Dark Souls: What the Bonfire Says about Humanity

Dark Souls sounds pretty dark, so dark that my non-gaming friend asked me why I play such a satanic game. Her question made me probe about my obsession with it. So I googled Dark Souls content on the internet. What was the result that stood out to me the most? The word masochist. In fact I didn’t know that word exist. Dark Souls players are masochists. According to Google dictionary, masochist is

a person who derives sexual gratification from their own pain or humiliation.”the roles of masochist and mistress (in general use) a person who enjoys an activity that appears to be painful or tedious.”

Feeling self-conscious about myself, I begin to ponder about my true nature as a human being. So I start to reflect on what Dark Souls really mean?

From Dark Souls prologue, we know that fire gives life, but “from the dark they came and found the souls within the flame.” Whatever this darkness is, it causes something to ignite within the life form–which drives living things to action and eventually to madness. So to prevent going Hollow (cold), players have to reach to the bonfire. The game design is very addictive. So addictive that I couldn’t play any other games for a long while. I was possessed by the satanic game!

If you look at the bonfire closely, it is not just a mere bonfire. A sword thrusts into the flames of the human ash. This implies the continuous cycle of life and death. A place for the souls to resurrect. Once a player dies, they come back alive at the bonfire. Think bonfire as a home–where you rest and prepare yourself for tomorrow’s battle.

All undeads, including you as the player, are naturally attracted to the flames because that is where you came to exist. Going without flame for too long, you will die and eventually lose your humanity. The result is Hollow. I like to think Hollows as corrupted politicians. I think every politician started out with good intention, but the more power he/she has, the more abuse he/she can do without having remorse.

So time again and again, you’d hear the phrase: “May the Flames Guide Thee” in the game. It is a reminder to the undead to cling onto the warmth within them. By doing so, the bonfires are not just checkpoints to meet the final destination. The bonfires play a significant role in the story because they are “corporeal manifestation” of each Fire keepers’ soul, the protector of life. She attends to the bonfire, protecting the flame from dying so that the player does not “gradually loses his humanity, until his wits degrade completely (Lucatiel’s quote from Dark Souls II).”

So this brought me to the question: Am I a masochist for liking Dark Souls? The answer is no, but I can be corruptible–in fact everyone can. The Souls series is like a video game bible. It preaches its story through the gaming mechanics. That’s why players eventually turn into ugly skeletons. I remember when I created my character, I want it to look beautiful, but then I quit caring about my appearance when I kept turning ugly! I then turn all of my attention to reaching the next bonfire at all cost. I was literally in fact, on my way to turning Hollow (mad).

You might think it’s all dark, but the ability to grasp that one can lose sight of what it truly means to live, means that there is also a lot of warmth in this game. It wants to teach us how to think. That’s why I enjoyed this game a lot.

DARK SOULS™ II: Scholar of the First Sin

Civilizations rise then fall and fire begins it all. We are built with an understanding and respect for the needs of every human beings. That is humanity. I think this is the reason why the Greek god Zeus, protector of guests, favors hosts that provide good hospitality. To be human is to offer warmth. Without warmth, the flame, we are dead both physically and mentally.  And according to an item description in Dark Souls, “the soul is the source of life and whether Undead or even Hollow, one continues to seek them.” What are we without the soul? We cease to exit. So yes, the game is about dark souls. We kill others for their humanity until there is no point of return. We kill others to survive. No wonder my friend called it a satanic game.

If you enjoy this post, please check out my other Souls posts from this blog. I had fun writing them and thank you for reading!

Dark Souls: What I Learned About Ash Lake and the Sexual Creatures

Dark Souls: Exploring Is an Achievement

No It’s Not You, Most Modern Day Games Are Blah…but Some Are Decent. Don’t Lose Hope!

Every time I make a comment about games–someone deleted their blog. I didn’t know I have so much power. I feel bad that is why I am writing this post. I hate to see a passionate gamer lose interest in gaming to the point he has to delete his blog. Trust me, you are not alone.

