Let's Revisit Dark Souls


#1

Dark Souls has a cultural impact unlike any other game. While there are a million discussions online as to why the game is phenomenal, I wanted to instead take the time to return to Dark Souls and slowly pour over its pages to see what pieces helped create such a powerful experience. Dark Soul’s difficulty is perhaps its most widely known aspect, but with patience, perseverance, and some faith in humanity, we will overcome those struggles (and hopefully realize there is significantly more to this game than the challenge).

This thread will serve two functions: as a guide to provide assistance and as an opportunity for study. We will move slowly through Dark Souls, asking questions about its themes and messages. We will only look at the first Dark Souls game, as it is the most significant cultural landmark in the souls-like genre. We may or may not be exploring the Artorias Of The Abyss DLC.


To play along, you will need a copy of Dark Souls. The DLC is freely included in the Prepare to Die and Remastered versions of the game. I made this quick little chart to help you decide which version is available on your platform. With the release of the Remaster, Dark Souls has become widely accessible. It is still not available on Mac, but some folks have had success running the game through Boot Camp. Note: online play is limited to the platform and version, so please specify if you’re trying to find matchmaking in the thread or on the discord! I’ll personally be playing on the PC release of the Remaster.

Version PS3 PS4 PC Xbox 360 Xbox One Switch
Dark Souls :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark: :previous_track_button:
DLC Sold Seperately :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark: :previous_track_button:
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die :white_check_mark:
Dark Souls: Remastered :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark: :clock430:

Outline

We will be exploring the world of Lordran one zone at a time, have discussions about that zone (being mindful of spoilers, of course). I’ll be including links to the appropriate sections of the thread as they come up. Currently, we will move to the next area every week, although the update frequency may change depending on thread activity.

  1. Undead Asylum & Firelink Shrine
  2. Undead Burg

Resources

  • Dark Souls Wiki - Wikidot
    – The most robust of the dark souls wikipedia-style guides. The interface might feel old-school, but it’s less buggy and frustrating than wikia.
  • You Died: A Dark Souls Companion - Keza MacDonald & Jason Killingsworth
    – You Died is a collection of essays and anecdotes about Dark Souls and its communities. The chapters are broken up by zones, and include wonderful page art for each of the areas in the game.
  • Bonfireside Chat - Gary Butterfield & Kole Ross
    – This podcast is a big inspiration for the thread. Gary and Kole from Duckfeed.tv look at souls-like games with a zoomed-in approach, tackling one area of a game across multiple, hour+ episodes. Their critical look of Dark Souls also includes guests from the community, including our very own Danielle Riendeau & Austin Walker (although they’re appearances are for games later in the series).
  • Twin Humanities - CoffeeJezus & Paddy
    – This is another popular Dark Souls podcast, but with a much more casual & unguided approach.

Playthroughs

  • Let’s Play Dark Souls - Geop - 2012
    – Geop’s playing blind and is being guided by Vicas. They have various guests throughout the series. This is probably the best execution of a comedic playthrough of Dark Souls. Watching him struggle might bring about a kind of sadism, but with his friends he’s able to overcome.
  • Let’s Sequence Break Dark Souls - Uryvichk
    – Uryvichk showcases various ways of breaking Dark Souls. If you’re considering speedrunning the game, this video series can help provide a guide to understanding some of the tricks seen in various Dark Souls speedruns. These videos were posted alongside Zain’s Dark Souls LP thread on SomethingAwful.
  • Let’s Play Dark Souls - Vicas - 2015
    – Vicas is probably most well-known for his playthrough of Mario 64 using his feet, but his Dark Souls thread on lp.zone trades the ridiculousness for confidence and informativeness. Unfortunately, it’s unfinished and likely abandoned, perhaps because of missed in-game events that he likely wanted to showcase.
  • Let’s Play Dark Souls Blind - Kay Plays - 2014
    – Dark Souls had a strong sensation of blind playthroughs due to its identity as being a challenge. Kaye has one of the most enjoyable, un-guided, blind playthroughs. She has moments of struggle, but her attitude and perseverance creates a very relaxing environment. Not a common emotion for Lordran.
  • Let’s Play Dark Souls - EpicNameBro - 2015
    – This is Marcus’ most recent Let’s Play Dark Souls. He’s got a better mic than previously and is less problematic than in his earlier videos. Marcus is very thorough and will touch on concept art and interviews throughout the playthrough, drawing on his experiences working with FromSoftware writing the Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne guides.
  • Dark Souls Story: Prepare to Cry - VaatiVidya
    – VaatiVidya explores lore and brings to light ideas or questions that might not be obvious for someone’s first playthrough of Dark Souls.

