Souls Thread: Dark Souls, Demon Souls, Bloodborne -

Your Weird Fetish

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Start with Dark Souls 1 and do them in order. Not for the lore because Dark Souls lore is exceptional and irrelevant. But because they're all good games in their way.

DS1 is the best though and DS3 is the worst.

I would play them in release order, if I were you. They all have something to offer and build on what came before. Naysayers will say to skip 2 but that's just because they don't want to put levels into ADP. 2 has the best combat and build variety, not to mention powerstancing. As a veteran of the series, 3 is my least favorite. It's got some fancy graphics but it's really uninspired and the bosses are pretty boring with a couple of exceptions.
3 is so weird. It's got some of the best bosses in the series but it's also got the worst. Also it's basicaly a Bloodborne total conversion mod.
 
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Jaimas

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Excuse the bump, but I’m looking to get into the Souls games. Is this one of those series where the earlier titles can be safely ignored, or should I be playing all three to get the full experience? Cursory look online seems to suggest that I could probably just jump into DS3 with no real issues, but I’d like to get some first-hand opinions from people who know the games.
Quick and Dirty rundown for big dumb idiots:

Dark Souls 1 is great, with the only caveat being that there's no respecs allowed. I highly recommend all would-be Souls fans start with this one; you can get it on basically every platform and even though there's parts of the remaster that are broken buggy messes, the game as a whole is still solid and replete with good ideas. It's a great start for those new to the genre and it's often not as challenging as it's made out to be; many times an encounter can be mitigated or bypassed entirely by being clever, which is a great thing. All magic and weapon paths are viable, so you have enormous build options and can try different things. The game is almost entirely nonlinear if you know what you're doing, and secrets abound. It's absolutely worth your time and cash.

Dark Souls 2, meanwhile, is squarely mediocre and has major, glaring problems that have made the gameplay experience worse with each iteration. The story is acceptible, the environment design interesting, but Dark Souls 2 steers the player's experience hard, and not in good ways. To sum up the problems briefly: Soul Memory basically means that a player has minimal control over their multiplayer experience and any souls lost in the game world (dying and failing to recover them), or spent on buying/repairing things are fundamentally lost, and once a character is SM inefficient, they can never become SM efficient again. This means that an SM inefficient character can and will be matchmade with characters that they have no meaningful way to fight, which means a lot of players intentionally play offline. The lack of complete blue/red orbs doesn't help either, and the game is a broken bug-ridden mess. The entire Rat covenant is a gigantic bullshit-fest where players drag you into borderline-unwinnable meat grinders and the belltower covenant isn't much better. Sin removal from the pardoner does not work, despite charging an inordinate sum for it. The biggest issue with Dark Souls 2, however, is build viability. For reasons known only to them, Dark Souls 2 has nerfed every single meta build and fucked over magic in every patch until the point where magic became entirely nonviable, at the same time the expansions were making the game more robust, so you either have a game that's feature-incomplete and you can run different builds in, or you have the final version where it's melee all day every day. Dark Souls 2 offers virtually nothing to the overarching story of the series so you can basically ignore it without consequence, but a lot of the DLC is absolutely worth looking at, paradoxically enough. None of Dark Souls 2's problems are insurmountable, but Namco has no intention of giving a shit about them and won't let the community mod it out, so fuck it.

Dark Souls 3 is amazing. It plays fantastic and offers a lot of options, channeling the fun parts of 2 and combining them with the best elements of 1 to make an interesting whole. DS3 is a dramatic refinement of the entire series and once more, almost every build can be found, with tons of different available ones to choose from. SM is gone (good riddance) and we're back to Level matchmaking, and invasions and co-op can happen anywhere, with optional covenant variation allowing for all manner of shenannigans. It plays better than its predecessors and seems to have learned from Dark Souls 2, but the level design isn't as solid as Dark Souls 1's and many of the fights just aren't fully as memorable. Recommended and absolutely my favorite one of the series, but a flawed game for all its strengths.
 

Your Weird Fetish

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The series effectively has no overarching plot and hex builds are still great in DS2. The only magic that's absolutely fucked is high level miracle stuff due to a bug that was never fixed. You will never, ever fight a rat covenant person anymore, the game population is too low. Which is a shame because that idea was great.

DS3 multiplayer is a gank fest and has less viable builds than either of its predecessors. Also the constant rolling like a crackhead with adhd just bugs me.
 
