Saturday, 3 December 2016

Dark Souls II: Here be Pirates!

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

No, I don't actually have a beard.

Feeling good from the short forest adventure with Alfis, I warped back to the dark underground dock and was joined by Bradley of the Old Guard, a tanky miracle knight. The hollow pirates and their dogs were slaughtered in waves. Lucatiel was here too, though she just wanted to talk - revealing that under her mask, she too was going hollow and that she had come to Drangleic to find her brother. Pity she didn't offer to join the party though.

Bradley could almost solo this zone I think.

Near the top Bradley and I found the mechanism to activate the local lighthouse, flooding the zone with light. Bradley stayed to guard it while I pushed on, finding that it was very handy in pushing some black, alien looking monsters into shadowier parts of the ruins. Ringing a bell at the top of the ramparts summoned a large ship to dock so it was obvious where I needed to go next.

More heads does not necessarily make you smarter!

On the way I found a strange guy just watching the boat: Carhillion the mage. He turns his nose up and refuses to speak with someone so "uneducated". I guess I was right that he's a dick. Anyway, the boat is unsurprisingly filled with more pirates. The hull is also partially flooding and contains a shiva knight (two legs that support two full torsos). It's a little intimidating but fortunately easy to read, and after slaying it on my first attempt I inadvertently sail the huge ship to a nearby fortress island ... the Lost Bastille.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Dark Souls II: Effigy

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Their camo doesn't work so well outside the fog.

Past the misty forest was an overgrown ruin, where some idiots decided to keep curses in jars. The mist guardians are here too, but without the mist they are easily dealt with. The numerous petrified lion men standing around also should have given me a hint but nope, I fell into a hole full of froggies (whose gaze petrifies people). They were easy to kill but most of my gear broke in the process.

I tried to forge ahead regardless, finding Creighton hiding up in one of the towers, still plotting his revenge on Pate. There was also a silent but non-hostile scorpion man, as well as a very hostile scorpion woman who easily killed me with her stingers. Warped back to Majula for repairs and then (finally) worked out that using a human effigy would restore my health bar to full (it's been maxing out at 50% for sometime now). Sheesh, I should have done that sooner!

Alfis' favourite spell: Create light.

With double the health, I returned to the forest of giants and found exploration much easier now. Especially since I also found an ally named Ruined Alfis to help me do so! We smashed (almost) everything in our way ultimately facing the invader, Armorer Dennis and his brigade of ninja turtles. Alfis fought Dennis to a draw while I got rid of Donatello and company and was rewarded with another bonfire! With that Alfis waved goodbye and Dennis, having lost all aggro, just wandered aimlessly. I got out of there without further hassle. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Today I Smiled: The Finisher

So this is what happens when Neverwinter Online refuses to let me play. I simply go finish other games like Gauntlet, Forced, Deathtrap, Torchlight 2, Off-Peak, Escape the Game, Blameless and Disturbed. Strange that after all the endless grind, having things that reach completion actually feels very rewarding!

Also ended is my Skyrim story for now with the Dark Souls "Tales at the Bonfire" taking center stage for awhile on this blog. Status wise the number of links (to blogs that post at least every three weeks) is pretty low these days. I'll be refilling that sometime during the Christmas and New Years break, so we'll see how many are still "alive" then.

Insert the regular "blogging is dying?" title here!

Other than that I've learned that lemmings aren't suicidal, eagles easily slay drones, and that fart collecting backpacks for cows exist. I'll finish off with two happy videos - one of a dog getting a life size Gumby and one of another dog being reunited with her pups. Have a good day everyone! :)

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Dark Souls II: Weakness: Woman therefore try rear

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Are you this game's Solaire?

Player messages never fail to amuse.

My forays into the fortress don't go too well, though on a lower floor I meet Lucatiel, a lady wearing a bearded mask. She is impressed that I still want to talk to her even though she's actively trying to get people to stay away. I also find an anti-poison ring near her which is handy, but the local sorceress guards are simply too much for me so I withdraw back to Majula. Interestingly, Chloanne is here too now - and it turns out she is the Blacksmith's missing daughter.

Taking another path from town leads me to a small jail house where I meet the warrior, Benhart of Jugo. Apparently he can't advance since the lever is stuck. Stuck because a person got turned to stone right in front of it. There have been a few petrified people around, and it requires a special item to release them. Since I had one I freed the woman, who introduced herself as Rosibeth - apprentice mage to the great Carhillion. Can't be that great if he couldn't unpetrify his own student. That and/or he's a dick.

After giving her some better rags I send her off to Majula and pull the lever which opens ALL the jail doors. Zombie swarm! Yeah, that didn't go well for me. Much better on the second attempt. Beyond the jail was a crossroad with two paths leading to locked doors and one into a misty forest of cheaters. Cheaters who have the same color as the fog. My best defense? No defense! Just sprinting!

