Dark Souls II Progress: 9/17/15
September 17, 2015

Have you ever experienced that odd transitional stage in a game with flexible linearity? You know, where wander around and search a few areas before making any major headway? That sums up my last week or so with Dark Souls II. I beefed up, sharpened my Uchigatana, and pretty much plowed through anything that didn't look friendly.

  • I figured out how to access the Huntsman's Copse. At first I was underwhelmed by the wimpy opposition that met me, mostly consisting of single or two-hit foes. Eventually, I found myself crossing weapons with a blade-wielding maniac and some Simon Belmont wanna-bes with whips enveloped in darkness. I cleared two separate paths with a boss at the end of each. One of those mist gates required me to cross a lengthy, dilapidated bridge with a phantom on the other side. The two of us warred for quite a while, but he had limited movement since I lured him back to the bridge. I took advantage of that, got behind him pretty easily and whooped his ass.
  • After defeating one of the bosses, I ended up in a valley brimming with poisonous mist called Harvest Valley. Of course, like any location swamped with poison, it was crawling with treasures to nab. Suffice it to say that I died and respawned a lot just so I could get all of the loot. I eventually made my way to the Earthen Peak, which is where I'm sitting now.
  • I pounded through the Lost Bastille, fighting off suicide bombers as I went. It wasn't a terribly difficult area, but I had a knack for not paying attention and getting bombed to hell. I did make it to the apex and unpetrify the merchant there, who trades weapons for boss souls. After that, I crossed a bridge and delved into...
  • The Sinner's Rise. I could have gone for the Belfry Luna, but I'll tackle that area later. Anyway, this was a brief but creepy place where you had to plunge into the depths of a tower with a submerged basement. There I fought a dumbed down version of the Flexile Sentry and a couple more bombers before making it to the boss.
  • I checked out the Shaded Woods, having finally gotten past the chamber brimming with trolls near Majula. I cleared the path all the way to the bonfire, which stood in front of a fork in the road. Two of the places were not accessible yet, and the other was a tricky spot full of mist and partially invisible enemies. I decided to hit this place later.
  • Lastly, I became strong enough to hold my own against the newly recovered enemies in Heide's Tower of Flame, allowing me to make my way to the Cathedral of Blue. Of course, I met the wyvern at the cathedral's gate and almost didn't gain access, but then discovered I had more than enough arrows to take the beast down. I don't recall how, but I was able to slice off something like 230 damage with each arrow under given circumstances. Other than that, I slowly whittled the creature down.

In the process, five bosses died.


Pushing through my first mist gate in Huntsman's Copse was a bit of a shock. I hadn't stopped to see which boss was back there, but I knew the Executioner's Chariot lie somewhere in the region. I assumed this was it, then saw the name "Skeleton Lords" at the bottom of the screen and nearly messed myself. I figured that I was in for a thrashing, and that's what I received.

Here's the thing with this boss:

It starts off with three giant skeletons (the lords) who all share one life bar. These guys cut loose some powerful melee and magical attacks and should be dealt with ASAP. Each time you kill one, though, a whole legion of skeletal goons appear in its place. So if you kill one lord, you now have to deal with two plus a dozen or so armed guards. Kill two lords and its a whole crowd of soldiers plus the remaining lord. Worst of all, you're required to kill every last skeleton because their HP is part of the life bar at the bottom of the screen.

This one took me a couple of tries. During my successful run, I chopped up two of the lords because they were pretty much next to each other, then ran away to regroup while the soldiers chased me and the remaining lord lobbed fireballs. If I stopped at any point, I was dead, so the Estus Flask was more of a liability than a help. Unlike the previous title, this game has several other helpful restorative goods, particularly lifegems that allow you to walk while using them. I would consume two of those and continue running, usually managing to get away from the crowd as it approached. When my health was close to full, I took down the last lord. From there, I ran a circle around the room until I had a commanding lead on the skeletons. That's when I would stop and swipe at the front line, sometimes taking out one or two creatures and critically damaging the rest before continuing to run. After a while, enough of them fell that I just had to stand there and swing wildly until the last of them were gone.


The area boss encounter of the Lost Bastille proved too much for me at first. I entered the room and immediately dropped. After hitting the ground, finding myself on a ledge, when a sentinel surprised me by swinging from out of the left side of the screen, sending me flying down a floor or two to the hard stone floor below. There two other sentinels awaited my descent and put me on ice.

I trained for a while before attempting this one again. I dodged the first attack and positioned myself behind the first sentinel and laid into him. He spun around and I repeated the process until he was gone. Rather than rush to meet the other two, I waited. One of them eventually climbed up on the ledge to claim this thrashing, which he graciously received. The last followed suit, succumbing to the same strategy as the first two.


The lowest point of the Sinner's Rise is a pretty creepy, dark place where you happen to bump into this gal. This might seem like the standard fight against an overly tall humanoid, but then the boss slices the lights out. There's supposed to be a way to reignite them, but I never discovered it. Instead, I took her on in the dark, and good lord what a fight it was! We traded blows often, dodged enough others attacks and blocked our cuts. I eventually took off running so I could have enough time to restore my HP, but she was always just one step behind me, sometimes catching me with the tip of her sword. Thankfully, I was able to get my health back up and recommence the duel. After hacking each other up, we had but one hit left apiece. We approached each other and I attacked. though it seemed too slowly. I heard the familiar SLCCCT! that plays when a character dies, and I thought she did me in for sure. It turned out, though, that I was the one who dealt the killing stroke and won the fight on my first attempt. I thus earned my first of four big souls.


I think this has been one of my favorite boss battles so far, only because you can do something that's both downright mean and cool.

You see, this fight takes place in a circular corridor. Skeletons surround you and killing them won't do you any good if you haven't taken care of the two necromancers hiding in nooks throughout the hallway. Said nooks serve a much grander purpose than hiding those necromancers, though. There's also an undead executioner being pulled by a couple of darkness-breathing demonic horses who races through the tight corridor and nails you for a crippling amount if you're not careful.

Any non-long range attempts to take out the rider are laughable. I didn't have enough arrows at the time, so I didn't bother with that. Instead, I surveyed the area for clues after offing the necros. That's when I found a lever. Oh, how I love finding levers and switches during boss fights. It usually means you can utilize the environment in some satisfying way to harm or kill the boss. I so tucked into a nook and waited for the chariot to run by before throwing the lever. I did so and a lattice dropped from the ceiling. I squealed with delight and hid again, then watched as the chariot crashed right through the lattice, killing the rider and harming the two horses.

Now it was on to the beasts of burden. They were a bit tricky to take out, mostly because I had to mind their charge attack and their bucking and kicking maneuvers. Hitting them from the side was the best option and allowed me to waste a lot of their HP, eventually bringing it to zero.


Last but not least is the boss of the Cathedral of Blue. We've seen "Garfield Minus Garfield," well here's Ornstein & Smough Minus Smough. Yeah, it's a pretty easy fight. Then again, I'm pretty sure I'm over-leveled. All it took to kill the guy was rolling towards him at an angle, which allowed me to slip past his lance with ease. With each shot taking off loads of his life, it wasn't long before he croaked.


That's all for now. I should report back in a little while.

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