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Topic: Soulsborne Series Thread

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Raylax

This thread too old to necro? Ah well.

Been revisiting the original, non-Scholar, Dark Souls 2 (PC). Kept bouncing off SotFS despite having recently felt like I finally "cracked" Demon's Souls & Dark Souls 1 - which is to say, actually still enjoying playing them beyond the first half. Replayed Demon's earlier this year and had great fun with all of it. Even Old King Allant. Maybe even especially Old King Allant.

But Scholar remained pretty brutal - I'd get to Iron Keep, or Shaded Woods, and the weight of the accumulated frustrations would wear me down and I'd quit out For Good. Until a couple months pass and I'd get The Itch to give it another shot. Curse of the undead, eh?

Recently saw a vid by Hbomb (In Defense Of Dark Souls 2) that argues SotFS is essentially the SMB: The Lost Levels of DS2, and whilst its enjoyable in its own right, it's better to start with the OG DS2 as its difficulty is more in line with the rest of the series, and give Scholar a shot if you're still thirsty for more.

Last time I played OG DS2 was the PS3 release with all its chuggy frames and my boring, slow, weighty, greatshield-forever-raised testament to Getting Through Dark Souls But Not Having Fun; back before I learned how to roll and what all those numbers on the status screen meant. I got through it, eventually (I think my total playtime ended somewhere around 130 hrs), but I didn't really enjoy myself. Especially in the latter half. So many squads I just did not know how to deal with.

So I grabbed a Steam copy of the original and have been replaying. I'm only up to Old Iron Keep but so far? Been having MUCH more fun than Scholar. And miles more fun than my old PS3 playthrough. Consistent frame rate certainly helps, but running a lighter character who ducks and weaves, usually two-handing a weapon and rarely falling back to hiding behind a shield, has been so much more enjoyable. I've been decimating bosses that used to be prolonged, painful battles of attrition, and making better use of space to crowd control mobs. Its been fun.

Looking forward to giving Bloodborne another shot after this run

Raylax

3DS Friend Code: 0173-1400-0117 | Nintendo Network ID: RaylaxKai

Dezzy

@Raylax

I never even played the original version of DS2. I just played the PS4 version. What are the differences exactly?

It's dangerous to go alone! Stay at home.

Raylax

Dezzy wrote:

@Raylax

I never even played the original version of DS2. I just played the PS4 version. What are the differences exactly?

Scholar heavily remixes enemy and item placement (though bosses are in the same places), primarily. It also boosts the graphics a little (though not hugely noticably so, unless you're comparing to the PS3 version) and hides the keys to the DLC areas around the world rather than just adding them to your inventory (Scholar includes all the DLC built-in - though at this time if you try to buy the original DS2 on Steam it also includes all the DLC by default).

It makes some areas better utilised (Earthern Peak is a bit empty in the original, for eg) and fixes a couple dodgily balanced areas, but it also makes the whole game overall significantly harder. There's more enemies - and more dangerous enemies - everywhere. Heide's Tower of Flame is now host to a dragon and many more Heide Knights; the boss of No Man's Wharf gets recycled as a regular enemy in the **very next area**; ogres are dotted around all over the place; and DS2's infamous "gank squads" are overall more numerous.

Would recommend playing Scholar after the original DS2 if you're really thirsting for the same but harder. It's a bit brutal to jump into as your first DS2 experience though.

Raylax

3DS Friend Code: 0173-1400-0117 | Nintendo Network ID: RaylaxKai

Raylax

We got a new PS5 Demon's Souls trailer!

https://www.polygon.com/interviews/2020/10/29/21539158/demons...

And a big interview over on Polygon detailing what's changed, and what hasn't.

The main points seem to be:

  • 6th archstone is still inaccessible (they're not adding the ice world that was cut from the original)
  • If you don't like their off-to-the-side camera you can change it back to the original style
  • "Performance" (60fps, adaptive 4K) and "Quality" (30fps, native 4K) graphics modes
  • Soundtrack is redone with a live orchestra
  • Most voice actors returned & re-recorded their lines
  • In-depth photo mode (the game will actually pause for it; although if you're online & invaded you'll be kicked out back into the game)
  • Several graphical filters, one of which will make the game more closely match the colours used in the original
  • Gameplay, AI, difficulty etc identical to the original. Overall attempted to be as faithful to source as possible.
  • World tendency mechanic unchanged but made clearer in the UI
  • Major bugs fixed (eg, can't exploit hitting bosses through fog doors any more) but the funnier / meme-ier ones intentionally left in
  • Some new items / armour / weapons

I'm not getting a PS5 at launch (or for a while), but I'm definitely looking forward to playing Demon's Souls again when I get the chance. I like what it looks like they've done with it. Lack of 6th archstone is a bit of a shame, but I can understand not wanting to tackle that without Fromsoft's involvement (and I suspect the main worthwhile ideas from it were probably recycled in later Souls games anyway)

Edited on by Raylax

Raylax

3DS Friend Code: 0173-1400-0117 | Nintendo Network ID: RaylaxKai

Dezzy

That sucks that they haven't added the 6th area. Would've thought it was a good opportunity for that.

