• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

After 8 years, today I became a person who has beat Dark Souls

Chittagong

Gold Member


Well, this has been a loooooooong time in the making. I first got Dark Souls via Lovefilm for Xbox 360 in 2011, and posted a thread asking for advice on how to approach it. A lot of good advice in the thread, but it’s fun to look back to it, 8 years later.

Ultimately, I ran into the Bell Gargoyles on the roof, tried it many times. Then a trip came up, and when I came back, I moved onto something else. Then the generation was over, and I didn’t try again. Having been able to play it on the go would probably have made all the difference:

So I have reached my first severe frustration point. Two gargoyles on the roof. Pretty easy to get the first lose half of its energy. Then when the other appears I am f'ed. Another one of them stays far spitting fire, while the other is close. Using potion is impossible because takes too long, as do other items - if I use them close they whack me, if far they torch me.

Have probably tried 15 times at least.

I'm flying tmrw from London to LA and just had a thought - if I just could continue this on my Vita over the Atlantic
FFFUUUUUUU

It 's well doable, right?

Vita Switch means Life.

With Switch proving an amazing console to get into deep, long games, I decided to take it on again this April. I finally powered through the Bell Gargoyles, and boy what a journey it was. My playthrough took around 100h. I defeated all bosses except Dark Sun Gwyndolin, because I chose wrong. I finished at L105, with a Halberd +15 and a full Havel kit.

Here’s what I learned of the journey, and how I came to appreciate Dark Souls.


Understanding the core gameplay loop

It wasn’t really until I took on Bloodborne and made it to Cainhurst Hastle that I truly understood the attraction of the core gameplay loop.

Make it to a bonfire -> proceed as far as you can -> die -> proceed further -> die again -> proceed even further -> reach bonfire / open shortcut

This loop is so damn satisfying, every time. A new area opens up unknown and hostile. You are on the edge constantly, threading carefully. It seems overwhelming at first. Then, after a few tries, you begin to get it. Suddenly the area has gone from scary and unknown to fun and familiar.


Thinking ‘this is going to be hard’ makes the game harder

This is the paradox of Dark Souls. Because people have told you it’s hard, you are inclined to think that whatever impossible thing you meet is just you needing to ‘gid gud’. Except for one or two bosses, that is hardly ever the case. You are more likely just too early there, underpowered or lack equipment.


The game gets easier after the beginning

I am not sure if this was because of me getting better in the game, my character becoming stronger, or because the levels and bosses were easier, but I didn’t have a lot of trouble after Ornstein & Smough. So after I got past that road bump, it was pretty much smooth sailing to the end.


Wikis are essential

Some of the stuff in the game is almost impossible to find by your own, some real Simon’s Quest shit, so I did resort to a wiki every once in a while to make sense of it all. For example, Painted World or Arteamis or the DLC would have been pretty impossible to find. Also, understanding things like weapon and flask upgrades is pretty hard on your own.


The game is much longer than I thought

I was really surprised by how massive the game felt. I was sure Sen’s Fortress would be the end. Then when I got to Anor Londo, I was thinking ‘cool, what an awesome final area’. Little did I realise that the game was only starting to open up from there. What a crazy amount of content.


Toughest areas
  • Undead Burg. The run from the bonfire across the bridge, fire bombers, skeletons, that’s where I finally learned to play this game. I learned that holding my shield up I will bait the enemy to hit me and create a safe opening to hit back.
  • Sen’s Fortress. Many swear words were yelled as I got whacked by the swinging blades and/or hit by the projectiles.
  • Anor Londo. Those damn archers on the run up, holy shit.
  • Tomb of Giants. Did it mostly in the dark because I couldn’t seem to find the lantern. I had placed them into storage.

Toughest bosses

Surprisingly, only a few bosses gave me a lot of grief. But four bosses stand out to me.
  • Bell Gargoyles - my original fail point in 2011. Still had a hard time with it.
  • Iron Golem - this seemed downright impossible until I accidentally pushed it over the edge
  • Ornstein & Smough - took some 30 tries. Insanely hard.
  • Chaos Witch Quelaag - until I had my wife look out for the tell of the red blast.
  • Four Kings - this took a while, coordinating against many bosses was hard again.

What’s next

While I am travelling, there won’t be any From Software games unfortunately. It’s going to be Octopath Traveller this week, and then Fire Emblem.

Once I get back to home I am thinking of playing Dark Souls 2 and Dark Souls 3 next (PS4 Pro right?). I know the second game is not that well regarded, but I think playing it right after the first one will make me appreciate the QoL improvements in it, and I won’t find the gameplay style as jarring as I did if I played other games now.

