Bite Size Nerd 8 – Burning the Midnight Oil

I’ve been playing Dark Souls II for months now. And I’ve not been extremely committed to it. Something about the game has just slowed my progress to a crawl, where it didn’t in the original. Maybe I should just bulk up and approach the game much like I did the first time, but I’m not sure even that will stave off the sheer brute force I feel I need to have to beat the game.

This time around, as I’ve mentioned, I am trying to play the game as it feels it is supposed to be played. I’ve leveled up my stats in a way that seems more educated, I’m using a weapon that takes a bit more finesse, and I am wearing armor that doesn’t make me roll around like I way a million pounds. Unfortunately, that seems to not be what the game wants me to do, as I keep running into areas that routinely bash my head in.

Whats worse, and this is exacerbated beyond even the woes of the first game, is that I don’t feel any sense of wonder from the in game drops. I loathe the need to go online and check stats, upgrades and other such trivial information to make a good in game decision. I guess its how a game like this really needs to be in the modern age, reaching out and embracing the technology around it, but I find it cumbersome. What’s more is that there are dozens of stats and each piece of armor or weapon has a dozen or more attributes that you can compare and try to get the best out of the game. This simply frustrates and annoys me, and it turns into me looking at the items to see how many numbers turn blue, and therefore better, which will allow me to equip it.

Which, of course, is the wrong way to go about it. Most items don’t reach their peak until upgraded with Titanite of some sort, which seems to be in drastically short supply, so I hoard it until I think I have a piece of armor or weaponry that seems like it could be a neat upgrade to my current weapon. Excited to get a new toy, I upgrade the item only to find out that it was not better than my current gear and become disappointed.

Much of the game is in how you play it. Almost every boss and challenge is beatable given the right timing, play-style and grit. Some seem to be based on tricks and gimmicks but not every game can have awesome boss fights every time around. Instead of being excited that there is a boss around the corner, and glad to try and grind out a cool fight, I am instead avoiding or dreading the amount of time, experimentation and sheer mind numbing grinding that I will have to do to beat the boss.

Its getting to feel like a job, but it is one I continually push forward with in the light that it will become better over time. I’ve only put in a third of the hours that I did in Dark Souls I, and I already feel that I’ve been at this game longer.

Beyond all of that; beyond the frustration of the boss fights, the disappointment of the drops and even beyond the cumbersome comparisons I have to do perhaps the largest part is that the only time I have to play the game is the hours after my little one has been put to bed, the article for the next day has been written, and I get to sit down and relax. Most nights, it turns out, that time is between 10:30 and Midnight. Probably not the best time to be playing such a taxing game.