Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: dark souls

At Least I Know What I Don’t Like

it was made for my hands.
I love my Xbone controller so hard.

I’ve written before how since I’ve finished the Souls series* I’ve been struggling to find a game that I enjoy playing. I heard about this game called Unexplored, which has been described as a cross between Dark Souls and Binding of Isaac. I’ve played the shit out of both of these games/series, and I’ve always said I wanted to play a hybrid. It went on sale at Steam for nine bucks, so I snatched it up. It’s a really cute dungeon crawler in which you’re a one-eyed fluffy circle creature with a cape that has a weapon poking out in front and a side weapon you can throw. Before you enter the dungeon, you talk to this guy, and he gives you tips on the dungeons. You have to buy him beers (5 gold each), and the tips don’t seem that helpful yet.

It’s easy to see the Souls/Isaac influences from the very start. A little bit of Enter the Gungeon, too. The tutorial is straight out of Gungeon, but I didn’t even notice it was there until after I’d done a few failed runs. There will be many comparisons to Souls/Isaac because that’s what the game is clearly modeling itself after. Even with the tutorial, there isn’t much said before you jump into the game. I used keyboard/mouse, but there is gamepad support. However, according to the forums, it’s not intuitive, so I stuck to the keyboard/mouse with the typical WASD movement. I had to switch my keyboard from Dvorak to QWERTY, but I’m just glad I was able to do it. Some games consider this a problem. E is look, which is weird, and TAB is map. I’d prefer M for map, but that’s a little thing. I played on Normal, which was…weird. On the first floor in the first dungeon, I wandered around exploring everything. What I found was a lot of…nothing. I ran into maybe a half dozen enemies and a couple of puzzles, but that’s it. I went down to the next floor, and it was more of the same.

When I die, it’s a perma-death, and the next run is the heir of the first character. So, Mulan Rogue the first gives way to Mulan Rogue the second, etc. I don’t think you keep anything other than your gold for the next run. You start with different items, and I believe it’s procedurally-generated. You can right-click and see what they do, but true to rogues, some things need to be identified. Scrolls, potions, and rings are what I’ve found so far. Scrolls and potions are identified the second you use them (and, also true to rogues, some are positive and some are negative), but I had to wear the ring for five minutes before I knew what it did.

There are libraries with cryptic books, which you can take or copy to your journal. I chose to copy more often than not because there is a limited inventory, of which I am not fond. I hate limited inventories with a passion, and the one mod I used when I played Skyrim was the Convenient Horse mod, which allowed me to carry unlimited items. I do like finding the lore by reading books, which is similar to reading item descriptions in Souls games. I don’t mind finding things out in drips and drabs.

What I don’t like is persistent status effects with no antidote, pun intended. There was one level that had a gas atmosphere, and I couldn’t find a way to counter it. I had to go through it, but my health was dropping at an alarming rate. I lost all interest in the run. To make matters worse, when I was in the middle of a good run, the game started freezing on me, and I had to shut down the game. This happened again, and I lost any interest in playing it.

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Three Lads and a Dark Souls Let’s Play

I stumbled over a Let’s Play a little while back of three British lads from IGN playing Dark Souls (the original). To be more precise, one lad, Rory (Irish and American. NOT Irish-American, but actually Irish and American separately), had never played any Souls game, and he was the one who was going to control the sticks. He’s a cheerful, optimistic, hyperactive youngin who had no idea what he had agreed to do. Daniel (Northern English)  was his beleagured Souls guide, often giving long-suffering looks directly at the camera after Rory had done something particular bone-headed despite Daniel warning him not to two seconds before. He’s also the lore guy, which can be trying when Rory is nattering on about his gems (prism stones) or whatnots.  Gav (Welsh. He makes that VERY clear) was there for comic relief and to slag mercilessly on Rory. Except, when Rory was actually feeling down, then Gav would bolster him up. They’ve done two seasons of it, the original and then Dark Souls III, both with the DLC, and it’s highly enjoyable to watch, except for the occasional crossing the line into really crass and/or gross. I just accept that with dudes hanging out together, though, and they are by far the best about not doing it constantly. Is that a backhanded compliment? Yeah, but not really. In addition, it’s not as gross because of their lovely accents. Everything sounds better with a British accent. One weird thing is that they don’t swear much and they bleep out the swearing, probably because they’re doing it for IGN and not just three guys hanging out.

