Praising Intensifies: My Ever-Warmer Feelings On Dark Souls III

I have never been a fan of ultra-punishing games. I’ve always felt there were enough challenges in my non-digital life, that I wasn’t driven to further frustrate myself with games that repeatedly killed me.

My preconceived notion of the Souls games were that they were dark fantasy worlds where video game masochists went to overcome some of the hardest enemies out there.

A long while back, my good friend Grunts offered to guide me through Bloodborne. I was grateful and we booted up share play via PSN. I did okay, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I was disappointed, as I was terribly keen on seeing more of the world within in the game.

I was around five hours in when I finally conceded I wasn’t having fun. I was frustrated at dodging and attacking, rinsing and repeating, but most of all, at farming for the items that allow you to heal. When you die, you don’t get them replenished. You have to keep farming for more.

It was after I’d killed my twentieth werewolf trying to get more health items that I knew I was done. I put the game down and never picked it back up. I wanted to like it, but I didn’t.

Knowing that, I pre-ordered Dark Souls III anyway. Who knows why.

I don’t know why.

It had been sitting on the shelf, untouched, for over a year. It was only recently, when talking to my friend Brad, that the subject of finally playing it came up. He has intense knowledge of the Souls games and offered to join me in…

We made plans to dive in last weekend.

I was super nervous about playing together for several reasons. One: we’d never played anything co-op before. Two: I knew the game was going to be hard. Three: I didn’t want to embarrass myself by sucking terribly. The Souls series are known for hilarious deaths, and I was worried I’d be falling off ledges all over the place. Four: I knew I’d have to beat the first boss by myself before the game would allow us to play together.

Dark Souls bosses are crazy.

During that first segment (where I had to play solo), I used share play so he could see what I was doing and offer me tips.

And did he ever offer me tips.

I had to learn an entirely new way of approaching a game. He threw a lot of information at me, and I tried to absorb it as fast as I could.

I ran in to try to kill the first boss.

I really wanted to kill him on my first try. I wanted to prove I was a badass.

It didn’t happen.

I managed to kill him on my fourth try, ironically during a brief period when the share play crapped out on us. He didn’t get to see my victorious moment, but he congratulated me on the achievement and I proceeded to Firelink Shrine.

I felt like I was going to have a heart attack after beating the boss.

I had plenty of time to calm down while studying the game’s interface and trying to get used to the overwhelming barf of stats on my screen.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the game. I was glad to be playing together, but I felt like I was about as far out of my element as I could be.

We pushed on and I learned about where things were and how to proceed and when. He is an excellent tour guide. I knew he was carrying me through the first part, so I told him I’d like to push myself to participate more during our next co-op session.

And I think I made good on that.

I mean, I know I’m a long way off from being remotely decent at the game, but I’m trying and enjoying it.

Between our first and second co-op session, I was increasingly thinking about the game. I was looking forward to playing it.

I was looking forward to more Dark Souls.

What in tarnation?

Even though my game was invaded half a dozen times during those few hours on day two, I still had a blast. I found myself enjoying the experience more and more. That surprises me.

What also surprises me is that I’ve been thinking about it every day since then. My co-op partner and I can only connect on weekends, and I’m already looking forward to the next time we can play. I mean, I think Freud would have a field day with Hidetaka Miyazaki (not the Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli), as some of his creations are absurdly bizarre and sexual (and can often be described as unsettling). One of the last bosses we fought was a giant tree with blisters on his crotch which required me to run up to his massive form, get between his legs, and attack said blisters.

It was a place I’d rather not have been.

Even so, I found myself watching videos yesterday about Dark Souls III strategies and items to find. I’m already hooked. I enjoyed my time on day two even more than day one. That bodes well for day three and beyond.

I’m glad I decided to give the game a fair shot, and I’m entirely grateful for my guide and co-op partner. He has been insightful, generous, and helpful through and through. The experience has been a pleasure rather than a slog. And my health items regenerate each time I rest at a bonfire.

Happiness abounds.

I hope to become ever-more useful as the game progresses, and I’m excited to dive back in as soon as we can.

It probably goes without saying that I hope to play more Dark Souls III this weekend. I also hope to finally (I know, I know) start Wolfenstein. I also think there is a possibility I might be starting in on Ghost Recon: Wildlands as well! Whew!

With that I ask: what will you be playing this weekend? Have you ever had a game you started out cool on, but eventually warmed up to? If so, which one/s? What changed for you?

As a parting note, I wanted to say I found a bunch of adorable Souls-related images, and I thought I’d share them here. There are some awfully silly and wonderful things out there. Cheers, friends!




There are apparently Dark Souls III costumes in Little Big Planet 3!









14 replies »

  1. I just got Dark Souls III a few weeks ago, and it is my first attempt to enter the Dark Souls / Bloodborne universe. I don’t generally like punishing games either, but as a long time gamer I thought I should at least give it a go. I am enjoying it somewhat, but did get stuck a bit. I am sure I will return, but now I am working on the Zelda DLC and the Crash Bandicoot remaster.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are in awfully similar situations. I hope you find a way to become unstuck whenever you go back to it. And I hope you enjoy Zelda and the alternately punishing Crash.


  2. That’s awesome to hear that you have gotten so invested in Dark Souls! It really is one of those series where once you’re locked in with the concept, you’re locked in for good. I’m curious, what playstyle have you been going with so far? I’m always fascinated by the different strategies that people choose to employ.

    Praise the Sun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s weird, isn’t it? I mean, you were amazing as the Bloodborne sensai, and I’m still sorry I got so frustrated with the game, itself. Having to farm for health items was just not my bag. I’m a much bigger fan of estus.

      I’ve been deferring to Brad’s guidance (he knows his Souls), so I’m playing as a knight. I have a shield and a sword and I’ve learned the basic pyromancy fireball. I’m not good by any means, but I’m learning and having a good time, and I’m thankful for that!


      Holy crap dude, remember when we fought Gascoigne together and I got greedy and died right before he died and we had to do it again because I couldn’t hold my sh*t together? Good times. :)


      • The Knight is a great choice; the sword and shield combo is solid and that’s actually the strategy that I used for most of my play through of the first Dark Souls. Also pyromancy is fun. Good stuff.

        I prefer the estus system as well, so I completely understand your point on that front. And I’m sure after you make your way through Dark Souls 3 you will become much more comfortable with the combat. At that point Bloodborne would probably be far easier to get into.

        Gascoigne is a dangerous fellow, but greed is the real killer. Those final moments of a boss fight are always fun. :)

        Liked by 1 person

        • First of all, that picture you now have on your profile is hilarious. I love it.

          Yay for knights! I don’t use my shield as much as I should (blocking tends to be an afterthought), but I do enjoy the occasional pyromancy. I also just found out about something called Boulder Hurl or Heaving Boulders or something wonderful like that, and I’m absolutely set on learning how to do that. If I can barf rocks at the jerks in this game, I will be one happy person.

          Oh man, the estus system is loads better. And yes, perhaps I will find a future yearning to get back to Bloodborne, but as of right now, I’m not sure. Farming for those health items was no bueno.

          It was my greed, dude. My crazy greed to take him down. And look where it got me. SUPER DEAD. It was really funny, though. :)


  3. Hooray for the weekend! Congrats on enjoying Dark Souls III! Your teamwork sounds marvelous. I too tried as a Knight in Dark Souls III but I just couldn’t get past that first boss. Sections of Ori and the Blind Forest are challenge enough for me as well as the occasional Overwatch match. I’ve work duties still and so my game time is still tempered. Luckily, yesterday I took an evening nap then played The Last of Us late into the night. I’m enjoying the game a lot and the checkpoints are forgiving after I die by running headlong into the last enemies after spending 15 minutes stealthily taking out the others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I really am enjoying it so much more than I’d thought I would.

      Oh gosh, that first boss. I seriously thought I was going to have a heart attack. My chest was thumping around like crazy.

      Hey! I’m glad that even though you are still swamped with work, you found some time to game! Honestly, I did that, too, sometimes with The Last of Us (I played it on last gen, though). I found some of the AI to be less than great (clickers would find me even if I wasn’t moving and was crouched, and sometimes Ellie would shove me from out of cover, thus getting me noticed), so sometimes I would also run in guns blazing. Sometimes you have to do that, right? :)

      Either way, I hope you enjoy your time with it!


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