Sunday, March 16, 2014

I love this game.

I'm probably approaching 20 hours in Dark Souls II, level fiftysomething, I think.  I've poured 45 points into strength, because I'm already shooting for my standard build: a shield that can block anything in one hand - a greatshield that can absorb a dragon's tail whip as easily as assault of a kitten's paw, light armor beneath - and a small, zippy blade in the other.

Usually I favor the faster, curved blades - a heavily-upgraded falchion was my weapon of choice in Demon's Souls, and Quelaag's Furysword served me very well in Dark Souls - but I came across an early-game ultra-greatsword, simply called "greatsword."  It is, clearly, a cousin to the Buster Sword.

It's a massive, heavy, wicked-looking thing, with great chips in the blade and an unstoppable force to its swings.  Fortunately, my STR was already beefed up, so I could equip it immediately, and soon found I'd abandoned my fast, reliable Falchion +3 for the eminently tricky Greatsword +5.

It's a completely different gameplay experience.  A much sharper risk-reward edge, in which a missed blow will leave me wide open but a landed one will take massive chunks off even a boss, or insta-kill normal mobs.  It highlights Dark Souls' slow but strategically-potent combat, in which the buttons you pressed a second or half-second ago must be well-chosen, based on experience and knowledge of your foes, as attacks or taking a swig of a healing potion cannot be cancelled and will be brutally exploited.

After a brief trip across town to procure shoes, Kayla and I spent most of today lounging around while I played Dark Souls II, and about every fifteen minutes or so - as I crept along ramparts under a shimmering moonlight, striding towards a white-cloaked warrior with my shield up and a ridiculous weapon across my shoulder, my cape rippling in the wind - I would utter "God, I love these games."

These dudes have a name, but I just call them the Turtle Knights.  The first time one flattens you with that mace, you will fear them like nothing you've met before.  By the time you're through with them, you will know every move in their repertoire - exactly how to evade them, to what degree each of their attacks leaves them open and precisely how much time each permits you to get in there and put the hurt on him.

Souls games are - inFamous aside, perhaps - my favorite action games of the past decade.  Nothing else offers such pure, vicious strategy - where being too aggressive may get you killed, but it's may also be the surest way to keep the odds manageable.  When you swing open a door and find a few drunken undead mercenaries asleep across some bar tables in No Man's Wharf, the pirate town from hell, you don't give them time to notice you.  You don't draw them in to the courtyard and potentially, patiently fight them three-on-one - you blitz into the room, swing the ultra-greatsword in an overhead arc and whomp! it through the table they're sitting at, instantly killing one of them as another comes to terms with the fact that the table he was leaning on is now splinters, and draws his blade.  But you don't give him time to wind his swing, because a second ago, you already committed to swinging, and your superweapon swoops in a great horizontal strike through his chest.  He falls as shimmering moonlight-mist, the light of his souls, drifts from his fading corpse into your chest.

You turn to face the last one - a mean fucker with one sadistically-curved blade in each hand - and you don't bring your shield up.  He snarls and dashes for you, but it's already too late for him.  One second ago, you already committed to the decisive, brutal blow that will finish this.

God, I love this game.

In other news, I just now, today, discovered that the link I was using in my sidebar to McCracken's blog didn't actually work.  So that's fixed now!  Go to McCracken's blog and see what he's sayin' about the new season of Hannibal and Dark Souls II (hint: both are awesome).   By the way Alex, I stumbled across something called Feeding Hannibal - it's the blog written by Hannibal's food stylist, explaining the whys of Hannibal's beautiful presentations and even some recipes!

Which reminds me, I need to send Mogs an email.  Mogs?  Check your email.  I need your aid!


  1. First of all, I had no idea you tagged me, thank you kindly.

    Second of all... kupowered? I'm seriously embarrassed at how long that took me to figure out.

    1. Even better, Mogs was able to help me out with the widget he uses in his sidebar - so now it'll always show the most recent post from your, his and Chamberlain's blogs :D