#2

1. Undead Asylum & Firelink Shrine

Character Creation

The character creation screen in Dark Souls is foretelling. The game loosely describes the available starting classes and items, and it’s not entirely apparent how important these stats are. The customization page appears almost hidden; many players easily gloss over the button due to the poor UI design. However, the customization screen acts as an entirely new world, tucked away from the obvious. Dark Souls is filled with these design choices. Whether intentional or otherwise, the game is constantly hiding large sections behind hidden walls, requiring strange items, or off ledges. From the start, as you pass through the creation screens, the game is communicating some core design, intentional or otherwise.
Griffin McElroy is someone who almost skipped the entirety of the character customization screen, and thankfully, he caught it. The Monster Factory series excels at showcasing the Robust Character Creation™ and the Robust Inspired™ pizza sauce; a thick, zesty flavor redolent with garlic and other special spices.

Opening Cinematic


We learn a lot in the opening cinematic, but at this point in the game, it only provides a loose tie to our current position. There’s talk of balance of opposing elements; light and dark, life and death. The world being born from flame within darkness, and humans arising from finding the souls in flame. The game is not being subtle with its allegories. We learn of Nito, Lord Gwyn, ancient dragons, Seath the Scaleless, the Witch of Izalith, and the furtive pygmy. And we also learn the current state of the world; cursed undead bearing the mark of the darksign are amongst the living of a dying world where the flame is dying out.

The Undead Asylum


Undead Asylum wiki walkthrough
Bonfireside Chat - Basics, Asylum, Firelink
Let’s Play Dark Souls 01: A Warm Welcome - Vicas (I’ll be including links to his videos as they’re spoiler-friendly and he provides plenty of talking points)

The Undead Asylum proves to be an excellent tutorial. The game communicates controls through orange soapstone messages, scrawled on the floor. Although these are left by the developers, players may also leave these messages, and in an indirect way, the game is also teaching you the importance of these soapstone messages. Although now the messages prove useful, people with ill intent will leave messages that can harm and break the trust of new players. Everything is to be taken with a level of skepticism. When the messages are fickle, we also realize other aspects of the game can also be fickle. Characters and items in the world may be telling lies, and the term “Unreliable Narrator” proves to be intrinsic to the Dark Souls series.

While players become accustomed to the controls and loose guidance, they will encounter the first boss of the game, Asylum Demon. Broken swords and fists do little to no damage against the demon, and a small doorway is found to be the escape. More game mechanics are taught through soapstone, and players will meet Oscar, who gave the player the key to their prison cell. This is one of the few instances where the game guides players to their mission, and it is easy to skip through this or forget what is said, but it is important.

Thou who art Undead, art chosen in thine exodus from the Undead Asylum, maketh pilgrimage to the land of Ancient Lords when thou ringeth the Bell of Awakening, the fate of the Undead thou shalt know.

The player finds themselves against a fog gate, and passing through they look down onto the Asylum Demon. A plunging attack, with a proper weapon, brings the lifebar down quickly. The boss is still difficult; the game is still expecting a basic understanding of rolling, blocking, and stamina. But the walk down the hallways and the encounter with Oscar should provide enough inspiration and encourage enough patience to finally defeat the first boss. Opening the big asylum doors reveals a short path, but nothing else. The asylum is revealed to be an island in the sky with cliffs on every side. Walking down the path, leading the players by shear curiosity, will open up the game. A cliff, a cutscene, and a crow.


Firelink Shrine


Firelink Shrine wiki walkthrough

Right now, Firelink Shrine is frustrating. The area is touted for its interconnected-ness as many places we will visit in the future will loop back into Firelink Shrine, providing useful shortcuts. However, the fault of being a central hub is revealed when new players are often discouraged when they head off in “the wrong way” such as to New Londo Ruins or the Catacombs, where enemies are effectively invincible. There is only one “correct” path at this point in the game for new players, and it is not readily apparent.
However, the smart-mouthed Crestfallen Warrior is actually helpful, giving you further details to the games mechanics (such as hollowing or the role of humanity) and details to the quest of ringing the Bell of Awakening. We learn there are actually two bells, further adding into the “Unreliable Narrator” theme.
image

The overall layout and palette of firelink shrine is strangely comfortable. I love the little, small building pooled with water, the graveyard out back (a good place to practice the ‘corpse run’), and our friendly crow who brought us in from the Undead Asylum.



