Top 5 Challenging Boss Battles in Dark Souls 2!

Sinh

Dark Souls is a series known for its robust level of challenge and punishing learning curves. Dark Souls 2 is no exception to this, and it contains several bosses that occasionally make you wonder why you are playing in the first place. Generally speaking, the bosses in DS2 are considerably easier than the original (or perhaps I am now just more skilled at the game). Indeed, some are almost laughably easy. Demon of Song and the Skeleton Lords spring to mind immediately, with an honourable mention to Nashandra and Aldia who were disappointingly easy as a final boss in comparison to Lord Gwyn.

That being said, some of the bosses were frustrating to say the least. Here are my own personal top five most difficult (or annoying) bosses in Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin.

  1. Sinh, Slumbering Dragon

The main game and the DLC material pit you against a number of Dragon bosses, but I would say that this is the most challenging of the lot. Primarily, this is due to the fact that it spams toxic at you as an after effect to its breath attacks. Bosses that like to inflict status effects on to the player are always frustrating, but in this case the combination of toxic, flying charges, fireballs and punishing melee attacks make this fight stand out.

  1. The Smelter Demon/Magical Smelter Demon

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I have included these two in the same spot as they are more or less identical in terms of appearance and move set (albeit slightly more power on the magical demon). Some players may have found this fight pretty easy but I found myself struggling. The Smelter Demons hit hard, move faster than you would expect for their size and also inflict fire and magic damage respectively. A few area spread attacks can catch you off guard, and midway through the fight the Demons will cause residual damage if you stand too close and enchant their weapons for further damage. This is challenging enough, but I think what caught me off guard the most was the fact that, well telegraphed as the attacks are, there is a slightly longer pause than you would expect between the beginning of the attack animation and the attack landing. Often you roll out of danger only to then take the attack full on in the face. Most people could probably adapt to this a bit quicker than I did but it still proves a challenge. A special nod has to be given to the magical Smelter Demon for having a very irritating run up to the boss, full of dangerous enemies and traps.

  1. Aava, the Kings Pet

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Hands up, who remembers Sif from Dark Souls 1? Anyone else feel slightly bad about killing him? I always did; he looks too cute, makes a heart-wrenching noise like a dog when hurt and just misses his dead buddy.

No such feelings accompany this fight. Aava is a bastard; a straight-up bastard. Beast boss fights are, in my experience, either quite easy or punishing in the extreme. Aava falls into the latter category. Unlike the Royal Rat Authority, whose attacks are pretty easy to suss out and avoid (roll forward), Aava’s move-set is more varied, do more damage, and he is much, much faster. All of your dodges need to be completely on-point or you are in for a mauling. There are many times where I felt that my dodge was perfectly timed only to die moments later. Additionally, Aava also has a few spells/area attacks to keep things interesting. I always plump for a melee build; I have no idea how spell-casters manage to get through this fight.

  1. Raime, the Fume Knight

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I probably died more times in this boss fight than in many of the others put together. He is another boss fight that comes in two halves; once his health is depleted by half he becomes a lot more dangerous. His initial attack pattern is quite varied but can be mastered with a few attempts. That being said, if he hits you, the damage can be quite severe as he racks up combo-hits and staggering attacks. It is easy enough to heal at this stage; sprinting across the room should give you enough time to chug that sweet, sweet Estus.

His second form is genuinely frightening. He adopts the move-set and flaming sword attacks of Lord Gwyn, the final boss in Dark Souls 1, only there is no favourable terrain to assist you in the fight. His attacks are lightning fast and it is nearly impossible to get enough breathing space to heal. I ended up two handing my Pursuer’s great sword as blocking any of his attacks was simply not an option. In order to win, your rolls and doges must be perfect every time. There is no margin for error. Additionally, he can follow up his quick combos with punishing area attacks, fireballs, and a laserbeam-like type attack. If you have depleted your stamina through dodging his combos they can be very hard to avoid.

