After hearing friends and critics sing its praise for years, I finally decided to delve into the abyss that is Dark Souls. This is a game that is well know for its unrelentingly punishing gameplay, dark and moody atmosphere, and sense of gratification that it gives to players for conquering its sinister challenges.
My first couple of hours proved to be difficult, but manageable.
Sure, I died a few times, but I never felt like the game was anywhere near as bad as the internet has made it out to be. I was able to pick up the mechanics pretty quickly, felled a few early bosses on my first try, and even annihilated a few unlucky players who decided to invade my game.
Dark Souls: 0
However, it wasn't until I encountered the Stray Demon that I trembled.
While essentially just a stronger version of the tutorial boss, the Stray Demon has broken me. Maybe I'm under-leveled, or need better equipment, but this boss feels completely cheap and broken. To reach this dastardly demon, you have to fall through a giant stone floor and pray to whatever God you believe in that you'll be able to stand a chance. The problem with this? Falling into its lair halves your health, temporarily locks you into a recovery animation, and 9 times out of 10 this bastard hits you and kills you before you can even move.
On the rare occasion that I actually get enough time to move, his arsenal of attacks whittle me down to a blubbering fool (I'm not really crying, I just have something in my eye). He has an attack where he swings his staff across the room, but I can dodge that pretty easily. He has a butt-bounce that looks silly, but hits like a truck if it pins you. And then he has a magic/vomiting/burp/just kill me now attack that crushes me more than the first time I saw Toy Story 3.
I've been trying to roll behind him and slowly hack at him until he dies, but his barrage of attacks, deadly quick turn speed, and a camera that likes to get stuck often has made this one of the most frustrating boss fights I've ever experienced. Trying to heal yourself between attacks is difficult too, with most attempts ending with your death and a "You Died" screen over and over again.
I'm sure I'll either get a nice bit of luck and take him down, find a way to exploit him, or just come back later after I have better equipment and leveled up some more. But for now? Screw you, Dark Souls.
All jokes and feelings of failure aside, I want to know your most painful experience with the Souls series. Did a boss break you? Did a bug erase your save? Did you forget to praise the sun? Whatever it is, I want to hear it. Leave a comment below or reach out to me on twitter @Z_Burr.
Until next time,
- Zack Burrows