deadoceans
Joseph
 
 
“The light in our hearts is even darker than black.”
Genres: RPG, VN, Story Rich, Horror, Point & Click, Post Apocalyptic
Add me on GOG [www.gog.com]
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200 Hours played
Odium to Love

It's hard to capture what makes this game so special to me and many other people. How something so bleak and frustrating can be so therapeutic and comforting. A contradiction? Of course not - we're human beings.

I will tell you a tale of my first experience with this game. I played for a total of about 10 minutes before quitting and deeming it a waste of my time. I'd not played anything like it before, and I'd much rather be spoon fed easy hits of dopamine in my downtime. Wasn't life already stressful enough?

A few years later, seemingly out of nowhere, I acquired an inclination to play it again. I'm not sure why. It was the beginning of Fall, the season of transformation between the omnipotent oppression of summer heat and the still nothingness of Winter. I can't help but see Fall as a parallel evolution of us.

I gave it another chance, and I'd never been so engrossed in a game until that point.

Ashen One: Death and Resurrection

Each time you die, you are given a chance to further refine your skills and strategy as your character journeys through a satisfyingly varied and strange fantasy world. Often times there are stark contrasts between the areas you encounter, most notable being the transition from the dark, brown, cavernous catacombs to the blue galaxy-like sky overlooking the gothic architectural city of Irithyll.

Things are eerily quiet when navigating the environments. It's just you, your thoughts, and if it's your first playthrough, the simultaneous hesitancy and curiosity of seeing a new and grotesque creature with an unknown moveset that will most likely destroy you fairly quickly if you can't stand back and first observe the patterns.

And then you get to the end of this level, this mini-world of creative genius, and enter the fog gates. The previous silence and stillness transforms into some of the most beautiful orchestral music you've heard as you encounter a terrifying entity whose health bar fills the entire width of your computer monitor. Your heart rate increases and you fight for your life. And you most likely die a glorious death, perhaps several times. But you awaken, and you have the chance to do it again and again until you beat the boss, or you let the boss beat you.

You have several starting classes to choose from, as well as a diverse set of weapons, armor, rings, items, magical spells, and elemental infusions. How you mix and match all of this creates your own unique build that you will hone for the rest of your journey, using the souls of those you slay to increase your own attributes. This alone is one of the funnest aspects of the game for me. Your first build will probably be less than ideal, but with each subsequent playthrough, you get to start again. Whether you choose to bring your character into an ever increasing NG+ cycle or start anew with a fire wielding pyromancer of great intelligence instead of a greatsword carrying warrior with the power of strength is up to you. Immense replayability in a world that begs to be explored and mastered.

And by the way, you can always summon a few more ashen ones to help you in your struggles.

The Embodiment of Perseverance

So now that you know DS3 is a magnificent game, in my opinion at least, I wanted to touch on a great lesson that this game imparts, and that serves as yet another reason to pick it up.

Something about the Soulsborne series serves as a therapeutic outlet for people. You can read dozens and dozens of stories online about how playing these games helped people in some facet of their life while they were going through a difficult time, often struggling with mental illness and apathy. Some will outright say that playing a souls game changed their life.

Perhaps this sounds silly - after all, isn't it just a video game?

In our modern world, most of us are used to comfort. We welcome the immediate gratification of a scroll through Instagram, and many are hesitant about pushing themselves and putting in the work to solve problems and make painful changes. I'd argue that DS3, and other souls games, teach you the lessons of grit, persistence, and endurance that you can take with you and apply to any other endeavor that you choose to undergo.

Getting satisfyingly good at something usually takes hard work. When you see someone flawlessly play a piece of classical music on the piano, you are seeing the result of this. What you're not seeing is the journey. The struggle of beginning from nothing with no skills or prior knowledge and having to potentially deal with setbacks and self doubt each session of practice. But to get to the end and achieve your goal, you have to deal with these challenges. Embrace them even, seeing them as a necessary component for the end that needs to be reached.

This journey of being brought into existence - weak and with nothing other than our own "starting stats" - as we progressively strengthen ourselves and undergo trials and tribulations to defeat the final boss and link the flame: this is an abstract parallel to our own mortal life in many ways, and is the thing that makes DS3 so beautiful and captivating to me.

If you've gotten to the end of this melodramatic wall of text, thank you for reading, and I hope I've convinced you to give this game a try.
Ankh Oct 13 @ 1:07pm 
:squirtyay: Wish you are having a great week! :squirtyay:
_yoxtrim679 Sep 26 @ 3:39pm 
:luv: Wish you a great weekend!
ZODMAN Sep 26 @ 12:52am 
Hope you're having a great weekend Joseph! :Hand_Shake:
Ardiffaz Sep 26 @ 12:52am 
I've already got my 100% in old hunters :)
Ardiffaz Sep 25 @ 3:32pm 
Yeah.. And I'm going to finish it tomorrow :praisesun:
☜ Lisi4ka ☞ Sep 25 @ 3:07am 
:blooddrop::jhheart::Theroses::jhheart::Theroses::jhheart::Theroses::jhheart::Theroses::jhheart::blooddrop:
   
   
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