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You Died. Again: A Review of Dark Souls by Someone Who Didn’t Play It
July 19, 2014 6:40 AM   Subscribe

To be fair, I did watch someone play most of the game. Many of those moments repeatedly. And if I wasn’t in the room, the plaintive “Nooooo” that would echo from the living area told me that I’d be able to see whatever it was in another ten minutes. And probably again another twenty after that. And another twenty after that.
Kristin Bezio reviews Dark Souls through her husband's gameplay
posted by MartinWisse (114 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Super Hexagon is harder and way more rewarding.
posted by mysticreferee at 6:52 AM on July 19


Metafilter: harder and way more rewarding.
posted by Fizz at 7:12 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Despite owning - and even having installed - Dark Souls, the quoted paragraph is precisely why I haven't ever played it. I'm such a wuss.
posted by ArkhanJG at 7:18 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


Intentionally slamming your hand in a car door over and over again is harder than Super Hexagon and way more ... uh never mind.

(The appeal of Dark Souls, for me, is not the difficulty, but that progress through the game has much more to do with mastering the mechanics than collecting a pile of God-level equipment.)
posted by murphy slaw at 7:28 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I would describe Super Hexagon as hard but not particularly frustrating... it doesn't enforce its rules through extreme levels of time-loss. It's part of a new generation of indie games emphasizing small chunks of high difficulty content that are instantly replayable. Whereas Dark Souls (besides just being a completely different kind of game altogether) particularly harkens backs to the old school concept of risk/reward that Western games have moved away from to become more accessible. If you track, for example, the penalties levied upon a character when they die in an MMO, they become gradually less intense. I can remember playing Everquest (the original) vs LOTRO, or EQ2 for that matter, and not having that slog back to your corpse and the experience point penalty. IIRC in LOTRO the penalty was entirely temporary.

That's why I will never play through Dark Souls, by the way; as a parent of two young children I just don't have the time. I'd like to, though!
posted by selfnoise at 7:32 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I appreciate the thoughtfulness and attention to detail that went into designing Dark Souls, but I find the game itself to be an exercise in frustration. When I want to become dejected, beat down, and broken, I can leave my house and go to work; for some of us, life is challenging enough. I like my gaming in easy mode, thanks.

So I gave my copy of Dark Souls to a friend. Who proceeded to play it for the next six months and jam my Xbox inbox with ecstatic messages about how great it was. He loved Ninja Gaiden, too, now that I think about it. I guess some people like challenges in their games. Not me. I'm more about chasing butterflies and running from combat while chugging health potions.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:39 AM on July 19 [41 favorites]


I'm just now wading into Dark Souls 2 with friends, it's not failing to impress at all. This is after beating Dark Souls with my cuz. It's beautiful, even on my shitty PC, and the matchmaking seems to be much, much, much improved over the first one, which was painful at best.

The commentary that Dark Souls is, alongside the ambiguity of the plot and story and meaning, seems to me to follow something along the lines of "Life is hard. It doesn't forgive. It gets better but only slowly and after much effort. Bring friends, it won't be easier necessarily but it'll be more fun. Eventually you will end up doing it all over again. Then you die."

If that sounds like something you'd like, you really should give it a shot. If not, like BitterOldPunk says, go elsewhere, do not pass Go, do not collect 200 souls.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:00 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


This is basically what it was like watching my wife play the game.

"NOoooooooo fuck I died."
"Why do you keep playing this?"
"GODDAMMIT I died again...because I am having SO MUCH FUN."
"You just seem to be getting mad and dying all the time."
"FUCK SHIT GODDAMMIT nooooo I am having fun."

I tried it since everyone was raving but am well past the days where I feel the need to prove myself to a video game.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:20 AM on July 19 [17 favorites]


I'd be inclined to recommend Dark Souls 2 as a better entry point for the series. The mechanics are smoother, there's some changes (like being able to warp between bonfires from the very beginning of the game) that make it less of a time sink, and matchmaking for friendly cooperative play is greatly improved -- there's even a ring that can put you and your running crew in the same "lobby" so you're not doing that "Do you see my sign? Okay, I'm going to put it down again. There we go! Ah crap some random guy summoned me..." dance like you used to be stuck doing.

And while it's not exactly easier overall, it doesn't have the huge-difficulty-spike chokepoints the first Dark Souls did.
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:22 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I guess some people like challenges in their games.

The kind of challenge in Dark Souls is a type I am not that fond of, and it's a kind that has carried over from many of the classic arcade and console games of the past, particularly the ones with special combat move button combinations. It makes the focus much more on the ability to hit a set of buttons at a certain order at exactly the right time rather than having a more complex, immersive experience that relies on more factors than just knowing how to press buttons well. I'm not disparaging this format - for some it's quite enjoyable, but it just doesn't do it for me.

I'm much more of a fan of challenges that require a mix of a wide variety of skills and knowledge at the same time. ArmA does that excellently - in the midst of combat I need to think about all sorts of variables like bullet drop and travel time, bullet penetration, judging range by the mildots in my scope, what kind of gun I'm using and what rounds are loaded, fatigue, injuries, and recoil affecting my aim along with weather conditions and what level of cover and/or concealment the position I'm firing from has, not to mention what everyone else in the game is doing or the current mission objectives. The complex controls and variables make the learning curve steep, but the reward is much more satisfying to me.
posted by chambers at 8:22 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


Slowly, methodically progressing through the game by leisurely pulling enemies with simple long-range weapons and spells is entirely possible, chambers. No twitch reflexes or fancy button combinations are required.
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:30 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I like my gaming in easy mode, thanks.

This reminds me of that Scalzi (?) quote about privilege being akin to playing through life on the easiest setting. Say what you will about Dark Souls, but it's not interested in flattering your ego. It's not about a world in which you're the overpowered hero mowing down armies without breaking a sweat. It actively undermines the "power fantasy" throughline of the Halos and Calls of Duty of the world. You have to struggle for every smallest victory - be patient, stay focused, observe nearly imperceptible weaknesses and execute flawlessly without margin for error. If these games are teaching you something, they might be teaching what life is like on the hardest difficulty setting and what it takes to realistically overcome odds that are drastically working against your favor. I think they're worthwhile games to play to recalibrate your world. I've found that they change how I think about work and other areas of my life.

