‘Bloodborne,’ ‘Dark Souls,’ & The Unbearable Smugness of Games Culture

Bloodborne

I tried to like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. I really did. If you actively enjoy these games, that is awesome. It’s just not for me. By all accounts, I should’ve liked it. I enjoy fantasy games, especially those that have—dare I say it—a darker twist. I like being challenged, and I like solving puzzles within games. That’s the fun of it for me.

That was the problem, though—these games (Dark Souls and Bloodborne, specifically) were not fun for me. In order to enjoy these games, in my experience, there are certain privileges that are necessary: time, money, and the dedication to the self-image as a gamer. The entirety of gaming as hobby, lifestyle, or whatever, requires these privileges. But in all my experiences as a gamer, these have not manifested so strongly as in the aforementioned games.

First, I’ll talk about the privilege of time.

You are thrown into the middle of the action of the story without any concrete idea about what is going on in the larger picture. It is easy to pick up the controls and hack away at enemies, but it was unclear to me as the player why any of what I was doing mattered in the larger narrative. Part of this apathy stemmed from the rate at which my character died. I know that this is a huge part of the game, and I know that “You Will Die” is the very edgy tagline of the Dark Souls series. It was more how the character dies rather than the frequency. The absolute loss of all the progress I made over the course of one or two hours would be completely undone by one lucky scythe to the face of my character.

Usually, when gaming, the difficulty of the level corresponds directly with how many checkpoints are found within that level. An easier level would have fewer than five, while a more complex level may have a whole lot more. In these extraordinary examples (Dark Souls and Bloodborne), there are maybe three checkpoints over the course of a thousand feet within the game. Not bad, right?

No. Terrible.

A thousand feet within the game is equal to about three hours of work in the game. With Bloodborne especially, there is a certain level of stealth that is required. Say there are 35 to 40 enemies within 1,000 feet of distance between checkpoints. The character has to pick off each one of those enemies at one or two at a time in order to get through that stretch in-game. If it takes five minutes or so per enemy or enemies, that takes a whole lotta time.

Then you inevitably die because, surprise! An evil dog was there the entire time and it just ate your face off. You silly gamer, you. Now you must start again with those 35 to 40 enemies from the beginning, keep that stray evil dog in mind, and pray to the gods that there is not another stray evil dog behind the next cart.

Bloodborne

As a working student, I could not justify spending that much time on the same parts of the game for days. I’m lucky—I only had to work one part-time job while going to school. But a lot of people do not have the time in-between two or three jobs on top of a getting a higher level of education or taking care of their family. So the privilege of time is intrinsically connected to the privilege of wealth. It connects even more so when you consider that someone (such as myself) spent enough money to feed themselves for a week or two ($50 or more) to get flipped off continuously by sword-wielding skeletons and weirdly tall men in trench coats carrying scythes.

But I think the most problematic part of this type of game is the part that feeds into the ego of the gaming community. I personally did not like Dark Souls, but I did not admit it to myself until two years after I stopped playing it, specifically when I gave up on playing Bloodborne. I think a large part of this was due to my ego as a gamer. I am, as you may have guessed, quite dedicated to the world of video games. I am pretty good at them, and thus my continuous failures in Dark Souls really aggravated my ego. I made up excuses, and while they were valid, they were not entirely fair. Although I told myself I did not have the time to dedicate to Dark Souls, I apparently always had space in my busy schedule as a liberal arts student to replay BioShock for the umpteenth time.

I met a lot of people who talked about how much they loved these games and I’ve received snapchats from acquaintances playing these games with very positive captions. I couldn’t understand it—until I realized that these gamers are from privilege who are students or recent graduates, which means there is a certain level of free time and financial support at their disposal. That is not to say that they are bad people, but in my experience, it attracts a certain subset of people who have the resources and an urge to prove themselves in a world that does not have the same sense of security, economically and otherwise, that it once did when we were in the safety of the educational system.

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23 Comments on “‘Bloodborne,’ ‘Dark Souls,’ & The Unbearable Smugness of Games Culture

  1. I am not sure I see how the games themselves are problematic due to being made for people with a lot of free time and dedication? Yeah it’s a problem that one supposedly have to like these niche titles to be considered “a real gamer” which excludes a lot of people and makes unfair value judgements based on taste, skills and available time for sure, but that’s more the fault of the community and social norms than the games themselves isn’t it?

