To enter the gloomy world of Dark Souls is to experience a tale of despair. This brooding adventure mixes the depth of a role-playing game with the slick combat of the action genre to create one of the most challenging titles on PlayStation 3. However, do not abandon all hope yet - once you crack its tough exterior, Dark Souls is one of the most rewarding games you'll ever play.
Your first task is an easy one - create a character to guide through this perilous journey. Select the gender and looks of your adventurer, as well as a class, ranging from the brutish Bandit to a magic wielding Pyromancer. Starting with only the clothes on your back in a dim dungeon, you'll find a welcome tutorial easing you into item collection, combat and exploration.
With no pause button, it's worth taking your time to learn the importance of fighting in Dark Souls. Like its prequel Demon's Souls, you will be doomed if you try to button bash against evil gargoyles, black knights or other formidable monsters. Methodical and strategic attacks are critical, and blocking with a shield equally essential.
Should you lose your life, you will also drop the power-enhancing souls you've collected on the way - and the only way to regain them is to travel back to where you died. Perish again before you reach that spot and you will lose those souls forever. So every tense battle comes with high stakes, and there is genuine relief when you encounter an energy restoring bonfire.
Nothing can be taken for granted in Dark Souls, and that is where its brilliance lies. Only a cautious, steady approach can succeed in this deep and engaging quest. Don't be put off by its fearsome reputation - Dark Souls is not about overwhelming you with enemies or constantly testing your reflexes. It's about perseverance and patience. Do not rush into its puzzles and battles, learn from each death and most importantly of all, be brave, dark soul. Be brave...