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Dark Souls II
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Steerpike
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March 18, 2014 - 8:06 pm
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Pokey, I'm not describing it well, and there's a good chance it's the entrance you're using anyway. The reason I thought otherwise is that you mentioned a difficult jump, and I figured you must be referring to the series of thin beams that stick out of the wall and lead to a small hole. That's just one way to reach Cale, and you're right, it's a ridiculously hard jump.

In any case, I just ran back there and had a look, but my step by step directions are probably no clearer (and, as I said, probably not useful anyway). Still, here goes:

Go down the ladder from the Cardinal Tower bonfire room and cut through to the hole in the brick wall - opposite the short stone bridge over the fire lizard. At the far end of the room you'll see a tree growing diagonally upward.

Step out onto the tree, but instead of climbing the trunk, roll to the right. You should land on the ground near a ladder. Climb it, then follow the plank bridges across to the roof of the central building.

From there, jump across to where the archer is, get rid of him, turn right, and follow the wall - watch out for the second archer above.

Just a bit further on your left is a good-sized cave entrance, probably covered with warnings about a boulder. Head on in and you'll find Cale there, digging around for something.

 

As for me, I'm dealing with my own troubles...

It's nice to see the Bell Gargoyles for an encore performance, but that fight is no picnic. I can barely walk into the belfry tower before I get invaded, often by two at a time. I even joined the stupid Bell Covenant and they still invade me. They probably sense I did it for selfish reasons.

Are the gargoyles and the Ruin Sentinels the only bosses in the Bastille? What's the story with the ship docked way down below? The Gargs must be optional since you need a Lockstone to get to them. Am I missing something?

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Pokey
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March 18, 2014 - 8:59 pm
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I appreciate your effort, Steerpike. I see I'm just going to have to make that jump. I better go practice some more. I've had a couple tries against the boss but came up empty. The room is too small. I did better against the Pursuer.

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xtal
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March 18, 2014 - 9:22 pm
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Steerpike:

The ship in the Bastille is there because you can travel to the Bastille from another area on that ship. (No-man's Wharf)

I think the Belfry Gargoyles are optional. I actually haven't dealt with them yet, just seen their lovely rooftop. I got the hell out of the Belfry Luna because that covenant is insane.

Technically those are the only 2 boss fights in the Lost Bastille, though there is a sub-area of the Bastille (Sinner's Rise) where a main path boss fight takes place. I'm pretty certain that one isn't optional because it yields a major boss soul.

Botch:

When you do find a Fragrant Branch of Yore you have those two options you mentioned. The fellow in the Bastille is useful to un-petrify. He sells a variety of miracles, sorceries, pyromancies and hexes. He is also the only NPC I've found with whom you exchange boss souls for weapons/magic.

The petrified person near the guy with the Moonlight sword is a pyromancy teacher, though as far as I know you can't get an actual pyromancy flame from her; just spells and some consumables. Un-petrifying her also gains you access to an area that I don't think is meant to be ventured too far into early on. There are three paths behind it; two are sealed until some later items are acquired (which I don't yet have); the third is a forest so dense with fog I was lost after 10 seconds, so I backtracked and haven't returned since.

My advice is to free the guy in the Bastille first.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Synonamess Botch
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March 18, 2014 - 11:12 pm
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I killed the Belfry Gargoyles, with one summon.  Alone it is very hard.  Making the mad dash to the fog wall before invaders get you (small and otherwise) is pretty insane.  I highly recommend joining that covenant and getting at least a few kills.  The rewards are the only way I've found to get a certain, very important commodity.  At this point everyone is still getting a feel for the PvP, so the playing field is much more level.

Thanks for the tip Xtal.  My character has no attunement slots, but I'd like to see what I can get for those boss souls.

As Xtal said, that ship comes from the Wharf and as near as I can tell is a one-way trip.  I also recommend finishing the Wharf as there are some good items there, and a rather entertaining merchant.  Tip:  bring a Pharros stone with you.  It can make things a bit easier.

I ran into my first NPC invader a while ago.

