Five Souls One Fox: A Souls Series Playthrough (Bloodborne spoliers abound!)


#1

Have you ever thought to yourself “I should play all the Souls games in order and do all the bosses!”? No? You are a smarter person then I then!

But since I am doing this here are the rules: There aren’t any I’m just going to play them at my own pace over the course of the next year or two ¯\ _ (ツ)_/¯

But some guidelines are in place! When doable all bosses should be taken down (Might skip Darklurker it’s just a pain to get to)! All DLC must be done! No summoning because I have more fun that way and also I will mostly be playing the PC versions so playing online is a nightmare! Lots of exclamation points must be used at all times. I will try to do NPC questlines where I can! I will not be streaming or recording this in any way so please don’t ask me to thanks in advanced!

Now the current plan for character builds:

Demon’s Souls: Magic build based around the Fire Epee thing which means I need to murder like four innocent people according to a wiki so sorry NPCs I need that sword more than I need that grass you sell in very inconvenient locations! Also this is the only Souls game I have never finished so I am going to do it in the easiest way possible.

Dark Souls: For this I will most likely do a faith build as this is the only game where that is still viable as the other games nerfed magic and faith to hell and back to varying degrees and faith gets hit the hardest in II and III. Might also do a build based around Velka’s Rapier as it looks cool and I like magic in DS 1 a lot, not sure yet!

Dark Souls II: Scholar Of The First Sin I’m thinking a hex build based around the sword and shield that let you cast spells and miracles respectively as that sounds cool! Plus I can respec later so I can fix it when that idea goes bad and I want to whack things real hard with a big ass sword!

Bloodborne: Arcane build based around the cane and Moonlight Blade as I already did a bloodtinge and skill build and this arcane build can double as a strength build anyways!

Dark Souls III: I’m think a Pyromancer as the flame weapon enchant spell in this looks really cool on dual scimitars! This is like years away though so who knows?! (Editors Note: Oh I was so naive…)

FAQ:

Q: Are you really going to do this?

A: Yes!

Q: Why is this a forum thread and not you alone in your bedroom for hours on end like every other time you’ve played the Souls games?

A: To chronicle my misadventures in my favorite game series and so that people may join me as they wish and share thought and opinions on the games in the series they have played and to see how they compare to my own! Also you’re weirdly judgemental comically exaggerated voice in my head!

Q: Is it hard to play Souls games with fox paws?

A: I use a DDR pad it’s fine!

Q: If you aren’t playing on a set timeline how can others join you?

A: I will announce when I start a new game with a post with my characters face and thoughts on the early game! Starting with:


Scratching that Itch…io: Butterfly Soup... soon
Guidance Consular: A SWTOR Jedi Shadow Playthrough Thread [Spoilers]
#2

Chapter 1:
There Are Souls On My Hands How Long Till They Lay On My Heart? Demon’s Souls:

For This game I have started as a Royal so as to start both at level one and with most of the gear I want to use at end game.

This is my face:


(I have no idea how to take screenshots on a PS3 so this is what you get)

So far my thoughts are that yeah magic is really overpowered in this like holy crap! This game also has a really weird vibe. I only played through the first level but it somehow feels very grounded and yet totally unreal. It’s hard to describe. Mechanically though it still plays mostly fine. Over the years I have gone back to all the souls games if not yearly then at least every other year and have found that all of them are remarkably playable, though Demon’s Souls is obviously the roughest. Going back to two ring slots when one is all but required to keep your health up is harsh but the game feel is the biggest thing. First there doesn’t seem to be a lot of variety in terms of weapon moves, they all attack differently but there aren’t a lot of combos with any one weapon as of yet but that may just be the rapier I have at the moment before I nab the Crescent Falchion. Still there’s still things like the backstep and kick moves so it’s clear where things evolve from here. The second big thing is just movement stuff. It’s fine but the dodge roll only works at weird angles and feels off all around. Still the pace the game sets for itself makes you feel like you are in total control and nothing was bad enough to stop me from doing the entire first level in one go earning 10,000 souls in the process and getting my int and magic up to 20 where my int will likely stay.

