Casually Hardcore: Dark Souls 2 (Part One)
Dark Souls II: Things Betwixt, Majula & Forest of Fallen Giants (kind of)
Let me preface this by saying: I am not a hardcore gamer. My idea of hardcore gaming is playing Lumines for hours at a time in a completely full-hearted attempt to earn every single achievement. (Sidenote: still haven’t done that, so…yeah, hopefully you see where this is going.)
Nevertheless, these are my Dark Souls II tales…
Starting out, I had no idea what to do. (Hell, I still don’t!) There was no yellow brick road pointing me toward the Emerald City. I didn’t even have anyone to talk to besides some creepy old ladies in an inn. And I wasn’t sticking around for their particular brand of fun (which pretty much consisted of sitting around, doing a bunch of nothing…can anyone say “boring”?). So it was me and some Hollow soldiers…and lots of grass and rock formations and caves. That was in Things Betwixt.
It need not be said—but I will anyway—after a half hour of wandering in and out of various caves, I was quite done with Things Betwixt and its weird misty hideyholes. I mean, I’d gone around slaying tons of Hollow soldiers and that was fun for a bit, and there were these stones that were like mini tutorials, but I wanted to get on with the journeying! So I started to actually paying attention to where I was going, which was a pretty tall order for someone with the caliber of uncoordinated flair that I possess.
Instead of going back into another mist-curtained cave, I found a pathway that led up to an opening to a different area. It was bright and completely different from the creepy shadows in Things Betwixt. I’d made it to Majula! Finally, I was about to do some real Dark Souls 2 playing.
One small problem. Besides mastering the very difficult run/jump combo and how to swing around my little dagger, I still had no idea what I was doing. So, there was that. Despite my shortcomings, I soldiered on. I figured I could learn along the way, right? Right? Right!
I lit the bonfire in Majula (I found it when I walked right into it—luckily) and spoke to some people and a talking cat/shop-owner. Let’s see… there was the Emerald Herald. She gave me an Estus Flask. There was Saulden, one very sad sop of a man. He kind of bummed me out. But he asked me to join the Covenant named Way of Blue. Supposedly it’s good to have when you’re in a fight. Other members can join in and help you defeat bosses. There was also a guy who apparently got his stuff locked inside of a house. He asked for my help but I’m guessing I needed a key of some sort because my dagger wasn’t cutting it—literally.
Somehow I made a wrong turn somewhere and landed at an impassible spot for a beginner such as myself. I would have kept trying to fight my way through these two weird, nauseatingly difficult monsters had I not given in and looked up a play-through guide. BEST. DECISION. OF. THE. WEEK. By far. Because in that guide I read about how that route was indeed impassible (because I was weak and utterly powerless) and that the better route would be through to Forest of Fallen Giants.
You might think it was smooth sailing from there, but nope. It took me at least ten minutes to find where I was supposed to go (and that was only after Googling very detailed instructions on how to do that). Turns out I’d been on the trail to Forest of Fallen Giants before during one of my walkabouts of Majula, and I hadn’t even known!
Well, it was a good thing I have the guide. The guide is my friend now, my savior even. I’d give it my firstborn for seeing me through this game if I could.
So, Forest of Fallen Giants here I come!