Dark Souls 2 journal #4: spiders, windmills and a lot of lava

By Dave Cook, Thursday, 27 March 2014 11:22 GMT

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Death and Windmills

You may remember that I published a write up on the full Huntsman’s Copse area back when I covered the Dark Souls 2 beta, so I’ll go through this one quickly. What I didn’t realise at the time was that there were actually two bosses in the beta trial. Looking back now I have absolutely no idea how I missed the bridge to Undead Purgatory, which is the big circular coliseum you’ll see on your left as you enter the Copse itself. As I figured it out I found bits of Dark Souls 2 egg dribbling down my face like a chump.

I liked the aesthetics of the Copse, with its undead vibe and ghostly veneer, and there’s one particular section on the way to the Undead Purgatory area that’s filled with bandaged warriors who will waste you unless you hang back and tease them out one by one. That aside; this is another area where I felt largely unchallenged, but that’s basically because of my time with the beta and my then-ridiculous stats. I also had eight Estus Flasks per bonfire visits too, as I had given the Majula Maiden plenty of shards along the way. I was starting to fear I had buggered the experience for myself.

But after defeating the Skeleton Lord boss – hide behind the pillars – and the Executioner Chariot – don’t fight it head on, make your way around the path and flip the level to make it crash – I was ready to move on to Harvest Valley. I liked this area because it started to ramp up the challenge and because of it feels like a slight throwback to the Stonefang Tunnel area of Demon’s Souls. It sits below a constantly spinning windmill that produces poison rivers that flow through the area, and creates gas-filled trenches that will make you toxic if you linger.

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As much as the poison is rotting my insides right now, I can’t deny that view.

Even with poison resistance of 89 I still found myself going toxic while trying to fight big ogres up close. I found out the hard way that I should have been taking them out at range with my bow. I also took a trip back to the Doors of Pharros to buy a stack of Poison Moss off Gavlan for 1,500 a pop. They’re not cheap, but trust me, you should have some in reserve just in case. Poison aside this place is relatively straight forward if you keep moving.

The problem was that the ogres are capable of hurling dark magic that will drain a huge slice of your health on impact. As a small act of mercy, I found that because the blasts travel slowly I could roll around them and chip away at the beasts before strafing to repeat the process. It was another area that will destroy you if you get too cocky however, which is also true of the next location; Earthen Peak. This spinning hub of gears and sneaky tricks is where I started to feel the sweet sting of duress once more.

First of all; I walked all over the ground floor boss, simply called Covetous Demon, who is essentially a Jabba the Hutt rip-off. He was possibly the easiest boss I had fought since The Last Giant. I just moved out of the way of his slow belly flops, guarded his lethargic swipes and moved away to replenish my stamina when needed. He’s a bit of a joke to be honest, without Princess Leia in a gold bikini to compensate. You’d have more trouble fighting a toddler, but why you’d want to do that is beyond me.

Thankfully; while the basic grunts inside the windmill were easily defeated, they will inflict bleed damage even when you block, so make sure you have a high bleed resistance or, failing that, be sure to keep your block up most of the time. These enemies hid around corners and drop down from the ceiling like ninjas and can also hit you from unseen spots with throwing knives. I had to move quite slowly here just to avoid being ganged up on, and there was also one area with a thin walkway and a bigger knight standing at the end.

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No, why don’t YOU come over HERE?

I knew this series well enough to know that as soon as I walked over to fight the guy that some sort of trick was going to trigger. Keen to avoid tempting fate, I lured him over to me using arrows instead, and I took him out before sprinting over the precarious path. Sure enough; more of those ninja guys started lobbing knives as I ran. As it happened, I was right to be wary. Moving up one floor I noticed that I was standing right behind the windmills spinning blades.

I didn’t really pay much notice to them as I lit a new bonfire then proceeded on to the next boss Mytha, The Baneful Queen. She’s basically a headless, snake lady who slithers around a pool of poison. The gunk is everywhere, so you’ll be afflicted with toxin after just a few seconds each time. The problem is that in the time it takes to eat a clump of Poison Moss she’ll already have killed you with a few swipes off her staff. All joking aside, she was the hardest boss I had encountered since The Lost Sinner. If the poison wasn’t there she’d have been a cakewalk. Luckily for me, there’s totally a way to drain it away.

It only clicked when I placed Pharros Lockstone into a recess to find that poison started weeping from the inlet’s eyes. I figured there must have been some way to get rid of the fluid in Mytha’s chamber, so off I went exploring every inch of the area for clues. When I returned to the windmill’s spinning blades a prompt came up asking me to burn them, so after grabbing a flaming torch from a nearby bonfire I set them ablaze. Slowly but surely the windmill’s mechanism ground to a halt as the wood burned and all poison in the area drained away.

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Stand here with a burning torch to set the windmill on fire.

All that was left was to turn human, summon Jester Thomas and sit back and watch as he slaughtered Mytha with his ludicrously-sized fireballs. It was over in moments. Breathing a sigh of relief, and aware it was now getting quite late on a ‘school night’ (we’re now beyond my epic 4am session by this point), I walked through to the next area, and the last before my fourth and final Great Soul; the Iron Keep. It’s a big castle swimming in lava, and as you may have guessed already, it’s pretty hard.

But the next chapter in my tale of pain and death will have to wait for another week friends, as I’m now off to see what suffering lies within the keep’s walls. Stay tuned for part five, coming soon.

Disclosure: To assist in writing this article, Namco Bandai sent Dave a copy of Dark Souls 2 on PS3.

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