Monday, October 29, 2012

Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss (DLC)

Dark Souls hit consoles in September 2011 but I didn't get my hands on it till Jan 2012 ...just in time for my Birthday.

Dark Souls is hands down the greatest thing I've ever played. Yes there are tones of great games, yes I am dying to get my hands on Dead Space 3, but playing through the rich dark world of Dark Souls and "beating" it gives a sense of accomplishment that few games can offer.

Well after being totally consumed by it once already, nothing was more welcomed than playing through the game with something new to take on.

Last week saw the release of " Artorias of the Abyss" - an expansion DLC for the console versions of Dark Souls. The extra content was first released as part of the PC port of the game which came out the month before, and it was very tempting for me to pick it up on Steam to avoid the wait, but man was the wait ever worth it.

As far as "the best DLCs" go,  Artorias of the Abyss doesn't share the ranks with the stuff that Gear Box puts out for its Borderlands games. As a gamer paying for something in terms of "content" they would be disappointed because the DLC took me about a day to get through. Plus any one who has played through Dark Souls won't find the new content all that challenging either as it sits just before the intended "end Game" content of the original release.

As a fan of Dark Souls though - this DLC is hands down freaking golden.

The major thing about Dark Souls is that it doesn't hold your hand with anything, not with game play, not with progress and not with story. As a player when you enter the land of Lordran it truly feels like the place was alive long before you and will live on long after you have ventured through it. So to get the full extent of what has happened in the land or what will happen it is up to you as an adventurer  to talk to NPCs, read item description and book texts to get the lore of the land. This adds a sense of mystic and adventure that makes everything you discover special. The lore of the different lands is in particular something I try to find out more about.

So when the Expansion was announced and it was said that it's plot took you back in time to the days before the fall of Lordran's great cities and her fabled knights - it just meant that there's gonna be so much more story and lore for you to discover. That's what drives me in the game, aside from the gameplay challenge of Dark Souls,  it's sense of discovery and adventure is truly unmatched.

I ventured into the new content with a toon that was appropriate for the level, though I have several NG+ toons, my fresh level 91 was actually at the point where you venture into the new area.

Stepping into the "new" area was awesome because it truly gave  me a sense of dread. I won't lie, I still haven't seen all of the first area; the Royal woods, because it's choked full of hard hitting Stone Guardians who give my squishy Dexterity/ Faith toon a run for his life. I'm sure my tankish Strength guy, who I intend to play through with tonight, will be better adapt for it.

The expansion adds four new bosses and some open world mini bosses, plus some kick ass new armor sets and weapons that would suit most popular builds. It also comes with some nerfs here and there, none of which hurt me more than the nerf to the Dark Wood grain ring.

In terms of difficulty as I had mentioned that since this area is before end game, it will be pretty manageable for most Dark Soul players. I played through two boss fights co-op but it was the last boss of the DLC who was the one that I really needed help with; Manus the Father of the Abyss.

After him was a very threatening Dragon who was more of a side boss, but his breath turned out to be worse than his bite. Though the last boss was a hard fight and the boss himself was one of the most menacing things in the game, the fight with Kalameet the Black dragon felt the most epic.

Both the two last bosses had awesome intros but the events leading up to the dragon fight was pretty tense. The fight with Artorias, the legendary knight who was once the hero of the land before he gets corrupted, was also a tough battle, but it comes so early into the DLC that it's over shadowed by the later boss fights. It was still pretty epic and almost sad when you have to put the great hero down.

Coming out of the DLC content and going back into the original game left me a little sad because all of it was so good that it leaves you wanting more, but all in all the DLC added very nicely to what was already an incredible journey.

Plus your actions in the "past" also seem to play into the game when you return, as NPCs and even bosses react differently to you after wards. For a game that adds so many ways to create a unique experience for all who dare to adventure through it, Artorias of the Abyss brings nothing but greatness. I really hope the Devs put out more of this kinda stuff because the open ended world of Dark Souls lends it's self very nicely to more content, maybe something that explores the other knights stories.

The Heroes of Dark Souls


Anonymous said...

Interesting. I am curious about one thing though. If all the characters in the image comes from Dark Souls, who is the guy above Artorias and Oscar/Elite Knight? i recognize all the others except for him.

Clarence Dass said...

Hey thanks for stopping by

That's Hawkeye Gough, he is an NPC in the DLC content of the game.

He serves as a merchant and a black smith.

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