Look, I don’t want to brag or anything – but this is the second whole week that I’ve kept to my whole ‘playing to a schedule‘ thing. To be sure, last week ran into some issues getting everything set up. Largely around video recording quality, particularly in the context of a 32:9 aspect ratio (5120×1440 resolution).
I also reworked the thumbnail image for the videos – it works way better on YouTube now, but less well here, on the blog, for the featured image slot where the aspect ratio is slightly wider than 16:9. But it will do! If you’re curious about the differences:
I went with a higher contrast image, dropped some of the text, and moved the part/episode counter so that it doesn’t get covered by the YouTube length time stamps anymore.
All that out of the way, I think it’s time to begin!
Part 1: Escaping the Undead Asylum
Creating my Character
Welp, before the grand adventure can start — I have to decide who I am in this world.
Unlike Dark Souls II and III, I don’t know much about how stats in Dark Souls work. Each game has their differences. So in this one, is poise good? Can I increase iframes on dodge-rolls with a stat?
What weapon scaling works well here?
BIG SHRUG! I have no idea.
And so I did the next best thing: I googled, ‘Best Dark Souls: Remastered PvE Build’.
Lo and behold, I found this. It’s two years old, and it at least gives some sense that it might even be, at least in part, a joke.
But I like the concept of a Cleric-Knight, so by George, I’m running with it.
I may not follow the build guide there word-for-word but it will certainly set the direction. The main thing I can see myself breaking away from early is the love-affair with the mace. The damage does indeed seem good, but oh my word the attack range is so short!
After the introduction is done rather cheerily informing me that it is my fate to be locked away until the end of time, an armored figure appears in the skylight-window above and drops in.. Er. A body.
The body does rather helpfully hold the key to my cell though, so that’s a plus and I don’t want to complain… But, is there any reason my armored-friend couldn’t have simply dropped the key down to me instead of making me rifle through the, one must assume disgusting, pockets of the dead-undead. (Redead?)
In any case, I make my escape and see a corridor with a few others who have been left to roam or perhaps had armored friends of their own at some point.
This starting area I’m somewhat familiar with though. Not only from the earlier two takes, but also because I’ve done the early parts of Dark Souls several times in the past. Even before the Remastered edition came out.
Still- even with that being the case, it is quite the thing glancing through the barred window and spotting the giant Asylum Demon that I’ll soon be made acquainted.
I try to put the heavy-stomping of its passage out of mind for now and soon come to the first bonfire of the game.
This bonfire isn’t really for me though.
It’s there for crazy people.
People who wish to fight the maker of aforementioned heavy-stomping before they have recovered any weapon better than the broken shard of a former sword.
It’s a bit like the wolf at the beginning of Bloodbourne.
Sure you can fight these things right now but there is no real reward to it beyond the satisfaction of having done so.
Even so — I use the bonfire to unlock it, and then head up to the double doors before the boss. They open slowly. Solemnly. With great weight and gravitas. Which is all to say, nothing like my quick dash through the room to make it in the side-door before the Demon jumps down and starts grinding my bones.
The side-door slams shut behind me and I’m safe. Also- there is another bonfire. It hasn’t been but thirty seconds since the last one but it’s still appreciated. This one is definitely for me. If I somehow were to manage death in the next little bit, I’d really appreciate not being caught on the wrong side of the now irritated boss.
Undead Asylum: Through the Mists
Not much past that bonfire is a mist gate. I know it now but on my first take of playing through this section, I was terrified.
Picture it. Still rusty. Still occasionally (or perhaps not so occasionally) hitting the wrong buttons. Not at all feeling ready yet.
Coming across a mist gate.
Generally speaking, these barriers indicate you’re about to get your face smacked about by a boss. Very occasionally they can simply mark an area transition but that is rare. Or at least, it is in Dark Souls II and III.
I didn’t at all feel ready. Despite having picked up a the starting shield and mace of the cleric starting-class.
So it was with great relief that I was reminded upon traversing that I wasn’t up to the boss just yet.
There was another area to go.
To the left, I found a shiny (marking an item to be picked up) that couldn’t yet be reached. The right held stairs both up and down. These stairs I remembered.
I remembered them well in fact, despite not having remembered this entire area even existed until seeing it again.
Because up those stairs is a trap. In the form of a big, heavy, metallic-looking ball of death. Take a few steps up those stairs and it’ll come hurtling down toward you.
Entirely possible to avoid if you’re prepared, which I was this time… But, well… It has definitely killed me in the past.
