Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: dark souls iii

Picky media consumer

I am not a picky eater. At least, I wouldn’t be if it weren’t for my sensitivities. There are only a few things I don’t like, and the list includes kiwi, water chestnuts (I LOVE regular chestnuts, though), and coconut. I like coconut curries, but coconut itself? Not so much. Other than that, I’m pretty much a fan more or less of food. When it comes to the media I consume, however, it’s a much different story.

I once flummoxed a professor in my grad program ((Writing & Consciousness) by saying I didn’t like movies. She said that was like saying I don’t like sandwiches or soups–both of which I like, thank you very much. Part of the problem is that at the time, there weren’t many movies that reflected me. Taiwanese American bisexual fat woman? Yeah, good luck finding something with that, mate! In addition, I’m always conscious that I’m watching a movie. When I read a book, I disappear into the pages and am absorbed in the world. With a good book, I completely forget that I exist. With movies, I’m always removed from the action except on very rare occasions. My three favorite movies, Once, The Station Agent, and Japanese Story, are all movies I actually lost myself in, even if it weren’t for the whole time. Another difference is that I can read my favorite books a million times, but I don’t often feel compelled to watch a movie more than once.

I find movies limiting. When I read books, my mind provides the details that the book doesn’t give. With movies, it’s all on the screen, and I find it a much more passive way of ingesting media. I think there’s less room for error, too, because continuity can be a problem. I remember watching a movie (don’t remember the movie now) that was so bad, I noticed that the color of a shirt wasn’t consistent in what was supposed to be the same scene. I’m not that detail-oriented, so the fact that I noticed meant I was not into the movie at all.

Another problem with movies for me is that my brain can’t always differentiate between reality and fabrication, so horrific images in movies stay with me a long time in the way horrific scenes in books don’t. I know that seems counter to what I said earlier, but I never said my brain was consistent. There’s a suicide scene in Girl, Interrupted, that stayed with me for years afterwards. Any time I thought of it, I would feel as if someone had actually died. With books, the whole experience may stay with me, but I’m less likely to remember horrible scenes with such a vivid reaction.


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Nioh V. Dark Souls: An Unfair Comparison

I recently tried out Nioh again after a long period off from it (because I was sick and did not want to sit at my desktop. It refuses to run on my laptop. At all) because I read about a Jutsu (magic spell) that supposedly trivialized bosses. I didn’t have it, but I ‘bought’ it and equipped it. I went through some old sub-missions, and I can’t say it made a noticeable difference. I encountered a ‘boss’ in one of the sub-missions, but she’s not the same as an actual boss, obviously. In fact, she becomes a common enemy in another mission.

I like to do old missions in order to farm and to brush up on my skills. I have to say going from Dark Souls III to Nioh (and back again) is not easy. I am so used to the DS controls (right bumper and trigger for weak attack and strong attack respectively, B for roll/run, A for interaction with items. X is for using the consumable item in the down position on the D-pad, and Y is to two-hand your weapon), that when I play Nioh, it takes a good half hour to adjust to the buttons. X and Y for weak attack and strong attack (like The Witcher 3 and apparently most games), A for dodge/run, B for interaction with items.

Both games have systems that are almost impregnable. I think the members of FromSoft (devs of Soulsborne games) pride themselves on their menus being counterintuitive and byzantine. They change their stats every goddamn game, and there’s always one stat that just doesn’t do jack or shit. One small example of needless obfuscation*–in every game, there is a consumable item (souls in the Souls games and coldblood in Bloodborne) that if you crush, you get a large quantity of souls/blood echoes. The thing is, they all have these weirdass names and refuse to tell you exactly how many souls you’ll get for crushing it. So you might pick up a Soul of an Intrepid Hero, a Large Soul of a Proud Paladin, and a Soul of a Great Champion (all names of consumable souls in DS III), but you probably wouldn’t know they give you 2500, 1000, and 50,000 souls respectively.

