Rising to the Challenge in Dark Souls

Last time on Shame and Suffering in Dark Souls, we managed to kill a boss on our first attempt. Some might think I’d let such a glorious victory go to my head, but have no fear. My ego is already so massive anyway, such an accomplishment would have a negligible effect.

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Anyways, today, we’re going to conquer the second half of the forest area, the Darkroot Basin! The entrance to this area is a slightly hidden path soon after the entrance to the Darkroot Garden. The location itself is pretty low-key. It’s just a slow walk on a mostly barren path down a cliff. There aren’t even any enemies around for much of it! The only other living thing I find is a small titanite lizard, a being that would much rather flee than fight. Well, if I let it, of course. What?! You think as small a thing as “not being remotely a threat” is going to stop me from destroying everyone in my path?

So, Dark Souls is technically a JRPG. From Software, the game’s developers, are a Japanese company, and Dark Souls is an action-rpg, doesn’t take a genius to figure out how that works. The thing is, Dark Souls plays nothing like a JRPG. While the game does have a story, it’s really opaque and you have to work to get it, rather than the typical JRPG’s strong focus on story-telling. The characters and locations are quite simple and dark in design. The game feels very non-linear, and draws a lot of focus to its open world. In all, it plays so much more like a modern western RPG than a typical JRPG. Guess it just goes to show how obsolete genre borders are becoming.

Heading down the cliff further, the path I’m following splits into two parts, one that levels out and is marked by another player’s message stating “Be Wary of Golem” and one that continues downward with the message “Be Wary of Knight”. I take the one downwards. I’ve got a feeling as to what I’ll…

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Yep, yet another black knight. This one’s a little new, as he’s wielding a halberd rather than the blades we’ve been facing up ’till now. He rushes me as soon as a round a bend in the pass. I back off a bit, staying out of his range while drawing him into an open area where we’d have more room to fight. And fight we do. And then he dies. I’ve been going up against these guys all game now! The last two I fought had me while I was still a bit rusty an stuck in enclosed spaces. This knight has neither advantage. His new weapon might throw lesser warriors off, but I am the Best Chosen One, and he doesn’t last long against me.

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