That's not all though. She's right that your character might actively be doing harm to the world. For one thing, it's heavily implied that you're acquiring all these shiny new souls at the expense and suffering of others, and that they have the ability to twist and corrupt your mind, turning you into someone who is power-mad instead of deprived-mad like everyone else. And yes, spoilers ahead, but it's possible that your first play-through ends not with victory, but with you being misled and upholding the status quo of worldwide pain and suffering. Go you! The metagame is that you need to figure out whom to trust and pay deep attention to lore to figure out what's even going on and what your place in it all is.
posted by naju at 8:41 AM on July 19 [8 favorites]


Slowly, methodically progressing through the game by leisurely pulling enemies with simple long-range weapons and spells is entirely possible, chambers. No twitch reflexes or fancy button combinations are required.

That doesn't result in hilarious death .gifs, though.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:41 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


This is a pretty good review, especially for someone who hasn't played it herself.

It's kind of a shame that the thing Dark Souls is most famous for is its difficulty. It's hard, but mostly because it asks you to think in ways that most games don't then punishes you when you refuse to do so. If you use all of the tools available to you and don't have too much pride to summon other players to help out when you get stuck, it's almost easy.

No, its true genius is in the world it creates and the story it tells. I've never played anything else that came close to generating the same kind of sense of place, the feeling that everything around you is there for a reason and once had a purpose and if you just pay attention you might be able to work it out. Mostly you can work it out, and you'll have to if you want to try to make sense of the decision that you make at the end.*

And even though it takes its setting and mythology completely seriously, it also has a sense of absurd humour (something completely lacking from the kind of disappointing sequel). I love this guy. And these guys. And this thing.

Plus it's really fun. Everyone should try it.

*I'm convinced that the key lies in which toothy serpent it was who convinced the people to dig up Manus, but of course Chester wouldn't give you a name.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 8:43 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


I bought Dark Souls when it went on sale for around $5 or so for the Xbox 360 a few months before the release of Dark Souls 2, thinking well why not. Being familiar with its reputation for difficulty, I never thought I'd make it much beyond the tutorial, given how much I suck at video games. But I became obsessed with beating it. Three months later I'd spent more than 250 hours in the game, having played through it multiple times, including NG+ (and ++, +++ and so on).

The first few hours were utterly frustrating. I kept going the wrong ways, hopelessly fighting skeletons and ghosts and getting nowhere.

But after a while things started to click and gradually got better. I still had major trouble with those fucking gargoyles (and later O & S), but progress became increasingly feasible. And it soon became my favorite game in years.

Dark Souls 2 felt like a slight letdown after that - it was too easy. But only because the things you had learned from the first game mostly applied to the sequel as well. Multiplayer works much more smoothly in DkS 2 though, and it's one of the few games where I actually enjoy the multiplayer aspect.

As far as story is concerned: As someone who mostly finds the stories in video games uninteresting, I liked that this game mostly left it up to the player to cobble one together from hints in item descriptions and NPC interactions. But to each their own.

I'm almost tempted to buy a PS3 just to play Demon's Souls. (But I'm crossing my fingers that they'll port it to the PS4 or PC at some point? Please?)
posted by Dumsnill at 8:51 AM on July 19


I have a pretty solid theory that the serpents were working together all along and the whole ostensible plotline of Dark Souls was just a cover story for what they were actually trying to accomplish.

I'm almost tempted to buy a PS3 just to play Demon's Souls.

Aside from Journey (which I played through with somebody I met in Dark Souls) the only game I've played on my PS3 is Demon's Souls, and it was totally worth buying a whole system for. The gameplay feels a bit less sophisticated but the design and atmosphere are fantastic.
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:58 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


"I tried it since everyone was raving but am well past the days where I feel the need to prove myself to a video game."

I tried this game called basketball once where you throw a ball at a basket and it is supposed to go in. More often than not, though, when I threw it the ball would just bounce right off or miss completely. I decided that I am well past the days where I feel the need to prove myself to a basket.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 9:01 AM on July 19 [19 favorites]


Despite its legendary difficulty, Dark Souls has enjoyed a fairly vibrant speed running community since its release. Santzo84, a Finnish speedrunner, currently holds the world record in the two most common catagories: Any % and All Bosses (the Dark Souls version of 100% completion). Interestingly enough, both records were set 20 days ago and 8 days ago, respectively. They are well worth watching, even if you have never played the game yourself. If you have played the game, you'll notice both runs take advantage of some incredible sequence breaks (Duke's Ladder skip, Bed of Chaos cheese, Ceaseless Discharge skip, etc).

Dark Souls Any% in 51:01
Dark Souls All Bosses in 1:20:46

Other points of interest, the Any% run requires getting the Black Knight Halberd, a random drop weapon with a drop rate of about 25%. In practice that means you have to spend around 20 to 30 minutes to get it to drop so you can even start your run. Then, the entire run is done with zero armor and at less than 20% health to take advantage of the Red Tear Stone ring.
posted by I Havent Killed Anybody Since 1984 at 9:40 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I am still in the middle of Dark Souls and I think what I love best about it is how completely honest it is. If you die, you know exactly what happened and why. You never die because of faulty game design. Every time you die, it's because you made a mistake, and it's almost always one you should have known better than to make. If you play the game like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, consistently and methodically trying to find where the barriers are weakest, you will do excellently. But the moment you get ahead of yourself, that's your ass. And Dark Souls picks you up, brushes you off, confiscates your pocket change, puts you back at the bonfire and says, "No, love. Do it again."
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:48 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]


I generally don't like FPS twitch (yes I know Bioshock is a classic, but can't get past the repeated abuse of "hey you have a blind spot" in the early levels) or rock-paper-scissors timed combat against telegraphed attacks and blocks. On the other hand, I'll spend an entire evening replaying encounters to get the perfect stealth run, or clear the map on a turn-based game to optimize my score.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:54 AM on July 19


I can't think of a less twitchy action game than Dark Souls. If you're reacting to something instead of executing an action you started planning two seconds earlier, you'll never progress anywhere.
posted by Metafilter Username at 10:20 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


I just obtained Big Boss Emblem on Metal Gear Solid 4. While simply beating 2 on European Extreme was more difficult to me, BBE was very challenging and rewarding. BBE requires: beating game on hardest difficulty setting on a game that doesn't forgive on higher settings, with no kills, no alerts(being spotted by enemy) no healing items in under 5 hours. It requires precision, patience, and attention to detail. To beat 5 hours worth of play time took me about a week and a half. Playing usually around 3-4 hours a day, maybe 5 on weekends.

