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Hot diggity damn guys, this was a wild fucking ride.
This game has significantly ruined my life on multiple levels, all of which are good, healthy levels of life ruining up to a point. A very specific point which I will discuss.
This game has pushed it's way past most all other games I've played and sits on the pedestal of "the greatest games I've played EVER."
This game had everything I wanted, absolutely everything.
This. Fucking. Game.
First of all, do I recommend it to people? Usually, when encompassed by a great game, you pass it on and tell people to play it as well just so they too can wallow in your misery. Also because group therapy is incredibly effective. In a way, yes, I do abso-fucking-lutely recommend this piece of shit to people. BUT. There is an acquired taste to this game. Does it make it's players "Elite". Well, no. It's a god damned game, you ain't gonna win any prizes so just sit down. But this game definitely isn't for everyone. It's difficulty at times is almost stupid hard. Sure at the beginning you think, "Oh yes, this is just timed blocking and attacking." And in essence, that is literally what Dark Souls is. Time blocking and attacking. But when the creators are so sure of the difficulty level they use it as a marketing device?
You can bet your ass that the things you're gonna fight hit like trains. So with that being said, if you're the kind of person that likes to peacefully frolic through meadows, maybe be slightly challenged by a video game; and like turning off your game without angry tears in your eyes, then maybe this isn't a game for you. Are those sort of players bad? No, it's dumb to think so. Okami is a spawn of those sorts of gamers in a sense, and that is another game that rests on the pedestal of "greatest games I've played EVER".
BUT. If you're the sort of person that thinks, "I want to get my ass kicked by a piece of fiction." or enjoy a good, solid, frustrating challenge. Then maybe this game is for you.
Another thing I've noticed whilst stalking the Dark Souls on the YouTubes is that people are also shaken away by the lore. The lore of Dark Souls is definitely there, trust me, but it is incredibly, and let me emphasize this incredibly vague. It isn't like Skyrim, where there are such an excess of books that if you have them all in one place your game might crash, and with characters that will tell you the history themselves. This is how you learn shit in Dark Souls.
The opening cinematic, item descriptions, some character input, and your own imagination. Bam.
I seriously can't emphasize this enough, the lore... Is there. You just really need to look, then really need to sit back and put pieces together. And literally the best way to get info is by reading item descriptions. For a while, I was confused because the opening cinematic provided the story, but then I was just thrown into the fray. After some scrounging around, I realized how this whole thing worked, and ended up really digging it.
So with those two points, you can decide for yourself if the game is for you. Do you like challenge and lore that requires your own input? Then play this game.
Now, I'll cut this game up into a few sections. Story and characters. Levels. Gameplay mechanics. And of course bosses. Because the bosses make this game. So let's fucking do this.
Definitely might be some SPOILERS ahead. It also might be grievously long. In which case I apologize, but I really need to talk about this game.
So does the game play well? I'd say yes, because the more I think about how I died, the more I realize that all my deaths are my fault. Not some glitch or some lag or anything, but my own stupidity. That is really important to me. Sure, it doesn't make the deaths any less frustrating than if it were me falling through the floor, but there's a different kind of frustration involved when you know it's your own doing. More natural perhaps.
One thing to note on the difficulty with the gameplay is that the learning curve is really steep. When I said you get thrown into the game after the cinematic opening, I freakin' mean it. You open up your prison cell, with the plan to escape the asylum, and then realize there is no direction. The closest thing to a tutorial this game has is writing on the ground with the button commands, then a bunch of enemies to test your mettle on. That's it. How do you upgrade your weapons?
I dunno bro How do you equip your magic?
