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


#121

Yeah I think Bloodborne (and the souls games in general) contains a lot of what could be seen on its face as misogyny and gender essentialism, and sometimes it unfortunately just is that (coughDS2cough), but in deeper readings they frequently complicate and subvert or comment on those tropes and archetypes.

Like considering what we encounter in the Old Hunters DLC you can interpret the entire horror of Bloodborne’s scenario as being the direct result of colonial, patriarchal violence against a godlike mother figure. The top level of the Healing Church is ruled by the male dominated School of Mensis and the female dominated Choir, but the founders were all a bunch of shitty dudes who committed heinous acts against seemingly non-hostile alien beings in a fit of blind colonial greed, and have been trying to elude the consequences of their actions ever since, even while attempting to use those gods’ own blood, remains, and orphaned children as the means of fueling their escape.


#122

I have passed my learner’s permit test so now I can Parry-lal park my way into… Um… Shit I ran out of puns fast


#123

One Wolf 11/7 Games

Welcome to my Kingdom Hearts complete let’s play series where I will be playing every Kingdom Hearts game in release order including all remakes and ports followed by playing them in chronological order so as to best determine for others what order the games should be played in to fully understand the nuances of the story. So let’s start!

A Spectre Is Haunting Disney—The Spectre Of Final Fantasy

You start off with a Prerendered cutscene that sums up the whole plot of the game if you really dig into it which we will do later in my opening movie retrospective The Development Of Kingdoms In Hearts to be done after this playthrough where I really dig into the artistry in full detail. After you get done jamming to the classic song Simple And Clean you find yourself in the tutorial area on top of a stained glass window that clearly represents the Glass Ceiling and is one of the many metaphors the game and in turn will explore in depth over it’s run time. From here you learn the basics of the combat by hitting the square button as fast as you can in a true test of dexterity and as a fun homage to the company that made the game and pick your starting class and sub class. I went with the Wand and Shield as I feel these best represent the themes of uplifting the common man found throughout the worlds you visit in the game. After this you fight the first boss in the game

Darkside

This is only the first boss in the game but by far an all time great in video games. First there is the design. In the middle of it’s chest is a hole in the shape of a heart, a brilliant and subtle way to set up our primary foe The Heartless. For the fight itself it’s a tense back and forth between it’s strikes which hit the ground so hard they throw the games camera into an uncontrollable spiral from the sheer power of them and the whole thing requires you to really put in your best. It’s maybe a little too hard for a first boss fight but it sets the stage for the rest of the series and the bar for what must be beaten

After this you get to Destiny Island where things really kick off with Riku and Kairi but that’s a tale for tomorrow!

Random Reflections

The music is fantastic and by far the greatest achievement in human history

I am sad that I have not yet gotten to talk about Goofy and Donald yet and how their arc comprises the true emotional core of the game but we will get there worry not!

We will also talk about the in depth parry system soon so look forward to that!

Summary

Pixel%20red%20fox%202%20wink

The music is killer though

This was going to be a jokes and dokes thread but new accounts can’t post things and I din’t think to create this account a few days ago and didn’t want to bother a mod but if one is reading this and wants to hook me up please do!