    I haven’t actually played either game since I don’t like lolhard games outside of the likes of Cat Mario, so I can’t say if there is any problematic content in the games or not in the sense of sexism, racism, etc., but I think this article comes off as a bit unfair towards the games when what appears to be the real problem is gamer elitism and gatekeeping, which the title made me think would be what the article was about

    What I think would have been better with these types of games was to rather give more of a warning about exactly how much time is required for them and to what degree one have to dedicate one’s time to them than to have them changed to be inherently more forgiving. Offering optional easier difficulty modes that allows you to save regularly and pause the game would also be a much better alternative so everyone can find enjoyment in the game if they are into the gameplay and setting

    Liked by 2 people

    • Okay, but real quick though since no one else has said it. Dark Souls isn’t an lolhardgame please believe me. NamcoBandai just pimps that shit out for marketing because it sells with the stupid “prepare to die” tagline, but the game’s director wants no part of it. Whenever asked about the difficulty of his games Miyazaki says that it’s not the point, and the only reason they’re harder than most games is that it fits thematically and he wants the player to feel accomplished when they actually do something. Most “hard” games bring a certain level of unfairness to the table, but this isn’t one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Max,

    As a tumblr user who just has seen a link to this article on his dashboard and lover of the original dark souls, here’s some of my thoughts on your article:

    “I tried to like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. I really did. If you actively enjoy these games, that is awesome. It’s just not for me.”
    No problemo.

    “By all accounts, I should’ve liked it.”
    Not really. Yes, Dark Souls has the looks of a fantasy game, but does it share the themes of the majority of fantasy games out there? No, it may share some common visual cues with games like Dragon Age, Skyrim, Icewind Dale, etc but do the aesthetics mean the same in Dark Souls as they do in the aforementioned games?

    For example:

    Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones are both considered Fantasy.
    There are people who like one but not the other because both deal with different themes.

    Dark Souls fundamentally works very different than conventional games with win and lose states, so we need to compare apples to apples. The moment you start your game you follow your character throughout the entire game with the deaths in between being a part of the game world until the very end. It’s the consistent world and the immersion in this world that people love. The challenge and difficulty is definitely part of the game, but not the *core* of it.

    The hostility of the environment is not there to challenge the player, it simply represents the state of a dying and crumbling world where everyone has gone insane. The aim of the player character is to resist the hollowing, to not become a mindless zombie.

    The challenge to the player character and the person holding the controller is not as much skill, but persistence and “not losing their sanity” which in the real world is represented by throwing the controller and giving up on the game.

    Lordran is indifferent to you, enemies only attack you when you go near them and they dont follow you to bonfires.

    The act of not playing Dark Souls is also experiencing Dark Souls.

    Also something I’d also like to add is that people who are smug about beating dark souls like the idea of liking dark souls and claiming superiority over other gamers because of mere mastery of mere hand eye coordination challenges is quite simply, dumb. The original director himself has stated that difficulty was never the point of dark souls, too.

    In my opinion the genius of dark souls is how everyone experiences it differently. Every person I’ve heard talking about it so far has had their own way of playing and facing its universe and it’s amazing how many truly personal journeys one game can create.

    Your playthrough of dark souls is just as legitimate as any other, don’t ask yourself whether it is too hard or too long for you to enjoy, but rather how the game made you feel or whether the whole ordeal had some interesting moments.