I dunno bro. Maybe you should find out. I didn't know how to upgrade weapons until after I killed the second main boss. Learning how to attune magic was a matter of looking in my skills set, realizing "attunement" equaled "magic slots" then seeing "attune magic" when you rested at the bonfire. If I had read about embers and Titanite, I might of upgraded my weapons a little sooner. Despite this ridiculous disadvantage, I wasn't deterred by the game at all. I wasn't bothered. I loved the tutorial level. It didn't cut into the gameplay to be all, "YO MAN HERE'S HOW YOU DO THIS." it didn't suck me out of the game to teach me. The game was the tutorial level. There are many a ways to make a tutorial level for your game, this is one of the right ways. Now the leveling up system confused me as well, as there was no coverage on this either. The only thing I got on the subject was, "You can level up at Bonfires." Uh... Kay thanks. Eventually, it all made sense, and actually reminded me of other games' systems of leveling up. It really wasn't that confusing after you scuffled around a bit wondering aloud what all of these numbers meant. Speaking of Bonfires, let's talk about Bonfires, currency, and the ever so prominent prospect of DEATH. Now Bonfires are one of those things in the lore which remain vague to me. What I gathered is that Bonfires act as a "Home" to the Undead, a.k.a. you. Every time an Undead dies, they respawn at a Bonfire. This agonizing form of immortality is the only thing keeping you going during this game. So, every time you die, you respawn at the Bonfire you last rested at, with the Bonfires acting as a sort of checkpoint throughout the game. This means that even if you just trekked 15 miles and were five feat away from the next Bonfire only to get backstabbed by some jerk, you're gonna pop back 15 miles away from where you were at the last Bonfire. Sometimes this gets annoying, because whenever you rest or respawn at a Bonfire, all the enemies respawn. This means that you'll have to plow through all the enemies you already killed. This means another thing too. Let's talk about souls. Souls are the currency in Dark Souls. You collect souls from fallen enemies and spend them on upgrade, items, and use them to level up. When you die, you lose all your souls. The only way to get them back is to trek to where you last fell (which is signified by a blood stain on the ground that has a green aura to it) and retrieve your souls. Oh, and don't die on the way back, or then you'll permanently lose all of those souls. Happy hunting.
This is one of the ways that the game will really grind your gears. Let me illuminate the feeling by telling a heartfelt story of my woes.
So, one time I was in Sen's Fortress. I got through Sen's Fortress only after resisting to hurl my controller on only an infinite number of occasions, and was backtracking to get an item I had missed. In Sen's Fortress are numerous pits, usually when one falls in these pits, one dies, and one can retrieve their souls on the edge they fell from. Except for one pit. One pit has a small alcove where you will survive the fall only to be accosted by giant demons and lightning throwing snake people.
With 40,000 souls weighing me down, the most souls I had ever carried at that given time, I plummeted down onto that alcove, only to slip and collapse into the mud below, where a warrior snake person, who had fallen with me, began to continue his assault while his lightning snake buddies and giant demon also attacked me. I was completely cornered, and could only watch as my character ultimately died in that pit of no return, losing everything I worked so hard to gain. The anger I felt at that moment was genuine and practically primal. I had never felt so pissed off in my whole life than in that moment where a mass of fictional currency was lost to me forever (cuz' you can bet your ass I wasn't going back down there. Lol fuck that.).
Welcome to Dark Souls.
Here's another bit of difficulty added in just to scare the bejeebers out of people. Are you ready for this? Cuz' I wasn't.
There isn't a pause button. "But how do you check your items menu??" You go to your items menu and you check your shit, but with the possibility of being attacked by an enemy or being invaded (Oh I'll get to that) still very real. Luckily I figured this out by accident with no enemies in sight, but let me tell you this made me really paranoid in future endeavors. Let me illuminate you once again.
So my weapon broke while I was fighting a boss, Artorias the Abysswalker. This boss had massive health and I was left doing maybe 40 damage to him. He backed up and was doing a power up ability, which gave me some time. I snapped open my gameplay menu, got to my weapons, and tried desperately to find a weapon that would do decent amounts of damage. I heard Artorias rushing towards me, his armor clinking with each step. In a panic I chose the Gargoyle Halberd and exited the menu just as his sword came down on me to do massive damage. The Gargoyle Halberd ended up doing less damage than my broken weapon, and I inevitably got killed by this bonafide badass.
"Yo man, you mentioned invaders?" Ooohohohohohohohohoh yes. Invaders. What on earth could they be? Online works like this. If you are Hollowed, meaning you died and lost your Humanity (which allows you to turn Human), then the only online tidbit you'll get is messages from other players either giving you tips or trying to indirectly get you killed. But if you're human, other players will have the option to "invade" your world and try and kill you for your humanity and souls. This adds another level of stress because they don't get attacked by the NPC enemies, but you still do, and usually they're a lot stronger than you. This mechanic pissed me off for the longest time, but I'm now at the point where I can generally take care of them. You can also become an invader yourself, so you too can be a random jerk wad. I haven't tried it yet, but I might give it a go.
I'm also going to quickly discuss how I loved the weight displayed in this game. If you don't have enough strength to wield a weapon, your character will struggle just holding up the damn thing. Armor has different levels of weights that affect your characters movements. Greatswords and other weapons also have weight to them. It's absolutely amazing to watch.
Story and Characters
Let me get this out of the way first, there is no happy ending in Dark Souls. Usually there's a glimmer of hope somehow at the end of the game. With this it's.... well, dark. There is no hope, and no happy ending for you, the "hero" or any of the characters you meet along the way. It's fucking awful because some of these characters are some of the best characters I've come across in recent gaming endeavors. It's like in Journey where you die at the foot of the mountain, except unlike Journey you don't get revived, you stay dead.
So here's how the story goes. It plays out like any other fantasy. In the beginning there was nothing. A neutral of grey, arch trees, and crags in the earth. This land, which had no death, was ruled by the Everlasting Dragons. Deep within the arch trees, fire was born. With fire came the opposites, disparity, light and dark, life and death. From the dark, humanoid creatures arose, and found powerful souls within the flames. There were four souls. One was given to The Witch of Izalith and her Daughters of Chaos, one was given to Gravelord Nito, the first of the dead, one was given to Gwyn the Lord of Cinder, and his faithful knights. But man's progenitor, the Furtive Pygmy, found the Dark Soul within the flame, and slipped away, soon to be forgotten. Then it gets a little iffy? Out of nowhere, these three lords challenge the Everlasting Dragons, and basically wipe them off the face of the earth, one of the dragons helping them do so. It's never really explained why Gwyn wanted the dragons all dead, but by God they killed the dragons.
Then it goes to you who, since you're undead, have been banished to an undead asylum to await the end of the world. You break free, and thus starts your journey. Here's something I kinda like though. You aren't this special hero. A chosen one. They say you're the chosen one, but they say that to any undead who has escaped the asylum, because that's how the legend goes. There are numerous people that you meet that have done the same thing you have and have just an equal chance of getting to the end of the game like you do (and one of them does). With this, there are a few NPC quest lines you can follow along your journey, but remember, there are no happy endings, and all of these guys generally get offed in some of the worst ways.
Let's take everybody's favorite sunbro for example, Solaire of Astora. This guy is that glimmer of hope that seems to be missing in the whole game. He's this jolly undead knight who just wants to find his own sun in the land of the lords. He's always in a happy mood, and is always happy to help you in any way. He's super religious, but doesn't shove it down your throat, and is just this soft-spoken sweetie that everybody loves. Look at this cute bastard.
But your very own sun is a hard thing to find, and if you continue following his quest line, you'll see him drop into a state of despair. He can't find his sun, and his last stop is Lost Izalith. I swear to God I avoided this place like the plague because he was there with a 50/50 chance that I would have to kill him. And even when you save him, he's sitting there, completely emotionally drained, distraught, practically given up because he hasn't found his sun and he's looked everywhere. And if you have to kill him it's heartbreaking, I just can't. Every NPC with some sort of quest line has a similar fate. Seigmeyer either gets killed in Izalith or killed by his own daughter because she finds him Hollow. Laurentius can be easily saved, but if you tell him where you found these awesome pyromancies, he'll go and try to find them himself only to go Hollow in the poisonous swamp. NOBODY GETS A HAPPY ENDING AND IT'S REALLY FUCKING AWFUL SOMETIMES. Especially since all these characters are just really likable. They're just this band of flawed individuals that live in this shit hole of a world and they all are just really interesting and really well thought out. I JUST LOVE SUNBRO TO DEATH GUYS.
