10 hours collecting everything in the DLC. I soon was drafting PvP builds, using the Bottomless Box glitch to create specific characters and watching lore videos to piece together my own interpretation of the fall of Anor Londo. It was only when a friend of mine told me that he’d finally give the game a go as long as I stopped nagging him did I realise that I’d become that kind of Dark Souls fan.