A Dark Souls Journal #7: Castlevania, Portrait of Ruin

It’s hard to put my thoughts into words. This painted world looks gorgeous, but it feels very… dead. I’ll almost certainly run into enemies here, but it has a sort of quiet beauty to it right now. Ignoring the corpses stuck on sticks, of course. Somehow, it feels equally safe and dangerous. It’s like the calm before the storm…

8:07PM

I found a bonfire. I decided to check out the stairs before lighting it and got ambushed. My opponents went down with little fight, but I suppose it’ll only get tougher from here. Time to light the bonfire.

8:13PM

Shot down a hung corpse with an arrow, found a humanity. I can hear footsteps… somewhere. Can’t open the door. I’ll have to check the next set of stairs.

8:17PM

Hollows with bulging heads. Disgusting, and could very easily poison me upon death. I had better dodge away after my kills, just in case. There has to be some sort of monster here… I can hear something, but I can’t make out what it exactly is.

8:20PM

These harpies very nearly got the best of me. Time to go two-handed with the Falchion. I’m going to snipe the ones I see on the other rooftops and bait them over, one full stamina bar of slashing should do the trick.

Hm. I can’t make the distance on one of these rooftops… I’ll just have to kill the others as they come. Picked up some Twin Humanities just below. Let’s get moving.

8:28PM

OH GOD WHAT THE HELL ARE THOSE I DO NOT WANT TO TOUCH THEM

8:29PM

Dead. Just more disgusting rats.

8:31PM

Killed more enemies, but… I swear I can hear groups attacking each other. Is that just me? Maybe it’s something else…

Also, note to self, invest in more arrows later.

8:37PM

Located the Painting Guardian gear. Substantial magic defense but hardly any physical. Makes sense. They went down very easily back at Anor Londo.

A cure for parasitic eggs? From the body!? Oh lord, what have I gotten myself into?

I’ve reached the place with the fog gate. I don’t think there are many greater joys than watching an enemy kill itself, falling in an attempt to reach you.

8:47PM

Why did the camera decide to zoom in a little? This doesn’t bode well…

Oh good grief, there’s something over there. I think it’s a dragon. Let’s not do that yet.

I can definitely hear SOME sort of creature. It’s not just my imagination. Trying to find my way around here…

Hmm, Velka head gear? A cleric robe? This reminds me of a character I’ve met…

Vow of Silence miracle. Also Velka themed. There sure is a goddess theme here.

8:59PM

Found some more loot, including a Dark Ember. I’m out of Estus Flasks, though. This is getting tight. Worst case scenario, I’ll pop a humanity…

9:06PM

What are you doing there, buddy? Enemy’s ragdoll physics must have left it hanging ominously over an entrance…

Every other door I’ve found appears to be locked, so I guess I’ll have to hit up the fog gate now.

9:08PM

OH GOD THE DRAGON’S AWAKE

9:11PM

OH GOD WHAT THE HELL ARE THOSE THINGS

Damnit, I just had the idea to use my Drake Sword’s special… but I didn’t bring it with me? Did I seriously leave it in the box!? I need that right now…

One wrong move, and it’s over for me…

There doesn’t seem to be any sort of fire I could lure them into…

9:25PM

Used up a Twin Humanity. I may just have to make a dash for it somewhere. It might be that they’re secretly actually pathetically easy enemies, but I don’t want to risk that right now. I don’t want to drop all these souls…

9:40PM

Made it underground. I understand how people feel about the wheel enemies now. So, they’re from here, huh. Got killed by one, but I managed to return and get my souls back. I should probably homeward bone to actually use the souls at this point.

9:46PM

Oh yeah, this place doesn’t look intimidating at all.

At least I’ve figured out a way of dealing with these guys. The problem is trying to tackle them one at a time. Just take it slow…

9:56PM

Turned a wheel. Managed to open one of the damn doors outside. I spy a fog gate…

Found a key too. I think I know the door to use it on.

10:01PM

Why… is this one hollow not aggressive?