Also, I found that key.  It will help with a certain boss fight I'm about to undertake.

 

Rule #2: Double-tap

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xtal
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March 19, 2014 - 3:20 pm
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I'm not overly fond of these summon covenants. The rewards are great (the Rat covenant gives you a Pharros' Lockstone for every summon you kill!) but I'll be happy when the Blue Sentinals covenant starts working. World PvP is more my thing rather than these set arena PvP covenants (Bell, Rat).

PvP is annoying my somewhat thus far because I seem to die the same way every time: other person gets one hit on me, I'm staggered no matter what, and they just whack away. Basically PvP now amounts to the first person to get a clean hit automatically wins. I've had one or two interesting fights that were an exception. I have 59.7 Poise and have been instantly stun-locked by people wielding falchions. It's kind of frustrating; especially when they're nimble and agile and I have fucking mail armor on and still can't absorb a few hits. I'm confident these sorts of problems will be fixed with patching, since Dark Souls was so well supported until they got it as good as they could have.

 

Mercifully I finally have access to infinite Large Titanite Shards (oddly before I have access to infinite regular shards). Once you bring McDuff the ember he's looking for he'll open up shop and sell limitless Large shards. Incredibly useful.

Here are my random tips for the day:

- Farm the dogs in the Bastille. They're the only enemy I've found that can drop human effigies.

- Farm the evil and horrifying hand monster things in Black Gulch for Large Titanite shards (this is much later on).

- If you are using Miracles seek out the Soul Appease miracle. It makes quick work of a good variety of hollow enemies. I use it mostly to clear out those exploding bastards in the Bastille you jump on the floor.

- I just learned that upgrading catalysts in DKS2 is essential. It increases the scaling which, while I still am not fully clear on, has increased the damage of my offensive miracles by about 100 damage from 0 to +9.

- If you're short on regular Titanite shards there will be an enemy you can (and should) farm them from in Harvest Valley / Earthen Peak. They are green, shirtless big hammer-wielding dudes. Can't miss 'em.

- In the Bastille there are a TON of illusory walls (the type I mentioned, where you can't strike them, you have to walk up to them and press X). There are some rooms where practically every inch of wall you poke at turns out to be an illusory wall. One is a particular boss room. There are more around as well. Long story short: basically run around the Bastille hugging and clicking X on walls. There are hidden chests with spells, rings, souls and more. It's kind of weird actually.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Synonamess Botch
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March 20, 2014 - 3:46 pm
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The 1.02 patch is out.  I wonder what will change?

Xtal I don't understand the changes to the poise system either.  I have about the same poise you do and it doesn't seem to help a whole lot.  Also, in Dark Souls I tend to prefer fast roll, and base my armor decisions on aesthetics more than anything, although I do like to keep my poise as high as possible.  In Dark Souls 2, the difference in roll speed, assuming you stay below 70%, is small enough that I don't see the value in going light.  I've not bumped Vitality at all.  I'll leave it to the min-max experimenters to figure all this out.  However, if things stay the way they are I'll probably just go back to Dark Souls.

EDIT: I got a server error trying to download the patch.  I power-cycled my PS3 and that seemed to "fix" the problem.

 

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Pokey
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March 20, 2014 - 4:26 pm
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It didn't seem to fix the problem of the summon signs not working. I was getting "can't create summon sign' nearly all morning. I've had it before but it didn't last long.

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Steerpike
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March 20, 2014 - 4:28 pm
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Soloed my way through two comparatively easy bosses in Heide's (leaving the gargoyles to their own devices for a while) and then lost 60k getting invaded on the Wharf. I hate you, Wharf.

They seem a little chintzy on the boss intro videos, and like Botch I haven't really gotten a feel for the cohesion of the world. But in general I'm still really enjoying most of what they've done with this sequel. I don't think anything can compare to Dark Souls - to me it's hallowed memory now and even Dark Souls wouldn't seem as good as Dark Souls - and it's gratifying, to me at least, to play DkS2 and feel like maybe I'm not as passionate about it, but they still hit it out of the park. So many sequels feel like missteps. This one just feels different sometimes.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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March 20, 2014 - 7:00 pm
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I just found another location in the Cardinal Tower area, behind a previously locked door, that I had totally forgotten about.  It's a really good first area for exploring and getting a feel for the game.

 

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xtal
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March 20, 2014 - 7:34 pm
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Even if Dark Souls 2 is one tenth the game Dark Souls is (I do think it's more than that though) it's still better than every other game I've been playing ... so I'm going to keep at it!

I've actually hit a wall; not of the frustration kind, but of the I'm-not-relying-on-wikis-and-I-don't-know-how-to-proceed kind. It's bothering me, but it's admittedly kind of neat that the game is obviously withholding some secret from me. I'm in an area called the Iron Keep, and for the life of me there's some seemingly critical thing that I can't figure out how to do (and I know you have to do it because I've seen the ... effects of it in other peoples' worlds).

I am now, I think, level 110. And I honestly feel like I might be half way through. This game feels WAY longer to me than Dark Souls or Demon's Souls. Like I feel I would be near the end of Dark Souls, but I really don't think I'm near the end of this game. And I'm level 110. That's crazy! I'm not a quantity over quality person, quite the opposite, but I kind of wouldn't mind if there was a ton more to get through. I don't even feel like I've reached this game's Lordvessel moment, whatever that is. I feel like I'm close to that but not quite there.

I hope you all persevere. Maybe 3 games in a bit of that Souls Surprise/Magic has worn off, but I'm still having a hell of a good time. The game also doesn't feel ... "weird" to me anymore. Like it especially did in the beta. I'm used to the movement, and it's good. The only thing that still feels sluggish is pressing the Start button and getting the damn menu to come up. I hope that's something that a programmer can fix.

I'm off to try to find out what this 1.02 patch has implemented.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Steerpike
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March 20, 2014 - 7:50 pm
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The only thing that still feels sluggish is pressing the Start button and getting the damn menu to come up.

Dude, that does feel sluggish. Like 1-2 seconds sluggish. It's strange. I often hit it several times and wind up on-offing it. I've noticed something slightly similar but not as bad with the enemy targeting. Sometimes it doesn't "take."

I'm really happy with Dark Souls 2. Really happy. It is... it is a Dark Souls game. It's weird to me, parts of it are weird to me, but that's because I'm used to the original DkS and anything would feel weird to me. There's stuff I don't love, but there was stuff I didn't love in DkS. But this really, deeply, profoundly feels like a sequel they thought about and dedicated themselves to doing right. Many of our concerns, discussed in other threads, were clearly considered by them as well.

I'm firmly of the belief that nothing could possibly equal, let alone exceed, Dark Souls because that game is a memory now. It's like the first time I played STALKER, or Thief. No sequel is going to exceed it. Replaying it won't meet it. It can't be done. But DkS2 - and this is not minimizing your concerns, Botch, I agree with many of them - DkS2 feels like it's as good as it possibly could have been. If this were my first Souls game, I would feel about it the way I feel about Dark Souls.

I've tried to assess where I am, but the structure of the game is dissimilar enough that this is impossible. If the Last Giant is Taurus Demon and Pursuer is... Capra Demon I guess, there's no Bell Gargoyle really; Lost Bastille is more a Painted World than a Depths; I'm essentially in the third major Area insofar as I'm in Heide's Tower and the Wharf. In DkS terms that would put me in the Depths. DkS2 doesn't feel as open (I clearly remember sojourns into Darkroot Garden and the Valley of the Drakes, which don't exist here - yet), and I haven't gotten my head around a sense of size yet. It feels as though it could end shortly or go on forever. I'm level 58. Xtal, you're millions of miles ahead of me and if you're feeling like maybe you're getting to a Lordvessel moment, that says something about the hugeness of the game.

Funny how we learn to play. The Old Dragonslayer isn't a hard boss, but he beat me the first time - I played like a non-Souls-player. I did stupid noob things. I panicked. The second time, for whatever reason, I played like a person who knows his way around the Souls games and I destroyed him, even with a few careless moves on my part.

