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Forums > Submission Feedback > [News] Dark Souls Hidetaka Miyazaki Lost in Translation

This thread is in response to an article about Dark Souls on the Xbox 360. You are encouraged to view the article in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: zippdementia
Posted: September 08, 2012 (01:26 AM)
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My big problem with Dark Souls was that the controls were pretty terrible and, more often than not, resulted in my death rather than tough enemies. When the enemies were tough, it was fun. But usually I died from delayed controls or from not remembering what button did what, or accidentally hitting a button, or from dodging and falling off a cliff. That last one is the most stupid thing in the game.... if you don't count my number one gripe which is the ability to kill important NPCs by accident. Oh my god. That's not hard, that's just stupid.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Putty
Posted: September 08, 2012 (08:00 AM)
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Dark Souls is about perfection of the self and if you enter the game with restrictions like invincible NPCs, your mistakes lose impact. The only real invincible NPCs are ones that do not exist within the world controlled by the souls.

The control complaint is somewhat related to that as well. Can we control how our lives are when we are born? Physical limitation caused by our physical environment? Socioeconomic status of our parents?

It all gets back to the perfection of the self which was a central design philosophy to this game. It isn't something you will see in a nation centered around the perpetual immigrant scenario like most of Europe and America design around. I do enjoy that this game is something of a blend of those two things though.

I'm always fascinated by these sorts of things.


Every piece of putty is your friend


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: September 08, 2012 (12:01 PM)
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You got a little too deep there, Putty. Pull out a bit.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: holdthephone
Posted: September 08, 2012 (12:30 PM)
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The Souls games were never difficult. You just learn what you need through death, come back, and roll dodge at the correct moment. That's not a dig at the games, because it's what makes them awesome, and why I love them.

Difficult in that it demands patience, I guess. Just always found it funny people refer to the Souls games as the peak of gaming challenge, when anyone can beat them with a little bit of effort. That's the real appeal of the games, I think.


Mobius 1, engage...


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: September 08, 2012 (12:34 PM)
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Putty, that was really an interesting post. I just read something a few minutes ago about how shounen manga themes like "becoming a man" or "saving the universe" all tie into the Japanese concept of perfecting the self.

When creating movies, videogames, etc, people do try to infuse their "messages" into products without being obnoxious about it (unless we're talking about Hideo Kojima). Looking deeper into those "messages" is fascinating to me.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: September 08, 2012 (01:41 PM)
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I still prefer a game whose controls I don't have to struggle with all through the experience. And I still don't believe that killing NPCs should have been as easy as it was. Let me explain where I'm coming from on that.

I spent a long time unlocking the fire mage sales man. It took me forever to find him and, as I was a fire mage myself, I was beginning to think I'd picked a fairly worthless class. Then I finally found him, saved him, and went to talk to him. While standing in front of him I put the controller against my knee and accidentally hit the attack button. The man charged me; I ran. He ran off a cliff and died. End of fire mage.

That's not something that should have ever happened. Had they put in a simple warning system, like you attack once and the NPC gets pissed off and says "don't do that" and THEN if you attack again, you enter combat, I would understand. In fact, they DO THIS for one NPC (who, ironically, you probably do want to kill in order to avoid him killing another NPC). So I can't excuse this.

Don't misunderstand: I played through almost all of Dark Souls before I got distracted by other business, so I definitely had fun. And I like a challenge. But I don't think Dark Souls can hide behind a facade of its game design having deep spiritual meaning. I think there were some big things about the game that could have definitely improved. For instance, the resistance stat is useless when compared to the other stats. You pretty much don't want to put points into it. That's not good game design.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: holdthephone
Posted: September 08, 2012 (02:30 PM)
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Yeah, that incredibly specific interpretation of Dark Souls seems just a tad far fetched. Not that the game isn't extremely expressive, because it is, but not all of its problems can be chalked up to the developers being worldly.

Sometimes poor controls are done purposely, though, like steering Agro in Shadow of the Colossus. I really admired that choice and enjoyed its effect, other critics found it annoying, but it's a better example regarding why something goes into a game.


Mobius 1, engage...


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Author: Putty
Posted: September 08, 2012 (05:36 PM)
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I don't think this is deep at all. It's a pretty common interpretation...though, maybe not from gamers.

I guess from the language of the developer's interviews you don't get the "perfection of the self" but "death as education." This isn't a game that has any real malice toward you unless you do something you shouldn't...then you get to learn something. The NPC tap is a perfect example of this. They were nice enough to at least put a different NPC in-game who can reset NPC aggro for you. Of course, it is quite a run...

"Don't put your controller down like that."

When you die in Dark Souls you get to see the game go back to not caring about you. It is an ambivalent world. The "You Died" message lasts just long enough for everything that killed you to start walking back to what they were doing as though you were never there.

When you fall off a cliff it lets you sit there for a second, angry. Then you begin again. Like Resident Evil, which is often made fun of for its controls, the scheme they use for battle and movement is part of your existence. One of my favorite comments was about people who wanted to use Double Swords instead of a shield. "Yeah, you can do that if you want I guess."

Anyway, I don't want to change your mind about the game but I did want to defend against that critique as I don't know if you can really call it valid. It is simply a game that tries to not restrict you outside your birth restrictions.

I thought this was a good interview with Hidetaka Miyazaki.

There are a lot of great translations of other interviews in this video series.

I guess i am a fan of this game. However, this flow chart really does a better job of explaining the difference between Demon's/Dark Souls to your standard game.


Every piece of putty is your friend


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Author: Suskie
Posted: September 08, 2012 (11:46 PM)
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"Dark Souls isn't difficult! It's just [long, drawn-out synonym for difficult]!" - every Dark Souls fan ever


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: September 09, 2012 (12:37 AM)
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Nah. I agree that Dark Souls is difficult. I just happen to feel that the area design and such are good enough that I can tolerate withstanding the sort of difficulty that I wouldn't tolerate in other games. My problem with difficulty comes if it's so excessive that the rest of the game simply can't provide enough incentive for me to topple that difficulty. Dark Souls avoided that particular flaw by being downright riveting, and so the difficulty became a strength. I would have enjoyed it just as much, I think, if it were much easier.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: September 09, 2012 (01:25 AM)
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I'll second what Jason said. Again, my experience with Dark Souls didn't cause me to hate it and I agree that what made it great was not it's difficulty, but other aspects of the game which made it a fun world to explore and to discover new things about. In fact, Jason's great review of the game focused on this and was the thing that convinced me to buy it (like, three seconds after I read it). It held true, as well.

I don't think that precludes me from pointing out that the game is not a perfect bastion of design and the argument "don't put your controller down like that" completely doesn't fly with me. How about, "don't irrevocably punish me for putting my controller down in a certain way." There are places where Dark Souls benefits from its no take-backs attitude. For instance, losing your souls if you fail to make it back to your body. That's one of the more fun aspects of the game which turns every death into a new side-quest. But there are other places where it suffers from it, and being able to kill the merchant-type NPCs is one of those.

There are also certain situations that seem set up to screw over first time players, like the Spider Queen's assistant, who can make a player incredibly powerful but also happens to look and move exactly like one of the enemies and so many players have rushed in and killed him without knowing what he's for. That would be acceptable in a game with take backs or near the beginning of a game, but it is not acceptable 30-50 hours into a game (which is where this guy appears).


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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