Underneath my yellow skin

Not enjoying the not-plat of Dark Souls II (SotFS)

I love Dark Souls. I probably don’t have to say this, but I will, anyway. After I not-platted the third game, however, I was heartily sick of Dark Souls III, which is my favorite game ever. For a few months, I couldn’t even think about playing the game again–or the other FromSoft games, either. Many months, actually. Oh, sure, I played a bit here and there, but nothing like my normal play it every week if not every day. It’s only in the last month or so that I’ve been able to play the game again with pleasure. In the last few weeks, I’ve been watching the RKG’s playthrough of Dark Souls II, otherwise known as Scholar of the First Sin, the one Dark Souls game I haven’t platted or even not-platted. To be honest, I haven’t played that game in a year because I knew that once I started it up again, I’d start thinking about the not-plat.

After I finished the DS III plat, I did check SotFS to see if it had cloud sync. DS* does and DS III, bafflingly, does not. I had to use my saves on my old laptop to finish the DS III plat, which was annoying. DS II also does not have cloud sync and I only have one save on this computer. I was roughly halfway through the main game on that save. And, I was annoyed because one of the achievements I should have had is bugged and only pops if you get the final piece of it online. It’s one of the more straightforward achievements, too. It’s Maestro of Gestures, and you get them all by talking to NPCs. I think you get the ‘Praise the Sun’ emote from joining the Heirs of the Sun covenant, but other than that, it’s NPCs.

I have gotten all the gestures a half dozen times at least, but I play the game mostly offline because I hate PvP. I hate it the most in this game because you can get invaded when you’re not human and there’s a weird mechanic that under some circumstances, the less human you are, the more likely you will to be invaded. There is a similar bug in DS III in which you have to have one of every type of infusion. Meaning lightning, fire, crystal gem, heavy, gem, etc. I rarely do that because you take a huge hit to physical if you infuse your weapon with anything, so I had plenty of the stuff I needed to infuse my weapons. I went to Andre and infused one of everything. No achievement. I read you have to do it online, so I went online and tried again. Nothing. I read the forums and they suggested that I buy fifteen daggers and do the infusions on them (to keep it the same). I did that as well–nothing.

In desperation, I went to another save file (on my old laptop), bought fifteen daggers, and repeated the process after making sure I was online. Finally, the achievement popped, much to my relief. If I hadn’t been able to do that, however, I–well, probably would have just kept playing because it’s something you can do as you go throughout the game.

In the case of SotFS, however, I’m really resentful because I’ve done it so many times already. Granted, I’d still have to keep doing this playthrough (now roughly two-thirds through the main game) because there is another achievement I have to keep playing the game to attain. It’s getting the Moonlight Greatsword achievement. Despite the name, it is not getting the MGS. It’s inheriting Benhart of Jugo’s equipment, which is a pain in the ass. Remember, I’ve played this game dozens of time and will summon freely because I’ve beaten every boss** solo and have no qualms about summoning. The way to get Benhart’s equipment is to have him survive three boss fights. Then, you have to go to a certain place to talk to him and he’ll give you his stuff. There’s another NPC, Lucatiel (best NPC in this game) for whom there is a similar achievement with the same requirements. I have hers because she’s a beast of an NPC.

Anyway, you can summon Benhart for the easiest boss in the game. Which, fine and dandy. But, the run there is a nightmare. In the second boss fight (which I just fought), he died when the boss had one hit left to go. I was furious! I couldn’t let the boss kill me, however, because there was another NPC summon in the fight–and he was a beast. What I should have done was buy and wear the ring that draws the enemy’s attention. Redeye Ring, sold by Sweet Shalquoir (a talking cat). I was furious because I had been so close.

What you can do, however, is use a Bonfire Ascetic at a bonfire in order to reset the area to the next level of difficulty. What I mean is going from NG to NG+, NG+ to NG++, etc. I decided to try it on the bonfire before the easiest boss in the game in order to get another Benhardt assist. The area before the boss run is such utter bullshit. I was pissed off and that does not make for good Souls play. I eventually got it done and got the second boss fight with Benhart alive, but it was such a chore. If I can’t get the third one naturally, then I may use a Bonfire Ascetic on the bonfire before the boss I just beat because while that boss is much harder, the boss run is a cinch.

That’s my biggest issue with doing these not-plat runs; it sucks all the joy out of playing the games. Instead of meandering around and doing whatever I want, I am rushing to get from Point A to Point B in a very specific fashion with no room for deviation or, indeed, enjoyment. This plat is supposed to be the easiest of them all, but I’m just not into it. To be fair, when I jumped in, I hadn’t played in roughly a year. Yes, I have muscle memory, but each game is slightly different. I had forgotten how unforgiving this one is because of really bad hitboxes and multitudes of enemies. On the bright side, it’s really easy to level up because levels are cheap in this game.

In addition, I have set ways I play the first and third games. The second game, however, I’m a bit more variant in part because there is no set pyromancer class. I still do the strengthcasting build, but I have to fiddle with it more. Also, it’s not possible to do my beloved Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring/Hidden Body combo because the ring is tied to a truly ridiculous feat–reaching Rank 3 in the Rat King Covenant. In order to do that, you have to offer 35 Rat Tails to the Rat King. In order to do that, you have to successfully defend his area from invaders 35 times. Well, probably more like 33 because you can get a few in-world, but still. I am not PvPing that many times to get my ring and that’s assuming people are still playing the game. I haven’t gotten invaded or been able to get a summon in the time I’ve been playing. Yes, you can get Rat Tails from killing the rats, but it’s a rare drop and not something I want to grind as it’s not part of the not-plat.

I haven’t played very well this time as I get back into the game. I still know the game like the back of my hand, but my timing is just slightly off. I’m also making stupid mistakes that are due to my impatience. Because I have an end goal, I’m rushing through the game. I know where I need to go and I’m trying to get there as quickly as possible. I did the same at the end of both the plats for the other two games because I was burning out. I should not be burning out already! But I am and it’s because of all the grindy bullshit.

Will I keep doing the not-plat? I don’t know. I don’t want to hate the game like I did DS III by the time I finished that not-plat. However, it bugs me that I don’t have it yet because I have the other two. I don’t really have an answer other than we’ll see. At least I am enjoying DS III again!






*I realized later that it’s Dark Souls Remastered, which was done after DS II and DS III.

**Except the bosses in the DLCs who are meant to be co-oped because FUUUUUUCK those bosses/boss runs.

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