The EZA Community Top 25 Best of 2011!



  • Regrettably, I've never finished the first Dark Souls so it didn't make my list. It was my first experience with the series and I didn't have the patience I needed to finish it back then. On the bright side, I believe that experience is what allowed me to finish Dark Souls 2, 3 and Sekiro, and Dark Souls 3 is one of my favorite games of all time. So even though Dark Souls is not on my GOTY list for 2011, it's still an important game for me.



  • I was awed when I learned the paths were connected to each other in the World. It is simply amazing from level design point. I co-oped with my cousin a lot in Demon's but sadly this game went backwards in this. Why it's only 3rd on my list is simple. About half of the bosses sucked as they were just boring. Also Blight town and the swamp area. Yikes that framerate.
    Best fight is easily in DLC. My cousin saw me beating him and it was glorious.



  • Ah there it is. Dark Souls. Not the genesis (Hey there Demons Souls), but this game was the explosion of popularity for it. I'll never forget when my best friend got it for Christmas and I pretty much lost him to it for a WHILE. I've never cared for the aesthetic, difficulty, and up until recently the mechanics, but "Baby's first Souls-Like" (tm) a.k.a. Jedi Fallen Order finally got me to understand the value (and satisfaction) of perfectly timing a block-parry-dodge combo.

    I'm actually surprised it didn't medal, and now I'm convinced what the final three are. Just got to wait to see the order (and as always, I'm REALLY looking forward to the post-reveal breakdown).



  • Oh hey Dark Souls, didn't expect this one to be not number 1. I had so many good memories with this game. Encountering a mimic for the first time, entering Anor Londo, getting into the secret underground dragon place, and so on. I played the wonky PC port on my laptop, and it's all worth it so I can show off how bad I am at the game to my friends at school. We all freaked out when we saw Quelaag, lol.

    Also, I totally forgot that Battlefield 3 haven't showed up in this list... Not liking it's chances right now tbh.



  • I hate y’all. This is game of the generation. Fuccccccc y’all



  • Battlefield 3 is GOTY right? This all makes sense now...



  • As much as I started to like the Souls series as time has gone on, it does irritate me in the overall obtuseness of it all. It still weird to me it can be enjoyable as it is, despite some aspects of the stats and leveling being completely unexplained and the lore being isolated to weird fan-fic writers arguing with each other on the internet (it's fine, it doesn't need a clear explanation, I find that to be a bit more charming).

    It's got so much wonderful and awful things about it, and I love the fact the series exists just as it is.



  • You've made a mistake @Axel . We haven't had 4, 3, or 2 yet. You're not supposed to post Number 1 til Tuesday/Wednesday. And you've written "4" next to "Dark Souls", not 1.



  • As a non-From fan I find this position very pleasing. #onlyhalftrolling



  • Well, well, well.

    I'm not usually very attached to games and lists and what have you, but I'm with @DIPSET on this one. This has hit me hard.

    Dark Souls is by far one of the best games ever made. Period.

    For a start, it's incredibly deep. There are things you won't see in this game for a long time, if not ever, if you don't play it right. Ian of EZA likes to say that the "Form is the Function" a fair bit with this game, and while I do tend to poke fun at his reliance on the phrase, it is so true. The game will never explain gameplay nuances to you, like how to engage in PvP, or how each covenant works, or what you should be doing at any one time. The game doesn't give you lots of exposition apart from the set up at the beginning, and it's up to you to just figure out what to do throughout the entire game, based purely on the wishes of the few friendly NPCs you'll come across along the way.

    For example, the Dark Wraith Covenant. On the surface it's just the PvP Invasions Covenant, the game realistically has a vested interest in guiding you towards that mechanic as it's a very unique part of the game that players will likely enjoy. A few Cracked Red Orbs can be found by the player in the game world, allowing them to dabble, but they'll not fully commit without reason due to their finite, consumable nature. They can't relax and enjoy the feature.

    But it's practically impossible to join the Dark Wraith covenant unless you know how. For a start, you have to completely ignore one of the very few NPCs that actually seems like a friendly NPC. You then have to, against your instinct, throw yourself in a pit, and then go beat a specific boss. All while still ignoring that NPC that most players will gravitate towards, especially on the first playthrough. Only after having beaten one of the hardest bosses in the game for new players, will you uncover Kaathe, the Dark Wraith Covenant, and unbeknownst to 95% of players, an entirely new way to interpret the main story of the game.

    Most people will never have seen that content, and that's incredible. And there are lots of other examples of this, like Ash Lake and the Pyromancers. That elevates Dark Souls closer to a piece of Art than any game I've ever played. Dark Souls has not compromised in its design in order to make sure that Players get to enjoy all the content. It adds up to make Lordran feel like a world that's there to truly explore. Not a Theme Park waiting for me to see all the attractions.

    Some might not like what I've described above, but I think that Dark Souls, through Lautrec, a Secondary Character that the game makes you deal with, the game teaches you that you shouldn't trust people just because they're in your safe area and they're not attacking you. By extension, this leads the player to question everything.

    The game world is gloriously expansive and intricate. Everything is connected in exceedingly clever ways. For example, many guides will tell you that you need the Master Key to access Blight Towns back door. No you don't. Take the lift down into the Valley of Drakes from the bottom of Dark Root Basin. Run all the way back to the Blighttown back door, grab the key, unlock the door, and boom. You have your shortcut from Firelink Shrine to Quelaag. You can beat the game while never fighting the Taurus Demon too. You can do this easily using the Master Key, or you can drain New Londo in the early game if you're capable, and enter Dark Root Basin and the Undead Church through the back entrance. Undead Burg PvP FOREVER! 🙌

    Finally, the online nature of the game was expertly done. From the things that most people will get to use, like the Soapstones, and the Messages, to the things that few will see and fewer will even understand, like the Dragon Covenant, or Vagrants. Even just the bells ringing every time someone beat the Gargoyles. What a great way to make new players feel united in what is likely the first section of the game that most new players will be having difficulty with.