They decided that wasn’t opaque enough and went even weirder for Bloodborne with the consumable blood echoes. There are categories such as Coldblood Dew and Thick Coldblood, for example. Then, in most of the categories, they are numbered. Therefore, Coldblood Dew (1)  is 350 blood echoes, and Kin Coldblood (12) is 20,000. I’ve played Soulsborne games countless of times and still cannot tell you how much each consumable soul/coldblood is worth without Googling it.

Nioh is obviously influenced by Dark Souls, and I feel as if they took a look at DS’s menus and saw it as a challenge. “You think that’s obscure, mate? Take a look at this!” I don’t know why I made Team Ninja British when they and FromSoft are Japanese, but so be it.

Another reason it takes so long to reacclimate to Nioh’s control buttons is because there are so many things to do with the buttons.

*taking a deep breath*


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Dark Souls III: Bossing My Way Through NG Pluses

down to the wire with the dancer.
Tears of Denial saved my ass!

Hi, my name is Minna Hong, and I’m addicted to Dark Souls III. I have written before how it’s not the best Soulsborne game (Dark Souls. No question. But, man, is it so janky and has issues), but it’s the most replayable–at least for me. It’s also a game I can comfortably play on my laptop, so it’s my go-to when I’m in the mood to play something, but I can’t be stuffed to get up and go to my desktop. (Like when I was sick. I didn’t even want to get up and move the two feet to the recliner I use to play Bloodborne on my PS4.) I’ve also gotten back into Binding of Isaac: Rebirth to finish off the achievements, but that’s another post for another day.

I’ve played all the Soulsborne games more than once except Demon’s Souls, which I haven’t played because I don’t have a PS3, please god let it be remastered for the PS4, but I hadn’t done more than NG+ on any of them. I also hadn’t played a tank character up until I finished Dark Souls III and decided to give it a try. I’d heard all the griping in ‘the community’ about how easy magic/casting made the game, that it was babby mode, that only scrubs used magic, and I decided I had to give another build a try so I could make a comparison of my own. Before being a tank, I would still have argued that being a caster is more difficult because I had less health and stamina, had to wear lighter armor, and I didn’t have enough magicks/pyromancy/miracles to make my way through a whole area or boss fight. That meant I had to do some melee, usually with a starting/first area weapon (battle axe was my jam), which meant plinking away for potato damage until I reached a bonfire and replenished my spells.

One of my favorite changes to DS III was switching from a limited number of spells to mana (FP, focus points, but it’s mana) and having two Estus Flasks (Ashen Estus Flask to replenish the FP bar) which you can allocate any way you like. By the end of the game, I had fifteen gulps of my Estus Flasks, and I had a ten/five split between regular and Ashen.

Once I finished the game as a pyromancer, I decided to do another pyromancer run and a tank run (separately). I needed to know if my hunch that being a tank would be easier in the long run was right or wrong. Short answer–right. Having that fat health bar and endurance for days made such a difference. Being able to wield the Greataxe (what I used for my first tank run) or the Executioner’s Sword (another early fave) with ease meant dishing out massive damage. Being able to use more than a base shield meant blocking was viable, and if I wear the Wolf Ring +3, I don’t even flinch when I get hit.

When I started the first Dark Souls game, I chose pyromancer because I like fire, yes, but also because I thought being ranged would be better for an old, slow-reaction gal like me. After playing a lot of tank, however, I have to say that being a tank is better if you have slower reactions. Why? Because as a caster, I had to do a lot of dodging. A LOT. As a tank, I could trade blows and come out mostly intact. Right now, I’m rocking the Black Iron Set with the matching Black Iron Greatshield +10. If I wanted to truly cosplay as Black Iron Tarkus, er, Knight Slayer Tsorig, I’d use the Fume Ultra Greatsword, but I find it too unwieldy and, frankly, underwhelming. I switch up weapons during different playthroughs (and for different bosses), but my main is Lorian’s Greatsword, which is by far my favorite weapon in the game.

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Too Tired to Think–and Dark Souls III

I’m writing this on Christmas, and I’m feeling out of sorts. Not as bad as in past years, but there’s still a vague ‘I should be celebrating, but I’m not, and that makes me a bad person.” As I said, it’s much more subdued than it has been in past years, but it’s still there. I like to say I’m immune to advertising*, but there is still enough societal pressure that makes me low-key feel bad for not celebrating.

