I am descending a spiraling staircase; shield up and sword ready, which is the only way to explore uncharted territory in this hellish world. The stone walls of the castle’s tower slowly illuminate in front of me with my every careful step. I had just dispatched a dozen well-armed undead soldiers moments before, fairly easily too, so my confidence was high. I was, after all, wielding my newly acquired Drake Sword which cut through my recent enemies like a hot knife through butter. Yes, me and my Drake Sword can take on anything that awaits us in the darkness ahead.
I turn the final bend of the staircase and am confronted my an hulking beast of a knight, clad in white heavy armor and wielding a massive blade which dwarfs mine! Panic strikes momentarily as I clumsily backpedal back up the staircase, monstrous knight advancing towards me with menacing confidence. I backtrack to an open area where I have room to maneuver and await my foe, his footsteps creating ever louder metallic clanks, my pulse rising with each one. I consider fleeing the tower completely. Maybe I should head back to the safety of my previous battleground where the bodies of the undead soldiers still lay. But it is the very thought of those fallen soldiers that keep me in place. I have the Drake Sword after all! Surely, this white knight knows not what awaits him.
He emerges and I am once again taken back by the size of his weapon, which must be as large as me yet he casually carries it on his shoulder as if but a twig. Without hesitation he charges, swinging that tree trunk of a blade towards me! I dodge the attack and see an opening to counter. I swing my sword and connect cleanly! The sword bounces off his armor, barely making a scratch! I stare in horror as the white knight faces me again, readying his next attack.
That is when I realize my mistake. I forgot what game I was playing. This is Dark Souls, Demon’s Souls spiritual successor. This game does not care that I have the Drake sword. It does not care that I have been able to hold my own with the previous enemies. It does not care about me at all. It is here to teach me a lesson. To remind me that it is in control and that I will never be able to rest in this world. I will never be able to breeze through it. That no matter how strong I get, or what weapon I find, there is always something out there, in the darkness, that can and will destroy me if I get overconfident and feel like I can take on the world.
So the white knight brings his massive blade down upon me and I raise my shield (which is about 1/3 the size of his weapon) in a feeble attempt to absorb the blow. It cuts through my defenses and in one strike I am dead.
The words “You Died” appear on the screen but they very well may read “Welcome to Dark Souls, bitch!”
Touché Dark Souls. Lesson learned.
God I love this game.