In the second series, Rory was getting his ass beat, and he said (paraphrasing), “People say that III is easier than I, but I don’t think that’s true at all.” Daniel replied that many people thought Dark Souls was hard, but with the proper guidance, anyone could play it. I actually said out loud to the screen, “But most people don’t play it with you guiding them, Daniel.” It got me thinking about the relative hardness of the games because I’m someone who thinks the third game is easier than the first. There are several reasons why. One, for most people going into the first game, it was something completely different than they’d ever played before. Going into it without any prior knowledge guaranteed that it would be a rough ride. For me, by the time I reached the third game, I had played I and II with all the DLC more than once each. While III was hard and has one of the most difficult if not the most difficult boss in the series*, knowing the general mindset of Miyazaki and having learned to be cautious as I proceeded served me well as I traipsed through Lothric.

A reason I think it was harder for Rory was because he’s very reckless in his play. He barges into situations without sussing them out, and there are more mob situations in III. In addition, Daniel was more hands-on in the first game while allowing Rory more leeway in the third game. Also, Rory used several summons, both human and NPC, in the first game which makes the boss fights MUCH easier. He summoned Solaire for Ornstein & Smough, which is the boss fight that has broken many Souls players and made them quit the game for good. He also summoned Solaire and Lautrec for the Gaping Dragon without even fighting it first (finally beating it with a human summon who was fucking badass), and that’s when I realized I had become THAT GUY about Dark Souls. When Gav mentioned that he thought you should at least try the boss solo once before summoning, I was nodding my head vigorously in agreement. You have to at least try the boss before summoning! That was the very moment I realized, “I’ve become that guy. Oh, shit.” Anyway, Rory decided early on in the third game that he wasn’t going to summon,** so that made several of the bosses substantially harder. He also skipped three of the optional bosses in the original game, all of whom can be quite difficult. In addition, he glitched out Ceaseless Discharge (yes, his real name) and didn’t have to properly fight him.

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Dark Souls and Me: A Love Story

Day Six of being sick. You know the song and dance. I’m sick. I’m sick of being sick. I’m sick of being sick of being sick. It would be easier if I just had the flu or something. Then, I could be full-out sick for three days, feel like shit, but be better in a fairly short amount of time. I have something I like to call the low-grade crud. It’s not serious, but it’s enervating. When I try to practice, I break out into a sweat after doing a few postures. That’s not a good thing. My teacher always tells me to stop if that happens, so I do. I’m tempted to go further, but I know that’s a bad thing.

Anyway, the one thing I’ve been able to do is play Dark Souls. It’s not very taxing*, but it’s something I can do when I’m not in tip-top shape. Today was more of a grinding day than anything else. I set goals for my character that are outside of my usual parameters. One, I’m rocking all of Havel’s armor. It’s one of the biggest and beefiest armors in the game, and Havel the Rock is a pretty cool NPC. His armor set is in every game, and a cool iteration of him appears in DS III. I had to pump several levels into endurance to wear it, and I’m having to add more because the badass strength weapons I’ve been saving have more weight than the base weapons, obviously. I’ve been rocking the Black Knight Sword +5 up until now. It’s a fantastic weapon, and one I mained at the end of my original playthrough. However, I got a Black Knight Greataxe drop, so I switched to that because it’s fucking badass. And it’s an axe. Which, as I’ve said a time or a hundred, is my jam. Plus, it’s better than my BKS, so I upped my endurance so I can wield it with a shield–my Silver Knight Shield. I like to have the shield to block, then quickly switch to two-handing my weapon.