I still feel like shit with congestion and cotton in my brain. My ears are scabby and gross, and if I pick the scabs (I know, I know), pus oozes out. My lymph node is almost not-swollen any more, which is good, and it’s barely tender. I’m still going to go to the doc after the holidays, though, because I need to get a grip on this. I also need to get my thyroid meds checked, which may help with the sinus crap.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve cut out gluten and dairy, and I can honestly say I don’t miss it–except for cheese. God, I love cheese, but it doesn’t love me back. As Tim Minchin says, “I cannot Camembert any more.”

Why does cheese have to be so goddamn delicious???? And why is it so hard to duplicate? “I love cheese, but it’s plain to see, that cheese doesn’t love me. I am such a fool in love; I just cannot get enough, but it’s an unrequited love!” Sing it, Tim! The rest of it, though? Not. I’ve gone back to my Taiwanese roots and reacquainted myself with rice. Which, by the way, smells so delicious while cooking. And, PSA: rice cooker all the way for a perfect cook every time. Anyway, rice is way tastier than bread, and it’s way more versatile. I’ve also discovered non-gluten tortillas, bread, and bagels which are all nearly as good as the originals.

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The Video Game Equivalent of Comfort Food

lorian's greatsword to the face!
You, sir, ain’t no Sif!!

When I’m sick, I mostly want to hunker down on my couch with my cat, Shadow (who is snoozing on my legs right now), sipping my honey ginger lemon tea, moaning inside my head about how terrible I feel. If I’m going to game, it’s going to be on my laptop as I don’t want to go to my desktop or sit up to play Bloodborne on my PS4. By the way, I think Bloodborne is a brilliant game, but there is a section at the end (plus the DLC) that I absolutely hate. LOATHE. It’s quite possibly my most-hated area of a Souls-like game ever, and that’s including Blighttown (which I actually didn’t hate that much), the original Izalith, and the invisible reindeer area of the snow DLC for DS II. It makes the last part of the game such a downer for me, but I really should just plow through it with my tank.

Anyway, I haven’t played Nioh for about a week. I still think it’s a great game, but it juuuuuust misses the mark for me. Whatever the *it* factor that Souls games have for me is missing from Nioh, and I can’t tell you why. The combat is fantastic, even though I don’t switch between stances during a fight. The weapons are great–I’m maining an axe with the odachi as a strong second. The stagger with the odachi is real, yo. The magic is interesting, but too diffuse. I’m mostly using regen jutsu, and while it’s helpful, it’s not flashy at all. The biggest problems with Nioh are one, the environments. Not only are most of them drab and dreary, they’re ugly. They look last gen, and it’s really disappointing. Plus, they’re repetitive within the environments, and I get lost very easily. There’s a mini-map, but it’s not helpful at all. In fact, I get less lost in Souls games, even though they’re more labyrinth-like and don’t have maps. At all. Related, the enemies are not varied at all. Granted, I’m only half-way through the game, but there the hollows on the one hand and demons on the other. The bosses have been half and half (though some are both), and I’m suffering a little sameness fatigue.

The other biggest problem is two-fold. One, you start with a set number of elixirs at the start of each mission, and you can pick up elixirs as you go, but you are capped off at eight. That’s not nearly enough, which is one reason I use regen health jutsu. I really think the Estus Flask system is nigh-on perfect. I liked the way it was done in the original Dark Souls the best. You started with five Estus at most bonfires, but you can kindle to ten (which is what Firelink Shrine starts as) with a humanity, and later on, you can kindle up to twenty. I hate farming for Elixirs, just as I hated farming for Blood Vials in Bloodborne, and it’s made worse by the other part I don’t like–the mission system. In BB, if I needed to farm Blood Vials, I’d run to the first area and kill all the scrubs until I had enough Blood Vials. Or, later in the game, I’d buy them and be done with it. In Nioh, you can’t buy Elixirs (as far as I know), and yes, you can make offerings and maybe get Elixirs in return, but it’s not enough. You can store infinite amounts, but I never manage to have more than fifty or so in storage. That sounds like a lot until you come up against a hard boss. Then, you can deplete your storage in a hurry, or rather I can, and I can’t just run to the first area and farm them up. Why? Because once you start a mission, you have to finish it or you have to do the whole thing all over again. I really hate that I can’t jump from mission to mission without negating the entire experience.

