“And a word to the wise/when the fire dies/you think its over but its just begun”
Dark Souls 2 footage was released recently, so this seems like a good place for a longer impression than “sploosh”. It looks like they replaced Estus with stones, and I hope the bonfire regenerates them. I really like that aspect of Dark Souls, despite not having played Demons Souls, because you couldn’t hoard regenerating items, but on the other hand you always have a guaranteed supply of them, so you never have to grind them out. One of the enemies shown looked like it had a kappa shield, which I am hoping is a thing for players - a shield that you can only wear on your back that prevents backstabs. Would liven up the PvP community a bit. The whole thought of Dark Souls 2 has me incredibly concerned overall. Dark Souls is one of my top 5 best playing games this generation, so it has a monumental pedigree to hold up to. All comparisons I make to this game won’t be against other games, it will be against the original, and depending on the tweaks they make it can be hard to not lose sight of a good game standing in the shadow of a great game. Also during this playthrough, I came up with one thing that I would really like to see in Dark Souls: A post game boss rush. The reward would either have to be non existent, or delightfully useless, like Gwyn's sword.
I have connections...I can introduce you to Katy Parry.
When last we left off, I had dealt with The Wonder Twins (form of: a bloodied corpse!), and was on the road to victory. First, I decided to deal with a couple of midbosses and other minor challenges, starting with the Prowling Demon by Andre, who didn’t take much to bring down. I realized that SDFP plus a backroll makes this guys way easier than they used to be. Next up was Havel the Rock. I decided to go for style over substance, and killed him only using parries, which went way better than expected. Up next was a big ol Tiamat looking fool. Fortunately, I didn’t encounter the Warmech on the way over, and I was well prepared to Brak this guy. The only real commentary that I can offer is that suddenly the whip must have evolved, because it was cutting off heads, which is not something particularly whip like. Still debating if I will come back to take out the Golem of the Lake and kick it oldschool in Oolacile. There is another whip involved, so I may wind up going back, but I am concerned that my rolling and damage are not up to most of that whole area. I'll go with the flow. With the Hydra out of the way, I made my way past some cool cats, to everyone’s favorite pup, Sif.
One of the coolest arenas in the game, for sure
Every playthrough I have a ritual with Sif. Right before the boss gate, I place a marker on the ground that says “try heel”. I think it’s funny, because Heel is a dog training command. Hilarious! However, context makes me look like an idiot saying ‘have you tried attacking his ankles?”, which while solid advice, is also easier to figure out than the end of a Scooby Doo episode. Sif as a boss has never given me serious problems. He has basically three attacks to be concerned with - head goes left, run away. Head goes right, roll under. If he charges...uh...uh...Tank? I found myself hitting his ankle when rolling in to do some damage, so he clipped me a few times. I also realized he likes to run away, and if you pressure him into a corner, you can divekick your way in with your weapon and he generally can’t counter. It is pretty cool how much I have learned this run. In only one round, Sif was down, and I had two new rings. With everything out of the way, I now had four different paths I could follow, and I wasn’t sure where to begin. I figured the easiest fighting would be in Izalith, so I made my way, yet again, through Blighttown.
You know what I like most about here? It isn't the Tomb of the Giants
First boss was the Ceaseless Discharge, who I still think sounds like a debuff you should get after fighting the boss. I decided to use the arena gimmick to take him out, and that was that. Not much to write home about. Up next was the Firesage, who gave me some problems. I used to notched whip, because he bleeds, and if it bleeds it breeds we can kill it. His overhead smash has some crazy range, and he can use it to set up a wombo combo and kill you, which spoilers: he totally did. However, much like every other demon in the game, his patterns aren’t too difficult to dodge, so he was quickly dispatched. This ordinarily unlocks a shortcut, but I put Quelaag’s sister out of her misery (literally), so I decided to press on. I lit the bonfire by the Centipede Demon, and looked to summon Solaire, but apparently he decided he was too cool to hang with me, and went off to cooperate with himself in the corner. I used this opportunity to flask up, and crossed the fog. Usually, I don’t move from that spot and just fight him on the ground there, but I know the ground to the right is a little larger, so I rolled my way over there. Fire indeed hot! The lockon made this boss harder than it should be - another recurring theme, I really need to break that habit. I was able to take any attack he could dish out as long as I used an Estus afterwards, so I basically tanked my way through this fight. I did learn that once he gets past 50% health, he can shoot out little fireballs from his...orifice. I’m not sure which one. BAM. Three bosses, one paragraph. Got there.
And this guy. I think he used to star in the "will it blend" series on YouTube"
Finally, it was time to take out the dumbest boss in the game, the Bed of Chaos. This boss requires basically zero skill, and minimal patience. For those who don’t know, it is the only boss in the game that you can BioShock, in that you get infinite respawns, and it doesn’t generate any ‘health’. I suppose it would be hard to make killing a tree difficult. The really sad part is that the parts of the boss that are there have a really cool art direction, it just didn’t come together as a boss. I also got carried away in trying to be a showman, and my hubris caught up to me a little bit, but only immediately after the fight was over. Advantage number two of finding a talisman on someone’s body who I definitely didn’t whip to death? I learned the prayer gesture, which makes it look like you are Tebow-ing after a boss. Lord 1: Done.
For my next choice, I decided to go with Nito so that I could finish upgrading all of my equipment. Because I made a summer home down there, I could warp right in from Firelink to the bonfire by the bone towers, which was the cathartic equivalent of Frodo borrowing an eagle from Gandlaf for a scenic tour of Mount Doom. The Bone Dawgs were pretty manageable, and the Black Knight of the area walked off a cliff. What's wrong man? You couldn't see in the dark? Yeah, you should probably get a lantern or something. You have literally none of my sympathy. My old friend Leeeerrooooyyy showed up to drop off a shield for me, and die a horrible, gruesome death, which was awfully kind of him. I thought about warping out to upgrade Sanctus, as I do like it better for my character, but the Bloodshield was going to be pretty nice to have against the baby skeletons and Nito, so I decided to hold off on that. Then I got to do my favorite thing in the world! Again! Farm. The motherloving. Tomb of the Giants. I picked up the Slab that is guarded by pinwheels (again, he cannot be the best guard you have...It would be better guarded by a bonfire). Then I had to farm them for the second slab, half so I could power up my spike whip, and half because GFWL while apparently Satan incarnate still tracks achievements, and I will be damned if I am losing out on 15 points while I’m here.
Sidenote: This shield is worse in almost every relevant way to the Bloodshield. This is aesthetic limitation number 7 of the playthrough
After that, I was ready to take on Nito. And when I say I was ready, I mean this was literally the most ready I have ever been to fight him. His biggest threat are regenerating skeletons which, like a reverse masochist, can’t get up after I whipped them. This just left him - a massive pile of unholy bones and decay with a sword big enough to make Cloud envious, and me - a fast rolling, immune to poson priest carrying the papal whip. He never stood a chance. I decided that the best way to celebrate this would be to +14 both of my shields, so yet again I was off to Blighttown (joy), and to farm Dark Wraiths (jubilation). The Dark Wraiths were much easier this time around, partially because I am getting the hang of parrying them instead of fishing the backstab. Each passing day I play, the whip keeps on getting better and better in my mind. I am used to it’s unique moveset, and the damage it can deliver when upgraded this way is actually not terrible. With half of the Lord Souls in hand, I am feeling pretty confident going into the next two. Part of me regrets cheesing out Rogers and Hammerstein, as all of today’s bosses were defeated without miracles being cast. But ultimately, I think I am alright with the way that it played out, because at the end of the day we should be playing games to have fun, and honestly playing this run, documenting the process, and splicing video has been one of the more entertaining things I have done lately, so I’m cool with it. Speaking of which, sizzle real for today!
Also, holy hell, I remember Castlevania's music being awesome, but not that awesome