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


#21

Mid Game Clean Up Post:

So to start with this post I’ll detail my loadout stat and weapon wise. Stats are:
20 Vitality
30 Intelligence
8 Endurance
14 Strength
16 Dexterity
40 Magic (This is what’s called a soft cap. Anything past 40 has a much lesser effect on damage output)
12 Faith
7 Luck (For whatever reason this is actually the highest you want to have your luck for getting drops. It’s part of what makes the Royal class something of an easy mode, they start with perfect luck)

This allows me to do max damage with my spells and rapier which is what is letting me cheese the game so hard

For gear I’ll start with the amour. I’m wearing the Gold Mask (There’s better choices for this slot but it looks cool), the Wizard’s Clothes, Silver Bracers (they up the number of souls I get and stack with other such things), and Fluted Leggings for a little extra of that oh so pointless defense stat for a look something like this:

Capture

Sadly the HP penalty in this game is huge at a flat 50% decrease in soul form which is why I didn’t bother pumping my vitality more. You only get like 10 HP per level so no matter what you’re always going to be a glass cannon

For weapons I have the Rune Shield as my defensive option though I rarely use it, the Kris Blade which ups my magic damage at the expense of magic defense (almost nothing does magic damage in this game past the Tower Of Latria anyways) and the Lava Bow for when I need to grind some reapers. In my right hand I always have the Epee Rapier which scales off of my magic stat and does good damage and the Silver Catalyst as it’s basically the only wand worth using if you aren’t casting miracles as well. For rings I typically wear the Ring Of Avarice which also ups how many souls I get, and the ring of magical Sharpness which works the same way the Kris Blade does. I’ll likely swap out the Avarice Ring for the Fragrant Ring soon though

As for that reaper grinding in level 4-2 the Adjudicator Archstone there’s an enemy called a reaper which spawns other enemies and once you kill him all the enemies he summoned die as well so you just run down shoot him with the lava bow three times and he and everything else dies for around 7000 souls. It’s a great way to top off on items and levels fairly quickly for next to no cost

As for my thoughts on the overall game it’s really only held back by the world and character tendency stuff and how the game more or less forces you into a glass cannon build no matter what you do. But it’s still a damn strong foundation and has some of the best ideas in the series, many of which get reused later in more solidly built games. Another issue is for whatever reason sometimes the sound bugs out and slows the game to a crawl forcing me to reload the game but the way it auto saves means this isn’t a huge issue all told.

Basically it’s a solid 8 out of 4 stars in terms of how it’s held up but I can’t say that I would recommend it to anyone new to the series or at least would tell someone to look up a guide. Or six.


#22

Adjudicator Archstone 4-2

This level is kind of a mess. It looks cool, there’s a lot of secret stuff around here, but there’s just too many instant kills. The first reaper is easy to take out no biggie. It’s the pathways out of that first major room when the trouble starts. It’s all on a giant cliff side with those damn stingrays standing so close to me that they’re constantly firing off ice spikes AND as a bonus there’s three of those skeletons right down the path that will shoot yet more projectiles at you whilst the others charge at you. The only thing you can do is mantle back up the cliff and shoot them with a few spells but one wrong move and you’re more or less did full health or no. Then after that there’s two gold skeletons that hit even harder so I just shot them both with my bow to get them to come at me one at a time, a tactic I used to use more in these games that I have since got away from as it’s really boring. AND THEN after all that you get to another indoor section that is also a cliff section with more reapers but this time the shadows they summon have a big ass beam attack that can one shot you AND the first reaper is so close to the edge of a cliff that if you try to hit him more than once you will fall off with him and die. It’s very mean. After that there’s another brief outdoor bit that doesn’t have a whole lot to worry about, followed by another less awful reaper section and a weird slug cave with a bunch of things that blow up that I manged to not get hit by that I assume would kill me in one hit. But I didn’t stop to check. The slugs will sometimes drop Sticky White Stuff (this is maybe the most childish joke in the series) and there’s a Katana in here that will damage you as you use it. Something of a trend for the series and one of my favorite weapons in Bloodborne. There’s also an encounter with Patches where he kicks you down a hole to fight a black phantom and find Saint Urbain. It would be more useful for a faith based build but here I just shot the phantom a bunch and saved Mr Boring McUmbasa and thought about murdering Patches again

The Boss

The Old Hero is actually a super cool fight. As you enter the boss room you see above the exit the corpse or some sort of giant and once you move further in you see the spirit of the Old Hero jump out of the corpse statue thing and the fight begins. The real thing of interest here is that the boss does a crap ton of damage BUT, is blind. Meaning that you can sneak past and around him and do things like fire arrows to distract him from where you are. There’s even a spell that is really only useful here that can be used to get him to move away from you and attack empty air. I however just hit him with Firestorm twice and moved on with my day.