The same goes for most of the bosses. They aren't evil, in fact, sometimes you would think yourself evil cuz' these guys are just there; protecting something, trying to keep you away from someone. Quelaag wants your humanity so she can ease her sisters pain, Sif is protecting his masters grave to try and prevent you from suffering the same fate he did at the hands of the Abyss, Manus just wants his god damned pendant back, Artorias is being corrupted and possessed by the Abyss and is watching himself attack an innocent, Gwyndolin just wants the attention of his ass of a father, and apparently the demons are trying to protect their mom. Everyone has a story it seems, and it's generally really sad.
Even so, the story is really nice, and discovering all of the pieces is a very fulfilling task. And I love stories like that. I don't mind being spoon fed important things, but putting everything together yourself really tests your imagination and intelligence in some cases, and it's a nice change. And it's a very well put together story if you figure everything out and put some time forth to learn some things on your own. It's this incredibly in depth and tragic story, and every character has a backstory to add to the main storyline.
Levels and Bosses
The levels are some of the prettiest, visually stunning set-ups I've seen in video games. Every place you go to is a unique experience. Some of the levels were particularly breath-taking, and you'd always find somewhere that had a nice view. I'll talk about a few individually; Anor Londo, while being a agonizing slaughter house on its good days, is filled with architecture reminiscent of the old cathedrals in Europe.
The suns rays hit this magnificent, abandoned city in the perfect way.
Then there's eerie places like New Londo and Oolacile Township
They are amazing and beautiful as well, but in all the opposite ways of Anor Londo. Anor Londo has a peaceful quiet about it (until it is broken by the crack of a Dragonslayer Bow, in which you promptly shit yourself and write your last will and testament), these two desolate cities that were overrun by the Abyss are a bone-chilling quiet, with the silence sometimes pushed aside at the sound of screams, howling dogs, the crumbling of buildings, and other ominous noises that make you put your shield up, do a full 360, whispering, "Don't fucking kill me." These places were incredibly memorable for me because of these reasons. And after learning the lore of these places, it makes the eerie, deathly silence even more bone-chilling.
Dark Souls gets the essence of being absolutely alone. There are games like Dead Space that throw you in space and give you the feeling of alone-ness by making you realize that everybody else aboard the ship is now dead and out to kill you. Dark Souls is a different kind of alone that I actually find really hard to explain...? I might get philosophical here but the alone feeling that Dark Souls gives off is more of an inner alone-ness. There are people there, NPC you can summon and talk to etc. but they all give off this air of being at war with themselves, like they see their demise and are just waiting for it to happen. The curse of the Undead is probably the shittiest form of immortality ever thought up from what we know about it. Which is you don't age, and you can't get killed by being brutally murdered. But this sense of alone-ness is just very prevalent everywhere you go, even in Anor Londo. It never leaves.
Now, speaking of being alone and shit, let me talk about another level. Tomb of the Giants.
Oh I'm sorry, you can't see anything? Lemme get a lantern up in this shit
You know what Dark Souls...? I just.... Have no words.
There are dark places in Dark Souls, if you were having a hard time putting that together. Blighttown is dark as shit and shitty and nobody likes it. But the thing with Blighttown is you can change some of the lack of sight by just changing the brightness on your game.
But not with Tomb of the motherfucking Giants. If you change the brightness here it's still dark as shit and you still can't see anything. You need a source of light in game to actually be able to see where you're going. Now I was stupid and went in thinking I would be fine with a skull lantern. I completely forgot how dependent I was on my shield, which now wasn't with me so I could hold the lantern, and 5 seconds after I entered Tomb of the Giants I got booted off a cliff by a giant skeleton's cleaver. I later on got a spell called Cast Light (after you know, just needing to go back in time to get it.) and I was fine. Well, as fine as being in a labyrinth darker than hell with a bunch of skeleton dog things in a game known as Dark Souls could be. This was the one place I didn't explore at all. I literally fucked everything and just ran until I got to the baby room, which is where the boss fog was at. The only place I was so adamant about to not explore was freakin' Crystal Cave but the only reason was because there were invisible floors. This place was just freakin' terrifying. There weren't any gimmicks, it was just a pit of eternal death and despair.
But before I go off on this ridiculous tangent about how sadistically cruel some of these places were, they were all freakin' amazing. They were all memorable, they all had their own quirks, they all had this awesome aura to them, they all had nooks and crannies to explore. Despite a few places genuinely pissing me off, I enjoyed every single place.
And now, the moment I've been waiting for the most.
It's time to talk about the motherfucking BOSSES EFF YEAH.
These guys deserve a review all of their own. Honest to God. I'll only be mentioning a few of my faves or most memorable.
I love the idea of having this one final fight as a grand finale of a level, an visual accomplishment of your might as you smite this ultra powerful being down. Lately a lot of the games I've been playing don't have bosses per say, and that kinda makes me sad. Bosses for me need to fit a few criteria, but sometimes if one of the criteria is overpowering while another is missing, then I'll still call it a good boss fight. Most Legend of Zelda bosses are easy, sure at first you might freak because they're big and menacing or whatever, but in the long run Zelda bosses are pretty cut and dry. But one of my favorite boss fights of all time is in this game
The scale was perfect, the theme sublime to my ear holes, the stakes set, the opening scene the best. And this Ganondorf was actually a pretty big badass in this fight, wielding two swords and just being a really enjoyable boss fight.
Most Dark Souls bosses take most of these aspects that I practically require and then adds excruciating difficulty, leaving the bosses that you fight practically ingrained into your brain. If you say Anor Londo to me, the first thing I think of is Smough and Ornstein. Why? Because they gave me fucking stress problems that's why, so let's start with these two assholes
I have extreme mixed feelings about this boss fight. This boss fight stirs up emotions in me that make me want to punch a wall. But the characters you fight have awesome lore and designs bUT UGH THIS BOSS FIGHT.
So let me start with this. Anor Londo is the pinnacle of beat down in Dark Souls. Everything is out to get you, there are Dragonslayer archers on the roof that will catapult you to your death with arrows two times taller than you are. Anor Londo. Is. Death. I went into this place with aggravating, nail-biting fear. And when I walked into the final room, looked out across the balcony and saw the fog gate that led into the boss chamber, I was legitimately fucking scared. So there you have the build up
But here's what splits me in two. This boss fight almost ruined the game for me. I am not even kidding. Bed of Chaos was a walk in the fucking park compared to the emotional compromising this boss fight put me through. I literally almost stopped playing. And I'm partially to blame. I wanted Ornstein's armor. Getting Ornstein's armor is the hardest way to beat this boss. Because you have to kill Ornstein last.
Ornstein is the captain of the four knights, Smough isn't the fucking problem; his attacks are predictable and he's kinda slow. You are paying attention to Ornstein, this fast, relentless mother fucker will be on your ass at the beginning of the boss fight, closing in the distance of the cathedral in one bound so he can put his spear in your gut and electrocute you to next week. He will attack you through Smough, he will cut around through the battle area like some fucked up dance, and he is fast. Then, in his final form, he hits harder and is bigger, and is still a huge badass. I got killed on this boss more times than I care to admit, and it put me at the breaking point cuz I fucking wanted his armor. The only thing that saved me was this god damned summon sign of a player who had his armor. I was all, "You know what I fucking want. Let's do this."
And even with Ornsteinbro and Sunbro by my side to fight, Ornstein ended up killing both of them. But I finished him off and I have his god damned armor thank you good fucking night.
Now, since I mentioned her. Bed of Chaos
I heard about this boss before I got to her, and everything I heard was bad. Nobody had a fun time killing her, the mechanics were cheap, and considering how you only have to hit her three time to kill her, everyone felt cheated with how much of a bitch she was.
For me? Honestly I didn't get that reaction. I died five times trying to kill her, but it honestly felt like a Zelda boss fight on crack, and you don't have to start all over if you die. You break two seals, then jump to the middle of the tree thing and kill a maggot thing inside and the Witch of Izalith is dead. The stupid thing though is the floors collapse, and the sections of floors that will collapse are randomly generated. I ended up at a dead end trying to get to the last seal, which ended up killing me in the long run when I had to weave my way back only to get swiped by her salad fingers off the edge of the gap I was just on the other side of. So yes, the boss was fucking cheap for that reason alone, and for the fire storm she'd randomly conjure up, because ya don't have enough shit to dodge, ya know? I get that, but I honestly felt more at home dealing with this boss because of all the Zelda I played as a kid, so she honestly didn't bug me that much.
But getting back to her did. Stupid fucking meatball demons.
Hey you wanna know the only good thing about Tomb of the Giants?
The fucking boss.
Now, this here is Gravelord Nito, the most obscure Dark Souls character ever I swear to God. He's the first of the dead, and helped Gwyn kill the dragons when he arose with a Lord Soul. Now, the skeletons you see aren't Nito, he's just wearing these skeletons like fucking hunting trophies or bling, cuz' he's a boss ass bitch.
One thing that I require with a boss fight is good boss fight music. And just to cover, the whole Dark Souls soundtrack is gold. But since we're talkin' about Mr. Nito over here, lemme just say that listening to this>
While this giant skeleton thing engulfed in shadow is lumbering towards you is definitely a kick in the ass. The thing with this boss fight though is that it isn't really hard. Kill all his minions and then just wait for him. Avoid his miasma of death attack, then come in and wail on him till he dies. His attacks are slow, which is understandable cuz' he's a massive dead guy. If you do get hit he hits like he's picking up a train and hitting you with it, but that's if he can hit you. But this is still a bomb boss. His movements are cool, it's ominous, and watching him move is kinda neat-o too (haha did you see what I did there I'm so sorry). And there weren't any gimmicks like with Bed of Chaos. It's just you in the pits of hell and death up against the ruler of the house. Good boss fight yes very good.
Now, I'm gonna talk about the Abyss. The Abyss is an all consuming mass of black. It corrupts to the core of any living thing and spreads like a plague. It was brought upon the world by the sorcerers of Oolacile, who awakened primeval man and drove him mad. As national treasure Gough says,
"Seduced by a Dark Serpent or no, they awoke that thing themselves and drove it mad. Ones demise is always ones own doing."
Thing? What thing? Why, Manus Father of the Abyss m'dear.
This boss fight was brutal, man. Absolutely brutal. First you get pull into the pit of the Abyss, where Manus lies in wait, and he comes out of the shadows, red eyes glowing, and the fight begins. This guy is aggressive, he is the most aggressive boss in this whole entire game. And with 6,666 points of health, he also has the most HP of any boss in this game. He has this attack that hits six times and if you get caught in this attack, you can bet your ass you're gonna die. He has an attack that will break your lock on, and when he's at 60% health, he'll start using magic. Now if you know me, you know that magic and I don't get along at all under any circumstance. I fought this guy a good number of times before deciding to summon some help.
Which was a whole different adventure in itself but I'm not even gonna talk about it.
In the end; it only took me, a complete stranger from the internet who almost died three times, and puppy Sif to take Manus down, and even with the help the boss was still intense and had me on the edge of my seat. Once again, they made good use of atmosphere, an intense as fuck soundtrack, and intimidation along with sheer difficulty to make this boss fight memorable.
And since with this lovely bonding moment, let's hang out with Sif shall we? And by hang out I mean kill, cuz' you have to kill her. It's terrible. Remember how I said this game has no happy endings for anyone?
I went into this fight completely blind, only knowing that there was a Sif that I could fight. This mutt killed me the first few times cuz' I went in really early in the game. I came back, and we had a good fight until I came out on top. Not that my victory made me feel awesome or anything, because it didn't. Obviously this fight is gonna be cool, you're fighting a giant wolf who wields a giant sword in its mouth (and can use it pretty well I might add.) Once again, bomb soundtrack. It really comes into play when Sif is near death, and is limping towards you. She's barely able to stand, let alone swing her sword, but she continues fighting anyway. The music is somber, and when I kill her, I honestly felt kinda shitty.
Then I learned about her backstory and felt even shittier. She's one of those bosses that is only trying to protect the remnants and memory of a loved one. IT GOT ME RIGHT IN THE FEELS.
But who loved one? Why my favorite Dark Souls boss ever m'dear.
Now, you might of seen me ranting about this fight and this guy in general on my Tumblr, but by fucking God I'm going to do it on this review to. Artorias the Abysswalker
Let me begin by saying that this guy is the definition of badass, and I've come to conclusion that he's a better fighter that Ornstein, and I already talked about that jerk. How did I come to that conclusion? I died by his hands more than any boss fight in this whole game. (Besides Smough and Ornstein but eff them) And he beat me to the ground half dead, corrupted against his will, with a broken arm and morally fatal wounds. In his prime he might as well move fucking mountains before breakfast. The reason he's my favorite is that it fulfills all my necessities for a good boss fight. Memorable character. The fight with Ganondorf in Wind Waker was memorable because he had this sad as fuck spiel that actually gave us character development. His fighting style also put him at the top because of how fluid it made the fight. Artorias like most bosses, had no speaking lines. But if you delved into the lore like I did, you know what was going down. He tries to tell you to run, he can feel himself being consumed, but all that comes out of his mouth are screams and growls. The fact that he's fighting you in the state he's in is another point in the memorable slot. I also love how he moves through the fight. It's professionally primal if you get my meaning, brutal in a Manus fashion but professional because he is a Knight of Gwyn just like Ornstein. A good boss fight also needs some good music to listen to as you get beat to a pulp. Ganondorf in Wind Waker definitely had some awesome music. It fit with the rest of the game but stood out to me enough to download it later on so I could continue listening to it. It had Ganondorf's main theme and really gave a sense of urgency as the ocean collapses on Hyrule around you. It really was just a mash of epic all over epic to go with some epic and it was just nice. Word can't describe how happy I am when I listen to this theme.
Hot damn that's some fine beats.
Artorias didn't have a theme that gave off the idea that you were in a hurry. But more like you were trapped. Like Sif's theme, it's somber, you are present for the downfall of a great knight and hero. In fact, you have to finish him off. And it's slow, which gives off intimidation in a different way, like a scary motherfucker lumbering towards you without fear. But it also is kinda regal, showing off his knighthood.
A good boss fight needs some sort of difficulty to keep you involved. Ganondorf in Wind Waker was a good kind of hard. He wasn't impossible hard, but I stayed involved when fighting him because you had to watch the sly bastard or he might backhand your girl. Oh wait, he does that anyway. If you aren't paying attention you'll wonder where all your health went and he can hop around the stage like he was from Cirque de'Soliel. Artorias was much, much harder than this. His attacks are hard, fast, and sometimes in a flurry of ass kicking. Before you can wonder where all your health has gone, you'll be at the bonfire, wondering where all your souls went instead. He also has this stat changer, and oh boy is it a doozie. He can stack this ability, so a hit that would normally only take a fourth of your health away suddenly one hit kills you. It also makes him more aggressive, so you don't have any time to chug down some Estus Flasks. This guy takes the essence of Dark Souls strategy and really tests your mettle with it. Timed blocking (actually, rolling, blocking this guy is the worst idea ever) and attacking. I spent an hour and a half on this guy (the final time when I finally killed him, in all maybe a week???), rolling, poking him with my halberd, and then rolling away. Eventually, Artorias and I got in sync with each other, rolling at the same time, in the same direction, and it was kind of awesome but really creepy at the same time. I memorized his attack patterns, which is what Dark Souls wants you to do by dying. To learn from your deaths. In the end, I'd still get hit by his lunging scary-as-hell sword slam, but I was successful because I memorized his attack patterns. So much that I was able to edge away from the fight and notice all the little details in how he moved. Which is also a nitpicking important detail. In the final fight with Ganondorf, while the small details aren't too great in number, are still there. How Ganondorf blocks specific sword strikes (he blocks differently if it's horizontal or vertical slashes). The fact that he actually gets tired during the fight, he literally will stop and you'll notice him panting. And depending on what version your playing, Zelda's light arrows will actually go right through him. I spend a lot of time looking for shit like this can you tell?