After that, I will try and finish my Bloodborne playthrough. I have got until Ludwig, and then I gave up as something else came up.

Finally, I will get through Sekiro. I am currently at Gyonoby Oniwa.

Thanks GAF for all the help on this 8 year long journey, I have truly enjoyed it!
 
Last edited:
Cool congrats. It's the only Souls game I never truly finished and for some reason, after finishing all the others I just can't seem to get into it and I lose interest. :(
 

Chittagong

Gold Member
Cool congrats. It's the only Souls game I never truly finished and for some reason, after finishing all the others I just can't seem to get into it and I lose interest. :(

Interesting, so I guess you didn’t find Dark Souls 2 that bad then? My friend was telling me to skip it and go straight to 3, but after reading a book of how the series came about I am quite interested to see a different director’s take on it.
 

JimiNutz

Banned
This will be me with Sekiro one day.
Got about half way through but then life got in the way and it's been too many months now that I'm scared to pick it back up again.

I'll start it from the beginning again one day....
 

highrider

Banned
Bloodborne is still my favorite game this generation, I’ve been tempted by Dark Souls on the Switch but my only qualm with From stuff is that it has zero respect for a players time. With my current work schedule even something like BOTW will probably take me forever to finish and I can’t even manage a truly difficult/punishing game atm.
 
I advise to disregard quoted advice. DLC is some of the best. Combat is also noticeable improved where you can't hide behind a shield most of the time. The world however is less interesting to navigate through for the most part.

Combat is some of the worst because movement and animation are clunky and unresponsive, far short of the standard set in the Miyazaki directed games. Agreed that the world is uninteresting for the most part
 
Last edited:

billyxci

Permabanned.
and on a switch...congratulations.

the very thought of playing this game on such a tiny screen, with low framerate, and crappy controls is enough to give me nightmares.

Congratulations. I also advise skipping Dark Souls 2.
i don't.

i nearly skipped it because everyone hates on it but to this day it's still my most played Souls game. it's a fantastic game but i can see why it's not the best souls game. it has flaws but definitely worth playing.
 
Last edited:

Ulysses 31

Gold Member
Combat is some of the worst because movement and animation are clunky and unresponsive, far short of the standard set in the Miyazaki directed games. Agreed that the world is uninteresting for the most part
Talking about Scholar of the First Sin? Only issue I had was some questionable hits in some boss fights and some lame traps where you got swarmed.
 

billyxci

Permabanned.
i remember when i first tried it. i thought i was doing really well not dying to the first boss. when i got to the firelink i tried going through the graveyard and those little skeledudes kept fucking me up. i went back to it and noticed the path going up to the burg. i struggled getting through that area but after the Taurus Demon i was unstoppable... for the most part. If i remember correctly the only bosses I struggled with were Capra + Four Kings + Gwyn. Out of those 3 Capra was easiest since it's so easy to cheese. Four Kings fucked my shit up. I was nearly in tears of rage with Gwyn.
 

Doom85

Member
Fucking kudos. I personally prefer 3 and to me Bloodborne is king of the franchise, but DS 1 is still incredible. And yeah, while I would say 2 is the "weakest", it's still solid and worth checking out, just has the most hiccups compared to the other games.
 

billyxci

Permabanned.
Fucking kudos. I personally prefer 3 and to me Bloodborne is king of the franchise, but DS 1 is still incredible. And yeah, while I would say 2 is the "weakest", it's still solid and worth checking out, just has the most hiccups compared to the other games.
bloodborne > 3 > 1 > 2
 

pr0cs

Member
I know the second game is not that well regarded, but I think playing it right after the first one will make me appreciate the QoL improvements in it, and I won’t find the gameplay style as jarring as I did if I played other games now.
Don't skip DS2, if you can finish the first game you'll find yourself much more competent in 2. There are a lot of cool areas in 2 that are worth seeing and tbh, I liked the dlc more than any other souls game.
Like you I avoided the souls series for a long time. The thought of playing a punishing game was an insult to my backlog and a waste of what free time I have. Finishing ds1 proved how wrong I was and now I am the biggest fan of FromSoftware because the sense of accomplishment of making it to the next area, killing a boss, the thrill of getting to the next boss cutscene is unmatched.
Welcome to the club, hope you continue on to the next game and post your comments on your experiences there too.
 
Talking about Scholar of the First Sin? Only issue I had was some questionable hits in some boss fights and some lame traps where you got swarmed.