However, the sense of triumph on winning this fight is pretty special, and has only really been matched the first time I defeated Ornstein and Smough in the first game.

  1. Burnt Ivory King

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I am going to preface this entry by saying that I did actually enjoy it quite a lot, despite the level of difficulty.

This boss is possibly unique in the Souls franchise (I haven’t played DS3 so can’t say for sure) in the sense that the boss fight includes a melee or sorts with multiple enemies and allies. The Burnt Ivory King opens portals into the fight arena and you have to defeat all of the Burnt Knights before facing off against the King himself. It’s actually quite fun, but the enemies are not as weak as you would like which means that the changes of actually getting to the King each time you try is about 50/50. Due to the fact that he is similar in fighting style to the challenging Fume Knight, this can be problematic. He moves with terrifying speed, hits hard and offers very few chances for healing. On his own, this fight is probably a bit easier than Raime, but when you add in the extra challenge of defeating his knights, it just pips it for me in terms of difficulty.

Do you agree with my list? If not I’d love to hear which bosses made you want to never play the series again!

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Wonderlocke Pokemon Challenge! Episode 1

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In the absence of a new Pokemon fix to entertain myself, I have decided to embark on a Wonderlocke play through of Alpha Sapphire to keep things fresh.

For those who perhaps don’t know, the wonderlocke rules are as follows:

-Only one Pokemon can be caught on each route.

-The first Pokemon encountered on each route has to be caught, if it faints then you cannot take a Pokemon from this route.

-Each Pokemon caught must be immediately traded on wondertrade and the received Pokemon can be used.

As you can imagine this can lead to some interesting Pokemon being used in your party which might otherwise be overlooked and can introduce Pokemon not native to the region. To keep the difficulty up somewhat, a Pokemon cannot be used if it is received at a level ten above what you traded, and if it faints in battle it can no longer be used.

I am going to regularly post my progress throughout the game with updates on all Pokemon received and lost. Last night I created my character, Lucina the trainer, and made my way to the first gym to battle the leader Roxanne.

Caught and received Pokemon:

Route 101 – Zigzagoon (sent) Bunelby (received)

Route 102 – Wurmple (sent) Poochyena (received)

Route 103 – Zigzagoon (sent) Cyndaquil

Petalburg Woods – Pokemon knocked out

Route 116 – Wurmple (sent) Shellos (received)

The route to the gym leader was fairly uneventful, the only casualty being Bunnelby who I carelessly let faint to a Seedot using bide (embarrassing, but Bunnelby is up there on my most hated Pokemon of all time due to its hideous evolved form so no great loss there.)

The gym itself was rather trickier as I did not get Shellos until just before the leader. The gym was predominantly rock type, and my Cyndaquil and Torchic both suffer badly against rock types. My Poochyena’s defences are terrible and didn’t hold up well at all. Only the arrival of Shellos Waterpulsing the crap out of everything made the leader beatable without casualty (although it was a close run thing.

Next time…..The journey to badge number 2!

Current Party:

-Torchic

-Cyndaquil

-Poochyena

-Shellos

Deceased:

-Bunnelby

119 Minutes at Freddy’s

Freddy

A while back I noticed this little known game on Steam which showed a lot of promise, so I mentally added it to my to-do list and then promptly forgot about it.

I apparently then blinked and this small game became hugely popular and spawned two sequels and engrossing questions regarding the mysterious identity of the puppet and purple man. I am referring to, of course, Five Nights at Freddy’s.

Despite being, apparently, the last person in the whole world to play this game, it was with some excitement that I made the modest investment to download this game. I was a little worried that the game would not live up to the hype that I had heard previously before downloading, but happily this turned out not to be the case.

From the moment the ominous main menu flashes up with its pervasive, fear inducing music and grainy, flickering visuals, I was pretty sure that this game was going to be on to a good thing. For those of you who are not familiar with the premise of the game, I’ll give a brief overview.

You play a security guard taking up a new position as the night watchman at the mysterious Freddy’s restaurant, keeping watch from midnight to 6am five nights a week. Within moments of starting your first shift, a phone call from your predecessor informs you that this job is already more than you might have bargained for. At night, the animatronics which usually entertain the children during the day become more active, wandering around the restaurant. This doesn’t sound so frightening until the phone man informs you that if they find anyone during the night, they will assume that it is a rogue animatronic and will stuff you into an empty robot body full of razor sharp metal and wires, particularly in the face area. As you can imagine, this is invariably fatal.

As the protagonist, you cannot move or interact with the environment at all. All you have available to combat the psychotic animatronic Freddy and his cohorts is a CCTV system of seven cameras located throughout the restaurant and two doors which can be closed electronically. Some of the animatronics move around less when viewed on the cameras, some more so. You also have limited power for the whole night (apparently the company is incredibly cheap indeed, hence the deadly robots), using the cameras and the doors and lights drains the power more quickly. If the power runs out, it’s game over, Freddy is going to kill you.

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Essentially, this is a strategy game full of creepy music and chills, not to mention outrageous jump scares when the animatronic that you thought you knew the location of suddenly leaps out of the shadows with teeth bared going straight for the throat. Despite the fact that you know this is likely to happen, it is guaranteed to make you jump every time.

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Despite the tame sounding nature of the action, this game is actually fantastic, full of tension and strategy; do you use more power and keep tabs on the CCTV or do you conserve power and hope for the best? I can guarantee that at some point in this game you will be staring at the clock which seems stuck at 4am, just praying that the power will last for a few more hours so that you will survive the night, all the while knowing at the back of your mind that you will be repeating it all again the next night. Not to mention the fact that the difficulty ramps up noticeably with each passing night.

If you haven’t played this game, I would highly recommend as the price is a very modest £3.99 and is definitely well worth the price. Good luck.

Gaming Escapism?

While discussing the relative merits of Skyrim a few days ago, a friend said something to me that got me thinking about the way that some people view games and gamers. To boil it down to just a few sentences his argument was that in order for a game to be judged good or worthwhile it needs to break ground as a game, offer something new; but also should strive to be a work of art, and in a sense should better the person playing it. My response was that, given the nature of games being a mode of entertainment, shouldn’t the measure of a game’s success merely be judged on whether it is enjoyable to play? Games can be works of art, but they don’t have to be to be good games. Obviously, games breaking into new ground can be wonderful, but then a hugely enjoyable game built using familiar stories or scenarios are not therefore automatically bad games if they are done well. RPG’s are a great example. It could be said that most RPG’s are pretty similar; wandering around doing tasks to level up and make a few numbers go up. But this misses the point entirely. What makes many RPG’s great is just how fun and engrossing they are (whether down to fun combat, exploring etc) despite the fact that the overall formula is highly familiar. As for betterment I felt that this is missing the point of gaming somewhat. The argument was then made that if all it took for a game to be judged ‘good’ is whether it is enjoyable or not, then there is merely a sense of escapism about gaming. To a certain extent this may be true, but I prefer to think of it in more positive terms. Rather than escapism, games can be just a way to relax, a mode of enjoyment which does not need the sense of betterment that is so often pressed upon us in other areas of our lives, such as to look good or to strive for success at work or through academia. Games, like films, offer us the chance to experience and live out scenarios that just are not possible in the real word; such as lands riddled with small monsters that you can catch and raise; or entire worlds that you can explore and are full of elves and goblins magic and so on. Games are often something of a guilty pleasure for me, something that is done in time which I know should usually be spent writing my dissertation or picking up extra shifts at work. If this is to be a guilty pleasure then the most important thing I want from my game is a sense of enjoyment and gripping excitement. If the other values mentioned above are also present, then this is a bonus.

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