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I’ve been playing Demon’s Souls recently.

This game doesn’t fuck around. Assuming you don’t grind souls to level up vitality, most regular dudes will kill you in 2 unblocked hits. There are periodic stronger units that will kill you in 1 hit. Bosses will always kill you in 2 or less hits. Every time you die, you lose all your current souls and the entire level is restarted. If you die before reaching your body, you permanently lose all the souls. There are no checkpoints and you cannot pause the game. There are often traps and explosions that will automatically kill you unless you avoid them.

I’ve beaten 2 and a half worlds. And I’ve noticed this:

Seriously, spears are so broke. The combat system for this game is based around guarding/dodging and attacking. When you guard/dodge, you take no damage. When you attack, you are vulnerable. You have a limited amount of stamina which limits the number of guards/dodges/attacks you can perform before requiring rest. The challenge is learning enemy attack patterns and knowing when to defend and when to attack. That’s the case for most weapons like swords.

Once you get a spear, this whole concept is gone. You can simultaneously hold up your shield and poke the enemy with the spear. Meaning if you mess up the timing, you’ll still be guarding and take no damage. Plus, the spear is so freaking long that you out-range every enemy and most of the time you can kill them before they get into attack range. My process for going through a level is running up to a guy, poking him till my stamina runs out, then backing up to let it recharge. Rinse and repeat until dead.

There are these skeletons in world 4-1 that roll around, jump up, and rape you. I took about 10 practice runs fighting the first skeleton to learn how to fight him with sword and shield. It required a lot of dodging and finding holes in his attack. Then I got a spear. I stand still and guard. When he rolls near me I poke him. Game over.

For example, here is someone beating Black Phantom Satsuki on New Game+ with Spear and Shield. This is apparently a “relatively” difficult enemy to fight and I can imagine it being hard with sword and shield. If you mess up your sword attack timing you’ll probably die. But this guy in the video has like 9 health (top left bar) and would get 1 shotted easily. It doesn’t matter though because even if he misses with his spear pokes, the shield protects him. 99% of my fights are like this except I can kill enemies in 2-4 hits.

Besides that, I’ve noticed that bosses are less “challenge” and more “find some glitch to exploit to kill him”. When you walk around, other players can leave hints on the ground. Most of the time, there is some weird alcove where someone writes a hint “Safe place”. So you stand there and either the boss can’t see you or his attacks will always get blocked by some column. Then you safely fire 100 arrows at him. I’ve killed ~4 bosses like this. I guess I could actually try and learn the boss patterns and kill him with melee attacks. But it’s just not worth it. It will take at least 1-2 tries to learn the boss patterns. Each time I have to restart the entire level and risk losing all my souls I collected. It’s easier to spend 10-15 minutes shooting arrows. I carry 300 arrows with me at all times just for this reason.

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