    Have a nice day,

    Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have very little free time for gaming, a modest income, and I hate gamer culture and don’t care in the slightest whether or not people think I’m “hardcore” or whatever, and I love these games. Dark Souls isn’t really as hard or badass as people make it out to be, and I think the reputation of these games lead to people approaching them with the wrong attitude. It sounds like the author tried to play it as a hack-and-slash Devil May Cry game, and of course you’re not going to make progress if you try to play DS like that. You have to take things slowly and cautiously and always assume there is something around the corner ready to ambush you. No disrespect intended to the author’s gaming credentials, but if you’re stuck on the same bonfire area for 3 hours, you’re not really playing the game right. It’s also weird how the author says they can’t justify spending a long time trying to beat this game and then concludes that the only way for someone to beat this game is to play it every day all the time. For more casual gamers like myself there’s really no reason you can’t justify spending over a month trying to beat a game as long as you’re enjoying the experience. “Time privilege” doesn’t enter into it. You don’t have to spend 4+ hours every single day playing Dark Souls in order to get anything out of it. You just keep playing in what little free time you have until it’s done. I wonder if the author has the same problem with all games that take a long time to beat. Dark Souls certainly requires a lot of time dedication, but I would argue it’s less of a time suck than your average Fallout or Final Fantasy game, and I’ve never heard anyone argue that those games unfairly exclude gamers with busy schedules.

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  4. You want to talk about the difficulty being tied to time – The learning curve is a serious part of the games. Each game teaches you to play the game and to not take risks. If you do and lose twice you are valid in being frustrated but not valid to say that the game is wrong. Learning the game, like all games, take a level of time investment to them. As someone who has played maybe 8 hours of Bloodborne, I’m still learning and getting beaten up all the time but it’s something I choose to do and understand.

    Time tied to money – The phrase time is money is fine but doesn’t apply here in any way at all. You have multiple jobs which is a huge burden, I get it. However, what I don’t get is how this is the games fault literally at all.

    Ego – If you don’t like a game, that’s fine. You’re not obligated to like a game. However, you saying that liking the game is tied to smugness is short sighted and rude. There are plenty of people in the community of people that play them and have no ego at all. If you had an ego problem because of that game, that is 100% on you as a person and no one else. You’re disrespecting a community based on a few which is ridiculous and wrong. Because they spend their time playing these games and not others shouldn’t be an issue because it’s straight up not an issue. This looks like an article that should have been about League of Legends and not your actual subject matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel like maybe there is a core of an idea here that I might agree with, but overall, this essay seemed unfair and (ironically) smug. The idea I’m referring to is the conflation of “proving your worth” as a gamer and being able to profess mastery and love of “hardcore” games, which can gain that status simply by being a timesink. However, the article seemed to misplace the anger that belongs aimed at the community of people being smug. The games are not at fault here.

    Simply saying that it is a matter of “gamer pride” that lets people love the game is really disingenuous. It seems to come from the perspective of someone who deeply cares about having “cred” despite mocking that outlook. Isn’t it possible that someone might simply enjoy a game because they are attracted to the kind of aesthetics, storytelling, or specific gameplay challenges it provides? (As opposed to other, equally valid forms of engagement).

    Tying it into the hidden biases of income inequality is a great point with regards to using the games as a litmus test for geek veneration. But it is wrongheaded to hold it against the games. You wouldn’t say that the inaccessibility of Proust or Pynchon is classist, after all.

    I am also a liberal arts student who works part time (on top of doing freelance work making short video projects). I also need to devote constant stress to the question of how I will afford to eat for the next week. I differ from the author in that I can’t afford a PS4 (which means I haven’t played Bloodborne yet), and I have no desire to identify as a gamer or anything like that. I have averaged 1 game a year for the last 5 years. By all accounts, I should be the perfect candidate to dislike the Souls games, but Dark Souls is actually one of my all-time favorite games.

    I apologize if the comment came out too forceful or mean. I’m trying to be civil here, I promise.

    PS: Dark Souls can be a timesink, but because of the frequent auto saves, you don’t have to play it in 2-hour stretches. (Although I admit that it might not be as satisfying to some people this way).

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  6. Not sure how you drew a lot of these conclusions. I recently beat bloodborne and ds2 sotfs and I’m a phd student with 20hrs or less per week to myself.

    It isn’t about time or money or the other points you mentioned. These games do explain why you should be interested in your progression or the reason for being there. You have to accumulate your experience in killing mobs. You can’t just rush or try to beat the game quickly or something. Your attitude here is exactly the same as those who play these games for the “gaming image”.

    There are many places where there is a total disconnect between logic and points. You say you enjoy challenges then you say that what makes these games difficult is problematic. Bloodborne doesn’t require stealth. It requires paying attention and remembering/figuring out a strategy against the mobs. Ds is more tactical.

