Dark Souls Preview First Look

Namco and From Software unveiled multiple areas in the upcoming action role-playing game.

GameSpot's 2009 Game of the Year winner Demon's Souls has a spiritual successor on the way, recently revealed as Dark Souls (originally under the codename Project Dark). The game is being published by Namco Bandai, and publisher/developer From Software showed off multiple areas during Namco's Ignite press event in San Francisco. Demon's Souls producer Takeshi Kajii returns, as well as the team behind the first brutal adventure.

Before getting into the demo, Kajii wanted to make sure that everyone understood that this is another third-person action role-playing game that's very much about strategic, tactical swordplay. He also made sure that we were all aware that, like its challenging predecessor, Dark Souls was going to be difficult. Death will come, and it will come often. So much in fact, that Kajii hopes players will find it funny. As in the first game, you will play as a customizable hero, but for the sake of a smoother-flowing demo, the knight was fully equipped, and all the HUD elements were turned off. After the initial tutorial, you'll find yourself in the middle of some old ruins, overrun with foliage and dilapidated stone structures. This is where you'll apparently be able to travel to different areas of the game, but in the demo we ventured up some steps off to the side to try to sneak past a slumbering dragon that's perched on a stone overpass. Undead warriors greeted the knight as he made his way up the steps, and Kajii pointed out that you'll need to be much more aware of your surroundings this time around, because you'll find that enemies will come after you from all directions.

Arrows and Molotov cocktails are just some of the things being tossed your way as you try to fend off enemies right in front of you. The dragon, which remained sound asleep, will wake up if you make too much noise, and if you want to snag the treasure right next to it, you're going to have to be very quiet about it. In this part of the demo, the goal was to reach the castle grounds, and we watched as the knight moved through narrow corridors and walkways and climbed battlements. A boss waited for us at the end of this area, a big brute with horns and an enormous club. It was slow, but there were archers on the parapet that made it difficult to focus. We watched as the knight climbed up the ladder and took out the archers and eventually returned to the top and jumped off onto the head of the beast for some extra bloody damage. Kajii explained that Dark Souls lets you play how you want to play, by giving you the option to use a variety of weapons that will all perform differently. It all depends on your play style and what you feel comfortable with. You can duel-wield different weapon types if you prefer, and there are more than 100 types in the game.

Like in Demon's Souls, the world is vast and created with great detail for you to explore. Everything that you see on the horizon can be reached in some way, so it's on you to tread carefully through the world. The atmosphere and lighting that made Demon's Souls stand out were also present here and equally impressive, from what we've seen of the various areas. After the boss, we moved to a misty dark forest area with moss-covered trees. Here we saw another example of the type of character you can play as. Kajii called him an onion knight, because he was a short, rotund fellow who even rolls clumsily when he does his dodge roll. In the next area we got a brief glimpse of what was described as an "underground hell," sparsely decorated with decaying trees, temples, and lava flowing all around.

Hello dragon.

The final area that we visited also happens to be the developer's favorite, and we can see why. It's nicknamed "Trap Road," and the entire dungeon is packed with booby traps and other fun ways to die. Deadly arrows will shoot out of nowhere, and the path is narrow, and the only way to get past is to weave through a row of swinging pendulum blades. Spells will once again be available to you, including one that coats you in solid iron to protect you from damage. You can't roll with this spell, however, but you'll be well protected against attacks. Another feature we saw is your ability to turn into a vase and tuck yourself among other vases to hide from other players. Like before, all the online integrated features will be included, so players can once again play together or against one another.

For those who can't wait to get their hands on another intense and unforgiving experience, Dark Souls will be released worldwide on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 by holiday 2011. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more updates.

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434 comments
assassinsweed23
assassinsweed23

I'm looking foward to this game, I hope its a little better than Demon's Souls. I really liked the game, but I haven't really played it much since I beat it once. I just hope that there is a little more replay value on this new game. Also, it could be a little harder. I didn't think that the first one was quite as difficult as some people say it is; only died probably 30 times or less

God4bid
God4bid

Bang for your buck, DS & FO3 are @ the top of MY list, but I'd have to say DS is the best game I ever played. I got my ass handed to me SO many times before I got the hang of it. My heart sank when I heard it was coming out for the Xbox. Its cool that those guys will get to play it, I just hope the game doesnt suffer for it. After 200+ hrs, I really need a break...rest up for Dark Souls!

pieham
pieham

I Have To Say, I Bought DS Late & Never really got into it until Recently Which is why i shrugged off this game, But Then once i got past the brutality of its Spiritual predecessor My mind just started telling me i have to buy This Game Soo...I Guess Im Hooked

Kuro-sama
Kuro-sama

I just heard today that a "sequel" to DS was coming out. I am so hard right now. In my top 5 games of all time.

zicoundead
zicoundead

Same here. Playing DS for the first time and enjoying every minute.

