Outside of gaming, my wrist still hurts and I’m off for a referral. Physio hasn’t done much, unfortunately, though the last round found a good taping job that relieves the pain temporarily. Basically, any pressure against the palm with the wrist at a non-neutral angle, causes spikes of pain. Sleeping was uncomfortable, cutting veggies too. Exercise is an odd one, as nearly all exercises should be done in a neutral grip, if done correctly. Upright rows, and twist grips (like a clean and jerk) simply can’t be done, nor can pushups. But I can do a squat, deadlift, press, bench, pull up, chin up, bar curls and dozens more. I guess it’s one way to make sure my form is perfect. Oh, and there’s something to be said about linear gains in exercise. Supremely motivating.
Inside of gaming, I’ve put the Division on hold for a bit. I’ve tried a bit of the Dark Zone and it’s like a dumbed down version of the 1-30 content. It feels like a meat grinder, with the only goal being to collect more numbers, to grind more meat. I realize that’s the entire point of “end-game” content, it’s just that there’s no strategy to it. Point and shoot and that’s it. The hard mode missions are neat though. It’s just that I recently played all of them, and I can do with a break.
That brings me to Dark Souls.
The Heck Man?
My experience with DS starts with the NES. Seriously. I played Battletoads, TMNT, Ninja Gaiden, Punch Out, Ghouls and Goblins, Contra, and Castlevania. I have played against the RNG of gaming, and I have played within the crazyness of pathing of the AI. I was raised in the fires of a Game Over screen. Clearing the Ninja Gaiden remake is the only recent high bar I can compare to… and that was nearly 10 years ago.
DS follows that thought process and applies a bit of an open-game mindset. I like the concept of respawning enemies when you save. I like that enemies have patterns that you can learn to exploit. I like the complexity of the stats, and the interactions between items. The feeling of being the little guy against a mosh pit of enemies. I like that when you die, you can get the lost souls back, and that any gear you did acquire stays with you.
My only gripe is in the controls. It took me an hour to break the instinct of pressing X to attack. So much so that I had to swap out what X did and put in an item I couldn’t use to avoid drinking all my potions. Rolling to avoid damage is inconsistent, along with the collision detection. A roll that works the first time, you may completely miss the 2nd time. Attacking is similar, where the lock-on doesn’t always register due to movement. Enemies hit you with an unknown hit box, making it really hard to figure out if you actually evaded correctly, or if they missed you my an imaginary pixel. Or that you can’t interrupt an attack (at least I haven’t figure out how to on anything other than a grunt).
I tried the first boss about a dozen times. I was trying to figure out his attack patterns, and found that rolling in was more effective then out, for most attacks anyways. When he transforms into that purple snake thing, the camera angle is so poor that I have no idea what he’s doing unless I’m so far out of range that I can’t attack. It just turned into “dodge in, attack 3x, dodge out, circle strafe”. And that strategy has worked wonders on anything since then that takes more than 5 hits to kill.
I clearly still have a learning curve to get through, in particular in learning how to be more aggressive when I get the patterns down. The controls are slower and less responsive than I’d like, so that’s a big part of it. I think it may have more to do with unlearning 30 years of gaming.
Still, it’s a fun game. One where you feel yourself progressing, and there’s minimal AI cheating (mimics aside, those bums). It’s not often I play a game where I learn something brand new, and I’m quite glad this one offers it.