    All this is without touching on the normal stuff. The RPG and combat design is wonderful. It's so darn creative, with many different builds and playstyles. There's no single strategy to play the game. You just play to your strengths, and the way you want to play. One of my favourite things about the RPG systems is that you can, and probably should, find a weapon you like and then level it up using the Blacksmith. The normal weapons are the ones that are viable for the endgame, and while there are weapons that give you a short term advantage like the infamous Drakesword, it doesn't scale to end game like the other weapons do. Add in all the special boss weapons and specialty weapons, like the Moonlight Greatsword, the Black Knight Weapons, the Great Sword of Artorias. You could play Dark Souls for weeks and still struggle to obtain every weapon.

    Shout out to the Balder Side Sword crew and the Zweihander posse. The Zwei got me to my first Dark Souls completion, and the Balder Side Sword introduced me to the aggressive playstyle that many don't see til Bloodborne.

    Finally, the presence of a Souls Level 1 character on the Character creation screen, and the way the game is tuned. I love how more than anything, it's player knowledge and skill that's rewarded in Dark Souls. You can beat the game never levelling up your character. You can leverage the game in such a way that you can one-shot many of the bosses. I know Git Gud is a meme at this point. But in Dark Souls, that sentiment is always true. If you persevere, if you learn the game, watch that attack pattern, figure out your moveset on your favourite weapon, there is nothing the game can throw at you that you can't overcome. And that's amazing.

    I think this is the biggest post I've ever written on this forum. I love Dark Souls. It's one of my favourite games of all time, and has shaped the way I look at games today. The top 3, from my best guess, are all well deserved places. One in particular I'm really happy has placed so high.

    To finish it off, here's an old video from vegeta311, where he challenges himself to one-shot as many Dark Souls bosses as possible.

    Youtube Video



  • @hazz3r The only mistake is having Dead Space 2 as #16.



  • I dont get Souls games, so I'm ok with this.



  • Love Dark Souls but in retrospect it has annoyances that other From Soft games don't have so it went from potentially 1st to 3rd.



  • My only Sols-like game was Bloodborne, which I've bough because of Ian's passion and because it was cheap on launch date due to PSN bug. I have a rule "I you buy it, you finish it" and this was probably one of the worst month in my gaming history. Everyone speaks about joy of beating a boss in Souls game - that joy last for 10 minutes at most and doesn't worth 10 hours of suffering. Because of such brutal combat I couldn't explore and didn't saw any of game's story.

    I think that when a game pushes player to ignore it, it's a bad game design. Yes, you heard it, I think that From Software games have bad game design. Easy difficulty could go a long way to alleviate this, but alas this work was left to those who create trainers. Kudos to them.



  • The true crime of this list, is that we are entering the top 3 and Duke Nukem Forever is nowhere in sight.

    A tragedy of unspeakable tragicness. I can only assume that, as people of only the finest taste, we've all voted it as #1



  • @crepe Duke Nukem Forever is genuinely on my backlog. I bought it at release and played the first hour but never got far. I spent ages playing pool in the beginning though.

    Maybe when I need an 8 hour quick win :)



  • I even bought the Balls of Steel Edition of DNF. The Carpe Nukem bust and the foldable paper Duke were the best things in that whole case. Clearly I had too much money to spend back then.

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  • i'm that guy who bought the Chinese version of demons souls off eBay before its western release, so i was obviously primed for dark souls and it is my number 1 game ever (demons is close and i don't love bloodbornes horror vibe as much, though i think it is the better game).

    obviously i love the level design and general rpg-ness but i have also always loved the lore and storytelling of the souls games as apposed to a more cinematic style.

    i am a little surprised that is not higher. though batman, skyrim and portal 2(all also in my top 4) are all wonderful... "casual" games"

    my guess is portal 2 will have the most #1 votes though i think skyrim could win with just more numbers. batmans a wildcard(and i havent played it since release so my memory is rusty).

    Edit:An interesting thought I have about souls style games is they kind of have their own genre language, kinda like fighting games or shooters once you learn that you basically understand all of them. It's just that those others have games to bridge the gap/introduce you like smash bros or call of duty, where as souls kinda started its own thing and throws you straight into doom eternal or tekken 7 with no tutorial.
    the bridging games came later like jedi fallen order etc.



  • @sazime Complete agree with this, I've only played Bloodborne, and I love it, but my god would I love to have an idea of what the hell is going on in the game and what I'm supposed to do, and I know that is part of the appeal just having that be part of what the player discovers, but I would personally like for it to be a bit more upfront.



  • Like many others, Dark Souls was a no brainer number 1 pick for me. Much more than the average game that I enjoy replaying, the memories and emotions from my first playthrough are still part of my relationship to it. I like the phrase "learning the genre language" that @Nimbat1003 is expressing. In the same way that locations and bosses mark a player's step-by-step spatial progress in a playthrough, there is also a step-by-step mental progress marked by when certain enemy behaviors and mechanical details rise into one's conscious awareness.

    For me, the other especially remarkable side of Dark Souls is the emotional palette of exploring into the unknown. Not knowing the dangers, evoking tension and dread, and not knowing whether a new area is in fact the progression path, evoking excitement.

    Even though I would also put Dark Souls down as my game of the decade, I still view it as coequals with all my personal favorites from every generation. It's a great series, but thankfully hasn't ruined or eclipsed the rest of my adoration for other video games.