It is that time again,gamers have one hand firmly grasped to their controllers and the other pulling out strands of their own hair, this can only mean that Dark Souls 3 is out. Youtube and Twitch are filled with Souls games footage where players are trying to polish up their skills and slaughter there way through Lordran. Countless characters death are mounting high a new world of excitement, pain and a hell of a lot of punishment. The Souls games are different to many games that we play, they require a lot of skill and the patience of a saint. I have spent the past few days watching lots of lets play and it got me thinking, these games have changed the way I play games, so I asked a few friends and they agree, Bloodborne and Souls games has rubbed off on us and we can see it in the other titles that they play after.
I will always remember the first time I played Demon Souls, it was horrific I hadn’t a clue what the game was about, what I was doing or where the hell I was going. I played it for half an hour died too many times to count until I finally gave up and traded it in. I swore to myself never again will I play a souls game, never will I put myself through that torture. Fast forward to Christmas 2015 and there I am installing Bloodborne.
I guess I am a sucker for punishment but something changed, maybe it’s because I am older that I now have more patience to play these games, maybe things have improved since demon souls. I don’t know what it was that changed but I fell in love with Bloodborne. Don’t get me wrong I am terrible at it and I reckon it will take me ages to finish it but I cant deny what a great time I had playing it.
One of the main things that the Souls games has taught me is patience, to know your timing and to not give up. The souls games are infamously testing they teach to tough lessons that make you want to persevere but sometimes you just want to rush through these nightmare enemies and never return. Souls wants you to learn and explore these areas, get to know your enemies, their routines and their rotations. You just cant do that without a hell of a lot of patience. In the end there is no greater reward than the souls you ranked up and knowing that you conquered that area and bosses along with it.
Aggression, this is something I don’t have lot of when playing games, I’m a wary player I am a natural worrier. I spend a lot of time scoping out my enemies. I hide in corners and alleyways until they pass. I hold back on attack standing afar in a defence stance waiting to be mowed down by the huge monster that faces me. Bloodborne teaches us to man up to Go Go Go!! Get stuck in and kick some ass. Of course you have to be careful on how you play, time your attack accurately but as a whole Bloodborne favours the aggressive approach there is no hiding behind your shields, if you want that mysterious item, if you want through that area you have to go do it yourself.
Fear is a big part of these games and I can put my hands up and admit that there has been numerous times my screams of fear may have broken the sound barrier whilst playing them. Fear helps us as people, it helps us react to certain situations, fear tests us and as we all know so does Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Whilst playing our senses are heightened we take in the environment we are walking through, we try and gauge what is waiting for us around the corner, our swords unsheathed and our blunderbuss loaded. Fear is a fantastic thing, fear is what gets us through these games. One of the main things I take away from Dark Souls is to be wary on the road to be suspicious of each NPC you meet. There is a lot of fools gold in these games. Most of the time the most beautiful thing you see in the distance is handful of bad news, however the most disturbing of NPCs might be the ones to pull you out of a sticky situation. Fear and caution go hand in hand here always keep that in mind.
Rinse and repeat, this is a big factor, if you go into these Souls games thinking that you will blaze through the area, slash down the enemies and plough your way through bosses flawlessly then you my friend are very much mistaken. prepare to die.. A LOT! I mentioned before that Souls and Bloodborne want you to learn, this is a learning experience despite what some people may say. You will start over an area countless times but with every resurrection you will have learned something about the place or the foe that killed you. Repetition is key, repetition is your friend. Soon these huge enemies will become less daunting. You now know everything you need to know about them, soon they become a piece of cake. “How the hell were these skeletons ever an issue for me” I found myself saying that over and over, well that was until one them kicked me of a stupid ledge.
I am a potion hogger, I am that person who has 99 of every potion in Final Fantasy and Pokemon. I spam the life out of the potion button in Dragon Age and Warcraft, I always made sure I stocked up on them. I had this weird obsession of not letting my health fall below half way down the HP bar. I would use potion after potion, I couldn’t deal with the prospect of dying any time soon, until now. Bloodborne put me in very uncomfortable place it didn’t guide me by the hand, it didn’t let me stock up on countless items it had me dying left right and centre. I really struggled with this. I wandered aimless seeking out potions and buffs only to discover this meant taking down lots of the enemies that killed me. I have learned to ration my items I have learned to not worry to much about my health falling a little, this is all part of the adrenalin when travelling through the game.
The most valuable lesson I have taken away from these games might sound silly to most but to me it is a lesson I will never forget, these games have taught me to Dodge.
I can honestly say that Bloodborne has genuinely taught me how to dodge, don’t get me wrong I did it in other games but not as efficiently as Bloodborne has taught me. The dodge and roll buttons in games is something I didn’t really pay much attention to I spent my time sprinting and jumping away from enemies. In the Souls and Bloodborne games these huge enemies have swings that cover so much of the area that quick thinking dodging is the only way out and I am so glad that they do, in other games I am dodging my way past huge attacks and damage that I can only thank Bloodborne for. I am escaping situations like a slippery little eel and I love it.
I want to extend a huge thank you to From Software to teaching me these fantastic lessons in games, I thank you for the worlds you have built, the characters I have met and the community that surrounds it. I do not thank you for the little bald patch at the side of my head.
So has Dark Souls or Bloodborne changed how you play games?
What are some of the lessons they have taught you?
Let me know in the comments!
(images: gamezone.com, gamespot.com, wired.com)