Dark Souls II Rant: Rings and the Test of Patience

The title to this post sounds as if I’m a nagging, impatient girlfriend who is expecting a ring on her finger but her boyfriend is too busy playing games. Well, I’m not talking about the relationship between two human beings. I’m talking about my relationship with Dark Souls II Scholar of the First Sin, the game I keep going back to unwind. It’s the perfect melancholic companion whose a bit difficult to get through but very rewarding once you explore all its treacherous paths, including the hidden rooms behind the walls. They are the best because we know treasures lie ahead! As choppy as it feels compared to the first, it’s definitely not seamlessly integrated as Dark Souls in terms of the stage design, but the ambience atmosphere is strangely therapeutic and I sort of prefer it over the first. It does wonder to the senses with its fairy tale like atmosphere. After all, don’t we girls just love fairy tale?

I’m beginning to sound like an undead to call the soul’s universe an alluringly safe place to unwind. No wonder people called us DARK SOULS lovers machoistic. At the moment, I am currently hunting down and testing out rings because I want to be with my abusive lover (Dark Souls II) forever. No, I’m just being sarcastic. So far, Ring of Life Protection is my favorite because I like to remain in human form.

You can equip 4 rings, but would it have made more sense with 5. Weren’t we all born with 5 fingers?

Let me get you some backstory to why I keep going back to my abusive lover, Dark Souls II. Not too long ago I defeated Dragon Quest XI, which is a big accomplishment for me considering that it takes me ages to play games I purchased out of the whim. As I was working on clearing my backlog, I went back to Silver Case but got annoyed fast with its dark theme. Unlike Souls games, it’s hopelessly depressing with no warmth in sight. Plus, too much swearing doesn’t make characters appear tough; they just seem stupid. There was also a hint of misogyny which ruined the entire experience for me.

Halsdoll Playin
If I am going to be a piece of dead meat then I’m going to go to do it in the Souls universe not in Silver Case (thanks Nairdalex for the photo edit).

Now I have been playing Dark Souls II without caring too much about beating it in a timely matter so I can move on to the next game on my list. Despite what people say, it’s the perfect game for me to unwind. I like the quietness. Music in video game is unnecessary. Listening to my character’s footsteps echoing in the hallway and the sound of clashing and clinking of my weapons sounds more relaxing, oddly. I can hear the wind so I think I feel the wind touching my skin. I hear the waves splashing onto the shore and that makes me feel calm. I just like exploring its universe in the comfort of my home.

Currently as I am writing this post, I am at Huntsman’s Copse, preparing for a boss fight against the Executioner’s Chariot. Even though it’s optional, I still want to clear the area just for the sake of it. I walked the same path over and over multiple times by now that it feels less dangerous.

Annoying sadists crossing my path to the Executioner's Chariot
Annoying sadists preventing me from defeating its boss, the Executioner’s Chariot

I am progressively becoming better each time I enter the boss fight because of familiarity. I learned where to spot the annoying Necromancer black mages that keep spawning skeletons. Keep calm and focus and with a little luck I won’t feel so overwhelmed with a mob of skeletons. Once I clear them away, the boss is not difficult at all. It just the environment and the circumstance that is making it difficult. And that is what keeps me coming back to Dark Souls II. It’s hard, but achievable.

P.S

I beat the Executioner Chariot! Persistence and patience on top of learning where enemies spawn and timing helped me defeat this optional boss! Now I can boast, I did it!

Welcome to Halsdoll’s Boutique!!! Code Vein Photo Shoot–A Fun Co-Op Adventure J-RPG GAME!!!(Mini-Review)

It’s a shame that Code Vein doesn’t have more clothing selection because that would stop my dress addiction purchases because as much I like it, I rarely wear a dress in public. Only during special occasions such a recent interview where I wore a black dress for the first time that I bought back in 2018. Thought it would be nice to sale clothes for a living since I am in between jobs. I just don’t want anything mentally strenuous so I can focus on my health and this blog, but unfortunately the plan didn’t work. I should have not dressed like I was going to the funeral at a preppy high-end store that has a lawsuit on its back for racism (Black Lives Matter!). Oh well, at least I get to wear a dress and a black one too! Now I did recall, the interviewee asked me what is my style. I couldn’t answer her at the time, but now I know–it’s the classic edgy, librarian. Yep, it’s not going to work!

Today, I present my fashion catalog to my boutique and briefly summarize the game. The highlight of this game for me was changing my character’s appearance. Perhaps, digital dresses might not be such a bad idea in terms of game design for a soul-like game. I know I will grind for a pretty dress. Dresses are like flowers; it relaxes me.

Code Vein, developed by BANDAI NAMCO Studios, released in 2019, is a great co-op/solo game with a lot of playstyle customization, which I won’t go into details because there are plenty of YouTube videos on it. If you are the type who enjoy trying out different weapons and codes (just another term for class) and changing you character’s appearance, this is the game for you. The amount of content is well worth the purchase, although the game is generic in the story department but it’s not so convoluted that’s hard for players to understand. Yes, it’s about humanity. It’s about corporation, service, interdependence, selflessness etc. All the good traits that make humanity beautiful. We don’t need to live in a single minded world where we have to choose the option between a prey and a predator.

Overall, it’s nice to play a feel good game that doesn’t bash humanity (I play games to escape reality, I don’t need to be reinforced how terrible the world is!). In terms of game design, obviously it took some parts from Dark Souls. Some bosses and monsters are a total ripped off done intentionally. The developers did it successfully to corporate those elements from souls’ games without jeopardizing their own creativity to create something new. Innovation is a risky business but ya gotta please your fans if ya still wanna job in the gaming industry.

Please enjoy Halsdoll’s Boutique photo shoot–one of the highlights of this game.

Thank you for browsing Halsdoll’s Boutique which may go out of business soon if I don’t start selling products that people want. Until, next see ya~

Rambling on Why My Video Games Backlog is Small

Did you take advantage of the holiday sale? When I buy games I feel as if I am putting more debt on my list of things to complete and then I feel paralyzed that I ended up not playing games at all. I am hear to tell you my secret on why my gaming backlog is small. Of course, I am not hear to lecture you and make you feel bad if you are the type who can’t resist a good sale. I always get shocked hearing from other gamers that they still have their games unopened, still in shrink-wrap. I wonder if you will ever play the game? Or you just trying to show of your gaming collection? Would you lend me your games so I don’t have to spend money on it? HAHA J.K J.K (not really lol).

The good thing about buying video game one at a time is that you don’t feel pressured to conquer your backlog. In fact, it’s more fun to take the time to enjoy it slowly. The same thing can be said about food. But I think my guilt stems from the fact my mom used to scold me on how I can’t eat video games after she found out I used up all my saved allowance to buy games instead of food. Back then, my mom wanted to teach us responsibility but also give us the freedom to make purchase on things we want. Was it a good idea? I believe so.

Of course I am no angel. I have a bad habit of buying games to complete a game series I enjoyed in the past. Then I realized I get burnt out easily, playing games back to back. I have tried making a list of games and I have finished the game only to be left disappointed. Why force yourself to play a game you don’t like? What is there to prove?????????!!!!!!!!!! Okay, in life we can’t always win. That’s a fact. I confess and now my stress level has decreased which means I can concentrate on one game at a time. Or if I feel overwhelmed with my backlogs, I’ll just hand over the controller to my gaming assistant: Halsdoll’s teddy bear.

Yes, in the picture, it’s Dark Souls‘ case that you are seeing. Halsdoll’s teddy bear is a very skilled gamer. 🙂

Well that’s it for now. Enjoy your game at your own pace. Until next time, bye bye.

Rule of Rose Review

Some people have the tendency to gravitate towards a tale that makes them weep instead of ones that brings them joy.  If we take a step back and look at ourselves, we are a strange creature that innately want to be happy, but find comfort in bittersweet tale.  Perhaps, some of us are attracted to such entertainment because it acts as a mere reflection of our own psyche.  We want to fix something that is bothering us so we evaluate the little things that trap us in a psychological loop.  It’s almost a never ending loop until we find the answer that has been buried deep within us. Some painful childhood memories are better off suppressed.

Yes, I’m speaking of Rule of Rose, a psychological survival horror game released back in 2006 for the Playstation 2.  Player experience the perspective of an orphan named Jennifer with her pet dog Brown as they unravel a suspense, sorrowful tale.  I highly do not recommend this game to those who have a deep love for animals. The game actually brought some great discomfort to me even though it has a good moral message–for those who are passive and/or those who were bullied in their youth.  It forces me to think about society in general–the relation between children and adults. Now I understand why it did not get a release in North America (the video game store I went to never got the game. Only the case was on displayed).  Some of the themes are questionably cruel and not suitable for young people.  Even the older audience might find the game hard to comprehend.  I went to bed feeling as if my heart has just gotten broken after completing the game.

The game is artistically crafted and designed in a way where all things have a purpose including the monsters design.  Yes, gameplay and story are intertwined.  At one point, I was so frustrated with the gaming mechanics, but learned to appreciate the game design as I realized the order of finding weapons in the game (e.g  fork, kitchen knife, butcher knife, shovel, axe) gradually became more menacing as the undertone of the story deepened.   Gameplay wise, it’s far from being monotonous.   Exploring/investigating, in my book, is a type of gameplay.  Brown, Jennifer’s fury companion, is a great hunter and protector.  If you are the type that like to play detective, this game is a good treat.  You get the bigger picture of the whole game in the end, if you get the good ending that is.

The game overall, is quite well-balanced in terms of story, gameplay, music and visual.  I would consider the game on par with Silent Hill 1 and Silent Hill 2, which are great games! I plan to re-play the game.  Artistically, I’m quite fond of the atmosphere and the way how the story unfolds.

Rule of Rose is the type of timeless game that is on equal level with great books.  It is a good representation on how the medium can be viewed as a mature, artistic expression that has the ability to dive into the human soul.

P.S

Now I really need to go find myself a pet dog–hug it and tell it: “I love you, and will always protect you until I die!”