Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: ashes of ariandel

A little bit of this, and a whole lotta that

hello, beautiful!
Oh, what’s this? I’ve Forgotten.

I’ve been at loose ends in the world of video games, so I’ve mostly been comfort gaming. Well, kinda. I discovered that there was a booster pack for Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ which included a new character.

*Spoilers*

It’s name is The Forgotten, and of course, users data-mined it so they figured out how you unlock the character. Edmund McMillen, the developer, tweeted out his disappointment as he did the last time this happened, saying just enjoy the game and follow the hints. My dude. Be realistic. I understand from his point of view how unhappy it would make you if you spent hundreds of hours planning the unlock, only to have people cheat their way to it, but from a user standpoint, it’s completely understandable. Most people at the point of unlocking new characters have put countless hours into the game. Doing repeated runs simply to glean clues as to how to unlock a character isn’t fun, especially when the clues are so esoteric and random. Wanna know how you unlock The Lost? Grab a mug of tea and a comfy chair, and I’ll tell you how.

First, you have to take the Mysterious Paper into the Sacrifice Room  and die with it as a trinket four times. It’ll fill in each corner with a picture of a death, and then you have to do those deaths in order without dying in between. First, you die as Isaac to a Mulliboom on one of the first two floors (Basement/Cellar). Then, die as Maggie to your own bomb in the Caves/Catacombs. Then, die as Judas to Mom’s foot or hand. Lastly, die as Azazel to Satan, but only to him himself, which is the second phase. There’s another way to unlock it, but that’s more random.

This actually wasn’t that difficult to do, but no way in hell I would have figured out how to unlock The Lost. Now, here’s how you unlock The Forgotten. Beat the first boss in under a minute. Bomb the spawn room on the first floor. Pick up the item dropped (Broken Shovel) and carry it with you through the rest of the game. What does the Broken Shovel do? It allows Mom’s foot (or two) to randomly stomp around your character for. the. entire. game. Well, OK, not the entire game, but we’ll get to that in a second.

Can I tell you how much I fucking hate Mom’s foot? There’s a trinket that has this effect randomly, and I never pick it up. Having to deal with it the whole time I’m trying to, you know, win the game, is off-the-charts terrible. This is by far the worst unlock and one of the worst things in the game (trying to finish The Keeper’s post-it note is arguably worse. The Lost is fine since I now start with the Holy Mantle with this character), and I seriously thought I might not be able to do it*.

So, of course, I had to play as Azazel because he flies, he starts with mini-Brim, and he has more damage and speed from the start. In other words, why wouldn’t you start with Azazel? I have to say, I tried to unlock the character organically a few times, but no way in hell I would have figured it out, and after watching NL unlock The Forgotten, I’m glad I didn’t waste more time trying to do it myself. Beating the first boss under a minute is not something I ever would have thought of. Oh, also, if you beat the first boss in under a minute, you hear Mom laugh and then scuttle away. That’s your first hint.

Anyway, Broken Shovel’s active is you get a reprieve from the feet for the room. It has a four-room charge, and I was bumping it every chance I had–especially on the bosses. Oh, also, fighting Mom, the effect doesn’t happen. I suppose it’s because it would be too confusing as that’s the effect of the fight in general, but it would just mean avoiding two to three feet instead of one. So, a sliver of reprieve from the constant agony.

Then, you have to beat boss rush to get the other half of the shovel. You normally have to make it to boss rush in under twenty minutes. For this run, they turned off the time restriction, thankfully. Also, they make it so you have to go to boss rush, and you can only take the Negative because you have to go to the Dark Room. Once you get the second half of the Broken Shovel, it becomes the regular Shovel, but keeps the four-room charge instead of six (I think). The foot thing stops, thankfully, and you have a choice to make. You can either proceed as you normally would, or you can use the shovel to skip the womb levels. You can’t skip Shoal, so you have to do that and the Dark Room, but you only have to do the Dark Room until you find a room with a crumbly square of ground in the middle of it. Then you use the shovel on it and dig up The Forgotten.

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Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel (DLC) Review, Part II

Ed. Note: This is part two of my review of the DLC for Dark Souls III. You can read the first part hereThere will be spoilers in this review. I feel the need to say that because the DLC dropped earlier this month and not months/years ago. If you are going to play the DLC and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read this review. Then again, if you’re a Souls aficionado, you’ve probably already played it. If that’s the case, then let me know what you thought of the DLC!