4-3

This is a really cool boss which sees some reuse in both Dark Souls III and Bloodborne with some fan theories using this boss to link the souls games and Bloodborne together. It’s basically the thing that has been birthing all those damn sting rays and looks wise you can really tell how this team would go on to make Bloodborne. However since the boss flies around and never really comes into melee range they give you a sword that in this area only shoots a giant gust of wind that does a fair bit of damage. It’s quite cool and it’s nice to see a mechanic like this used in a way that doesn’t trivialize the boss in ways later games would. I shot it with magic a whole bunch but did still make it one go with a few close calls. A+ boss fight would murder again

Stray Thoughts:

The final boss room for the Shrine Of Storms is infamous for having a Crystal Lizard that is the only source for Pure Moonstone the ore you need to fully upgrade magic enchanted weapons. They only spawn in three times total before you no longer have a chance to get one and are a pain to hit in the first place. This is the main reason I am using the Epee Rapier as it does not need the moonstone but it scales off the same stat as those that do use moonstone.


#23

5-1 Valley Of Defilement

Actually, I kind like this level? It’s got a lot of fun secrets and as long as you know how not to fall off the level it’s not super hard to stay on the levels. I would go so far as to say it’s the best version of this level in all the Souls games. I also like the light rain effect and just how grimy everything looks. It’s a solid b+ for me.

The boss

The boss for this level is the Leechmonger, he is weak to fire so I have nothing to really say about him. He died too fast.

Stray thoughts:

I really thought I would hate this level more but the next level is by far the worst in the game

5-2 Leechmonger Archstone

I hate this level. It is the worst version of the swamp level that everyone of these games has. You’re stuck in this swamp that poisons you and prevents you from rolling this suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks. One or the other would be fine but unlike Dark Souls there’s not really enough islands in this to not be the worst which means that it’s just a constant slog. And to make it worse there’s bigger dreg like dudes who hit so hard that if you can’t roll away they are all but guaranteed to kill you if you can’t wear them down first. It’s a shame as the level has a fair few things going for it. It may actually be the largest level in a souls game in terms of space which is impressive if not also a huge problem. And it actually has some really eerie sights to see as well. Plus it’s the first appearance of the Moonlight Sword a weapon that I understand actually started in the Kings Field games which are the precursors to the Souls series

The boss

The Dirty Colossus is also weak to fire so… shrug emoji

5-3 Dirty Colossus Archstone

So, I should preface this with some context warnings for Suicide and Abortion. So the rest of this level will be under a summary which you are welcome to skip:

The boss

Maiden Astraea and Garl Of Vinland

Summary

So first the bad, I’m not huge on the whole swamp of aborted babies thing in regards to how it presents abortion as baby murder. It’s some conservative propaganda bullshit. Still like all things in these games it’s more implied then stated and they are as likely just unwanted children tossed into the swamp. None the less I’m not a huge fan of this aspect. I am however a big fan of the rest of it. I love the way it uses the maiden and her guardian trope, I love how when you finally kill either one of the pair the other just kills themselves to deny you the satisfaction. And the way Astrea chastises you for your greed as she does nothing but try to provide what comfort she can to the diseased and dying. It’s a highlight of the game and series and the music that plays is maybe the best in the whole game. I really do adore this fight previously stated issues aside

Stray thoughts

In this stage you can find a weapon called the plague nail. I remember it being a real pain in the ass in PVP but it’s still better the the Scrapping Spear which could almost literally make the game unplayable by breaking all of your gear. It’s bad

1-4 Penetrator Archstone

So this was the only level in the game I had not finished before this playthrough. It starts with three black phantoms (one of which is equipped with a Scrapping Spear so that’s fun) All of them are pretty tough and all of them died to Flamestorm as I hid behind a pillar. After this you get to the reason I never finished this game 8 years ago, the blue dragon of much arrow shooting at. You just sort of stand there, and fire arrows at it. For like, 10 minutes or so, and then go a little further and then the dragon starts breathing fire down a flight of stairs while Biorr “helps” by uh, well he sort of just fires a crossbow at the dragon for no damage while slowly roasting to death under the fire. Not the brightest bulb that one. The way you finally kill the dragon is by running under him and then just firing more arrows and or spells if you have the MP recovering Old Spice to cover it. It’s boring and kind of hard if you just want to get through the level. It sucks and is maybe the worst forced dragon encounter in the series. Still if you’re confidant and in your ability to either beat the boss or run past the dragon you can skip it but, good luck with that. And another CW for Suicide

Summary

After you get done with the Dragon Of Much Arrowing you find Mr Sad Knight The First Of Many To Come and he tells you he found his father who is now a demon and couldn’t bring himself to kill him. So instead he kills himself and respawns not far from there as a black phantom ready to kill you. It’s a grim moment in a game full of them

The Boss

The False King
I had fought this boss a grand total of two times before this, like all the others he died in a few casts of Firestorm. Still it’s not an easy boss even then and I only get by on luck. He hits hard and fast and can even drain levels from you. Some will use this as a way to respec in this game as it allows you to repurchase levels after they have been drained though you still need to pay full price

Stray Thoughts:

This is more or less the last level of the game. It doesn’t really stand out a whole lot outside of that though. It’s thankfully short though so it has that going for it

The wrap up.