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In Defense of Dark Souls II

all my single ladies!
Me and the girls wrecking shit.

I’ve recently been playing Dark Souls II from scratch (both as a caster and as a melee character), and I have a few thoughts about it. It’s generally considered the bad child of the family–the one that drinks and does the drugs and is disrespectful to the entire family. Many people in the Souls community hate it, and while many people like it, there are few who think it’s as good as the first and very few who thinks it’s better. I’m in the camp of, “I think it’s a very good game, even if it’s not quite up to the original. It’s immensely fun to replay.” I’m also in the camp of, “It’s a really good game, but it’s not a great Dark Souls game.”

What do I love about Dark Souls the original? Sit back and let me count the ways. Also, let’s remember that I hated the original game by the time I was done with it, and I never wanted to touch it again. It’s only in preparation for playing DS II much later that I tried the original again and was blown away by it. I had enough distance on it to appreciate it, and I wasn’t as insistent that I beat every boss on my own*, so it was much more enjoyable. I will say as a point of pride that I’ve beaten every boss in Dark Souls solo, including all the DLC bosses. There are a few bosses I haven’t beaten solo in DS II because there are So. Many. Bosses., and the few that I haven’t beaten are early in the game (comparatively) when you’re relatively weak or in the DLCs. I’ve beaten every boss in the third game solo, except for a few in the DLCs.

Anyhoooooooo….what do I love about Dark Souls the original? Let me count the ways. Before I start, though, let me say that it being difficult isn’t one thing I loved about it. That’s the problem with many of the clones (including DS II); they think the difficulty is the end game, not part of the journey. What I do love about the difficulty is how good I feel when I beat the thing that I previously thought was unbeatable. Whether it’s a hard enemy or a really tough boss (looking at you, Nameless King), the exultation when they finally turn into white dust is indescribable.

What’s also good is finding a way to cheese a hard enemy/boss. There is a boss in Dark Souls II, King Vendrick, who is really…not hard, but sturdy. He has physical defenses that is berserker hard, and you have to get a bunch of giant souls (it makes sense in context) to make him easier. He’s so hard, you have to be able to do a certain amount of damage just to start the fight. I have a special fondness for him because he made me change the way I played the first time through (as a caster, of course). Here’s the thing. He hits like a Mack Truck. Even with my not-fragile melee character, he could kill me in two hits. With my caster, yeah, it was pretty much one and done. After dying to him many, many times the first time as a caster. So many times! I decided I had to get radical. I stripped off all my armor so I could have the lightest roll possible, and then I did the classic, “Stick to his left side and smack that ass!” This is what you do with large beasts, which he kinda was. Since I had my shitty Battle Axe as a weapon, it took forever to kill him. It was much easier with my melee character this time around, but it was still circle around the left side and smack that ass. Anyway, beating him melee as a caster while wearing no armor (since one hit killed me anyway, why wear armor?) is one of my fondest DS II memories.  Continue Reading

Dark Souls III, The Ringed City DLC: Part Five

Ed. Note: This is part five of my endless review of the Dark Souls III DLC, The Ringed City. I don’t want it to end, just like I don’t want the series to end. Read part four here

i'm sure we'll meet again.
Thanks for the tip, Uncle Gael!

So. Now that I’m done with the DLC, how do I feel about it overall? It’s hard to say. I played it one more time on my laptop* with the character I started while I was visiting Ian. She’s a strength/faith build because there’s a weapon, Morne’s Great Hammer, that takes 50/30 strength/faith to use, and I want to try it out. Unfortunately, it’ll take at least through the second playthrough to get the stats to use it, and then I may not have enough vitality to use it effectively. Right now, she has 29/40 and 13 vitality. The reason she has 40 faith is because I want to be able to use a lightning spell that takes 45 faith, which I can do with the Priestess Ring (adds +5 faith). The problem is, though, I’m not going to be able to add 21 strength (or 16. I can wear the Knight’s Ring to add +5 to strength) plus whatever vitality I need in order to wear decent armor and heft the MGH. What I might do is respect just so I can play around with it, then respec again to a saner build once I’ve had my fill of the MGH.

