When I stop to think of the size of this undertaking, I can’t help but wonder what on earth I was thinking. Playing to any sort of schedule seems so far out of my wheelhouse as to move past the laughable and land somewhere on the border of ridiculous and bat-shit insane. In the moment though, shoving such thoughts aside, it’s going well. I’m enjoying it.

Small incremental improvements are the name of the game. Part 1 sorted out how best to record. Part 2 refined the writing a little, established how I would handle boss encounters (or other areas of repeated retries), and set up the YouTube Playlist. For Part 3 the focus was simply on getting out of the relative comfort zone of known content and out to the unknown.

Now, for this part, on the YouTube side of things I’ve changed the naming schedule to make the video titles more useful (e.g., actually state the area they cover) and I’ve even gone ahead and set up a basic channel banner.

This is the full-sized ‘TV’ version, on desktop, it crops down to a narrow band, with the mobile version essentially showing just the title and eyes. ;)
Logo and Character art from the commissions from Alli, originally covered here!

In terms of game improvements for this time around — one of the things I was worried about was missing stuff from earlier sections. Even right from Part 2 in the Undead Burg, I noted that I was fairly sure there was a merchant I had missed in that area.

There was.

With a couple of important things even, such as the Residence Key and the Short Bow.

So what I’ve decided is twofold.

  1. I’ll allow myself to view walkthrough videos for areas I’ve already completed.
    I still want to maintain the blind experience while making forward progress, but after I’m ‘done’ for the first time myself I don’t mind taking a look at what else there was.
  2. Going back for previous areas/things will (in most cases) be ‘off-camera’.
    I might make some exceptions to this, likely in the form of a .5 video, where I think it might be interesting enough. But going back to plink arrows into a dragon tail? Not so fun to watch. Picking up missed items in the Burg? Also, not so fun.

Still! In terms of the overall success of the series, we’ll see. It’s still early days. I’ll just have to try keep the overall scope of the thing as a distant thought and not really worry about it. ;)

For now, onwards — further into the Undead Parish!

Undead Parish Continued

The gate is open, unbarring the way between the last section and this — what appears to be the chapel proper. I have a couple of directions of approach open to me, but neither seem especially appealing.

The front door has an array of red-caped knights — although one did get angry at me for picking up the Halberd outside and charged out of its party — and to the side has three soldiers backed by an archer. At first I go with the knights — may as well get them out of the way, after all.

That’s a big shield!

I clear through them and see ahead of me something new. New is bad. New is scary.

I feel like the doves nearby are misleading. There is almost no chance that this will be a friendly.

Before I make it over to him though I work out what at least one pair — of the many pairs — of feet that I can hear above belongs to. Some form of caster. Another new thing. This caster pokes me pretty hard with a sorcerer’s bolt of some kind and I can’t spot any way to retaliate from down here.

So I beat a retreat deciding the side door is a pretty interesting place to be after all.

I confirm that it does lead right to this big, meaty, meany-looking shield guy again as well. But I also spy across the room a doorway that there is no chance he’ll fit through.

To the right, death-by-knight. To the left, poke-by-sorcery. Ahead? That looks better.

I make a dash for the open door — spotting as I go, there are also stairs to the right — and find myself in an elevator shaft.

I take a moment to exult about the door closing behind me and the knight stomping away, before realising I have no idea where this thing is taking me.

Down in Dark Souls 1, from what I understand at least, is a scary place.

And this thing really seems to be going down a while before the second lift even crosses my path, making its ascent in balance to my descent.

So my joy and surprise at emerging out at Firelink Shrine again were very real. This is a very significant shortcut that boosts my confidence in tackling the new things above, knowing that even should I die — I can get right back to them.

Which is good.

Because die I do.

A good couple few times while sorting out how the area works. The knight actually didn’t turn out to be so bad as it is very slow. The first time though I managed to get myself very, very trapped, in a tiny alcove (against the closed elevator door) with no room to maneuver.

The sorcerer above also didn’t turn out to be too difficult. Except for the fact he has roughly two-dozen of the fleshy hollows with him. Individually they’re not a problem, but together… Oh man. Plus the sorcerer buffs them ramping their damage up to unexpected levels.

So after dying to said ‘unexpected levels’ of damage, I do manage to get through his army and find the Sorcerer dancing a jig of some sort. I worry for a moment it will resurrect or otherwise summon more of his army but it looks like it simply would have been the buff on any left alive. Had there been any left alive.

These two constituted the majority of the threat in this place and after they were down I was able to explore a little more freely.

I found — after breaking through a worn door — the use for the earlier collected Mystery Key. There is a prison cell above, holding Lautrec, a knight. I release him and he promises a reward later. Yay! I like rewards. A note outside his cell says, ‘Death’ but I’m sure this is just someone making a jest… Right? I mean… He didn’t kill me. Honestly, if I’d read the note before opening his cell I’m less sure I would have. But it’s done now!

Ultimately I work my way up to the top of this section and a fog gate.

It’s a small fog gate though, so I assume it’s simply a load into another area.

Wrong.

It’s a boss fight.

The Bell Gargoyles. Frick.

I realise my mistake as soon as I step through. The gargoyles on the roof kinda give it away. I even think seriously about homeword boning out immediately but… don’t. Instead I give it a try after activating the fight. Don’t ask why. I don’t know. It goes about as well as you’d expect though.

So that plan off the table, I give the fight a try and to start with do… OK.

The Gargoyle takes more damage than I thought it would and I make it to where the second Gargoyle joins the fight.

Then die shortly after.

I had a little over 3k souls on me and I want them back. So I put homeward bones into a quick item slot ready to get me the heck out of there. Fortunately, this all goes to plan and I make my escape.

Bell Gargoyles can await another day!

Vanishing from the fight

Off-Camera Work

I had a bit of catching up to do this time! In future I’ll look to do this for each section as I go through.

But in summary, I went back to Undead Burg — up the path to the aqueduct, making the jump to collect the Ring of Sacrifice I didn’t make earlier — and picked up a number of items I’d missed from around the map — mostly soul items, although I also found the merchant I had missed. From him, I picked up arrows, a bow, and the residence key.

The key allowed for accessing a chest with three pine resin — a weapon buff item, adding electricity damage for a time — and the bow and arrows set me on a mission to shoot off the red dragon’s tail.

I remembered shooting off the tail did… something. And that it was recommended that you do it. But not why. I found out! It drops the Drake Sword. A sword that while unenchantable, expensive to upgrade (requiring rare material) and without any stat scaling — is still really, really good for the early game. It is fast, with a high raw damage and even has a special attack if you wield it in 2H and use heavy attack. It sends a shock-wave attack out in a beam in front of you, albeit at the cost of a huge chunk of weapon durability (30 per use).

I have been becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the Mace’s move set — in particular the recovery time from heavy attacks — and so getting some options is of great interest to me.

I didn’t stop there though — after lopping the dragon’s tail off, I made it come down on the bridge and I made a mad dash across the remaining span, collecting the Claymore on the way and activating the bonfire at the end of the bridge I’d previously skipped by going underneath instead.

Finally, I went for more of a jog through the graveyard area and picked up some things I’d not been brave enough to try earlier. Binoculars, Zweihander, Wing Spear and another large soul being the main takings for doing so.

Throughout all this, I collected enough souls to raise my strength to 16 and dexterity to 12, required for the Drake Sword and Bow respectively, but also incidentally giving me enough to use the Claymore too.

I don’t know where I’ll land weapon wise yet — that’s something we can experiment with a little together in the next section but I’m thinking the Drake Sword might lead the way for a little while at least.