Dark Souls is the spiritual successor to the much vaunted Demon?s Souls. Like its forebear, it?s an action RPG that is uncompromisingly difficult, yet very rewarding to play. In fact, rather than shrink away from the level of difficulty from the previous game, developer From Software has made it even more challenging. This, the developer believes, is a means by which the player is rewarded for their perseverance in battling their way through the game.
The demonstration showed during Gamescom had the main character escaping through a prison. The player had to cut down a sleeping guard and remove the keys he had on him to open the cell door. This showed how the developer has focused more on puzzle solving than on simply wading through monsters.
Once this occurred an alarm rang and very powerful monsters are unleashed that even the guards run from. These squid like creatures rampage through the prison and the only recourse the player has is to hide in another cell. As he dives in, he is assaulted by its current occupants. Granted, they are much weaker than the squid creatures, but they still pack a significant punch.
After taking down the creatures in the cell, the player dove down a ladder and made his way to the main exit. As he climbs the ladder the squid creatures hover around the base of it, as they cannot climb it. This is something the developer is also keen to demonstrate with the game, in that stealth and escaping are sometimes the best courses of action rather than ploughing in head-long into the mass of creatures.
At the top of the ladder is a switch that shuts off the alarm. As the player turns it off, the squid monsters flee back to their lair. This then allows the player to move freely within the dungeon and eventually make his escape. At this point in the demonstration it was pointed out that the player would likely have to die ?several hundred times? before they figured out what to do in order to progress. This was stated without a hint of irony! They followed this up by saying that the drive to discover more of the game will be enough for the player to continue on, despite the exceptionally high difficulty level.
Thankfully, you?re not always alone as you fight your way through the denizens found in Dark Souls
. The multiplayer aspect will allow a co-op feature as well as an adversarial one. This is determined by the actions of the player as they make their way through the game. If they are selfless in their quest for truth, justice and better stuff then they will aid other players. If however they are seeking out an ASBO in the land of Dark Souls
then they will probably be trying to kill everyone. The developers have called this element of the game a ?covenant? that the player subscribes to through their actions in the world.
Finally, there is a new checkpoint system that allows the player to save their progress at key points during levels. These are generated via the creation of camp fires that diminish the need to replay areas as these fires act as spawn points for the player. There is the caveat that all of the monsters killed by the player previously will respawn as well. This means some judicious placing of the camp fire is needed, otherwise the player could be trapped in a loop of death if they are not careful...