10:08PM

OH HELLO

OH. OH

THIS MUST BE THAT WIFE UTSU MENTIONED

SHE EVEN HAS A TAIL AWH

But she wants me to leave… fair enough. :bigpensive:

Hard disagree that the inhabitants are kind, though! Please explain this view to me.

I think fighting her is a thing, but I definitely don’t want to do that on this run. I don’t think I want to do it in general! Ahhh… fine, I’ll go, I’ll go.

10:33PM

Leveled and healed up at Anor Londo… what a fascinating detour.

Made it past the infamous archers and…

Solaire!

It’s probably safe to talk to you right now. But I don’t want to risk anything. I need you to stay alive. So I’m not speaking to you, even though I probably can. Not on my first playthrough! I already know what you have to say, anyway!

10:39PM

Oh, who are these people in these portraits? Interesting…

10:46PM

I met onion friend! Alas, I did not take his dialogue seriously enough to feel intimidated. I lost my seven humanity and all those souls…

I decide to check out the incredibly obvious secret passage in one of the rooms…

And I found all of Havel’s gear! Goddamn.

11:05PM

Acquired all of one Dragonslayer Arrow. Amazing.

All this Silver Knight armor is neat, but too heavy for me to wear.

11:15PM

How the hell do they have this whole ass demon in this tiny room!?

This thing is going to take up so much time on its own…

11:34PM

After much effort, I finally ended up killing it with no damage. Good grief.

11:38PM

HELLO? I MET A BLACKSMITH?

Hmm… Lightning Falchion? Worth it? I’m going to pass, actually. I’ve been finding elemental attacks are kind of slipping in their effectiveness. I’m getting diminished returns. If I find reason to invest in them again later, I’ll think about it, but for now…

The black eye orb I picked up after Lautrec killed the fire keeper started ‘quivering’… time to use it, find him, and get all his stuff. Ahahahahaha…

2/07/2020 2:57PM

I am writing this entry the next day because I faced the infamous duo straight after giving Lautrec some payback. His whip really hurt. I forgot to actually check out his loot, too – I just went straight into the boss arena. Anyway, I wasn’t going to stay up all night writing about and uploading one whole entire boss fight after him. I think this is one of those instances where words can’t do justice, so I recorded all of my attempts against Ornstein and Smough. I’ll give a rundown of my thought process about this fight, though.

Going in, I had NO idea how this fight was going to down, except that it was going to be chaotic with two opponents. All I’ve ever seen of this fight is meme videos, and I retained absolutely zero knowledge of how players acted in those clips. Utsu mentioned how Ornstein can kill himself by going out a window but I’m not going to count on something so funny happening on a first playthrough. I kept two critical details in mind for how I would approach the fight, laugh all you want: Smough = big, Ornstein = Final Fantasy dragoon.

I don’t really care about Smough. I’m down for a respectful one-on-one with Ornstein, but I just can’t give a damn about his companion. I just bee-lined for him because he was an easy target, probably slow and easy to hit. I didn’t bother using shields because it seemed like the kind of fight where barely anything will protect you except quick thinking, so I opted to avoid defense. Instead, I decided on learning to avoid offense, no matter how long it may take. Something I wish I did was trust the lock-on and use it during my first attempt to help with dodging. It’s just that, depending on the fight, it can give me more trouble than help.

Reading up on this fight after beating it, it seems a fair number of people choose to kill Ornstein first, so that second phase with Smough is much easier. My logic was entirely backwards here. I figured Ornstein would become a harder opponent once Smough went down, but since his whole thing seems to equal jabbing you and being mobile… I thought as long as I learnt to dodge his moves, I’d eventually have little trouble with him. With Smough out of the picture, there’s only one person to focus on and study. And so he went down.

I went straight to bed after this fight. If anybody else has been bothering to read these entries, they’ve probably been looking forward to this one the most. It seems to be the one Dark Souls fight with the highest reputation. Can’t lie, even I was wondering when I’d get here. And you know what?

I ACTUALLY THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY FUN I WANNA GO AGAIN BUT I CAN’T

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