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Cactus Wings

Coughing for Cash
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Honestly I just prefer DaS in all ways because it has no "okay, look out for-" besides starting with the master key. And even that isn't that required. DaS 2 had so much bullshit including the rolling stat and shards and shit to look out for. A super cryptic multi-path system that somehow sucked a lot despite being done the same way as in DaS 1.

Souls 1 fucking, ate 3 days of my life. It's the only game I've instantly launched on booting my PC in 10 years for those days.
 

Jaimas

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The series effectively has no overarching plot and hex builds are still great in DS2. The only magic that's absolutely fucked is high level miracle stuff due to a bug that was never fixed. You will never, ever fight a rat covenant person anymore, the game population is too low. Which is a shame because that idea was great.
You are incorrect. The nerfings weren't limited to Miracles. Those were just the hardest ones hit (due to fucking incompetence), but fucking every magic build got screwed courtesy of how they patched.

I can only speculate as to the reasons that these happened, but going by what I've gleaned from looking at DS2's code, it's because the majority of the bosses in DS2 prior to the DLCs are badly designed and even worse when it comes to implementation. Magic, specifically ones with long range, multiple hit capability, and/or AOE makes the slower ones a complete laughingstock, as it does many of the larger enemies who have the intelligence of a fucking rock. Many enemies that are ridiculously frustrating for any melee build are a complete joke for any spellcaster regardless of specialization.

The first major nerfing came in the very first "big" Patch that outright curb-stomped the spell Soul Geyser. While still potentially usable, it wasn't very good for mages in general, as Soul Geyser in general went from doing fucktons of damage to doing significantly less. Not something you're going to want with 64 fucking intelligence as a requirement. It still technically was worth taking at this point, but only for very specific boss fights, as the nerf amounted to an almost 26% decrease in damage. If you ever have the chance to play a "clean" install of DS2, before the patches, you will be greeted by some of the most amazing magic setups one can imagine; several bosses, like the Dragon at Aldia's keep, can be essentially downed in like 3 hits.

Miracles and Pyromancies, at the time, were fine, with Hexes in a very weird place because at this point they were blatantly overpowered due to the Abyss Seal giving like a 50% damage boost. Great Resonant soul could do over 2000 damage on the right build so it was easily the most broken of the lot but it actually went ignored by the powers that be for almost a year, even though it was by far the most common PVP spell and hexes in general were better than any other spellcasting type (something that hasn't changed even with the nerfings).

It wouldn't hold forever, however, and another update specifically nerfed spells on behalf of PVP. The ring that allowed Hexes to be the overpowered bullshit we all knew and loathed got the shit nerfed out of it and the tracking of numerous spells was toned down (but the enemy spell tracking was apparently fine). Things seemed to be calming down for a bit and with new DLCs coming, it looked like things were finally settling into a good place meta-wise.

It wouldn't last. The following updates first nerfed and then butchered spellcasting substantially. Soul Geyser got another nerf, which just led people to use Soul Vortex instead, and then finally, a battery of nerfs dropped with comprehensively fucked basically every magic type. The argument, when the patch dropped, was that the spells were doing less Poise damage. This is a lie. What was changed was damage referesh rates, which basically means you can no longer hit an enemy more than once with a given spell. In one change, this completely screwed a huge number of different spells. Firestorm, Heavenly Thunder, Scraps of Life, and so on went from risky anti-boss tools to well on fucking useless.

Additionally, whoever programmed this was a fucking moron and had it include the chip damage from certain spells, so if you got grazed from the residual fire from a Chaos Firestorm or the like, you could sit there with your thumb up your ass and take no damage from the fire pillars that were exploding in your face. The change also nerfed casting rates and the Blue Clearstone Ring. Most players were insisting this was being done to make up for the inclusion for SotFS's clutch rings, but the damage you regained for using them was a paltry sum in exchange for what you were losing. None were hit harder than Miracles; due to programming idiocy, they actually went against what their own patch notes said and nerfed Miracle damage in general by around 25%. It was never fixed despite being a change I could do in 20 minutes with a fucking editor.

Soul Spear, the single-most-used offensive sorcery, got nerfed, as did Crystal Soul Spear, forcing players to farm the latter more. The argument, near as I can tell, was that these were the go-to PVP sorceries.