    I can’t say much about how you play but I imagine that you went in expecting it to be really difficult and proceeded to be far too cautious and wasting lots of time in the process. Perhaps trying to speed through the game like other “difficult” games you’ve played in the past. You have to be efficient in From Software games, not slow.

    Everytime I read articles like this they rarely point to the correct problems with that the games actually do have and just grasp at random unjustifiable reasons because they didn’t enjoy getting beaten down without learning how to solve the problem.

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  7. I use to think the Souls community was a very unwelcoming batch of people, truth is they aren’t and are very welcoming and if u reach out to them sure u will get lil hate , but that’s any community. Talk to the Fighting Game Community they have plenty crazies, but way more nice and helpful folks willing to help people learn.

    I was like you once I hated Souls games now I cannot stop playing them. There is too many ways to play the games and there is so many things to find and explore, nearly very play through there is something u find you didn’t know about before. Also Bloodbourne has 1 of the most interesting settings and atmospheres I think I have ever seen in a game. (sorry I am a fanboy) Now part of the reason many ofus love thses games though is that feeling you get when u overcome extremely overwhelming odds, that gratification many of us older gamers miss getting back in younger years when we beat a level or boss we spent so long trying to defeat. Its a rush I guess and makes you feel accomplished.

    As for time, I understand yu not having time, I work and help out at home with two lil ones and nearly never have anytime to sit down and play my games. I get maybe 1 to 2 hours a night, that’s depending if I am just not too tired anymore. So, I understand your issues with time, but as it was said earlier these games can be enjoyed so much even in just an hour to 2 hour sessions.

    Finally, I would highly recommend listening to the lore of these games and learning the storylines to them. They are some of the best written fiction 1 could read about. Its stories that will even make you cry in some cases as they can get very sad.

    This is my 2 cents, Wanted to tell you on Twiiter I liked ur article, but u premtivly blocked me, even though I have never spoken to you, but hey that’s ur prerogative. Have a good day and keep writing ur, a descent critic.

    Very respectfully
    Lord Nurgle – @the_spore666

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    • Hey there, Nurgle! I’m not the writer of this article, but I did want to pop in and apologize for the block. You must be included on a block list we’re subscribed to, as we didn’t block you personally. I’ve unblocked you from the main FemHype account as of today. No hard feelings intended!

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  8. This is something I posted a while back…my incredibly bright sister made an excellent point on difficulty and the barrier to entry. She thinks of it in the exact opposite light that you put it in. I’d like to preface this by saying I hate the “git gud” culture and all that fucking bullshit, and I think the game is way above that. Anyway, here you go! I hope you can read the whole thing, cause I think you might like it.

    So my older sister is an incredibly smart woman, a lawyer who, since we were kids, has been reading philosophy essays for fun. She likes games, but isn’t very good at them. The other day, she made a great point to me about dark souls and the difficulty, and the time it requires you to put in.

    I was talking to her about DS1, and how it didn’t have warping so you had to walk everywhere, and how hard it was, but how I wished she could play it. I was basically saying she’d love the art design, the story, and creatures but she wouldn’t have time to play it because it takes so damn long to learn and master. That was kind of the whole idea of the game, I explained, and what made it great. Then I said something like “Man, I wish it was a bit easier, so you could play it!”

    She said, (paraphrasing from memory) “Well, of course it has a barrier to entry. It requires skill, knowledge, and practice, to appreciate, like a lot of art that’s worth spending time on. It requires you to have spent some time in the medium to really enjoy it. There’s nothing weird or wrong about that. If you don’t have the time to put in to something well-crafted, you have made that choice to spend your time somewhere else. It shouldn’t compromise itself so that someone like me can just pick it up without putting any effort in. I actually think that’s pretty cool.”

    She told me to think about it like this: She didn’t just start reading David Wallace or somebody like that out of the blue as a kid, she practiced. She grew into it and through her experiences gained the skills and knowledge necessary to take the time to enjoy something with real depth. She wouldn’t expect to just walk into a library and grab a philosophy book, and completely understand it in one afternoon. That’s not something to get mad about. Good things can require investment from the person trying to enjoy them, and the creators shouldn’t have to apologize for that.

