Its spiritual predecessor, Demon’s Souls, was renowned for being tough. And that Dark Souls is harder still has seemingly enchanted critics even more.
The review embargo for Namco Bandai’s latest lifted last night to reveal near universal praise for the RPG from game critics.
“Dark Souls requires intense focus. This isn't a light-hearted romp in a bright and colourful fantasy world; it's a methodical journey into the frightening unknown,” GameSpot wrote in its 9.5/10 review.
“And that's what makes it so riveting. Some games try to scare you with bump-in-the-night shocks and far-off howls, but Dark Souls doesn't require such predictable methods of terror. Its terrors emanate from its very core, each step bringing you closer to another inevitable death. How amazing that such a terrible place could be so inviting.
“Dark Souls doesn't just surpass other dungeon crawlers; it skewers them with a razor-sharp halberd and leaves behind their soulless corpses.”
Eurogamer gave the game 9/10, saying: “If role-playing is to put you in the boots of an adventurer in a strange land and let you pick your path through it, then Dark Souls is a great role-playing game. If action is to test your skill in thrilling situations, then Dark Souls is a great action game. If adventure is to surprise and mystify you and invite you to uncover the secrets of a forgotten world, then Dark Souls is a great adventure game.
“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.”
GamesTM mirrored Eurogamer’s score of 9/10, adding: “To make any final judgment as to whether Dark Souls is the equal, or even the better, of its forebear is a subjective one.
“Dark Souls is 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.”
And there was yet another 9/10 from UK mag Edge: “Most contemporary games are unctuous, clingy suitors, welcoming players with fawning deference and open arms. Conversely, Dark Souls beckons the masochistic with its chilly indifference.
“Few will complete Dark Souls, but that fact won't nullify the adventures they've had straining toward its elusive summit.”