Let’s get this straight. I am not young. I’m a 90s kid. Partially being an “old lady” with life responsibilities and the stress that comes with it, my interest in games have decreased drastically. Like many gamers, I struggle to enjoy games. I even try to cling onto the very hope that I will get to play a game that will make me smile again like the smile of a newborn babe that just crawled out the crib from Parasite Eve. But I just don’t have that energy and time to enjoy the hobby as much as I used to.

Work completely wiped me out and I’m partially crazy for being miss independent. I live life like a bachelor and I kind of like it. Over the years, I feel this tremendous tiredness. My time now is spent on grocery shopping, looking for recipes that will give me energy during the day. To cut cooking time, I snack more than I eat actual meals so I can make time for games (it’s not healthy actually). When I am not gaming, I find myself cleaning, organizing, washing dishes, staring into space and not thinking about anything as a way to unwind my mind. It works actually. My stress reduced a lot. Ever since I work from home, you would think I want to play games. Wrong. To curb my gaming “addiction”, I browse games but don’t buy them. There are some games that I kept putting in my shopping cart, but then I removed it, knowing that I probably won’t enjoy it, so why bother? I even found amusement watching games go on sale on Steam and compared it to Playstation store. They really are competing for players time.

There are so many games out there and it’s almost a gamble every time. We don’t have an infinite amount of time to try every game out there and know whether it is good or not. I am the type that likes to play games thoroughly which is why I am probably the slowest gamer on the planet. I feel so overwhelmed with all the choices apart from all the books, T.V shows and films that demand for my time so I turn to reviews on WordPress. Then I realized it’s a matter of the reviewer’s taste and not so much about the game whether it is good or not. For instance, I am not a huge visual novel games fan, so Doki Doki Literature Club! did not impressed me. Undertale is a good game, I heard, but I couldn’t get around to playing it because the game is a bit painful to look at. The House in Fata Morgana is good, but not great. It’s no Shakespeare but it has potential. So after feeling a little let down and learning that everyone has his/her own unique taste in games, I find myself gambling again with game purchases and I’m fine with that. The happy purchases I made this year were:

Spirit Hunter: NG

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t really enjoy visual novel games, but I loved this game. The story was intriguing and it kept me on my toes. Not a single moment did I find it dull. I like the character designs a lot, including the monsters. There were certain parts in the game that actually scared me. It’s a rare thing because I rarely get scared playing horror games.

Code Vein

This game is generically good. When I say generic, I meant it was an enjoyable game to play in terms of gameplay. It felt good shooting and slicing stuff. I like how it feels like Dark Souls but in anime style. I like that I can create my avatar because it makes the experience more personal to the point I started to develop a small crush on Yakumo even though he is a terrible tank and he got me killed a few times! But I still like him because he is a boy!

So don’t make fun of single men with 2d girlfriends because I am on the same boat! The virus makes it even harder to travel or let alone date. That is why I sympathize with the fat pervert in Tokyo Dark to the point it motivated me to write a critical review. Not everyone has luck in finding a compatible partner.

For those who don’t know. I will tell you my gaming style. I am a survival-horror fan, Type-A personality, Dark Souls lover type of gamer. My favorite weapon of choice is the magnum (in real life I don’t like guns). I like feeling on the edge because it helps me stay focused. Typically, I have a hard time concentrating. It’s a disability. It’s my brother fault who introduced me to games. But at the same time, if it weren’t for games, we wouldn’t have such a bond. He is my best friend actually. So when I think about losing interest in games, it makes me feel as if a part of me has died.

Who knows what the future holds. In the past, I have told myself several times I am quitting and I thought I would but I find myself longing for the same excitement I once had playing games with my brother. Recently, my brother texted me about Eiyuden Chronicle. As much as I’m happy to hear, I don’t feel too confident that it would have the same spark as Suikoden Series, which is my favorite JRPG. I guess you will never know until you play and that is probably why buying and collecting games can be so addictive.