I decided to take her through the DLC before writing this review so I could see if I still felt the same way I did when I first played it. This playthrough, I didn’t care at all about soloing the bosses, which made it so much easier, and, frankly, much more enjoyable. I ran through The Dreg Heap with little problem. It’s sounds silly to say, but knowing the way to go cuts out so much of the game’s difficulty. Not all of it, but a healthy portion of it. In addition, the patch that allowed Hidden Body to work was a godsend. The Laser Angels of Death (Technical name, Angels, but that’s my pet name for them) were incidental. They couldn’t harm me if they couldn’t see me, and I liberally used the Hidden Body spell to make sure they couldn’t see me.

Side note: I am not a stealth game player at all, but I love being able to stealth my way through the Souls games. I started another game (yeah, yeah, I know), another tank with a hint of dex, and I’m grumpy because I don’t have my Hidden Body/Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring combo yet. I forget how much I rely on being able to sneak around and ignoring enemies that I don’t want to deal with. One of the reasons I use a 10/5 Estus Flask/Ashen Estus Flask split is so that I can Hidden Body my way around the game to my heart’s content. That’s another thing with being in the beginning part of the game–having to actually monitor my mana** use. By the end of the game, I rarely have to keep an eye on it unless I’m doing a specific mana-only fight, such as trying to kill the second wyvern in Archdragon Peak after first taking care of the Rock Lizards. Who, by the way, are probably the most adorable enemies in the game, even though they are so damn aggravating. They’re hardy little fucks, but I love the way they roll. Anyway, being able to run around an enemy unnoticed in order to backstab them is the best. There are a few enemies that are immune to the Hidden Body spell, which is infuriating. Is using the Hidden Body/Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring combo (plus the Lingering Dragoncrest Ring to extend the length of Hidden Body) cheating? Hell no! It’s in the game.

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Dark Souls III, The Ringed City DLC: Part Four

Ed. Note: This is part four (and hopefully, last) of my review of the Dark Souls III DLC, The Ringed City. Spoilers ahead, so don’t  read if you want to play the game fresh. Part three here

if only i could save Gael.
Uncle Gael is not looking so hot.

Once I finished everything with the DLC* with my two casters, there was only one thing left to do–confront Slave Knight Gael with my tank in NG++. At this point, I was rocking most of Havel’s armor set, the Black Iron Greatshield (BIG), and my beloved Quakestone Hammer +5 (found in the first DLC, and at its highest upgrade). I knew even with my tank, this was going to be a long and arduous journey for me, but I wanted to end the series on a high. Astute readers will note that I have not beat Darkeater Midir with my tank, and it’s because I don’t want to put the effort in to beat him solo, but there are way less summons in NG++ than in NG. Will I do it at some point? Maybe. But it’s not a pressing concern.

I can’t tell you how many times Uncle Gael wrecked my shit. I’m sure I lost to him in the first phase alone at least twenty times. As I’ve said in previous reviews, I’m old, and my reflexes aren’t great, so I’m not going to be able to roll out of the way in time if I don’t know the patterns. I heard a Dark Souls enthusiast disavow that the games are about rote memorization, but for someone like me, memorization of patterns is extremely important. I can’t just react to Gael’s movements because by the time I process that it’s happening, he’s already hit me. Once I can recognize his tells, however, then I have a chance of reacting properly.