I rolled off the side of the stairs to let it sail on by, dropping a little further than intended and taking some damage but it was fine. Better that than a pancake. And it opened the way to find the now dying armored-friend from the beginning. I swear though, him dying and me rolling the death-ball down into his cell are unrelated as unlikely as that may sound.
I never caught his name, but he tells us of his mission to ring the bell of awakening and most importantly of all gives us the all-important Estus Flask to heal with. Woo! I mean- sure. I have a healing miracle already but healing with it in combat is a much riskier proposition given its slow speed.
Oh- and he also gives us a key to open more of the doors in this place.
Away from him and down the stairs again there is a door, only operable from this side, that opens a shortcut back to the first bonfire.
Back up the stairs another enemy guards the way to a locked door. However it isn’t much of an enemy. Just a basic hollow undead albeit with a more complete-looking sword. The door is unlocked with the key we’ve been given too.
It’s from here that I think the game decides to get serious.
At least a little bit. Perhaps it might be more accurate to say it’s where the game wants to give you more of a taste of how things will be once you pass the relative safety of this tutorial area.
It has multiple enemies together, covering or otherwise supporting each other. Corner ambushes for the unwary. And if you carry on pass the big mist gate (the one that actually will take you to the boss) you’ll even find an enemy that takes more than one hit to kill, even with your ‘proper’ weapon equipped and swinging-heavy.
But for now at least, these still don’t pose a problem and the area is quickly cleared.
Throughout, I manage to find the charm that will actually let me cast miracles and I use it to heal up without using an Estus Flask charge.
After all this though I’m out of excuses.
Undead Asylum: The Asylum Demon
So here’s a tip for you. Heavy attacks do not trigger a plunging/aerial attack. I had it in my head they did. So my surprise on take 1 at completely whiffing the opportunity to take almost half the bosses health with a strong donk to the noggin was quite genuine.
Fortunately, this tip I took to heart for takes 2 and 3.
So the demon starts with far less health than I had to deal with the first time.
Still- even with now having seen the moveset of this guy a few times recently it wasn’t enough to garner a flawless victory.
At one point during the fight he spun around more swiftly than you might believe for something of its bulk and sent me sprawling across the floor.
In my defense though, this was the one and only hit he landed on me before taking him down.
The demon’s death rewards me with another key and I wonder if this one might be able to open a locked passage I found above before entering the boss arena. I was pretty sure that door would take me to the item I couldn’t reach earlier. And it still might. But I don’t know as this key doesn’t open it.
I’m fairly certain at some point later in the game we will have need to come back here, so I put this mystery aside for another day and head out to the precipice past the boss where we fly Crow Airlines to Firelink Shrine.
From what I understand, we’ll be seeing a lot of this place. It seems to be similar to Mejula from Dark Souls II, as in it is a central hub for much of the game.
Unlike my first encounters with Mejula though, I know where to go. At least for starting out. I’ve been to Undead Burgh a time or two before.
First though, I talk to the NPCs in the area. A rather creepy fellow sitting by the bonfire itself and an almost-as-creepy Cleric not far up one of the paths leaving the shrine. He does at least have Miracles for sale — after talking a time or two — but it will be a bit before I can afford any of them.
One thing though: I spoke to him before having the 500 souls necessary for the bribe he wants to tell me more of his party’s mission. I opened a few minor soul vessels to get to the required 500 but the option for this is now gone. Doh. I don’t think I can learn what he wanted to say now. Not directly at least. Perhaps it will open again later after some time away or after purchasing some items.
After speaking to him, I head up the stairs, grab the soul hiding there and then dropping into the dark. My memory told me it was safe to do so and this time my memory wasn’t misleading me.
It opened up into an area with three chests, then a forth overlooking where I would have to drop to get back — unless I wanted to use one of the homeward bones I had just picked up.
The thought did briefly cross my mind but I recognised the area below.
It was where the skeletons near Firelink shrine were.
They are very dangerous to engage in combat at this part of the game but also not particularly fast. I should be able to drop down, nab a few items and then escape back to the bonfire before getting into any serious trouble.
The stairs had other plans.
Those plans very nearly killed me as I first got stuck on one side, then again on the other.
But with a rather well timed dodge-roll (even if I do say so myself) I was able to break through and make a mad dash back to the shrine to rest and reset respawns.
And it is here I called an end to Part 1. Next time I’ll head up the stair path toward the aqueduct and ultimately the Undead Burg. :)