Friday, August 4, 2017

Finally beat a real boss in Sundered last night.

That is to say, a boss that isn't a mini-boss - but a real, colossal, screen-filling This Is What (developer) Thunder Lotus Does boss.

This is just a miniboss.

I've gone into detail on why I love Sundered in posts and podcasts, and last night was spent mostly not pushing in to the new northeastern area, but nosing around the boundaries of the southern and western zones I'd already explored.  I killed a few minibosses - enough to earn a full Elder Shard, which is perhaps the most important consumable in the game.

You take an Elder Shard to an Abilities Shrine, my disembodied companion insists, to "corrupt" your abilities and make them stronger.  There is no advertised downside, but it just seemed... unwise.  To me.

Whatever has trapped me here and is keeping me alive surely has its own agenda, and binding condensed crystals of unimaginably ancient sentience to me seems like something that could come have unintended consequences.

I didn't corrupt my powers.  I took the Elder shard to the incinerator I'd found in the southern Valkyrie installations, despite the protests of the Thing that's been guiding me, and turned the machine on.

The Thing's name is The Shining Trapezohedron.  It seems to understand everything about this world and definitely sees some profit in having me clear this place out.  Maybe using the shards to corrupt my abilities is just a way to be stronger, and maybe it really will be impossible to leave this place without their gifts and maybe Shiny Trap really does just want to see me free and doesn't have some evil plan to unleash the powers of this place on the world above, but... is that really a risk I'm willing to take?

Newp.  I swapped in some perks that let me earn more XP from enemies and wandered around, scoring new perks, getting deeper into my skill trees and unlocking one that gave me +8 chance to crit and another that buffed my crit damage, and then I went back south again, to Dominion's room.

The mechanics were pretty easy to suss out - freeing each shard on Dominion's body will push him into a new phase of the fight, with much meaner attacks and a lot more little mobs coming after you - so the secret was just to lower the health of the shards to almost-destroyed before moving on to the next one and then obliterating them all in quick succession before Dominion's overwhelming offence can take me down.

You keep on telling me I'm not strong enough escape this place, Shiny Trap, and that I need the power you offer.  But I found myself wondering - as those black tentacles strapped Dominion to his chair and the eldrich power seized him and directed itself at me through him - if that's precisely as powerful as Shiny wants me to be.

Beating a full boss earns you a full Elder Shard, without the need to combine three pieces.

I took it straight to the incinerator.  Shiny is getting angrier and angrier, at me.

He's pretty scary when he's angry, but I'm starting to get the impression that I'm scarier.


  1. hrrrrnggggg... that's a good looking boss fight. But I thought that full bonfire teleportation was the smartest thing dark souls ever did.

    1. They're all really, really good-looking, but beyond their intro and death animations, they're such screen-filling affairs - with the player dashing around 100 feet in the air, dodging countless little projectiles and enemies and huge screen-filling attacks, that you the player are rarely looking at the actual boss during the fight. You're looking at your tiny little hero in a swirling swarm of enemies and orbs, trying to keep her alive and swinging on the boss's weak points.

      Having completed Sundered, though, I can feel confident saying that the lack of checkpoints/fast travel does not hurt it at all - it's designed this way, and it works.

    2. i agree entirely. i havent beaten it yet, but i dont feel the game is a slog at all. i love the sharp mechanics. i enjoy quickly running thru the areas. the swarms are fun and arent so bad if you dont just stand in place and try to fight them. i have found that each area has an environmental strategy you can use for the swarms. and i love the catharsis of being more and more powerful as you travel through the starting areas. anyway i love this game, and im not one to deal with a grind. i feel that a lot of reviewers just don't enjoy 2d games like i do. if you don't enjoy jumping around in a 2d environment and fighting random things, i don't see why you'd ever play sundered anyway.