Dark Souls II Punch-Out!! (Spoilers)

#1 Posted by Sarumarine (2181 posts) -

For my second playthrough I've been messing with all kinds of styles from heavy tanks to Miracle users to dual wielders to try and figure out how I want to tackle it. Usually when it comes to Souls games I play them at least twice, once as a magic user and once as a heavy melee guy. But for this game I wanted to do something different. I've already beaten it once as a magic guy, and while heavy melee is super practical it's been a little dry just blocking then attacking.

Then I tried the a dual wielder thing and managed to figure out the stance change when you're holding two weapons for heavier attacks and special moves. I played like this right up to the beginning of Iron Keep and realized I was pretty good at keeping my distance and dodging. I actually played almost half of Dark Souls II without a shield, which is something I've never ever done before with these games. So I decided to take it a step further and do something I've always wanted to do since I first played this game.

I'm going to punch everything to death. Or at least try to. Dark Souls II Punch-Out!! starts here.

Dark Souls II Punch-Out!!

I picked the warrior class, or the one that starts with a broken sword for the high strength stat and started swinging. Punching everything in Dark Souls II (without fist weapons) plays about as well as it does in every other game. Your move set is super limited and your range even more so. However, all the early enemies in the Forest of Fallen Giants get stun locked with each punch so they don't put up much of a fight. The only problem is that killing a guy with your fists takes an entire bar of stamina, so group management is even more important than ever before since you always have to save a tiny bit of stamina for evasive rolling.

I also used a few throwing knives for guys I couldn't reach with my fists who were perched in really annoying places. I suspect I might have to keep a bow handy for some areas later on. I don't know how I feel about that yet.

But fist fighting in Dark Souls II changes immediately when I bought a pair of Caestus from the merchant lady in Cardinal Tower. As soon as you can go into the dual wielding stance, things get real. First off, the scaling on Caestus weapons are A Strength and B Dexterity, which is the highest I've seen for a weapon so far. When you dual wield two of them, your stance change attacks are really cool. The left button light attack does a quick 1-2 punch while the right light attack does a quick single hook. My favorite attack in the dual wielding stance is the left button heavy attack, which is like a spinning lariat that does 4 hits and can OHKO almost all of the hallowed soldiers, and totally wrecks the Turtle Knights in the Forest of Fallen Giants. Haggar would approve.

Vs. The Last Giant (1 Round)

After I cleaned up the starting Forest Area and got the Stamina Ring from the Pharros door, I decided to go a few rounds with The Last Giant. Nothing really changed here, except I had to be like right on top of his leg to do damage. It made the Giant's stomping attack a little more frightening since I was always in a perfect position to get squashed. I did decent damage, but I had to be really careful not to get carried away. Sadly, the lariat attack misses the second and third hits due to the hitbox on the Giant's leg. So I just did some strong attacks until I killed him. I managed to do an uppercut as the finishing blow (right heavy attack twice) and that felt really good. Even if I uppercutted his leg.

Vs. The Pursuer (2 Rounds)

So here's the real test. This guy was a nightmare on my first playthrough as a magic guy. I went here right after the Last Giant and it was like night and day. I had his attacks clocked, so dodging was no problem. My adaptability was a little lower than usual, so getting off healing items was a little tougher. He managed to kill me once (I forgot how fast he can get off those sword swipes at medium range), but the second time I crushed him. Fist fighting the Pursuer felt so good. If there's any proof of concept it would be this. No magic. No fire sword. Just grinding him into nothing with metal boxing gloves. So satisfying.

Road to the Title Fight, Smelter Demon

I'm definitely going to tackle the rest of the game like this. The only other fist weapons I know of are the claws you can buy from a certain merchant later on in the game, so I guess I'll have to compare which one works better. I suppose if I want to, I could always buy more Caestus weapons and infuse them with fire or lightning or whatever. The merchant lady from Cardinal Tower never runs out, and I don't think Titanite will be a problem since I won't be using any other weapons. I think the major thing will be armor, and I'll have to find figure out a good balance between defense and mobility.

Of course, the real test I'm thinking about later on is the fight with the Smelter Demon. I guess this would be the Mike Tyson of the game. First playthrough, no boss was harder than the Smelter Demon. Fighting him with fists (and no fire proof shield) sounds really daunting. I'm guessing I'll probably have to spend a few deaths learning his moves and finding out the best time to dodge. That is if I don't get sick of dying to him first. I have no idea how this will play out, but if there's a hardest challenge in this game, the Smelter Demon will probably be it.

But fist fighting in Dark Souls II is way better than the previous games. The dual wielding stance attacks are a lot of fun, and you actually do decent damage. The major threat is the short range and lack of shielding, so if you aren't up on your dodging it's going to be a hard time. But I'm excited to see how the rest of the game stacks up. It feels way more doable than the previous games. I may update this as I go, depends on how fast I go and if it's worth reporting.

Now if only I could replace all the boss themes with the Punch-out!! fight music...

#2 Posted by jakob187 (21645 posts) -

You, sir, have the biggest balls of us all. Good luck to you, ole chap.

#3 Posted by Spoonman671 (4562 posts) -

I summoned a dude who was using two fist weapons and he was pretty beastly when he got up on somebody. Good luck with your playthrough.

#4 Posted by The_Ruiner (1018 posts) -

I did this in DS 1 and it was fun. But the crappiness of the Caestus held me back. But with these improvements I'm totally doing this again.

#5 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5339 posts) -

Caestus' are pretty sweet.