#124

The Hunter’s Nightmare

So the DLC. You get here via the same method you get the the Nightmare Frontier after you kill the Vicar right outside the chapel. Once you load into into DLC area you find yourself right inside the chapel. But things are a tad different. For one no one is here, and theres only two ways in and out. Straight ahead and to the right where you find the hunters workshop in the base game but that’s closed off for now and is just a shortcut. So out the front we shall head and find ourselves in a familiar local. Disappointingly so in some ways. The area that makes up this first third of the DLC is largely a rehash of the Cathedral Ward and Central Yharnam with the Nightmare Frontier smooshed into it and yes that is the scientific term. It’s all fine really but doesn’t pull this off as well as later areas in the DLC or in the Dark Souls DLCs reworking of Dark Root Basin but it’s fine. Really it’s fine. It’s fine. Not too far in you find the first of the Old Hunters. One of the primary enemies in this fist bit is actually hunters that are not as toned down from the NPC hunters you fight in the main game as you might think. They hit hard as hell at any level and when I ran in here to grab the Whiligig Saw getting caught by them was a death sentence and it’s not much better as far into the game as I am either. But if you can parry them you’ll have no real issue here at least until you fuck up or have to deal with two at once. And you will. They also look a bit weird. They have weird eyes that make them look a bit like that blue dude from the PS2 Legacy Of Kain games and it’s a tad out of place. It’s a bit too exaggerated all told but we can talk about how From’s Art team gets a tad lazy in spots when we talk about Dark Souls III. The other thing you’ll likely notice first is that there’s a lot more men turned into beasts hanging around at once than you see in a lot of other areas and they don’t really pose much of a threat and in spots will go out of their way to avoid you. This is a big Theme of the DLC. This whole thing is a dream scape of the first hunt and the things that lead up to it and how it went (Spoiler: Poorly). Granted it’s only as literal as a dream can be but you’ll find insight here none the less. The section here is the Cathedral Ward area and is largely the same. It’s a fun twist on the area but I’m not getting paid by the word so that’s where I’ll leave it. There’s a few types of hunter here the blunt bone whip using scarecrow dudes, and some guys in top hats with a weapon called the Boom Hammer which is a hammer that instead of a transformed state has a buff akin to a weapon called the Tonitrus that let’s its next hit explode for a burst of damage. It’s cool. Actually there’s a lot of really cool weapons here and in this DLC in general. You get the blunt whip thing here, there’s the Whiligig Saw, The Rayuko, the arm of an Amygdala which is sort of alive? Lots of cool stuff. You’ll also find in the Cathedral proper the corpse of a Cleric Beast in the thinking man’s Jesus pose. You have to go up and examine this altar to get an item that let’s you progress past the first boss of the DLC. After this you you make your way to the right of the Cathedral which is the base game leads of to the Gaol area but here leads into the subsection of Central Yharnam that has The Loop. Here you can find a beast man who is sort of in between the Werewolves and the DWHVLAAIVAs. He’s actually an NPC hunter that has a special rune equipped and the beast claws as his weapon who attacks in weird ways thanks to the combination. If you take him out you also get the rune and can use the Beast Claws the same way he does and take on his appearance. Past this you get to the last section which is the blood river with skinned people in it. Look, it’s the first hunt some people were bound to get skinned it’s just how things go. You’ll find more ticks here but a bit harder to kill and in larger groups. You’ll also find a cave here that has a hunter with a gatling gun (one of the new guns you can get in the DLC) who is such a pain in the ass that I haven’t bothered killing him and I think a blood starved beast in there as well but it’s dark and the gatling dude sucks so I have no idea and you can’t make me find out. Also in the river is a shortcut back to the lamp and past that the second section of the blood river which is a section of Yharnam toppled over with more damn dogs, I hate dogs, and barking crows, I hate barking crows. Here you find the bonfire before the boss and the Whiligig Saw which right before pick that up a slug beast in a shell falls from the sky and screams ala Morrowind, the worst Elder Scrolls game. This implies something important about the construction of the nightmare in that if something falls from above here there must be something above us. Something I should mention is the cthulu church guards that that hang out outside the lamp building that look cool are though to fight and are never seen again after this and aren’t used super well. That’s kind of true of this whole section of the DLC honestly. The later stuff is great and enough for me to call this the best DLC in the series but this bit is a tad meh for sure. Okay let’s get on to the main event:

LUDWIG THE ACCURSED

This is the best and worst boss fight in the entire franchise. It’s hard as hell, by far the hardest boss fight I’ve fought in any of the Souls games. It took me over a hundred tries and I have beaten this game like 5 other times including this boss twice. By the time I beat him I was dodging back and forth having learned every god damn move he had in his first phase like the dance you so often see combat described as in video games. It was a week long effort and at the end I felt alive in a way games really make me feel let alone ones I’ve played so much. And also if I’d just come back when the game wanted me to I’d have done it in like a day as this is one of the few bosses that really expects you to be at a certain level. It would still be a damn hard fight even then though. He has a number of attacks that are instant kills at most levels and all are dodgeable but work on a very specific timing. To list a few: his bite attack if you get hit more than once, his jump attack if you try to roll away from it will end you most of the time so just run away, his arcane vomit (God the eyes on the inside of his second mouth are just the worst) attack can kill you if you get caught in it, and worst of all a charge attack where he starts screaming, well, screams more than normal anyways, and then rushes forward in an attack that only builds focused on health will survive, and all of these are fast enough that if you’re trying to pull off a charge attack you’re likely screwed. So don’t do that! You have to really learn the fight on this one no doubt. There’s no room for error but if you put the effort in you’ll find you won’t really need more then you’re given (we can talk about difficulty options later it’s just a bigger conversation than this one fight or game). Even as fast as he is this isn’t a Bayonetta/DMC style fight where you can never tell when or where an attack is coming from. The whole fight takes place in a largely featureless room and it pays off in readability, which in turn forces you to just stare at him. And he is awful to look at. It’s one of the triumphs of the game. It takes things that should be unknowable nightmares you can’t bare to look at and makes you stare at them and makes sure they never lose their horror, that you never feel comfortable just looking at them and forces you to stare for hours at them until they haunt your dreams with their horse like visage. Once you get him down to about half health he gets to his second form after a short cutscene where he talks about his guiding moonlight and how it was with him all along, and pulls the sword from his back that the game carefully highlights in the cutscene that pays the first time you take on the boss. And after that he stands on his back two legs and moves gracefully and wields the Moonlight blade with skill and it’s just so creepy after a week of animalistic screaming nonstop. It’s just a fantastic example of how to do horror in a game like this I can not speak highly enough of it. The second phase of the fight is not anyway near as hard as the first. His attacks don’t hit as hard and are easier to dodge out of mid combo. It’s not easy by any means and he can still take you out pretty quick but most of the difficulty of this phase is getting here enough to learn his new moves. I have to say I really love this fight but in the same way that I think Gascoine is too much for where it’s at in the game I think this fight is too much for the start of this DLC. I would swap him out for the secret fight in the chapel I talked about earlier and make Ludwig the secret final boss of the DLC. If the rest of the DLC was as hard as this first bit I wouldn’t mind it, but here it forces you to get much better at the game than the rest of it requires and makes it all seem a tad easy. Having said that others have had different experiences with that so who knows

Stray Thoughts

Get it you’ll find insight. Do you get it? Do you? I slay me though sadly I am not worth many echoes

I don’t get why people use the phrase Soulsborne when Bloodborne is clearly a Souls game in all but name. I guess it’s technically more precise?

There’s a skinless dude right before the Ludwig fight that drops blood vials and even with all the ones I used fighting the boss I still had over 500 vials in storage by the time I was done

I liked that April Fools joke to see if other people could even see it and now I can’t unlike it and I feel very hoisted by this


#125

I am forever doomed to get weirdly busy towards the end of any of these write ups

In the mean time I am looking towards starting Dark Souls III not long after I finish Bloodborne so if anyone has some suggestions for how they would like me to go through it let me know. IS there a build you want me to play as so I can talk about how the DSIII handles that style of gameplay? Do you hate me and want me to do it in NG+? Something you want me to pay more attention to? Let me know and I’ll think about it :wink:


#126

I really enjoyed my first playthrough of the game where I was a Sorcery/Dexterity hybrid character. In DS3 the sorcery is far more balanced than previous games, and has a lot of cool variety that feeds into several different sorcerer “sub-classes” if you will. The Farron spells even have running and rolling variant attacks which is very cool and I wish was more common for the magic in the game. Starting as an assassin class you also begin with the spook spell which opens up some cool stealth and minor sequence-breaking opportunities early on. The Greatsword of judgement has a really fun moveset with its weapon art, a stance that buffs you and leads into either a lunge or a magic beam, and works really well for this build. The magic weapon spells mean practically any buffable weapon is viable though.

