Over the night reviews of From Software's sadistic RPG Dark Souls trickled their way online. So far the verdict is overwhelmingly positive, but you can see that for yourself by having a look at the the collection of reviews we've gathered up for your consideration.
OXM has awarded the Namco bruiser a 9/10 and describes the game as "depressingly evil but utterly addictive". The review makes it perfectly clear Dark Souls is likely to be "too brutal for most newcomers" but also says it's "more exciting than anything, ever".
Edge predicts "Few will complete Dark Souls, but that fact won't nullify the adventures they've had straining toward its elusive summit", it gave Dark Souls a 9/10.
Xbox World says Dark Souls is a "stern but deeply rewarding experience" and thinks its "stupefying breadth will surely capture your imagination like few other worlds you've explored in games". It awarded the game a 9.6/10 score.
"Dark Souls takes every gloriously strange and punishing moment from Demon's Souls and expands and improves upon it. While its fundamentals hew closely to the original's, Dark Souls is a completely unique experience with no direct competition on the market. For those who get it, it's undoubtedly one of the year's best," says GamesRadar. It also went with 9/10.
GamesTM has also given Dark Souls 9/10 and comments: "Dark Souls is a fine example of how great forethought and a less than tepid attitude towards taking risks pay dividends in the hands of real gamers. It is nothing short of extraordinary, though perhaps a couple of years on from Demon's Souls, it is also less surprising."
"Dark Souls is brutally uncompromising yet practically unparalleled in the sense reward it can offer to those who persist. Its inaccessible nature will put many off, but those who brave it will discover one of the deepest, most fulfilling gaming experiences available," Beefjack concludes, awarding the game 9.4/10.
Dark Souls earned a 5/5 from The Telegraph, which says "No video game released this Christmas runs contrary to prevailing fashion as hard or fast as Dark Souls. And no video game is quite so exciting or exhilarating".
Electronic Theatre went with a score of 89%. It says Dark Souls will be recognised as a success for being "a videogame experience that grips the player and doesn't let go, despite the additional investment that may be required as players break their controls in a fury of anger."
NowGamer's 9.0 verdict calls Dark Souls a "compulsively difficult RPG that all genre-fans must seek out. It's a dark, hesitant world that you won't be able to resist".
MondoXbox's review says "Dark Souls is a game without compromises: you'll either love or hate it. The very high difficulty level could discourage the less undaunted players, but if you'll take your time to master its mechanics and "enter" into the game, you'll be rewarded with one of the most satisfying and memorable experiences in your life as a gamer." The site gave it a 9.2/10.
The Guardian pegged Dark Souls with a 4/5: "Dark Souls revels in its abstruseness: it goes out of its way to make those who wouldn't say they were RPG veterans feel like they missed a crucial class at school. To prosper in it, you almost need to operate like a detective, seeking out hidden areas and objects, and mining its endless menus (in gloriously old-school fashion, they can only be traversed using the D-pad) for tiny little edges that eventually add up."
IGN's review explains that "If you take the time get into Dark Souls' mindset, to begin to understand the twisted way in which it operates and taste the rewards behind its cruellest challenges, this is one of the most thrilling, most fascinating and most completely absorbing experiences in gaming." It awarded the game an overall score of 9.0.
"If entertainment is fun without failure and progress without pain, you'll have to find it somewhere else. But you'll be missing out on one of the best games of the year," concludes Eurogamer. It added another 9/10 score to the pile.
GameReactor Sweden wasn't as taken with the game's crushing difficulty but still awarded it a 7/10 for being "greatly satisfying at times".
Finally is GameSpot's 9.5 review, which states: "Dark Souls doesn't just surpass other dungeon crawlers; it skewers them with a razor-sharp halberd and leaves behind their soulless corpses" and calls it "an extraordinary role-playing game that transports you to an awesome and menacing world you may never forget".
Who's going to be picking this up on Friday?