You have died... again. Dark Souls 2 announced

Sorry, @TimJames. This is the quote my comment refers to.

I was reading this thread in one big chunk. I realize 3 days ago is light years in forum time.

So, the Vendrick reveal was awesome. And the Velstadt fight gets added to my list of memorable fights. Had a solid feel the first go, but only managed to get like 1/8th of this health down. Next attempt I got about a 1/4th and got to see his dark magic attacks up close. Third attempt I brought my pal the grave warden with his hilarious sword, but that was a total shitshow. My man kept eating the overhead slam attack and my katana was doing piddling damage due to the multiplayer boss-buff. But on my forth attempt (solo) I got him. I like these fairly straightforward but incredibly risky fights. Velstadt only had a few move combinations + the nasty dark magic, but if you messed up even a little bit you’d get owned.

Solid stuff.

But back to Vendrick. Holy shit. Story spoilers I guess? If anyone cares.

Summary

The game builds him up as this valiant king who claimed the four lord souls and strode across the sea to defeat the giants. And when I finally meet him, this is what he’s reduced to?

So good. His armor discarded in a pile on the floor. And that room he’s in! With small holes in the roof, white light streaming down, not unlike what raw humanity looks like down in the abyss.

And what a spin on Gwyn. Yeah sure that fight with Gwyn is melancholy and filled with pathos, but it’s not nearly as bleak as Vendrick’s fate. At least Gwyn took the throne, tried his best.

Vendrick’s decision, his whole quest, speaks to the futility of it all. Take the throne, kindle the first flame: your empire still falls to ruin. Refuse the throne, flee the light: you’re left mad and hollow, pacing around in circles hidden away in a crypt.

And what am I supposed to do now? Take the throne anyway, so says the Emerald Herald? I guess we’ll see.

Oh and Aldia’s Keep is great. Game is really humming now. It was painful to have to stop for bed last night, right as I was about to enter some desiccated thunderdome. Wonder what’s waiting for me inside?

Don’t forget to check back in his room after the DLC.

Nice, will do!

It’s funny, in DS1 I was feeling a bit fatigued near the end, and didn’t have the drive to master Manus and Kalameet. I’m having the opposite reaction to the near-end of DS2. I feel like it’s taken me this long to really get comfortable, and I’m super engaged in the story, and I’m eager to dive headlong into whatever challenges are left.

I checked Steam yesterday and figure I have almost 1,500 hours into the 4 versions of Dark Souls I have played. I really need to get a life.

I have found regardless of which game I was playing that there seems to be certain times when people are around. So definitely time zones play into it.

There should have been one almost directly in front of the door. I was never able to find the other one. I do think one of the things they did right with DS3 is that there is an NPC summons for almost every boss fight, except for maybe 2 that I can think of. I never saw one for Aldritch and the Giant requires you to do an NPC’s quest line for him to be available.

But overall I think DS3 offers more NPC summons than the other games.

That is a great fight.

I have found adding an NPC summons can almost hurt you with some boss fights. I can say I have now beaten almost every boss solo now but for several play thrus there bosses I summoned for. I like to put down a summons sign while playing and I find the number of players who summon 3 players (or NPCs) surprising. I don’t think they realize that adding summons can make the boss harder. Especially since there are some NPCs who are helpful and others who are literally useless, just there to give you a chance to back off and drink estus, and in many cases that isn’t worth the added difficulty.

Can I consult the Scuzzopedia? Which fight was this? I’m not good with names. Velstadt?

He is the guy you face before you meet Vendrick in the crypts. Big guy, with a big hammer who deals in dark orbs.

The Dragon Aerie…wow!

Stepped away for a minute and when I came back I was face to face with The Guardian Dragon. Nothing like a bossfight to knock the rust off. The last dragon I fought in a souls game (Kalameet) broke me, but this guy wasn’t bad. Took a few cracks, but it was a fun fight. Great setting.

So, up one improbable elevator and bam! What a sight. Absolutely love that the endgame areas in DS2 are this good. I messed around trying to grab all the loot and kill all the dragons before I got a bit impatient. I’ll come back later to grab all the scattered upgrade materials if I need them.

The fight on the stairs with all the knights watching was pretty dramatic. Reminded me a bit of Anor Londo.

This Ancient Dragon fella, should I kill him? He gave me what I need to unlock the memories and seemed pretty chill. Am I missing something if I leave him be?

From here, do I head off into memory land? Or go to the throne? I came across something a while back that said for SOTFS you shouldn’t hit the memories first, you should hit the throne room? And when do I tackle the DLC?

I’m a little hazy on when the game ends. I know I shouldn’t go back to Vendrick until I’ve done all the memories….

I don’t know if you can do the alternate ending after the normal ending or not. To be safe I would do all the DLC first and explore to find a certain character to talk to. Might need a guide for the locations.

Ok, so DLC now before memories and throne?

Doesn’t matter, just throne room last. At that point make a backup save or spoil what you need to do to get the complete ending.

Ok great, thank you.

Just my own perspective, but I usually leave the dragon alone. But there is nothing bad about killing him.

I would do the DLC or memories now. But the Throne Room fight ends the basic game so I always save it for last. The memory trip gets you objects which make another fight easier. A fight you probably already may have tried.

After conquering the Memories (such a cool story/game mechanic) and putting Vendrick out of his misery (which is ultimately what that fight felt like), I thought I was hot shit, so I set off to go blow through some fire salamanders to get a few goodies (including the last remaining DLC key).

…, yeah. Fire Salamanders. NOT EASY. I ended up having to do some serious cheese (picking off a few from above with arrows) and a lot of running. I love how these suckers, who you see in the first hours of the game, end up being super fearsome beasts that even my endgame specced character had a hard time dealing with.

Now it’s DLC time!

Dark Souls 2: SOTFS (minus the DLC) completed!

There is a sense of momentum near the end of these games that I felt even more acutely with DS2, and the DLC was starting to feel like a bit of a slog, instead of an amazing set of new areas, so, knowing that the game doesn’t immediately throw you into NG+, I decided it was time to finish off the core story.

Boss fight. Boss fight. Boss fight.

The end of this game isn’t messing around!

The Throne Duo was more of a speed bump, which I’m thankful for. I brought in Vengarl after I saw what the fight was all about, and he did his job as a meatshield to the best of his abilities. He fell as I finished off the Watcher, and I tipped my helmet to him (I’ve been wearing the helmet he gives you for most of the game).

Nashandra (I love the design of her in her true form, one of the coolest looking bosses in Dark Souls) took a bit more work (and a costume change), but once I had enough curse resistance to buy myself a few more seconds of wailing away at her, she went down as well.

The third boss was a surprise. I figured Aldia wasn’t finished with me, but I wasn’t expecting to have to fight him. One more costume change, and a lot of fire resist later, I eventually got my fireball dodging down, remained patient, and won.

I’m pretty happy with how the final encounters played out. Super tough to have to do multiple boss fights back to back to back, but each one had only a few mechanics to master, and allowed me to change up my gear (I love when a game does this) to make the most of all my loot hunting.

The end of the game would have been that much sweeter if I wasn’t invaded right in front of the king’s door on my way back to fight Aldia. I got predictably owned and lost 150k souls.

The final act of DS2 was easily the best part of the game. I had a rocky go with this one, and even after 50 hours I still feel the combat to be a bit off, but the story was very strong, as was the world of Drangleic. You could feel FROM stretching their legs with this game, trying new things, experimenting with old mechanics. It was clearly an essential part of their development as a game company, and you can see a lot of DS2 innovations show up in subsequent games.

If I had to do it over again, I think I’d skip the SOTFS edition, and just play the original version. I think a lot of what they did to “remix” the game failed, and added to the feeling of being punishing for punishment’s sake.

Gonna give it a breather and focus on DS3, but I’ll be back to complete the DLC.

Three Souls games down, three to go. What a year.

Having three DLC and playing them back to back is probably a little much.

Glad you enjoyed it. That’s another nice thing about the game. Dark Souls runs out of gas after Anor Londo (at least after the first play through). Dark Souls 2 gets better, though the highs still aren’t that great.

Yeah, I think it was smart to front-load DS2 with the great soul gathering, leaving the back half free to explore the more interesting characters and story bits.

The entire run post Shrine of Amana was wonderful. As were the boss fights.