As promised I am back with an update on how I’m faring in Dark Souls II.
First off, I should let you know that Ser Frank is no longer with us. I didn’t know him well, but I would like to think Frank lived a long and meaningful life. His curiosity and inquisitive nature were his ultimate downfall, resulting in a nasty curse that threw him into a dark and scary place where he eventually hollowed out to the point of no return. He was simply not cut out for life in Drangleic. For the sake of role-playing, Frank is survived by his children Fiona, Phillip “Lip”, Ian, Carl and Debbie and Liam.
That was my shameless plug…get it?! (If not, please ignore me – I mean well I promise)
Back to Dark Souls II. Armed with a slightly better understanding of how this game works, I created a new character that is loosely based on my fiancée, who is much easier on the eyes than Frank. Orianne is also a knight, also carries a broadsword, and has been warned about the trials she is to face in Drangleic.
As I watched the opening cinematic I thought about how I was going to approach the game very carefully. The wonderful thing about this game is that when you make a mistake, you pay for it. I don’t necessarily relish in punishment but now that I know what I signed up for I plan on treading a bit more carefully and paying close attention to the (beautiful) environment.
For the second time I awoke underneath that gazebo in a dark and obscure place, ran through the bush and into the hut where the old women sit in a circle and pass out effigies and bad news. On my way to that house I made sure to soak it all up, and really see the forest for the trees. This game is beautiful, and if you look hard enough you will find that there is more than meets the eye; this place has a lot of secrets. I made sure to cover every inch of the land, scouring every corner for anything I could find that might prove useful. Surprisingly I had missed quite a few things in my first play through! I’m still not certain what I found – or what it does, rather, but I filled my pockets with some souls of nameless soldiers, some rusted coins and a smooth stone. All of this was done before I was even prompted to create my character. This is how I will treat each new area – I don’t plan on finishing this game right away, so I fully intend to explore every inch of the land on my way to do whatever it is you do in this game.
That Ogre wearing a hippopotamus costume that gave me so much trouble was still there. After I got my face, my gear and my name I went ahead and lit the first bonfire and turned around immediately to avenge the 20 something deaths Frank died to get me where I am right now. It took me two tries before I realized there was a method to exposing the ogre. The first time I killed him was pure luck, it felt almost like a cheese. Observation told me that if I roll away from his attack and then roll sideways, the ogre would fall flat on his behind, leaving him vulnerable to be attacked. Instead of mashing the right bumper / trigger I attacked him carefully because movement and precision seems to be key here. I took note that if I mashed the attack button, I left myself wide open to be eaten like a candy bar. This was the moment I realized what I was doing wrong. I felt like I had learned from past mistakes, and when I finally downed the ogre I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment! Something in my brain clicked, and for the first time in a long time I felt like I deserved that sense of achievement that I am so used to being spoon fed by modern games. The feeling was actually quite intoxicating.
I ran the tutorial area a few more times for the sake of building muscle memory and exploration and I came across a talking birds nest. What I can only assume were invisible birds of some sort asked me “for smooth”. I stood there for a second as they cried “smooth, smooth! Give us smooth!” I remembered the smooth stone I found earlier and sat it down, and was immediately rewarded with an item. I can’t remember what it was, but holy shit – yes!!! I solved another piece of the puzzle! That felt pretty good.
As my bedtime started to creep up on me I decided that I had done enough exploring and that I should probably see what was at the end of that cave that lie ahead. Vague messages were strewn about the floors which I assume were written by other travelers, but I couldn’t find anything remotely helpful so I kept going and was met by a beautiful new area called Majula.
I could get used to this! I ran around in circles a few times, stumbled across a hidden path just off the cliff side and then another bonfire, which was a VERY welcoming sight. My eyes began to get heavy and I knew I needed to be up early in the morning so I decided to save my progress and go to bed. I think I’m starting to understand why this game is so beloved. I still don’t have any clue where this journey will take me, but I am looking forward to seeing more of what Drangleic has to offer.