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The From Software Chronicles Part 5 – Demon’s Souls

by on July 12, 2016
 

Well folks, I’d like to thank you for hanging with me so far. For the first time since it’s release back in 2007, I’ll be finishing Demon’s Souls. It’ll include my thoughts on the final areas of the game, the ending itself, and my overall impression of the first “Souls” game. The previous entry ended with a boss battle against The Penetrator in the Boletaria Castle realm. The end of this game comes fast and furious, so without further ado, here is the conclusion of Demon’s Souls.

Leaving the Nexus via the Tower of Latria archstone, and more specifically the Maneater’s archstone, spawns you on top of the long bridge in which that battle took place. Ahead of you is a door with a winding staircase taking you even higher in the level. These stairs are home to a few of the insect/human critters, but also is home to the far more dangerous magic users from earlier in the level. This is a long, winding staircase that limits your field of view quite drastically. Ascending with caution is the best way to take the stairs. The insect-like enemies should pose much of a threat but the magic-users can kill you pretty quickly. The best strategy is to get within range, let them cast a spell, then blast them with magic while they chase you down. This area is pretty straight-forward (despite the irony that you are climbing a winding staircase) and is another example of how the end of this game drastically picks up the pace when compared to the beginning. At the top of those stairs you’ll find yourself just outside the fog-door leading to the boss of the area. The Old Monk is definitely one of the easier bosses in the game. Constantly moving in a backwards, circular pattern will help you avoid pretty much every attack. His physical attacks are simple to dodge but even if he makes contact, the damage can be pretty much negated with a good shield. You should have no difficulty facing this boss and preparing for your next area.

I like your...hat.

I like your…hat.

We return to the Storm Shrine and the Old Hero’s archstone for our next battle. The last area has us climbing a long set of stairs to make it to a room with the boss. This area has an even smaller distance for you to traverse in order to find the boss arena. It’s literally a handful of steps in front of you with no enemies blocking the way. Clearing the fog on this door activates a cut-scene that introduces you to the grand-daddy of all those manta-ray enemies you’ve been knocking off. The “Storm King’s” size rivals that of the Dragon God, and perhaps even trumps it. He slowly circles the arena and unleashes a handful of spears from time to time. These are especially dangerous because he also has a couple dozen normal sized manta-rays supporting him. Paying attention to the smaller enemies could lead to you getting hit by one of the Storm King’s barbs which do way more damage than the smaller versions. If you’ve been playing through the game you probably have a good idea of how annoying the manta-rays are. You can sit there and launch magic at them if you like, but there is an easier way to approach this fight. As you’ve probably seen, the biggest problem with the manta-rays is usually how they can disrupt a fight with other enemies. So long as you keep moving though, they should have difficulty hitting you with their attacks. So move you should. In fact, you should work your way over to the other side of the arena. Within the spires and rock formations you should see an item glowing near the edge. This is the Stormruler. This is a heavy weapon that allows you to launch a long-range attack simply by attacking with it. This makes the fight against the manta-ray enemies much more simple. Target an enemy, wait for it to get in range, and simply attack. As long as you keep an eye on the Storm King you should be just fine. The last thing you want to do it become so wrapped up in hitting the little rays that you don’t realize the Storm King is firing at you. When the normal rays have been dispatched, it’s a relatively simple battle from here on out. After a handful of attacks the Storm King will eventually be grounded for good. This marks a significant point in the game. Using the archstone here returns you to the Nexus. This time though, your time spent in the Nexus should be used to prepare yourself for the final confrontation of the game. Assuming your power your way through the final area this is the last chance you’ll have to visit other areas of the game and level up your character until your start New Game + mode. When you are all set, it is time to return to where it all started, Boletaria Castle.

You're a big fella.

You’re a big fella.

The door leading past the Penetrator archstone is well-covered by three archers astride a dragon corpse. Deflecting their arrows and dispatching them comes pretty easily, but the real challenge comes in the form of the three red enemies positioned at the end of the hall where you found the deceased dragon. Your goal should be to manipulate one of the enemies into leaving the other two and facing him one on one back in the Penetrator arena. Fighting all three is suicide. If you can dispatch the first one successfully, you’ll probably still find it incredibly difficult to face-off against the other two. One of them is a long-range archers whose arrows are much more difficult to avoid than standard archers. The other is a quick-moving swordsman. With some patience, and perhaps multiple tries, you should be able to take the other two down. One of the redeeming factors in this fight is that it happens so close to the archstone that, should you fail, it isn’t a big deal to get back and try again. Even better, once they are dead, they stay dead.