Faith/Luck is also a really interesting one, because luck is an actual real stat in DS3 that does things for once, like enhance bleed and poison, and adds pretty impressive damage scaling via hollow gem infusion. Faith allows a ton of different buffs and some interesting lightning attack spells. My GF did this build with Anri’s Straight Sword (which scales with luck and faith by default) as a lord of hollows, with low equip-load fast rolling and no shields, and had so much fun that DS3 is now her all-time favorite game.

I haven’t really messed with a pyromancy build but the Boulder Heave spell is both hilarious and extremely powerful if used correctly.

Pure physical with equal investment in strength and dexterity is also a lot of fun, I recommend the crescent axe (or anything with warcry, which buffs damage and changes your charged heavy attacks into brutal lunges), or the gotthard twinswords for this build but pretty much any physical weapon works.

Honestly nearly every build is fun in DS3, even going Bows Only is spiced up by the compound bow having rolling and running attacks and all the different arrow types you can use. Giant heavy weapons are my least favorite but those can still be really fun and there’s lots of neat boss soul weapons in that category.


#127

I’ve a Dex build, an Int build, Dex/Str, Pyro, and Luck. I’ve played a lot of Dark Souls III


#128

Well dang you’ve just about done it all then!

You didn’t say you have a faith build, so you could do one of those if you haven’t yet.

Have you done fist weapons only? That’s always an interesting challenge. Or if you really want to suffer you could do a shields only run and just slowly bonk everything to death, captain america style. Although, with the bonewheel or pierce shield it might not be so bad…

I guess it depends if you want to do something weird or something more representative of the average player’s experience lol


#129

I think I will skip the faith build as faith damage spells don’t really do a whole lot in III as I recall

And yeah Challenge runs are just not my thing, though I have thought of doing a run with all Ashen Estus and healing spells and seeing where that gets me


#130

I’d second a faith build if you haven’t done one yet. Otherwise I’ll put a vote in for pyro!


#131

Hmm I guess I can look into a faith build. Maybe there’s some cool weapons in there I can use


#132

There are some neato faith weapons, I think a lot of them are from boss souls like the dragonslayer swordspear and wolnir’s sword? You can get the saint bident pretty early on, I’m pretty sure that scales decently with faith.

You’re right about spell damage though, aside from Dorhys’ Gnawing on enemies weak to bleed, and maybe lightning stake, faith is way more geared toward buffing yourself and your weapons. The lightning spears do pretty well at melee range, but aren’t great at a distance unless you have TONS of faith and also wear all the miracle-boosting rings.

Also if i remember correctly the lightning infusion adds faith scaling, so that could be fun too.


#133

I guess the middleground would be the Golden Ritual Spear, which doubles as a sorcery catylist that scales spells with fith instead of int. It’s a fun thing to build around, thinking about exactly how low you can get your int so you can still cast good spells but still have the points up for int scaling. Like a sort of Stats Limbo, if you will.


#134

Actually this might be the wrong way to do this. It might be better to pick a weapon and a go with a build that suits that so how about suggesting weapons instead? Maybe something like: http://darksouls3.wiki.fextralife.com/Farron+Greatsword


#135

Farron Greatsword kicks ass, naturally, but it’s pretty specialised for wide attacks, so the sensible suggestion would be to pair it with something more single-combat focused.

My suggestion would be something like the Mirrah Greatsword, or another greatsword with it’s moveset. Because 1: If you have one in each hand and switch between twohanding them you get to always have a greatsword on your back, which is Maximum Fashion, and 2: Farron sword has bonuses vs Abyss enemies and Mirrah sword has bonuses vs hollows, which is a good pair of useful advantages together.


