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Thread: So, which Dark Souls should I start with?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2014

    So, which Dark Souls should I start with?

    I'm considering taking the plunge and giving Dark Souls another go (I tried it years ago and it didn't grab me), and with that in mind which one should I start with?

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    IMO none of them captures the atmosphere quite like the first one. Demon's Souls is probably a good next bet.

  3. #3
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    If you want to start out with the easiest one to get into, I'd suggest DS2. It has the gentlest learning curve of three.

  4. #4
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    I was late at the Dark Souls game. Poor PC support, supposedly you needed a controller to play, harsh, unforgiving, you needed "mad skillz", you needed to "git gud", etc. But I wanted to play it because I liked the screenshots and youtube-movies I saw. I tried DS1, but technically it was a disaster (jittery low fps, terrible graphics, difficult to configure keybinds and mouse, etc). I tried DS2, but similar problems. And the start seemed very hard.

    In Spring 2016 I decided to play DS1. I enjoyed it. Finished it. In summer/autumn 2016 I played DS3. I had been told DS2 was the lesser of the 3 games. So I didn't play that until early this year.

    I enjoyed all 3 games equally. They are slightly different of course. But I don't see one as more or less enjoyable than the others. Therefor I would recommend you start with Dark Souls 1. I also think DS1 is maybe the easiest of the three, regarding combat. Because combat is slower than DS3. And in DS2, if you don't build your character in a proper way (agility, what's that ?) then combat can be very frustrating.

    I played DS2 last. But I found the starting areas pretty hard. The death penalty is very harsh too. You lose 10% of your health every time you die. (Once you're at 50%, your max health won't go lower). So very quickly you will run around at 50% health constantly. There is a ring to help with that (you'll have your max health at 75% of your normal max health as a minimum). But you need to know exactly where it is, and be able to get there early in the game. Easy for veterans, hard for new players. Also, if you're lucky you can find a good sword (fire longsword) early on. And you should invest your levels in health and stamina first. But if you don't know these things, the game is very harsh for new players. I also find the movement in DS2 more sluggish than in DS1. One benefit is that the bosses in the DS2 base game are rather simple and easy. I liked that. On the other hand, half the bosses in the DS2 expansion-packs are harder than any other boss in DS1/DS2/DS3 (kinda).

    So I recommend playing DS1.
    You should read a little on the web to make life easier for you during the first hours. Or we can give a few general tips here in this thread. I'm not an elite player, so I can't rely on my fast reaction and "mad skillz". I play with a trackball+joystick, and I'm told that's a handicap (I don't agree). So I usually have to rely on good preparation, good control configuration, a smart strategy, getting the max out of my talents and gear, etc. Maybe my experience can help you to make the start of the game a little less frustrating.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Renzatic View Post
    If you want to start out with the easiest one to get into, I'd suggest DS2. It has the gentlest learning curve of three.
    Seconded, it fixes all the technical problems DS1 had on PC. Oh, and whatever you choose, use the controller. The control scheme is a bit weird, but more or less consistent throughout all 3 games, and it's how the game was intended to play.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    I say go in the order they were released. DS1 first. Or Demon's, if you have a PS3.

  7. #7
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    I agree with Malleus. 90% of the issues on the pc are fixed by dsfix so make sure that you install that before playing it.

    While it does have an initially easier learning curve and some notable gameplay improvements, its story, characters and atmosphere pales in comparison to DS1. DS2 is still awesome (I've put in more hours into it than 1 and 2); just less impactful than the first. Personally speaking, I can draw rough parallels between my experiences of Thief 1 & 2 -- T2 had a number of improvements over the first (and I've put more hours into it), but I preferred the story, mystique and atmosphere of the first and would always recommend that people play it first for the same reasons I recommend that DS1 be played first.

  8. #8
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Quote Originally Posted by Gryzemuis View Post
    I played DS2 last. But I found the starting areas pretty hard. The death penalty is very harsh too. You lose 10% of your health every time you die. (Once you're at 50%, your max health won't go lower). So very quickly you will run around at 50% health constantly. There is a ring to help with that (you'll have your max health at 75% of your normal max health as a minimum). But you need to know exactly where it is, and be able to get there early in the game. Easy for veterans, hard for new players.
    I'm gonna have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. If you plow through Heide's right from the start without any DS experience, yeah, it'll hand your ass to you. But taking the "preferred" route through the Forest is a relatively easy trip compared to the opening areas from DS1 and 3. You won't even see your first boss fight in DS2 until you're about an hour or two in at least.

    To me, DS3 is probably the hardest of the bunch. Not only does it have you face off against a difficult boss within the first 10 minutes of the game, but its opening area post Firelink Shrine is practically tailor made to utterly brutalize the unprepared. Someone with no Dark Souls experience taking on all those roaming Lothric Knights won't end in anything but tragedy after tragedy. It'd be like a trial by fire for them.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Hmm... have you seen someone play DS2 as the first game? I have a hard time comparing DS1 and DS2 myself, but I don't think it's any easier.

    DS3 is definitely the hardest of the bunch. The first boss alone completely destroys newbies unless they go with a knight or something.

  10. #10
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    I think it's easier simply because it eases you into the game more. There's no "here are the controls, now kill this guy" boss fights, or gangs of enemies placed in just the right positions to ruin your day. It provides a nice tutorial area to allow you to come to grips with everything, then leads you out to Majula for an even more relaxing experience.