After making your way past those three and ascending a tower that is home to a couple of archers, an assassin, and two black knights you find yourself looking across a bridge with one of the laughing mage-type enemies on it. These guys can be a hassle to deal normally, but on the narrow bridge they become even more difficult. The good news in this case is you don’t actually have to fight him at all. As you step out onto the bridge you meet another menace of this area. A large dragon swoops down and positions himself over the bridge. Every time you get within range he spews a stream of fire along the bridge. Triggering this action a couple of times will kill off the mage, but does nothing to help your situation with the dragon. Your best bet is to try to time his flame breath and run past him quickly. Making it past him shows you that the first mage on this bridge had a friend with him. Stopping to fight him on the bridge will likely get you flash-fried from behind, so try to avoid the mage and make it into the safety of the tower at the end of the bridge. Ascending that tower brings you to a second bridge positioned above the first that leads to the right and up a large staircase. Moving toward the dragon causes it to take off and then land again at the top of those stairs. Now it becomes a matter or timing AND positioning for you to make your break for the large door.

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Make it past the dragon the second time and you are home-free of the beast. However, there is one more trial you must face prior to the boss battle. You’ll find the character from earlier in this level seated on the stairs leading up to a long bridge. After a quick chat with the NPC from earlier in this level, that character will then kill himself. His soul then becomes a red enemy that guards the entrance to the boss’s arena. He can be dispatched as long as you remain patient and careful. When he falls you can make your way across the bridge and enter the elevator that brings you to Old King Allant.

Hero of Virtue or Murderous Madman? Definitely Murderous Madman

Hero of Virtue or Murderous Madman? Definitely Murderous Madman

Old King Allant is a human-enemy clad in white, and he’s pretty much the reason you’ve been placed in this predicament. I had trouble facing him one-on-one as he was quicker than I was and capable of going on the offensive from long-range. I decided not to beat my head against a wall any longer than I had been and ended up utilizing the poison-cloud exploit to defeat him. This exploit works by positioning yourself at the top of the stairs, equipped with the right items so that he doesn’t notice you. Then its just a matter of recasting Poison Cloud over and over again until he is dead. Killing him triggers a voice over prior to you returning to the Nexus. You’ve killed the main antagonist of the game, but you’re not done yet. A final return to the Nexus is in order.

Upon your arrival at the Nexus, you are told that the time has come to put the Old One back to sleep. The maiden-in-black takes you by the hand and you plummet through the hole in the floor in the center of the Nexus. You are treated to a cut-scene showing the decent of the Old One’s lair, and are urged to enter in order to lull the Old One back to slumber. The lair itself resembles a pine tree on its side with the top cut off. After entering, you must hack a couple of branches that are in your way and make your way down the linear path. Eventually it opens up slightly to the final boss arena, and you are introduced to the Old One. The old one resembles a disfigured horse-pig beast that is barely capable of movement at all. In fact, despite this being the final confrontation of the game, this is a one-sided fight that you would be hard-pressed to lose. I simply hacked away at it while it told me all the reasons I shouldn’t kill it. When the Old One fell, I was presented with a choice. I could either ascend back to the Nexus and let the maiden-in-black lull the Old One back to sleep, or I could kill the maiden-in-black. I chose to end the life of the maiden-in-black, although I’m not quite sure why. I usually take the more pacifist approach to things, but in the end I killed the thing that helped me the most through my journey. The game ended with my character stepping over the corpse of the maiden-in-black and it was made clear that in the end I had resolved nothing by my actions. I feel bad now. Either way thought, I had experienced the ending of Demon’s Souls. It left me feeling a bit empty inside, but I guess in such a desolate world, I shouldn’t have expected anything different.

You are not that intimidating

You are not that intimidating

Demon’s Souls is the beginning of something truly special, but this initial entry was a little difficult to go back to. While it is a difficult game, it’s hard to say whether or not it was a fine-tuned difficulty, or if it was a difficulty reliant upon some questionable gameplay issues. If you’ve played the rest of the souls games or Bloodborne, you would have no problem seeing how Demon’s souls laid the groundwork for those games. Demon’s Souls is not my favorite game in this series, in fact in terms of all five games, it may rank number 5. That being said though, the fact that it remains one of my favorite games of the PS3 era shows just how much this series means to me. Despite all of the positive praise for this lineage of games, Demon’s Souls also instilled the one true problem I have with the whole series. The obscure story telling. There is so much story-related content that is easy to miss. Some people love the way the story is presented. I, for one, disagree though. I think that there is something truly special with these games and the worlds that are created, that it is a shame to not fully immerse a player with the lore of the game in a relevant fashion. If these game had better story-telling elements than I could consider them close to, if not perfect depending on the entry. I know there is a story here somewhere, so I thought that if there was anyone who wanted to get a more comprehensive look at why the events of Demon’s Souls take place, I’d include the link below. The creator of this video has my utter adoration for being able to create something that puts the game in better perspective.

Demon’s Souls is a good game, but it pales in comparison to the games that followed it. The next entry in the series is Dark Souls, and I am eager to immerse myself in the first of the Dark Souls games. Before I do that though, I have one last thing I need to do with Demon’s Souls. Keep you’re eyes peeled for a feature that ranks the bosses of Demon’s Souls based on my experiences. For now though, thank you for following along with the first game in this incredible series.