Koi-Neon-X
Koi-Neon-X

I am currently playing and enjoying Demon's Souls. I'll eventually get Dark Souls too:)

cprmauldin
cprmauldin

definitely looking forward to this game.

finaleve
finaleve

I am looking forward to this game. Currently playing Demons Soul right now.

mikeyc42087
mikeyc42087

Pretty exciting news. Little disappointed it's gonna be on the 360 too though. As a former 360 owner who was converted back to PS, I like Microsoft less and less by the day.

finaleve
finaleve

@Bruchko7 You're forgetting 2 things. 360-to-PC crossplatform games (IE Gears of War, Lost Planet) and FFXI (PS2, 360, PC). It's not entirely the coding that needs to be worked on, but the servers that are being hosted. 360 and PS3 have their own servers/use that specific console as a server to function, and because of this disable cross-platform online play because of this. If games, like FFXI, used servers outside the platform to host their games, cross-platforming would be possible. However, games like that cost money to maintain and subscriptions and the like would be required (Which I would hope if Activisions CoD plan were to work, they would utilize this idea).

Charliesix
Charliesix

I hope the game features OPTIONAL easy modes, and the OPTIONAL ability to play with your friends and voice chat with them. These features would greatly increase the game's marketability. Demon's Souls was a great game but it almost seemed like it was intentionally limiting its market appeal, which doesn't make much business sense.

zymbo
zymbo

After being murdered countless times in Demons Souls I look forward to more controller hurling fun with this.

Silent_death7
Silent_death7

maybe this will give me more of a challenge than demon souls?? @hellpolice, you can do that in any game, it's an AI they don't do random, they follow set routes programmed into the system. it isn't really a tip, more about how good you perception is

hellpolice
hellpolice

Another tip I heard of is to be able to read your opponents' moves and patterns of fight, once you master it you can beat them successfully.

sweeneystephen
sweeneystephen

@donmega1 Everything I just read made it sound like it would be Demons Souls 2 if it continued the other story.

donmega1
donmega1

This has nothing to do with demons souls. It is nothing more than a demons souls "type game with similar gameplay" experience. If it is successful, im sure it will have a sequel, because its on both systems. Demons souls will not. Sounds like they just found a way to get exposure to a wider audience.

zombiechopper
zombiechopper

Can't wait. I LOVE Demon's Souls. With this and Skyrim, thats my xmas sorted.

Lukesf2
Lukesf2

@ gordos i hope its harder then the greatest expectation of hardness

gordos24
gordos24

i hope its harder than demon souls

CombatDoughBoy
CombatDoughBoy

@ sub-raid I hope it IS as hard as demons souls!

sub-raid
sub-raid

Hope it's not as hard as the demon's souls

darkraiders
darkraiders

I do hope the game will stay the same quality as demon soul at least i would hate to have half a game because they can't put more then that on a single Xbox disc and don't want to make the game in 2 discs on the 360.

Bruchko7
Bruchko7

@N4o7A: highly doubtful. There are many many games for both systems, and none allow online play against a different type of console. I think encoding multiplayer to work online with different encryptions would be a nightmare

Gliave
Gliave

Spicy but edible, eh? Nice save, ya creative bastid /clap...Looks great indeed.

N4o7A
N4o7A

Just a thought but since they're making this for both 360 and ps3, is it possible that they might make it like cross-console gameplay? Like would you be able to invite people from 360 into ps3 nd vice versa? Just a thought since they made it for both consoles and I think it would be a really neat idea...

Leboyo56
Leboyo56

No system exclusive for the sequel? I'd understand a sister game to Demon's Souls exclusive to the 360, which I'm fine with, but it's for both consoles this time? I guess From wasn't expecting the first to be such a cult and critical hit, so maybe they decided to step it up a notch and remove its exclusiveness. Kinda saddens me; if that is true, the PS3 just lost another could-have-been flagship series, or franchise, if they want to go that far with it.

Hoski0999
Hoski0999

Which by the way what happened to ATLUS? I don't think it will kill the series with Namco, but they don't publish very good games, why give this game to someone like this and take it away from a quality Publisher like ATLUS?

