Since working out that I was trying to take on enemies that were FAR beyond my current character, I’ve been having an easier time of things.
I can actually progress through the Undead Burg, and kill a few enemies at a time before getting wasted.
There’s something very satisfying about progressing in this game, it’s the feeling that you are learning and mastering systems that you once found irredeemably hard.
My progress (when not trying to kill skeletons) followed this pattern:
1. Run up the hill, kill an enemy or two.
2. Make a stupid mistake and die.
3. Run up the hill, kill a few more enemies.
4. Progress a little further, find a new area, kill an enemy and die.
Each time I try again, I can get further into the unknown without dying. It’s not that I’m memorizing where enemies will come from (even though I am doing), it’s more that I’m getting better and better at combat, so even new, unknown areas don’t kill me quite as quickly as before.
I still make stupid mistakes often though.
Making it to a bonfire triggers such a sense of relief. The save system might be irritating sometimes, but it really does create a wonderful tension. I’m forced to play slowly, carefully, methodically. I can’t run in and slash enemies to death, even if I know how many there are and I’ve taken them on a while load of times already.
All that said, the Taurus Demon took some doing for me. All that tension the save system can create just turns to frustration for me, when dealing with a boss.
If I have to play for ten minutes to meet the boss, and get squashed flat in 30 seconds, it’s hard for me to learn it’s attack patterns.
The excruciating slowness of the “stand up” animation means that if I’ve been knocked over, I’ll rarely get up in time to dodge the next (completely lethal) attack. And then I have to trek all the way back up to the boss to try again, try a different strategy, or just try my luck again.
The video above shows me going through some of my failures with the Taurus Demon. Each time I got killed through what felt like luck, and when I did eventually succeed, it felt more like I was exploiting an AI weakness than outsmarting a massive Demon. I found a blind spot under his legs where he couldn’t hit me, and whacked him in the groin until he exploded. Even doing this I took damage because I got trodden on.
After this, it was back to the exploration and cautious fights, which are what I like most so far. Finding the ladder back down to the bonfire was a relief, especially since I’d narrowly avoided dying by dragon.
And then I climbed a staircase and got flattened by a big bastard black knight type bloke.