While I’m not feeling my best (and in this case, have no idea what the hell is going on with me), I like to return to my comfort gaming. For me, there are a few games that reach that level. It’s not necessarily ‘easy’ games, either, as they are all games I struggled with when I first played them. But, they’re games I’ve played so much, I have a groove on when I get in the zone. I blame it all on Dark Souls being one of the first ‘hardcore’ games I’ve played. It broke me, remade me, then broke me again. I hated it with all my heart by the time I was done with it (having played the whole game plus DLC), and I was relieved to see the backside of it. Then, Dark Souls II was released, and, damn it, my interest was piqued. I wasn’t going to jump right in because I was cheap and never bought games full price. While I was gunning up for it to go on sale, I decided that the best way to prep for it was to play the first game again. Why? I don’t know. Time eases the pain or some such. I was and am a masochist. I don’t know what it is. I also don’t know why I finished the game the first time as I HATED it by the time I went to *spoiler, I guess, for a 9-year-old game* take on Gwyn, the final boss.
Honestly, I was done with the game after beating Biggie & Small. That took so much out of me, although for the longest time, it was the highlight of my gaming career. The fact that I died to them sixty to seventy times and then finally, finally, beat them on my own. I felt like a GOD, and you couldn’t say shit to me for, oh, three minutes. Until I probably promptly got killed in the next new area. That’s how these games work. With one hand, Miyazaki giveth, and with the other, he slaps you across the face repeatedly and as hard as he can.
You want to know what took the place of defeating Biggie & Small as my proudest gaming moment? Two things happened in Sekiro that tested my mettle and found me almost wanting. And by things, I mean bosses, of course, because those are the linchpins of the game. We can talk about the gorgeous environments and the interconnectivity all we want, but we all know that the pinnacle of the games is when you walk through the white fog and face that boss. Or don’t walk through the white fog in some cases, which is trollery at its finest.
Genichiro was the first boss to make me question why the fuck I was playing Sekiro and maybe I was out of my league. Ian likes to say that I get that way with every big boss in a Souls game, and he’s right, but there’s something different about Genichiro. You get a tease of him because he’s the tutorial boss against whom you are supposed to die. You *can* beat him, which I did in NG+, but that was when I had all my gear. The three times I’ve faced him in NG, well, let’s just say he got the best of me. I will say I did much better the second and third time than the first, but I still didn’t even manage to get one of his life pips.
Coming across him up on the Ashina Castle roof was epic, and it was the hard check that every FromSoft game has. It’s the boss that takes your measure and sees if you have what it takes to finish the rest of the game. Some games journalists say if you can take Genichiro, then you can take any of the bosses later in the game. I don’t think that’s true, but I’m truly mediocre at the game. I’m decent at Souls games by now, but Sekiro took everything I had to give and then some. I reached the third phase of Genichiro for the first time after being ecstatic thinking I beat him, and then he immediately grabbed me and killed me.