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RPGFan Game of the Month

Game of the Month October 2011: Dark Souls
Dark Souls is a game that has polarized the gaming public – the very nature of the game saw to it. The oppressive atmosphere, harsh-yet-beautiful environments, and unforgiving difficulty combine to create an unforgettable and, even to its biggest fans, exhausting experience. It is a massive, complicated game in every aspect. The world of Lordran is a twisting, labyrinthine amalgamation of dark caverns, diseased villages, castle keeps, and all manner of other dark fantasy staples. And although it confuses and disorients you at the outset, as you plumb the depths and scale the heights of this world, you experience a gradual understanding of all its corners.

You begin as an accursed Undead with nothing more than a broken sword hilt and the rags on your withered shoulders, but your power can eventually grow to encompass a number of martial weapons, bows and crossbows, sorcery, miracles, and pyromancy.

You have untold numbers of options when it comes to customizing your armaments, and with good reason: the enemies you face are merciless, multifarious, and oftentimes massive. And this isn't a game where those foes politely stand by while you wind up for your next big attack on their friends. You have to use all the tools at your disposal – and use them well – in order to survive. Your finger clings to the shield button as desperately as your character does to the shield itself, because that one piece of metal is often the only thing insulating you from an ignominious death. You carefully measure the strength and timing of your attacks and defenses, ensuring every last bit of your valuable stamina is best utilized. The scant few moments you spend with your shield lowered to recover your energy are as tense as those found in some of the greatest survival horror games.

But there's a balance for all of that. For every death and every moment of frustration, there are equal parts relief and satisfaction. Each hard-fought victory is sweeter than the last, and every bit of ground you gain feels well-deserved. This is not a game about trophies, speed runs, or making your character look cool. This is a game where the very act of survival is an ever-present and self-perpetuating goal. You huddle in the dark, hoarding what few supplies you have, knowing that the specter of death waits in the road ahead and lurks in your shadow. The act of playing Dark Souls is an exhausting task, but like the best things in life, its hard-won triumphs are the finest.

Some players play to relax and unwind, or to be told a good story and meet memorable characters. Those players may not love or even like Dark Souls. But for those that seek a challenge – an unforgettably unnerving and at times enervating experience – Dark Souls is topped by few other games, and it is for this reason that we have chosen it as RPGFan's first Game of the Month.

Explore More Dark Souls
Robert Steinman's Review Kyle E. Miller's Review Random Encounter Podcast Episode 34 - Dark Souls Edition Dark Souls Gallery Dark Souls Gallery: Video


Explore All RPGFan Games of the Month
November 2013: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds October 2013: Pokémon X & Y September 2013: Valdis Story: Abyssal City August 2013: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn July 2013: Shin Megami Tensei IV June 2013: Muramasa Rebirth May 2013: The Night of the Rabbit April 2013: Soul Sacrifice March 2013: Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk February 2013: Fire Emblem: Awakening January 2013: Ni no Kuni December 2012: Crimson Shroud November 2012: Persona 4 Golden October 2012: Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward September 2012: Borderlands 2 August 2012: Guild Wars 2 July 2012: Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] June 2012: The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinov May 2012: Diablo III April 2012: Xenoblade Chronicles March 2012: Mass Effect 3 February 2012: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning January 2012: Final Fantasy XIII-2 December 2011: Star Wars: The Old Republic November 2011: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword October 2011: Dark Souls

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