Demon’s Souls has had me questioning many of my beliefs as of late. Few games have ever remained unbeaten in my possession after a fortnight of lap-danceless evenings of scotch and shame, and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s simply because I’m out of shape in terms of difficult games, or that DS is just that unforgiving. Most RPGs usually clock around 60-80 hours to obtain the majority of rare antiquities and finally take on the final boss, but at the time of this entry I’ve slaved in over 100 hours, yet two full worlds remain untouched. While I chalk most of that time to the trying-and-dying approach, I will say large chunks of time are spent revisiting luring tactics, studying boss patterns, and screaming at my television. My inner sanctum has been constantly badgering me to just let it all go and focus on other challenges that have finally released (I will see you again Nathan Drake, but not yet), but my determination has turned into something more sinister. Forget commitment, drive and dedication—it is sheer force of will now. I feel that DS stands above most titles as some sick deity to whom no one is qualified to worship, but I say to you now: This game has been beaten before, by many others. It can be done.
I’ve been looking into Borderlands more frequently now, and with some of the verdicts coming out of the woodwork my interest is peaked all the more, but now I stand rooted before a crossroads. One the one hand, Borderlands takes this quirky and expansive approach to FPS, but doesn’t seem to offer much under the surface aside from intense co-op deathmatches, but that’s been done before. I suppose the romantic idea of combining a shotgun with a grenade launcher and putting a buzz saw on the muzzle is the real culprit of garnering so much attention amidst many other decent games. When that’s all said and done, it’s nothing more than the same song and dance of starting over and trying different combinations with different skill branches. Yes it plays to the more basic desires of gamers to blow shit up in the most entertaining way possible (like using the grenade launcher in the Fallout 3 V.A.T.S. system and enjoying the slow motion glory), but it’s a hard sell for me if that’s the bravado the game is running off of. Uncharted, on the other hand, plays to the code of a different genre by harboring a knockout story and, to the surprise of most, an awesome multiplayer portion. Borderlands and Uncharted exist as two distinct titles that are both great at what they set out to do, but to my misfortune I have to settle on one (at least for now, X-mas isn’t too far off).
With the taste of failure still lingering, I know whatever game I choose next will have nothing to do with demons, souls or any combination thereof. Hell, I might just go with Nintendo’s new Mario-on-easy-mode game and give my self-esteem a well deserved break. For as long as I live, there will always be something peculiarly soothing about jumping on a goomba, and seeing as how Mario isn’t going anywhere for a while, it looks like we will all have that safety net to fall back on.
See you in the next level,