Hoski0999
Hoski0999

Now that i've had my rant its time for some positive feedback :). I LOVED Demon Soul's. It's challenging (i know call of duty fanboys its hard to think of a game that actually takes skill to play and is not a mindless "shoot this" "run there" blah blah blah) which is a nice change of pace to other games that take an hour to beat. I really enjoy and respect the fact that Fromsoftware is actually making a game worth our time and money. I really hope in this one they make a party system for you and your friends to be able to group up easily but also have the soul summoning abilities as well.

DemiNite
DemiNite

for both platforms? watch gamespot favor the 360 version *shakes head*

Hoski0999
Hoski0999

I love how they make a first look on a 360 when the game previous to this WAS MADE FOR ps3 and it was a HUGE sale on the system. I don't hate the 360, I own it, i just hate how gamespot IS PAID for their opinions and reviews, all they say is garbage sooner people learn that the better off we all are.

solidsnake_cs
solidsnake_cs

@treepop99 Just hope they dont delete any backtracking area just to split into 2 discs. Thats the only bad thing I can think of.

treepop99
treepop99

Demons Souls was the BEST BEST BEST GAME of this gen. Lets hope they don't RUIN it with their attempt to make it multi platform. My guess is they will and it will be marginal at best. But I am still hopeful for an amazing title. I say 60% chance crap and 30% chance good. 10% chance great

ViolentDjango
ViolentDjango

@OGKNav Yeah, this is obviously a successor to Demon's Souls, it should be PS3 exclusive. I know that seems silly (i have both systems myself) -- but the PS3 just doesn't have enough great games or even games that are better one it. The only multiplatform games I can think of that were better on PS3 were FF13 and Dragon Age -- and Dragon Age is actually best on PC. We need more exclusives on all systems to get people to open up and appreciate each system for its individual greatness.

turok0
turok0

Demon Souls is the best game of this gen

pitlordftw
pitlordftw

I think that this game, together with it's predecessor, might be a reason for starved action RPG lovers to pick up a Xbox360 or PS3.

advocacy
advocacy

Dark Souls: wimps need not apply.

OGKNav
OGKNav

It's cool it's multi-platform and all, but the problem is my friend is a hardcore XBot. Real hardcore. He actually liked Demon's Souls enough to get a PS3, so it was cool it got him to open up a bit. But now that it's on 360 also, it's only going to fuel his fanboyism. And this is why we can't have nice things, lol.

enzyme36
enzyme36

It would be a nice treat to xbox users if they throw in a port of Demon's Souls for them as well.... doubtful, but everyone should find a way to play that game.

DarkNeoBahamut
DarkNeoBahamut

how cool would it be if you could play with phantoms (black or blue) of the other console. I mean helping each other to beat such a hard game (and PVP too :P )

Alizerothree
Alizerothree

I'm going to get it on both PS3 and X360 only because it will be amazing to play with both friendlists! :D

xtremeflem2day
xtremeflem2day

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

solidsnake_cs
solidsnake_cs

I believe Its beeing developed to PS3, since they will realese in Japan first. I really dont care it its going to be on Xbox too, I just hope the game will be an improvment from the first one. I've heard the game will come with a Serial Code to imput once you insert your disc. If you die in-game your code expires and you have to buy another one. Its THAT hard lol.

master_06
master_06

looks great! another title for my list... :D

Jhaller90
Jhaller90

i would to play this game i dont care about the ps3 and xbox360 cross platform its no big deal. the good thing about this is that xbox360 can play the one of the most hardest games of ps3 now ps3 wont be the only one to mourn how hard this game is. even the xbox360 will mourn even more!(nah...just joking) they will enjoy the best game experience evah!!

grey_fox1984
grey_fox1984

I am the only one who hardly sees a difference between PS3 and 360 versions of multiplatform games? Aside from a few marginal differences (and granted a few exceptions) I find most games look identical on both platforms, making the controller-of-choice the only truly tangible point of comparison. Even XBL vs. PSN is a tricky debate- having a bigger community and sturdier infrastructure is important, but it's hard to compete with the low price of "free" at the same time. ...can't put a price on freedom

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

I'm getting it for the 360 even if its going to be a not so good port purely for the online network portion.

Jinroh_basic
Jinroh_basic

the fact that multiplat games often end up better ported - marginally or considerably so - on xbox360 makes me want this game less. i look forward to From proving me wrong but i won't hold my breath.

BrainConfusion
BrainConfusion

im happy that the xbox fanboys will one of the best gaming experiences ever.