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YMMV / Dark Souls

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YMMV for individual games:

For the series in general:

  • Broken Base:
    • It's not a very good idea to start an argument over which game in the series is the best, and that includes Bloodborne and Demon's Souls. All 3 games (5 counting the "unofficial" entries) have their supporters, and arguments between them can get quite heated.
    • The Invasion PvP mechanic is also a common source of contention. While most players enjoy it or are otherwise ambivalent towards it, there are fans who despise the very concept of giving players the ability to force their way into others' worlds without their consent for the purpose of killing them and hindering their progress, some even going so far as to referring to invader players as immoral sociopaths. There are even a few people who are aware of this mechanic in Dark Souls and refuse to play the series because of it. Invaders and neutral parties tend to counter this by declaring that it's all just a game and anti-invaders need to stop taking things so seriously and looking too deeply into it, in addition to pointing out that the best way to avoid invasions is playing offline.
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  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Players dedicated to PvP in the level 120 "meta" range will usually rely on the so-called "quality build" (40 to 50 Vitality, 30-40 Endurance, 40 Strength and 40 Dexterity) and rely on the top few weapons (of the many viable weapons) that best match those builds. As a result, PvP has little variance. note 
  • Complete Monster: Dark Souls is a dark series, but Seath the Scaleless; Nashandra; Aldrich & Pontiff Sulyvahn manage to outdo any other for sheer horror. See those pages for details.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The games truly live up to the Dark part of their title, being set in a dying world where most of the gods have either died or gone insane and most of the human race have become mindless undead. In order to save the world, your character has to submit to burning alive for thousands of years, and even then it's outright stated to just be delaying the inevitable. Each of the games seems to make the lore even bleaker, and the vast majority of the people you meet in each game die or go insane at some point, so some people can be forgiven for not wanting to get emotionally invested in the story of the games
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • An odd mix of this and Friendly Fandoms with The Legend of Zelda, particularly around the divisive Wii/DS years of the latter series. With many longtime Zelda fans being disillusioned with the series for moving towards linearity, greater focus on story, and lowered difficulty, many of them came to Dark Souls for an more open experience with little handholding, a more subtle and mysterious story, more complex and difficult combat. As such, it isn't uncommon for many classic Zelda fans to name Dark Souls as "what Zelda should be." With the release of Breath of the Wild managing to Win Back the Crowd for these fans, many of them credit Dark Souls for inspiring Zelda to "return to its roots."
    • A straight example of this is with The Elder Scrolls. As both Dark Souls and Elder Scrolls are two of the most popular Action RPG franchises of The New '10s, fans of both tend to clash with one another.
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    • Developed one for a while with the Monster Hunter community after the Monster Hunter: World reveal, with many a Souls fans making comparisons. Veteran Monster Hunters were not amused; While it isn't the only game to be compared due to difficulties, the former were most vocal. It was mostly one-sided as most Souls players enjoyed the latter.
  • First Installment Wins: Downplayed, as there are vocal contingents who prefer the two sequels, but the first Dark Souls tends to be more well-loved and less controversial than either of its sequels, which endlessly get compared to the original because of this. Some of the more extreme fans consider the "real" Souls series to be Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, and BloodBorne, feeling that From is at its best trying to build new franchises with almost entirely different design philosophies and gameplay over attempting to build on what was already good.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Berserk, due to the huge influence the manga has had on Dark Souls, whose developers are fans of the series. Some fans go so far as to consider Dark Souls a better adaptation of Berserk than the actual video games based on the series. The fans are also quite friendly to Re:Zero, because the anime adaptation of the latter was found as a fairly interesting Spiritual Adaptation of the series with it's idea of returning back after death.
  • Game-Breaker: There are many, many ways to heavily mitigate the difficulty of each game in the series, as explained on this page. That said, most of them don't work in every situation, and From often patches out the more egregious ones.
  • Genre Turning Point: Prior to the first game, third-person action games generally consisted of button-mashing until one defeated their enemies, with success in battle usually determined just by making effective use of special moves and not trying to take on too many enemies at once (and having the right armor and weapons, if the game had any sort of equipment system). Dark Souls, while not the first game to place an emphasis on learning enemy attack patterns and then effectively countering and dodging them — while also eschewing any form of Mercy Invincibility, thus allowing enemies to quickly stun-lock and beat you to death if you tried button-mashing your way to victory — was the one which made it the standard approach for action games in The New '10s.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The games are successful in Japan, but find their largest audience in Europe and North America, largely because they're strongly Western in terms of gameplay and aesthetics.
  • Hype Backlash: Some feel that the series' memetic status as the gold standard for Nintendo Hard modern video games ("_____ is like Dark Souls!" "The Dark Souls of _____") has gotten worn out over time. Most of these complaints come from players who have gotten used to the series' brand of challenge, as well as fans of other challenging games. This phrasing has also been used unironically by multiple game reviewers to a great deal of mockery, such as Gamesradar and Eurogamer with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited Trilogy respectively claiming that the games are "too hard".
  • Memetic Badass: Plenty within the actual games, but the series itself has become a bizarre meta example. Just about any game that's even moderately challenging will be compared to Dark Souls or be called "the Dark Souls of its genre", even games with absolutely no similarities to the series such as Cuphead.
  • Memetic Mutation: has its own page here.
  • Misaimed Fandom: No, you're not supposed to have any sympathy for people who invade as a red. Problem is, players who set themselves up with others to "gank" are seen in the wrong.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The ambient hum that is heard whenever you enter a new location or light a bonfire. In the latter's case, this is exceptionally soothing to hear after going through That One Level and finding a bonfire right afterwards.
  • Narm: Some players feel the Ye Olde Butchered English dialogue that's spoken here and there throughout the series to be cringy at worst and Narm Charm at best. It doesn't help that it isn't even written properly.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: While the trilogy does have a complex story, many chose to play through the game instead since the story is not something that's outright told, most of it being in the item descriptions, the big draw mostly being the challenging gameplay.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Even before the actual gameplay! Due to armor stats only serving a purpose in extreme cases, people tend to make various cosplay builds, but spend a good deal in the complex character creation.
  • Unconventional Learning Experience: Dark Souls teaches you different types of medieval weapons and armors (standard weapons, not boss weapons) as well as bringing attractions to historical European martial arts (HEMA). That said, the overswings may get you killed in a real fight.

Example of: