Underneath my yellow skin

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Kathy Rain: A Girl After My Own Heart

badass katmobile!
Hurtling towards oblivion.

In my desperation to find a game that I can play an a post-Dark Souls III world, I started rummaging through my pile of shame. Any gamer who uses Steam knows exactly what I’m talking about–all the games you bought during Steam sales that you promised yourself you would play at one time or another. Games you normally wouldn’t look twice at or games you’ve always wanted but are too cheap to buy full price*.

I’ve tried a few, and none have really kept my interest until I stumbled on Kathy Rain, a point-and-click adventure game. It’s a game I wanted because I like mystery novels and have been trying to find a good detective game. They’re hard to find for many reasons that I’m not going to go into in this post, but this one looked promising. The tagline is even: A Detective is Born. The protagonist is the eponymous Kathy Rain, a journalism major in college. She’s mouthy, smokes like a fiend, and drives a motorcycle–a girl after my own heart.

It’s set in the ’90s and has the crunchy pixel graphics that I normally don’t like, but it suits the game. I don’t find it intrusive at all, and the closeups of the faces are surprisingly good. The basic story is that Kathy’s college roommate, Eileen, tells Kathy that her grandfather has died. She goes to the funeral, and then she finds out that something weird happened to her grandfather many years ago. She didn’t know about it because her mother took her away from her (paternal) grandparents when she was young, and she  hasn’t been back.

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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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