Enemy spells, of course, were never nerfed, and the meta then began to center on a mix of the only spells that weren't shit after the nerf barrage (mostly Hexes and Soul Greatsword) and the remaining range and melee builds that were left. The playerbase suffered a severe die-off at this point; I remember it quite well. Buff-heavy builds were still fine, Hex builds squeaked out as just above usable, and Pyromancy could fall back on utility spells, but Sorcery and Miracles would be thrown to the sidelines and would fall out of favor because they just weren't worth the points you could invest. For my money I wound up dual-wielding smelter swords and played out the rest of Dark Souls 2 that way.
 
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Your Weird Fetish

Intersectional fetishist
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You are incorrect. The nerfings weren't limited to Miracles. Those were just the hardest ones hit (due to fucking incompetence), but fucking every magic build got screwed courtesy of how they patched.
Oh I know they weren't the only thing nerfed, Miracles are just the only one I'd argue are totally nonviable for PVP. Though expansion content PVE is also rough for magic users because just like in Dark Souls 1 they decided to make expac bosses resistant to everything.
 

Jaimas

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Oh I know they weren't the only thing nerfed, Miracles are just the only one I'd argue are totally nonviable for PVP. Though expansion content PVE is also rough for magic users because just like in Dark Souls 1 they decided to make expac bosses resistant to everything.
Actually, they have a blanket resistance to Sorceries/Hexes/Pyromancies/Miracles specifically. You can test it with elemental weapons.
 

BrunoMattei

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I liked DS 2. The worst part about it are the bosses excluding the DLC bosses and the Dark Lurker. Fuck the Dark Lurker and burning Human Effigy's every time you fight it. There's some questionable choices but I'd argue that there's questionable choices in Dark Souls 1 as well. I love the freedom of DS 2 the most. Once again, can't emphasize this enough, I don't care if I'm a broken record, FUCK Scholars of the First Sin. Fuck. That. Version. Laziest shit in the world "Oh, let's block off a path by placing a stone NPC in your way and forcing you to use a Fragrant Branch of Yore." Fuck that and fuck whoever it was who came up with that idea. Also, fuck whoever it was who decided that the DLC area's should be locked off and you need to go to some obscure location to find a key to unlock two of those areas.

Dark Souls 3 improves upon all the shortcomings of the previous games HOWEVER it eliminated the freedom of exploring that world which was prevalent in the previous games. It also has the hardest bosses in the series not including Sekiro and because of that it's harder to recommend as the first game someone should try. I can imagine a complete newbie would struggle so hard against even the tutorial boss I can't imagine them fighting the Pontiff or Dragonslayer Armor.
 

Your Weird Fetish

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Dark Souls 3 has dumbass infusions, worse itemization, and no poise though (no hyper armor frames don't count). Combat is also way more about twitch than thinking ahead. And the PVP is pure shit for build variety. All alpha strike or don't even bother because the system is biased to put you into 3 on 1 fights. I still like it a lot but it's by far the least fun in the series to me.
 

Jaimas

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I liked DS 2. The worst part about it are the bosses excluding the DLC bosses and the Dark Lurker. Fuck the Dark Lurker and burning Human Effigy's every time you fight it. There's some questionable choices but I'd argue that there's questionable choices in Dark Souls 1 as well. I love the freedom of DS 2 the most. Once again, can't emphasize this enough, I don't care if I'm a broken record, FUCK Scholars of the First Sin. Fuck. That. Version. Laziest shit in the world "Oh, let's block off a path by placing a stone NPC in your way and forcing you to use a Fragrant Branch of Yore." Fuck that and fuck whoever it was who came up with that idea. Also, fuck whoever it was who decided that the DLC area's should be locked off and you need to go to some obscure location to find a key to unlock two of those areas.

Dark Souls 3 improves upon all the shortcomings of the previous games HOWEVER it eliminated the freedom of exploring that world which was prevalent in the previous games. It also has the hardest bosses in the series not including Sekiro and because of that it's harder to recommend as the first game someone should try. I can imagine a complete newbie would struggle so hard against even the tutorial boss I can't imagine them fighting the Pontiff or Dragonslayer Armor.
Agreed on all counts. Prior to DS2's myriad updates and the DLCs, I was of the opine that in terms of raw gameplay, DS2 offered much more than DS1.

