Written by G. Russell
One Game A Week is a bunch of words from my brain to yours about whatever game has been occupying my time the most over the last 7 days. Once a week, EVERY week for the duration of 2015. God help us.
A bit of a mixed bag this week as I try to go cold turkey on Bloodborne (with semi-successful results) and Souls games in general (in which I totally failed).
It’s not that I actually want to stop playing Bloodborne, I just feel like I probably should. For a bit, at least. With only 1 trophy to go until I hit platinum, it’s probably time to ease my foot off the pedal a bit. And so, after vowing to not play it at all this week yet still finding myself A) starting another new run and B) continuing on with the chalice dungeons, I finally took the disc out of my PS4 and placed it back in its box. Let’s see how long that lasts.
Instead I thought I’d crack on with Dark Souls 2 : Scholar of the First Sin which I’m, unfortunately, finding more and more unpleasant the further I get. Something feels weird about this game and I can’t put my finger on it. The irritation I feel at the addition of the Heide Knights in the Heide’s Tower of Flame area, something I moaned about last time, has stuck with me to the point where I feel like it’s ruining the whole game. Their abundant placement along the precarious pathways of that area serves to highlight the overall feel that some of the changes seem to have been made for the sake of changing things. Something that should be as intricately designed and balanced as a Souls game shouldn’t need re-designing. What was wrong in the first place? Was there something wrong in the first place that I wasn’t seeing on my multiple playthroughs last year? There was a lot of talk at the time (and since) from fans that Dark Souls 2 was a vastly inferior product when examined alongside the original Dark Souls. It wasn’t something I personally felt at the time but Scholar is, unfortunately, almost convincing me of that fact. The inclusion of the expansive Lost Crowns DLC undoubtedly gives Scholar a reason to exist but I almost just wish that From have allowed me to play a remastered, expanded version that didn’t include changes which make me re-evaluate some of the things that I thought I loved about the original release. If it was right first time, why is it now different?
And so, with The Lost Sinner and The Rotten both dead and buried and with the Crown of the Sunken King (the first bit of DLC I’ve found) half finished, I’m going to step away from it for a while. I want to love you, Dark Souls 2, but I think we need some time apart. I needed, as I pondered last week, a break from Souls games. A respite. So I played the procedurally generated love-letter-to-90’s-FPS-games Tower Of Guns.
Which bored the piss right out of me, so the next night I stuck Demon’s Souls on instead.
Did you know, dear reader, that Demon’s Souls is a Really Good Game? I was certainly aware of that fact but up until this week I’d never played more than an hour of it. Back before the original Dark Souls sunk its claws in, I’d tried and failed to get into Demon’s twice. I wasn’t ready back then. When it was originally released in 2009 I just wasn’t right for it. I didn’t have the patience. I didn’t understand what I was experiencing. Or why it was good. I borrowed it, just after its release, off my brother-in-law and totally bounced off it, never completing the first area, never even gaining the ability to level my character up. The gaping chasm in my knowledge of the Souls series has been eating away at me for a couple of years now. It was time to fill in the blanks.
I was half expecting, after struggling to get back into the flow of Dark Souls 2 after sinking 70 hours into Bloodborne, that I would feel a similar resistance to Demon’s. Not the case at all. I seemed to sync to it instantly; muscle memory from all my time spent with Dark just flooding back as, in one evening, I rampaged through Boletarian Palace, killed Phalanx, opened up the Nexus, levelled my character, stormed Stonefang Tunnel and laid the Armour Spider to rest. This felt good. I’m playing as a Royalty class so I can dabble with a bit of magic here and there but I’m mostly favouring my +3 Rapier. I’m playing it fast and light, still using a shield, but relying mostly on speed to get me by. I’ve also dedicated myself to mastering parrying, something that I never managed to lock down in Dark Souls. I’m getting on pretty well with that here, parrying the shit out of almost everyone I meet and delivering that none-more-satisfying riposte.
I’m currently in Tower Of Latria, which is an immensely oppressive place filled with the sounds of anguished captives and patrolled by Cthulhu-faced spellcasters. The Fear has well and truly set in; I have no idea where I’m supposed to be going or whether I’m heading in the right direction once I do decide. Death is constant. I’m picking up items that I don’t understand. Life is good. Who needs Bloodborne?
Well, I do, actually, cause yesterday I started a new build for a co-op run with the other guy who works here. Cleric is dead, Gascoigne is dead and the Blood Starved Beast is next. Maybe I need an intervention.