I got Dark Souls for free as part of a promotion at Gamestop but have yet to start it due to fear of breaking controllers in rage.

I think we play these super hard, "Not fun", games as a test and to improve ourselves. I certain have conventional fun playing Metal Gear Solid and other games on regular difficulty settings, but occasionally I want to truly be challenged and reach the end of my patience, but have to solider on through because I'm competitive. I may have to pick up Dark Souls once I get done with all the trophies in MGS4.
posted by Twain Device at 10:31 AM on July 19


If you track, for example, the penalties levied upon a character when they die in an MMO, they become gradually less intense. 

The exception is EVE, where ships purchased through hours of mining, trading and running a manufacturing supply chain can be wiped out in a minute or two if you become the primary target of a small gang of raiders, or simply stolen from you when you're not even online.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:48 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Kristin's husband - name not given in the article so I won't either - was hired for the Bioshock 1 QA team around the same time I was and eventually became the level designer for Bioshock Infinite's first gameplay demo. Easily one of the most talented and just flat-out hardcore people I've worked with.

As for Kristin - I love her critique of Sarkeesian's Tropes vs. Women, as it reflects both my own general support for the project and sharp disagreement with Sarkeesian's conflation of open world everybody-is-fair-game stealth/combat systems and "encouraging" violence against women. Her assessment of the video is extremely even-handed, informed, and worth taking the time to read if gender issues in video games are something you're interested in.
posted by Ryvar at 11:15 AM on July 19 [5 favorites]


I became emotionally distressed when I realized I would never love a human baby as much as I loved the moment I defeated the great wolf sif
posted by UNKUL at 11:22 AM on July 19 [9 favorites]


Dark Souls is a really hard game to sell somebody on ('uhhh, it's really really hard, but not really in the way you would think? the story is minimal but amazing? are you into, like, mythology? you will likely die multiple times in the tutorial level alone?') but if it clicks with you it REALLY clicks. When I first bought it, I played the tutorial and a little bit of the first 'level', Undead Burg, and died over and over and over and over. Never even got to the first boss after hours. So I moved on and played Assassins Creed or Uncharted or something. Months later I come back to Dark Souls and something just snapped in my head and I got it-- the timing of enemies, the patience, the masterful sense of progression. Yeah, it's hard, but it's not like it's a more HD version of I Wanna Be the Guy or those impossible mario rom hacks that solely exist to be frustrating.
posted by sonmi at 11:47 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Maybe it's time to start a new game of Dark Souls. I was on my first playthrough and then had the keeper of the Firelink Shrine bonfiew killed, and accidentally consumed what the Internet tells me is the only item capable of restoring her; I just haven't felt like going back to it since.
posted by egypturnash at 11:48 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


The kind of challenge in Dark Souls is a type I am not that fond of, and it's a kind that has carried over from many of the classic arcade and console games of the past, particularly the ones with special combat move button combinations. It makes the focus much more on the ability to hit a set of buttons at a certain order at exactly the right time rather than having a more complex, immersive experience that relies on more factors than just knowing how to press buttons well.

a complaint you often see levied against fighting games as well.

DKS doesn't have particularly demanding button execution, and it definitely doesn't have win buttons of any sorts. It has rules, expects you to play by them, and kills you for not learning them. But like any set of rules, there's loopholes, alternatives, creative solutions. Human ingenuity, self-discipline, etc. etc. It's not as strict as you'd think since there's a broad swathe of rules you're dealing with, which leads to a broad swathe of options.

You could take all of that, minus the part about easy execution (lots of fighting games do have very difficult execution after all.) and apply it to a fighting game.

People don't play this stuff to press the right sequence of buttons at the right time. They play it to best a difficult task, improve gradually, see that improvement viscerally and immediately presented, unambiguously, and feel awesome for overcoming something they thought impossible. It's a total rush, and if it were as simple as right buttons, right time, nobody would be interested because there wouldn't be a game there, in either case.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 11:52 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


I've played more Demon's Souls than Dark Souls. I think the mechanics are great, I agree that your deaths are usually your own fault (the camera can screw you sometimes). I don't mind dying -- I play games to die, kind of. I like to not only kill the guys but to also make the strikes look right, if you know what I mean.

But seriously, these Souls games kick you back too far. I await the emulator of the PS3 where there's a save state function. Then I may finish them.

But Demon's Souls is one of my favourite games for all that. In fact I think I'll go play some now.

(There's a cheat where if you quit the game fast enough when you're dying, and then restart, you can get around having to replay the whole level. I've used it many times...)
posted by Trochanter at 11:56 AM on July 19


I find it bizarre how frequently people feel a need to attach what looks very much like a moral value judgement to liking or not liking this sort of game.
posted by nanojath at 12:05 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


I find it bizarre how frequently people feel a need to attach what looks very much like a moral value judgement to liking or not liking this sort of game.

I think most people want to express how much they liked something they thought they might not like!
posted by Dumsnill at 12:10 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


are you into, like, mythology?

I don't know, I read Glorantha books for fun, you tell me.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 12:12 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


DS2 fixes a lot of the complaints in this thread. The spacing of bonfires is much friendlier to the player (which some have taken as a mark against it) and the ability to warp from the beginning means it's easier to try something else if you're up against a wall in a certain area. Co-op is also very lively, so it's easy to summon for bosses. Truth be told, I usually summon just because I like fighting with other people more than fighting by myself.