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Post-Prandial Narcolepsy

I’m not a big holiday person, so I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Plus, genocide of indigenous people. That doesn’t sit well with me, either. But, Ian and I were set on getting turkey subs from Subway, which wasn’t open, despite Google telling me it’d be open until ten tonight.* We drove around to see if there was anything else open, and most everything was closed. Adagio’s Pizza Factory was open, however, so we decided to eat there for our Thanksgiving feast. We ordered an appetizer of Gruyere cheese and beer dip with pretzel slices, which was fantastic, and mac-n-cheese pizza with Italian sausage, which was uh-may-zing. I still have two pieces left, for which I’m thankful.

Anyway. I played Dark Souls for a couple hours after coming back, killing the Gaping Dragon. I cut off his tail, and I got the Dragon King Greataxe, which takes 50 strength to wield.** I fought two Black Knights, and one of them dropped the Black Knight Sword, which I mained during my first playthrough at the end of the game. It only requires 20 strength and 18 dexterity, which I acquired after beating the Gaping Dragon. It’s a great early game weapon, and I’ll be maining it until I get enough strength to wield one of the heftier weapons. I also got my beloved Greataxe which requires 32 strength. I love the Greataxe and mained it as a melee character in Dark Souls 3, I may use it when I reach 32 strength, but I don’t want to use it for the whole game. The Iron Golem’s boss soul can be made into the Golem Axe, which takes 38 strength to wield. I love me my axes so much, I think I’ll shoot to use them when I get the strength.

I’m planning on cutting off all the tails I possibly can. Crossbreed Priscilla, though Priscilla’s Dagger is dex-based, Seath the Scaleless, which gives you the vaunted Moonlight Greatsword, and Black Dragon Kalameet, which gives you the Obsidian Greatsword. I have the Drake Sword, which you get from shooting (with arrows) off the tail of the Hellkite Dragon, and the Gargoyle Tail Axe, which is from the Bell Gargoyle’s tail. That plus killing Quelaag solo are my Dark Goals, as Ian jokingly calls it, for this playthrough. I have a problem with wanting to go in many different directions when I play the games, so it’s hard to stick to my stated goal of doing a pure strength build. I’m determined to do it, however, or as close to it as I can get. Which means pumping all my points into vitality, endurance, and strength from here on out.


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These are a Few of My Favorite Things (Video Games)

meditate on this
The way of the dragon.

I’m in a video game funk ever since I beat Dark Souls III. I was in one before I got Dark Souls III, and now that it’s over, I’m back in it. I still play Binding of Isaac: Rebirth/Afterbirth every day, but it’s more just to scratch that video game itch. Don’t get me wrong–it’s a very good game. However, it’s more a habit by now than anything. I’m not a great Isaac player, but I don’t really have to think about it as I play it. I can zone out as I play, so it’s pretty restful for me. The problem is, Dark Souls has spoiled me for most new games. If they’re Souls-like, they just make me want to play Dark Souls again. There are a couple of Souls-like games that I’m interested in (EITR and Death’s Gambit), but they’re not coming out for the foreseeable future. I’m somewhat interested in Salt and Sanctuary, but not enough to actually buy it. I’ve tried to play some hack and slashes, which I loved before, but I found myself getting bored fairly easily. Path of Exile, which I loved when I played it in beta/early access, Victor Vran, and Grim Dawn. All three should be right up my alley, but I just couldn’t stay interested. I need a game that is engrossing as Souls is, but isn’t Dark Souls. Until that happens, I want to tell you about a few of my favorite games, all of which I’ve finished (or, in the case of Rebirth, got the Real Platinum God achievement. There really is no finishing Rebirth).

  1. Dark Souls, the trilogy. I’ve written ad nauseam about these games, and with good reason. The first Dark Souls is a masterpiece, and I would recommend it in a heartbeat with a caveat: Don’t play it if you’re easily frustrated or if you don’t like dying many, many times. I’ve had people try the game because of my enthusiasm, then confess that they had ragequit the game. They’re always apologetic, but I get it. I really do. I am a huge fan of these games, but I can understand why someone wouldn’t be. The games are often an exercise in futility, and it’s easy to get frustrated and sore while playing these games. I ragequit the first game the first time I played it and didn’t touch it for years afterwards. I don’t remember how I got back into it–probably because the sequel was being announced, and if I wanted to play that, I felt I had to play the original first.

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