Dark Souls: the first step is a doozy

, | Game diaries

What kind of game situates the first NPC vendor so that talking to him means standing with your back to the edge of a fatal cliff, at which point a menu pops up in which the analog stick still moves your character instead of changing the menu selection, so that when you pull down on the stick to select the next menu item, your character neatly steps off the edge of the cliff and dies?

Dark Souls. That’s what kind of game. Remember kids, when you’re in a menu screen, use the d-pad.

After the jump, something else I wish I’d known when I started playing

The previous game, Demon’s Souls, started you off in a hub with your choice of five gates to enter, each leading to a separate world. When you hit a brick wall in one world, you could just try one of the other worlds for a while. In Dark Souls, your hub isn’t arranged quite so conveniently. This seems to be one large continuous world. So if you’re like me, you’re liable to miss something and conclude that you’re entirely surrounded by brick walls. At which point you’re all, like, “Eff this game”.

Fortunately, clueless reviewers like me were sent a reviewers’ guide to thumb through while we sulk about how the game is unfair. This reviewers’ guide knew exactly where we would conclude “eff this game” and therefore explained what we should have been able to figure out if we weren’t so quick to conclude “eff this game”.

So to save yourself a bit of frustration, let me tell you where to go when you’re ready to start advancing through the world in earnest instead of banging your face into a brick wall. Face the knight who’s sitting next to your starting bonfire. 90 degrees to your right is a well with a corpse draped over the lip. If you continue along in a straight line, you’ll see a gnarled dead tree. If you keep continuing along a straight line, you’ll find steps leading up.

This is where you need to go.

Explore elsewhere all you want, but these slightly hard-to-find steps lead to the “beginner’s area”, for lack of a better term. Because, really, there’s no such thing as a beginner in Dark Souls; there are only people who aren’t good enough to go other places until they’ve gotten better equipment and stats.

Up next: jackpot!