The downside is that DS2 rehashes a lot of the same ground as DS1, so as you're going through you're like "Oh... so it's like Seathe's storyline, huh?" The hitboxes are also pretty wonky. One great thing about DS1 is that every time you get hit you know that you deserved it. Often times you'll be a yard away from the blade / talon / whatever, and still taking damage, which turns it from difficult and rewarding into yelling bullshit at the screen. DS2 also doesn't have a sense of place like DS1. Especially towards the end it doesn't feel like you're exploring a real castle (like with Anor Londo in 1) but rather like you're running through a video game level. Eh...

Still, DS2 is an overall improvement. Much more polish, and much more forgiving.
posted by codacorolla at 12:15 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]




Codacorolla, the analogy I used to describe it to a D&D-playing friend of mine is that Dark Souls 2 is a better rule set with a crappier DM. And after a billion hours with each of them I sadly have to give the rules a slight edge. Which is too bad, because one didn't need to improve at the expense of the other.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:39 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


LOL that review. For all his navel-gazing about semiotic structures and Baudrillard, you'd think he would've managed to find a surfeit of meaning within Dark Souls' ludic design. Ah well.
posted by naju at 12:45 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it sounds like the problem lies more within than without for that guy. It seems more like a critique of gaming as a whole, specifically problem gaming where you're using it as an escape.
posted by codacorolla at 12:47 PM on July 19


I was on my first playthrough and then had the keeper of the Firelink Shrine bonfiew killed, and accidentally consumed what the Internet tells me is the only item capable of restoring her

yeah, i felt like that was a poor decision on their part, to make that so easy to do
posted by neuromodulator at 12:48 PM on July 19


I agree with others who have said that the type of difficulty in Dark Souls is not the type of difficulty I enjoy. Simply dying a lot doesn't make the game difficult, it makes it tedious. Don't get me wrong; I've played all the way through both I and II. They're not bad games. But they're not the Greatest Action RPGs Ever either, they're... okay.

I'm also not a big fan of the (lack of) narrative style used. Yeah, if you pay close attention to all the badly-translated bad-voice-acting stuff and read the item descriptions you can kinda sorta work out whats happening but ain't nobody got time for that.
posted by Justinian at 12:52 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Bad voice acting?! That's Peter Serafinowicz and how dare you!
posted by neuromodulator at 12:54 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


"but ain't nobody got time for that."

Yeah, one problem is admitting that I did have the time. On the other hand I'll be starting a shitty job two weeks from now, so Demon's Spuls will have to wait.
posted by Dumsnill at 12:56 PM on July 19


Peter Serafinowicz was one minor character in one of the games! And I notice you don't take issue with the translation part. The writing was painful.
posted by Justinian at 12:59 PM on July 19


Heh heh heh heh.

Oh god the laughter make it stop please!

Yeah... pretty awful writing.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 1:03 PM on July 19


Wait, the translation, writing and voice acting are flawless, and I'm sensitive to that stuff. Yer gonna have to elaborate!
posted by naju at 1:04 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


The writing was painful.

Sure, it was. But there was almost nothing of it.

Not like those RPGs that spoonfeed you the story through endless dialogue and cut-scenes. Dark Souls i brilliantly ambiguous. Figure it out yourself,
posted by Dumsnill at 1:05 PM on July 19


Ghostride The Whip: ""NOoooooooo fuck I died."
"Why do you keep playing this?"
"GODDAMMIT I died again...because I am having SO MUCH FUN."
"You just seem to be getting mad and dying all the time."
"FUCK SHIT GODDAMMIT nooooo I am having fun."
"

Funny enough - this was a common refrain of mine in WoW & Minecraft at points. My friends used to laugh when, in chat I'd go... FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

"You died" they'd finish my sentence for me.

My friend was telling me that the payoff of endorphins for DS1/2 is really good. He bought this guide, and I was astounded at this thing. I picture Dark Souls as a fairly simple hack and slash game with some RPG elements, but this guide, it was like 100+ pages, I think, very beautifully put together, stats on every single weapon and piece of armor, detailed maps. Just really amazing, more than, I think, any other guide I've seen.

I don't think it's a game for me, but I can admire and respect those for whom it is a fun thing to play.

Frankly, the one game I have been playing over and over and over for a month straight was Rogue Legacy. Compulsively. I died. A lot. In that game too, but it didn't feel like punishment, just dive right back in and keep building up your stats. Maybe because it wasn't about mastering some arcane skill in combat, but just being solid and thinking before you move/jump.

And I friggin LOVE Super Hexagon. But for the most part, not so keen on super hard games.

On the other hand, I am sooooooooo tired and bored of WoW and everytime i try to jump back in it's hit or miss if I actually enjoy it, at that point in time,and if I don't it's just because I feel so rote when playing it, it's utterly mind numbing at this point. Nothing can bring back the freshness of WoW when I first logged in, when I first 2 fps'd into Org. When hunters had bullets.
posted by symbioid at 1:06 PM on July 19


Yeah, if you pay close attention to all the badly-translated bad-voice-acting stuff and read the item descriptions you can kinda sorta work out whats happening but ain't nobody got time for that.

Bad acting is a matter of opinion (I happen to like the haunted, slightly mad affect of the NPCs you run into, especially in the first Dark Souls) but let's be fair, here--there's nothing bad about the translation at all.

And the nice thing is, if you're not into it, you can skip all the dialogue and cutscenes and not miss out on anything crucial.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:08 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


Wait, the translation, writing and voice acting are flawless, and I'm sensitive to that stuff. Yer gonna have to elaborate!

I can't actually pick out specific examples without replaying the games. But, for example, I could give you specific examples of truly brilliant writing from Planescape: Torment and I played that game almost 15 years ago. By comparison I found the writing in both DS games to be stilted and jarring. Which I why I assume its a translation problem. Maybe its that way in Japanese too.
posted by Justinian at 1:08 PM on July 19


stilted and jarring

I suspect that's more of a stylistic choice than bad translation.
posted by Dumsnill at 1:11 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I'm perfectly happy to withdraw the translation comment and stick with ugly writing, then. Hooray!
posted by Justinian at 1:12 PM on July 19


Yep plus at least 90% of the characters you meet are in various states of despondent lunacy, so there's that
posted by naju at 1:14 PM on July 19 [6 favorites]


Also much of the lore comes off like grim oblique parody of fantasy lore rather than straight-on fantasy, which is an important distinction.
posted by naju at 1:16 PM on July 19


codacorolla: "Also, I feel like if you want to hate on the Souls series, you can't do it better than this guy."

Metafilter: an elaborate network of interrelated parts oriented around an end goal of staggering waste.
posted by symbioid at 1:31 PM on July 19


I hated the first Dark Souls and so I decided I should learn it better than any other game. I have spent between 300 and 400 hours playing

your problem: i see it
posted by Sebmojo at 3:08 PM on July 19


(which is the point, of course - it's a good article)
posted by Sebmojo at 3:11 PM on July 19


what i like about the plot in dark souls is that it's there but it doesn't care if you can see it (along with a lot of other things). beyond that though, it really only lays out some broad strokes for the lore and leaves a great deal of things ambiguous and up to your personal interpretation, just as if you were the chosen undead yourself, waking up in a world with no memory and progressing through the world because people you trust for no reason tell you what you're supposed to be doing. it's absorbing for me in a way that i haven't quite found in the atmosphere of any other games i've played.
posted by p3on at 3:44 PM on July 19 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: at least 90% of the characters you meet are in various states of despondent lunacy
posted by Pudhoho at 4:13 PM on July 19 [7 favorites]


In an interview Miyazaki states that the Fighting Fantasy novels he read as a kid were a huge inspiration for him, so the writing sort of follows from that with generic fantasy archetypes and purple prose exposition. The writing fits the game world.
posted by codacorolla at 4:40 PM on July 19


When I was a kid my family nicknamed me 'Yadner' briefly because every time they passed through the living room the TV read: "Yet Another Does Not Return."

Thank you 'Dungeons of Daggorath' for teaching me to persist long past when a sane person would quit. I'm sure it's halfway prepared me to attempt 'Dark Souls'.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:42 PM on July 19


I love the writing in DS, or at least the script - the item descriptions suffered a bit in translation. Each character has his or her (or its) own voice, most of the time they talk about their own interests rather than dump story information on you, and they only ever say just enough to leave you wishing they would say more (except for Lautrec, who is a bit overdone.) It's a masterpiece of Show, Don't Tell that other game developers really need to learn from if they want to escape the writing-by-committee approach that turns every game story it touches into a slurry of cliche.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 8:06 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


I want to like DS2. Sadly, the PC port is downright insulting in how ineptly and lazily they brought it over, and this after telling fans (in response to previous criticism) that it'd be better this time.

If that's the best they can do, they should leave it on console. It is terribly done. Incredibly shitty menus and controls are not my idea of a fun challenge.

Also, I am not on board with the design decision not to allow pausing. I would humor it, perhaps, if the menus worked better, but in its current state it just compounds the awfulness.

I have a lot of menu-related anger in my life.
posted by kprincehouse at 8:17 PM on July 19


Sounds like you're trying to play mouse-and-keyboard. If so, you need a controller. It's not that the controls are bad, it's that there are too many of them for WASD unless you have like a six-button mouse, because assigning those combat tasks to keyboard means taking your left hand off your movement keys.
posted by rifflesby at 9:01 PM on July 19


Also, there's no pause because you're playing multiplayer. If you've been invaded, or summoned someone for co-op, pause can't be a thing. I suppose they could have disabled pause whenever someone else is in your world, but it's a valid design decision to just get people used to not having it, rather than suffer the confusion of having it sometimes and not others.
posted by rifflesby at 9:15 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


There is a hilarious 42 page, 2000+ comment discussion thread at Neogaf about Dark Souls' lack of a pause feature.

Some people feel very strongly about this issue.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 9:36 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Re: pause, I don't think it's unavailable solely due to multiplayer constraints. This is a game that does not want to let the players pause. And I agree it's a valid design decision, just suboptimal. It's not my main complaint, though.

And yeah, I get that it's best with a controller, and originally designed for that. That doesn't excuse the sad shape that the PC port is in, though. You mention a six button mouse, but here's the thing--it doesn't matter how many buttons it has (I count 10 on mine), because the keybind menu only lets you use left, right, wheel up, wheel down, and wheel click. Thumb buttons just aren't available. They just didn't bother, and it's clear that not giving a fuck about making it usable for PC gamers is a consistent theme, from the colored circles representing XBox buttons that they left in everywhere on the PC port to... you know, there's no point in having this conversation again. I'm glad you like it. I wish I could, too.
posted by kprincehouse at 10:19 PM on July 19


By comparison I found the writing in both DS games to be stilted and jarring. Which I why I assume its a translation problem. Maybe its that way in Japanese too.

I can answer this question! I played all three localizations (US/EU/JP) of Demon's Souls and two of Dark Souls, and I can assure you that the voice acting is in English in all versions for all entries in the series. I've found the writing and VA to be exceptionally well done, though if I had to pick a least favorite, it'd be DS2 by a mile.

And now is the time when I write what I always write whenever Souls comes up on the blue. The Souls series is not "hard." It is "unforgiving." There's no randomness to any of the entries; the enemies are always in the exact same place doing the exact same thing. It's a game that rewards patience, humility, and knowledge, and one that brutally punishes arrogance and haste. It's not that any of the games are hard, that they require elaborate and fanciful manipulations of the buttons (disregard PVP), it's that, as someone said upthread, you have to divorce yourself from all the shitty habits you were taught by lesser franchises, such as "cliffs are a thing I cannot fall off of" and "a guy with a sword is no threat to me because his armor sucks."

The whole thing that makes the Souls franchise worth it for me is that it rewards cautious and intelligent players far better than it does people with fast reflexes. I've spent probably about 3,500 hours between the three most recent entries, and I'm at the point where I can breeze through Dark Souls while absolutely shitfaced. You don't see people beating Ninja Gaiden or performing top tier at fighting games while hammered. Knowledge is your best friend in the souls games, which is why I love them so. You can be a total bumbler at the combat, but if you know where everything is, how to attack it safely, and how to avoid the attacks it makes, you'll do fine. It's really quite egalitarian!