Thread Notes

This thread doesn’t have a typical format, but I’d like to reiterate the structure. After each of these large posts, we should stick to discussing aspects of the game that are relevant up to this point, being mindful of spoilers. Talk can be about design, lore, guidance, themes, etc. Please feel free to contribute other resources such as videos and articles as they become relevant. And if anyone needs some jolly cooperation, feel free to ask in the waypoint discord as well!
Here are some possible points for discussion:

  • Is the inclusion of the resistance stat worthwhile when it feels pointless compared to the other useful stats?
  • What allows the player character the ability to overcome being Hollowed? The other hollowed beings appear lost.
  • What is the central theme of the Undead Asylum?

#3

I would join you on this quest but I have already written so much about this game. So, so, so, so much


#4

This is my first time through Dark Souls, and with Bloodborne probably sitting as my fave game ever I’m very excited about this pilgrimmage. I’ve watched playthroughs in the past, but most of those have faded from memory so it feels like so far (I’m about 4 hours in) I’m very much going through blind, which is fun. Also I definitely immediately thought to name my character after my Big Soft Boy Throndir.

I think one of the things this series gets credit for, and rightfully so, is the way that it communicates concepts to the player. Outside of the most basic actions and directions, nothing is told, it’s all applied. Rather than the “show don’t tell” guideline for film, this feels like “play don’t tell.” A message on the floor tells you how to do a drop attack from the air, but only through doing so on the Asylum Demon do you learn that it’s incredibly effective and powerful. The same goes throughout: when this attack is telegraphed you should roll this way, but on that other attack rolling a different way is more effective. These enemies aren’t very strong, but more than one and you need to be aware of positioning and sapcing, especially with that guy in the back with the crossbow. It puts a lot of faith in the player to learn through practice and I appreciate that.

I’m excited to get deeper in, it feels like I’m still in the beginning stages. Throndir’s journey through Lordran is just getting started. Also fuck the Capra Demon.


#5

I play Dark Souls ritualistically. I have beaten the main story twice now, along with countless runs started and withered away, and a handful of times coaching people through the game when I lived in a dorm. I’m familiar with the game in a way I am not familiar with any other game, and that familiarity has bred habits that I don’t even notice I’m performing. The halls of the undead asylum have a rut in the floor from how many times I have retread them. I move through this early stuff at a quick enough clip that I cold be through most of Anor Londo tonight if I wanted to be, but that often means that I’m just not noticing things. I get tunnel vision and only see progress.

I picked the game back up after reading this and started a new character, with whom I’m going to try to break those habits, or at least become cognizant of them. I noticed for the first time today, two statues of strange looking lion things outside the door to the asylum demon. I’m playing a pyromancer, a thing I’ve flirted with doing before but only got about an hour into. I chose the Old Witch’s Ring instead of the Master Key. I listened to dialog and watched the cutscene instead of button mashing through, and was struck for the first time in ages at how much I love all this shit.

I remember talking about video games on forums as a teen, someone asked me “if you could play a game for the first time again, which game would it be?” If you could discover a game and its secrets again, not knowing what they were, which game would you choose? The question has stuck with me because it seems like an impossible thing to do. Taking my time, getting through the Undead Asylum in 20 minutes instead of 5, is not playing Dark Souls for the first time again, but it feels a lot like it.


#6

I’ve been thinking about the Asylum Demon fight recently. A friend mentioned that this encounter was frustrating. You enter the room and find the demon jumping down from above, and the door locks behind you. Any swing with your broken short-sword deals at most two points of damage does nothing to the boss with over 800 points of health. My friend had gone up against this challenge multiple times before looking up a guide that points out the door to the left that you are expected to pass through to finish the ‘tutorial’ section and find a weapon that will help defeat the demon. He pondered the reliance on external guides.

