Dark Souls I, II and III

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Stanshall
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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Stanshall » October 25th, 2016, 8:50 pm

You're out of luck my man. Depending on your level, it might even be worth doing it in NG+. I think they recommend between 100-120, though I think closer to the higher end. I rushed a new character up to Lothric Castle in about fifteen hours last week, in preparation, and I'm at level 80, supposedly a touch over the recommendation, but it's still a very decent challenge. Anyway, I'd say around twelve to fifteen hours on a new character, with a+7 weapon, if you run past everything and don't waste any titanite. I managed to get past Dancer and Oceiros a bit early so I had a +10 weapon by Aldritch, which helped. Anyway, that's what you're looking at.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by ThirdMan » October 25th, 2016, 9:24 pm

Snip.

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Scrustle
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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Scrustle » October 31st, 2016, 5:34 pm

Can anyone help give me some spoiler-free pointers for the DLC? I've been trying to avoid hearing anything about it so I can experience it fresh, but I think I might need a little nudge in the right direction right now. Or perhaps not. Details in the spoilers...
Spoiler: show
I've finished two bosses. Elfriede with her scythe in the chapel, and the guy backed up by the giant wolf. I was under the impression that there's only two bosses in this DLC, and I've beaten them both, so I'm assuming that means I'm finished. I've looked down every path I can see, and I don't think I've missed anything. Yet the DLC didn't come to any kind of conclusion. Judging by what some of the NPCs were saying, I was expecting that I would literally burn the place and leave by the end, but nothing's happened. I've also got that little girl sitting by the painting in the chapel talking about "Gael", as if he's about to show up and be important somehow. So, am I done? Is this just how it ends? Or is there some little path hidden away somewhere that I've missed?

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Stanshall
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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Stanshall » October 31st, 2016, 7:06 pm

If you've had that conversation with the girl, that's it, I'm afraid.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by ThirdMan » October 31st, 2016, 7:39 pm

Snip.

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Scrustle
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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Scrustle » October 31st, 2016, 7:47 pm

Hmm well I guess that's it. A little underwhelming I suppose, but I'm not that bothered about it. It was still fun throughout. A good piece of extra content. Better closure would have been good, but it kind of makes sense with it being an isolated side-area.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by ThirdMan » October 31st, 2016, 8:41 pm

Snip.

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Alex79uk
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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Alex79uk » November 16th, 2016, 2:40 pm

I'm meant to be at uni this afternoon but I've come down with a sickness bug so I thought I'd go back to DS2:Scholar Of The First Sin on PS4. I hadn't played it for ages (completed original version of the game on PS3) and I couldn't even remember where I'd left off. Turned out I was just in front of the Pursuer fog gate. Took 3 attempts but polished him off (without using the ballista) then made my way down to Hiedes Tower Of Flame. Just offed the Dragonrider (probably the easiest boss in the entire series!?) and am now heading up to the Cathedral Of Blue. My only real criticism of DS2 is that you often have no idea where to go next. Not specifically where to go, but you don't seem to have a definite aim. Like in 1, you had to ring two bells and get four lord souls, the second game seems a bit aimless.

I do love Dark Souls 1 and 2 and Demons Souls though, but haven't played DS3 or Bloodbourne yet. Out of interest, how would people rank the Soulsbourne series?

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Todinho » November 16th, 2016, 4:59 pm

Granted I havent played the DLC of DS2,BloodBorne and DS3 I'd rank them like this:
Dark souls
BloodBorne
Dark souls 3
Demon souls
Dark souls 2

It's only a hair of difference between DS1 and BloodBorne though and depending on the day I'd put on over the other the other.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by KSubzero1000 » November 16th, 2016, 5:03 pm

Alex79uk wrote:Out of interest, how would people rank the Soulsbourne series?
I haven't played DS3 yet, as I chose to wait for the complete experience this time around, but this is the way I would rank the others:

1)Bloodborne - This game is the total package as far as I'm concerned. The atmosphere and general aesthetics are incredible, the level design is of the highest and most consistent quality, the combat is fast and fluid, the enemies and bosses are fantastic. The story has some very cool elements as well. There is just nothing quite like it out there. The only negative I can think of would be the reduced build variety, but I've always considered the multiplayer aspect to be more of a side dish and I do appreciate the fact that most weapons are viable choices in their own right, unlike all the throwaway equipment in DS2. All in all, Bloodborne is one of the very few big budget titles that don't feel creatively compromised, which I think is just delightful.

2)Dark Souls - This is the one that made me a fan of the series. A masterpiece full of memorable locations and characters and special moments. It's almost on par with Bloodborne as far as I'm concerned, only let down by the sudden decline in quality of the late game level structure and a handful of questionable design decisions. But it's still one of the very best games I've ever played. I certainly think it would be on the same level as Bloodborne, if not better, if it had been made with the same budget and development period.

