The Undead Asylum of Dark Souls

“You are the one who chose the Undead Art; in your exit from the asylum of the undead…”

At this point, it probably goes without saying that the original FromSoftware Evil spirits It was a definitive industry reveal when it was released in 2011. Sure, there are plenty of impactful games out there, but a few have even earned an entire category on Steam named after them. In recent years, this spirit-like genre has generated a huge number of imitators; Claims to the crown.

Well, that may be a pompous boy, I’ll give you. However, the attractiveness of games such as Evil spirits It’s undeniable, and any company that has the means to throw its hat into the arena of those who love Souls will have a lucrative market to reap, if it finds success. Unfortunately for them, making a game doesn’t capture the essence Evil spirits, But also living up to the quality and execution, it is an almost insurmountable challenge. The comparisons that come with trying repetition Evil spirits As ominous as it is inevitable, we see it a lot with games like The fallen masters or talk (and fairly decent, all things considered) thyme; Their flaws are magnified when faced with what clearly inspired them, and while they might be good on their own (well, The fallen masters Although), they were inevitably dropped due to their similarities to Big Brother FromSoft.

Why is this Evil spirits Succeed where many who follow in the wake of the struggle? Aside from the strange lack of AAA efforts, it may have to do with the formula adherence problem. Many of these games repeat specific aspects of Evil spirits to error, so much so that it sometimes feels like they are working from a stencil. One common aspect that was taken very seriously among her offspring is Evil spirits’ Introduction: The Undead Asylum. Where many games have summarized the concept into a “brief introduction to the controls followed by a textual loss”, the actual Undead Asylum brings more granular detail into how it teaches the player.

Photo: Bandai Namco

Asylum undead from Evil spirits It basically serves as a crash course for what’s going to happen in the overall game. We begin slow enough with a vague introduction to the world; We are an unknown undead, getting lost in our dungeon until an unknown knight threw a corpse into our dungeon. Behold, said the corpse holds the key to our freedom.

Since we’re liberating, we’ve got a quick summary of the basic controls; Which button swings the sword, which gets us out of the way swing Swords, and any button that draws the short stick to be kept throughout the game as long as the enemy button. A basic introduction to the mechanics and a few non-aggressive cavities give players a demo experience making sure all the buttons do what they claim, and we’re off to the races. A quick climb up a modest ladder leads us to a small courtyard with a warm fire, at the end of which is a suspiciously large door.

Behind the ominous door is a long, rectangular room with a few wandering alcoves. After a few weak steps forward, Evil spirits Gas hits as it reveals its intentions unambiguously. Out of nowhere seemingly, a gigantic demon at least five times the size of the player character is collapsing to meet us. When its feet meet the stone, the chaotic, flowery soundtrack begins with a solid introduction; No fade, no ominous build to climax. The player attacks as if fired from a cannon. Without anticipation, sight, or a moment to breathe, the demon begins swinging in search of the fences. The entire fiasco is a complete cacophony of noise and movement, spreading over the player without warning or celebration. It’s an absolute ambush for the senses, and for most new players, it’s a jarring introduction to what’s going on Evil spirits It is in the store.

Photo: Bandai Namco

Most newcomers to the FromSoft experience will be crushed in no time as their panicked attempts to fight the demon with a broken sword will end woefully. While this is the case for bone Players, the difference between Evil spirits And as countless games have sought to emulate this kind of premise, the initial Demon Asylum battle has many possible outcomes. that it Not textual loss. A player who manages to maintain his wits may notice the open door to his left through which he can escape without getting killed. If the player chooses Black Firebombs as the starting gift, he can kill an Asylum Demon in his first encounter with relative ease.

If a new player finds themselves clinging to the fight at special speed, they can – in theory – kill the Demon Asylum with their broken sword, although that can be tedious. The point is that there are several possible conclusions to this encounter. The game does not shock you just because you are in the tutorial; It simply presents a situation that tends to shake up new players but offers multiple ways in which a player can either succeed or In the end succeed. It doesn’t just kill you completely; It rewards players with an acute awareness of their surroundings and doesn’t lock you up in a single score.

cleverness Evil spirits’ However, Undead Asylum doesn’t stop there. If players can track down the aforementioned side exit, the tutorial will continue to lay the foundation for how to approach the rest of the game as a whole. Players find enemies to resist. They get some equipment. A real weapon proves their main prize. “Welcome!” To Oscar he connects them to the Estus Flasks, and an introduction to the Walls of Mist gives them a chance to unlock the Battle of the Asylum Demon with a devastating diving attack. It is a satisfying turn of the tables, and lets the player feel in control of the fight rather than their first encounter. With a new weapon, means of healing, and a better understanding of basic combat, the player learned one of the most important lessons in the series in a tight and cleverly organized tutorial.

If you fail, it won’t hurt to explore alternative paths. To come back better equipped. To come back more knowledgeable than I was the first time. It teaches you losses and deaths for the next time, whether it’s through pattern recognition or simple refining of basic combat reflexes and mechanics.

Photo: Bandai Namco

Of course, all this is lost when you repeat the gameplay. The massive sensory load of Asylum Demon’s first appearance deflates completely when you’re 70 hours in and New Game plus starts. Big fish were fried, and the lessons of Asylum of Death were learned and well absorbed. Fortunately, for those experienced enough, Undead Asylum is easily the smallest area in the Dark Souls. Yes it is everything It needs to be done to prepare new players, and there is nowhere near as intense for those diving into their eighth sprint for the day. It accommodates beginners and veterans alike, proving a particularly ingenious feat in modern game design.

No wonder so many games are striving to bring back the spark of the original FromSoft Evil spirits. It remains an outstanding example of what intelligent level design can achieve, and Undead Asylum stands as a lasting proof of the importance of first impressions. It’s not just being punished for being tough; He trusts the players to troubleshoot. She trusts them to solve the problem. No loss has been written to the Demon Asylum; Failure is not wanted. It’s expected for newcomers, sure, but it’s not necessary. We always control the outcome.
And although FromSoft was not able to iterate Evil spirits’ Undead Asylum themselves, the precedent they set remains a good example of how to teach players the basic concepts of your game Across Play.

And yes, The Undead Asylum is, after all, an incredibly small part of a much larger experience. In the grand scheme of things, most players will probably have had the area out of their minds by the time they bumped into the first Taurus demon in the ramparts. It’s not the sprawling, sun-soaked castles of Anwar Londo or the sprawling nightmare of Playtown. It’s an unobtrusive, brilliant, and remarkably brief introduction that boasts an impeccable understanding of the core design philosophy.

First impressions are of great importance, especially in this medium. The whole feel of the game can be determined by the first swing of the weapon; The tone you set to meet one. Evil spirits He makes sure to display the strengths of his entire formula almost immediately, and his weaker elements are strategically absent.

Hence the apparent lack of FromSoftware’s notorious pre-Sekiro platform.