- Dark Souls is a highly respected and challenging game that has become a modern classic since its release in 2011.
- Dark Souls rewards players who invest time in learning its mechanics and mastering weapons.
- Dark Souls speedrunning categories include Any%, Any% No Wrong Warp, Any% Force Quit, and All Bosses.
- Kahmul78 completed a speedrun of Dark Souls with all bosses in under an hour and a half, setting a world record in 2018.
Few games have an aura about them like Dark Souls. For dedicated players like Kahmul78, it looks almost easy for the unaware. 2018 saw ESA Speedrunning’s Summer exhibition, where Kahmul78 completed the entirety of Dark Souls with all bosses in under an hour and a half.
Now, for a seasoned veteran of the Souls series, a standard playthrough might take dozens of hours at the high end. But to trounce the game so fully in under an hour and a half is something else entirely.
So, how does someone even get to this level of gameplay? Before that question gets answered, let’s do a bit of a dive into Dark Souls and the various speedrunning categories surrounding it as a whole.
What is Dark Souls?
Dark Souls is a 2011 release for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PCs. Originally developed by FROM Software, Dark Souls serves as a spiritual successor to the 2009 title Demon’s Souls for the PlayStation 3.
In the twelve years since its release, Dark Souls has become a modern classic. Memes have been inspired by the series. It also ignited a trend in games trying to capture that lightning in the bottle.
FROM Software has gone on to finish the series, with subsequent releases Dark Souls 2 and Dark Souls 3.
Dark Souls itself has led to the highly popular Elden Ring, an open-world game featuring the same strategic gameplay and crushing difficulty. It may have taken years for FROM Software to get its first big hit. However, they’ve graduated to the big leagues now.
Why Do People Enjoy Dark Souls?
Dark Souls is a game that respects you if you respect it. If you take the time to invest yourself in the mechanics, learn the systems, and master a weapon, you’ll see the game reward you.
The series as a whole isn’t necessarily hard. Instead, you can view it as unforgiving. Mechanically, the series doesn’t respect hasty decisions. You’ll want to plan your moves out deliberately and bait out openings from your enemy.
Aside from the deep gameplay, the series is also home to memorable characters. You might remember Solaire, the heroic knight who praises the sun. There are also bosses like Ornstein and Smough. This dual boss fight was a massive difficulty spike for many.
Dark Souls embodies an old-school ethos. Games from the PlayStation 2 era and earlier expected you to invest yourself in them, rather than more casual play. The series has just brought that spirit to the fore, a trait that has endured through three sequels and subsequent clones.
Dark Souls Speedrunning Categories
- Remastered edition of the 2011 smash hit
- Stable framerate and great performance in handheld mode
- Supports online play with a Nintendo Online subscription
- Lots of new characters
Dark Souls has a few different categories targeted for speedrunning. Any% refers to just completing the game and is currently held by player QueueKyoo. QueueKyoo was able to get an ending from the game in under 21 minutes, with the world record currently being 20 minutes and 50 seconds.
Then there is Any% No Wrong Warp, where speedrunners are expected to follow the logical progression through the game.
American speedrunner Regole holds the current world record for this category. His gameplay clocked in at 37 minutes and 43 seconds, an astounding feat for anyone familiar with the game.
Any% Force Quit is another popular category. Swiss player CapitaineToinon holds the world record here, with 19 minutes and 49 seconds.
Finally, the category Kahmul78 excels in, All Bosses. This is a more difficult run because there are well over a dozen bosses in the game. Kahmul78 originally set the world record with his 2018 run with ESA.
However, Brazillian player Maarionete holds the current world record. Their gameplay clocked in at 59 minutes and 10 seconds. This is significantly faster than Kahmul78’s original world record. Second place is held by Kahmul78, however.
Their run of this category came in at 59 minutes and 48 seconds, a task accomplished in May of 2023.
Dark Souls is a great series for gamers looking for a little more risk and reward in what they play. This unforgiving series is built for the patient and dedicated gamer.
You can grab Dark Souls Remastered readily on just about every major gaming console. Platforms like PC, Xbox One, PS4, and the Nintendo Switch can all play this classic game with a fresh coat of paint.
Watch Kahmul78’s Dark Souls Speedruns
2018 All Bosses
2023 100% Completion
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Arsenii Palivoda/Shutterstock.com.