No, I'm talking about the fundamental movement mechanics of the base game.

Deliberate input lag and the agility system, moving around half like you're underwater and half like you're sliding on roller skates, weapons not having a proper sense of heft/weight, lying physics like your drop attacks suddenly "dodging" your target and uncool looking, awkward, bloodless pvp backstabs. The movement in other soulsborne games feels smooth and deliberate. DS2 is full of jank.

bloodborne > 3 > 1 > 2

Ever played Demon's Souls? It's an incredible game. It's also the most similar to Bloodborne in terms of creating a world with a haunting, creepy atmosphere that gives you chills.
 

Gamernyc78

Banned


Well, this has been a loooooooong time in the making. I first got Dark Souls via Lovefilm for Xbox 360 in 2011, and posted a thread asking for advice on how to approach it. A lot of good advice in the thread, but it’s fun to look back to it, 8 years later.

Ultimately, I ran into the Bell Gargoyles on the roof, tried it many times. Then a trip came up, and when I came back, I moved onto something else. Then the generation was over, and I didn’t try again. Having been able to play it on the go would probably have made all the difference:





Vita Switch means Life.

With Switch proving an amazing console to get into deep, long games, I decided to take it on again this April. I finally powered through the Bell Gargoyles, and boy what a journey it was. My playthrough took around 100h. I defeated all bosses except Dark Sun Gwyndolin, because I chose wrong. I finished at L105, with a Halberd +15 and a full Havel kit.

Here’s what I learned of the journey, and how I came to appreciate Dark Souls.


Understanding the core gameplay loop

It wasn’t really until I took on Bloodborne and made it to Cainhurst Hastle that I truly understood the attraction of the core gameplay loop.

Make it to a bonfire -> proceed as far as you can -> die -> proceed further -> die again -> proceed even further -> reach bonfire / open shortcut

This loop is so damn satisfying, every time. A new area opens up unknown and hostile. You are on the edge constantly, threading carefully. It seems overwhelming at first. Then, after a few tries, you begin to get it. Suddenly the area has gone from scary and unknown to fun and familiar.


Thinking ‘this is going to be hard’ makes the game harder

This is the paradox of Dark Souls. Because people have told you it’s hard, you are inclined to think that whatever impossible thing you meet is just you needing to ‘gid gud’. Except for one or two bosses, that is hardly ever the case. You are more likely just too early there, underpowered or lack equipment.


The game gets easier after the beginning

I am not sure if this was because of me getting better in the game, my character becoming stronger, or because the levels and bosses were easier, but I didn’t have a lot of trouble after Ornstein & Smough. So after I got past that road bump, it was pretty much smooth sailing to the end.


Wikis are essential

Some of the stuff in the game is almost impossible to find by your own, some real Simon’s Quest shit, so I did resort to a wiki every once in a while to make sense of it all. For example, Painted World or Arteamis or the DLC would have been pretty impossible to find. Also, understanding things like weapon and flask upgrades is pretty hard on your own.


The game is much longer than I thought

I was really surprised by how massive the game felt. I was sure Sen’s Fortress would be the end. Then when I got to Anor Londo, I was thinking ‘cool, what an awesome final area’. Little did I realise that the game was only starting to open up from there. What a crazy amount of content.


Toughest areas
  • Undead Burg. The run from the bonfire across the bridge, fire bombers, skeletons, that’s where I finally learned to play this game. I learned that holding my shield up I will bait the enemy to hit me and create a safe opening to hit back.
  • Sen’s Fortress. Many swear words were yelled as I got whacked by the swinging blades and/or hit by the projectiles.
  • Anor Londo. Those damn archers on the run up, holy shit.
  • Tomb of Giants. Did it mostly in the dark because I couldn’t seem to find the lantern. I had placed them into storage.

Toughest bosses

Surprisingly, only a few bosses gave me a lot of grief. But four bosses stand out to me.
  • Bell Gargoyles - my original fail point in 2011. Still had a hard time with it.
  • Iron Golem - this seemed downright impossible until I accidentally pushed it over the edge
  • Ornstein & Smough - took some 30 tries. Insanely hard.
  • Chaos Witch Quelaag - until I had my wife look out for the tell of the red blast.
  • Four Kings - this took a while, coordinating against many bosses was hard again.

What’s next

While I am travelling, there won’t be any From Software games unfortunately. It’s going to be Octopath Traveller this week, and then Fire Emblem.