P.S

Sorry to the guy who deleted his blog because he couldn’t find passion in gaming anymore. I hope my comment wasn’t the reason. Games these days have been blah and it’s even harder to enjoy games when the world is in chaos.

Onimusha: Warlords Review (PS4)

Who in the world watch horror movies and play horror games during the pandemic? Isn’t real life like a horror story? Well that is okay, I won’t judge. My life was never normal to begin with so this is actually normal to me. I’m not phased by the pandemic that much. Welcome to the club, world.

I want to do something a bit different for this blog post, why? No one seems to enjoy reading critical essays beside weirdos like me. So I will talk about games casually and show off my gaming skills: I mean my average gaming skills.

I completed Onimusha: Warlords on easy mode and got a B score. Not so bad for playing the game blindly. Now I know how to beat game faster as I know what to expect. Going to attempt to beat game in 3 hours so I can get a shiny trophy. I’m playing on normal mode without consuming any medicine or herbs. Sounds like a challenge? For me it is–that is why I didn’t mind how short the game is. Typically, I play game twice anyway. One for the story, and two for the gameplay.

One thing that drew me into games in the first place was actually the artistic nature of the game. Onimusha:Warlords is charmingly beautiful. I feel like a little girl again sitting in my coffin-like bedroom playing games with my brother. My brother and I enjoy playing surivival horror games together. Onimusha: Warlords feels like Resident Evil 2 in terms of music placement and stage layout. Instead of killing infected zombies, you kill ninja demons. Because of good game design and the correct usage of colors (lighting in the game is well balanced), I didn’t feel forced to complete a game for the sake of completing the game. Onimusha: Warlords felt smooth and it was pretty to look at. However, this doesn’t make the game perfect. There was one aspect of the game I didn’t enjoy: I had to level up my weapons to unlock certain area to proceed in the game (I hate grinding). Luckily there are only three weapons: blue, red, and green that you can max up to 3 times. Simplicity in weapon choices and upgrades is not a bad thing in game design. In fact, it helps players like me stay focused. Players want to feel that they are progressing. This makes us want to finish the game.

When it comes to story, there is nothing mind blowing about it. The male lead saved the princess. The game follows the same footstep as Resident Evil games in terms of unraveling its tale: You uncover the mystery behind the manor by reading journals left behind. In fact, I had a good laugh reading the journals. It sounds crazy. I didn’t know demons are divided into social class just like we humans. It is a good metaphor to describe selfish evil people. The history of humanity has always fought against darkness and Japan is no exception despite it being so isolated.

Overall, I enjoyed the game, especially the cinematic scenes and well design characters. They were pleasing to my eyes. It’s a shame that PS2 survival horror game-style no longer exists. I am quite fond of it actually.

Because It’s Popular Doesn’t Mean It’s Good

The difference between the artist and the entertainer is that the artist creates out of selfish reasons: the self wants to come out. Whereas the entertainer, creates its medium solely for the purpose of its audience. Now selfishness is not always a bad thing. Taking care of one’s mental health by creating art actually heals the mind and it might help put things into perspective for other folks too. It’s a win win situation if done right.

Recently, I noticed that creators become sensitive when their works don’t receive the praise it should. It’s only natural to defend your creation because it’s like a baby that you bring into the world. If you think about it, the baby (creation) grows into an adult. The creator is the parent, so it wants the baby to reach perfection. It’s a parent’s pride to pass on his/her legacy. So naturally the baby becomes better overtime with the parent’s guidance. This is the curse of an an artist (read A Hunger’s Artist by Kafka). Constructive criticism is not meant to deflate one’s ego but to improve. I say this because I met many people who can’t handle criticism and therefore I’ve been called mean when in truth, I just have a keen eye for art.