Artorias was the exact same way. Only I had the change to notice more because I saw him a lot more (because I died a lot guys, he killed me a lot). He rolls his left foot outwards when he walks, his legs have been eaten away at by the Abyss and are the most damaged, and obviously the gravity and natural movements he has both with his sword arm and his broken one are absolutely amazing. I can almost feel the blows he lays down because I can see him put weight into them. It's easier to see in the concept art, but he has a huge gash on his back that goes right through his armor. It's small things like this that make me believe people give a shit. And that is good! People giving a shit about their games is a good thing!
And the great thing about most of the boss fights in this game worked like this boss fight. They fit the criteria, and sometimes beat down the difficulty until you were crying on the floor. There were a few bosses like Seath the Scaleless who was a complete pushover and only did damage when I wasn't paying attention to where his tails where going. But what made this boss fight so great compared to the others? I don't know, I died a lot, and he really did beat me down. But it was just me vs. him, I couldn't find any summon signs, and one thing that I noticed is that I never got pissed off. There is a breaking point for these boss fights, and I never got to that with this boss. He was so memorable, and so fun to fight, that I could never get mad. I would just pop back at the bonfire after my umpteenth death and just be all "Never change, baby. You're beautiful."
Some final thoughts
I really went off on some crazy tangents about this game, because I have some mighty fucking feels that I can't openly express. The feels need to be expressed. So I did my best here. This game is really something special, it's got a special place in my heart. It honestly is one of the most solid games I've played in a while. I recommend this game to everybody for a multitude of reasons, but it really is just a fucking great game. I've already started my second play through, and I'm not bored by replaying any of the levels. So, the replay value is high, the lore is dense and interesting, and the characters, level set-up, and gameplay mechanics were enjoyable. If you were able to make it through this, I honest to God commend you. Congratulations, you are as crazy as me.
Overall Score: 9.5/10 plus extra point for emotional damage.
I loves my stamps n' stuffs x3 And I couldn't just let them disappear into nothing when my Premium expired X'D :thumb343208445::thumb327035850: Current Residence: Gotham City Favourite genre of music: Classical, Rock, German Music Favourite photographer: Gutterface, he's awesome Favourite style of art: Comic book style. Surrealism Operating System: Mac MP3 player of choice: i-pod touch or my phone x3 Shell of choice: Uh.....turtles Wallpaper of choice: Something creepy or with dragons, or epic Skin of choice: The Killing Joke Favourite cartoon character: SANDER COHEN Practically any Batman character. Personal Quote: If you want to get better, get better.
Favorite visual artistLeonardo Da Vinci, the creator of Nightmares in RustFavorite moviesToo many to listFavorite TV showsBatman, NCIS, Hannibal, Agents of SHEILD Favorite bands / musical artistsTwo Steps From Hell, X-Ray Dog, Immediate Music, Linkin Park, Godsmack, Eisbrecher, R+, DisturbedFavorite booksWay too many to list.Favorite writersThomas HarrisFavorite gamesBorderlands 2/BioShock(s)/Assassin's Creed/Batman ArkhamFavorite gaming platformPS3Tools of the TradeTraditional or DigitalOther InterestsDrawing, reading, writing, video games