Overall though I am impressed with how it holds up! Even if it’s super low res looking in spots. Though to be fair I am sitting a few feet away from it on a 32 inch monitor so that doesn’t help. Still the tone of the game is spot on even in the early bits. The game just oozes mystery.

Stray thoughts:

The people in this look like dead eyed nightmare children! You could take any character from this game and put it in Bloodborne as a boss and it would give Ludwig a run for his money on the horror scale

You can tell they didn’t yet have the budget for an orchestra for the score

The women in black is voiced by the same women as the odd doll from Bloodborne and I had thought she was also the Fire Priestess in Dark Souls III but she is not so what do I know about anything my life is a lie!

That two mouthed dragon in the cinematic that plays on the title screen looks rad!

This game is 8 years old and Dust In The Wind just started playing in the back of my mind as I think about that fact!

I did not beat the big demon that is meant to kill you first thing in the game but here’s a video where someone does and what happens as a result:

1-1 Boletarian Palace

There’s not really much to say about this one. It’s a great starting level but the trends it establishes are done better else where so all that ends up really standing out are the flaws inherent to the game as the first in the series, such as how you can’t level up until you beat it. Still it establishes the formula works quite well on the whole and the way it weaves shortcuts in and out it still works even as I did it in one go it’s still a tense level that demands you pay attention

The boss is a bit dull, Phalanx is a fairly typical boss fight by video game standards. The way they forewarn you of him is cool however. It’s a perfectly fine first boss fight for the game though with how it doesn’t push against the player too hard but still forces you to back off and refocus your attacks. I also enjoy that you can cheese it with fire bombs if you haven’t used them all and know to use them. It’s a nice example of the way the Souls games leverage communal knowledge to allow the player to gain an advantage over it’s tougher challenges

The theme of the level doesn’t really stand out among the rest of the game and series but sets the tone of lose that the start of every game going forward will play off of. There’s a real sense that things have gotten bad but that it wasn’t that long ago that things were, well less bad at least. And it’s use of the dragon and knights sets up the medieval theme the game quickly subverts with horror elements

Stray thoughts:

This is the first level to have a bridge guarded by a dragon but weirdly you really have to bait the dragon to start blasting the bridge with fire. More so than any other game. It’s all but guaranteed to kill a new player but anyone that knows what’s up is likely going to be briefly confused and then blow past it

I didn’t bother to get any of the loot the dragons are guarding as soon I will pump like 8000 arrows into one of them and it’ll just be easier then anyways

The small details of finding the jade hair ornament really sets the stage for the tragedy the series thrives in


#3

You are a braver fox than me my man, I’m fairly sure I’m never going to touch any of those 5 games. Even apart from the difficulty, horror really ain’t my thing, and even just screenshots of some of the stuff in those games gives me the shivers. Good luck! I’ll be intrigued to watch your progress. Are you playing them all for the first time, or have you touched them before?

Also, are you seriously going to play with a DDR pad? Because that would certainly be something to see xD


#4

I have baeten all of them excpet Demon’s Souls and even that one I have gotten to the last boss.

And I’ll be on a PS4 controller for Demon’s Souls and and Bloodborne and an XBONE Elite for the PC games. Sadly no dance pads for me though you can find people who have done that


#5

Am doing the same here yo, just over halfway through Dark Souls 2 when I left for this holiday. First game still has such a fantastic structure, spectacular blend of level design and mechanics used to direct your path. Not perfect mind. Thinking about needing to join a specific covenant to progress a completely unrelated “questline” without any indication whatsoever. But still stellar.

DS2’s very different but I still love it so damn much. Can’t wait to get back to it.

Good luck tae youse, chosen undead/cursed one/ashen one/hunter!


#6

Have you already done the optional bosses before in the Dark Souls 2 DLC? Those DLC’s are very good, but have some of the least fun optional content.


#7

They’re only not-fun when you have to solo them. The NPCs are cool and all, but the areas are built for actual teamwork and planning, especially the first one in Brumme Tower. I did that one, the frozen wastes and the Gank Squad with my mate and they’re brill.