*EDIT: Dark Souls 2 is wholly unimpressive. The "better rules with shittier DM" is a flawless analogy. The combat and mechanics are much tighter (disregard hitboxes) and better, but there is absolutely no point in the level design where I stopped and said "goddamn" to myself. In Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, you could take a look around, off into the horizon, and chances were good that with about an hour of solid play, you could be standing where your eyes were cast. The whole world was a jigsaw fit together with your blood and tears, and DS2 just feels like a boring, unimpressive slog through an endless corridor.
posted by GoingToShopping at 1:53 AM on July 20 [3 favorites]


But, for example, I could give you specific examples of truly brilliant writing from Planescape: Torment and I played that game almost 15 years ago.

Have you played it since? There is some great writing (Morte, Dak'kon, changing classes though dialog etc.), but it also definitely overwritten. Actually, P:T is the platonic opposite of Dark Souls. One won't stop brilliantly yapping at you, is overtly dependent on stats and it has such disdain for combat it will give you 1,000,000 EXP through a dialog tree. The other keeps its story in the background and puts emphasis on skill-based combat.

Re: pause, I don't think it's unavailable solely due to multiplayer constraints. This is a game that does not want to let the players pause. And I agree it's a valid design decision, just suboptimal.


Heh, that reminds me that when Diablo 2 came out, which would only allow you to save char stats and items, but sent you back to the beginning of the act and repopulated the world with monsters, one reviewer hated the system so much that he kept his computer running for the few few days it took him to beat the game.

As for being able to pause, I love systems where you can pause regardless of what the game designers intend. Sometimes phones are ringing and being penalised for having other obligations is... eh.
posted by ersatz at 2:56 AM on July 20


[Just as a general note / heads-up: Folks, please don't do the "Edit:", "Edited to add," etc. thing (there's a reminder on the edit window itself, and more info in the FAQ). It's totally cool to just add an additional comment with clarifications, additions or updates, and keeps everyone seeing the same content, whether they've refreshed the page or not. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 3:36 AM on July 20


There's at least a dozen comments praising DS here to which I want to reply: "...except Bed of Chaos."

So: "I agree with you all in everything... except Bed of Chaos."
posted by Pyrogenesis at 8:14 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]


I can sort of see what they were going for with Bed of Chaos, where it's more about navigating the level rather than fighting the boss, but unfortunately it's not very well done. Also, platforming isn't DS's strongest point even without tentacles flailing at you.

Really, the four lordsouls are all sort of a letdown. Four Kings are easy once you realize that you can win in a damage race and you have plenty of time to estus between kings. Nito is pitiful once you figure out that it's a bad idea to engage him in the back of his cave. Seath is probably the best fight of the bunch, but he still has a huge blind spot on his ass which is easy to exploit, and BoC is of course a pain, but not really difficult once you figure out the gimmick.

I guess that thematically makes sense, since the game is trying to portray the great old ones as being impostors and frauds, but the unfinished feeling of Lost Izalith and Demon Ruins really makes it feel like they were rushing the game to completion.

The DLC of course makes up for all of that.
posted by codacorolla at 8:31 AM on July 20


All summer I have been training for a Dark Souls II "Nut Hunter" run...

...In which I will stream myself on Twitch playing through the game as an archer, dispatching ALL enemies, regardless of gender, by sniping them solely and repeatedly in the groin until they keel over with a crotch porcupine. Greatbows may be used as situations warrant, for optimally devastating groin engagement or larger foes. I am not above using magic, but it must be targeted precisely groinward using the Binoculars.

If a groin does not exist to be sniped, I will attempt to spare / avoid the enemy, but most living / dead / undead things in DS2 are fair game. I will destroy all groins, and punctuate my victories with artful use of speech carvings.

This will require further preparation and no small amount of THC, but I think it's a worthwhile contribution to humanity, and I'd rather play Dark Souls than work on music deliveries. Praise the sun!
posted by jake at 1:29 PM on July 20 [4 favorites]


plenty of time to estus between kings

(Chugs all Estus flasks at the start of battle)

Get on my level, you punk-ass glowy scrub kings
posted by jake at 1:35 PM on July 20 [2 favorites]


I did a no-death/no-bonfire run in DSII.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:19 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


If a groin does not exist to be sniped, I will attempt to spare / avoid the enemy,

Covetous Demon is basically entirely nutsack, so that one should be easy.


I did a no-death/no-bonfire run in DSII.

Both together?!
posted by rifflesby at 2:48 PM on July 20


Yup.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:12 PM on July 20 [2 favorites]


I tried this game called basketball once where you throw a ball at a basket and it is supposed to go in. More often than not, though, when I threw it the ball would just bounce right off or miss completely. I decided that I am well past the days where I feel the need to prove myself to a basket.

Yup, sounds reasonable to me. I don't like basketball either. What's your point sorry?

Dark Souls fans sometimes get on my nerves, because they often have the fervour of the convert. I have a degree in Maths, and so, to me, basic algebraic manipulations (e.g. solving x^+2=7 for x) are the easiest thing in the world. Sure, I might make the occasional mistake, but doing this sort of thing just seems massively straightforward to me. During my PhD I had occasion to tutor some non-mathematics students who were doing a crash course in basic mathematics. Maths was essentially alien to them, and they were approaching it for the first time. Its actually quite hard for me to remember how difficult and arcance the rules governing algebra can seem to someone approaching them for the first time. And yes, sufficient time will resolve these problems, but first of all there is hard work to get to that point.

I feel like Dark Souls is like that. Hard work to begin with, that becomes rewarding as you grok the system. Which is great, but

a)some people just will never grok the system
b)lots of people simply don't want to spend that amount of time doing homework.

Added to that of course the idea that if you do make a mistake, you will have to do it all again from the last checkpoint, and.. nope, not for me sorry.

I appreciate that many people (in this very thread in fact!) acknowledge this, but there just sometimes come across a tone that not liking this game is a failing in a person, rather than a failing in the game.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:10 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


I appreciate that many people (in this very thread in fact!) acknowledge this, but there just sometimes come across a tone that not liking this game is a failing in a person, rather than a failing in the game.

Which I think is probably the second worst thing about electronic gaming culture, just after the general knee-jerk response to any form of criticism.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:50 AM on July 21


I appreciate that many people (in this very thread in fact!) acknowledge this, but there just sometimes come across a tone that not liking this game is a failing in a person, rather than a failing in the game.

