Proving Ourselves in Dark Souls

Last time, on this thing people keep reading for whatever reason, I gained the power to control fire and used it to kill some things that are already dead. It was certainly fun, but now it’s time to do something that actually matters. That’s right, it’s back into the sewers for us.

At the end of the sewer level, past the double doors previously blocked to us, I find the entrance to the infamous Blighttown. I don’t know much about this place, other than that it’s spoken of with much ire around the internet. Is it because the area’s especially difficult? Annoying? Boring? We’ll find out together! Remember, here at Lost to the Aether, I play this game so you don’t have to!


The entrance to Blighttown is this massive blasted pit. We’ve made it to the lowest depths of the sewer level, and now we’re going to have to dig even deeper. I sure hope that’s not metaphorical.

I briefly consider plunging to my death, avoiding what is to come, but instead, I find a ladder and descend that way. Apparently, one of the other players thinks I should be regretting that decision.


It’s not long before we run into our first adversaries in this area, these infested barbarians. There’s a bunch of these guys in a row, but I decide to play things safe and lure them out one by one. As you might expect, they’re quite strong, able to push me around even as I block them. Their clubs are also poisonous, somehow. And they’re surprisingly mobile, at least within the confines of this wooden latticework. I have to play this defensively, rolling back at the slightest sign of an attack and picking my moments to attack. With careful timing, though, I’m able to wear these guys down enough for a killing stroke.

They have a habit of leaving behind dung pies. I’m not sure why I keep picking them up.


Moving forward along the walkways into the bowels of Lordran, we encounter our second enemy class of this area, the infested ghoul. These guys, as well as the barbarians, seem quite a bit different than the standard hollows we’ve been putting down. Something’s happened to this place, beyond the normal curse of the undead, that’s twisted those who’ve been hanging out here.

In any case, the ghouls here rush towards me as soon as they catch a glimpse. They’re armed with swords, spears, or bone clubs, but telegraph their attacks well enough that they’re easy to block. They do have a nasty little grab attack, though, putting their filthy teeth to bear. The bite takes a good deal off my health, but they snarl before they do so, giving me enough time to prepare my defense. Two hits is more than enough to take them out, so they don’t pose any real threat individually.

Heading on just a bit farther, I’m struck by something. Something small. It doesn’t do any damage, but it causes my toxin gauge to skyrocket. It came from my right. Luckily, there’s a wall nearby that I’m able to duck behind.


Here’s our perpetrator. An sniper with a blowgun. The darts don’t hurt me, at least not right away, but they’re coated with a powerful poison, and two hits are enough to overcome my resistance. Also, the way bows work in this game, they’re really not well suited to sniper battles. You can’t move and ready an arrow at the same time, meaning you’re a sitting duck for an enemy who’s already drawn on you. My best bet is to try and hit these guys from areas they can’t return fire to, but with as observant as these snipers are, good luck with that.

Also, for whatever reason, structures in Dark Souls actually extend a bit beyond what they’ve got visuals for. Those arrows you see floating in the air in the picture above? They’re embedded in the wood that doesn’t really exist. This has been a small frustration of mine all game, but it’s really infuriating now, that I have to face off with these enemies I can’t reach with my sword.

Luckily, these snipers don’t seem to be undead, meaning they don’t respawn. Kill ’em once, they’re out of your hair forever. I catch a bounty of purple moss from this one, which serves as an antidote to poison. Something tells me I’m going to need that.


After I slay the sniper and start moving on, I find a message that there’s a sniper around. Thanks, guy! There’s also a tempting bit of treasure that appears out of my reach. I’d have to jump for it, but it looks like a tricky leap. If I miss, the fall will either kill me or land me in unknown territory. I decide to leave it be for now.

I move out from the initial walkway, into where Blighttown opens up and… oh my. I don’t know whether it’s the size of the area, the poor PC optimization, the lack of developer tricks to hide areas so they don’t have to be loaded, or what, but this place is doing absolute murder to my frame rate. My computer’s been handing the game at a solid 30 fps, but this area tops out at half that, and frequently dips into the single digits. This is painful.

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