#8

I may well summon for those yeah. That’s at least two months down the road though so I will cross that bridge when I get there


#9

I’m a solo only try hard :frowning:

I know it’s an option, but it just doesn’t feel as satisfying to me. Not looking down on anyone that does use summons though.


#10

The Tower Of Latria 3-1

If you told me when this game came out that I would beat this level in one go boss included I would not have believed you but here I am! I opted to do this one first as I need the Epee Rapier and don’t really want to have to bother grinding the stones for the other weapons so it makes the most sense to rush to yurt and murder him good so I can then murder some other people and get my character tendency to pure black and look you’ll have to google that on your own time I don’t have it in me to explain that whole thing. As for the level it’s a rather amazing piece of design. The whole thing feels massive and yet mostly takes place in about two rooms and some stairways but the constant bell ringing from the lovecraftian nightmare squids and the various NPCs scattered around the level mean you can almost always here something nearby that you can’t quite see. It gives the level both it’s sense of scale and an almost unparalleled sense of horror with every corner possibly hiding another Legally Distinct From A Mindflayer squid monster and every iron maiden another poison dagger dreg, It’s a master class in design all around.

As for the boss it’s a fairly simple fight so long as you know to stab the poor dude upstairs who keeps reviving her. Still the traps she lays on the ground got me a few times and the dregs the game puts in the room are a really smart way to use your target lock against you and her magic hits hard if you don’t roll away in time. It’s not the height of boss design in the game but it’s still a solid fight and is perfectly themed to the level. And in one of the series signature bits of easy to miss kindness if you don’t kill the dreg that is above the boss room you can leave the boss fight to do that without needing to die, you can just simply leave via the fog door. According to a wiki article anyways.

As for the themes of the level like the rest of the game it’s mostly based around desperation and hopelessness. Really that’s what every single level in all of these games are about to varying degrees but here the emphasis is on the ways things maybe weren’t great before the fog came and wisely never stops to try and tell you about how the dregs were all murders before all of this and instead let you infer whatever you like as they follow you around thanking you for their freedom. Aside from the ones that try to stabbed you not sure what’s up with them but they’re jerks so I blasted them with some fire.

Stray thoughts:

This level is fantastic and really shows off why this series has been one of if not the most important to games in the last ten years. It is brilliant to this day

This is also when the first major cracks in the game have shown up. I did the whole level in one go but I used up all my grass doing so and now I need to either hope I don’t need it until I can get up the souls to buy more or need to go and grind some some souls to buy more. And on top of that I hit the weight limit and was forced to drop some extra gear that I wasn’t using anyways. Not a huge deal but a remake could really make a huge difference to the games playability

The singing you hear in the level is super creepy and lady do you not have anything better to do than trying to draw the attention of the squid guards to you? Like for real

I can kill the squid guards in like two hits with flame toss and also I HATE THEM SO MUCH I HATE THEM I HATE THEM I HATE THEM


#11

Fools Idol Archstone 3-2

So how do you follow up what may well be the greatest video game level ever? You don’t! you just make a really solid level that I don’t have any strong feelings about and don’t know what to write about in regards to it. I should really start taking notes…

Anyways the thing that most stands out is that it’s a swamp level that isn’t a pain in the ass. It doesn’t slow you down, it doesn’t poison you, it’s great and I had best not get used to it. The strength of the level is it’s theme, a sort of insect horror that would later be a big part of Bloodborne. Not too far in you find that the primary sound you hear through out this whole level is a deep, unsettling heart beat. Not far past that you find said heart and it’s a horrid nightmare. The rest of the level sadly leaves less of an impression. It’s fine but rather linear and I suspect that had I not managed the level in one go I it would have been rather annoying. Still I like the earwig monsters and how they imply they have died but you can still attack and finish them off before the head splits off from the body meaning that if you know the gimmick they can be easily dispatched. It’s A+ design in both mechanics and art

As for the boss, I haven’t done it yet. It’s the Maneater boss and the one that killed my first two runs through the game and I don’t need anything else in this area so I’m just going to come back after I level up my Epee and get Firestorm to cheese it

