The Dark Souls of relaxing games

Played through Dark Souls again, which makes a sixth playthrough.  With the possible exception of the original Genesis/MegaDrive version of Sonic the Hedgehog, I think it’s the game that I have finished the most times.

Previously, I’ve played the original releases on PC and PS3 (once each), the PS4 remaster 2 and a half times to get the platinum trophy and the Switch version to see what handheld Souls would be like.  I really didn’t have a reason to play through the PC remaster, other than that I’d gotten it for free as an owner of the original release, but it has kind of become a game that I can just chill out and play from opening to end credits as a way to relax.

I skip most of the optional bosses, summon NPC helpers for the fights where I can, and I don’t stop to farm at any point except when I need to get a bunch of humanity to save Solaire from going insane.

I was going a little TOO fast this time, actually, and I wound up in the Duke’s Archives with a +7 Zweihander and a realization that everything takes more hits to kill when you only have a +7 weapon in the Duke’s Archives.

At that point, I did have to stop and kill the Tower Knight on the top of Sen’s Fortress a few times.  The difference between a +7 weapon and a +10 is huge, and a quick run through New Londo Ruins got that up to a +14, and things went much smoother for the rest of the back end of the game:

It took me nearly 11 hours in the Switch version, 15 hours in the PS3 version, 60 hours to clear the PC version the first time I played it and 65 hours for the Platinum trophy on PS4.  So I am getting my playtime down!

Still not going to be speed running any time soon.

And yes, my Chosen Undead was named Karen because the image of a knight in full plate armor with a massive 2-handed sword storming the parapets of Anor Londo and WANTING TO SEE THE MANAGER RIGHT NOW just made me giggle.

I only died to three bosses on this run – the Centipede Demon, Smough, and Ceaseless Discharge – and only once each.  I had several embarrassing deaths trying to run through the Catacombs to get to Pinwheel, but that’s what I get for trying to rush things.

Apart from that, I died a few times in the Duke’s Archives and once in the Crystal Caves because of a slippery path and a bottomless pit.  I also got invaded once, by someone who stopped and waved politely before proving that he was much better at PVP.  So really I didn’t see YOU DIED all that many times.

OK, OK, there were some deaths to the Anor Londo archers.  That’s rather embarrassing because I was used to just charging up the ramp and pancaking them with the Zweihander and I fell off the ledge three times before I remembered the trick to it.

I don’t think I could do this sort of relaxed run on any of the other games in the series.  Maybe DS2, though I don’t remember if it had many NPC summons you could call on and I always get bogged down farming a set of armor from the Iron Keep knights.  Certainly not 3.  Dark Souls 3 is not a mellow game.

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