Underneath my yellow skin

Going back to my comfort gaming–Dark Souls III

back into the groove.
Fire to the face, Iudex!

I did it. I reinstalled Dark Souls III on my laptop. When I’m sick and exhausted, I can’t play a new game. I don’t have the bandwidth to figure things out, especially as I tend to like so-called difficult games. I know it’s a funny thing to say, but Dark Souls games are comfort food for me, and, yes, I mean specifically Dark Souls and not Bloodborne or Sekiro. Although, I will say the latter was pretty easygoing until the end game, but it’s not the same as Dark Souls.

I’m going to say something rather controversial in the Souls community, but I don’t give a fuck, obviously. Dark Souls III is my favorite of the Souls games to play*, and I’ve beaten it probably twenty times. Because I’m tired, depressed, and weary, I’m taking the road most traveled–being a Pyro. Then, adding strength later on so I can wield my beloved Lorian’s Greatsword.

How’s it going? Kinda rough, I gotta say. The buttons are similar, but just different enough to mess me up. Iudex Gundyr, the tutorial boss, has never given me a problem as a Pyro. He’s weak to fire, especially in his second phase, and I can finish him off without even getting close. However. A (Xbox One) is jump in Sekiro, and it’s really fucking important to use it in combat. B is dodge step, and it’s ostensibly usable in combat, but not really. I used it minimally, and I used A every fight. On the other hand, A in Souls is pick up an item, talk to someone, etc, which, obviously, has no use in a fight. B is roll, which is god in Souls. So, Iudex was coming for me in his abyss-y, snaky form, and I pressed A and did–nothing. I frantically pressed it several times until I died.

That’s been my biggest problem so far. I’m up to the Road of Sacrifices, and I’ve died…six times I think. Once to Iudex (embarrassing) and once because I forgot jump is to click in the left thumbstick, which is just bad mapping and once because my cheese for the Darkwraith at the bottom of the elevator (make him fall into the elevator maw) didn’t work the first time. One of my problems with not dying as much in this game is that there is a mechanic that is built upon dying. There is a PC, Yoel of Londor, who offers to ‘Draw Out True Strength’–which is free levels. Of course, nothing is free in a Dark Souls game, and you get the hollowing curse from Yoel.

Every certain number of deaths, you get another opportunity to ‘Draw Out True Strength’. Then, after five times of sucking the life out of Yoel, he dies and Yuria of Londor shows up. Oh, sorry, for the spoiler, I guess. Then, you can go down the path of darkness, which is my favorite path in the game. In fact, I fucked it up the first time I played by having the Fire Keeper cure it when I was offered the opportunity. It was something new, so I had to do it, right? Wrong. Curing the hollowing meant that Yuria no longer recognized me as the Dark Lord, and she refused to talk to me again. For the rest of the playthrough. I was furious, and I almost started over. I didn’t though, because it was part of the game, and I had to let consequences matter.

Anyway, you need to have all this sorted by the time a certain boss is beaten, and I’m not there yet, but I’m probably going to be there soon. If it doesn’t happen, Yoel dies, anyway, and things continue as they should. However, you don’t get the free levels, which are really important in the beginning of the game. Which, by the way, I always forget how fragile I feel at the beginning of a FromSoft game. The problem with being a caster is that I have to put so many levels in Attunement, Intelligence, and Faith, but can’t skimp on Vigor or Endurance. And, because I love strengthcasting, I’m going to dump levels into strength as well. My dex is where it needs to be (14) so I can use the Long Bow. I have to put in a few more levels into Vitality because it helps with burden equipment, and my beloved Lorian’s Greatsword has some heft to it. Fortunately, that’s not until the endgame, but I might as well plan for it now.

i *need* that estus shard!
The tree hop cheese is real, yo.

I still know where everything is in the game. It’s funny because I haven’t played it in at least three months if not more, and I still have every nook and cranny of that place seared into my brain. That’s what happens when I play FromSoft games–I die enough that I memorize the areas and the enemy placement. Still. That doesn’t mean I know everything in every game, and I mentioned in a recent post that there was something you could do in the original Dark Souls game that I never knew existed (restore Anastacia of Astoria, talk to her after a certain point, and have her call you a hero so she’ll kindle the Firelink Shrine bonfire to 20). That’s one of the things I love about FromSoft games–there are layers upon layers upon layers. I feel as if I know everything about every game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out there was something I had missed.

I was up to the Curse-Rotted Greatwood yesterday, and I went online so I could ember up and summon.

Side Note: I play the game offline most of the time because I hate being invaded, and since I don’t die very much outside of against bosses, I’m usually embered up. I’ll go through the whole level offline, and then I’ll go online outside the boss door before embering up if I’m not already embered.

I didn’t expect to find any summon signs because the Curse-Rotted Greatwood is not a very popular boss. Even back in the heyday, there were fewer summons than in front of more popular bosses (such as the Nameless King. Oh, the Nameless King. I am not looking forward to him). I actually found two summon signs, but was only able to call one in. He was a Pyro bro, and I did my customary bow. I can’t wait to get the Dignified Bow from Yuria because that’s my favorite gesture in the entire game.

My Pyro bro died during early into the second phase. I wanted to heal him with my miracle heal, but I didn’t get the opportunity. I didn’t freak out because I had all my heals left and plenty of fire. I had Great Combustion, and that does a shit-ton of damage on the Curse-Rotted Greatwood’s balls. Yes, you actually have to hit him in the balls. It. Whatever. Yes, it’s technically an egg sack, but it looks like balls. Literally.

I did not freak out after my Pyro bro died because honestly, I did not need a summon for this fight. I just like summoning because it’s fun. I had my Irithyll Straight Sword, which I obtained by throwing fire at the…what the hell are they called again? Ah, yes, Outrider Knight. Huh. The actual name is the Boreal Outrider Knight. Anyway, I set him ablaze and got my ISS, which is what I’m using now. It’s far better than any other weapon I have right now, and I’m going to use it until I get the Executioner’s Greatsword, which is my favorite interim weapon because it gives me mana for every enemy I kill. Ok, ok, Focus Points. It’s mana, and we all know it.

I’ve thought about whether I could play a dex build in this game, such as being a dual-wielder. Theoretically, my time with Sekiro would make me more able to adjust to that playstyle, but in reality, the games are so different, it’s not a one-to-one proposition. My biggest problem in switching from Sekiro to Dark Souls III is going from having no stamina bar to having such a goddamn tiny stamina bar. I didn’t realize how limiting it was to have a stamina bar before playing a game without one. I keep playing Dark Souls III right now as if I didn’t have to worry about stamina–which I do. I very much need to worry about it, and I need to get that into my head.

There are a few other games I want to try out, but for now, I’m sticking with Dark Souls III. It’s a way to both game and not worry about it too much. I’m ok with that for the time being.




*It is a given, of course, that I prefer the Souls trilogy to the other two games, even though I think objectively, Sekiro is probably the most brilliant game of them all.

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