Stray thoughts

I really like the the vibe of the level with the meaty vines on the floor of the level and the cold stone gargoyles higher up

It’s implied that the heart is a giant bug nest and that the prisoners are being dropped into it and turned into the bugs and squids. Yuck

It continues the element of the dregs worshiping something to keep it around with the chains holding the heart up which is a nice touch

2-1 and 2-2

I don’t have much to say about these mines I’m sorry they are well designed with the first level having the primary blacksmith which stands out but otherwise it’s just a good variation on the standard souls design. It’s a really good level but all the things it does are done in ways that stand out more elsewhere

The boss is really good however. The way it positions itself at the back of a hallway and shoots projectiles that are easy to dodge but punish you hard if they hit is fun and the boss itself is a solid variation on the Giant Spider boss you see a lot

2-2 is also fun in the way you can more or less fall through it (literally) but I know from my first playthrough that it’s too easy to get lost and die in the lave fields or to the lava bugs that aren’t super dangerous but do drain your MP and with how the game handles resource loss compared to later titles (except Bloodborne which is almost perfect otherwise don’t @ me) that’s a real issue

The boss is a fun and though fight and this time I noticed his eyes which look goofy as hell which undermined some of the prior terror he held for me. Still a fun fight and I even beat it on my first go despite the DS4 I was using coming unconnected!

Stray thoughts:

This level is the first time I have encountered the only NPC that exists in all games, Patches the Hyena/Spider! He’s a dick


#12

4-1 Shrine Of Storms

The major thing that stands out most about this level is the skeletons that will murder you at the drop of a hat if you let them. They will stun lock you and unless you’re in body form they will kill in one hit and if you are in body form every death will make them hit harder. It’s one of the games bigger flaws. It often has ways for you to deal things such as this and on their own the skeletons aren’t that bad but the most obvious way to take the edge off is to go into body form which not only makes you vulnerable to invasions but makes the game harder if you roll off an edge or something by setting world tendency closer to black, which makes every enemy harder and past a point will spawn extra enemies to make it yet more difficult. It’s not great

The Boss

So this boss is the Adjudicator and I like the lore behind him and the detail of the bird on his head seemingly being the real boss but the design is grotesque in a rather tacky way know what I know about fat shaming now and the fight is uninteresting. I might actually call this the worst boss in the game but I’ll reserve full judgment for now (Post Script: It isn’t the swamp bosses are worse)

The level itself is interesting and twists in turns around in ways that remind me of the later games starting city levels, and the atmosphere is top notch. It reeks of tragedy and you can’t shake the feeling that this was something great long ago.

Stray Thoughts:

This is the first instance of the crows who work as merchants where you trade something in exchange for something that may be more valuable to another build allowing you to get some use out items you may not otherwise get any use out of

I like that the demon who kills you in the tutorial area shows back up here and how it shows that often the difference between a fight you can and a fight you can’t win is purely the context in which you face it


#13

The Shrine of Storms was always a favourite area of mine. An LP I watched, which formed my first exposure to the Souls series, guided me here in my initial playthrough, in search of the (loot spoilers that you passed over) health and MP regenerating items that are findable here. While I never embedded myself in the world of Demon’s Souls as deeply as I would that of Dark Souls, there’s so much weird stuff in the Shrine that gestures towards something grander.


#14

I like 3-2 a lot as a follow up to 3-1. The Tower of Latria is such a defining, iconic moment in that series that there’s no real easy way to follow it, but I think what comes after works well. It feels like a natural progression, yet it’s distinctly different to play. The tight bridge stuff is some good environmental work and while I’m not a huge fan of “we put in 2 of the same bosses because 1 wasn’t really enough of a challenge” as a design choice I still quite enjoy that fight against the Maneaters.


#15

Oof you can tell I wirte most of these at 2AM before bed. I’ll fix the typos later when I’m not on a phone.

But yeah I do really like 3-2 I just question if I would still like it if I had gone with a build that would have a tougher time.

Honestly the narrative design of every level is top notch. I do however take issue with the use of abortion in the swamp levels but that is a can of worms I will deal with when I get there. Which I will do last as those levels kinda suck.


