So, after eighty-two hours with Dark Souls, I finally defeated the cheese-tastic final boss and completed the game.
Now that all's been said and done, I am of the strong opinion that Dark is nowhere near as finely-crafted or as enjoyable as its predecessor, Demon's Souls. It's just not.
At the moment, it's easiest to just say that Dark doesn't do anything that Demon's didn't already do better, and throws in a whole host of problems, to boot.
I find this entire situation particularly aggravating for a few reasons.
Primarily, Demon's Souls is one of my favorite games of all time, and "fixing" something that wasn't broken and then breaking it further still doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
I also take issue with the fact that it was so long. Yes, I've heard of the 90-minute Dark Souls speedrun on YouTube, but that's so far removed from the experience of the average player that it might as well not even exist.
As for me, I approached the game without using any hint guides or FAQs, and the only help I got were a few key pointers from fellow players. The game gives precious little assistance, so without outside help, I think it's realistic to expect most gamers to take at least as long as I took to finish, if not longer. Considering that my first FAQ-free run through Demon's Souls was about 50 hours, doubling or near-doubling that playtime is a lot to ask.
There were also a number of technical issues I ran into (details in the review) but the thing that pissed me off the most was that the ending was such an insulting slap in the face that I literally stood up and started yelling at my TV. After pouring so much time and effort into the adventure (not to mention putting up with all the rough edges and cheap design decisions) I could not believe that FromSoft went with such a ridiculously poor way to tie things up.
It. Was. Unbelievably. Awful.
Is Dark Souls the worst game I've ever played? No, not at all. Not even close. Would I recommend it to anyone now that I've rolled credits? In a world where Demon's Souls exists, no, I really wouldn't.
I haven't had a lot of time for TV or movies lately, but when I do have time, the wife and I have been getting in episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix instant-watch.
I'd never seen a single episode when the show was still running on television, but after having such a positive experience with Firefly (another Joss Whedon show) we decided to give Buffy a whirl, and we haven't been disappointed. At the moment, we are a little past the halfway point of Season Two, and it's going swimmingly.
The funny thing about watching the show is that even though I know the program has quite a large following, I've never spoken to anyone who ever made it sound appealing or fun. Every time I asked someone their opinion on it, it never remotely sounded like my cup of tea. Now that I'm actually watching it myself, I think it's pretty great. I'm not quite sure where the disconnect was there, but maybe I was just talking to the wrong people all this time?
Anyway, despite the fact that none of the "teenagers" on the show look like they're actually high school students, the writing is sharp, the characters are likable, and there's a good balance between larger characterization and typical monster-of-the-week action.
So far, a big thumbs up.
Currently, he's got about 42 minutes a night to play because adulting is a timesuck, but despite that, he's a happily married guy with two kids who both have better K/D ratios than he does.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody at the office is looking, and his favorite game of all time is the first Mass Effect -- and he thought the trilogy's ending was Just Fine, Thanks.
Follow Brad on Twitter at @BradGallaway