I can't see them, but they sure can see me!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Dark Souls II: Poison Peak

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Within those woods I find Creighton the axe man who was locked up in a hut by Merciless Roenna, whose name doesn't suit her at all if she takes prisoners. Guess she had some sort of kinky thing going on there - didn't bother asking while killing her. Anyway, Creighton blames Pate for his current predicament and after warning me about the soap giver, heads off to hunt him while I continue on my way.

The forest gives way to cliff side caves with skeletons that self revive. Having seen this at the catacombs before I know better, and take down the annoying necromancers that reanimate those bones. In no time at all I am again at a boss chamber, this one occupied by THREE skeleton lords. Fortunately they're slow, but they are still irritating in that slaying one summons a mob of skelies into the chamber (including a pair of those irritating wheel riding ones). With careful sprints between cover my bastard sword lays them all to waste and it's just my first go. Hah, I'm getting better!

You're gonna need a bigger army.

Past them the path leads up into the mountains, and to poison filled moats of doom. Chloanne the stone trader is here, and she must be pretty stoned herself to be hanging around this death trap. I push forward through some mines, careful to avoid the poison tunnels below, and straight to a large fortress called Earthen Peak, where apparently they store poison in large jars. WTF is wrong with these people?

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Steam Free for All: Off-peak Escape the Blameless, Disturbed Game

That's a mouthful of a title isn't it?

After trying out some of the free games on Steam I decided to put up mini-reviews to let you know if they're worth playing!

Escape the Game (Intro)

But you know I will...

In this platformer you are helping a talkative little square with little eyes named Kevin to Escape the Game. The controls and mechanics are pretty good, as are the humorous lines Kevin says, and it's nowhere as hard as Super Meat Boy which is certainly more inclusive to the player base. Kevin does yap a lot though, which for me takes away from his likeability a little - especially at the beginning. Since it's just "an intro" the game is pretty short - and while it's not as good as Thomas was Alone, it's still a nice little time waster. :)

Blameless

As an architect who gets knocked out in a property under construction, you awake trapped inside and must escape before your assailant returns. This first person puzzle solver plays like a much tamer version of Slender and the majority of your game time will be spent looking for items and spots to use them on. The graphics are really nice though, and I do appreciate that there are multiple ways to get through each area. The game doesn't offer a lot of answers though, probably not helped by it's short run time as you will escape in under 40 minutes I'd suspect. The voice acting is also a bit off level during dialog, and the start intro is almost cringe worthy. It gets much better once you start though. If you like puzzly things, then this is one worth trying.

Leave a guy stuck in a room with lots of construction tools... yeah...

Disturbed

I hope you decided "die" because that's whats going to happen... a lot!

This choose your own adventure story with uses nice pencil drawings as graphics, sees you in the shoes of a farmer during a time of deadly blight. Thanks to the many, many blind "You died" options, this is the longest of the games in this list. That along with blind pattern guessing and maze mapping (with insta deaths) makes it pretty hard going at the start. Only when you find particular items do you start feeling that you are making progress.

It's amusing that each death is an achievement though, which means you might actually want to seek them out. I also quite like the minimalistic sounds used as it works well with the bleakness. I liked this game. It's the sort of thing I think I could make, but it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

Off-Peak

When you find yourself stuck in a psychedelic train station with no means to leave, your only option is to find pieces of a train ticket! Obviously! That is the main "quest" of this game, but it's more like an experience since the ticket pieces aren't really hiding. They're just scattered across the eclectic collections of art, music and people in the train station. Definitely an odd one, but it has the best intro of this lot for me... none! If you feel like something very off beat, then give Off-Peak a try.

Be prepared for some strange stuff!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Dark Souls II: Gear Shift

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

After getting whooped so much I decided it was time to go through the "learning" part of combat again, intentionally fighting the local forest enemies to get a better handle on controls and timing. Didn't bother relearning parry though. I'm quite upset that they changed the timing for that. This time around I'm opting for blocking and backstabbing! The results seem to pay off since I soon find myself in the chamber of the forest boss: the last giant!

Which is incorrect, given how many other giants I'm going to run into later.

Fortunately he's a very straight forward boss. Just avoid his stamping feet with stamina management. While his soul is not one of the "great four", he does drop a key for me which lets me access other parts of the forest ruin, and during my suicide scouting runs (where I just go to pick stuff up) I find this neat bastard sword. It easily outclasses my broadsword in damage and reach so it becomes my new favorite weapon. I go back to Majula to upgrade it a little and notice that the hag merchant is here now. Licia (the evil cleric) too, who offers to "shift" a path using her miracle powers for the low price of 2000 souls.

I figure she might as well since I'd eventually need to go wherever that leads, and it leads to a dark forest full of poison using assassin hollows! Wonderful! As if that's not bad enough, I also get invaded by Forlorn who soundly thrashes me with his great sword. I did manage to defeat a giant frog at the base of a cave though. At least that's something. :P