Last week, for the first time since starting this experiment, I missed a Dark Souls: Remastered post. I considered doing it as well, but with the XCOM 2 Succession Game kicking off (twice!) I decided that would be enough for one weekend. Especially when considering it was also a weekend with a Journal post.

Last time around, I’d ditched the mace for the Drake Sword. I was really, very much, not at all happy with the moveset of the mace. In particular the giant pause in your ability to react after missed heavy attacks. As UltrViolet correctly pointed out though — The Drake Sword isn’t the ideal weapon to be used for someone new to the game. It trivialises the content right up until it doesn’t anymore, by which point you’ve not necessarily learned enough to climb aboard the ‘Git gud’ train without being punted out the other side.

So I finally made up my mind where I was going to spend my Titanite, and upgraded the Claymore to a +5. And it is that I use in the next segment! And possibly the rest of the game for the most part. I will still need to create a Divine weapon as I understand it. Possibly the Halberd for that?

Moonlight Butterfly

I didn’t know what to expect heading through this fog gate. But a giant magic butterfly would probably sit somewhere at the bottom of the list of guesses I would make.

If anything, bridges in Dark Souls have so far taught me to expect giant demons or dragons.

Later, I’m going to have to go find out some of the lore behind this thing- why it’s here, why it wants to fight passers by, that kind of thing.

In terms of the encounter though — it was remarkably easy. I took in an NPC summon from outside and she just made paste out of this thing in almost no time flat. I’m unsure if this is a feature of NPC summons in Dark Souls 1 for boss fights more generally or just this one, but wow.

If this is typical, I think I’ll go back to being a bit more reluctant on summoning in any help for bosses going forward.

After opening the way to the tower this thing was presumably trying to keep me out of — I found what appeared to be the petrified remains of a blacksmith, holding onto a Divine Ember, a Homeward Bone and… A Watchtower Basement Key.

Darkroot Basin and Havel

There is something about the constant downward progression in games that can be quite oppressive. But I don’t mean that in a bad way– rather that the sense of atmosphere, of ‘weight’, the game conveys can become quite a powerful force. Something akin to that sensation of building anticipation that comes with a Horror when nothing has happened for a while but clearly something is being built toward.

The game that readily comes to mind as really achieving this for me is actually… Asheron’s Call. Certain of the dungeons really let you feel just how stupidly far beneath the surface you were. Especially the ones where you were dealing with Olthoi.

Havel attempting to craft some Nait-based mince-meat.

Digression aside, Dark Souls 1 also really hits these notes. The descent into Darkroot Basin being one such example. Particularly when it lets you see familiar landmarks — such as the dragon bridge — both far away and far above.

So when you find a way back up again, it is a breath of fresh air. Even when the specifics here actually relate to a cell, of sorts, in a basement. With an insanely heavily armored knight, equipped with the tooth of a dragon sees fit to try smooshing you until your inside bits and your outside bits become quite impossible to tell apart from one another.

I couldn’t quite decide if I actually wanted to engage with him at this point.

My damage against him seemed minuscule, and his against me made me squeak.

But… I did. And I took him down- first try. With the help of a bit of backstab cheesery. But like I always say, if you didn’t want to be backstabbed, you wouldn’t let people get behind you so easily.

So I figure it’s OK.

After all this excitement, I was rewarded with Havel’s ring. And let me tell you- no greater reward could I imagine. It imparts the ability to wear heavier equipment before your encumbrance is such that you can’t dodge roll as effectively.

I was able to equip the full Elite Knight’s armor set and maintain a ‘medium’ roll, for which I am infinitely grateful. Trying to attempt this set without Havel’s ring saw me less ‘rolling’ and more… ‘Help, help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!’ for a while, sort of turtling around, until finally finding some hidden inner strength to unflop myself from the floor.

I’m not sure I’ll be taking this ring off for a long, long, time.

I do briefly consider going and tangling with the Hydra that I passed in the Basin- but after clearing out the Crystal Golem things around it, I took one splat-salvo to the face and it whomped out a good 2/3rds or so of my health. Given my already low Estus Flask situation, I decided to ‘Nope’ on out of there and deal with the Hydra another day.