#136

I have recently been messing around with a cryomancer build, and that has proven to be loads of fun (surprising, given how much I have hated any attempt at a sorcery build in previous Souls games). In case you don’t know, the cool down on frost can be healed by fire, so pair Snap Freeze with any weapon that does fire damage and you can just keep that sweet burst damage going. I recommend using the Storyteller’s Staff as your catalyst. It’s weapon art is a poison that works similar to Pestilent Mist (in that it is more effective the higher the HP of your opponent). For the melee weapon I recommend the Witch’s Locks. They have quite a learning curve in regards to their moveset, but the range is absolutely ridiculous (particularly on the weapon art), the attacks go through walls, and they cannot be parried. This build is a bit better suited to pvp, but it is versatile enough that you will have access to a variety of spells/weapons to deal with basically any situation. It can also be incredibly vicious against certain bosses (Kiss your ludicrous amount of HP goodbye Uncle Gael).

Other than that there is my general favorite, the smashy smashy strength build ft. Ledo’s Great Hammer. It has high stat requirements and weighs a ton, but for me there is nothing more entertaining than slam jamming your enemies into oblivion (even better with the appropriate soundtrack playing). An alternative would be the Great Mace if the requirements for Ledo’s are too much.

If you do choose to go faith, then I suggest Crucifix of the Mad King buffed with Dark Blade. I used it on a Fai/Dex build, and it seems the scaling for faith is much stronger than it is for strength. Witch’s Locks are also good here as a backup weapon, and Lightning Arrow is probably the overall best offensive miracle.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the Man Serpent Hatchet as an all around solid weapon, useful for many builds.


#137

The Farron Greatsword is a solid choice because who doesn’t like Sword Breakdancing? The anti-abyss bonus will help against midir and gael as well.

Any of the twinned weapons could be fun too, or anything that has an added LB moveset when two-handed. The Gotthard Twinswords are pretty kickass.

I’m also a big fan of anything with the Warcry weapon art (most axes) due to how it changes your heavy attacks, especially the crescent axe, which is a mix of halberd and battleaxe that just feels really good to use.

I think the Pike weapon class is also pretty underrated, and the lothric knight long spear is the best of these (although the greatlance is also cool). It has great reach and it’s natural poise boost gives you slightly better hyperarmor during attacks I think.

The Lothric knight greatsword with lightning infusion is apparently a really good weapon for a faith build, as long as you reach the required 24 str to wield it. It has natural lightning damage, but can still be buffed, so using the lightning blade miracle or infusing it with a lightning gem will boost that innate damage by quite a bit.

The Earth Seeker is another cool str/fth weapon, and it lets you cause earthquakes which rules. Plus you can run to get it as soon as you get access to the Ariandel DLC without having to fight any of the Ariandel bosses.


#138

I’m kinda thinking a faith/dex Katana build with a focus on buffs at the moment. This would let me use the Farron Greatsword, the twin Scimitars, and the Crucifix without focusing too much on the lack luster damage miracles