    Anyways, I just thought it was a cool point and I wanted to share it here.

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  9. ugh I didn’t mean “Can” read I meant have time to, I know it’s a bit long. Sorry about that wording.

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  10. Eh, honestly dark souls and bloodborne are kind of watered down already from their roguelike roots. The set level design and infinite lives with respawning enemies are a good compromise with the semi random generation and permadeath of a roguelike to make things more accessible to the general audience without completely losing the challenging feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Watered down in difficulty maybe but the actual content is of a far higher grade, good level design simply isn’t possible with randomly generated levels and the actual core gameplay mechanics are almost always far weaker in roguelikes than their more traditional equivalents.

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  11. I really, really do not think the author of this article really thought what they said, or bothered to re-read it to themselves and see if anything felt off. First off; okay so Bloodborne and Dark Souls aren’t your cup of tea, fair enough. I can even let slide your perceptions of what the games were supposed to be like, everyone has them.

    However this article comes off as arrogant and rude, not just to the Souls Community fans, but to gamers in general. First off, the author is blaming the hype and reputation of two games known for their difficulty on the ‘arrogance and smugness of the gaming community’. Seriously I get annoyed by the “Git GUD!” bros as much as the next person; but this article overall feels like whining and trying to badmouth the games because you couldn’t beat them. You should have done your research, checked the Dark Souls and Bloodborne wikis, checked youtube for walkthroughs and advice, YOU-HAVE-OPTIONS! I like to often try many games blind to test myself but if I hit a wall it isn’t a problem to check a guide.

    Just because there are gamers who chest-beat and boast about being good at ‘so and so games’ doesn’t mean they represent the majority. I beat my head against the wall when dealing with ‘Git GUD!’ Bros, Honor-Bros, and lord have mercy the a**hole hackers, but I don’t paint all of them as the majority of the Souls community. Nor do I consider rude people to be the majority of any fandom gaming or otherwise.

    Bringing in words like ‘privilege’, yes gaming isn’t a cheap past time but my God the author makes gamers sound like elitist snobs as a whole the way they word it. There’s all kinds of gamers, and yes not everyone can afford every game they want or have the time to dedicate to gaming left and right since ya’know something called responsibilities need to be met. However these come off as excuses that didn’t even need to be said, and sounds more like some sort of social commentary experiment pitch that isn’t well thought up. Being a gamer is not a privilege, it’s nothing exclusive, it’s not about money spent or time spend on your preferred gaming platform it’s about playing and enjoying the games.

    Instead of simply going with ‘Okay Dark Souls and Bloodborne are too hard for me so writing them off’, which would have been an A-OK thing, the authors tries to make a social statement bad mouthing the games and the gamer community; and comes off sounding arrogant, rude and very VERY ill-informed. Did-not-do-the-research screams all over this piece.

    My advice to the author: Think before you post; you’re entitled to your opinion and I’m exercising mine to tell you, this post comes off as someone whining that they couldn’t wrap their heads around the mechanics and systems of the Souls games. They are actually once you figure them out; not as hard as the hype makes them out to be. Oh they are still difficult games but if you approach them with the right head…they are FUN, so much fun especially with Jolly Co-Operation!!

    Sorry you didn’t like them; but seriously this post Author, is just your ego making a scene because you couldn’t handle what Dark Souls and Bloodborne brought to the table.

    Have a nice day.

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  12. Personally, I played Dark Souls like a pauper child buying a single massive gobstopper with their last nickles and then savoring it, a single lick a day.

    Which is to say, I sucked at it, I took ages to beat it, and I fucking loved every moment. I loved piecing together the obscure mythology from bits of semi-reliable flavor text. loved the weird, inexplicable, hostile world that I explored, inch by hard-gained inch. I loved the feeling of being one of thousands of hopeless shmucks, all on the same doomed quest, cheering each other on and screwing each other over and repeating the same bad jokes. I loved feeling like king of the fucking world when trial and error and practice and dumb luck finally aligned, and I got past the place I’d been stuck for a week. Who gives a shit if I didn’t look like a badass effortless gamegrl doing it? Not fucking me, for one.

    Anyway, there’s not a super clear point I’m trying to make here, but I guess what I’m getting at is… Sometimes what we find fun is just personal preference. I dropped Bioshock last year and still haven’t picked it back up, because I can’t play FPSs for shit and I find moral choice systems stressful. It’s a great game and I didn’t really enjoy it – the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

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  13. I’ve beaten both Dark Souls and Bloodborne, and no, I don’t think they’re good games. I think they’re very well-crafted games, but saying they’re good feels like it means I’m giving them my stamp of approval, which I’m not. I don’t like the franchise. I don’t like what it represents. It’s not about how hard or macho gamer the games are. Nobody worthwhile gives a shit either way about that kind of stuff. I don’t like when games have a high barrier to entry, which is why I don’t play fighting games. I appreciate fighting games, but they just don’t work for me because I don’t enjoy them enough relative to the amount of work I need to put in to get to the point that I enjoy them. The analogy to putting in work to appreciate great art or literature is noble, but the truth is that actually most people aren’t in the Eliot-esque art-should-be-difficult camp because most people don’t get enough enjoyment out of difficult art to justify putting in the effort to learn what all the fuss is about. This is doubly true in video games, where the bar is substantially lower. At some point, the process of creation becomes more about the conceit than about making something that people will actually enjoy.

    This actually isn’t the problem I have with the Souls games. I think they’re very well-built, very calculated attempts to appeal to a very particular demographic, and they succeed—and fine, whatever, so you like Dark Souls; good for you. The problem is I just don’t have anything invested in them except time. It takes a respectable time investment to “get good” at one of those games, because getting good doesn’t necessarily mean getting better. The games do a pretty good job of teaching you early on that playing them like other games is the wrong way to play. After a point, I think most people just get better because they learn enemy positions and patterns, and, you know, fine, but that knowledge doesn’t really translate to anything else. This means that I get to a point, usually somewhere around the midpoint of the game, where I’ve entered some new area and I just don’t care enough. I find myself just wanting to get it over with already. It just isn’t worth the time anymore at that point to learn all the new crap in that area. When this happened in Bloodborne, I slogged through out of stubbornness. But when it happened in Dark Souls, I took a few months off and came back later to finish it. If the break had been sufficient to rekindle my interest in the game, that would have been fine, just another case of burn out, but it didn’t. When I came back, I still wasn’t interested. I still just wanted to get it over with, and I realized I should have just taken that time and spent it doing something in which I was more intellectually or emotionally invested in, like playing with my dog.

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    • I disagree. I didn’t just learn the game when I played. Yes, I did memorize some enemy positions in tougher areas, but that was through the fact that even through knowing them, I was still dying. My first playthrough of Dark Souls was 2.5 years ago, and I cannot describe how much I sucked at it. The game is pretty slow, but reflexes do still play a part. Planning is honestly incredibly challenging, but once you learn it, you don’t need to be aware of every attack from a boss in order to succeed. I recently picked up Dark Souls 3, right at release time. I pictured myself first sitting down with Dark Souls and becoming so humbled at the difficulty, but with the general mindset and skills I had learned for my first time with the game and the countless playthroughs (for PVP and PVE both) since then, I wasn’t challenged by this game nearly as much. Bosses were felled in one or two attempts for the most part. I still loved it for its atmosphere, lore, PVP, and community, but there was much less challenge in the game than before. And that would not be possible if I had been simply learning enemy placements like you said.

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  14. Soulsborne games don’t really require time or skill so much as they require understanding the games logic, once you understand the thought process behind the design of one of these games you can effectively play any of them without having to go through a process of trial and error.

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  15. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this franchise!

    I just wanted to share my thoughts because I’ve had a very different experience playing Souls games (I started in October of 2012), and can’t really see where you’re coming from with some of your feedback.

