Game Review Random

The charm of the “Soul” game is more than suffering-on the design features of the dark soul


If you want to choose “the most impressive words in the game”, “YOU DIED” will definitely occupy a place in the minds of many players.

“YOU DIED” is a notice that appears on the screen each time the player character dies in the Dark Souls series. Everyone who has played the soul series must have seen this notice many times. Dark Souls is the most difficult work in action games in the past 10 years. The proud sales of the series prove that the difficulty design against the times has not deterred players, but has become a unique attraction. The success of the trilogy not only transformed the developer From Software from an unnamed studio on the verge of bankruptcy into a Japanese factory that won the industry’s annual award, but also attracted countless developers to imitate it. It can be said that it created the unique “soul system”. Game style.

In fact, although “difficult” will be the main impression of most people on the soul game, the charm of the soul game is far more than the difficulty: in the next article, the author will use the black soul trilogy as Lord, for everyone to analyze the “soul” game in addition to the difficulty, what design ideas have been used, so that the black soul trilogy has fascinated countless “fire passers”.

A picture most familiar to the “fire passers”

Simplify the complex operation, bring a sense of conquering

In contrast to the difficulty of customs clearance, it is the ease of operation of the Black Soul series.

The prototype of the Dark Soul “Demon Soul” was released in 2009, which was at the golden age of Japanese ACT games: the Japanese factory ACT games represented by “Angel Witch Hunt” and “Devil May Cry”, focusing on a “hyun” “Word: Beyonita and Dante have the power to surpass humans, and they can do cool combos that humans cannot. Variety of moves, complex mechanisms, various weapons and capabilities … are the core of the ACT design of mainstream Japanese factories at that time.

“Hunting Angel Witch”, one of the representative works of Japanese ACT

Compared with other ACT protagonists, the protagonist of the Black Soul has to be a lot more “realistic”: perhaps due to lack of technical skills, or Miyazaki’s intention to do it, the Black Soul as an ARPG has very limited controllability ——Tap, thump, block, dodge, and all kinds of props used by one button constitute most of the operations required by the player from getting started to customs clearance. Compared with ACT, which is the main combo of “Hunting Angel Witch”, “Dark Soul”-in terms of operation-is easier to get started: In “Black Soul”, players do not need to consider similar “After pressing the X button After a few clicks, you have to press the Y button a few times. This is because players will be exhausted after attacking the enemy once or a few times.

Action games have their own depth: if the Japanese ACT of the year achieved a higher score / faster clearance by making players proficient in continuous moves to gain a sense of growth, then the process of clearing the Black Soul is already difficult enough for players : Part of this difficulty comes from the game settings-in the Black Soul, the player plays just an ordinary undead, which is essentially no different from the roadside soldiers. But the player’s task is to defeat the past kings.

In each generation of Black Soul, players can encounter NPC commonly known as “disheartened brother” in the early stage of the game: “How can it be done with ordinary people like me, defeating the old salary king,” this sentence is black A portrayal of the soul worldview. The design of the BOSS in the Black Soul also makes the reason for the despair of the “disheartened brothers” become self-evident.

Kudah, the first nightmare of the new “ashes”

The “God of Darkness 3” is a representative of the design of the Black Soul BOSS: Presumably, each novice played a few undeads, pulled out the spiral sword, and then found that the first BOSS was a hand-held than his own. When I was a tall man with a halberd that was twice as tall, I was a little nervous. Not to mention the strong sense of oppression after being transformed in the second stage.

One of the reasons why Black Soul is difficult is the overwhelming gap between the protagonist and BOSS. In this case, the advantage of the simple operation of the Black Soul is reflected: the player does not need to pay attention to the operation, but concentrates on the movement of the BOSS. This observation of BOSS is also a necessary condition for weak victory over strong-in the gap between BOSS attacks, finding a chance to cut BOSS two knives is a unique combat experience of the “soul” game.

After many observations and attempts, slowly understand all the BOSS attack methods, and then reduce their mistakes, and finally defeat enemies whose size and strength are several times stronger than themselves, the player’s sense of accomplishment will come into being. As the game progresses, a variety of enemies will test the players’ different abilities. In endless failures, players naturally learn advanced operations such as bounce, invincible frame dodge, distance control, etc. Looking back at the first BOSS, it feels so simple. This sense of growth learned from failure is well-developed by the developers of the Black Soul. The simple operation and the power of BOSS make the player not frustrated by the reason “I can’t play this operation and check the level”, but are willing to challenge the strong enemy again and again. This is the simple “Soul” game. The superiority of the design behind the operation.

Relying on accumulated experience rather than adding attributes to defeat strong enemies is the core design of the Black Soul

Fragmented narrative, stimulate the player’s curiosity & imagination

The Black Soul has a plot, but many people do not know what the plot is when they arrive.

