Dark Souls is a video game developed and published for PlayStation 3 by From Software in Japan, and published for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 by Namco Bandai Games internationally.
Previously referred to as Project Dark, Dark Souls is the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls. It was released in Japan on September 22, 2011, on October 4 in North America, and on October 7 in Europe of the same year.
The game focuses on dungeon crawling and the tension and fear that arise when players encounter enemies in this setting.
The game is a spiritual successor to Demon's Souls (which in turn is considered a spiritual successor to the King's Field games). Dark Souls takes place in an open world environment.
Dark Souls allows players to light Bonfires, which function as respawn locations. These bonfires also replenish health, magic, and special items like Estus flasks - limited vials that restore health.
The player battles using various weapons and strategies to survive in a dark fantasy world. Online features allow players to share the play experience without need for direct communication.
There are more weapons, spells, and new classes. It is also said to be 'significantly harder', with more enemies and more difficult encounters.
It includes leaving messages to other players, seeing others' deaths, and player versus player (as well as a new co-op system).
Famitsu gave the game a highly positive review, scoring it 37 out of 40, based on four scores of 9, 9, 9, and 10.
One of the reviewers for Dark Souls described it as "a very hardcore dark-fantasy RPG" that is "role-playing right down to the roots," and stated that the "massive field map and powerful enemies serve to rev up both your sense of adventure and your sense of dread."
Another reviewer stated that "the sheer happiness you get after the trial-and-error pays off and you overcome the challenge is absolutely impossible to replicate."
Gamespot scored Dark Souls a 9.5/10, complimenting just about every aspect of it. Much praise was given to the online system, as well as the sense of jubilation felt when conquering boss fights after numerous failed attempts.
They also suggested that casual gamers may struggle to progress, whereas RPG enthusiasts will thrive on the difficulty.
IGN gave Dark Souls a 9.0/10, praising the well-thought out level design, variety, strong emphasis on online features, excessively dark tone and atmosphere and deep gameplay. They also noted that it is not a game that one can simply jump into and play for plain enjoyment.
They went as far to say that it is not a game for the timid and that the game requires both skill and strategy almost all the time. While praising the extremely high difficulty, they stated that "there's a difference between punishing, and downright unfair."
Eurogamer gave Dark Souls 9/10, saying "If adventure is to surprise and mystify you and invite you to uncover the secrets of a forgotten world, then Dark Souls is a great adventure game.
If entertainment is fun without failure and progress without pain, you'll have to find it somewhere else. But you'll be missing out on one of the best games of the year."