The world of Dark Souls is a bittersweet one. The cyclical fight against fate can wear down even the most hardened of adventurers. Despite these grim circumstances, there are some wonderful sights to see and true moments of greatness nestled across the crumbling world of Lordran.
I streamed Dark Souls Remastered not long ago – something that’s far harder to do than it appears – and it was a solitary experience for the most part. The game is an uphill battle, difficult and, at times, unfair. But extending an olive branch to a fellow undead, fighting against the dying of the light, can be enough to keep their spark of hope alive.
During my first playthrough of Dark Souls I didn’t look anything up. I’ve finished both Bloodborne and Sekiro, so I thought I should tackle FromSoftware’s earlier titles the same way I went through them – without guides. I still had friends give me advice as I streamed, so I wasn’t completely in the dark, but I didn’t know what the best weapons were, or the right order to do things, or anything like that. I did return to the Undead Asylum, however, so by the time I reached Anor Londo I also had the strange doll that gave me access to the Painted World of Ariamis.
At the bottom of a large cathedral stands a vast painting. I went over to inspect it – because I just hadn’t learned my lesson about curiosity killing the cat – and promptly got sucked into the wintery world. To my housemate’s horror, I was in this world far too early. I couldn’t warp out as I didn’t have the Lordvessel yet – and I later found out you can’t warp out of the world anyway – so I had no choice but to press on.
The Cronenbergian spear-wielding slug enemies would take me out if I got too close to them, so I made sure to skirt around the edges of the level while trying to find my way out. For the life of me, I could not find the exit. There was a weird rotting dragon blocking a bridge and a large set of doors that I couldn’t open. I managed to kill the dragon, but its literal arse was still in my way, so I reasoned the doors were my way out. I have since learned about the glitch to bypass the arse end of the dragon, but like I said, I wasn’t looking anything up.
Everything was feeling futile, my hope was waning, the light within me fading. That was until I saw someone had left their summoning sign by the large doors. I summoned them and then gestured at the doors I could not open. They walked in circles a couple of times and walked behind me, the universal sign for “follow me.” They led me into the depths of the level with the wheel skeletons, a place I’d already been. What I’d missed – because I was sick of being ganked by bastard wheel skeletons – was a tiny switch. They gestured to the switch, they were giving me the honours, and I activated it. The doors opened and we went on through.
My mysterious friend then helped me to beat the level’s boss, Priscilla. I say they helped me, what I mean is I got a few hits in while they demolished her. After the fight, they waved and disappeared, presumably to help another poor, lost soul who wandered into the Painted World far too early. Online interactions in games without proper chat functions can be very touching. Amongst all the gloom and doom of the game, it was nice to see that even after all these years, there are still players willing to help each other out.
Next: Stardew Valley Teaches An Important Lesson: The World Doesn’t Revolve Around You
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Issy is an avid film lover, writer, and game-player based in the UK. He combines his love of film and games in his writing, trying to find as many connections between the two mediums as possible. When he’s not writing, playing, or watching, Issy loves to DJ and look after his growing collection of houseplants, as they make him feel more adult.
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