3)Demon's Souls - I respect this game more than I like it per se. It definitely sowed the seeds for what the series would become. But I think it's held back by its needlessly obfuscating elements, and I only found three of the five worlds to be interesting to traverse. Fantastic atmosphere, though. Also, Boletarian Palace is one of the very best levels of the entire series. In the end, I'm very glad someone had the vision and the perseverance to make this game. Can't have been an easy pitch at first!

4)Dark Souls 2 - I've talked about level design a lot already, and this is exactly where this game falls flat on its face. The vast majority of the levels are very poorly structured and laid out. A lot of smaller changes like the weapon degradation don't make a lot of sense. The hit boxes are weird and most bosses and characters are nowhere near as charismatic and memorable in comparison to others in the series. The executive decision to hand over this game to a separate development team while the main one focused on Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 is unfortunately very noticeable. With all that being said, the game is still based on a very solid foundation and is a better product than 90% of the games released in the last 5 years as a result. The abundance of multiplayer options is great, though. Also, the DLC is fantastic. I think FROM really listened to the initial feedback and rectified a lot of the issues with their DLCs and subsequent SotFS edition. Make sure you check them out, Alex! Their inclusion makes the game significantly better.


PS: I really can't wait for the complete edition of DS3. I've kept myself as spoiler-free as I could for so long, only a few more months to go! Completely pointless and masochistic of me, btw.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Stanshall » November 16th, 2016, 6:25 pm

Dark Souls
Bloodborne
Dark Souls 2: Scholar
Demon's Souls
Dark Souls 3

Ironically, Dark Souls 3 probably has the best level design of any of the games, and several top tier bosses, plus the most beautiful areas, hands down. It just lacks any reason to exist or any soul whatsoever. The first time Souls has genuinely felt redundant. It's just fun. I'm a harsh marker perhaps but I can get fun elsewhere.

I'm going back through Scholar at the moment, too, and while I get the criticisms of broader geographical design, and character motivation, and the relative simplicity of individual level design, it has personality and atmosphere in spades. There are no NPCs like Solaire or bosses with the backstory of Artorias, but what the fuck else does? It's jammed with tiny little memorable characters and moments and almost every one of them reinforces the themes of loss and forgetting. The merchant who starts off broke and broken and homesick who ends up arrogant but wistful and purposeless. Dark Souls 2 is crammed with those little characters and the voice acting is probably my favourite in the whole series, aside from Solaire, and probably Father Gascoigne. It's the one I've gone back to and played through more than any other, and I'm with CJ on it, very very much.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by KSubzero1000 » November 16th, 2016, 8:01 pm

Stanshall wrote:I'm going back through Scholar at the moment, too, and while I get the criticisms of broader geographical design, and character motivation, and the relative simplicity of individual level design, it has personality and atmosphere in spades. There are no NPCs like Solaire or bosses with the backstory of Artorias, but what the fuck else does? It's jammed with tiny little memorable characters and moments and almost every one of them reinforces the themes of loss and forgetting. The merchant who starts off broke and broken and homesick who ends up arrogant but wistful and purposeless. Dark Souls 2 is crammed with those little characters and the voice acting is probably my favourite in the whole series, aside from Solaire, and probably Father Gascoigne. It's the one I've gone back to and played through more than any other, and I'm with CJ on it, very very much.
Can't say I agree, but very interesting perspective nevertheless. Btw, who's CJ?

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Stanshall
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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Stanshall » November 16th, 2016, 8:36 pm

CJ is from the Twin Humanities podcast, and he's appeared on several C&R shows, but most notably the Dark Souls 2 episode. I really recommend giving it a listen because he gives a very passionate and earnest account of his love for the game. Despite what I said about finding the C&R house style very reassuring and so on, I love that CJ does actually stick out in that episode. I wouldn't say there's a jarring tone but it's refreshing in its own way to have this guy not really temper his enthusiasm or emotion.

