Tagged: difficulty in games

Frustration reigns in Dark Souls

An old friend of mine is a musician. He’s always been a musician. And his first solo album was… well, even if I listened beyond the opening track, I never mentally got past that first song, hilarious as it was. The album opened with an extended narration discussing the concept of chaos with a musical bed underneath. The monologue’s delivery was like a heavy academic paper, but the content was nonsense: “Like all good stories, this one begins with a great flash of light”. Really?

I mention the above because, like my friend’s debut, I got past but never over the opening of Dark Souls. I’ve played this game through twice now, once on the PS3 and once again on Switch. Both times, the opening hours were enough to sour the whole experience for me. (By the way, in case it weren’t already obvious, what follows is going to be rather complain-y. If you would prefer a more balanced take, try my previous post on Dark Souls). If you’re sticking with me, I’ll take you through my own experience with the Undead Burg, one of the opening areas of Dark Souls. Continue reading

From Dark Souls (PS3) to Remastered (Switch)

Dark Souls is a gaming icon. The words “You Died” (and the collective audible response of “No Shit”) are carved into the collective consciousness that is gaming culture.

Its reputation proceeds it, and I was primed to enjoy Dark Souls. On the surface this series has “me” written all over it, with its reputation for sadism. Ultimately on my first playthrough I came away pretty disappointed. “I liked [Dark Souls] but didn’t love it” was my ultra-brief summary in my Hollow Knight recap. I returned to Dark Souls in the form of the Remastered edition for Switch on a whim. An intended quick blast on my brother’s Switch turned into a full-blown playthrough from start to end. Now with my expectations set to reasonable levels, I can say I enjoyed it more second go around. It’s a very good game, with some strong reservations.

The second time through I came to appreciate the world of Dark Souls more. It’s dark and despairing, sure, but a lot of time and thought has clearly gone into it. Continue reading

Walkthrough not optional: replaying Alundra (PS1)

Lack of free time much? Lately, absolutely. But thankfully I have had just enough free space to get in some time with Alundra. Now, I did write a review of Alundra waaay back in 2014 based on my own memories of the game, but at this point it’s been almost 10 years since I actually played the game at great length. Great length indeed – this game is huge! Anyway I’m pleased to report that Alundra has won me over all over again. Continue reading

Shitty platforming in Ninja Gaiden Black (Xbox)

These past few weeks I’ve become very intimate with the Game oveR screen in Ninja Gaiden Black on the original Xbox. I was already aware of its reputation of being hard as nails. What I wasn’t expecting is the plaforming, which is… utter shit. It pains me to say it, because platforming is not a huge part of this game – 10% of the levels? 5%? – but so far I’ve come across several platforming challenges where the game has taken more than its fair share of the piss.

Look, I get it. It’s trying to look cool, to be Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, which came out just a few months before Ninja Gaiden. And there are moments when Ninja Gaiden pulls it off. But there are moments that are just plain awful. Continue reading

Crashing and burning in Sky Odyssey (PS2)

Failure in games (as in life) has its own special rhythm. At some point, retrying the same relentlessly tough mission over and over again in Sky Odyssey, I became aware that my repeated crashes were following a pattern. It goes something like this: I start with one or two no-nonsense attempts at a mission. These attempts are cut short by the inevitable plane crash at an especially tight turn in a canyon or a tricky manoeuvre in an underground cavern. After these serious attempts, it’s a downward spiral into silliness. Continue reading