Once I get back to hope I am thinking of playing Dark Souls 2 and Dark Souls 3 next (PS4 Pro right?). I know the second game is not that well regarded, but I think playing it right after the first one will make me appreciate the QoL improvements in it, and I won’t find the gameplay style as jarring as I did if I played other games now.

After that, I will try and finish my Bloodborne playthrough. I have got until Ludwig, and then I gave up as something else came up.

Finally, I will get through Sekiro. I am currently at Gyonoby Oniwa.

Thanks GAF for all the help on this 8 year long journey, I have truly enjoyed it!

Great games! Congrats and good luck on Sekiro another great game I beat. Oh Bloodborne! Yeah finish tht gem.
 

Vawn

Banned
and on a switch...congratulations.

the very thought of playing this game on such a tiny screen, with low framerate, and crappy controls is enough to give me nightmares.

I waited on the Remaster just to play it on Switch. I bought it day one, played for a couple hours, stopped and immediately went and got it for PS4 Pro.

It's playable on Switch for sure, but you sacrifice way too much.
 

Ivellios

Member
Congratulations OP! This is one game i need to find time to finish one day, since everyone says its is just as good as Bloodborne and Sekiro, which were some of the best games i ever played.

I also felt this sense of accomplishment after finally completing Sekiro.
 

I_D

Member
The games become much easier once you realize they're more similar to Splintercell than Devil May Cry. Congrats on the victory, but your journey has just begun.

Now that've you beaten the first one, the others shouldn't be too tough.
 
Interesting, so I guess you didn’t find Dark Souls 2 that bad then? My friend was telling me to skip it and go straight to 3, but after reading a book of how the series came about I am quite interested to see a different director’s take on it.

If you enjoy Souls games theres no reason to skip it. It certainly aint the best and has some flaws in it but I think it should still be played. Only the elitists and souls obsessed will tell you otherwise. I would also recommend playing the souls-like games if you're so much in the genre like The Surge since the sequel is coming soon. It has a more unique mechanic to hacking and slashing enemies.
 
Last edited:

Codes 208

Member
So you took 8 years because of things IRL?
Tbf i didnt beat DS until 3 came out despite playing the first on 360 (i got stuck on capra demon) and ds2 years later (i got stuck on the dragon just before fighting the old dragon slayer) so I just couldnt get into them. It wasnt until 3 came out that i finally had that click, then afterwards i beat the remaster if DS1, the ig DS1 via xbo BC (for achievements) and finally ds2 and bloodborne.

Its by far my favorite (non-zelda) action fantasy series. But i admit its one of those series you need to be prepared to get into.
 

cr0w

Old Member
Don't skip 2. It has a markedly different feel and atmosphere, even more disjointed and esoteric than the first...its world and characters are in some sort of purgatory, and no one really knows why or how they got there. The different areas are also nonsensical in their transitions to each other, but it makes sense if you remember that the world is a form of limbo and very dream-like.

It also provides the most build options in the series. The variety is unmatched.
 
S

SLoWMoTIoN

Unconfirmed Member
Tbf i didnt beat DS until 3 came out despite playing the first on 360 (i got stuck on capra demon) and ds2 years later (i got stuck on the dragon just before fighting the old dragon slayer) so I just couldnt get into them. It wasnt until 3 came out that i finally had that click, then afterwards i beat the remaster if DS1, the ig DS1 via xbo BC (for achievements) and finally ds2 and bloodborne.

Its by far my favorite (non-zelda) action fantasy series. But i admit its one of those series you need to be prepared to get into.
I think I beat every DS game around the first week because back then I loved games and rarely had a backlog. Nowadays I just usually get bored of newer games and barely play them. I was thinking it was the same for people that take this long to finish a game these days.
 

Codes 208

Member
Ds2 is definitely a mixed bag. Its my least favorite of the entire franchise (including sekiro, BB and DeS)

But its atleast worth playing through once.
 

Chittagong

Gold Member
So you took 8 years because of things IRL?

Lol, got it in December 2011 and played until I got stuck in the Bell Gargoyles. Then had a work trip to LA and after a few weeks away something new and shiny had come up. I think it was Modern Warfare 3, I remember playing it all Christmas. These being the days of games on disc, I probably wouldn’t have swapped discs to alternate between MW3 and Dark Souls.

Timeline checks out, I played Dark Souls in early December.



Forensic investigation of my achievements corroborates this sequence. There is a gap in my MW3 achievements around my Dark Souls achievements and US trip, and once I am back mid December, I pick up MW3, not Dark Souls:



Then I finally got back to it on Switch this April:

Just started playing this on Switch, so much fun. On 360 I gave up at the dragon on the church roof.

