Demon's Souls Travel Log: The Bigger They Are...
Wherein I pick a fight with the biggest guy in the yard.
Previously on the Travel Log: My overconfidence at the defeat of the first boss cost me dearly, as I suffered a multitude of deaths. See how I was punished for my hubris here.
Playing Demon’s Souls has been a rollercoaster of emotion. I’ve had incredible highs and crushing lows. But with each success and failure, I learn a little more. I’ve come to understand the core of this game. Demon’s Souls is very precise. You have to be mindful of your position, the enemy you face, how to move, and how to use the environment to your advantage. In a lot of ways, this game reminds me of really well-crafted old school games like Mega Man and Ninja Gaiden, where you needed a combination of skill and patience to succeed. And even dying isn’t the setback that it seems to be at first. Sure, you lose your souls, but you can get them back. If you fail at that, you’ve probably at least learned how to battle the enemies better. So in that way, it’s not unlike Dead Rising, albeit with a much steeper learning curve. So, with this mindset, I steel myself for the next challenges.
But before I do that, I think some old-fashioned grinding is in order. I’m going to take advantage of the Pure White World Tendency and farm some souls. The enemies are a little easier to kill, but more importantly, there is an area in 1-1 that is normally closed off, but it’s open now. There are red versions of the regular enemies that spawn here, and they are way nastier than the normal ones. They also teleport in, and remind me of the black shadow versions of the enemies in Golden Axe. They are worth way more souls, though, and they always drop the lowest level of healing items. I take these guys out and clean up the area of items. Then I make my way through this door and trigger an enemy that kills me right away.
Okay, don’t want to do that again. I come across the Red Eyes Knight and actually kill him on my own, grabbing a whopping 2000 souls. I do that again, but it’s not a guarantee that I can beat him every time. Later on, I find out about the trick to get him to fall to his death, but I’m happy that I beat him the real way first. So I decide to grab a bunch of souls, head to the Nexus to spend them, and then head back out. It works pretty well, and I can see a real difference in my stats. The enemies in Demon’s Souls don’t scale to your level, thankfully, so now I can kill the normal guys in one hit. One funny story: I dropped down to platform that I’d never been to before, and this huge armored guy was there, but hadn’t noticed me. I go to get the sneak attack on him, only to find out that he’s a friendly NPC. What the hell? There are people in this game that don’t want to kill you? I never knew! The bad part is that I knocked him down into a pit of enemies that descend upon him like flies at a picnic. I jump down and save him, which gets me a pretty awesome reward. But he walks on, only to be slain by a Blue Eyes Knight. While I get a key from the corpse, I have a feeling that I needed that guy alive. I try to go back, but sure enough, he’s dead, permanently. I can’t help but think that this is going to bite me in the ass later…
I decide to tackle 1-2 again, with mixed results. There’s the problem of being stuck between the dragon’s fire and a set of archers and a Blue Eyes Knight. My first trip back I have the grand idea of running past the archers and Knight and taking them all on at once. Whoops! There’s actually a second Blue Eyes that triggers if I move too far, so I die almost instantly. It takes me a couple tries before I learn that I can make it to a very specific point where the dragon can’t kill me and I can pick off the archers before taking on the Blue Eyes. The boss of 1-2 is just ahead!
Hoo, boy, he’s a big fella, too! I had seen footage of the Tower Knight before, but it’s a completely different story when you’re face to face with him. There are archers all around, so I know I need to take them out first. After that, this guy should be cake. He’s big, sure, but he’s gotta be super slow. Interesting—he has a ranged attack when you get too far away. I get on the wrong side of it once and I regret it. I’m still alive, though. I heal up and finish off the archers. Now, obviously, I need to get behind this guy and attack him there.
Easier said than done! Not only is this guy big, but he’s fast. I can’t seem to get around him, and he kills me almost right away. It takes me a couple tries just to get back to him for a second shot. This time around, I notice that you can target his feet. I guess I could try attacking them, but his shield is so huge that I can’t get them from the front. So I’m back in the same situation as before. He swipes that massive lance and I’m down again.
One more try. By now, the trip to the Tower Knight is simplicity itself. Those wolves that mauled me before? Not even an issue now. But I walk into the boss room, and the Tower Knight kills me the second I enter. Whaaaat?! I wasn’t ready! I wasn’t ready! In a moment of weakness, I consult Gamefaqs. It says that he’s weak to magic, and that I shouldn’t have trouble at all. Well, frak you, Gamefaqs! This guy is really hard!
I decide to run like mad to get behind him, and that works. I also learn that it really matters where you target. A fireball to the feet does way less damage than one to the back. I get him down to about 25% health, but I zig when I should zag, and I’m dead. Deep breaths, Julian. Deep breaths. I step away before I do something bad to my controller. But the sixth (seventh? eighth?) time is the charm, and the Tower Knight topples over! Huzzah!
Oh, and one last thing before I go. I’ve been picking up these items named “unknown soldier’s soul” or “renowned soldier’s soul”. I didn’t know what they were for, and I thought that they were the “trash” loot of Demon’s Souls. Turns out that you can use them as an item and get souls! Same goes for the souls from the bosses. So I end up with a megaton of souls after beating the Tower Knight by cashing in all those items. I beef up my stats enough to get good with the bow that I have. Time to shoot a certain pesky dragon out of the sky…
Next time: The Itsy, Bitsy Spider!