When you get Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition for PC cleaned up a bit with DSfix, pretty much all of the shortcomings introduced in the From Software port are taken care of. I render the game at 2560x1600 with reduced rendering resolution at depth of field turned off and the game actually looks pretty nice for dx 9. It runs pretty well too on my crossfire setup with AA turned up, etc.
A bit of hype has been generated about this game because of its high default difficulty, which is rare in this day and age. I picked it up when it was $6 during the Steam Autumn sale so that I could get back into a bit of casual console action/controller style gaming after not having done any since Gears of War 2 came out years ago and I thought this game would be fun to re-hone some of these skills...
Yes. Dark Souls is difficult. But it's more then that: It's broken. Well, sort of. People complain because you can't save wherever you want and have to re clear the identical hordes of enemies over and over. I agree this is a bit frustrating, but I have to admit, it has sort of a harsh logic for this type of game (making sure that you can't often just run directly back to a boss fight with full power after dying). While the enemies respawn in the same places, they don't always behave the same way, which can be frustrating, but also gives the game a bit more realism. Health potions and the like take what seems like an arbitrarily long time to use - which is just what you need when scrambling away from getting your ass handed to you. What's worse is that they seem to sometimes work faster than others, which is a cruel reality when you are depending on them for survival. NPCs are better/more accurate archers with longer range than you can ever be, even with top bows... Again, though, I get it. This game is not meant to be easy.
All of the above could be viewed as interesting/challenge inducing design decisions IF the controls weren't so darn clunky and non-responsive at times. The thing is, sometimes the control system seems like it works perfectly. I can go through a dozen enemies were I time things correctly based on NPC movements, and game play feels exhilarating. Then, after dying, I go through the same enemies and controls just feel broken. At first I thought it was all me. That I my reflexes had dried up and that I just wasn't very good at these sorts of games anymore (which may be at least somewhat true). But after about 15 hours of game play (the game is frustratingly addictive if nothing else), I'm pretty sure it's not all me.
I can describe the issue with the control scheme best with the analogy of the infamous Quick Time Event (QTE) action cut scenes you encounter in games like Tomb Raider. Every exchange with an enemy (attack/block/parry, etc) is like being trapped in a mini QTE. Often, these works well enough and controls feel smooth and responsive. However, also often, it feels like there are micro lags upon the initiation or termination of these "QTE" exchanges that make precision controlling nigh impossible. What this amounts to is that, in one scenario, facing the same enemy, with the same equipment, same level of stamina, etc, a shield block, dodge, parry, etc for example, will work, but at other times, no such luck. You die. While most of the time, the controls and timing seem responsive and consistent, there are enough times were this goes out the window just enough to really sap the fun out of things. This, in addition to the the above challenges of the game, is the forty foot log that breaks the camel's back and makes the game way more frustrating then a simple challenging game would be.
TLDR: Inconsistent control responsiveness breaks game.
Anyone else have any experience with this game? Or how responsively it plays?
BTW, here is a blog post on Dark Souls that pretty much captures how I feel about the game.