On my first playthrough of Dark Souls, I obsessed over the supposed difficulty. I’m not confident in my skill in this genre, and was terrified that if I didn’t spec right or if I missed some important item, that I would end up hurting myself. Before I started playing, I poured over the wikidot and some builds people were circulating on forums. I played the game for a bit but found myself burned out after all the time I spent reading instead of playing the game. It wasn’t until I returned because an old college buddy asked me about it months later and wanted to play this game together. We tag-teamed our seperate playthroughs, passing eachother controllers when we needed the others help (our dorms didn’t have internet access, so no co-op play). I don’t know who of us found out about that side-door in the asylum demon fight, but I don’t remember seeing it as an obvious route.

Is presenting a near-impossible challenge so early-on in the game a bad design choice? Most anecdotes I hear are about the lasting impression of player-expectations & the sense of overcoming such odds with patience. But it also shows the game is not accessible. At least, not without the help of friends and guides. There is a large collection of knowledge out there on Dark Souls. Originally, the guides were merely e-mail chains between journalists attempting to push farther in their review copies. The kind of guided play that is small, intimate, and affirming.

When I recommend Dark Souls to a friend, it’s more than just the experience crafted by the developers. It’s an invitation to share new experiences of help and assistance. I might not be the person volunteering to chaperon their next playthrough, but I can’t in good faith ever suggest playing through the game blind. It’s not because the game is unforgiving, hiding, or otherwise hampering a fun playthrough, but because it would ignore a vital aspect of what made the game so important to me.

I’m only linking these videos by players who I’ve mentioned before, but they’re both two types of plays who address the “find the door” boss in the ways I would expect. Kaye, almost immediately realizes it’s time to get out of the room and finds the door. Geop, runs past the door and it isn’t until his trusty guide, Vicas, tells him to get out before he gets himself killed.



#7

I’m also playing Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep right now, and reading your post, Moth, plus a conversation I had with a friend about BBS have put a thought in my head that I need to develop more.

BBS is a game with systems. Systems on systems. It’s crunchy. And my friend before I even started playing linked me a valuable reference sheet. She was telling me BBS is best played with a guide and she’s very right.

Dark Souls is beloved by, for lack of a better type, stereotypical Gamerz™. “prepare to die” is an ad slogan aimed at people who hang out on forums flexing on each other about how they played the hard video game. But one thing that makes Dark Souls so special is that it pushes us toward using guides and communal resources, things that Gamerz™ are traditionally opposed to.

There’s probably an interesting conclusion to be drawn from Dark Souls challenging the audience it’s marketed toward, but I haven’t found it yet, so I hope that was a good read lol.


#8

The marketing and machismo boasting about the game’s difficulty has been a big stain on the series since murmurs first crept up about Demon’s Souls in western countries.
I feel like the sentiment continues to push people away from trying the games, and lets a toxic community gate newcomers and more casual players, pushing a “if you’re not good at games you’re not welcome” kind of attitude, and that sucks.
It’s a loud part of the fan-base that I wish wasn’t so loud, a great deal of the community is actually quite helpful, and has been from the start, including the numerous Youtube channels providing helpful walkthroughs and story / lore discussion and theories.

The toxic loud part of the community makes me feel bad for being a huge fan of the games when the common narrative that’s thrown around is “it’s hard, therefore good” instead of “the level design evokes a sense of place expertly and guides players without the need of a map by making the places memorable and well designed” or “Instead of presenting you the full narrative through cutscenes, it fills the world with unreliable narrators filling in pieces of a puzzle; it lays the groundwork of a narrative that argues against itself and leaves itself up to interpretation” OR “It’s hella satisfying to cut the tail off a vivisected dragon the size of two freight trucks with a Claymore”.

There’s a lot of appreciate in Dark Souls, it’s a masterpiece with a lot of flaws, but built with lot of love, and I always enjoy hopping back in to immerse myself in its world (or just turn on a podcast and go on a boss rush).


#9

The thing that really gets me riled on the toxic element of the Souls fandom (and Namco-Bandai leaning into it) is that it wholly disrespects what makes Souls difficulty so unique and important. Anyone who can operate a full controller’s worth of buttons in any way can not just beat Dark Souls, but truly work with its systems to outmode its challenges in a variety of ways. Specific playstyles are encouraged, sometimes abrasively, but no one style is truly forced, and the methods of offense and defense can weave in and out however the player might find most personally intuitive with the tools provided.

Granted, one of my biggest problems with DS is that it presents a lot of astonishingly smart ideas pretty poorly for new players. Many people, myself included, have to briefly step outside the text to not feel utterly alienated from it, and i don’t think that it needs all the obscurity it has in its basic mechanical throughlines to deliver on the tone it wants from that obscurity. Even just some better/earlier signalling to the player that the upgrade system is so versatile that starter weapons can carry you through the game could do so much for getting people into it without resorting to a wiki/being turned off by how impossibly overwhelming the sheer idea of progress is. This isn’t improved much upon in later entries because the accessible disempowerment/organic difficulty DS1 achieves is rarely-if-ever focused on in crit, and its loudest reputation just makes it out to be like, I Wanna Be The Guy or some shit, which does a massive disservice to the many many design lessons it can teach us and/or how we could improve upon it. At this rate it feels like it’ll take another half-decade for larger devs, including From, to realize why DS1 is still the best Soulsborne game, and what unaddressed flaws it still has in its brilliance.

Here’s a side-take I forgot I even had until Cameron’s new article brought up the word “immersive” a bunch: DS reads to me like From’s take on the immersive sim. While there’s fundamental differences to be sure, i still like looking at it as having a similar playstyle space (and some of the same design philosophies) as an ImSim, while showing how you can remix and recontextualize the freedoms the player has–both in mechanics and in perspective on the world–toward more nuanced artistic intent, instead of it being just Almost-Absolute Empowerment All The Time.


#10

Something I hadn’t actually considered in thinking about the design of the game is how much more we know about it in 2018 than we did in 2011. To something @LaminatedMoth touched on, there was a sense of communal discovery at launch that is difficult to recapture today, and impossible to recreate at the original scale. This is my first playthrough, and I’m trying to consult wikis as little as possible, but even then I am still aware of certain aspects purely through osmosis, like the proper way to fight the Asylum Demon. If I hadn’t known what to do, would I have become frustrated and soured a little on the game? Maybe, but it’s impossible to put that genie back in the bottle. Things that we can look back on now, especially people like me that never played at launch, and say “that’s a clever way to communicate that” or “this really contributes to the story in an interesting way,” really may have been seen a lot differently before we learned more about the game.


#11

Yeah, I’m playing it for basically the first time too, and while I’m starting to respect it a ton I feel a lot of the magic is lost on me since I have played the hell out of 2, 3 and Bloodborne.

I’m curious, is anyone’s first Soulsborne game their least favourite in the series? I feel like whichever one you play first is going to leave the biggest impression on you.


#12

y’all this isnt strictly related to actually playing the game, and if i should remove it i will, but i have a question. from what i’ve heard, From Software has been kinda not great about patching bugs in these games. does that seem likely to change with this remaster?

specifically, the only way I can play Windows games is by streaming from my real old PC (just barely meets the reqs.) to my laptop. bc of some hand pain, i’m also restricted to using a controller. when i try to stream DS:R to my laptop, it does that part fine, but the game doesn’t notice the controller. even when Steam says its there. looking online, it seems likely to be something related to how the game itself handles inputs, not something that can really be fixed on my end, but i might have missed something.


#13

This port was not made by From so it’s hard to say I’m afraid


#14

Haven’t done a Miracle-caster character, so that’s what I’ll be doing for this playthrough.

I’m curious as to what folks think defines the tone of DS’ story/world up to this point in the game and how would you elevator pitch it? I really enjoy the contrast between the mythic opening cinematic, the family saying Oscar shares with you with its pseudo-Shakespearean language, and the way the Crestfallen Warrior immediately corrects this bell story and Petrus being reticent about interacting with you.


#15

Yeah, there’s some funkiness with recognising a controller that other modern games have figured out, even as far as including drivers for Ps4 controllers on pc without the need of a third party app (which, btw, as I got remastered I noticed wouldn’t boot in “exclusive mode” any more due to Win 10, which DkS needs in order to recognise the controller at all).
Have you tried using the Steam Big Picture mode to configure the controller? It supports Xbox, Ps, third party controllers and even lets you map different buttons, I’ve recently found it works perfectly for DkS, and I assume other Steam games.


#16

I don’t think there are a lack of newcomers and casual players. I just spent a day and a half putting my summon sign down at the start of Anor Londo. Lots of people panic summoned me for the Bell Gargoyle. Even more people had no idea where to go next. It seems to me there are lots of new players.


