- Time played: 39 hours!
- Regret for spending said hours: nilch (zilch x nill)
- Bosses slain: 15
- Bosses slain first try: 1 – Whoooo!!!
- PvP online encounters = 0 – too scared mate, too scared.
Its been a while since I’ve posted about Dark Souls III. I had a short break from this rage inducing stimulus; partly because I got inexorably stuck on Aldrich (or ‘the devourer of gods’ as his friends call him), but mostly because I’ve actually been busy! I’ve been learning all about antibiotics and gastrointestinal diseases with my girlfriend who had 3rd year veterinary exams – arguably a far more productive use of time, although I’ve had complicated medical terms like ‘chronic gastroenteritis’ stuck in my head at work without reaaaalllyy knowing what they mean… Fingers crossed for her results though!
So what has actually happened in the 10 hour gameplay interlude between posts? Well I decided that being a necromancer was too hard, so I found a handy little covenant who accept ‘pale tongues’, in return for changing up your stats. Rosaria, Mother of Rebirth certainly isn’t a looker; but after visiting her bedchamber and severely buffing my vitality (health) stat (nothing sexual don’t stress), I became sliiiightly less fragile. Since I had previously spent over an hour dying to Aldrich, I kinda knew his attacks by heart, so he went down in less than a minute thanks to Rosaia’s stat altering aid.
Finally Aldrich, the final lord of cinder, was defeated; I was elated and relieved. With 50,000 souls in my virtual pocket I started to dream about what I’d spend them on: think pay day without the inconvenience of taxes and rent to afford. The post-boss cut-scene ended and I looked about to find I’d been teleported back to ‘The High Wall of Lothric’ – an early game area. I recognised the church-like room I now stood in (aren’t they all church-like?!), and remember how an old woman had resided there 35 hours ago. Looking down I saw her sprawled on the ground holding a bowl which, with wavering hands, she handed to me as she stuttered her final words. “Poor soul” I thought, as I took the bowl and looked up at the carving infront of me, the 50,000 souls still weighing down my virtual pockets.
That’s when another cut scene began.
The Dancer of the Boreal Valley wasn’t the hardest boss, but straight after facing Aldrich I couldn’t face up to him. His flowing attacks quickly silenced me, and my precious souls were gone forever. In my anger I slew the Dancer on my second attempt, holding back nothing… And to this day I wear his armour as a cruel reminder of how Dark Souls can f*** you up, without heed or warning, every time you let your guard down.
From Castles to Archives to ‘seems familiar’
At last I had a new area to explore! A humongous castle loomed ahead with dragons sat atop the walls, their ashen wings lazily draped around the turrets. I quickly scouted all the dragon-less areas, greedily scooping up all the loot I could find before gingerly back-stepping out of reach towards the blissfully dragon-free gardens.
The Consumed King’s Garden was more of a swamp, truth be told, with toxic pools being patrolled by dark, twisted beings. Dark beings who happened to be weak against fire… I cursed myself for sacrificing so much magical ability for health back in Rosaria’s bedchamber, but my stunted necromancy skills still made short work of them.
That’s more than I can say for the knights guarding a distant fog wall however. Knights with greatswords are my achilles heel apparently, because I died to them more times than I did to the boss beyond! A week ago I would have turned the xbox off calmly and written my feelings into a blog post, but yesterday I was having a gaming day. No stupid knight would stop me progressing. So I did the classic bait’n’roll – bait them out and then sprint past them like a little whimp.
Alas, on walking through the fog wall my dragon-free zone suddenly had a hulking dragon-freak-monster square in the middle of it. Oceiros, the consumed king was a strange boss… See below… He keeps a steady monologue going for the entire fight, talking to an imaginary baby (Ocelot) which he supposedly cradles under one arm. It may have been an easy fight, but it was an unsettling experience.
Speaking of unsettling experiences, the ‘Untended Graves’ was another branching area which was accessible via Lothric Castle. It was incredibly dark; the enemies were strong, yet not domineering; but it was the haunting familiarity that put an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I found I recognised everything. It was the tutorial area, pitched into complete darkness – the flame at the firelink shrine extinguished.
It was then I remembered an item I’d given to the fire keeper: fire keeper’s eyes. I thought I’d do the nice thing and give my trusty fire keeper lady her sight back. She was hesitant though and babbled about being a traitor, saying fire keepers were never meant to see and blablabla. I cut her off and said, ‘look doll… just accept the gift’ (well… she asked me if I wanted the flame to go out, and I thought: ‘yeah why not? fire is bad right?‘).
Back to the more present past, in the Untended Graves… I thought back to her words about the flame going out, and I regretted not paying more attention. This must be just a vision of the consequences of the kindled flame being extinguished. Skipping over the horrifically hard boss fight, the firelink shrine was empty, all the NPCs lay dead where they usually stood healthy, spouting cryptic clues – and I felt empty, like my rash decision had inadvertently slain all of them.
Champion Gundyr wins the award for the most bulls*** boss so far (actually… Pontiff Sulyvahn was pretty nasty). He is a clone of the first boss (Iudex Gundyr) in appearance, but looks were all they shared in common. Champion Gundyr’s unrelenting bombardment of heavy hitting strikes left no window for counter-attacks, I saw only one way of defeating him. And so it was that I summoned my second NPC helper. He was still an absolute bitch to kill, and I felt cheap asking for help, but by the 5th solo try my patience was absent.
Is that wax on your head, sir?
After getting past the dragons of Lothric Castle I was faced by one more challenge before reaching the Grand Archives: Dragonslayer Armour. An odd name, but one steeped in Dark Souls lore and nostalgia. Ever heard of the Dragonslayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough fight from DS1? Well it was arguably the hardest mandatory boss fight in the game. Thankfully facing only the Dragonslayer armour was a breeze and I found myself celebrating my first DS3 boss kill without dying!
Cor, finally some peace and quiet. Time to put my feet up on a stack of wonderfully aged reference books and lose myself in the pages of something easier, like Artemis Foul, or the Famous Five maybe. I’m sure a lot of players miss this little trick, but I happened across it completely by accident. By dunking your head in this suspicious pool of molten wax you become completely invulnerable to curses. It also means any exterior sounds are cut out so I can read undisturbed (a bit like this). Now I just need to get it out my eyes so I can actually see…
Thanks for reading once again!
(P.S. If you play DS3 you may notice I’m not wearing the Dancer’s armour in the video, but I am now, promise!)