#139

Forbidden Woods

Okay now let’s actually talk about this level. You unlock this by taking out the Vicar and then going to the door in the Cathedral Ward area. At the door you say the password via a text prompt because voice acting is expensive and the door opens to reveal it was a skeleton behind the door all along! This is the cheesiest moment in the game and I kinda love it. From here you get to the first of three sections of this area the hills. As you might guess this is a series of forested hills. This is the area where you find the ladder to Isofka’s clinic and Valtr. Valtr being an NPC that was added to the game in the patch that came out around the DLC, and is dressed like a confederate soldier with a bucket on his head. I assume they just like the uniform and didn’t really think about the implications of having him be a vermin hunter in that get up. Vermin are a covenant item thing you get for helping people out in co op. That are said to be the root of all impurity. It’s also implied that they don’t exist or don’t mean anything and that the people hunting for them are searching for meaning that isn’t there so there’s some commentary at least. You find him in the shortcut back to the only bonfire in the level but he is right next to the lamp. You can see him through the gate just standing there like a weirdo. Not far from the lamp you get hit with the first of the traps in the area, a big log with spikes in it that tries to murder you. And it just might but it’s real purpose is to say “Hey there’s going to be more of this be ready”. The rest of this section is just a few areas with a bunch of dudes and dogs it’s when you get to the swamp town section that things pick up. Here’s you find yourself the closest this game comes to having a Blighttown it’s a slum sort of area loaded with traps and the like. The first one is a big pit in the center of the town square covered by boards and hiding in it a few consumables and crows. And then you get mauled by dudes. That’s just how it goes. Soon after you get to a long hallway that has a dude with a cannon at the end who fires at you when ever he can see you. So you dive in and out of buildings to avoid him You’ve done this all before. After this you get to the village windmill and things get weird. No more weird than the Nightmare Frontier, but since that area is a tad hard to find this is possibly the first time you’ll really see anything outside the realm of the werewolfy things when you find the snake headed dudes you find in the basement of the windmill. At first they just look like dudes with bags over their heads but as you damage them they eventually grab their heads and snakes burst out before they go back to attacking you. Around here you also find the Suspicious Beggar who is a bandage wrapped man clearly eating a family of dead people who asks you if you know of anywhere safe he can go. Yes I assume From is fucking with me. If you attack him he turns into a mini boss of sorts called the Abhorrent Beast that you will also find in the Chalice Dungeon. It’s a surprisingly hard fight and he damn near took me out but I got a lucky hit off with the Moonlight Blade. As you stab him a bunch he questions who’s the real beast and I can’t tell if the purpose of this is to actually bring up the fact that yes, you have in fact drank/injected half the towns blood, or if it’s lamp shading the way a lot of other games will have you commit murder on mass and try to somehow lampshade this by at some point waving a finger at you like you stole a cookie by having a man who obviously just murdered an entire family and is now eating them do the finger wagging. Honestly it kinda works as both. With that side content over I made my way out the windmill and unlocked the shortcut back to the bonfire and here we find ourselves questioning what perspective we are writing this from and if I’ve just been randomly switching between them for the entire length of this nightmare project I am forever trapped in with the end always in sight but never within your reach and also in the third part of the level the forest of snakes yes it had to be snakes. This is the most confusing area to navigate in the game by far the trees here are large and very dense and it makes the area feel huge even if it’s not. Which it may or may not be fuck if I know but it’s such a pain to navigate and I love it. It’s so easy to get turned around and find yourself face to face with a giant snake ball that tries to kill you which is a weird thing for a snake orgy to do but hey I’m not here to kinkshame the snakes I’m here to kinkshame Cuthulu. With a sword. As you do. Somewhere in this forest you can find a small valley with more of the blue mushroom people that Isofka made in her clinic. I assume they either escaped from there or Bygynworth. I’m gonna google that later I don’t care right now. One thing this area doesn’t have is a poison swamp which is not something you ever find in the main path of the game as a kindness on the Froms part. Eventually you get yo the gate to Berginworth and find the boss of this area

Shadows Of Yharnam

So this is actually three bosses ala the gargoyles (Did I cover the gargoyles in Dark Souls II? I think the only one I skipped is the two tigers that aren’t really worth the effort to take out solo and don’t really amount to anything but a pain in the ass and damn I have a real thing for run on sentences don’t I?) one with a sword, on with a mace and something like a pyromancers flame, and one with a candle AND a sword. Fun fact I once played through Dark Souls III with this exact build. As for how they look they resemble the ringwraths from the Lord Of The Rings movies a fair bit with black robes and no visible face. Not terribly exciting. They The battle is largely a fight with three lesser NPC hunters but three lesser NPC hunters isn’t nothing. If you can’t parry. I can. But it at least goes in a cool direction when you take a few of them down and they start calling giant snakes in. The only real threat I found this time around was the dude with the pyromancer flame who kept tossing fireballs at me from off screen but I could always hear it coming and dodge out of the way

After this you get to Barginworthers proper but will shall cover that next time I think as after that there’s some NPC wrap ups I need to do

Stray Thoughts

I may not love the boss here, though it’s fine but I really enjoy the structure of the level itself the way it builds to more and more dense layouts and explores that with things like the traps and cannons and weird side paths. I feel like I find something new every time through


#140

Also it dawned on me that I can literally do a faith and pyro build all at once in Dark Souls III as fire damage scales off of the highest of either Faith or Int it dosn’t need both so that’s that issue solved I can just use fire for when I need damaging spells with a faith build