So after this you more or less go straight into the end game do not pass go. You go back to the Nexus, at which point the big statue in the center of the nexus drops and the path to the final area is open. You take The Maiden In Black’s hand and fall down into this beach like area surrounded by ruins as she calms The Old One, a sort of Miyazaki-esque (the other one not the Souls one) tree worm with birds flying through its branches and the ruins of some sort of structure in it. From there you enter the Old One and meet the True King Allant in a boss fight that isn’t really one. He’s just sort of a shambling mound that tells you something about how mankind just want to end it’s existence. It’s more or less the SMT ending as seen in Digital Devil Saga and Persona 3 and 4. After that you have a choice, Let The Maiden In Black lull the old one back to sleep and restore peace back to the world but with no knowledge of the Soul arts AKA magic as I understand it. or kill her and merge with The Old One and let the colorless fog consume the world into nothing. I was going to do the bad ending but I didn’t want to kill The Maiden In Black as she seems cool so there you go, that’s Demon’s Souls.

Final Thoughts:

I never really got around to this but I have to say I really do love the Nexus. It feels weirdly homey for what is basically a magical prison designed to trap people into either saving or ending the world. All the NPCs ooze personalty and they all make their own little corners of the Nexus their own. It’s a place that always stands out in my mind

After four other game in this series and about a thousand hours of playtime this game is weirdly easy? It really does suck some of the fun out of it but had I gone with another build it’s like 50/50 if it would have really been doable with the way it handles some stuff

And That’s Demon’s Souls! Now for a brief, maybe very brief we shall see, break and then on to Dark Souls! Feel free to leave any question or comments and don’t forget to like share and subscribe!

EDIT After the fact

I forgot to talk about the Old Monk! It’s an interesting fight in that it takes advantage of the online functionality of the game to summon in another player for the fight! This fa after the fact however it doesn’t really work. You either get no one summoned in and fight a rather boring NPC battle, or a nightmare fight with someone who is still doing the PVP for an 8 year old game. It’s not really even a boss at this point. It does set up the weird yellow towel headwear that shows up in all other souls games (but not Bloodborne) that I now sort of wonder if it’s playing on some gross middle-eastern stereotypes


#24

it’s been super interesting to follow your journey through demon’s souls! though i’m familiar with the later games in the franchise i never really knew anything about this one and your posts encouraged me to check out videos of it. the original storm king is super cool! this game has a fantastic aesthetic despite being the first and oldest game in the series. i hope it does get a remake that fixes some of the more frustrating/broken aspects of the gameplay so more people can enjoy it.


#25

If anyone is interested in watching a let’s play of Demon’s Souls someone named checks notes Patrick Klepek? Something like that, did one that’s pretty good:


#26

Chapter II: The Manipulative & The Subsoulvient: Dark Souls: PREPARE TO DIE EDITION BOO YEAH VIDEO GAME MARKETING

For this one I started as a pyromancer as I like starting at level one in all these games. The end goal is to use a Bastard Sword upgraded to occult and the spear you get for killing Ornstein with a focus on faith as my main damage stat.
There’s a few catches with this however. The main one is that faith is hard to get weapons for early on but I’m already almost past that anyways thanks to the magic of how the game world works. The other big catch is that the faith based damage spells require being in a covenant and while the first spell is free the next one requires me to kill 10 bosses in multiplayer which is unlikely at this point in the games life cycle. Still it’s doable and there’s a fair number of good utility spells under faith so it shouldn’t be a huge issue

Northern Undead Asylum:

So this more or less works the same way as the tutorial area from Demon’s Souls but a bit shorter and a bit more ruined in practice (side note I’m not really going to comment on the games use of Asylum here that’s an area of expertise for someone else to deal with and nothing about it stands out as especially exploitative to me anyways). This is a somewhat controversial way to introduce new players to the game with it’s trial by fire approach. You find yourself in a cell more or less just rotting away and then one of many Sad Knights in this game and he tosses you the key to the cell on a corpse as I guess that’s the only way to hand someone something in this game I’m not sure what’s up with that to be honest. From there you make your way out find the first bonfire and the I went to the door by where the boss jumps down because I already knew what was going to happen and just cut to the chase. But if you don’t yet know what you’re doing you will walk in here the boss will fall down maybe on top of you you’ll die with no way to kill the boss (There are ways to kill the boss your first time here but that’s besides the point) and maybe bang you’re head against it a few times before realizing that you can run past the boss through a doorway. Some people hate this for being a mean way to introduce players to the game and that it drives away newcomers. Others think it’s a brilliant way to show players what the games expects of them and shows how you don’t always have to fight everything in front of you an important skill for the rest of the game and that’s it thematic as well. I think both are right myself. It is mean but I don’t really have an issue with that, it’s easy to forget now but when this game first came out the community around it was much more helpful then what you see now. I would spend hours just getting summoned to help with bosses and would often get thank you messages from people thankful for the help. The game was mean on a surface level but it was mean so as to guide you to finding the help you needed. Additionally the game gives you a fair number of ways to to work around that surface level of meanness. Now a days anyone coming to the game for the first time has likely already watched a stream of some kind making the door kind of a moot point anyways as most will simply know it’s there via second hand experience. After that you find yourself in the rest of the tutorial. This is where you get the Estus flask from Mr Sad Knight Second Of His Name who after giving you the flask does something that would require another CW so I’ll just skip over that and then make your up through the rest of the asylum. Eventually you find yourself at the top and here two important things are introduced to the player. The first is that in a room off to the side you learn how to parry. Something that was in Demon’s Souls but comes into it’s own a bit more here. Basically you can deflect an attack at the right time with a shield and open them up for a huge attack that will kill many enemies in one hit if you are at the right level. This is an important skill that can make a few areas in the game much easier and is all but required in Bloodborne. There are however a lot of foes that can’t be parried so it’s not necessary but it’s advised to at least give it a go. The second thing is the drop attack which is less useful but serves a very important purpose here, you can use it on the boss that likely killed you a moment ago to take off a good third of its health making the fight much easier and making you feel GREAT. It sets the stage for the series since of accomplishment as you likely by the skin of your teeth kill this thing that just a few minutes ago seemed impossible. It’s in many ways brilliant. Not flawless however as it does ultimately encourage the sort of slow turtling. play style that can really bog the game down. I’ll talk about that more later. From here you head out to the cliff where a giant crow pops out of no where and takes you to:

Firelink Shrine

This is the primary hub for Dark Souls The First.

Warning, all screen shots for this game will be at 4K and pretty large so I’m going to try and hide them behind summaries to save on your data caps

Summary

https://i.imgur.com/FuoP631.jpg

Around here you will find three main paths, one that goes down into an area that you should never go to first for any reason at all. The second goes down into and area you should never go to first for any reason at all. The third goes to the area you should go to first the Undead burg. But before that a bit on what you find here. Below the bonfire where you spawn in is the path down to the New Londo Ruins. There’s are a few items here that you can get some use out of with out going too far but there’s also the firekeeper who just sets there tending to the bonfire whom you can give the souls of other firekeepers to upgrade how much health your flask gives you. To the left towards the temple area you find a weird pool of water that’s important later and the path to the catacombs an area that you can technically go to now but good luck. There are a few items here you can grab like a telescope that you can use to zoom in an distant objects and a big ass sword that you likely can’t equip yet. You can also find the big crow and have it take you back to the Asylum though you have no reason to go back yet, and a Talisman to cast spells with. The two NPCs you can find are a sad knight in Chainmail who may as well be straight out of Demon’s Souls and a Cleric who will sell you some minor faith spells and gives you a copper coin. I have no idea why he does this. From here you stop playing and briefly wonder why you spent an hour plainly describing the opening section of one of the most talked about games in history and make your way to the undead burg and wonder why your spell check doesn’t know that undead is a word

Stray thoughts:

If you think that screenshot above looks weird it’s due to a few mods I have installed. I use DSFix to scale down the massive UI and for fun I tossed in a SweetFX pack just to see how it looks. I’m a little mixed on it right now. I also installed a high res font as the base game one looks ROUGH

On it’s own merits the games till looks pretty damn good I have to say. The textures are still pretty decent and and the characters look less like horrifying doll people


#27

I’d say Asylum sounds about right for a place where the worst people lock up anyone they don’t want to deal with, to paraphrase Straid. It’s one of the few places the series directly comments on the real world, something it generally avoids in favour of being embroiled in it’s own lore. Part of a recurring theme of Undead Curse as Dementia.

Miyazaki’s not so dense as to avoid criticism of his ideologies through obfuscation, he leans into it when he feels it’s necessary.


