Saturday, September 08, 2012

Dark Souls PvP

I recently started my second playthrough of Dark Souls. Dark Souls is the best game I have ever played. I originally played Dark Souls on the PS3 - this time I am playing the PC port ("Prepare to Die" edition). That means now I can take screenshots!
Notice that the dragon's tail is missing - I did that.

Unhappy dragon.

This hallway is where I had an unforgettable experience. Another player had invaded my world to assassinate me (1v1 PvP). This is a pretty rare event when I play, so it is exciting when it happens. Luckily, this was the perfect place and time for him to invade - I had full health and the location could not be better. This narrow hallway leads to a dead-end, which means there is only one way in or out. That prevents my opponent from sneaking up with a surprise attack. My character is a pyromancer, which means that I am most effective at mid-range attacks. This hallway was perfect for my character because it forces the other player to walk directly into my spell range. So I waited in the hallway for him to attack. He spotted me from the end of the hallway and tried to lure me out - he can see my Pyromancy Flame so he knows that I have the advantage here. His weapon is some sort of dagger. Since I refuse to leave the hallway, eventually he cautiously approaches. When it looks like he is in my spell range, I start casting fire orbs at him. Impressively, he manages to stay far enough back to narrowly avoid my spells. When I advance he moves back, and when I move back he advances. So I continue casting the spell since I have plenty to spare. My spell is powerful enough that a single hit would make it very difficult for him to recover. Suddenly after one of my fire orbs misses him, he starts sprinting towards me. I cast another orb and it is headed directly at him. At the perfect time he does a dive roll under the orb and it narrowly misses him. He rolls past my side and stands up directly behind me. Before I have a chance to react he backstabs me and kills me with a single attack. The backstab attack is that powerful because it is so difficult to get directly behind a player. I was astounded at how perfect his sequence of moves was. As he was fading away to return to his world, he turned towards my corpse and bowed. I wish the battle had been recorded - it would have been fun to be able to watch it again.


Sancho said...

Nice piece of writing.

Ryan Moulton said...

I was considering getting this but heard the PC port was bad. Should I?

Byron Knoll said...

@Ryan, I couldn't be happier with the PC port. The gameplay is exactly equivalent to the original console version and the graphics look better. You will need a proper 16 button + two control stick controller to play though - this game was not designed for a keyboard.

Ryan Moulton said...

I've started playing through this. So far I'm kinda meh about it. I was pretty excited until I found out about how the parry mechanics work. Basically, there's no connection between the visuals of the models and the proper position and timing to parry, so you're stuck mostly memorizing it for each enemy/attack. Then after that, the riposte animation is a completely ridiculous animation, during which your character is invulnerable despite having tons of swords passing through his body.

There are just too many things about the game that break the immersion. Enemies that don't drop the weapons they are using against you. Enemy ai that has it not even doing pathing when walking towards you, so that they just play their walk animation against a wall.

I really appreciate that it's difficult, and well designed, but when the difficulty feels like an arbitrary memorization process rather than something emergent from the world, it feels deeply unsatisfying. The game punishes you for being more engaged with it, because paying attention to what's on the screen actually harms your ability to execute things correctly.

Ryan Moulton said...

On that note, I think I would absolutely love a game that was just like dark souls but had physics based combat.