It’s been a week since I wrote Part One of my review of the DLC for Dark Souls III, Ashes of Ariandel. In the meantime, I’ve finished both of my other two playthroughs, except for the extremely tough optional boss that I haven’t beaten solo. I beat him with a hellacious phantom (read about the amusing saga in my last post) in my miracle/pyromancy playthrough, but I haven’t beaten him with my melee character because I’m trying to solo him. He is the hardest boss in the Souls series, by far. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to pull it off. I’m not sure I want to continue trying. The third boss I hadn’t beaten solo in my first playthrough, I got him, well, them (Two Princes) with my melee character after much tears and anguish. I had to resort to watching videos for strategies on how to beat them, and one video had it boiled down to how you deal with most humanoids in Souls games; hug the side of the boss and smack that ass. In the first phase, it neutralizes much of his attacks. I face-tanked a lot of damage, but I had plenty of Estus to see me through this phase. The second phase is even more difficult because the younger prince climbs on his brother’s back and shoots magic at you while the older prince is whacking away at you with a big sword. Even with my fat health bar, he took off a third of my health with one swipe if I didn’t block it.

Once I learned the trick of sticking to him, that really cut down on the trouble his teleport caused me. Even when he teleported, I could sense where he was going to be. The time when I actually beat this boss, it seemed as if everything had slowed down and that the boss wasn’t doing his (their!) tougher attacks as often. That’s how it often is, though. I can feel like I’m flailing in my failed attempts, and then everything gels on the one successful attempt. I have no doubt that had I gone back for one more try*, I would have died again. Painfully. I will say that when I finally managed to kill him, I shouted in exultation. This is the second hardest boss in the game, including the first DLC, and I was pretty proud that I was able to best him on my own. Once I beat him solo, I had no qualms about summoning with my caster character. I used the two NPCs for one try, but that didn’t work well. One NPC and one human phantom did the trick, even though it didn’t feel as triumphant as beating the Two Princes solo.


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Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel (DLC) Review

Ed. Note: There will be spoilers in this review. I feel the need to say that because the DLC dropped this week and not months/years ago. If you are going to play the DLC and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read this review. Then again, if you’re a Souls aficionado, you’ve probably already played it. If that’s the case, then let me know what you thought of the DLC!

don't look at my health bar
I had it in the bag the whole time. No Estus? No problem!

I just beat the DLC for Dark Souls III, and I have many thoughts about it. This is the first of two DLC planned for DS III, and I was curious what they were going to do with it. I thought the ending to DS III was fitting, and I must admit, I had a hard time imagining that the DLC could improve upon it. I also was experiencing Dark Souls fatigue near the end of the game, which is very common for me. I’m not very good at Souls games, so I take much longer to get through them than do most players*. What is easy for others is a struggle for me. Still. I doubt those who breeze through Souls feel the same satisfaction I do when I finally, finally, beat the boss I’d been killed by a dozen times prior. I have been doing two more playthroughs of the main game, one melee and one caster, based on miracles rather than magic this time. Let me just say that all the Souls players who hate on casters without ever playing as one can go jump in a lake. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that magic is the easy mode when I watch Souls content. “Magic is too OP.” Blah, blah, blah. Now that I’ve played as a pure melee character (with a Greataxe, bitches. I’ve never had my strength over thirty, and now I have it up to forty), I can say with authority that being a melee player is much easier. MUCH. Oh my god. Strength and poise for DAYS. Health up the yin-yang. So much damage. I will definitely write a post about that, maybe when I’m done with my melee playthrough, but suffice to say that I solo-killed two of the four bosses I co-oped during my first playthrough. I have three bosses left, and two of them are the other two I co-oped on. I’m going to take them on solo, and I anticipate that I’ll have less problems with both of them.

Anyway, the DLC. Ashes of Ariandel. First of all, I had problems with installing it. Ian bought me the season pass along wit the main game, which means the DLC should have automatically installed. It didn’t. I was playing the main game when it dropped, so I checked when I was done. Not installed. I looked at the forums, and there were several people having the same problem. I looked at the DLC page on Steam, and people had already left angry reviews in the vein of, “I bought the season pass, but still have to buy the DLC? WTF?” I shook my head at how impatient and childish people were being. I mean, I understand being upset about not having something you paid for–I was unsettled myself–but chances were that something had gone wrong–not that we couldn’t actually access the game. I read the forums some more, then signed out of my Steam account and signed back in. Nothing. I verified the integrity of my game cache, but still nothing. I started the game and quit. Somewhere along the line, I got the DLC. I didn’t play it that day because I was Souls out by that point, but when I went back to it the next day, it was installed.

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