Enjoying that Dark Souls View

Last time, on a Dazzling Display of Dark Souls, we kicked some ass. Like, seriously. Did you see the fight against the Iron Golem? I haven’t seen anyone lose so humiliatingly since the Netherland’s victory over Spain in the World Cup. Ha ha! Topical humor.

Anyways we got dropped off in Anor Londo, city of the gods and, now that I spend most of my time in my undead form, one of the last places in Lordran where you can find true beauty. I head down the staircase to explore this new destination.

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These sentinels are the only beings still seeming to reside here, at least in these upper levels. I’m not wanting a fight before I’ve found a bonfire in the area, but luckily, these guys don’t seem to be looking for one either. Judging by their posture, they’re definitely guards, but mayhaps they’ve already heard that I am the Best Chosen One, and that I have honorable business here? Or maybe my reputation has preceded me and they want to avoid the thrashing I’ve been giving half of Lordran. Whatever the case, I don’t bother them, and they don’t bother me.

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Two more of them inside what looks to be some sort of temple or shrine. Again, I’m not looking for a fight, so I don’t get close.

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The shrine opens out onto a large landing. I take some stairs down from there, and find a bonfire, tended to by a fire keeper. I talk with her first, before settling down. She gives me a bit of direction, telling me that a revelation will visit the Best Chosen One if he visits Geezer Zeus’s old keep that’s just across the way. She also tells me a bit of life as a fire keeper, referring to herself as “a gatekeeper and a guide”, saying that she sticks with the job because otherwise, there’d be no beacons in Anor Londo. Turns out, the bonfires tended to by the keepers are special beyond just giving me a bit of extra estus. They’re linked to one another, somehow, and shall never die as long as the keeper lives. However, it seems keepers can’t leave the area around their bonfires.

Thus enlightened, I rest at the bonfire and level up before moving on.

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I’ve said it before, but this area is absolutely gorgeous. It strikes me as a bit odd, in fact. I’m just a little over 30 hours into the game now. Usually, game makers will blow their visual design load pretty early on, catching as many players as they can before some will drop out. I’m impressed that From Software has held out for so long. Hopefully, this is a sign that they’re still holding plenty of other great sights in reserve.

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Now that I’ve got a checkpoint, I think it’s time to mess with some people. I start by seeing what those sentinels are really guarding. I want to see what’s worth protecting. Turns out, the sentinels are aggressive, although you have to get fairly close to trigger them. I do with the two of these. There were treasure chests behind them, although it seemed to me they’re defending the statue more than the loot.

Their shields are the most annoying part of the fight, completely blocking any attacks that so much as brushes up against them and leaving their fronts and sides absolutely invulnerable most of the time. That means I have to brush up my counter game, but unfortunately, their attacks don’t leave them open for long.

Particularly when fighting two of them at once, the openings to attack are rare. It only takes two or three attacks in sequence to deplete my stamina and knock my guard away. I might be able to handle one of them, but two is just too much, and working in concert, they wear me down.

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Upon reviving, I take a different tack, and lure them out one by one. I fare much better this way. They have a few different attacks, and some, such as them slamming their shield to the ground or their strong overhand slash, do leave a bit of an opening for me to strike when I don’t have to worry about a partner’s attacks. In spite of their size and armor, they can’t take much punishment, so they end up falling fairly quickly when I can single them out.

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Those sentinels were guarding some Demon Titanite, upgrade material for certain weapons, and this statue. I have no idea who this is, but I imagine, given the setting, he’s either some sort of god or a prominent subject.

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There’s another shrine across the way, with two more sentinels, two more chests, and another statue. I slay the sentinels just as easily as I did last time.

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The statue shows a different figure this time. I’m sure these guys are important. Just not sure how.