Honestly, not liking Dark Souls is probably a sign of good mental health.

(I like Dark Souls :( )
posted by murphy slaw at 8:07 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


The more I think about Soul Memory, the more I realize that it's probably one of the worst moves the designers could've made with regards to the previous game's design philosophy. The whole idea is that you die a lot, but learn a bit of the level each time. My firs time through the 'burg in DS1 was me getting repeatedly owned by hollow soldiers, but eventually I learned not only their moveset, but also basic ideas like bating attacks, pulling aggro and getting position to backstab. It didn't matter I was dying a lot, because in my mind I was getting better each time.

In contrast, my first time through Iron Keep, I also kept dying, but started to panic a little bit. Each time I died and didn't make it back to my stain, it was actually harming my overall character by bumping them up the SM tier list without any gains, thereby making my ability to do the fun stuff (co-op and PVP) much worse. Because of the huge soul value of Iron Keep enemies, it's actually against your best interest to die a lot and experiment with strategies, because doing that is ultimately gimping your character. That turns the twitch gameplay from something fun and rewarding into a tedious and nerve-wracking slog.

I'm really hoping SM gets fixed in an eventual patch.
posted by codacorolla at 10:03 AM on July 21


I disagree. I think the first game was a mess of overpowered players invading the starting areas, which made a very unfriendly environment for new players dipping their toes in. Even when I played it recently, it was still the same - getting invaded repeatedly by people before the gargoyles and inflicted with toxic, etc., when I haven't even got to Andre yet. I get that the soul memory solution is irritating a bunch of people because they're having a harder time establishing the metagame soul limit, and that makes sense, but I think they needed to solve that problem ... and I also feel like your problem was more theoretical than practical. I mean, I'm looking at soul memory tiers and am skeptical that the situation you describe meaningfully impacted who you were playing with much. I get that you're talking about the psychological impact, largely, which I can't dispute - but in terms of in-game effects I doubt it amounted to much. Do you really think it did? Do you remember what level you were the first time you got to Iron Keep? I have no recollection. I'm trying to judge the width of the soul memory tiers vs. the cost of levelling. Because it seems to me even if you end up getting invaded by people five levels above you, that doesn't amount to much.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:45 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


I had so much SM in my first NG that the game hit its pity switch, and opened up the end-game content at 1M SM.
posted by codacorolla at 12:11 PM on July 21


Just to be clear, the fact that I think the DS games are just decent rather than super-good has nothing to do with those games being too difficult. Dark Souls 2 in particular I thought was pretty easy.
posted by Justinian at 2:44 PM on July 21


Matchmaking via Level also caused a lot of problems for people who overlevelled. Once everyone decided level 150 was the place to be, anyone who levelled out of that range -- and if you weren't in the community, reading forums/reddit, you would, because why wouldn't you? You'd have no idea that you "shouldn't" -- suddenly had nobody to play with. It turned into a ghost town, through no fault of their own, and they'd have no idea why.
posted by rifflesby at 3:20 PM on July 21


Yeah, it's a central problem of both games, especially since it's never very clearly delineated in-game. However, with SL (once you know the community standards) it's easy to plan for that. You can divide up how many levels you need in your core stats, how much you want to spend in other stuff, and then work towards that. With SM if a hacker comes into your world and spikes you with souls by jumping off a cliff, or if you have difficulty with one part, or if you're fighting enemies for a drop, then all of this can destroy your SM. It feels like the player has much less control over SM than they did over SL, which is a problem in a game that's otherwise about mastering a system.

I feel like there has to be some way to do matchmaking that's more intuitive and lets the player decide where they want their online presence to rest at, but still protects against low level gankers.

Although, honestly, in DS1 being human isn't that huge of an advantage (unlike in DS2 with the changed hollowing systems), so it's easy enough to avoid invasions.
posted by codacorolla at 3:27 PM on July 21


A hacked guy dumping millions of souls on you was definitely a problem, I agree with you there. They addressed that in the most recent patch, thankfully -- there's a sane cap on souls received from invaders now.
posted by rifflesby at 3:37 PM on July 21


It's interesting that nobody's mentioned the DLC dropping tomorrow. Although I guess there isn't much to say about it since we haven't seen it yet?

Personally I'm excited, but worried. My character is in NG++, and from what I'm hearing, the DLC is damn hard even in NG. Plus I'm terrible at PvP, and I suspect invaders are going to be camping the DLC areas and turning them into a bloodbath that makes the Belfrys look like McDonald's Playland. :\
posted by rifflesby at 3:47 PM on July 21


Maybe my lack of proper enthusiasm is due in part to the fact that I've never understood the point of "NG+" or whatever. I just played the game. Why am I going to play it again except a bit harder? Why didn't you let me ramp the difficulty all the way up before I played it the first time?

Unlockable difficulties are a console blight!
posted by Justinian at 2:24 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Except NG+ actually changes the game significantly (for an early example, adding Falconers to the portal in Things Betwixt), aside from scaling monster health and damage. Also, you can tackle the DLC at any point, and don't need a NG+ character.
posted by codacorolla at 6:19 AM on July 22


I'm hearing that the DLC improves on DS2 quite a bit. Most notably for me, it ditches the disjointed nature of the world and brings back the interconnected environments of the first game.
posted by naju at 3:33 PM on July 22


Don't forget to grab your bonus promotional item from the chest in the Majula mansion. It's pretty good if you play Dex.
posted by rifflesby at 5:19 PM on July 22


Thanks to this thread I have dusted off my never-really-played copy of Dark Souls for another stab. Thanks, jerks.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:25 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Anybody still in here?

The DLC is really good. And demoralizingly hard. Full of hidden traps that spring on you out of nowhere and seemingly invulnerable enemies that gang up on you and unavoidable environmental hazards and forbidding, nightmarish, mazelike level design that leaves you feeling lost and claustrophobic the whole time you're there.

