I slowly melt into existence in an accursed land. The bonfire I now stand beside offers little comfort in the oppressive darkness. It is not my bonfire. This is not my world. I can feel the environment's deadliness pressing down upon me. I am on a crumbling walkway high above a noxious swamp. I know vile creatures are hiding out of sight, anticipating my hushed footsteps. I can hear their tortured breath punctuated by insane shrieks.
Before me stands another traveler, another of the chosen undead. He has sacrificed his own humanity to reverse his hollow, changing his appearance from that of a desiccated corpse into that of a flesh and blood human. This sacrifice has not been for simple cosmetic vanity. As a human, he can now see the signs of his fellow accursed scrawled into the ether. It was my own sign he found, and my soul he summoned. In his world, not only do I appear human, I radiate light. These are but illusions, for both of us are a single misstep away from death. I returned his greeting bow. It was time to kill some demonic sons of bitches.
That was the beginning of one of my many co-op exploits in Blight Town, the Dark Souls version of the Valley of Defilement. If you just groaned in revulsion, I feel your pain. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, count yourself lucky. You must not have played Demon’s Souls.
Your move. Bro.
Anyone who has played FromSoftware’s Demon’s Souls will be right at home with their latest dark fantasy opus, Dark Souls. The action RPG claims to be three times larger, even more mind-meltingly difficult, and more co-op friendly. Aside for one glaring exception, it is.
You’ll begin the game by choosing and customizing a character. Every class can be played in any way a player sees fit. Your class dictates starting stats and equipment, nothing more. Here’s a tip: Before you spend a half hour customizing your face, know that you’ll be wearing some type of helmet for the majority of the game. And you’re probably going to create more than a few new characters as you learn the nuances of Dark Souls. If you’re asking, hell yeah, I started as a Pyromancer. Then a Deprived, then a Warrior, then a Thief, then a Pyromancer, again.
Having played through Demon’s Souls multiple times, I was right at home with the controls. For the uninitiated, it can be difficult to get used to the fixed combat buttons on the shoulder bumpers and triggers. Be careful when you’re in menu screens, you can’t pause the game, even offline! You can quit and save at any time. Just remember, if you were getting chomped on by a giant honey-badger-thing when you quit, you’ll be getting chomped on by a giant honey-badger-thing when you restart your game.