For the past month, there’s been plenty of talk about the difficulty of Dark Souls 3. All new players are commenting that the game is too hard and some news outlets have supported this claim in their articles. After taking a close look at these articles, I think I’ve figured it out why this game supposedly needs “an easy mode”. People are used to games being way easier than Dark Souls (or even Demon Souls) has ever been. The funny thing about these articles is most of them agree that it would “dilute the experience somewhat“.
Most games like Call Of Duty hold your hand and give you a 20+ minute introduction on how to play the game. In Dark Souls II, for example, you are placed on a podium in an empty field. No sense of direction, no explanation of the controls until you can find your way past the Fire Keepers’ house. After this, you can choose whether you play the tutorial or not. If you don’t want to do a tutorial you can simply walk past it and get on your way. Now this isn’t a nice way of saying if you need to learn the tutorial, you definitely need to learn the controls to play the game. This isn’t a regular tutorial where it tells you exactly what to do. It gives you the opportunity to learn the controls while also still having a death element. Dark Souls was not built on the foundation of being an easy game. The whole point of the game is to be difficult and put you up against very dangerous and stress-inducing situations. The quote below comes straight from an interview conducted about Dark Souls with Miyazaki, aka The Creator of Dark Souls.
“But the main concept behind the death system is trial and error. The difficulty is high, but always achievable. Everyone can achieve without all that much technique – all you need to do is learn, from your deaths, how to overcome the difficulties. Overcoming challenges by learning something in a game is a very rewarding feeling, and that’s what I wanted to prioritize in Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls. And because of the online, you can even learn something from somebody else’s death. I’d say that was the main concept behind the online, too.”
Adding an easy mode to a game like Dark Souls is defeating the whole purpose of the game. The developers wanted you to get mad at the game and feel the relief when you finally beat the boss after 50+ tries. Dark Souls is about learning your enemies’ attack patterns and learning to adapt to them. There are no random checkpoints, but rather bonfires you can rest at and save your progress. To add an easy mode, you are taking away the target audience’s fun. They don’t want others to play an easier version of one of the hardest games of our generation; they want everyone to feel the fear of death with extremely limited health and stamina.
Now, I’m not saying that adding an easy mode is the worst idea ever, but the Souls series was created in the essence of being very difficult. If people don’t want to take the plunge of hours upon hours of seeing “You Died” and the final victory of defeating something that felt impossible, why would they play the game? These games are definitely a challenge and Dark Souls III is no exception. In my personal opinion, it does seem a bit simpler in the means of controls and game play (in relation to Dark Souls II: Scholar Of The First Sin). Do you think Dark Souls III or any of the games should of featured an “easy mode”?