Dark Souls 2 continues to beat Dave Cook’s mind into a fine powder of despair, but he’s soldiering on. Part two of his impressions-in-progress series takes him to The Lost Bastille and into the jaws of Sinner’s Rise.
Note: this is part two of Dave’s impressions piece-in-progress. At the time of writing he was at level 75 and over 16 hours into the game. Look:
In part one of my Dark Souls 2 journal I introduced players to the world of Drangleic, a depressing place where cursed humans go to try and save themselves from a terrible fate. They always fail of course, and end up turning Hollow. I swear on the crumbs between the keys I’m typing this on that the same won’t happen to me goddamn it!
So my Knight class is currently level 75 and I’m over the 16-hour mark. That doesn’t sound right does it? Put it this way; I was level 100 on the nose when I finished the first Dark Souls and that game took me 65 hours to finish. I wrote an article about the final boss battle against Gywn and my character’s stats here, so it’s clear there’s a different pace going on in Dark Souls 2.
“My Knight class is currently level 75 and I’m over the 16-hour mark. It’s clear there’s a different pace going on in Dark Souls 2.”
I think this has something to do with your character having more stat types, such as Adaptability which affects Poise, so it makes sense that here’s more scope for levelling. This in no way makes the game easier, as I’ve only just killed the fourth boss, and as I mentioned in my last blog you can’t just hit bonfires to respawn and grind souls constantly because enemies stop returning after you’ve killed them ten times. I actually checked this out; the enemies in the first areas of The Forest of Fallen Giants still haven’t come back.
With few enemies left to farm I went to Dark Souls 2’s third area The Lost Bastille, which is a moonlit castle with many ramparts, sheer cliffs and dungeons full of hidden dangers. It feels like Demon’s Souls’s Boletarian Palace by night, with a little bit of Undead Burg thrown in for depressing flavour. So off I went in search of new souls and places to go, only to realise that once you leave the first bonfire area there’s no going back. You have to press on and defeat the next boss or use a Homeward Bone to travel back to Majula. That’s sadistic.
It doesn’t help that there are some areas in the Bastille where it’s easy to get overrun by sword-wielding troops that cut through your stamina and Poise like a fierce Shoryuken through chocolate. I actually got myself locked in this irritating cycle of making my way slowly to the next boss, dying miserably, then having to respawn and try again. I was so afraid of losing my souls that I had to play it extra cautious. The boss – or I should clarify – bosses, were a total pain in my man-tits. They are more proof that From Software hasn’t dumbed anything down.
They’re called the Ruin Sentinels, and there’s three of them. As you walk through the fog gate you’ll land on an elevated platform where you’re instantly set upon by the first of them, swinging its long battle hammer at you from a safe distance and whacking your stamina down to nothing. I managed to kill the first one by circling to the right, keeping my distance and unleashing one hit every chance I could. I thought I was safe up on the platform, but killing the first enemy will see the other two jump up to double-team you to death.
“I was so afraid of losing my souls that I had to play it extra cautious. From Software hasn’t dumbed anything down”
You have to fall into the main chamber to take them both on, and that’s when the pain really sets in. It doesn’t help that they both carry shields either, but I accidentally found out a neat little trick to tip the fight slightly in your favour. Just simply run laps around the border of the area while keeping the bosses at a distance and eventually they’ll get fed up and hurl their shield at you. Dodge it and the disc will stick into the wall, rendering both of the buggers defenceless. Remember; I said defenceless, not ‘weak.’
From there I just kept running back and forward to trigger their swipes while refraining from attacking when they were too close to each other. You just can’t take the risk. I eventually put the bastards down and jogged on to the next bonfire. It felt good. From there the map takes a split and that tense feeling from the first game started to come back. Which was right? Will I get murdered if I take option A or is option B more manageable? I could either go to the underground sewer network of Sinner’s Rise, or ascend to Belfry Luna. I went with the bell-tower first and pretty quickly wanted to snap my DualShock in half.