I can't stop playing Dark Souls, and I'm not sure that I can fully explain why. I must love roaming freely in the dark dispiriting world, with the thought of death waiting around every corner. Maybe I find solace in watching my character fall prey to nightmarish creatures, and constantly retracing my footsteps to where I last met my end. It could be possible that I secretly want to break my controller in frustration by slamming it into the hard wood floor of my apartment. Honestly, none of these reasons should compel anyone to play this game, but for some sort of justification they augment my passion for what has now become the sophomore title in the Souls franchise.
From Software had a solid list of great titles under their belt before they released the critically acclaimed Demon's Souls on the Playstation 3. Those who had played had played the King's Field series understood, even if just a little, what to expect with Demon's Souls. While others like myself, knew nothing of the previous RPGs developed by From Software. Demon's Souls shocked gamers with its deep combat, dark tone, and very unforgiving nature. Those who stuck with the game realized there was something exceptional within the experience.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy modern games, but sometimes I want to play a something that doesn't hold my hand. Having a game explain every detail and consequence for my actions takes away the sense of self discovery in games. Remember the days before the internet, when games were full of rumors and secrets that passed via word of mouth? Playing Dark Souls takes me back to that time when games were secretive and challenging. When progression was dependent on your own skill improving more so than developing a powerful character in game. I might fight the same boss 30 times in a row until I'm finally victorious, but at that moment Dark Souls gives me a feeling of satisfaction that very few games can even come close to achieving.
In writing this small rant about not knowing why I love Dark Souls, I may have come to some understanding of why I enjoy this game so much. It's not because I crave the challenge, or bragging rights from my peers. No, it is the utterly engrossing nature of the game. The world is dark, exorbitantly dangerous, and you stand a one in a million shot of actually succeeding in your plan to save it. You must treat every situation and enemy as if it could kill you, because they can. As a player I'm much more invested in my Dark Souls save than just about any other on my console. Why? Because it does not represent my progress in the game so much as a personal impetus that I find rewarding.