    As for taste, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if someone who was a fan of fantasy didn’t really connect with a souls experience. While they carry some similar traits to games like Dragon Age, Skyrim, Witcher or Shadow of Mordor, they are quite different in what they focus on.
    The experience you’ve described isn’t the one intended. Miyazaki tailors each enemy encounter to be a lesson. If you’re careless or play the game in a typical hack-and-slash fashion, you will likely be punished. It’s not something that was designed to attract those with endless amounts of time, but to reflect the state of the world around you and also to give weight to the mechanic of dying. Difficult encounters can also signify the need to try a different strategy, or to head somewhere else and come back after you’ve upgraded your character / gear. Shortcuts are also a prominent part of Souls games to help you avoid unnecessary backtracking.

    I’d like to point out that this community has some really excellent commentators. There are forums that are still very active with people sharing helpful tips and build guides, and a growing number of Youtubers create beautiful content that explores the lore of these games or contains helpful walkthroughs. The lore alone is a really unique thing because many plot elements are easy to miss and there are holes purposefully left in the stories. These gaps are filled creatively with speculation from the community. Channels like Quelaag, EpicNameBro, SilverMont and VaatiVidya, to name a few, have excellent lore playlists that have thoughtful commentary. With my first playthrough of Dark Souls II and Bloodborne, I actually spent no more than 45 minutes in a session. After each session, I would follow my time up with the next segment of a walkthrough by EpicNameBro. This would provide me with tips but also great perspectives on the plot that I might have missed otherwise. This is a very casual way to play the games but for me was incredibly rewarding. I have two young girls, so I don’t allocate much time to gaming sessions, and this style works great for me 🙂

    FromSoftware also does a commendable job of connecting with their community. They are incredibly active and go out of their way to interact with fans and those curious about Souls games. In the past, they have flown prominent Youtubers out to have them work on guides for new games and share their feedback personally. I’ve never seen them focus interactions with the community on competition, but rather on sharing their own experiences in the game and in asking to share creative ideas with upcoming projects.

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  16. Time is not the real issue for me with Bloodborne. Not as much as monotony.

    If you have spent 40 minutes, using stealth and harrying tactics to thin down the first area, and move to the second, and then get killed by some fat git with a hammer, while finding out there is no lantern here, then you end up staring down the barrel of another 40+ minutes, doing the same crap you was just repeating to farm blood echoes, while being far from certain that you won’t have to do it all over again.

    I’ve been playing this game for the past 5 days, and I’m quite frankly sick of doing the same thing over and over again.

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  17. As a Dad who works 2 jobs with a wife and 3 kids, I don’t think it’s about “privilege” because God knows I’m always short on time and money. In fact, a lot of games mastery comes when you have limited income, like when a kid could only get one game for maybe a whole year until next Christmas or Birthday (or in my case, a parent whose disposable income goes straight to his family.)

    I only discovered Dark Souls last November and recorded a play through of being a complete newb to the game to its completion. So I can completely relate to your frustration.

    I’d argue that the game is designed to crush your spirit and to make you feel unwelcome. The NPCs of the game make fun of you for even trying and the merchants cynically laugh at you as they make money off of you. The whole experience of the game is made to be daunting. It is made to crush your spirit if you let it.

    In the end, it’s a question if it is worth your time because there are more things you could be doing. For me and that part of my life, I set out to complete the game no matter what. I wanted to know who I was in the face of such adversity.

    But that’s why it was so rewarding for me to finish it. Even at the end, I didn’t fully understand the lore nor my place in its universe, but for me the journey was worth it.

    I hope you come back again someday.

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  18. Honestly, opponents of this game are put off by the “Git Gud” crowd, but that is what this game is all about. The game gives you small clues, small lessons to learn and once you learn the mechanics the game gets substantially easier. If this wasn’t the case then average people couldn’t play through the game a time or two, then go and play the entire game without ever leveling up.

    People often complain that this game needs an easy mode. However, it has an easy mode. It’s called the internet. Learning any number of mechanics lessons through the insights and tips of others makes this game easier and easier with each tidbit of information.

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  19. Some like it, some don’t. To be honest, DS and BB, both are amazing games to me. I like BB just a little more because I haven’t put as much time into DS as much as I have BB. But both very good games. IMO it kinda sounds like you’re getting very upset about dying often. Take my advice, don’t rush. Play as much as possible ya know. 15 minutes, 30, 45, but the longer you play the better it gets. That’s the way I feel about it anyways. Have a great day everybody 🙂

    Like

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