In the game industry where the mainstream narrative method is still character dialogue & CG release, the narrative method of the Black Soul Trilogy seems a bit overly subtle: in the game, players will encounter many NPCs, but most of the NPCs are not good at talking with players The conversation will end in just a few sentences. Although there are cinematic CGs, the main content of the Black Soul CG is mostly special effects pictures of BOSS transformation, and there are few characters who can play the role of narration.

The main part of the plot was smashed into pieces by Miyazaki Inaka, and it was inserted into the description of the game props in the form of a dictionary.

The French sword, every piece of equipment & props in the Black Soul has a similar description

Using the fragmented narrative described by the equipment & props, combined with the Black Soul’s action system, it can be said that it is a bit “sly”: because the operation of the Black Soul is very simple, there is no big difference in operation between similar weapons, So in the Black Soul, the importance of equipment is much weaker than personal skills. For example, the initial armor and sword of the character “Knight” are strong enough to get through the game. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t take the equipment on the map.” With this idea, players will reduce the exploration of the map. But the equipment of the Black Soul is not only equipment, but also props to complete the plot / worldview. The complement of props to the plot drives players who want to understand the plot to explore the map and collect props-even the collected props may never be used.

Another advantage of the fragmented narrative is that it leaves the player with enough imagination: the description of the props of the Black Soul is unknown, and usually requires many pieces to be read together in order to get a clearer story line. And different interpretation methods will interpret completely different stories. The narrative technique of the Black Soul reminds the author of Lovecraft’s novel style and the technique of “blank” in Chinese painting: the commonality between the three is that players, readers and appreciators can use incomplete information. See stories that vary from person to person through imagination.

Leave blank

“There are a thousand Hamlets in the eyes of a thousand people.” The game world is limited, but the imagination is unlimited. The fragmented narrative of the Black Soul uses the player’s curiosity to drive the player to explore the map & collect props, and gives the player the right to interpret the plot freely. The story of the Black Soul has become a long-lasting hot topic, and it has also incubated many iron powders of “soulists” who have a wonderful interpretation of the story. Of course, fragmented narratives also have the disadvantage of being more obscure than traditional linear narratives, but the dark and ruined worldview of the Black Soul and the mystery that comes with fragmented narratives can be considered a natural fit. In recent years, more and more games have begun to try the Black Soul-like narrative. It can be said that the Black Soul Trilogy breaks the tradition and presents a brand-new storytelling method for players.

Concept image of “Dark Soul”

The elaborately carved Gothic world has magical scenes

From Software and Miyazaki Hideo have the same theme in the world of the Black Soul Trilogy: the once prosperous but now declining kingdom.

The two completely opposite elements of “prosperity” and “decline” are perfectly blended together in the Black Soul.

For example, the Hyde Giant Fire Tower in Black Soul 2: On the sea under the setting sun, a youth church built of pure white stone bricks was built. On the way to the church, in the constant impact of the waves, it has become short of bricks and tiles, but the remaining parts are still white. The knight guarding the church, the armor has been covered with rust, but the body is still tall: his task is never endless …

Hyde Fire Tower, one of the most beautiful game scenes in my mind

Or Illusir in Black Soul 3: The phantom capital dyed silver by moonlight and mist, Pope Shaliwan is deep in the church, waiting for the arrival of the fireless ember …

Irushir in Cold Valley

Black Soul is good at using map design to show beautiful scenes to the players who arrived for the first time. The usual practice is to use the door / path to lead the player to the next area, and then at the entrance of the area, the player can see a panoramic view. This design makes players shocked when they see a scene for the first time. The author still remembers the feeling when Black Soul 2 walked out of the sky forest for the first time to Rumi: from nowhere, you need to light a torch to see the dark area of ​​the road, after passing a very narrow path, when you walk out of the path What I saw was a small village that was backed by a cliff and the sun was shining on the ground. The sense of relief was indescribable and spontaneous, and Rumi was actually a safe area for all regions. Similar designs can be seen everywhere in the Black Soul: the magnificent king city and church, the dark underground prison, the capital of crime … Once magnificent, now the feeling of ruin has been truly conveyed to the players in the Black Soul series.

In addition to the map design, the monster design is also very interesting: in the dark soul world, the once knights were eroded and lost their reason, causing many kingdoms to fall. For example, the Français Undead: The mad players kill each other, but due to the undead attribute brought by the wolf blood, the fate of eternal battle is destined to repeat in the Français.

Abyss watcher, the French Undead

It is really difficult to describe the Gothic style of the Black Soul on maps and character design with words. In general, the artistic style of the Black Soul is very uniform, and there will be no sense of violation. This is a clear manifestation of the developer’s overall world view when developing. The artistic charm of the Black Soul can only be realized after personal experience, and the author will not repeat it.


High difficulty is the characteristic of Black Soul, but it is by no means the only characteristic of Black Soul. I hope that after reading this article, some readers who once felt that “Black Soul is just difficult” or because of the difficulty of refraining from difficulty have changed their impression of the Black Soul series, and even more people can experience this Miyazaki Hideo personally. The trilogy brought by God.

Author: Small game fan chat
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