So I will tell you a little story. When I was little, I was fascinated (still am) with the afterlife. I was obsessed and at the same time terrified of ghosts. I remember my first drawing was at age 4, and they were drawings of ghosts. I was so proud of my drawing that I went up to my siblings on one lazy summer afternoon, and I showed it off to them. I was a very confident child. A couple years later when I can distinguish shapes and sizes, I returned to my old drawings and realized what I drew was just scribbles. My confidence in my ability as an artist started to plummet once I was aware that what I create today might not be good at all. Creative people like to sabotage their own works. Real creators care less about praises, but more about how they can improve. It really is a curse.

It takes a lot of courage to show your creation to the world. So I must applaud to brave creative people out there who put their hearts and sweat into bringing something to life. The world will judge your creation surely. Some people would like it and some won’t, but what’s most important, is that your creation will connect with someone and bring them comfort. So taking that risk, is truly worth it. And that includes creating video game for art sake.

Tokyo Dark: Decent but Missed the Mark

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Okay, I think I was rather harsh with my assessment of what I think about Tokyo Dark, an adventure point and click horror video game created by Cherrymochi. I deleted my old post which I titled Tokyo Dark: Too Political It Will Make the Old Fat Pervert Cry, pointing out how the game lacks depth. But I must say the game is not as bad as I make it out to be. It’s a decent game, but definitely not mind blowing.

What irks me about the game is the fact that Ayami Ito, the protagonist, is a “strong” weak woman. She is tough on the outside, but unstable in the inside. It’s no surprise that she has to take medicine to cope with her mental health, apart being possessed by a mysterious mask. She so desperately cannot live without her partner to the point she chases after him into the sewer. Strong woman? Sounds like a damsel to me. She cannot survive without a man. The game is sending the wrong message to young girls and women.

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Losing a love one is never easy. I get it. I too had to take anti-depressant pills when I loss not only my mom but a sister two years ago. With time though, you become emotionally stronger, not crazier as this game suggested. Mental illness is no laughing matter. Making a scary game based on mental illness is a touchy subject for me so that is why I am harsh with this game.

As I said before in my deleted post, the game is like a pretty face makeup Youtuber who makes a living looking pretty, but having no real depth. While playing the game, I forget I am playing a horror video game as the game focused so much on how hard it is to be a girl in a man’s world. We all know perverts love young girls, especially in maid outfit. But how do you expect to gain revenue if you disrespect your customers? Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy to see that the OLD FAT PERVERT got arrested in the game.

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At the same time, perverts come in all shapes and sizes. The ones that young girls should be weary of is the seemingly nice guy who lures young girls into having sex with him, or what is worse is a woman who gained the trust of young girls and then turned them over to sex trade. Now that is a horror story in itself!

There are plenty of other horror games I enjoyed such as Nightcry and Cat Lady which have stronger message about not giving up in life. Tokyo Dark tried so hard that it missed the mark.

I’m not a mean person, so I will leave this post on a positive note: one thing the game got right is that in life, it’s better to laugh than to cry.

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P.S

If you are a young woman reading this. Stay strong. Be strong. Know your worth. You don’t need men to save you. Only you can save yourself when it comes to your mental health.

Visual Novel Games I’ve Played

Visual Novels have been around for some time, and it’s strange hearing some gamers claiming that it is not a video game because of its lack of gameplay, but in defense, I would say the games I’ve played so far, revolve around a game. Instead of pressing buttons, you actually have to use your brain.

This past few months, I have been playing story driven games. Being locked away from society is fine with me. I don’t feel as guilty about it. Although I play on my own pace without feeling pressured to finish a game and move on to the next. I am a bit burnt out so I am taking a break from gaming in general to write. So here I am.

The House in Fata Morgana

I bought this game on Steam for around $10.00. This was actually a very emotional game. It made me cry. I believe it took me about 50 hours to complete the entire game. My only gripe about this game is that the writing is a bit amateur. There were certain parts that seem to drag, but overall story is good. There were a lot of violence and gore. It’s beyond my grasp that there are people out there who enjoy tormenting people. It’s rather sickening. The whole time I was rooting for the protagonist. He is the only the character that seems real.

