I’m still rubbish at Dark Souls

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.

I’m rubbish at Dark Souls

I picked up Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition in the autumn steam sale. I tried to play it with keyboard and mouse, and found the controls to be decidedly lacking.

I resolved to wait, until I could get a gamepad to play with instead. I’ve been wanting to get a gamepad for a while, preferably a wireless one, so I can play the more arcade type games I own from my sofa.

Having finally got a controller, I started Dark Souls again.

And I’m terrible at it.

In the tutorial level, the first weapon I picked up was a broken sword hilt. This was fine for taking care of the non-violent zombies that are scattered through the first level, and you’re supposed to pick up your real weapon the first time you meet an archer, just after you get your shield (I think).

I managed to miss this.

And forged ahead anyway.

I died.

A lot.

After meeting a dying knight, who gave me his Easter (Estus) flask, I had my first “real” fight with a zombie wielding a sword. I was only doing about 2 damage per hit, 3 if I did a heavy attack. It took a very long time to kill it.

Just after him, was a small courtyard where I had to deal with 2 at the same time. They trounced me over and over again, and then around the corner was an archer, and the entrance to the boss fight.

I played this section repeatedly for about 2 hours. I lost track of how many times I died.

When my sword hilt broke, I realised that no matter how hard this game was supposed to be, the tutorial probably shouldn’t be THIS hard. I backtracked a lot, and found my real sword. Which did 20x the damage of the hilt.

I AM SOMETIMES A MORON.

I managed to kill the Asylum Demon without too much trouble (in fact I think I got it on the first go).

I savored my victory for a short while, walked out of the room and was then startled when I walked into an airport (the giant crow picked me up).

Now that I’m in the next area, I’m trying to deal with these two skeleton chaps. I’ve been trying for about two hours now. I’m starting to wonder If I’ve done the same thing – did I miss something really obvious? Maybe. Anyway, here’s a video of me failing a lot. I recorded this using Nvidia shadowplay, which is a very neat tool. Much nicer than having to pay for fraps, and it doesn’t impact my framerate much.

I fail at parrying, I role the wrong way, I lock the wrong target, I get stuck on things.

I’m not very good at this game.