It is dark. I have spent the last two hours stumbling and falling down a seemingly endless series of wooden platforms, facing off against attack dogs and ghouls, and being shot with poison darts. Finally reaching the ground, I find myself in a poisonous swamp, surrounded by giant mosquitoes and spiders. Somehow, I manage to cut a swathe through my enemies, only to be invaded by a dual-cleaver wielding phantom. Standing knee deep in swamp water, and barely able to move, I just manage to defeat this new foe. I struggle on, now poisoned and losing health fast. In the darkness, I see a tunnel, and inside is a bonfire. A safe haven in the gloom. A chance to replenish my health, and most importantly, a checkpoint of sorts. I am yards from the fire when, in a cruel twist of fate, I am invaded again, in retaliation for a previous transgression. This time there is no surviving. The phantom is upon me, and cuts me down where I stand. I must start my descent again. Welcome to the cruel and beautiful world of Dark Souls, one of the year’s big budget fantasy role-playing games created by From Software and published by Namco Bandai Games. While other blockbuster games are getting a lot of attention, this one could well be worth your time.