<- Previous update: More Like CRAPricorn
- Killed the Titanite Demon in the old church
- Learned about sorcery at Firelink Shrine
- Tried out all my weapons I've picked up so far
- Bought the Crest of Artorias
- Killed the Capra Demon
- Explore the Depths
I didn't explore the Depths right away--mostly because I didn't actually know where the Depths were. I took it upon myself to restock on some items--including a Ring of Sacrifice, which is my new favorite thing. When equipped, it lets you keep your souls and humanity upon death. The only downside is that it breaks after one use, but you can just repurchase it for a piddly 5000 souls. Totally worth it.
Anyway, the Depths ended up being located past that locked door I found in the lower Burg. I was kinda hoping it would'e been the key to the door in the Taurus Demon's tower, but it wasn't.
I had a baaad
feeling about this place, just by the name, and the scenery wasn't doing me any favors, either. Down a couple sets of stairs, I was led through a connection of these dingy, dimly-lit, yet empty rooms. Then I was led to a larger room with a bunch of tables set up. A group of torch-gripping hollows were present, as well as two big motherfuckers wielding big-ass meat cleavers. One of them was preparing meat in a corner, but the other, for some reason
, was higher up, standing on the wooden planks above the room. I shot a fire arrow at this one, and it fell down to where I couldn't see it. Then I made my way towards the hollows.
Uh-oh: In my attempt to crash their little party, I was assaulted by this enormous
wave of slowdown. Apparently, for whatever reason, that's a common issue in this area. The frame rate just sinks like a rock. This made fighting the butchers a little bit more tense than it needed to be. When they spot you, they chase you relentlessly. I was afraid to attack, because of the huge delay on all my strikes. Once I was able to take them out, though, the frame rate got better again. Hopefully that won't be ever a problem in the future.
Anyway, there was a chest waiting for me near a boiling cauldron. It contained a Large Ember. I wasn't quite sure what it was for when I first picked it up, but I think I get it now. Currently, my Winged Spear has been upgraded to a point where I can't upgrade it anymore (+5). The Large Ember basically allows me to increase the number of times I can upgrade it by another 5. So, if I wanted, I could have a Winged Spear+10. Pretty cool.
The next area is where shit started getting kinda nasty. Looking around, there was another staircase that led beneath the floorboards into a bed of water. Waist-deep in it, my walking speed was heavily reduced, but when I turned around, I noticed a gaping hole in the wall off to one side of the building--so, climbing up the pile of rubble, I waltzed right in.
Walking across a drenched hallway, I spotted a corpse in a little alcove, just asking
for me to pick up its item. As soon as I got near it, though, something from above PLOPPED right onto my head, engulfing my whole upper torso. The only thing I could do was mash desperately in an attempt to escape from its grasp--but I was actually successful.
Taking a moment of pause to look at my slimy assailant, it was a horrible, amorphous blob of shit. Actually, it kinda reminded me of one of those Like Likes from Zelda. You know--those gross mucous monsters that eat your shield if you let them swallow you? Yeah, those. This thing didn't eat my shield, though. Thank god.
Trying to hit it with my spear was proving to be an ineffective strategy. It wasn't taking any damage, and hitting it in the first place was difficult, because it squishes so low to the floor--so I said "fuck it" and threw a Firebomb at it instead. That's my favorite solution to all of my problems in this game: "If all else fails, throw Firebombs."
Luckily, I went ahead and bought 60+ of them prior to entering this place.
Still, after that first one attacked me, I started playing super
cautious. I don't need random gross shit dropping on my head. It was here that I began to appreciate the ability to walk
in this game.
You know how in most modern 3D games, you have the option to walk instead of run? Maybe you don't, because it's such an underutilized feature. By tilting the stick forward partially
instead of all the way, you can casually stroll to your destination, rather than run. This has been a convention of 3D games for a very long time, ever since fifth gen--and usually, it's completely
useless. I mean, why walk when you have a much faster option? There's no point.
This game, however, actually gives walking a great deal of purpose. Not only does walking allow you to sneak past (or behind) certain enemies--it's also a method of psychological precaution. Let me explain: As you enter a new area, it's probably not very wise to just go in and bumrush the place blindly. I mean... I guess you can
do that, but that's very risky. You're way more likely to get yourself killed for no reason. By walking, you're giving yourself a chance to mentally prepare yourself, be careful, and take note of your surroundings.
Not to mention, it's an interestingly human
thing to do. In real life, if you're alone in a dark place you've never been in before, you're probably going to walk slowly, too--out of fear. Sudden movements could provoke any number of horrifying things--so you step quietly, so as to not disturb anything. It's not just practical in a video game
sense to walk slowly--it has psychological effects, too. It makes you feel safer, and puts you at ease.
You can probably point to a few games that utilize walking in the gameplay in a more contrived way--but this is perhaps the first game I've ever played where I'm not only choosing to walk because it's tactical, but also because I'm genuinely scared
of what I'm about to see hiding around that corner, and walking gives my heart a chance to brace itself before I get jumped. It would be mentally distressing for me not
to walk. It sounds weird, but I think that's really, really cool. It's the sheer subtlety
of it that I like, I guess. It's such an obscure, unassuming feature that nobody ever really thinks about.
I dunno, maybe I'm the only one who does that.
Anyways, I found a big-ass rat. As in, big enough to be a boss. It was HUGE. But it's also behind a set of iron bars, so I didn't get to fight it yet. It would probably just kill me anyway. Since I couldn't do anything except stare at him like a scared kitten, I continued on to the next... gorgeous
Judging by the wretched scenery, it soon became apparent to me exactly what the Depths even is--it's a sewer complex. Now, I know you guys are already well-aware of what the place looks like, but I'm going to describe it anyway, because I like flattering myself with my descriptive writing. *AHEM*Swaths of frothy gunk infected the halls of the complex. The floor was inexplicably bestrewn with massive pustules of sick and blood, which violently burst into a gory mess when kicked over. Though they were grotesque, I knew I had to pop every single one that I saw, because I knew that there
could be something of value inside them. The waterworks were hellish. Undead rats of varying sizes scrambled all over the place, and the ominous drone of the waterfall echoed through the tunnels, permeating the halls, and eliciting the lowly ambiance of the damned.
okay i'm done
Basically, this place is atmospheric as hell and I love it. It's not a comfortable place--it's a cold, musky, unpleasant place filled with gross shit--but that the game is capable of evoking such revulsion from me in the first place? That speaks volumes of the game's level of immersion.
Then I saw one of the most disturbing enemies I've ever seen in a non-horror game. They're basically just lizards, except they have these horrendously bulbous
eyeballs, just to scare the fuck out of you (and yes, I know they're not its actual eyes). They don't really do much, though. Their only attack is to puff up their vocal sac, like a frog, and blow a billow of smoke at you. I don't know what the smoke does, because I've never induced myself to be affected by it. I'm sure it's nothing good, but if someone could just tell me, that would be great.
Occasionally, a lizard will drop an Eye of Death upon killing it, which is yet another
scummy online play item that enables you to be an absolute scumfuck prick to your fellow players. That's all. Nothing good. Honestly, online play is looking pretty irredeemable to me right now. There's really no excuse for this shit.
The lizards weren't all bad news, however. They were guarding what might just be my new favorite spoil: a Ring of the Evil Eye. This ring allows me to play vampire and steal a little bit of health from every enemy that I kill--and, considering the number of enemies in this game, that seems pretty intensely useful. Especially for me. Since I squandered that Fire Keeper Soul, I'm gonna need all the health boosts I can get.
This game has a way of making you feel like you're in a maze. All I was trying to find was a bonfire. The rats were starting to take a toll on my health--I didn't have a drop of Estus left, but I did find the key to some locked door. You know, if I had just chose the Master Key, I wouldn't even have to worry about this shit.
I ended up making the colossally stupid decision of crossing a fog gate before I was prepared to do so. With no Estus, I was met face-to-face with the blatant yonic symbol itself--the Gaping Dragon.
I heard through the grapevine that this thing is supposed to be one of the easier boss fights in the game, but I still had no Estus, so I fully intended to teleport out of there with a Bone.
...If it didn't bowl me over and one-shot me before I could even use it.
In my defense, I was distracted by its design--this was actually the first boss that was ever shown to me prior to playing Dark Souls. Someone was trying to show me how crazy the bosses are, and the Gaping Dragon was their first example, and... Yeah, I can definitely see their point. This thing could probably pass as an Elder God.
Wasn't quite sure how I was gonna beat it, but I had other shit to worry about, because now I'm back in the Undead Burg, with no bonfire in the Depths to be found. Shit. At least I had my fucking Ring of Sacrifice.
It was at this point that I took Flee's suggestion of patching the game to its latest (and presumably final) version. It had never really occurred to me to do this before, but the fact that I haven't jumped online even once
so far has essentially meant that, this whole time, I've been playing an outdated version of the game. Practically vanilla. That would probably explain all the weird glitches and mishaps I've been experiencing so far. If I patched the game, all those issues would hopefully be smoothed out.
And they were, for the most part. I began noticing changes right away. For one, the frame rate issues are completely settled now (maybe it's just that the butchers are now dead, but I highly doubt that). Enemies now give me a seemingly random number of souls when I kill them (e.g. killing a balder knight pre-patch would always result in 100 souls; now, I get anywhere from 100-200 souls). Also, the game actually asks
me if I want to play online now (BIG fucking improvement), and finally, the male merchant in the Undead Burg started selling Bottomless Boxes. I bought one in a heartbeat, because I have a hard-on for organization.
I'm actually not sure if any of that was the patch's doing, but whatever. I should've done it a long time ago.
To my delight, the key I found in the Depths did in fact lead to a bonfire. It was here that I considered my options.
I found a couple of interesting things before bumping into the boss. For one, a Greataxe, which has the craziest requirement parameter I've seen yet: 32 strength. There's no way in hell I'm ever gonna be able to use this any time soon. Then there's a Heavy Crossbow, which... eh. It's a little too
heavy, and I go into fatroll if I equip it. I leveled up my endurance stat twice with what little souls I had, and it still wasn't enough.
After kindling the bonfire, I set out towards the Gaping Dragon--but I also made sure to visit any alternate routes I haven't accessed before. I discovered that tapping the sprint button while sprinting will cause you to leap forward, which is useful for clearing small gaps.
I found the route I needed to go to visit the boss rat's area, but the second I pop my head out of the door, the rat immediately comes charging towards me, slamming into the wall. I don't think I'm ready for this. I'm sure if I sprinted in, I could play matador and roll out of the way in time, but all I wanted was redemption from the Gaping Dragon for embarrassing me earlier.
Okay, so tomorrow, I'll be uploading a video of my battle with the Gaping Dragon. I decided that the live commentary sucked balls, so I've been trying to find time to record some post-commentary, but there's been delay after delay after delay. Thunderstorms, guests coming over, dogs barking at everything they see outside... You name it. I need some kind of home studio or something.
So yeah, look forward to that.