    Though it's gentler beginnings are offset by the fact that DS2 is a much harder game by the end than the original DS was, and that's not even considering the expansions.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    DS1 may lack a dedicated tutorial, but it teaches a lot through design and simply by locking you in until you have learned stuff AKA gating. It's essentially the Super Metroid approach to teaching players.

    In DS2, the forest is not as easy as it may seem. It has its share of ambushes and the area with the Heide Knight can get people stuck for ages.

  12. #12
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Oh, it's not an easy area by any stretch. I just think it's easier relative to Undead Burg. I mean comeon, you don't have to deal with that goddamn dragon, and the trip down to the underside of that bridge where you have to walk along a little path where the only distance between you and death is a good foot and a half of ledge, and oh shit, that guy's got a spear NO FUCK NO POISON RATS now I gotta stand around for 5 minutes drinking through my ever dwindling power juice supplies to keep myself alive AND DID YOU JUST SEE THAT METAL BULL CHARGE AT ME etc. etc. etc you died you died you died OH FINALLY A BONFIRE!

    ...and that's just the 2nd half.

    The forest is easier.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The forest is also much, much shorter than the Undead Burg. Apples and oranges.

  14. #14
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    You know, we've probably scared Buccura off by now, right?

  15. #15
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Yeah, he's definitely not talking. I think we've made him run away. :P

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Run, Buccura, run! It's too late for us, but you can still save yourself.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by twisty View Post
    its story, characters and atmosphere pales in comparison to DS1
    I don't know about that, I just think it's better to play through a franchise chronologically, to see how it changed and evolved over time. Starting with a newer game / sequel might make it more difficult to get into an older one.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I don't get why everyone always says "play it on a controller, it's unplayable with keyboard and mouse". I played with the latter just fine and never had any control problems, other than the fact that the game's context-sensitive tips constantly tell you to press buttons that don't actually exist, so you have to remember that e.g. STRANGE YELLOW CIRCLE means B on your keyboard.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    It's not unplayable, but it makes the game more frustrating than it should be. The balance of difficulty in Dark Souls is very fragile, so pushing things too much in either direction ends up diminishing the experience. Dark Souls is meant to be challenging not punishing.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Keyboard and mouse is as viable in DS as the controller. There are no gameplay mechanics in these games that would require, or be specifically better with the controller.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The game is designed with a controller in mind, from the menus to analog movement making it easier to dodge in a certain direction, for example. Sure, it's not as important outside of boss fights, but it's not as if there's no difference.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    DS2 and DS3 have good menuing even with kb+m and eight directions is enough to dodge anything. If you need precision movement, you can look in a direction (camera control is better with the mouse btw) and go forward. In DS1 you were better off menuing using the keyboard only (which isn't difficult at all anyway), but that's because it was a garbage port. Besides, funny you mention dodging, since in DS1, you can only dodge in 4 directions when locked on.

    I'm still waiting for an objective argument on why controller is so much better, but I haven't seen any. Maybe because there isn't any. It's all subjective accounts of people extrapolating their own personal preference for the controller, or arguments like "it was designed for a controller" from which it doesn't follow that another control scheme can't be good.

    You want an example of a mechanic that is better with the controller? The cutting in Metal Gear Rising. Or the twin stick shooter parts in Nier Automata. Dark Souls doesn't have anything like those.

    Sorry about the rant, but sometimes I get tired of this nonsense and people acting like playing DS with kb+m is frustrating or some kind of challenge. It is, if you're not used to it, just like it would be a challenge for me to play with a controller, since I'm not used to that.

    EDIT: Also, I'm cranky because the Nioh PC port doesn't support the mouse. At all.
    Last edited by Malleus; 12th Nov 2017 at 16:07.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The whole argument is old and tired at this point anyways. I think Malleus is one of the best Dark Souls players any of us know and he's KB&M, and Gryz managed to play all the way through and enjoy all three games riding a unicycle and balancing a sword on his nose (or however his configuration works).

    Yeah, it's pretty clear the game was designed with the controller in mind (shield, left-hand, left shoulder buttons; sword, right-hand, right shoulder buttons; d-pad item selections match what you see on the HUD, both in position and function; etc.). And I personally like the haptic feedback. When you hold your shield up with your left hand to absorb a big blow and you feel it in the controller as you hold your shield up with the left shoulder button, it's a great, immersive tactile experience for me.

    But clearly people like Malleus, Phatose, Nameless Voice and Gryz have played without a controller and still loved the games, so hey, more power to them.

    Maybe people worry that using something other than the controller for which the game was designed will make a steep learning curver even more off-putting? I don't know. But either way the argument is pretty old and tired at this point, and I've never seen anyone change their minds in these discussions.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I have played mostly with KB&M in the last 15 years and I switch to a controller for this game. The issue is not that you can't play it with KB&M, it's that a controller is simply the best way to play this. Things that take getting used to or are awkward on the keyboard work with a controller out of the box. It's like learning to eat with two knives instead of a fork.
    Last edited by Starker; 12th Nov 2017 at 22:51.

  25. #25
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    It's like learning to eat with two knives instead of a fork.
    Don't judge me.

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