Raging Loop

I bought this game at local game store back in March before the lockdown. The one I have came with a picture book, day one edition (PS4). I am not much of a physical game collector, but I do appreciate when games come in a pretty package. I paid $29.99 which is still a bit high for a visual novel game. Visual novel games should not be that expensive in my opinion. Anyway, pardon me for going on a tangent.

What I think about the game: there are some grammar mistakes that is hard not to notice, which I can understand especially if you are switching from two languages. I am bilingual myself. But then again, game is supposed to be professional. It’s rather embarrassing to have so many mistakes. I literally have to read and reread on how the game works to fully understand the story. Game took a bit to pick up, but once it picks up, there is plenty of suspense and mystery.

In summary of the game, what stood out to me most is the main male character. He is an odd one as he tends to like dangerous women. Then again, the story takes place in a misfit society, which makes perfect sense. After all, it’s only in rural areas, where horror story comes alive. Think Japanese version of Chainsaw Texas Massacre. Overall, the game has a strong opinion about faith, religion, and existence. Do I agree with it? Not necessarily, but I enjoy looking from a different perspective and learning a bit more about my male counterpart: boys are just as weird as girls.

These two games left me feeling strange. The world is a political game, a fucked up place. People are not to be trusted and everyone is out there for their own gain. Real friends are hard to come by. What a miserable world. I’ll go play Code Vein now because at least there is some warmth in that game.

Reminiscing Friday the 13th (1989)

I don’t know why I always confused the word survivor with survival. They sounds so much alike. For a long time, I kept thinking Survivor Horror instead of Survival Horror. Well I guess technically…Survival Horror genre is all about the survivor. I wrote a post reflecting my childhood experience with Friday the 13th for the NES in celebration of Halloween.

I recall the first game my brother and I played together was Friday the 13th on the NES, released in 1989. I believe my love of Survival Horror games started with Friday the 13th because of its memorable Cabin Theme music. I am still surprised my parents allowed us to play considering my dad disapproved anything scary. But the more you tell a kid no, the likeliness the kid will break the rule. As my dad said, “Children are damnation.” Apparently, all children are a pain in the ass to raise. But I often wonder, how the heck did we end up with this game! Oh wait, it’s because my brother’s a mama’s boy, and mama’s boy always get what he wants.

First off, the game takes place on Crystal Lake campground. There are three male counselors and three female counselors that the player can control. The player controls one counselor at a time. There are fifteen children total but they are all spread out and can be found in the cabins. The main objective of the game is to destroy Jason because he kills children! If all the counselors and children are dead, it’s game over. This game is harder than Dark Souls. No kidding.

The game sounds straight-forward and you might be wondering why the game is scary to a kid. It’s the environment. Looking at the map, the way the campground is laid out, it forces the player to go round and round until he or she dies or destroys Jason. My impression of the campground reminds me an eternal hell. All the cabins look the same, and the landscape doesn’t change much other than there is a shift from day to night time, and backtracking seems never ending. Strangely, this game made me recall a time when I was about 5; my family visited a family friend during the summer. I remember all the houses looked the same in the neighborhood. I don’t know why I stood out in the porch but once I stepped out into the yard, closer to the street, I lost my way. It was the most terrifying feeling. I often wonder, when the developer created Friday the 13th the way it did, did Jason kill children in the movies? My only conclusion is they did it to scare children. From an adult perspective, I cringe just thinking if I had a child who is like me–a child who loves to wander off and go to places independently. I was lucky I never ran into someone like Jason because Jason “doesn’t play favorites.”