The tragedy of DS2 is that it wouldn't have taken a fuck of a lot to fix the game:

* Roll back the refresh nerf. Add the 25% damage buff Miracles were supposed to get, along with the 50% use cut they did get. Scale things so magic in general requires slightly less investment (50 instead of 60) to match Dark Souls 1 and make it so Hexes aren't statistically superior in all aspects. Alternately allow them to scale slightly higher to encourage investment. The other changes on that list will keep this from being too powerful.

* Remove the DLC boss magic resistance. It is not the fucking player's fault that the devs don't know how to compensate for the pro-level strategy of move-shoot-move-shoot, and they need to stop penalizing them for it. Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 both managed without doing this.

* Change Blue Sentinels/Blood Brother covenant rewards from 50/150/500 to 50/100/150. Add a full Blue or Red Orb to covenant rewards at the first rank up to encourage conventional invasions. Stop consuming Tokens of Fidelity to use the Blue Arena and allow the Bluebros to do their brotherly duels in peace.

* Make Cromwell's pardon actually do something other than making NPCs no longer hostile by actually removing sin. Stop giving you sin for killing Licia with the crushed orb.

* Remove soul memory matchmaking. Change to Soul Level matchmaking. Before you say this can't be done, it's already done in the fucking arenas and would fix tons of problems with the game. This has so many implications for the meta and turns DS2's metagame from utter shit to something genuinely interesting because you can control your experience.

* Fix obviously broken shit that's due to typos like the durability of the Rampart Knight shield.

Dark Souls 3 has dumbass infusions, worse itemization, and no poise though (no hyper armor frames don't count). Combat is also way more about twitch than thinking ahead. And the PVP is pure shit for build variety. All alpha strike or don't even bother because the system is biased to put you into 3 on 1 fights. I still like it a lot but it's by far the least fun in the series to me.
I can completely agree with some of that. Poise in DS2 only barely worked, but you're quite correct: DS2 had objectively better infusion pathways and a much more robust meta before the bottom dropped out of it. DS3 does have objectively more build options than previously, many of which are quite unique and interesting. There's way more options than in the previous games in that regard and it's one of the better points of DS3.

The thing is, those are also stretched over the dipshittery that is DS3's progression (the game is way slower and longer than previous games which makes getting THAT GOOD SHIT a slog) and the fact that DS3's PVP element either locks onto the shithole that is DS3's invasion and reinforcing mechanics. You're either arriving with help into a 3v1 on your side while the host tries to deal with you, your Autistic Au Pair, and that giant fucking crab that keeps giving them bedroom eyes, or winding up in an unwinnable 1v3 (or more) where the host has a phantom and blue and whatever the fuck else arrived in his world. Or you wind up in really shitty fight clubs.

Alternately you use the fire in the shrine and engage in duels which are either fun 1v1s or complete Autism with no middle ground.

There's none of the kind of stuff that @KidKitty and I had in the Red Arena in DS2 where some dipshit in full havel and with the Smelter helmet and dual-wielded halberds omegabuffed himself, leading me to run away until his buffs wore off, whereupon I lured him around a blind corner, and when he followed, introduced his face to a pair of forbidden suns and then fuck his ass with the Bluemoon Greatsword before he recovered, leading him to send me the PM via Live "I WILL GET U BANNED IF I SEE U DOIN THAT AGIN." Good times.
 

broilerrx

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Dark Souls 3 improves upon all the shortcomings of the previous games HOWEVER it eliminated the freedom of exploring that world which was prevalent in the previous games. It also has the hardest bosses in the series not including Sekiro and because of that it's harder to recommend as the first game someone should try. I can imagine a complete newbie would struggle so hard against even the tutorial boss I can't imagine them fighting the Pontiff or Dragonslayer Armor.
Dark Souls 3 has dumbass infusions, worse itemization, and no poise though (no hyper armor frames don't count). Combat is also way more about twitch than thinking ahead. And the PVP is pure shit for build variety. All alpha strike or don't even bother because the system is biased to put you into 3 on 1 fights. I still like it a lot but it's by far the least fun in the series to me.
I know I've done this before in the thread, but even over its pretty frequent updates, I can't shill Cinders enough, for PC players. It changes up infusions to where they're no longer locked off by coals, brings back motherfucking poise, and opens up the world via warp points in the early game. In the most recent of updates, they brought back the Giant's Set from Dark Souls 1, so with the Mask of the Father that was brought in during a prior patch, you can bring back the aesthetic of Giant Dad. It also changes up some bossfights to where Yhorm is slightly more resistant to the Storm Ruler, but can be more easily dealt with via conventional weaponry, for example, and recently added an Echo system for rematches with bosses, with increased HP and Damage, for a greater reward.