You want to feel as if you’re making progress with each death, but I didn’t feel that way for a long time. At some point, I started experimenting with my armor, shield, and weapon. I knew he was weak to poison and frost because of my runs with my caster, and I decided to do something I don’t do much of in Souls games–infuse a weapon with a poison gem. The problem was, my Quakestone Hammer cannot be infused, so I had to choose another weapon. I mained the Greataxe +10 for most of the vanilla game, but the main drawback of it is that it has short reach. Gael’s weapon is really long, and his cape is even longer. I wanted a weapon with reach, so I bypassed my beloved Greataxe. The other problem was that I would want a fully upgraded weapon, of course, and I didn’t have very many of those. I did have a Greatsword that was either fully upgraded or nearly so, and I decided to go with that. I took it up to +10** and had Andre infuse it with poison. Then, I took it back to Filianore’s Rest to face Gael once again. Because it weighed more than my Quakestone Hammer, I had to lighten up my armor. I can’t tell you how much I fiddled with my loadout during this fight.

Side Note: One of the things Dark Souls does best is take you out of your comfort zone. I don’t always like it because I tend to glom on to one weapon, get comfortable with it, and take it through the game. I marvel at people who can switch weapons on the fly, but I’m not one of them. Part of my skill is knowing a particular weapon’s moveset well, and it takes me some time to adapt to a new one. However, when I’m able to pull it off, I feel like a god. For example, the infamous Ornstein & Smough fight. That fight almost broke me, and I nearly quit the game for good during the depths of my despair. I tried everything I could think of, but I could not beat that damn duo. In desperation, I did something I had never done before and would never do again: I put the Lightning Spear in my left hand and Quelaag’s Furysword in my right. I was maining the Furysword at this point, but I never used the Lightning Spear, and I never dual wield. Anyway, I took care of Small with my pyromancy, then girded my loins to take on Supercharged Biggie. I pulled out the Lightning Spear and the Furysword, and I swiped swiped left right when I had my chance. That’s how I beat Super Biggie, and it made me proud that I had adapted my playstyle to beat him. Them. Whatever. Granted, I never used that playstyle again, but still.

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Dark Souls III, The Ringed City DLC: Part Three

Ed. Note: This is part three of my review of the Dark Souls III DLC, The Ringed City. There will be spoilers, so if you are going to play the game and want to do so unsullied, turn back! Part two  here

this can't be good.
Hey, Filianore. May I touch your egg?

Returning home from my vacation, I sat down to The Ringed City, determined to finish it. I still wasn’t looking forward to it, but I had already decided that I just wanted to finish it with my utility caster, no matter what. In addition, I wanted to see what my NG++ caster could do. She’s my darling, and I had her int/faith stats pumped up so I could use all the spells. I’ve complained many times about how people think magic is OP in souls games, but not in NG unless you pump one stat to the detriment of all the rest. In addition, in DS III, pyromancy scales with both intelligence and faith, but the faith perks don’t kick in until you hit 18 intelligence. I didn’t know this, of course, but I was wondering with my current character, the one I started on my laptop while I was on vacation, why my pyromancy wasn’t doing as much damage as I would have expected. I was gunning for a strength/faith build because there’s a weapon, Morne’s Great Hammer, that needs 50 strength and 30 faith. It’s similar to the Grant of the original game, which I could never use. It was such a weird build, I wanted to give it a try. However, there’s no way to reach those stats on NG. Well, very little. I’m currently level 84, and I started as a level 8 pyromancer.* Do the math. I was curious about the low damage output and Googled it. Found out you needed at least 18 int. for the faith perk to kick in. I pumped my int. to 18 and sure enough, that did it. I currently have 20 int.

Anyway, my first character, mulan (what I always name my first character), finally feels strong, and it only took until NG++. I wanted to take her through the DLC for a few reasons. One, she’s my girl. She’s been through everything in the game with me, and it felt weird not to play the game to completion with her. Two, well, I’ll get to that in a minute. I have to backtrack. I saw the next boss at Filianore’s Rest before I went on vacation. Much of this article is going to be devoted to him because he’s amazing, for many reasons. After I beat the Halflight, Spear of the Church with my utility caster, of course I went to the next area, which immediately transported me to a different place altogether. The fabled Ringed City in the title, the cutscene is breathtaking. I ended up at Filianore’s Rest, and I wandered through a beautifully terrible and desolated area. There’s sand. So much sand. And a furtive pygmy crawling on the sand, pleading for help from Filianore. He mentions something about the Red Hood coming to eat them, to eat their dark souls. As far as I know, this is the first specific reference to the dark souls of the titles, but I could be wrong.

