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
Alright, ok, yeah I know, Fume Knight isn’t a game, he’s a boss from Dark Souls 2. More specifically, he’s the final boss of the Lost Crown of the Iron King DLC, and he’s an utter bastard. This week’s post was supposed to be all about my Xbox One, a console that has gone largely ignored since I bought it but one that I’ve kinda fell in love with over the last few days. But, alas, Fume Knight takes priority as he has dominated my time. And I need to vent.
In what feels like a reaction to general fan outrage that Dark Souls 2’s main campaign bosses were too easy, all of the bosses within the Lost Crowns DLC trilogy are as hard as nails, to varying degrees of success. On one hand you’ve got Elana, Squalid Queen, who is a challenge purely for the fact that she’ll summon skeletons at will, at one point even summoning in a variant of Velstadt, a boss from the main campaign, to harass and crowd you. She’s difficult to fight in an annoying way. It’s not particularly enjoyable, but it’s a real challenge. On the other hand you’ve got Sinh, The Slumbering Dragon; a majestic, enormous, poison-fire sewing dragon who sports a spear lodged in his body as a reminder of a previous encounter with the last fool who tired to kill him. That’s a difficult fight because your foe is unpredictable and gigantic, but Sinh retains a sense of dignity and grace throughout, and evokes a feeling of remorse as you land the killing blow on this ancient beast.
And then, on the other other hand, there’s Fume Knight.
Lore-wise, this guy is fascinating. Back in the glory days of the kingdom of Drangleic (setting for the main Dark Souls 2 campaign), Fume Knight, or Raime, as he was then known, was one of King Vendrick’s most trusted and loyal soldiers. Alongside his close pal and fellow soldier Velstadt (whom you fight back in the Undead Crypt during the main story), they formed the ‘left and right arm‘ of the King. But a bitter dispute was had between them and Raime was branded a traitor and banished. Leaving Drangleic and searching for a purpose, he travelled to Brume Tower (the setting for this Iron King DLC) where he encountered Nadalia who, alongside Nashandra (final boss of the main game) is actually a fragment of Manus, Father of the Abyss, an antagonist that anyone familiar with the original Dark Souls will be remember well. Rather than defeat her, as he probably should have done, he opted to turn hollow and devote himself to her. And this is where you find him, diligently guarding her corpse which sits upon a throne, her hands gripping the fabled Crown of the Old Iron King.
From Software have revealed some statistics that they’ve pulled from the game and it was no real surprise to learn that Fume Knight can officially be called The Hardest Boss in all of Dark Souls 2, defeating 93% of players attempts against him. Amazing, really. Ninety three per cent of the fights with him end with a You Died screen. Personally, it took me an enormous amount of attempts. Up until this point, I’d worked my way through the game and some sections of the DLC without a shield, favouring two swords and liberal use of the roll button. But Fume Knight broke me. I tried it with a shield. I tried it without. I tried it with two swords. One sword. Just a crossbow. I tried buffing my weapon with poison, with lightning, with magic. I tried it with summons, which arguably made it worse as his defences are increased the more help you pull in, and I tried it countless times solo. I bit my controller in frustration. I despaired on Twitter. But every single time I failed, I was perfecting my timings. Learning the subtle tells that distinguish his combos between the 3 hit or 4 hit variants. I was learning how far away I have to be to dodge that ridiculous flaming sword swipe. Until, eventually, I took off all of my clothes to allow maximum speed and two-handed my Black Steel Katana to permit maximum damage.
After an hour, naked and stressed (the former – my on-screen character, the latter – me), I did it. You can see my moment below, including a short death montage which doesn’t even scratch the surface of the amount of times he wiped me out. Goodnight, Raime. You were a marvellous cunt.