Dark Souls II Diary Part 01

They tried to warn me.
Dark Souls has always been a bit of an enigma to me. People sure do seem to like it! I know there is also a large group of people who despise these games. I don’t have much experience with the series outside of a few frustrating hours with Bloodborne – a game also developed by From Software in which you die repeatedly with no sense of what to do or where to go. Yep, I’m still salty about that game. Sour feelings aside, I’ve always wanted to love these games. I see people ranting and raving about their seemingly impossible in-game achievements, and dammit I want to be a part of that secret society! So the other day I picked up a pre-owned copy of Dark Souls II : Scholar of The First Sin. Instead of reviewing it, I’m going to keep a diary of my Dark Souls journey. I might just die trying, but I fully intend to see Dark Souls II to the very end.

The game opens with a beautiful but vague cinematic, showing an obscure looking character making his way through a strange dark place. The narrator tells of a “murky, forgotten land” known as Drangleic. She is quick to mention that “you will lose everything”. Ooh! How comforting. I won’t even pretend to know what is going on at this point, but hopefully that will become more clear soon. Apparently I have some sort of pesky curse. I suppose I’m here to get rid of that somehow.
After the intro cutscene plays, I awoke underneath some sort of gazebo. There were no signs telling me where to go, no on screen prompts. Nothing.

Things Betwixt 

I know enough about this series to know that ambiguity is sort of Dark Souls’ “thing”, so I press forward without asking questions through a patch of long grass with some creepy looking dog-like creatures. I decide I had better leave them alone for now, as I am unarmed and can see a hut just ahead of me. Maybe someone nice lives there!
Off to my left there is a path that leads to an open area where I see a cyclops in a hippopotamus costume starting at a wall. Nope! Back to that hut!

 

Maybe later….
Inside the hut is a group of old crones sitting in a circle, one of whom I’m pretty sure is the same woman who narrated the intro. After telling me that I will “lose my Souls many, many times” she hands me an effigy of yours truly and cuts to the….robust character creation screen.
I named my Knight Frank. I think he looks a little bit like Frank from Shameless, don’t you? William H Macy is an interesting looking dude! Anyway, I wasn’t trying to make my avatar look like him, it just happened. I spent longer than I would like to admit making this character.
The next area serves as what I can only assume is the tutorial. There are some stones with instructions on how to move, how to attack and defend…but again, nothing too informative here. There are also some undead guys stumbling around waiting for me to kill them, so I do just that.
The first thing I take note of is the controls. They’re sluggish, awkward and surprisingly realistic. The attack animations take an appropriate amount of time to land, and if you’re not careful you can leave yourself vulnerable and open. Frank is a Knight. He carries a broadsword and it makes pretty quick work of his foes. After running the starting area a few times I decided I was ready to move on, and I remembered the Hippo behind the old ladies’ house.

28 attempts later, I finally killed the thing. Frank now looks more like a zombie than William H. Macy, half of his health is gone – just gone. I’m not sure where to go from here, but right now I need a cigarette. I need a xanax. I think I have had all the Dark Souls I can handle for today. I don’t know if I’m looking forward to reporting back, but I will. I promise. 

Poor Frank.

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