#28

Undead Burg

Widely held up as a highpoint of level design in the series for a reason this is where Dark Souls really comes into it’s own. It’s the primary city of the, uh, country? Not really sure what this destroyed nightmare would be called but it’s heavily implied to have once been the grandest city in the land (or so you think) and it feels lived in in ways that back up that impression. It weaves around itself in ways that make sense and make getting around a weird joyous experience where you learn the ins and outs as though you live there. Which is good as you more or less will for the a while yet.

The first bonfire you find acts as the hub. Follow the main and only path out from it and you find yourself at the first real boss

The Taurus Demon

As you might guess from the name he’s a big bull demon. He’s a fairly standard boss so I’ll just point out how it starts the trend of bosses no longer letting you cheese them as hard and how the combat feels in comparison. At the start of the fight before you even see the boss most likely you’ll notice some archers shooting at you which you can climb up to. Now, in Demon’s Souls you can hang out here and just fire arrows or spells at it. Not here, you try and pull that here and the boss simply jumps up and smacks you with his axe most likely killing you. It’s an obvious statement of intent especially after having just played Demon’s Souls.

This area is also when you start to really feel the weight of this game. Demon’s Souls was already fairly slow especially when compared to to other action RPGs out at the time. To be fair I used a pretty fast weapon in Demon’s Souls so this isn’t surprising but even the roll and base movement have serious weight to them. It forces you to really commit to every move you make but unlike the prior game you can take enough hits for this to work and it works well with the way the Estus system and how you always have a set number of uses for what is for the most part the only healing item in the game. Some hate this I personally love it. I think it feels fantastic once you adjust and with so many games working at a breakneck pace it’s still a great change from the norm and at the time it was down right revolutionary. Before this game was an overused meme for it’s own sort of stagnation it was an honest breath of fresh air in an industry that felt increasingly stale. It’s like what Breath Of The Wild is to games today but unlike BOTW Dark Souls is actually good don’t @ me. :stuck_out_tongue:

From the Taurus Demon you meet Knight Solaire of Astora who is not quite a SadKnight yet but give him time. He hands you the whitesign soapstone that let’s you engage in co op. Past him you get to a dragon bridge that is onestly kinda bullshit in how it impleis that you can’t get past it when it may be the only path foward you can really take. It sucks. Get past that and you unlock both a ladder down to the last bonfire for a very nice shortcut and then you go to an area that is technically not the Undead Burg but may as well be so I’m just going to toss it in here. It’s called the Undead Parish should you wish to look it up. Here you find the boar demon which leads to this weird running gag in the series:

Summary

http://imgur.com/CwyDaat

And from there you find the Bladur Knights which are basically another tutorial in parrying. You can try to fight them normally but they have enough armor that at this point its a hard fight and you can skip past them fairly easily but if you do parry them you can kill them in one hit on most builds and it’s great. I love them. Especially how they themselves will parry you if you aren’t careful and I love how this also signals to the player to try parrying themselves. After them you find another bonfire you come back to over and over like the prior one and here you find Andre of Astora the blacksmith for the game who handles most of your upgrades though unlike later games not all of them. Now this bonfire opens up to the Gargoyles in the church above, the Darkroot basin that has two or three bosses only one of which is required to beat the game, and Sen’s Fortress something of a highlight that you come to later. The Church has a few major thing to note. The first is that it contains one of the most used shortcuts to Firelink that you will use over and over, it has a giant ass knight that will kill you at least once but doesn’t respawn who guards both a firekeepers souls to upgrade and the shortcut and the path to the boss. you also find a channeler a non respawning enemy that buffs a bunch of dregs a rather underused mechanic, and past that is a man in strange armour that you can free who works in much the same way as Yurt The Silent Chief who I forgot to really talk about in Demon’s Souls but who once freed will go around killing important NPCs. In this case the Firekeeper who keeps the Firelink Shrine bonfire lit and upgrades your flask. You have three options here, kill him now and get what is by far the best ring in the game but lose out on later rewards, free him and have him kill the firekeeper though you can bring her back much later in the game and get better rewards for it, or leave him and have much the same as what happens when you free him occur but with slightly lesser rewards. I opted to free him here and moved on to the boss

The Bell Gargoyles

A well thought out fight that mirrors the Maneater fight but on a much better platform for it. I opted to Summon Solarie as it’s part of his questline. I think. It might not be actually now that it look it up. Whoops.

From here you ring the first of two bells and are left rather lost as to where to go next but we will get to that tomorrow

Stray Thoughts:

it’s interesting how after all these years this game still feels so fresh in my mind. I still know these levels like the back of my ha-is that mole new? I should get that looked at

For some reason the screen shots aren’t loading and if anyone knows how to fix that please let me know

I’ve actually done way more of this game then this write covers but it is late and this stuff takes a while to write out even with the minimal editing I am doing so I am stopping here


Let's Revisit Dark Souls
#29

Uh, this is not so.

From Firelink you can stumble into into New Londo Ruins right away and get absolutely murdered by ghosts. Which is what I did the first time I played.

Those ghosts ate me for breakfast and laughed as I kept going back for more.


#30

That bonfire acts as the hub for Undead Burg. You’re thinking of the Firelink Shrine bonfire which does go a few different ways


#31

Oh, I get you, I misread!


#32

Undead Burg, again

So after the Gargoyles you can either go to the Darkroot Basin or towards the sewers. I opted for Darkroot but the Sewers require going past the last bit of The Burg ™ so I may as well cover it here. On your way past the Dragon bridge you’re likely to notice a locked door, and somewhere you find a key for this door but I honestly don’t remember where? I had it when I went to open the door so whatever it worked out. Past there you find a shortcut back to the hub bonfire for the Undead Burg along with basic sorcery trainer who has a name I never bothered to learn (If you want a deep lore dive I fear you are looking towards the wrong fox) and a large group of dogs and thieves that are hard to fight your first time through the game but a lot easier once you know how to unlock the camera and take on multiple foes at once. Something the games don’t really teach you how to do very well before Dark Souls II or maybe even Bloodborne (The greatest game ever). Past this you’ll have a brief moment of panic over how repetitive to read this thread must be to read and move on to the boss:

The Capra Demon

I have heard that this boss is the one that drives the most people away from the series. It was the only boss in my first run through the game that I did on my first go. He is however a rather nasty fight if you don’t luck out. It’s not so much the boss as the dogs. Dogs are by far the worst enemy to fight in any souls games due to size and speed. They often go right under your attacks, they hit hard, they hit fast, and then they run away. They suck and are mean, and will stun lock you. The trick to the boss is to run up the stairs and kite the boss up there so you have a moment take out the dogs. Once you do that the boss is not hard to finish off once you know how to dodge his attacks.

From here you make you’re way to the sewers which I haven’t yet done but it does unlock another path back to Firelink and has a miniboss of sorts called The Butcher and the Pyromancy trainer who’s name I also don’t know. I did grab a few Green Titanite shards to get faith scaling on my Bastard sword via the Divine ember that I got in;

Darkroot Basin, part one

You find your way down here past what I think is called a Titanite demon that you find not far from the blacksmith.
The Basin is a dark forest area that both looks super cool and looks like they took some trees out of a canceled PS2 game. There’s a few paths here there’s one the leads back to the Undead Burg and one to the New Londo Ruins. There’s three-ish bosses here, a Hydra that guards a path to another area of the Basin but it doesn’t have a health bar the way most bosses though so it may not count. The Moonlight Butterfly which guards the ember and maybe that key to the sewers? and a third I will get to later

The Moonlight Butterfly

This is kind of a weird fight. It takes place on a walk way above the forest that really only allows you to doge in two directions as the boss floats off just out of melee range firing magic at you. after a few shots at you it will eventually land and you can get a few hits on it but you need to back off as once it goes to take off again it will blast you with an AOE. Ultimately it doesn’t put up as huge fight beyond that though. Well except for that mean beam attack that you almost can’t dodge that takes out most of your health but I had enough flasks for it to not matter

Stray Thoughts:

After this I was able to get both my Divine Bastard Sword and ran past the bridge dragon to the Sunlight Warriors covenant and get lightning spear meaning I finally have a ranged magic attack that scales off my faith and a weapon to match. The sword does like 200 damage and the spell around 300 or so with ten casts per rest. Sadly I will likely never get the ten medals I need for the next level of lightning spear thanks to the dead multiplayer component of the game.


#33



#34

The Sewers AKA The Depths

Look, it’s a really good sewer level. It’s still a sewer level. Here’s the few things that stand out, this is likely where you will encounter your first black phantom NPC the knight of thorns Kirk who can damage you by rolling into you which is weird, You encounter the Basilisks for the first time here who can curse you which kills you and drops your maximum health (before it was patched this would go until you had like 1 hp left but now it caps out at half your total health), it’s has a maze like structure that I’m not sure I’ve ever fully explored, and you can grind for green titanite here which I did for a bit to get my sword up to +3. Other than that there’s an NPC that later sells boss armor and another Dragon that you don’t have to kill actually:

The Gaping Dragon

I like this boss, it’s like a giant toothy alligator got it on with a Georgia O’Keeffe painting. As a fight it’s mostly just about wearing it down and maybe chopping off it’s tail if you want a great axe that needs 50 strength to one hand that doesn’t scale off your stats so uh, I’m good. The only reason I didn’t do this boss the first go is I wanted to summon Solaire for the sunlight medal but he kept dying so eventually I just gave up and summoned in someone. Look I’ve done this boss like 6 times solo I just wanted Solaire to live at that point don’t judge me T_T

Stray thoughts

I was surprised to see that people are still doing the co op for the game here. The Dragon is not an especially tough fight so it’s weird that I could get summoned at all let alone the four or so times it happened. Sadly I only got like two medals but I’m half way to the next spear spell so hopefully I can get that after all!


#35

The Gaping Dragon was one of the few bosses in the series I beat in one try. It had a lot of health and by this point I still wasn’t sure what I was doing with regard to upgrading weapons, so it took a loooong time but its attacks for the most part were quite easy to avoid. I don’t think I summoned Solaire my first time through, since I was really low on humanity and also still wasn’t sure exactly how many I could come by in the game (I had like 30 spare by the time I beat the final boss).


#36

Blighttown

Maybe the most hated level in the series I can understand why. The whole first half is like the second level of Shrine Of Storms but with thinner platforms. However the real issue is the frame rate (at least on consoles I’m pretty sure a toaster could run this level at 30 FPS now) which dive bombs due to how much can be on screen at once. And as a cherry on top it’s hard to get back to anywhere else in the game from the first bonfire for this level so you’re almost trapped here with no other obvious paths to head down anyways (you do have to come here eventually but you can skip to the second half fairly easily when you know how and in fact you could have come here first thing with a bit of work). Having said that like the rest of the games most of the difficulty can be mitigated via the ancient art of chilling the F out and once you can stay calm and not panic it’s not hard to get past this relatively short level. Most of the enemies here die in very few hits and the ones that hit you with toxic darts die for good once you take them out which is super easy to do with any bow. Still it can be a hellish nightmare and stands out as a major misstep in a game that has few outside it’s last handful of levels.

Past the town part of Blighttown you get to a swamp. It’s more or less the same swamp as the second level of the Defiled Valley from Demon’s Souls. Except here you can roll and there’s nothing quite as bad as the giant club wielding dregs to one shot you so it’s way better. Here you can find another bonfire, a way back to Firelink that will make you very angry as it’s way easier traverse, a path to a secret area that is hidden behind no less than two illusory walls, and the second and last bell to ring past the boss:

Chaos Witch Quelaag
This boss fight starts with what might be the only pan up to a women’s cleavage and linger there creepily shot in the whole series and woof does it feel out of place. It’s not as bad as some games and at least the spider half of this spidertaur is still a nightmare and unlike some other media there are plenty of women in this game that aren’t just “sexy” so it’s not a huge issue but it’s still pretty tacky to be frank. Anyways it’s not a bad fight but a bit basic. She hits you with a rad fire sword but you can duck under it by being super close to her and she has no real resistance to lightning so I just hit hew with that when she started puking lava up

From there you find the path to the worst made area in the game but we can worry about why there’s a weird nightmare demon ruin under this big ass city some other time

There’s likely something to be said for how this giant shanty town is playing on some gross stereotypes with the dartguns and totemesque structures but someone who knows more about that than I will have to comment on that

In the continuing theme of weird one off enemies that likely took way longer to make than their use in the game warrants this thing is guarding a pyromancy spell and I’m not sure why it exists

Summary

https://i.imgur.com/Ny83Zuo.jpg


#37

Sen’s Fortress

I have no idea who Sen is

This is sometimes listed as the last great level in the game (I don’t agree but I understand what people are getting at) and I suspect it’s mostly that it’s the most Zelda of the levels in the game. It’s a lot of traps and puzzles and snake enemies and treasures behind walls you break with things that go boom. There’s also a swamp section of sorts under that’s not really a swamp and doesn’t poison you but does slow you which makes the titanite demons rather tough. There’s also a few platforms that are all but impossibly thin (You character will basically hover over them with their feet hanging over the edge not even touching the platform in spots) and swinging axes as is required for such a level. Towards the end you find you’re way to the top of the fortress and have exploding balls tossed at you. Here you can find a hidden bonfire and a shortcut back to the bottom of the fortress and the boss

Iron Golem

Basically the Tower Knight but you can’t cheese it. No really that’s it. It’s fine

Stray thought:

I really like this level and there’s a lot of stuff to find here and every time I play this game again I find more stuff it’s great

The tiny platform towards the end with the snake shooting at you and all the swinging axes can die in a fire though

Not too long from now I will have to deal with this games transmisogyny problem and that will not be fun


#38

Ornstein and Smough are dicks

That is all


#39

Well they only took about two days to kill


#40

Anor Londo

So, word, are a thing I must type as I wait for this caffeine to hit me and before I can get back to the game so I can finish it before Destiny 2 comes out.