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The first chest hold some Twinkling Titanite, which can be used to upgrade unique equipment. Such as my beloved Black Knight Sword. I swear, I’d marry that blade if I could. The second chest gives me pause. You see that chain there? Off the side of the chest? Most chests have chains that loop backwards. Which means…

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Once again, you’re not going to get me with so simple a deception. The mimic drops a crystal halberd when slain, a powerful weapon that’s also very fragile and can’t be repaired.

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I find another sentinel, this time guarding a flight of stairs. Up the stairs, building gives way to nature, and I find myself before I giant gate blocked off with a golden light. Unfortunately, it’s been sealed by the “Great Lord’s” power, and no amount of yelling at it that I am the Best Chosen One will make it budge. I am going to have to hunt down this Great Lord, and show him what the true price of defying me is.

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The only way left is down. I take a circular elevator down from the courtyard, and find this sight. Is that… is that one of the Bell Gargoyles from way back when?

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It is! Ah, it’s so good to see a familiar face! And cut it off! The battle is intense, and I wish I had the time to take more screencaps than I did, but the beast was constantly on the move. Stairs are not its friend, however, and I was often able to just duck under it’s halberd by staying at a lower level than it. At one point, it knocks me back with a massive swing of its tail, and I’m fearful of plummeting into the abyss below, but luckily I come to a halt before falling off the edge. I regain my feet and press the attack again, and it falls before too long.

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Unfortunately, the bridge comes to an end before really going anywhere. I consider seeing if I can make a leap to that staircase, but I decide to take a look around before immediately going for the stupid option, for once.

I’m glad I did, for I find a staircase hidden to the side of the elevator, leading down to a path. The path only leads to some more Demon Titanite, but a well-placed message clues me into an alternate path I can take.

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This really doesn’t seem safe, and I’m sure the architects did not plan for it, but I climb up one of these decorative outcroppings connecting the bridge with what looks to be a chapel of some sort to the side. Reaching the top, I drop off onto a balcony, and head inside through a broken window.

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Almost immediately, this guy drops from above. I’m so surprised, I slam my sword into him on reflex. He folds like a used piece of tissue paper. I’m a little worried about that, actually. I didn’t even take a moment to consider before killing him. Did this guy actually mean me harm? Maybe he was just an NPC, dropping down to greet me or ask me for help. I mean, his death is still his fault. You just don’t surprise the world’s Best Chosen One while he’s carrying a big sword like that. And the Best Chosen One is always carrying a big sword. Still, though, I have a moment of concern that I might have slain an innocent person.

I feel a bit better when a second one comes down and attacks me. Nope, these are just mooks after all! It’s a little odd, fighting these guys. They move just like the thieves we fought in the lower undead burg, and die in a single hit, just like early game enemies. They feel a little out of place, so far in.

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I climb up to the rafters of the building, and find a few more of these enemies up there. Not wanting to take on more than one at a time on this precarious footing, a lure them in one by one with arrows, then end them with a single mighty swing once they get close.

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In the middle of the rafters, there’s this chandelier with some treasure on it. And I do love me some treasure. That’s the fun part of adventuring; finding treasure. It’s like Christmas and your birthday all rolled into one without the evil undertones both those days bring. I jump down to the chandelier to grab it, and the fixture buckles under my weight, sending both of us plummeting to the floor far below. As the ground rises to meet me, my last thought is that it probably would have been smarter to just try and cut through the chain, then make my way to ground level later.

Oops. Let’s never speak of this again.

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I make my way back up and recollect my lost power without incident. The gargoyles don’t respawn, the sentinels aren’t in my way, and those white clad people seriously can’t pose a threat. I’m pretty sure I killed two of them just by breathing a little hard. I make my way across the rafters to the other side of the room, and find this fog gate. There is a staircase leading downward, but a quick exploration doesn’t reveal anything of note, so I just cross through to the other side. I have to say, I’m really grateful for that message there. You can never tell when there’s a boss fight waiting on the other side of these things.

There’s a lever immediately on the other side of this door. In spite of all my incredible strength, I can’t budge it. I’m sure this is going to be important later on.