They hit this out of the park, not because it makes me feel like DkS1 did, but because even my moments of disappointment, which are few, are mediated by a joy I don't feel often. And already I find myself thinking, "when's the next Souls game?"

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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March 20, 2014 - 11:18 pm
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I enjoy your comments SP & Xtal, and I like that you're cheering for the game.  I just wish I were as enthusiastic.  I really want to like it and I am, after all, still playing it and want to see the end.  I think one critical thought going through my mind is replayability.  That is odd, because I rarely play games more than once.  Dark Souls was different.  I played the hell out of that game and I will probably continue to play it because it was so infinitely replayable.  This game doesn't feel that way.  If feels more like a one-off.  And I think that saddens me.

Maybe it's because I don't fully understand the systems yet, but nothing about the leveling seems to matter much.  I'm level 70 and the next level will cost me 7500 souls.  I have around 20 Endurance and each additional point gives me, wait for it, one Stamina.  Levels are cheap, and the improvements are practically meaningless.  It doesn't help that leveling is about the only thing to spend souls on.  I'm not surprised you're at 100+ Xtal.  In Dark Souls, you could fine-tune a build, and almost every point mattered.  This just feels like pissing in the ocean.

I guess I'm shot-gunning here because I'm still trying to get at what bothers me the most.  It's all those things I've mentioned before and now all rolled together maybe.  I'm not content to think that this is the best they could have done.  At least when it comes to the mechanics, they could have left it just the way it was, improved on some of the exploits of course, and called it a day.  But for me it's a step backwards.  I am by no means good at Dark Souls PvP.  I lose more than I win.  In this game I win more than I lose.  Maybe that's a good thing, but the wins just aren't satisfying.  When I lose in Dark Souls, I know why.  When I win or lose in this game, I have no idea if it was skill or luck or server lag or what.

The best sense I've gotten so far of what kind of theme or mood they're going for is from Straid's dialogue (protip: you need at least 3 Int before he'll talk to you).  I did enjoy that, and his voice actor is superb (as are all of them).  What he basically said was "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."  But still, this game just feels like Dark Souls fan fiction.  That may be what bothers me the most.

Oh, and that start button lag is horrendous.  Sometimes it takes more than 5 seconds for the menu to come up.  That's part of the performance problems I mentioned earlier Xtal.  Also, my PS3 is almost constantly reading the disk.  Sound effects will often lag by a second or so and the framerate is very inconsistent.  At this point I'm debating whether or not to even get the PC version, but I would like to see how much better it performs.

 

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Steerpike
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March 21, 2014 - 9:34 am
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What PS3 types are we all working with? I wonder if there's a performance difference between them. Mine's a first generation 120GB Slim.

It doesn't help that leveling is about the only thing to spend souls on.

This. This is true. So far I've offset the fact that a single level has practically no impact by buying levels in bulk, but there's no question that progression seems far less significant this time around. I'm still a little afraid of leveling myself out of the multiplayer, so I'm trying to taper off, but since there's nothing to buy I don't get the same sense of progression. Only rarely in DkS1 did I have nothing to spend souls on.

Definitely there are aspects of the design that I don't love. Interestingly, this game makes me want to go back and play Demon's Souls. I never finished it.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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March 21, 2014 - 10:59 am
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...this game makes me want to go back and play Demon's Souls. I never finished it because I suck.

Direct quote!  And for that you should SUFFFFERRRRR!!!!eleven!!

Remember that the matchmaking appears to lean more heavily on your max soul count than on your particular level, SP.  That's nowhere near a definitive statement, but as an experiment I put my summon sign down near the Cardinal Tower bonfire after I had leveled up quite a bit and still got summoned almost immediately.

I could spend souls on leveling up my armor and shield, but since I haven't found an unlimited supply of shards yet, I'm holding on to those for a possible weapon change.  I'm focusing on Dex scaling and there seems to be a marked lack of those types of weapons.  The trend from what I've seen seems more toward the "quality" build.

