By Gav James-Weir
Spoilers are a weird thing in Dark Souls. Can you really spoil a game that has such a minimal plot?
I approached Dark Souls 2 like I approach a film I really want to see: total blackout. The first trailer is enough to whet the appetite, then the months of anxious, painful anticipation. But when the launch week arrived, my Twitter feed for this blog (which has fast become more interesting than my personal account) was full of people mentioning boss names, areas in the game and the occasional screenshot. This didn’t really bother me, but my partner in this blog took to avoiding it like an annoying work college in the supermarket.
I think this comes down to how I got into Dark Souls, through watching videos of people playing through the game (the previously mentioned Pants Man videos being the main one). Watching those didn’t detract from my immense enjoyment of that game, so why should they to this one? I have avoided watching gameplay footage, or boss strategies, I want that glory to be mine, but the images? Not so much. Seeing an enemy doesn’t tell me how it moves, how to fight it and when exactly it’s going unleash an attack that will wreck me. That to me is the most fun part of Dark Souls, figuring it all out.
STill, I do totally get why people will want to avoid such things and with that in mind, it’s worth mentioning that we at DotA (…just noticed that acronym…) will be avoid directly referencing enemies and strategies so you can still enjoy reading this blog. If we ever feel like we must mention something spoiler-y, we will tag it clearly before hand, something like this:
******SPOILERS OMG STOP READING OMG SKIP SKIP SKIP LALALALALALALAL*******
As much as it doesn’t bother me, I’d hate to ruin it for someone else.
And with that, lemme talk my first few hours in Drangleic.
After that incredible intro, dropping more of an idea of what’s going on than in Dark Souls, I met my first challenge. This screen:
With the only suggestion coming from Pacific Rim name generators (Danger Caliber…BEST NAME) and a contribution from our Twitter buddy ‘Comrade The Bear’, both of which would have been great if DS2 allowed spaces in names, I was stumped. Hitting Google like a pro, I started to research 80’s fantasy films. ‘Krull’ was the first one that stuck out (The film has a similar feel of world-ending darkness that DS brings), but I eventually hit gold in the shape of a forgotten gem of the early 2000’s.
REIGN OF FIRE. DENTON VAN ZAN. McCONAUGHEY. BEARD. BOLD. SOLD.
Two cups of tea, half a bar of Dairy Milk and another hour in the character creation and my character, Vanzan (damn you and you no spaces, From Software…) was ready. I went for the Warrior class, was very tempted by the Swordsman, but the lack of shield scared me off. I’ll save him for another play through. Naturally, I went for the ‘Stock Aragorn’ look, though he has ended up looking more like Jesus…
Strike a pose you sexy bastard.
I think it took maybe, 15 mins for my first death. Not at the hands of an enemy, but a fall into a dark abyss. Jumping has never been easy to do in Dark Souls, and it would appear I needed 3 more deaths to get used to it again. But I made it through the different fog gate tutorials and was greeted by the first area proper. Something I loved about this was seeing all those high towers and mountains in the background and knowing, much like looking up at The Dukes Archives in the first game, that I would be going there eventually. A land of discovery and death laid out before me.
And oh boy, did I die, despite any reports, this game is just as, if not more relentless that the first. So many pointless deaths. Charging into combat without a thought, running around without my shield up…so many amateur mistakes. Getting used to how these games play took me a while (doesn’t help that I played Castlevania: LoS before this), but after my few hours with it last night before sleep took hold I think I’m back into how it plays. Slowly creeping around, shield up to avoid the ambushes….slow, thought out combat…yeah…it’s all still there.
It’s already engulfing my every thought…What was that thing at the bottom of the pit? Am I going the right way? Can I beat that big bastard knight? I genuinely can’t wait to get back into it again and start making some progress.
I’m in you, Dark Souls 2. Get used to it.