I can't wait to take another crack at it tonight.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:09 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm enjoying it too. I have to keep burning effigies though because some of these mobs take like a billion arrows to drop and it's demoralizing to get invaded and killed and forced to do it all again. Some nice new mechanics, though. Better than I expected.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:08 PM on July 23


(Oh, I'm on bonfire intensity 7 - it's my character who did the nbf/nd run - so that might be why things are tough as hell. I don't know what it's like on lower intensities.)
posted by neuromodulator at 1:29 PM on July 23


Ugh. Clearly I hate myself.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:14 PM on July 25


Just got invaded for the first time ever. I tried stabbing him, but I could not even damage him at all. Then he one-shot me. Fun!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:26 AM on July 26


Are you playing 1 or 2? A problem in both games is obsessive min-maxing of PVP, meaning that you're facing people who've run through the game at a specific level / soul memory to get specific gear that is optimal statistically.

In 2 the invasion item, red eye orbs, are very uncommon so you don't get invaded very often and can walk around as a human with impunity. In 1 you can be hollow without any real impediment to your character, and you really only have to become human to summon for co-op.

Either way, crushing an item is less fun than setting down your summon sign and co-oping, which gives you the benefit of learning the boss in a relatively low-risk situation. In 1, unfortunately, the player base is much smaller so I'm not sure what co-oping is like for it.

In 2 (much less so in 1) hackers are occasionally a problem, so you will run into people with end-game stats and weapons who've hacked their soul memory down to starting levels, or people who just outright set their health value to several million.
posted by codacorolla at 9:31 AM on July 26


It's 1. I wanted to be human to summon Solaire for the bell gargoyle fight (I looked at a guide...sue me).
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:54 PM on July 26


Wow, the Capra demon fight is just super unfair. Whenever I manage to avoid his first blow, I find myself unable to even hit the stupid dogs before he's on me again, and I die in two hits. This may be the fight that gets me to rage quit again...
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:58 AM on July 27


IIRC the easiest way to take that on is to sprint/roll for the stairs immediately, the dogs will follow you, try to get a hit in and maybe kill a dog (both if you're good), then as the Capra Demon follows you up the stairs, jump off the ledge. Dispatch both dogs by this point, then take care of the Capra Demon by continuing to climb up stairs, fall off the ledge, and get a hit in after the ledge. His slowness is the key, especially once he follows you off the ledge.

Also: equip as light a set of armor/weapons as possible here. You need speed for this battle. In general always think carefully about how what you have equipped effects the boss battle you're taking on.
posted by naju at 10:28 AM on July 27


equip as light a set of armor/weapons as possible here

That's one way of doing it as long as you're lucky enough not to be hit by the Capra or bit by the dogs during the initial sprint to the stairs, because if you do you'll stagger and almost certainly die. Donning heavier armour with enough poise may be a safer option.
posted by Bangaioh at 10:57 AM on July 27


I would say that the Wolf Ring with light armor might be a better option.

You also want to make sure that your shield has close to 100% physical block. The Heater is sold by the Undead Merchant in the burg, and is the easiest option, but Grass Crest has like 90% and the added benefit of refreshing your stamina.

Capra is also weak to fire, so if you're able to survive the first onslaught and want a leg up, the Female Undead Merchant sells charcoal resin that you can apply to your weapon and make the fight go much easier.
posted by codacorolla at 11:55 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


I beat it, as I figured I would after moaning about it in the internet. The game wouldn't let me use the charcoal resin on my Drake Sword for some reason. Goodness knows I might have been doing it wrong. I then promptly got my face stuffed in by a butcher in the Depths.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:15 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


IIRC, elemental weapons (those with damage types other than physical) and other special weapons can't be buffed. The Drake Sword is one of those, it's a dragon weapon which requires dragon scales to upgrade instead of regular titanite. But don't bother spending any on it because there are much better dragon weapons and scales are rare (and a PITA to grind).
posted by Bangaioh at 2:28 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah, the Drake Sword doesn't take resins. One of the many marks against it. You're probably nearing the end of the Drake Sword's usefulness, due to the fact that it doesn't scale damage with a stat. I would recommend playing around until you find a weapon you enjoy the move-set on, and then using spare souls to start on its upgrade path. DEX weapons (like Uchi and the Iaito) are probably my favorite weapons in the game, personally, but there are some great STR options too.
posted by codacorolla at 2:30 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


If worse comes to absolute worst, you can huck dung pies or firebombs over the fog door into Capra's arena.
posted by rifflesby at 2:53 PM on July 27


I read about that, and while I'd like to say I am above such levels of cheese, the truth is it just sounded even more tedious than fighting him over and over.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 3:08 PM on July 27


Also, re: Drake Sword. I looked at weapons like the uchigatana/iaito/Balder side sword, but they are all reached via places I don't have access to yet...unless I kill that first merchant (which I may...I have already bought the bottomless and repair boxes from him).

SL25, str/end 20, dex like...14, vit 19/20, other stats per starting for warrior, FYI.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 3:17 PM on July 27


Actually SL26, Vit 17,otherwise as I said.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 3:34 PM on July 27


A fully upgraded Uchi will take you all the way through the game if you like the move-set. I tend to RP a little bit when I play, so I always feel bad killing the merchant, but it might not be a bad idea as you move into The Depths.

The Iaito has a nearly identical move-set to the Uchi, but you're not going to be getting that for a bit.

A really strong option might be the Claymore, which is on the Drake's bridge, and scales well with both STR and DEX. You would also have the stats to one-hand it, and it's free for the taking once you distract the drake, so it might be worth a look-see.

The Zweihander (in the cemetary near Fire Link) is a favorite of many people, and you're only four strength from being able to use it. I'm not a big fan of its moves, but it might suit you if you're willing to give up attack speed for range and raw power.
posted by codacorolla at 5:09 PM on July 27


I'm not saying this is wise, but I used the Drake Sword up until Sen's Fortress, then the Lightning Spear carried me through nearly the rest of the game. Anything's possible I guess.
posted by naju at 5:27 PM on July 27


Wait I take that back, I think I ditched the Drake Sword for a heavily upgraded Broadsword or Longsword at some point.
posted by naju at 5:35 PM on July 27


I do have both the claymore and the zweihander (ran through the graveyard picking up stuff as I went)...
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 5:42 PM on July 27


If you're still on the Capra, Alluring Skulls will lure the dogs too.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:14 AM on July 28


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