That's another thing I find annoying.  The weapon requirements and scaling seem completely nutty.  I understand wanting to go in a different direction, but that direction should make sense.  Take the Bandit Knife.  It's got a fairly high Dex requirement, but scales with Str.  It's as though the designers are saying: "want to use this weapon?  Then waste a bunch of your levels in this meaningless stat, and nevermind the bollocks."  Eh?  See what I did there?

EDIT: Oh, almost forgot my original reason for posting.  I have a 160GB slim.  It was a CoDBlOps bundle.  Sold the game to some greasy-fingered kid on Craig's List and kept the console.

 

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Steerpike
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March 21, 2014 - 11:49 am
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I will ignore that vicious ad hominem attack because I clearly do not suck. I am clearly super-duper awesome!

 

Matchmaking leans more heavily on max soul count... don't follow. The number of souls I'm carrying? I honestly haven't looked into the DkS2 mechanics for summoning so this is all news to me.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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March 21, 2014 - 11:58 am
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It's a new stat of sorts.  Look in the upper right corner of the character screen.  You'll see a big number with the soul icon next to it.  They call it something I don't remember, but it represents the total number of souls you've ever earned.  I'm not sure if it includes all your characters since I've only created one (well two, but I used the first one to kill the little old ladies just to see what would happen, and when they didn't respawn I deleted him).

 

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Steerpike
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March 21, 2014 - 12:39 pm
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Oh, I see. I hadn't even noticed that stat! Makes sense, too. More flexible in a way than the level formula, and probably similarly equal.

You killed the little old ladies? Man, and Dix says I'd be a terrible Batman. I am shocked. Shocked and appalled.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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March 21, 2014 - 3:20 pm
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Yeah and their maid too.  It was pretty terrible, but they did drop a good amount of human effigies.  beerchug

It brings up an interesting point that Xtal mentioned.  I'm also going completely FAQ-free.  I was so concerned about missing something in Dark Souls, not realizing how many times I would eventually play the game.  I can't help but feel that I missed out on honest, imperfect discovery in many cases.  Even though I gripe about maybe not playing Dark Souls 2 more than once, I'm sticking to my goal.  OK, honestly I have broken the rule a few times, once intentionally and a few others unintentionally.  But for the most part I'm going blind.  I don't exclude revelations from this thread, unless I deem them too spoiler-y (I have absolutely no criteria on which to judge that other than current mood most likely).

So yeah, I wanted to see what would happen if I murdered what seemed like some pretty important people.  But I don't have the stones to see that particular decision through an entire game...yet.

I've not experienced a Souls game from the beginning.  That right there may be the one thing I enjoy most about playing Dark 
Souls 2.

 

Rule #2: Double-tap

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xtal
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March 21, 2014 - 4:40 pm
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SB, just out of curiosity, what area(s) are you in right now? I found my way last night; turns out I just needed to woman up *ASIDE*(my character is a cute red-headed cleric; that brings up an aside, it's hilarious when an internet forum that is probably 8/10ths dudes posts a thread to put up character pics and most of them are women (I'm referring to the Dks Fextralife Wiki)... we sure still enjoy our female avatars. Not gonna lie: I think ME3 "femshep" (I DIDN'T CREATE THAT DON'T HATE ME) is pretty sexy, but I think manshep is a pretty good looking guy too, so in general I think bioware managed to please both sex appeals)*END OF ASIDE* and explore an area I was previously afraid of.

I don't think they've hit every area out of the park, or every boss. The Wharf is... okay, I like the Bastille but it does seem like a poor man's Latria, and the Huntsman's Copse is so far my least favourite area and includes what I think is the worst boss fight but, redeemingly, one of the better ones as well (the Chariot that we all saw in promotional material). I like what Harvest Valley tries to do but the design is a bit ... simple, in a meh way. But then I think Earthen Peak redeems it; it's like Sen's Fortress' nephew's friend.