I could go on for a long time myself about Dark Souls 2. I think it's a really special world, and Majula is probably my favourite area of any of the hubs. I've spent hours just tinkering around there doing nothing in particular. I'd love to visit, which I couldn't say for The Nexus or the horrible Firelink in 3.I would quite like to visit Dark Souls Firelink, as long as the music played as I approached. I suppose the Hunter's Dream is all right. The doll, you know, if it pleased me. (Sorry). Ugh, anyway, I think Dark Souls 2 will become much more appreciated in time, for doing its own thing. It borrows so little from the first game in terms of references or fan service, which is bold, a hell of a lot more bold and unusual than 3. There are some pretty shit areas and irritating, lazy mobs but I adore the patchwork world variety. It feels like fragments of multiple adventures and quests, it's almost like a collage. That also fits wonderfully well with the theme of memory and loss, only the crucial peaks stand out in the end, everything in between is lost to the ages. You might think that's a generous load of old bollocks but I think there's plenty to reinforce it, not least the massive variance in time of day, weather and geography. It's also probably got the most, weirdest one-off quirks, and hidden areas. Oh, and best build variety, fashion and largest, most varied world by a mile.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by KSubzero1000 » November 16th, 2016, 9:43 pm

Oh, ok. I remember the guest on the Dark Souls 2 podcast, just not the name. Guess I'll have to check out Twin Humanities one of these days.

It's interesting how much you like Majula, as it's one of the main things I dislike about DS2. The music just rubs me the wrong way, which probably sounds like heresy to you! DS1 Firelink, on the other hand, is one of my favorite location in the series. And so is the Hunter's Dream. The doll, you know, pleased me as well. And it's not like I hate or even dislike DS2. I just think it pales in comparison to the others. But I definitely agree about the build variety.

Your impressions of DS3 do make me kind of nervous, though!

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Todinho » November 16th, 2016, 9:44 pm

Stanshall wrote: I could go on for a long time myself about Dark Souls 2. I think it's a really special world, and Majula is probably my favourite area of any of the hubs. I've spent hours just tinkering around there doing nothing in particular. I'd love to visit, which I couldn't say for The Nexus or the horrible Firelink in 3.I would quite like to visit Dark Souls Firelink, as long as the music played as I approached. I suppose the Hunter's Dream is all right.
Ha couldnt disagree more XD I grew to hate that city so much...to me the best hub still is hands down the Nexus.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Stanshall » November 17th, 2016, 3:06 am

Hehe I thought everyone loved the Majula music, at least! I've got my work cut out with you guys ;)

Full confession: DS2 was the first Souls game I played to completion, having put ten or twenty hours into Demon's and barely got past 1-1. It had something fascinating but I wasn't ready for it, whereas DS2 clicked immediately, I'll never forget the Majula reveal and the blinding sickly sunlight and tarry sea. Heh, or maybe I will. Anyway, that's probably a big part of why it burns so bright for me.

I didn't play Dark Souls til after I'd finished DS2, but that was genuinely life changing, and there's no comparison on almost any level. The gameplay and level and world design is up there with anything I've ever played, but it's the atmosphere and themes and emotional tone which really got under my skin. It made me explore further than I have with any other game, it got me into podcasts via Bonfireside Chat, Twin Humanities and (the defunct) The Dark Souls Two, which ended up leading me to C&R. Believe it or not, I've only played and completed Dark Souls once, far less than any other Soulsborne game, even if it took me well over a hundred hours.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Again, given how much of a love letter 3 was (a polite term for derivative) ,I think DS2 does now stand out even further as the weird, sunny, sickly one. I love how few dungeons there are, how much daylight and sunshine, it's both comforting and threatening, in a way that darkness just can't be. I love the odd little bits like the Memories and all the odd little spokes and settings, like No Man's Wharf and Dragon Aerie and Heide's and Things Betwixt. What even is that?! Why the cartographer? Why the pigs in Majula? The whole Darklurker quest. Bernhardt's fake sword. Lucatiel. The fragrant branches. The chirpy Pyro girl. Vendrick. Bear seek seek lest. Ugh. If only 3 had anything like these odd little quirks. It's not perfect but it's loveable.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by KSubzero1000 » November 17th, 2016, 8:35 am

I'm with you on Darklurker (one of the best bosses in the series), Lucatiel (fantastic design and voice acting), and the fragrant branches (which I found to be a very interesting concept). The setting variation seems artificial and doesn't work in the game's favor in my opinion. It's like the developers just put in as many mini-levels they could think of without considering how they would all fit together as a result. The worlds of DS1 and BB feel so much more cohesive in comparison. This is made even worse by the fact that the player is encouraged to use fast travel right from the start and so never really learns the ins and outs of the world geography. So... disjointed.

But like I said earlier, the DLC fixes a lot of the issues i have with DS2. The DLC in DS1 and BB is fantastic as well, of course, but the quality difference doesn't stand out as much to me. What do you think of all the series' DLC, Stanshall? How do you think they compare to each other and to their respective games? (Without DS3 spoilers, please.)

