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Dark Souls - Retrospective @ Pixelvolt

by Couchpotato, 2014-01-24 01:41:48

Pixelvolt takes a look back at Dark Souls and calls the game a true horror.

Fear is subjective. Fear of the unknown, of the violent and terrible. Some fear death, others fear spiders. We each have a unique perspective on this universal sensation, but no matter who you are, or what you say, there is something in this world that we all fear. It’s a natural response to events or images that we perceive as threatening or otherwise dangerous. Movies, books, real world events – anything can trigger that basic survival instinct that tells us “this is not right.” It’s also important to create the distinction between fear and anxiety, and while anxiety can lead to fear, it generally occurs when there is no immediate sense of danger.

Take Steven Spielberg’s classic open water tale Jaws, for instance; the anxiety is in the suspense. The classic score playing when Jaws is circling its prey, the pause before it strikes, all of it creates layers that builds up to the eventual release, a sort’ve catharsis. Once the tension of such a scene is cut, it resets until the next dramatic moment. Jaws was not, by any categorical standard, a horror movie. And yet it created such fervor long after its release that people still, to this day, fear that movie.

So what’s my point? My point is, like I said, that fear is subjective. You don’t have to watch a horror movie or play a horror video game to find things frightening. Half-Life 2, System Shock 2, BioShock, Max Payne: these are not typical horror games, and yet each one contained at least one area, or one particular theme that was just unsettling. From Ravenholm, to SHODAN, to the Splicers, to Max’s nightmare, these were appropriately frightening moments from typically non-frightening games.

For the purposes of this article, let’s compare Dark Souls and its elements of horror to, what I believe, is the prime example of a modern horror game – Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Now I must warn you, if you have any interest in playing Amnesia at all but have not done so yet, then I suggest you close out of this article right now, because I am about to dissect it to the point that knowing just how the horror works ahead of time will completely diminish the experience. That being said, for everyone else still here, let’s get on with it.

Information about

Dark Souls

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released