#16

1-2 Phalanx Archstone

This one is honestly just kinda a filler. It mostly serves as a way to force you to have to deal with the dragon somehow either by running past it as best you or by hiding from underneath. I spent 20 mintues shooting at it til I remembered that I could cast spells at it and killed it in another minute or so. It’s not a bad level and since there’s four full levels here instead of most worlds two and a half I don’t really mind it. Plus it does continue this games Sad Knight Story and I love me a sad knight

The boss

So the tower knight is actually a fairly cool boss that suffers from much the same problem the others which is that magic TEARS through them like paper. The power of magic in this game is legit a major flaw but I’ll get to that in a dedicated clean up post this weekend (assuming I’m not too hopped up on pain meds from having my wisdom teeth pulled this morning). The issue here being that the fight is way more interesting when you have to get down and melee him which will bring him to his knees where you can hit him much harder on his head then you can anywhere else. Or you can stand back and shoot spells at him from the stairs with almost no risk of getting hit once you take the mobs out. It’s kinda a let down and shows why they’ve been nerfing magic in every other game since

Stray thoughts:

I don’t have any for this level but I did add my thoughts on the boss from shrine of storms so go read that I guess. I kinda just forgot to included it when I made the post so uh, whoops


#17

1-3 Tower Knight Archstone

A solid level for fans of the genre that may be a mixed bag for those who dislike the visceral nature of the combat.

I’m sorry.

Anyways this is one of the levels I have played through the least over the years. It’s fine. I like the way the spy master taunts you through the level and how Ostrava shows up towards the end yet again to be rescued and how you find a key in on the spy master that unlocks two NPCs, one who makes the fight against the 1-3’s boss fairly easy, Biorr of the Twin Fangs, and one that makes every other boss really easy, the witch Yuria (who has a counter point in Dark Souls III who weirdly is not the NPC in Dark Souls III named Yuria. Go figure) who sells the spell Firestorm that makes most bosses in the game go down like paper

The Boss

The Penetrator (Yes really) is a boss I’ve never really thought as I always have Biorr around to do it for me. He looks cool at least!

Stray Thoughts

If you talk to Yuria she asks if you really want to learn from her and like, yes rad witch lady, I would love to.

If you talk to Sage Freke about Yuria he questions if her strange magic is due to her gender and no. Jackass. No

BOSS RUSH TIME

2-3 Dragon God

Largely the most hated boss in the game, I like it. The Dragon God is cool looking and the boss is not long enough for the puzzle nature to cause any real issues. There’s even a special weapon you can get only by exploiting the boss into clearing a path for you. It’s fun as a one off boss in the game and maybe the best puzzle boss in the series plus it’s soul can be used to break the rest of the game with the Firestorm spell

3-2

Maneater

This boss is a nightmare based mostly on the arena you fight him in. Lots of his attacks knock you back sometimes off the ledge and the way he attacks forces the camera to jump all over the place meaning you’re likely going roll right off the edge. I didn’t have these issues as I used Firestorm and they both died in two hits.


#18

I’ve never totally understood where to find Yuria in 1-3, which is a shame because she seems very cool. I also missed Biorr on my playthrough, which meant that I engaged with the Penetrator a little more. It’s an interesting fight — it feels like a precursor to the fight with Artorias in Dark Souls 1, or the other one-on-one ‘knight’ fights you encounter throughout the series.

Maneater is a pretty devious boss and I appreciate the ways in which the series has played with the idea since. Firestorm trivialising it isn’t something I benefited from, but it’s absolutely a fun little engagement that can easily be won through careful placement and perseverance.


#19

By the end of this it should be a book.


#20

If it wasn’t for three things I would have preferred the more direct melee approach for reasons like that fight but:

A: I’ve never beat the game and would at some point like to

B: the game is too punitive in a few too many ways at this point compared to later games to feel all that fair anymore even by Souls standards

C: I am fairly certain a remake isn’t too far off. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either From or the studio doing the Shadow Of The Colossus remake have one by 2020 which if done well could be the best game in the franchise if they actually make the needed changes