Underneath my yellow skin

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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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A Case for the Caster: I Put a Spell on You

Hey, melee players, fuck you. I’m kidding, of course, but you’ll pardon me from being a little salty at how much shit casters get, especially from the Souls community. I would like to say up front that I know the Souls games are made to be played as a melee character, and I’ve bitched more than once about how casters are treated like second-class citizens. Obviously, I don’t give a fuck because I keep playing as a caster whenever I can. The problem is, I like to watch other people play Souls games* and most of them play as melee characters. That doesn’t bother me in and of itself because as I said, the game is meant to be played bashing the enemies with a sword, mace, halberd, axe, etc. It’s also more fun to watch someone bash his/her head against an enemy in hand-to-hand combat, so I’m not mad about the lack of casters Let’s Plays. I find them fun to watch because I’m a caster, but even I can say that there’s something missing in watching someone torch an enemy from afar. The community takes it too far, however, even stating that to get the real Souls experience, you have to play as a melee character the first time through.

I went on a mini-Tiwtter rant earlier today because I’m watching the Super Best Friends play Demon’s Souls in which they were talking about all the ways you can cheese the Souls games. A German Spy (a guest YouTuber who’s very knowledgeable about Souls games) asked Pat if he ever used the Firestorm glitch, and Pat said in a disgusted voice, “No. I never use magic.” To underscore his point, he said he hated magic. He jokes a lot, but he sounded deadly serious. In addition, I watched him and Woolie play Dark Souls 2. Rather, Woolie was playing it for the first time, and Pat was ‘coaching’** Woolie through it. Woolie had played about half the game before as a sorcerer, but Pat wouldn’t let him be one. Pat made Woolie be a cleric,*** and Pat spent the rest of the playthrough denigrating magic users.

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