After playing Cinders, IDK if I can ever go back to playing Vanilla.
 

Sable

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Some autistic part of me doesn't consider it real souls if there's not a possibility of invasion though, even with DS3's weird matchmaking system.
Even though I know why they implemented it, I don't like weapon matchmaking in 3 or the 1 remaster.

I just want to melt some early bosses for newbies damnit.
 
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Your Weird Fetish

Intersectional fetishist
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Even though I know why they implemented it, I don't like weapon matchmaking in 3 or the 1 remaster.

I just want to melt some early bosses for newbies damnit.
You're just stunting their growth as players and turning them into those faggots that do the entire game with 3 sunbros. Think of the long term damage to the community.

Really though they just had to fix the pyromancy not scaling based on any stat thing from 1. That got ridiculous with a +15 ascended flame on a level 15 character.
 

broilerrx

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Some autistic part of me doesn't consider it real souls if there's not a possibility of invasion though, even with DS3's weird matchmaking system.
You can still enable multiplayer, but doing so will get you softbanned. Now, this is what Steam Family Share is for, since you can make an account dedicated to your Cinders play. At the very least, it will allow co-op via password summons. There have even been fixes implemented for issues presented by certain aspects of Cinders. Company of Champions is an example, since it spawns new enemies into a level.

Now if someone or a group managed to create a Cinders server, no matter how niche it might be, then we could have some fun invading and being invaded.

Even though I know why they implemented it, I don't like weapon matchmaking in 3 or the 1 remaster.

I just want to melt some early bosses for newbies damnit.
I know it's not the same thing, and requires something like a forum to coordinate, as opposed to being able to be done organically like the old days, but password summoning does bypass all that. Then again, it bypasses Soul Level too, so I can see how it would be less than attractive to some.
 

Burned Man

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My first Dark Souls 2 character was a miracle build and I beat them game a few times with them just fine but I remember coming back to do the DLC and discovering just how badly off they were after the nerfs. I never touched magic other then some healing magic in souls games again, I'd rather really rely on weapons, bows, and items. Throwing knives have become a staple for me since and I love what they did to them in 3.
 

Jaimas

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You're just stunting their growth as players and turning them into those faggots that do the entire game with 3 sunbros. Think of the long term damage to the community.
Who turned them into those faggots was one very specific group, and they know who they are. And since they'll never accept culpability for their actions, fuck it, I'll call that shit out, since it's a major reason every other game's matchmaking has sucked ass since. Who am I talking about?

You know the kind, because we all ran into them at some point: Gigantic pricks who act like they're doing a public service of some sort by invading someone that can't possibly offer more than a token resistance, if even that much, and exists solely to fuck up their gameplay experience. If you're at all like I was in the 360 release of DS1, your very first invasion was by an open cheater who mega-muled for equipment, and at entry level was wearing full havel's and even if you could riposte them, you would at best deal double-digit damage. It's a fight you literally cannot win, regardless of skill involved, especially given DS1's shitty latency and lagstab exploitation. And that's when you weren't factoring in the assholes using HP freeze cheats, which was absolutely a thing, even on consoles.

So Dark Souls 2 rolls around and introduces Soul Memory for the express purpose of slowing, if not stopping, the tard invasions of DS1. And it didn't work because DS2 had a mule that was put out like 2 weeks after launch and a completely broken SM scaling setup that could essentially prevent a player from co-opping forever if done wrong. And then Dark Souls 3 rolls around and Invasions are completely broken in favor of the invadee. It's almost like Fromsoft isn't taking the side of invaders. "Gee, I wonder how that happened." The invading scrote obsessed with killing Newblets asks, without a single hint of self-awareness.

And that brings us right to the crux of it: the dickheads are the reasons every other Souls game since Dark Souls 1 has shit PVP. The devs have even said as much in interviews. Congratulations faggots, you played yourselves, and because you couldn't keep your metaphorical dicks in your pants, you ruined the entire thing for everyone from then onwards. Everything done to matchmaking after DS1 was demonstrably a direct consequence of this shit.
 
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