Raylax wrote:

Would recommend playing Scholar after the original DS2 if you're really thirsting for the same but harder. It's a bit brutal to jump into as your first DS2 experience though.

Scholar is the PS4 one. That's the one I've already played. Difficulty isn't an issue though. I've completed all of the Soulsborne/Sekiro games, except Demon's Souls.

Edited on by Dezzy

It's dangerous to go alone! Stay at home.

TheFrenchiestFry

Is it just me or does the Flamelurker look a bit more generic than before

Like in the original game he had little fleshy bits in conjunction with fire piercing through his skin and it looked really cool, but here he kinda looks like a stock monster I'd see on a Raid Shadow Legends commercial

TheFrenchiestFry

Switch Friend Code: SW-4512-3820-2140 | My Nintendo: French Fry

Losermagnet

I hope the mods dont mind me resurrecting this for a convo 😬

@Varkster thanks for the summary of Nioh and Nioh 2. I've been eyeing some souls-like games and they seem to be the ones that are 1) on every recommended list I see and 2) interest me aesthetically. It doesnt seem like there are very many souls-like games, and even less that stand out to me. In any case, it depends on how the timing works out if i'll get them soon or not. Ideally, I'll get through Sekiro and then Demon's Souls before Elden Ring comes out. I'm not above stopping Sekiro if it isnt "clicking" though. But I will definitely get Nioh 1+2 eventually! It can be a blessing or a curse that something is a huge time investment. Personally I don't mind if it's something I enjoy. I'd rather have less games that I can put a lot of time into than a bunch of games that are done quickly.

I abbreviated my opinions on Sekiro in the previous thread so i'll be more detailed here. I am smitten with the game, as I usually am with Fromsoft games. It's lovely and merciless. More importantly, it feels significantly different than Dark Souls or Bloodborne without feeling like something else entirely. I like that it has stealth gameplay, and it manages to do it pretty well (i'll elaborate on this in a bit). I mentioned improved mobility - your character can run, jump, and use a grappling hook and it all feels like second nature. The combat is more of the focus, almost to a fault. It's very reactionary. You have to guard, use the proper counter, and break your opponents posture to score a deathblow. Bosses require multiple deathblows. It's fast and fluid, and because of that I find it more difficult. It's almost Megaman-like in that bosses have a particular type of technique that deals more posture damage. For instance, you have shinobi tools - one of which is firecrackers. Beasts are more afraid of firecrackers, so you can use this to your advantage when fighting the boss who's on horseback. There's still a challenge in discovering which tool works and when the best time to use it is, but thats part of the fun.

So the things i feel negatively about. The stealth is a great change of pace, but it's sort of clumsy. You can alert everyone in an area and just run away and after a minute they forget you were ever there. Works on mini bosses too. It seems like sometimes their routes change or they camp in different places after they see you, but generally they return to whatever they were doing before. If you are successfully stealthy you can land a one hit kill on grunt enemies, which is satsifying. I guess to summerize, it's fun to plot out your stealth tactics but there's almost no consequence to failing and in some cases you can avoid combat entirely. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it yet, i s'pose it's nice to be able to avoid encounters when you're on your way to a boss for the tenth time.

The boss fights are still major set pieces. They feel more intimate than other Soulsborne titles. It's less like fighting a huge monster a la Sif or Ebrietas and more like when you're invaded. They really hit their stride when you're timing is in sync and you're deflecting and countering. My grievance here would be that (so far) the combat feels very samey. You only have your katana and shinobi tools (as far as i know at least) and so every enemy will be dispatched with these. It's a necessary evil since gameplay is so focused on what is essentially constant parrying, but there's no "builds". Makes me realize how much i value that in the other Fromsoft games.

But right now the game has me under its spell enough that I dont mind the things that bother me. I'm gonna try finish it, but I think that if I hit a wall I might put it down.

Edit: arbitrary ranking of souls games, apropos of nothing:

1. Dark Souls Remastered
2. Dark Souls III
3. Bloodborne
4. Sekiro (tentatively)
5. Dark Souls II

Dark Souls Remastered being my favorite might have more to do with it being the first one I played. III and Bloodborne are very close, but I think III did some really fantastic things blending disparate elements together.

Edited on by Losermagnet

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Varkster

@Losermagnet My ranking of the Souls games actually looks very different from yours, I mean Bloodborne for me is probably number one just because I love the theme of the game and I really loved the mechanics focusing more on aggression than defense, I also really loved the challenging hunter fights and the Castlevania-like optional area. Bloodborne hunter is even my profile picture and has been for the past few years I've frequented this site.

Dark Souls 3 for me is a mixed bag because on one hand it's a good game but on the other I feel like it doesn't sit well with the overarching theme of Dark Souls, where everything in DS1 is supposedly at an end and there's no hope of it continuing. Dark Souls 3 seemed to scrap this and provide a lot of fanservice for the fans, which while it is nice, I feel like isn't in line with what message the games have. Also, the DLC for the game didn't struck me as something I "must play"' whereas with other games (especially Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne) this was an entirely different story.

The first Dark Souls I have a review on Steam on criticising the game (and especially the Definitive port). When everybody was in on the hype I really thought that perhaps Dark Souls is as close to a 'perfect game' as we were going to get but after extensive playing and trophy hunting for all the Souls-likes I realised that I really dislike the weak latter part of Dark Souls. Where you said Dark Souls 2 has a weak first half I feel like Dark Souls has the exact opposite problem. The very last area is cool, yes, but once you gain access to the four main bosses of the game it becomes a little bit clunky. Those bosses themselves weren't all that great, either. After the fight with Ornstein and Smoug it's a real letdown, since those are probably the absolute height of the Dark Souls boss battles.

I'd like to also say that Dark Souls 2 I like for the same reason I have criticisms of Dark Souls 3 - I think it's really cool, whether it's hit or miss, that they tried something entirely new with Dark Souls 2 instead of just revisiting everything from the original for fanfare. They went to an entirely different region with entirely different characters and perhaps even world rules. This made Dark Souls 2 much more memorable to me than the third instalment.

1. Bloodborne
2. Nioh 1/2 (they're so similar in terms of content that I can't give them two different slots)
3. Dark Souls
4. Dark Souls 2
5. Dark Souls 3
6. Salt and Sanctuary (actually a wonderful game but I feel what makes Souls-likes special is the awareness of 3D spaces which S&S can't accomplish because it's obviously 2D. I'd say it's a great Metroidvania, though)

Varkster

Losermagnet

@Varkster that is a totally fair assessment of Dark Souls I & III. I posted awhile back in the "games you recently finished" thread about III and said something to the effect of "it's good but i'm not completely convinced it needed to exist". It feels like a combination of different assets from their other games. It works for me - but only barely. There's this YouTuber Jacob Geller and he has a video comparing and contrasting Dark Souls III to a movie called "I Want to End Things". I haven't seen the movie myself but it seems like it has an abstract narrative that blurs the line between realities and memories. It made me think of DSIII not so much as a story arch but just a place where all of these things seemingly exist next to eachother as the world converges to a singularity, a collection of uncanny references. While it doesnt change DSIII feeling both derivitive and disparate, it's an interesting take and I highly recommend the video.

Dark Souls I is definitely flawed. The first portion of the game is much more engaging than the second, and some areas were just too dark. Tomb of the Giants, The Catacombs, New Londo Ruins (which was prolly the worst because it didnt seem like it should've been pitch black). It'll be interesting to go back to the first game once i've caught up with the rest of the series. I'm sure my favorites list will shuffle.

Bloodborne got docked a smidge because it runs like a chunky boy lol. I always thought compared to Dark Souls Bloodborne was fast. After Sekiro that's no longer the case lol. I played a little bit of it recently (just past Father Gascoigne) and its pace felt so much more comftorbal. I'm eager to visit it again because of its setting and aesthetics.

Switch friend code: SW-2223-7827-8798
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JoyBoy

@Losermagnet

I agree about the first half being better than the second half.
Those areas you mentioned didn't strike me as too dark at all, except for maybe tomb of the giants, but there you use the lantern, right? I ask because I actually know someone who went in without one... Something I can't imagine ever being able to do xD

SW-7849-9887-2074

3DS Friend Code: 3754-7789-7523 | Nintendo Network ID: Longforgotten

Losermagnet

@JoyBoy i forgot about that lantern lol. I tried it but I made do with the cast light sorcery. I really think it might be a display issue when I played it on my PS4 because when I say they were too dark I mean pitch black or nearly. I assume the Tomb of Giants after Pinwheel is meant to be that way, but New Londo Ruins (specifically after you make it past the ghosts. The area with the Dark Wraiths) seemed like it shouldn't have been like that. Playing through that was a trip. I could only see the whites of the eyes on the giant skeletons in the Tomb, until they were right in front of me. Was it like that for you?

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MajinSoul

There's also the helmet you get from doing Solaire's side quest that spends light in the darkness. I definitely agree about the second half of Dark Souls 1. I've beaten DS1 countless times but I also stopped many runs after getting the Lord Vessel because the areas and especially the bosses in the 2nd half aren't as fun as the first half (the DLC is great though) and I didn't feel like going through them. Lost Izalith is probably the worst offender here with just a bunch of fire and tons of recycled enemies thrown around. And don't even get me started on Bed of Chaos ...

My current ranking for the Soulsborne games right now would be:
1) Bloodborne (my favourite game of all time)
2) Sekiro
3) Dark Souls
4) Demon's Souls
5) Dark Souls 2
6) Dark Souls 3

I don't think there is a single bad game in the Soulsborne franchise but Dark Souls 3 definitely felt like a low point in creativity to me. It had a massive "been there done that" feeling to me from start to finish and the inclusion of old NPCs like Patches and Sigmeyer felt too forced. I've also played Nioh 1 (even got the Platinum trophy for that one) and 2 which are great games aswell as Salt and Sanctuary. I can definitely see why someone would put Nioh 1 or 2 above some Souls games. They do a lot of stuff right.

Edited on by MajinSoul

MajinSoul

Nintendo Network ID: UtoKid | Twitter:

JoyBoy

@Losermagnet I played it on the switch, on the PS4 I only played halfway through. So, maybe?

My current ranking of the games:
1. Sekiro (my favorite combat)
2. Bloodborne (second favorite combat plus best realized world, probably best music also)
3. Dark souls (this game gives you the most options, and its connected world is top tier)
4. Dark souls 3 (it's my first so I have a bias for liking it, it has some great bosses and lvl design.)
5. Dark souls 2( still haven't played it! And I don't intend to anytime soon. It still deserves last place though

SW-7849-9887-2074

3DS Friend Code: 3754-7789-7523 | Nintendo Network ID: Longforgotten

Losermagnet

@MajinSoul I had no idea about Solaire's helmet. I'll have to check that out now. And yeah, Lost Izalith had that one massive open area with a bunch if those weird leg enemies (i want to say zombie dragons). That screamed "looming deadline". Having the Bed of Chaos as an area boss isn't doing it any favors either. I notice you ranked DS II over III - what was it about II that gave it the edge for you?

@JoyBoy Sekiro at the top? I get it. I can see the combat being almost like a fighting game's: easy enough to do and difficult to master.

As someone who came to the Souls party late (I just started the series this year) it's nice talking to others about it 😁 my experience with the subject on this site has been limited and usually ends up being this:
Me: "Do you like Dark Souls?"
Them: "No, and I don't like its toxic fanbase"
Me: "Gotcha, good talk good talk"

What's everyone's thoughts on Elden Ring? Are you getting it at launch? I'm pretty excited but I do hope it manages to be different from Dark Souls. Sekiro strikes a really good balance of being familiar but completely different and I hope Elden Ring is like that.

Switch friend code: SW-2223-7827-8798
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JoyBoy

I

@Losermagnet Yeah I really, really like the game. Even though many aspects of Sekiro are better done, I feel, in games like BB and DS, completely owning that game and speed running it feels so good.

Regarding Elden Ring, it's hard for me to imagine it NOT being the best thing ever, but we'll see I suppose. It does seem to tick all the boxes for me, interconnected world, choice, options, cool bosses etc.

SW-7849-9887-2074

3DS Friend Code: 3754-7789-7523 | Nintendo Network ID: Longforgotten

Losermagnet

I ended up loving Sekiro. It was the strangest "hated it at first, loved it after the third boss fight" kinda game. It's like the inverse of my experience with Dark Souls II 😝 i'm not finished with it yet, but I got the Dragon Tears so i'm sure the ending will happen in one or two more sessions.

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Ralizah

@Losermagnet Elden Ring is def on my radar. Really nice map system, writing seems less deliberately vague/cryptic, and I think the open world format will end up working well for an atmospheric FromSoft game.

Probably not getting it at launch, though. Launches too closely to stuff like Pokemon Legends: Arceus and Horizon Forbidden West.

Currently Playing
Shin Megami Tensei V (NS)

Losermagnet

@Ralizah waiting is prolly a good choice. You'll get the benefit of playing it with the inevitable updates and (possibly) DLC. I'm not sure if I'll get it at launch frankly, even though I'm really excited for it.

The thing about Sekiro that stands out to me the most is the fast and responsive character movement. Jumping, swimming, swinging with a grappling hook - having that greater interactivity with the game's world is really fun. So I hope Fromsoft continues with that design in Elden Ring.

Switch friend code: SW-2223-7827-8798
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Ralizah

@Losermagnet Character movement looks like Dark Souls, based on recent footage of the game. Although being able to magically vault up cliffs with a horse is pretty cool.

Edited on by Ralizah

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