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Instead, I cross over to this landing, which bears another, circular lever in the middle of it. I push it just to see if I can, and it budges easily. The mechanism I just activated twists and moves the entire tower downwards, connecting the area the gargoyle was guarding with the one beyond it.

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Almost immediately, I’m set upon by another one of those gargoyles with the wicked sweet helmets. These things are really aggressive, but they do make for some exciting fights. There’s a bit of give and take at first, but I’m able to press the gargoyle back into the stairs on the tower, and there the battle turns against him. I easily slip behind him and cut off his tail in a single attack, but as I’ve already got the Gargoyle Tail Axe, this does nothing other than take away a few of his more deadly attacks. Also, that has to really sting. At one point, he stops to use his breath weapon. These must be a different breed from the Bell Gargoyles I fought earlier, as he breathes lightning rather than fire. Up close, his breath is really easy to dodge, and I easily slip in beside him and cut the remainder of his life away. He’s so kind as to leave me a full set of gargoyle gear; helm, halberd, and shield. The shield and halberd are actually pretty good, although not quite as nice as the stuff I’m already using. Of course, I’m already wearing the gargoyle helm, so that’s not going to do me much good, but maybe I could give it to someone, and we could start a club. Laurentius seems like he might be up for that.

I’ve got two ways I can go from here. I could take the new connection across to the other bridge and towards that gorgeous cathedral, or I could head downstairs into the tower. I go downwards first, to see what that leads to. It turns out, the tower drops me off right at the ground level of that massive building whose rafters I was climbing in earlier. I head inside.

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A helpful message warns me of this guy laying in ambush, but seriously? These guys? Whoever left that note may as well just not have bothered. These ‘warriors’ couldn’t kill me if they caught me sleeping. And blind. And paraplegic. And an infant.

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Unfortunately, this room is filled with these guys. They’re fast, but even when they are able to hit me, their weak little limbs can barely scratch my armor. I’m starting to feel like a bully picking on the kindergarten kids, killing them by the dozens as I am. Unfortunately, they have no sense of self preservation, and rush into the attack as soon as they see me.

One of them leaves his weapon behind as he falls, and that finally lets me know who I’m fighting. The Painting Guardians. Apparently, a clan of people who couldn’t cut it in either art or gym class and so have dedicated their unlives and those of their following generations to not quite succeeding in either.

I get a bit of treasure here. The fallen chandelier holds the sorcery “great magic weapon” and a corpse in the corner is wearing a full set of Black Iron Armor, very heavy gear that would both protect and slow me down greatly.

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Just crossing the room has seen me cut down several families’ worth of Painting Guardians. Good thing they’re undead and will resurrect in time, else I’d have just made quite a few people very, very unhappy. I’m starting to worry about going hollow. I haven’t seen much sign of losing my sanity to the undead curse yet, but would an insane person really feel his sanity leaving him? Some say it’s the humanity that lets the undead keep from going insane, others say it’s just determination, but either way all undead go hollow eventually, right? It seems to be death that triggers it, and I’ve died far more often than most. And yet, I’m still trucking along, almost as fine as when I left the asylum. And I have power. So much power. You’ve been watching me so far, seen all the enemies I’ve crushed. If I turn violent, is there really anyone who can stand against me for long? Should I go hollow, the world’s screwed.

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In any case, the chapel is now completely empty, save for this massive painting at the end of it. I take a look at it, because what else are you going to do when you find a giant painting.

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Not to my taste, really, but there’s so little true works of art around Lordran these days, I should appreciate it while I can. I touch the painting.

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My hand penetrates its surface. Something grabs me powerfully, and pulls me into it. I pass through the canvas much too easily for my liking.

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Ummm….

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The bridge is out behind me. Anor Londo? Exploring the City of Lords? Pursuing that all important Lordvessel? I’m going to have to put those on hold for now. It seems I can’t go back.

Well… blast.

Next time: Welp, guess we’re doing that now.

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5 responses to “Enjoying that Dark Souls View

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