Looking back, I thought it was clever that the music sounds upbeat on the trail, but sounds eerie in the cabin because naturally if you are running from something, you probably want to hide. I think home is the place where we all feel the safest.  But these cabins have no furniture, and it felt like a maze just walking through it, pressing the button forward, left, right, then coming to a dead end, to a window or sometimes to a fireplace. I felt nervous that Jason could appear anytime and when he did, the sound always startled me. I would threw the controller to my brother and then he threw it back to me. Just look at the picture below? It’s a toddler trying to run away from a big purple monster!!! I guess Mom was always right, adults can be really scary.

Overall, the game was difficult and felt never ending. Jason kept getting stronger. Player has to beat him three times in three separate days.  But once the pixelated Jason is defeated, he looks cute and reminds me of a distress child. I want to pick him up and cradle the poor thing and say, “Stop being a bully. Learn how to be nice to other kids for crying out loud!”

Anyway, Happy Halloween to those who celebrate it. Stay safe little children because a good mother is only trying to protect you.

Death Mark Review (PS4)

Horror tales are not always scary but regretfully sorrowful. Death Mark depicts the dark side of reality and the sad truth for women and children living in a man’s world, particularly in a patriarchal society like Japan.

I finished playing Death Mark (PS4 version), a visual novel game. I was pleasantly surprised by the game because I didn’t expect what I was expecting. No, this game did not give me the chills, did not mess with my mind, or give me a cheap haunted house thrill. Instead, the game left me pondering about Japan’s society as a whole. There were many mature themes posed in the game.

There are 6 chapters total in the PS4 version (I don’t know about the vita version). The content of the game is decently proportioned (I hate playing long games). Story flows well into each chapters. One thing I really enjoyed about the game is the characters illustration. All of them are interesting, including the monster designs. In the game, people just keep popping up in the mansion at night. The mansion resembles the mansion in Resident Evil. Unexpected visitors arrive at the mansion after obtaining a mysterious mark. To get rid of the mark they must defeat the spirit that gave it to them in the first place. Time is ticking. So there is some urgency in the game; your life and those around you are on the line.

Oddly, the gameplay reminds me of a guessing game I had with the former boyfriend who is Japanese. Cultural differences was the downfall of the relationship. Let’s just say, I am used to speaking my mind as that’s what Americans are encouraged to do. One time we went out to eat and there was a fruit fly in my rice so I told the boyfriend, thinking we could get a new bowl of rice. He just took my rice bowl and gave me his. The right thing to do was to continue eating without letting him know, so I don’t offend him. They say a person with sense know how to read air. You can see honne tataemae taking effect in the game. For instance, in Chapter 2, we find a suicidal man in the woods, on the verge of killing himself. Player is given a selection of choices to answer his questions. Finding the right words to ease an emotionally unstable person is hard. What are you suppose to say to a stranger who wants to take his life? I just kept guessing. I guess, I just don’t have much common sense.

I have found some of the choices sort of irrelevant from time to time and wouldn’t say the gameplay is its biggest strength: after all, this is a visual novel. But then, again, I am relatively new to the genre, so I can’t critique much on the gameplay. The game is engaging enough to keep me “flipping the pages”. It’s the player duty to read the text in each chapter carefully. Reading the text in each chapter closely provides clues on how to defeat the boss. The gameplay style is definitely not intended for muscleheads who like to push buttons out of nervousness and expect to win. Now that is not a derogatory statement I just pointed out because I can be a bit of a musclehead myself. Having good reflexes don’t matter in this game. Instead, the game leans towards detective skills. This is the type of game would be fun to play with a group of female friends or with your significant other, or alone in the dark is okay too. It’s not that scary. Trust me. If I can do it, you can too.

Overall, I enjoyed the game. My only gripe about this game is the portrayal of women. The frail woman is not that weak. She is stronger than she really appears. But that’s okay, let the boys do their manly job. I’ll just sit and watch Satoru Mashita do all the work.

 Note: Revised 1/27/2021

Dark Souls: What I Learned in Ash Lake & about the Sexual Creatures

Cursed in Ash Lake1

I learned many things in my stay in Ash Lake because I got careless and greedy for the hard to reach item and eventually got cursed by two basilisks that greeted me when I entered into one of the enclosed area. What is interesting about Ash Lake is the way how the basilisk’s toxic black smoke turns into a crystal mist once the creature is out in the open area.  You still can get cursed if you let the mist consumed you, but the amount of time to get toxic is not as fast as the black smoke. I wonder if the effect has to do with my current stats, or there is something very special about this holy ground.

And so my progress in the game was stalled because I had to farm for Purging Stone, but I didn’t mind. The developer didn’t make it difficult to search for the stone because the Maneater Shells that drop the item can be found nearby.  On the plus side, the creature also drops Twinkling Titanite, a precious stone for upgrade purposes.  Having a lot of the stones gives player the freedom to enhance weapons and test it.  In my head, I am always thinking: “What weapon shall I use to kill my enemies?” The game sure knows how to respect the players’ time and give us that flexibility to make our own decision. Thanks Darks Souls for not making it dull, but at the same time, not overwhelming me with choices.

The magical thing about games like Dark Souls is its ability to keep my mind focused and entertained while offering educational benefits. I naturally like to study.  In the game, the symbolic meaning behind the Maneater Shells tickled my brain as soon as I understood what it meant.  The moral lesson of the Maneater Shell is if you poke your head at every attractive clams you encounter, you might get your head chopped off.   As you can tell from the picture below, there are a pile of skulls in its gaping mouth. So learn how to be a wise player because Dark Souls’ universe will punish you if you are careless.

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Luckily, in the area, there are only two Maneater Shells. One is by the medusa Black Hydra. The placement of that Maneater Shell is meant to make it difficult to defeat the hydra upfront.  So the best solution is to shoot it down with arrows from afar.  I found a place just for that.  Unfortunately, I ran out of arrows so I couldn’t kill it.  I’m making a mental note to visit the place again once I unlock the teleport ability.

For such a small area, I really enjoyed my time in Ash Lake.  As I mentioned before, it’s an oasis.  I was bullying the poor giant mushroom with my Poison Mist spell and watched the confused mushroom heading for the water.  Eventually I got killed by its punch.  Obviously, it didn’t like me near it.  So then I collected my souls and headed back up to the big tree (The Great Hollow) and entered back into the swamp. The erected mushroom may be cute, but cuteness is also deadly, but more importantly not all enemies are hostile. They are merely just defending themselves.  No need to kill everything that crosses your path. Lesson learned.

DARK SOULS

Back in the swamp,  I realized I equipped the wrong armor because I was just too eager to try on any new armor I came across. I do appreciate practical fashion that gives me good stats. The appropriate attire is Tattered Cloth Robe because of its high poison resistant. The armor is lighter as well–good for rolling.  I must confess though,  I was getting rather annoyed changing armor in this area because peeping tom Giant Mosquitoes can’t control itself and decided to pester. They can be such a pain.  In real life, mosquitoes gently land on your skin and rarely do you feel bitten.  In this game, the mosquitoes are obnoxiously vicious; they will repeatedly try to poke you even when your shield is up.  They can’t take “No” for an answer.  Running away would only worsen the situation as the number of them increased. It’s best to blast it with fireballs and get rid of them once and for all.  Confrontation is sometimes necessary.  Lesson learned.

DARK SOULS

There are many reasons why I love Dark Souls. One of the big reasons is its depiction of the world. It is not all that different from our world even though it’s a fantasy.  I love this type of storytelling because it tells stories without being outright offensive. Now don’t get me wrong, this game is not entirely perfect.  But I will mention my dislikes at a later time. For now, it’s time for me to stop fooling around and go defeat Quelaag.  I just hope I won’t lose my sanity in the process and turn completely Hollow.  Whatever humanity is left, I will fight for it.

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Dark Souls: Exploring Is An Achievement

Normally, I dislike traveling in games because it seems rather pointless, but Dark Souls knows exactly how to design stages and build the perfect momentum to control the pacing of the player. Exploration serves as a preparation for the next boss fight.

After I defeated the Gaping Dragon, I spoke to the NPC, bought a Crystal Straight Sword from him. That sword helped me clear the beginning of Blighttown, until it was on the risk of breaking. In that area, I slipped and fell several times, but it wasn’t all that bad. By mistake, I fell down with the creature onto a ledge; from there I found myself a whip. Although it didn’t do much damage, so I had no choice but to use the Drake Sword and hack my way down to the bottom of that treacherous town, built on steep cliff. Eventually, I fell into the poisonous swamp as the narrowed path made it hard for me to swing and attack the Cragspiders.

Dark Souls Blight Town

I don’t have the right stats so I was easily poisoned. I clumsily rolled on the sticky swamp, hacking my sword at every one of those giant-sucking mosquitoes that spit out a bucket of blood. They come in pairs. What a pest. Somehow, I managed to roll myself in that disgusting filth and found myself some good items, but at the expense of encountering scaly snake-like big leeches. They are so gross looking. I hurriedly found an escape from those leeches by stumbling into an opening of a tree trunk, which led me to The Great Hollow, one of my favorite areas in the game because I love trees!

DARK SOULS

Have you ever been on a tall slide in a shape of an “S”? When I was a kid, I used to beg my parents to take my brothers and me to the neighborhood’s slide. It’s a lot of fun going down the slide. The Great Hollow reminds me of that slide, except you don’t slide, you drop below onto each branch, until you hit the bottom. Certain branches have shiny items that appear attainable, but at the same time out of reach. Most of items are materials for weapon/armor upgrade. I died several times, slipping off the branches thinking that I am so close to grabbing one. When I looked at the time, I realized I was spending about an hour or two in the area, trying to collect all the items.

Apart from falling off the branch because I misplaced my foot, I also had to face the big yellowish, orange bulging-eyes basilisks. They are cute but ugly at the same time. It released black smoke which will curse you and reduce your life to half. So you got to be careful and stay out of the smoke. Once cursed, you’d need a purging stone to normalize yourself. I don’t bother killing them with my sword. Instead, I lured them so they will stupidly jump in the air and miss the ground and fall straight to the bottom.

As soon as I made my way near the bottom of The Great Hollow, I started to get hungry for pine mushroom soup as these little cute mushroom creatures toddled its way towards me. It’s not friendly as it appear because it attacked me. So I sliced it up with my sword. It squealed and died. Then appeared the mama and papa ( I assume because they were bigger in size). I should have known better to kill someone’s children. One punch from the giant mushroom was an instant death for me because my life bar was already halfway empty. It’s back to the bonfire. I had to make my way down again.

DARK SOULS

The more I think about the stages in the game, I had to climb down from that awful town and into the swamp to find an oasis. Out of this area is Ash Lake, a beautiful undersea-like world. Such a beautiful calming place. Exploring is a form of achievement. You never know what is at the end of that long, disgusting path that seem to never end. You will be rewarded greatly as soon you find a breath of fresh air. Likewise, I think of life the same way. There will be times you may feel uncomfortable and feel as if there is no end to your adversity, but there is. You just have to make the effort to get there. At least, this is the experience I got from Dark Souls.

Taking a rest at Dark Souls' Ash Lake

Now I don’t want to climb back to the Firelink Shrine or face Chaos Witch Quelaag. I just want to stay low underground far from human civilization with the Everlasting Dragon in Ash Lake. I have gotten so used to the solitary lifestyle of a solo traveler and I am a bit tired. For now, I’m going to curl up next to the dragon and shut my eyes because tomorrow will come another battle. Certainly, I cannot stay here for too long. Eventually, I have to report back to Quelaag as I am actually her apprentice, training to become a smoking-hot sadist. I’m just kidding!

P.S

There will be more Dark Souls content to come as I find this game to be an enjoyable pastime and a pleasure to write for this blog.