Now after playing Bloodborne and Sekiro I find it much more manageable.

And I realised that I never understood blocking, that you can just hold L near the enemy, bait them to hit, take little or no damage, and get a safe opening to take a swing. Seems a bit easier now *facepalm*

I am now L21, but haven’t leveled my weapon at all. Should I? I think my best weapon is the club with the spiky ball in the end.
 

pr0cs

Member
But i admit its one of those series you need to be prepared to get into
The soulsborne series in general require patience and practice, for me that meant giving up the other games I was playing at the time to get some muscle memory suitable to be proficient.
I'm in awe of someone who can pick up and play souls at the drop of a hat, I mean working through the sequels was easier after finishing the first but it still took a while to get my souls legs back
 

iconmaster

Banned
the very thought of playing this game on such a tiny screen, with low framerate, and crappy controls is enough to give me nightmares.

I played through it on Xbox 360. Larger screen but far worse framerate. If you mean the Switch sticks and buttons are significantly worse than other consoles,’ well… to each his own I suppose.
 

#Phonepunk#

Banned
Switch version is really nice tbh. playing portable is totally do-able. this isn't a button mashing split second game, if you need to dodge roll, you just hit a button. it's a little smaller of a button but in a way, that's nicer. it's a lighter experience. i had no issue playing w joycons or pro controller.

the Switch screen is pretty large too. much bigger than a phone, maybe halfway between a large phone and a tablet. the game looks fantastic on the portable screen. nice and sharp docked as well.

frame rate is a non issue. the original game was 30fps, this is rock solid 30, including problem spots like Blighttown. visually it is the most accurate of all the remasters. audio issue is a bummer but not a big deal. a damn fine way to play.
 
Last edited:

Chittagong

Gold Member
Switch version is really nice tbh. playing portable is totally do-able. this isn't a button mashing split second game, if you need to dodge roll, you just hit a button. it's a little smaller of a button but in a way, that's nicer. it's a lighter experience. i had no issue playing w joycons or pro controller.

the Switch screen is pretty large too. much bigger than a phone, maybe halfway between a large phone and a tablet. the game looks fantastic on the portable screen. nice and sharp docked as well.

frame rate is a non issue. the original game was 30fps, this is rock solid 30, including problem spots like Blighttown. visually it is the most accurate of all the remasters. audio issue is a bummer but not a big deal. a damn fine way to play.

Yeah I had no issues at all playing portable. Only tabletop mode was problematic, because of the awkward angle of the kickstand, and distance to the screen. Blighttown was a total non-event. I had heard a lot about it but it was pretty smooth and quite easy tbh.

Question to GAF - for DS2 and DS3, I am thinking PS4 Pro because I have Bloodborne and Sekiro on Dualshock too. I also have an Xbox One X, so am I crazy to get them on PS4 Pro?
 

jadedm17

Member
God bless you my friend, I'll never be that person.

Wikis are essential

Some of the stuff in the game is almost impossible to find by your own, some real Simon’s Quest shit, so I did resort to a wiki every once in a while to make sense of it all. For example, Painted World or Arteamis or the DLC would have been pretty impossible to find. Also, understanding things like weapon and flask upgrades is pretty hard on your own.

This is where I nope the hell out : Difficult is fine. Endless enemies is fine. Add in no direction? No. No. No. I've put many hours in and I don't see how people do it.

Ever play Dead Cells OP? Actual progression and a good sense of where you've been, where you're going. Now that's a great Souls-like experience IMO.
 

MordredNZ

Neo Member
I love the from soft games! Gives a real challenge that when you get stuck, but finally beat that area or boss, you get a real sense of accomplishment. I'm on the last boss of Sekiro at the moment. Took a break from NG+ DS1 to play it because DS1 was crushing me. ARGH KALAMEEEEEEEET!!!

Toughest bosses

Surprisingly, only a few bosses gave me a lot of grief. But four bosses stand out to me.
  • Bell Gargoyles - my original fail point in 2011. Still had a hard time with it.
  • Iron Golem - this seemed downright impossible until I accidentally pushed it over the edge
  • Ornstein & Smough - took some 30 tries. Insanely hard.
  • Chaos Witch Quelaag - until I had my wife look out for the tell of the red blast.
  • Four Kings - this took a while, coordinating against many bosses was hard again.

OP - did you play the DLC at all? I see your list of toughest bosses but surely one of those in the DLC would have made that list? Manus especially. The DLC bosses broke me for ages!
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom