When I’ve had some spare time as of late, my pastime of choice has been Dark Souls. I find the best way to describe dark souls to other people is, “A Legend of Zelda RPG with no manual designed by sadists”. Even that’s not entirely accurate to what it really is.
Dark Souls is an exercise in learning, skill and patience… In that order. You have to learn where your attack openings are and also where traps are. You have to apply that knowledge with the skill to attack your enemies while managing your stamina for blocking and dodging. Then, after all that, if you don’t have the patience to wait or know when to run it all comes crumbling to shit. Here’s a good example of how mean the game can be. Early on in the game there’s a giant steel ball that rolls down a staircase unexpectedly and knocks your ass out. About an hour of gameplay later, when you make it past a proving ground while you’re learning the mechanics a burning barrel is hurled at you. You then become increasingly paranoid about every staircase you go up, you always have your shield up when going up an unknown staircase… AND THE GAME HASN’T THROW ANOTHER SINGLE STAIRCASE BOULDER OR BARREL IN THE LAST 20 HOURS. The design is so tight, it’s like the developers knew when you were getting use to a trick, and made you paranoid about it then moved on. I know as soon as I let my guard down and decide staircases are safe… fucking GIANT STEEL BALL.
Anyhow, on the message of patience and skill. I’ve been watching lots of Soul Level 1 and Trick playthroughs. Most of the commentators, who can beat every boss in the game without taking a hit, talk shit about Iron Golem and how easy he is. Well I had all these sweet nothings whispered to me and rolled into this fight with the utmost confidence in how fast I’d destroy him. Reading the wiki about the boss and knowing to attack his feet and hope he falls off. It sounds so simple… Well, I didn’t realize if you hang out near his feet he stomps you, good thing I blocked it and ran out of stamina and then was promptly put down by a GIANT FUCKING AXE DOUBLE HIT.
tl;dr: Dark Souls will get you, no matter what, “Prepare to Die” indeed.
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