from Matthew Graybosch
If you're a parent, and you've denied your children the experience of Dark Souls: Remastered, you have crippled them for life.
Do you even consider the lessons your children learn from the video games you buy for them? Have you considered the possibility that your children might learn the wrong lessons from their games? These are the lessons your children will miss by not playing Dark Souls: Remastered:
- Failure is inevitable.
- Concentrate on the task at hand.
- Be patient.
- Know yourself.
- Know your enemy.
- Know your tools.
- Dodge. Don't block.
- Face one enemy at a time.
- Fight dirty.
- Avoid expectations.
- Don't be a one-trick pony.
Victory isn't the end.
Reasons Dark Souls: Remastered Is Not for Kids
I will acknowledge a single reason to deny your children the frustration and joy of Dark Souls: Remastered. If you're one of those responsible parents who take the time to read the ESRB warnings for games, and only choose “age appropriate” games for your kids, I understand. Did this warning for Dark Souls: Remastered put you off?
This is an adventure role-playing game in which players battle monsters and collect souls to lift an undead curse. Players use swords, axes, and magic arrows to kill fantasy creatures (e.g., zombies, demons, giant spiders) in both ranged attacks and melee-style combat. Players can also use stealth attacks (e.g., stabbing) to dispatch enemies at close range. Battles are highlighted by slashing sounds, cries of pain, and large blood-splatter effects. Blood pools may also appear on the ground, and some environments depict flaming bodies impaled on spikes. Boss battles include instances of dismemberment and decapitation (e.g., cutting off a gargoyle's tail, slicing multiple heads off a dragon). During the course of the game, one female enemy's breasts are barely obscured by strands of hair; some bird-like creatures are also depicted with exposed buttocks.
The Kids Will Be Fine
If the above made you wary, I would understand. Here's the rub: if you let your kids watch TV news, or surf the web unsupervised, chances are they've seen worse. Much worse.
Instead, think of the valuable moral instruction From Software and Namco/Bandai is helping you provide, especially if you sit with your children as they play — which you should be doing anyway.
Failure is inevitable.
Dark Souls: Remastered isn't an easy, forgiving game. If you screw up, you get hurt. If you screw up badly enough, you die. Just like real life.
Unlike real life, however, you can take a deep breath, think over what went wrong, and try again from the last bonfire at which you rested. Try not to die again before recovering your souls.
Concentrate on the task at hand.
If you're thinking about anything except the enemy you're currently trying to fight, that enemy is going to kill you. There's no time-out in Dark Souls: Remastered. Hell, there isn't even a pause button.
You're going to die in Dark Souls: Remastered. You're going to die often. You're going to die because you tried to get a quick kill. You're going to die because you dodged the wrong way and rolled off a cliff. You're going to die because somebody invaded your game and was better than you.
You're going to die in real life, too. Accept it, take a deep breath, and remember that your feelings don't matter. Control the things you can control, and let everything else do their worst.
And if you're gonna die, die with your boots on.
Understanding the character you've chosen to play is the first step to success in Dark Souls: Remastered. Your character's capabilities will help determine which tactics are most likely to work in the game. Tactics suited to for a character built to wear heavy armor and wield massive weapons aren't ideal for a character built for speed or a character built to wield magic.
Your own capabilities will help determine your options in life, as well. You must decide what skills and abilities you will cultivate. Will you build on existing strengths, or improve on your weaknesses? Do you even know your strengths and weaknesses?
Know your enemy.
Just as you must know your own character in Dark Souls: Remastered, you should also understand the enemies you've set out to fight. Every enemy type is different and will fight differently.
Learn the enemy's attack pattern, and you can exploit it. Learn the enemy's weaknesses and you can strike with weapons capable of inflicting more damage faster.
You can't solve a problem you don't understand. You'll just get stuck, flailing away to no avail.
Know your tools.
You'll likely collect dozens of different weapons in Dark Souls: Remastered: swords, daggers, hammers, axes, polearms, bows, catalysts, and other, more exotic implements. Each has its own movements, speed, rhythm, and requirements.
Some weapons are versatile, and usable in a broad range of situations. Others are best used in specific situations. A spear might be effective in a narrow passage where enemies are unlikely to surround you. In a wide open space, however, you might prefer a two-handed sword you can swing in a wide arc.
Remember the wisdom of Sun Tzu, who wrote in The Art of War...
It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
Dodge. Don't block.
Maybe your kids have never been in a fight. Maybe they've never been bullied. If so, good for them. But if they do find themselves in a violent situation, you want them to know how to handle themselves.
While imitating the action in Dark Souls: Remastered is a bad idea, you can still apply some broad principles. The most important of which is that you should never let the enemy make contact.
Blocking a blow still hurts, and can still damage you. It's better, therefore, to avoid your enemy's attentions altogether. Why block an attack you can dodge?
Face one enemy at a time.
This really should be self-explanatory. You can't ever count on having allies beside you in a fight. When shit gets real, you're likely to stand alone. You're more likely to survive a one-on-one duel than you are a battle against multiple adversaries — especially if they've got solid teamwork and a grasp of small-unit tactics.
I know you want your children to learn to be honest and to play fair. They aren't going to be knights of Arthurian romance facing chivalrous adversaries who salute before attacking, and never kick a downed enemy.
The enemies you will face will use every nasty trick available to get the better of you. They'll gang up on you. They'll sneak up on you. They'll play dead and strike from behind.
They'll do anything to avoid a fair fight, and you should emulate their example. If you're in anything resembling a fair fight, rather than a fight where the odds are outrageously in your favor, then you fucked up.
Here is a principle that applies mainly to fights against other players. Others will invade your game unless you burn a Human Effigy at a bonfire or play offline.
None of these invaders will fight the same way. They may not fight as you expect them to fight based on their armament. They may fight honorably, greeting you with a bow that you might prepare for a duel, or they may strike from ambush.
Appearances deceive. Actions deceive. Always be on your guard.
Don't be a one-trick pony.
It is easy and therefore tempting, to become attached to a favorite weapon and thus a favorite style of gameplay. I am guilty of this myself, especially when playing against others. I tend to favor one-handed slashing weapons, and I like to remain in constant motion.
According to Japan's sword saint, Miyamoto Musashi, this is a mistake.
You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.
Don't depend on a single weapon, or a single spell, or a single tactic. To do so is to lose flexibility and leave you unable to adapt to changing circumstances.
Victory isn't the end.
When you finally win through to the end, you won't find an ending. You won't find closure. You won't even find an opportunity to begin your journey anew until you decide whether to rekindle the First Flame or let it die.
But when you do finally start your journey anew, you'll find that it's the same journey, only harder. Life is also like that. It isn't enough to succeed once. Success' reward is the need to redouble one's efforts and succeed again, and again.
It's an allegory for samsara, the cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth that has no beginning and no end. We are bound to it by fear, desire, and attachment, and can only break free by letting go.
That Isn't So Bad, Is It?
You might think that Dark Souls: Remastered is just a gory, violent action game. You might think it's inappropriate for children. You might be right, but to deny your children the experience is to deny them an opportunity to learn lessons that will serve them well in school, and in adult life.