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
If there’s one thing 100+ hours with Breath of the Wild has taught me, it’s that this game rewards curiosity and experimentation. I’d just beaten Ganon for the first time and seen the credits when I felt a curious urge: the urge to start Breath of the Wild over again and make a bee-line for Ganon. No Divine Beasts, no exploration… just the bare necessities. Why? To see if I could do it, of course! Continue reading
Eiji Aonuma, Zelda series producer, has suggested in a new interview that he wants the Zelda series to continue Breath of the Wild’s “open air” style (“open air” being Nintendo’s typically off-beat nomenclature for open world). I doubt this comes as a surprise to anyone given Breath of the Wild’s remarkable ambition and its critical and commercial success. It’s an amazing re-invention of the series, simultaneously recreating the familar world of Hyrule whilst adding a million and one new things. But what happens next? What does a sequel to a game of this size and scope look like? Continue reading
In an open-world game, you run the risk of things feeling empty. In my posts on Xenoblade Chronicles and Final Fantasy IX, I discussed how background details brought games to life, details that hint towards large mythologies, and also the everyday stories of the inhabitants. I noticed this especially in Gerudo Town where, in the arid desert environment, functionality meets beauty… Continue reading
Back in the day I was a subscriber to N64 Magazine, an unofficial Nintendo rag here in the UK. Every issue of the magazine contained an unconventional “top 5” list. The one I remember to this day concerns Zelda: Ocarina of Time – the top five locations to watch the sunrise. At the time I didn’t own Ocarina of Time, and it was partly because of this top five list that I went out and bought a copy. “This game must be something special,” I thought, “for it to inspire someone to sit there and passively watch the sunrise in not one, not two, but five different places, and have fun doing it.” Continue reading