Red Phantoms Everywhere.

By Gav James-Weir

***a few ‘slight’ spoilers on enemies in the very early sections of NG+***

The time for my ‘journey 2 to Drangleic’ has come. I’ve been back and dealt with Smelter, found all the Covenants and lit all the bonfires. The only thing left for my first run was taking down Vendrick and honestly, I want to but even the idea of fighting him makes me feel like throwing my pad across the room. Fuck that. I’ve also followed my fellow bloggers guide to being a sorcerer, which was a lot of fun, totally different and something I will continue with, but this has been nagging at me since I completed it. I didn’t do a NG+ in Dark Souls and very rarely do in any game…but this, this feels right.

So onwards (or backwards) to Things Betwixt. Last time I was here I was an Undead, covered in rags, desperate for help. This time, I’m a monster. A beast. Brock Lesner with a claymore, laying waste to all who come at me. Oh, oh what’s that, Mr. Ogre? Gonna try and fall on me? BAMN. FLAME SWATHE, THAT’S WHAT’S GOING DOWN. Also last time through here, there wasn’t a group of Falconers attacking me with actual Falcons. That was unexpected.

Welcome to New Game +

Things started off normally enough (bar the falcons). Majula, through The Forest of Fallen Giants, easy. No problems here at all. The only issues coming from the surprise Red Phantoms that step up, most are dealt with once I know where they appear. All except this prick over in Heide’s Tower of Flame:

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Honestly, this guy. I’ve no idea what his weapon is, I’ve never seen it before, but it strips my stamina away in two weird, twisty hits. It’s like a jousting spear, but smaller. He’s got a MASSIVE amount of HP too. I’m dealing him around 1000 damage with 4 hits and it barely dents his health bar. After he killed me 4 or 5 times, I decided it was time to do something with the wealth of boss souls that carried over to NG+.

Check out the sun blooming into the shot. STOP REMINDING ME OF THE OUTSIDE WORLD.

Where is he storing all of this? I see no backpack, no bumbag…

Feeling under powered and throwing all caution to the wind, I consumed them all. Every. Last. One. All of them gone for the tune of 377,066 souls.

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Check out the sun blooming into the shot. STOP REMINDING ME OF THE OUTSIDE WORLD, SUN.

I went up 18 levels in one go, so much power. Had enough souls left to +5 my Faaram armour, which I was I initially put off using ’cause it’s the armour from the promo art, but it levels really well, especially for its weight. The Heide Knight armour is pretty great, mostly because it resembles a battle-worn Gandalf The White,  but the Faaram set seems to be the better fit for now.

Look ma, I'm the box art!!

Look ma, I’m the box art!!

My only doubt now I’m all powered up (other than the high chance of  The Pursuer wiping the floor with my face again and again) is my Claymore. It’s already +10, can it still do a job in NG+?  Will the tiny increases in my damage output be enough? I may have to take a dive into Ultra Greatswords or even boss weapons (once I’ve earnt their souls back…). I’ve never really been a fan of the UG class, they always feel too slow for me. But with my large amount of stamina, I might have enough to deal out a few swings. I’ve certainly got options as I also have the Manslayer katana in my inventory. It seems a good sword, nice dex scaling…but I’m put off by the low durability. I’m also slowly building my faith up so I can wield Lightning Spear, that might give me an edge against some bosses.

NG+ feels really different, like how it felt when I first stepped into Drangleic. Usually in games, NG just means bigger health bars for enemies.  But the addition in of new enemies, items, remixed bosses and even more ties to the first game make this feel greqat. It’s like, well…going through the game fresh… and that is a great thing indeed.

Although these Red Phantoms need to cock off.

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