#17

i have! the controller works fine when i use it on the PC hosting the streaming, but when i plug the controller into the laptop and stream to it, Big Picture Mode recognizes it and Dark Souls (running through BPM) doesn’t. to be fair, it is a kind of niche issue, i dont totally hold it against the folks that did the porting.
i might just deal with the PC. the thing works fine technically, but has fans that sound like a literal jet takeoff passively, so i was going to go in another room and stream. which, typing that out, is goofy as all get out, so yeah.

update: that PC just died altogether, might try dusting off the 360 :frowning: looks like getting to play Dark Souls is the real Dark Souls here


#18

2. Undead Burg

Dark Souls Is Hard



I am convinced the Undead Burg is the most challenging area of the first Dark Souls. From leaving Firelink Shrine to reaching the Altar of Sunlight, it can take players easily more than six hours. Although the undead asylum is apparently instructional, this is where everyone learns to play the game. Enemies start appearing in groups, ranged attacks are common, and you will come up against things beyond your ability (just like the asylum demon fight, you’re probably better to skip that black knight, havel, and the hellkite drake for now).

More importantly, the Undead Burg is a proving ground for new weapons. Swinging a sword in Dark Souls is tougher than pressing R1. Knowledge of your weapon animations (weak, strong, forward-weak, forward-strong, two-handed variants of all of those, their second- or third- combo attacks, and offhand actions — There’s a lot) is vital to overcoming the challenges the environment presents. How does each swing of a sword handle a wall on your right? On your left? How close to the ledge do you step on your second swing? The game’s combat mechanics have a level of depth that is greatly explored in the Undead Burg, and mastery of this is what will let you unto the Tauros Demon guarding the bridge to the Parish.

It’s tough.
For those who like the fgc-style animation analysis videos that disect frames (like what Austin mentioned on the latest WPR) check out EpicNameBro’s dex weapon deep dive. There are minor spoilers in the video. You’ll find the Undead Burg is an excellent spot for playing with new weapons.

Hellkite Drake & Drake Sword


I don’t have much to say here aside from the Hellkite Drake is a setpiece and the drake sword is perfectly fine but you’ll find it losing steam once you’re past Sen’s Fortress and should probably switch it out.
You should check out this write-up about the Drake Sword by M Stenbæk.

Notes

Sorry for the late update! I’ve actually been playing an unhealthy amount of Dark Souls 2 lately, and undead burg isn’t the most inspiring area. There’s still a lot of interesting things here! Havel, Solaire, Undead Merchant, the ladder shortcut, and plenty other talking points. Next week will also be somewhat small as we tackle the Undead Parish and ring the (typical) first bell of awakening.





#19

I have Dark Souls on PC and never made it past the Capra Demon. I made it much further in Dark Souls 3, playing with a friend of mine across multiplayer. While our playthrough has come to a pause, the fact that Remastered is working off of the multiplayer system in DS3 is one of the reasons I plan on picking it up. I just… need it to come out for Switch is all. ;>>


#20

For what it’s worth Capra Demon is skippable if you picked the master key as a gift item at the start, but the hardest part of that fight are the two dogs that rush you at all times. If you can isolate them and take them out before fighting Capra you can focus on fighting him for real, at which point it’s just a matter of blocking and dodging his very telegraphed attacks and whittling him down. (you can cheese him with dung pie’s but I think it’s more important to learn patterns and persevere.)

Undead Burg and Undead Parish is when the verticality and interconnectivity of the Undead Asylum really starts to shine, you’ll eventually learn your way around and run back through Undead Burg/Asylum countless times as you revisit the sunlight altar, transition between Parish and Burg through the ladder shortcut, go down into the basement after unlocking the door, wrapping back around through the sewers and back to Firelink, and finally the great elevator leading from Firelink to the church, which is maybe one of the more useful shortcuts in the game.

I like all the optional challenges the game allows you to poke at, the mere fact that the black knight at the bottom of the Burg stairs has his back turned to you is really nice because it allows you to pick your battles, and even get a free hit in if you’re sneaky (and then likely get destroyed when he turns around unless you know his parry timings). Along with aforementioned challenges like Havel (again with the master key if you don’t have the watchtower basement key) which gives you a very useful ring if you dare go against his massive dragon tooth, and also the other black knight who gives you a rude surprise if you decide to move up the nearby tower before moving on to the Parish.

Looking forward to more write-ups, I enjoy experiencing Dark Souls vicariously through others as much as I do playing it myself :slight_smile: