Top 5 Challenging Boss Battles in Dark Souls 2!


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


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


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


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


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!


The Evil Within: The New Resident Evil?

ImageContinuing on from my last halloween inspired horror-related post I will now move from past horror to future horror in the form of a game due to be released in 2014 but which, frankly, can’t come soon enough. For those, like me, who have been desperate for the Resident Evil franchise to return to its zombie infested survival horror roots then our prayers may have been answered in the form of The Evil Within. Obviously, this is not a Resident Evil game. It is however, shaping up to be a great looking survival horror game. Trailers and game-play videos seem to suggest that this game possesses all the necessary attributes to make us fall in love with the survival horror genre all over again. It seems to combine many qualities from Resident Evil 1 and 4: including over the shoulder action viewpoint, various quick time event actions, limited weapons and ammo and that overwhelming feeling that it is just you, alone, against a terrible and nameless enemy. Comparisons to Resident Evil 4 does no disservice to the game, after all it is one of the best video games of the last 10 years. The game opens with the wounded protagonist trying to escape from a grisly and macabre looking asylum or hospital chased by an enormous figure wielding a chainsaw. The tense run through the level, being chased by a seemingly unbeatable foe, immediately put me in mind of the tense moments of trying to escape Salazar’s right hand or the Nemesis through the chaos of Raccoon City. So far so good. The character design in the game looks stunning, particularly the various bosses which have been revealed so far. The game apparently draws from many horror tropes found in other horror games and films so horror fans should find plenty of things to enjoy in the game. The audio effects and music of the game seem to be first rate and fully capable of creating an atmosphere of crippling fear within moments of the opening sequence. Unfortunately the videos released so far predominantly feature FMV sequences so it is unclear to see how smooth the game-play will be with any degree of certainty. However, survival horror fans should be hopeful that another first class title may be being released in the not so distant future. The Evil Within definitely seems to have promise, particularly seeing as though Shinji Mikami, the driving force behind Resident Evil 1 and 2 is at the helm.

Check out the video below to get an idea of the game-play and visuals!



Wii Need U!

It is probably fair to say that the achievements of the Wii U so far have been dismal. This may or may not be down to the name (naming a console with a word which relates to a bodily function was always going to be risqué.) Irrespectively, the impact of the console has been less than Nintendo’s most pessimistic expectations and has sold slowly across all regions. On the customer end of things, the WiiU concept has left man gamers confused, with many still thinking that the WiiU is merely an add-on to the older Wii. This is yet another spectacular fumble from the brains behind Nintendo’s marketing strategies. Despite this, there has never been a better time to invest in this console. Nintendo have stated that from September 20th there will be a $50 price cut for the deluxe version of the console bringing the price down to $299. This brings the price down to a very reasonable level. The WiiU also has several advantages over the other next gen consoles. The quality of the Nintendo franchises and the new and future game releases remain a huge plus point in the WiiU’s favour. Titles such as Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D world, Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2 and Super Smash Brothers are all reasons to buy this console in and of themselves. The imminent release of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD will also allow those who missed the game first time around to have the opportunity to play this astounding title. The game line-up for this console is really starting to pick up now after a poor start. For once, however, it will not only be first party titles which will be the consoles must have games. Third party and Indie titles are another draw to this system. Nintendo have taken steps to ensure that it is easier than ever to develop indie titles for the system by making their hardware simple for developers to work with. They have also made sure that small developers have equal space and visibility on Nintendo’s eShop, making developing games for this system a lot more lucrative which will all contribute to ever more numerous high quality titles being released for the system. In addition to new games, old games are another reason to invest in a WiiU. The Virtual Console on the WiiU contains a large number of retro games to be purchased and downloaded directly to the WiiU home page, allowing gamers easy access to retro gaming experiences without having to have multiple consoles. Nintendo’s inclusion of backwards compatibility is as welcome as ever. The Miiverse feature on the WiiU is now being expanded to the 3DS and mobile devices allowing for greater connectivity with more and more gamers and the possibility for using the system link to unlock more features in titles which appear on both systems. Of course, if you want a console that is also a media centre featuring TV capabilities and Netflix then the WiiU is not going to be the choice for you. The Xbox1 or the PS4 will be better suited to your needs. This will also be the case if you want hyper-realism in your video games. However, these additions come at a price, almost $500 if current release prices stay as they are. There is something to be said for a console that was designed purely to play games on, and the WiiU offers exactly that.Image