But I hit an area last night that I really, really enjoyed. The Shaded Ruins. It was simple, not very big but still complex enough, and it introduced interesting enemies mixed in with some familiar ones. It also had one of the more memorable boss fight moments I've had in a Souls game. I don't want to spoil anything, but to all you Tappers playing DKS2, when you get to the Shaded Ruins consider not summoning any human allies; or if you do just summon Shade for temporary help. There is a more rewarding NPC summon (which, again, I absolutely do not want to spoil). I will say that the Ring of Whispers finally has a use. A rather ... Old Witch's Ring sort of use. Okay, I've totally laid out what you all need to do, but it's still not an explicit spoiler...and I think any of you, based on your previous Souls experience, could figure this out yourselves anyway! I just want to kindly nudge you so you don't miss something that I thought was really neat.

This area spoke to me in a way that ones like the Copse didn't. And I really like that From Software have not foolishly gone all in on the difficulty angle; they find other ways to excite players, and this area's boss fight was one. Not every boss has to be Flamelurker (thank god). I want new experiences, it doesn't simply have to be harder.

I was listening to Podcast Beyond a few days ago (disclaimer: while IGN is generally kind of lame, I like Greg Miller a lot and he's why I listen to any of their podcasts) and it annoyed me to no end when Greg's counterpart, Colin, was saying he doesn't really get into the Souls games because they're just hard for the sake of being hard, and they're not hard in the way that "old school" (PUKE!) games were well-designed hard. Oh, and he said that the game's combat just didn't play that well. WHAT?! I shouted at my ipod. I wanted him to hear me so desperately. You fucking idiot. Your beloved NES games were so hard because they were stupidly designed pieces of shit with no save function. OH GEE GOLLY, YOU HAVE TO BEAT TEH BATTLETOADZ GAME IN ONE SITTING. WHAT GOOD GAME DESIGN! I HOPE NOBODY CALLS A GAME DAMON'S SOUL IN THE FUTURE AND LETZ YOU HAVE ALL THE SAVES! THAT WOULD BE THE BADDEST DESIGNING GAME! YEAH, AND INCREDIBLE WEAPON VARIETY AND EXCELLENTLY TUNED COMBAT SYSTEMS? THAT SOUNDS AWFUL! TWO BUTTONS AND A D-PAD FOREVER PLEASE! IM ADORABLE BECAUSE IM A FUCKING IDIOT WHO SAYS, UNIRONICALLY, SENTENCES SUCH AS "NINETEEN-NINETIES VHS CULTURE!"

Ahem.

Excuse me, while I go punch hipsters.

Demon's / Dark / Dark 2 = GOOD GAME DESIGN

Battletoads = FUCK THAT SHIT

 

Anyway, I think I had a point Botch. My point was something like ... if you're still in one of those just okay areas...maybe you'll appreciate some later ones. The Shaded Woods (that is before the Ruins) is one of the most wretched Souls areas ever. And in a NEW, INTERESTING way. They didn't have to remake the Valley of Defilement. They didn't have to remake Blighttown (although they did, kinda, like I mentioned several posts ago). They found a new way to be evil. And although traversing this area was terrifying, it was that good, delicious Souls-y terror.

Steerpike: I think you will beat the game in ... maybe December. Please keep diaries.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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xtal
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March 21, 2014 - 4:52 pm
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A thought just popped into my head and I had to make a new post for it. Do any of you think that sometimes, for whatever reason, people who are directing voice talent just tell the VA to say some words weirdly? As in I don't think that's how that person would normally say it, because ... all their other English seems just fine. This popped into my head because of 2 DKS2 dialogues:

Fire keeper lady at start of game: The word is "impasse." The VA seriously fucking says AHM-PASS. I've never heard anyone pronounce it AHM-PASS.

Blue Sentinal Targray: The word is "eschew." Anyone who knows this word, and knows what it means, understands how it is pronounced. ESH-OO. Esh. Oo. Eschew. And the VA frigging says "Es Chew." Like chew your food. Es. Chew. What the hell, dude? Did they not teach English in Drangleic?

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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