Gamescom 2011: Dark Souls Updated Impressions

We got to see a new area of Dark Souls created just for Gamescom. Spoiler: It's very hard.

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While the gaming world may be heading toward short, simple gaming mechanics, it's refreshing to see just how old-school Namco Bandai is when it comes to Dark Souls. "The game is going to be even more difficult than Demons' Souls," says our representative. To demonstrate the fact, albeit in an unintentional way, another Namco Bandai representative died repeatedly during our demo of new content from the game. So, to summarize: Dark Souls is so hard that the guys who are making it can't even play it without dying.

Our demo started about halfway through the game, with our character trapped in a jail cell. The guard outside is sleeping, so you can kill him and steal the key to break out of jail. However, things aren't well after this seemingly easy encounter. Soon, octopus monsters are roaming the area and out to kill anything that's alive. While you can run away and even climb ladders to avoid them (octopi can't climb), when you get to the top of the ladders, snake monsters await you to kick you back down to earth.

The answer, it turns out, is to find the device that the snake monsters are guarding and then kill the larger snake enemies to take control of it. However, it took many attempts to get to this stage, as our demonstrator constantly died trying to get there. Namco Bandai was using a character that was pretty buffed up, but in an age when most publishers just cheat their way through game demos, we liked the fact that Namco was prepared to show off the difficulty of the game.

Difficulty is definitely an issue that will follow Dark Souls around. While it's not a direct sequel to Demons' Souls, it inherits many of that game's features, such as the ability to leave hints for other players to find when you die. However, there will be new features, such as the ability to summon other players to help you complete difficult tasks, as well as invading other people's games from afar.

The game will be out on October 4 in North America and October 7 in Europe, and it's on show on the Gamescom floor with 16 units on offer. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more information on Dark Souls as we get it.

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