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Alex79uk » November 17th, 2016, 4:44 pm

Interesting comments. I've never understood why DS2 got such a hard time, following the original was an impossible task, so it's good to read about how much someone enjoyed it.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Stanshall » November 17th, 2016, 6:52 pm

KSubzero1000 wrote:I'm with you on Darklurker (one of the best bosses in the series), Lucatiel (fantastic design and voice acting), and the fragrant branches (which I found to be a very interesting concept). The setting variation seems artificial and doesn't work in the game's favor in my opinion. It's like the developers just put in as many mini-levels they could think of without considering how they would all fit together as a result. The worlds of DS1 and BB feel so much more cohesive in comparison. This is made even worse by the fact that the player is encouraged to use fast travel right from the start and so never really learns the ins and outs of the world geography. So... disjointed.

But like I said earlier, the DLC fixes a lot of the issues i have with DS2. The DLC in DS1 and BB is fantastic as well, of course, but the quality difference doesn't stand out as much to me. What do you think of all the series' DLC, Stanshall? How do you think they compare to each other and to their respective games? (Without DS3 spoilers, please.)
The fast travel, I can't deny, is a change for the worse. Imagine if you had to go all the way through the forest, through Lost Bastille and then loop round via No Man's Wharf and Heide's in order to get back to Majula, to open the house and access the long lost Lord Vessel in the basement. That'd be such a great feeling to see the Majula plinth up on the hill across from Heide's and realise how far you've gone to finally come home, and open up fast travel and the next areas via Shaded Woods. That might even top the Firelink lift. If Miyazaki is reading, and he probably is, I'll definitely see if I can squeeze some level designs for Dark Souls 4 into my schedule. Just PM me but be aware I'm going on holiday for a few weeks next summer.

As for the DLC, I think Artorias of the Abyss is my favourite part of any game. I've never felt so overwhelmed by any boss as Manus, nor so overcome with joy and relief to defeat him, and seeing little Sif outside protected by Artorias' Great Shield, and realising that not only had he met you before when you fought him, but he both didn't want to fight you, but had to, and knew he had to die, but still wanted to protect his master, from you, but also needed to test you, to make sure that you're powerful enough to fulfil the role of the Abyss Walker, his corrupted master's legacy, to protect the legend. I mean, that is just unbelievably affecting, and so complex and bittersweet from both narrative and character perspective. To my taste and sensibility, that's the best thing ever done in a game.

Bloodborne was absolutely tremendous in how it recontextualised so much of what Kos (or some might say Kosm) actually was, and how these eldritch gods had such a life-changing and destructive and inspirational effect on this complex world of opposing factions, passionate learners and barbarous institutions. The level design, and weapon diversity, and environmental beauty and horror and the bosses, good Lord, it's up there with virtually anything I've played. Only Dark Souls has ever got more under my skin. The only thing it really lacks for me is hope, or redemption. It's utterly devastating, and deliberately so. When I finally finally uninstalled it, I got the 'submission' ending, saw my hunter wake up in the light of dawn, closed the game and deleted it. It was the only way to escape the curse. I know that sounds melodramatic but it was actually a relief to do that, especially after spending so long in the Chalices. The nightmare was over.

I say that, I reinstalled it again the week after, but you get my point. Dark Souls 2 DLC, funnily enough, I didn't play until I got Scholar. I found the first one just absolutely brick, and I didn't like the Zelda style block puzzles. They nerfed Faith just beforehand, I seem to recall, and I went from twatting lightning through everything in my way to getting butchered again and again by those infinite poise lads in Shulva. When I finally did play through them all, with a Red Iron Rob Flynn build, I had a great time, it was a proper romp, and some of the bosses were tremendous, particularly Alonne and the royal rumble one. I didn't feel an enormous lore connection to them, though. They just seemed like better designed tighter interwoven areas, like the first half of DS1, rather than the emotional heft of Artorias. As you probably know, they were all supervised from scratch by Yui Tanimura who took up the reins of DS2, which was a shit show by all accounts when he inherited the project. That also very much explains the patchwork feel. It literally was a load of disparate area designs which he stitched together, hence the numerous corridors that you'll only go down once, etc. Also explains the relative lack of quests, and why the NPCs have mostly tiny little stories which exist primarily in one area. The Scholar rework really was a tremendous effort to hold it all together and enrich the back stories.

OK, I'd better eat. Good chat and thanks if you read all that!

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by KSubzero1000 » November 17th, 2016, 10:01 pm

Of course I read it! I'm not in the business of asking people questions and then hanging them out to dry. :D

I agree with what you said regarding Artorias of the Abyss. Great piece of content and characterization. I especially like the way the story manages to be told with as little dialogue is possible. Restrained yet powerful.

Tanimura certainly did a great job on the DS2 DLC. Not much more I can add to that. You covered pretty much everything of importance. Thanks for sharing!

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