The World of Dark Souls


Armand Evans, Writer

Dark Souls was developed by a small Japanese company named FromSoftware, which had, at the time, just finished the PlayStation 3 game, Demon’s Souls. Although critically acclaimed and had gathered a cult following due to its intense difficulty, Demon’s Souls suffered in sales due to a lack of mainstream marketing and the limits of publishing onto one console. Due to this, FromSoftware parted from its original partner Sony and was soon picked up by Bandai Namco to publish games to Western audiences. And thus, Dark Souls was born as a successor to Demon’s Souls. Dark Souls is a third-person action role-playing game. The core mechanic of the game is exploration, urging players to proceed with caution, learn from past mistakes, and find alternative areas to explore. Dark Souls takes place in a large and continuous open-world environment, connected through a central hub area that is filled with various enemies, bosses, items, and lore scattered throughout.


Dark Souls

The story of the game begins in a world of nothingness where nothing lives nor dies aside from dragons that rule over the empty land. Underground, a fire kindles, attracting creatures soon turned into living gods that essentially set time in motion. There isn’t a clear direction of the game and the story is mainly told through item descriptions and certain bosses and cutscenes that are present. These themes become the staple for the future installments of the Souls franchise.


Dark Souls II

After Dark Souls, game director Hidetaka Miyazaki wanted to move on to a brand new project with Sony. Because Bandai Namco did not want to wait for him to finish this project before moving on with the series, they hired Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura as directors for Dark Souls II while Miyazaki supervised them. Because of this, Dark Souls II had an entirely different tone to its predecessor and is considered the “ugly duck” of the series. The enemies were easier, death was more punishing since every time you died, your health bar would gradually reduce and you would need to use up a rare Human Effigy in order to restore it, and there were almost twice the amount of bosses which gave off a “quantity over quality” feeling as many of them would be recycled later on. Poise was taken away, which meant that certain armors would no longer give you more resistance against being stun-locked, something many Dark Souls II enemies are very fond of doing.


Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III shined in adopting Bloodborne’s (another FromSoftware game) fast and aggressive fighting style and beautifully put together score to create a game that felt different from its predecessors yet acted as a huge homage to the series overall. You get to revisit Anor Londo, an area from Dark Souls I, though this time its sunset-lit cathedral has been frozen over under the rule of the gluttonous Aldrich and came across fan favorited NPCs from Astora and Catarina to remind us of our favorite characters throughout the series.

In conclusion, FromSoftware’s Dark Souls Trilogy is a beautiful series of games that paved the way for the souls-like genre due to its punishing gameplay and need for patience and smarts. Do you have what it takes?