I moved towards the obvious boss space and girded my loins. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the original furtive pygmy from the first Dark Souls seemed appropriate. Instead, it was someone eating the furtive pygmy’s dark souls, and that someone was…Slave Knight Gael????? What the hell? My buddy from the first DLC, the one who’s been guiding me every step of the way in this DLC, he’s the next boss? I have to say as much as I love the Souls series, there’s very little that surprises me any longer about them because I know them so well. This, however, surprised the hell out of me, and I applaud FromSoft for knitting the two DLCs together in such an ingenious way.

A little backstory: Slave Knight Gael is the NPC who tricks you into entering the Ashes of Ariandel DLC (through a painting) because he wants your ash to inflame the next painting of his niece or some such. (It’s more that he wants to end the endless cycle of flame.) That’s the condensed version of the first DLC, and at the end of it, his niece says, “Soon, Uncle Gael will bring me the pigment. I wonder if he has found it, the dark soul of man?” I also summoned him for the final boss fight of the first DLC, and he was invaluable in that fight.

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Dark Souls III, The Ringed City DLC: Part Two

Ed. Note: This is part two of my review of the Dark Souls III DLC, The Ringed City. There will be spoilers, so if you plan on playing it and don’t want to be spoiled, turn away now. Here’s part one

aw, hell no!
Yeah, I want to fight them. Judicator Giant in the background.

After the Mausoleum Lookout, I wandered around and ran into these weird clerics who looked like turtles. I just looked them up, and apparently they’re the Turtle Clerics. They do these weird AoE spells that heals their buddies and takes massive chunks of your health. They’re fairly easy to kill with fire and/or if you flip them on their back. They’re annoying, though, because their miracles track you, so you have to keep moving. I also ran into some ringwraiths! Not really, but they’re Darkwraiths with their orange darksigns very visible on their chests. They’re officially called the Ringed Knights, but come on. They’re ringwraiths. By the way, am I the only one who find the Nazgul to be cute? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

I found my favorite armor set from Dark Souls II in this area, the Black Witch Set. It’s a set worn by the witch, Zullie, who was an outcast. It always amused me that the set is called the Black Witch Set when it’s actually purple, but I recently figured out that SHE’S the black witch, not that the set is black. Black meaning outcast, not the color. She first was mentioned in DS II, along with Alva the Wayfarer. At first sworn enemies, they became trusted compatriots. In Dark Souls III, he shows up as Alva, Seeker of the Spurned and invades you, which implies that they were separated at some point. He’s guarding Zullie’s set, which seems to imply that they were reunited at some later point. I also found the Black Witch Veil, which is what she wore while travleling to disguise that she’s a witch. I love the whole set, and it has decent defense stats for such light armor.

There’s a huge swamp in this area because of course there is, and there’s another Judicator Giant patrolling it because of course there is, and I stealthed my way throughout it because I just didn’t give a shit at that point. I wasn’t enjoying the game at all, and I just wanted to finish it. I hadn’t felt that way about playing a Souls game since the DLC from DS II, and I didn’t like it at all. I made my way to the second boss, and there was yet another dragon flaming up a bridge that I had to run over, and I felt nothing but impatience. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. All the set pieces of a Souls game that I normally find charming or that at least elicit a smile just made me roll my eyes. Another catacombs area that has a breaking floor when you chase a crystal lizard? Oh, please. I will admit when I followed Lapp’s questline and watched it morph into Patches’ questline, that was pretty damn satisfying. When he kicked me down the hole again, I just had to laugh and admire that Patches is Patches no matter what. That’s one standard of the games I really enjoy.

The second boss. Oh, the second boss. I found the coolest new weapon right before the second boss, the Ringed Knight Paired Greatswords, dropped by, you got it, a ringwraith. I can’t use it with my caster because you need 40 strength to wield it, but I love using it with my tank. It’s a dual wield weapon, so it’s best not to use a shield with it, which is not how I play at all, tank or no tank. I will say I love trying out all the strength weapons as a tank because I can’t wield them as a caster, not ever dual-wield, and they’re fun to play with.

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