Anyways you kill the Iron Golem and some weird brain gargoyles lift you over the wall and then you realize where all the rich people live. From here you maybe get killed by the giant gold knights but hopefully you make it to the bonfire which is watched over by a women in rad brass armor who doesn’t have a whole lot to say much like everyone else in the game. Now from this you can go off to the left and find the entrance to an area you won’t be able to do anything with yet and is blocked off until you get the Lord Vessel from killing the boss(es) of this area. Now, this is where the level gets interesting and where the game starts to falter a little (or a lot with the Dark Sun Gwyndolin stuff but we’ll get there this weekend). You take the front pathway down to find another of the bell tower gargoyles that luckily dies for good once you kill it and then, well, you’re stuck. Or so you think! This is where the level starts to show that even this grand city that at first glance is untouched by the curse is a ruin in it’s own right. To get further in the level you have to climb over one of the nearby, uh, roofs? Not sure what you would call them I’m not an architect I’ve found other ways to be unemployable. So you climb over that you get mauled by some dudes called Painting Guardians that provide hints to the Mario 64-esque painting nearby that contains a fully optional level that acts as the basis for one of the DLCs in Dark Souls III and you climb over some more thin walk ways as dudes throw knifes at you to try and knock you off. This was a huge pain my first time through the game but I’ve since spent enough time with the series that this stuff no longer phases me. It’s mostly difficult when you still think everything in the game is the hardest thing ever and no it just controls differently from most 3D games so it feels awkward in ways that do make this sort of pseudo platforming a bad idea. After this bit you get to the big elevator thing and can find a secret bonfire that leads to the Dark Sun boss fight but that’s for another time and then you make the elevator thingy go up and make your way to what many cite as the worst part of the game the one two punch of the Silver Knight archers that can shoot you off another one of those platforms and the boss battle Ornstein and Smough. The archers have never given me much trouble. I just run past them roll through the arrow the one dude shots at you as you go to wack him off the ledge and make my way past it to the bonfire. Now a quick pit stop to point out this is the area where the series starts to depend on too many bonfires to work more or less like normal checkpoints. It works here but it lessens the later games by draining the tension that fewer bonfires creates and makes the world feel infinitely smaller in many areas. Dark Souls 2 suffers from this the most. Now back to this level I’m just going to kinda gloss over the rest of this it’s mostly more of the same as the rest. It’s got some interesting stuff for sure like the final Blacksmith you find in the game (Of four total though so far I have only mentioned the one you are likely to find either first or second) and can get revenge on Lautrec and get the Firelink Firekeepers soul which can be used to bring her and the bonfire back to life somehow. and then there’s the boss:

Ornstein and Smough

Oof. I’m largely of the opinion that the Souls games are pretty damn well balanced in difficulty but this is the major failing of this series in this regard. This boss would barely pass as an optional super hard boss. There’s just no great way to dodge both of them at once and there’s very few hits you can tanks that won’t get you killed if the other boss manages to hit you out of the blue. and their whole Laurel and Hardy retinue means means Ornstein is hard to even see coming from behind Smough and he he can do a charge attack that makes him slide around like he’s on ice in a bad platformer. AND if you do manage to kill one of them (woe on whoever tried to focus on killing both of them at once as killing one of them just starts the second phase) you get to fight a suped up version of whichever version on4e you didn’t kill who has the power of both of them. Now, having only one of them to fight means this part of the fight is way easier. But having to do it after the first phase means you get few chances to really see this phase and in my case Super Ornstein could one shot me with his ranged attack. Weirdly his normal attacks seem to hit for a little less HP than before. It’s a whole mess. There’s a few things they could do to fix this, like say, not making you repeat the first phase of the fight (something they do in later games), having the bosses jump in and out of the fight tag team style (you know something is bad when I suggest something from wrestling as a solution) Or even just having changing some of the moves to be easier to dodge. Everyone has bosses in this game they just have a hard time with as a result of how they play it. This fight is just a nightmare for everyone who does it I’ve never heard of someone doing it on their first go. I’m sure someone has but yeesh it’s the only fight in the series that I would call bad off the top of my head. Maybe the Fume Knight in Dark Souls II. Regardless it’s a black spot on the game for sure

Stray Thoughts:

This level is weird in that it both looks fantastic and half finished. There’s a startling lack of detail around the level in spots and it feels off in the way a lot of Dark Souls II does

I sort of wonder if the game excepts you to try and fight Ornstein and Smough and give up to go do the other areas in the game but honestly I’m not sure where they expect you to go. You’d have to back out all the way out through Sen’s to get anywhere else but even then Ornstein and Smough aren’t a DPS check it’s just an overly hard fight