#6 Posted by MormonWarrior (2543 posts) -

You know there's a ring for getting rank 3 in the champions covenant that makes bare fists way more powerful? I thought that was crazy.

#7 Edited by wooville1 (10 posts) -

I coincidentally started a Caestus dual wielder like 2 days ago and I must say, it's working way better than I expected. I think strike weapons in general do loads of damage on armored enemies this time around (what with different damage types having a little more impact as far as I can tell) but that could just be the scaling. I was originally planning on swapping to a Twinblade just 'cause they make you look like Darth Maul, but I +6ed that sucker and it's actually way worse than my 2 +1 caestus(es?). Like the OP said, the only real drawbacks are the super short range and no shield. Currently about to head into Sinner's Rise, not looking forward to that... best of luck duder.

#8 Posted by Silver-Streak (1339 posts) -

My backup weapons (if my Black Knight Halberd and Sun Sword are low on endurance) are 2 lightning imbued Caestii(Ceastuses?). It's the only dual wielding worth doing, in my opinion.

I also have no idea why they're so goddamned strong. It may be because there's not many 1h blunt style weapons (Strike?). I found the mace to also be crazy strong early on, and scales well to end game.

Also, backstabbing with the Caestus is great. The animation is obviously meant to be the same as the thrust sword stab-through-the-back, but instead it just looks like you punch them so hard in the back you shattered their spine.

#9 Posted by Mezmero (1805 posts) -

You know if you get at least some pyromancy or sorcery you can pretend you're throwing Hadokens. Dark Souls 2 Street Fighter is basically what I'm saying.

#10 Edited by ExiledAstronaut (114 posts) -

@mezmero: Dont you mean Dark Souls 2: Turbo HD Remix: Ultra Edition?

#11 Posted by Svenzon (713 posts) -

@mezmero said:

You know if you get at least some pyromancy or sorcery you can pretend you're throwing Hadokens. Dark Souls 2 Street Fighter is basically what I'm saying.

That's pretty much what I did on my NG+ in the first Dark Souls. For melee I used the Dragonbone Fist, which makes your heavy attack a Shoryuken. Then I maxed out a Pyromancy Flame and started throwing fireballs around. It was super-fun actually, except for when I back-"stabbed" the fat guys in Blighttown. Since they are so tall, my guy would ram his fist up their butt. Looked pretty gross.

#12 Edited by darkendskys (18 posts) -

I love the caestus. My first play through was with duel caestus, and there is defiantly nothing more satisfying that playing bloody knuckles with old iron king.

I tried throwing poison on a pair, but with the reduction of scaling it wasn't worth it. At +10 they scale at AA!

Word of advice, stone ring is a must. You need the hit stun boost. And so is any ring to boost equipment load you can lay hands on, having a light roll is brilliant.

#13 Posted by Karkarov (3000 posts) -

@svenzon said:

@mezmero said:

You know if you get at least some pyromancy or sorcery you can pretend you're throwing Hadokens. Dark Souls 2 Street Fighter is basically what I'm saying.

That's pretty much what I did on my NG+ in the first Dark Souls. For melee I used the Dragonbone Fist, which makes your heavy attack a Shoryuken. Then I maxed out a Pyromancy Flame and started throwing fireballs around. It was super-fun actually, except for when I back-"stabbed" the fat guys in Blighttown. Since they are so tall, my guy would ram his fist up their butt. Looked pretty gross.

Hey you were just going all Naruto on them man, didn't you know that is one of the Konoha forbidden techniques? That said what a neat idea! Of course fist weapons are considerably better in this game than in the past, they are actually viable in Demon's Souls too you just had to be really good at the game to make them work. Actually Demon's also had viable shields as weapons which Dark 2 brought back as well... Either way beating the smelter demon with dodging only? Good luck with that.

I am curious to know exactly how high your adaptability was before you fought the Pursuer though. When I fought him at adaptability 10 dodging was almost a joke, if my timing was less than perfect he still hit.

#14 Posted by Capum15 (4820 posts) -

...really wishing it was out on PC right now.

I kind of want to do a punching run as my first in DS2. Even if I die a thousand times, just the idea of doing it is hilarious and awesome, especially with the new dual-wielding system.

#15 Posted by Fierrze (171 posts) -

I've been using the dual Caestus combo as a backup with my cleric and holy shit, do they wreck people up in PVP. I might also try out a monk like build after finishing the game.

#16 Posted by Sarumarine (2181 posts) -

@karkarov: I think it was 12 or so. I actually had a lot of practice dodging the Pursuer as a magic man because I couldn't equip a decent shield worth anything. And yeah, the Smelter Demon fight with fists is something I'm looking forward/dreading at the moment.

@mezmero said:

You know if you get at least some pyromancy or sorcery you can pretend you're throwing Hadokens. Dark Souls 2 Street Fighter is basically what I'm saying.

Dark Souls 2 Street Fighter sounds amazing. I'm actually making pretty good progress with just fists, but I'll keep that in mind if I hit a roadblock.

@eujin said:

Also, backstabbing with the Caestus is great. The animation is obviously meant to be the same as the thrust sword stab-through-the-back, but instead it just looks like you punch them so hard in the back you shattered their spine.

Backstabbing with the Caestus is indeed one of the greatest things in the game. It looks like you're giving enemies the One Inch Punch right to their spinal column.

Also I'm making pretty good progress. I'm all the way to the Iron Keep again, but I think I'll hold off challenging the Smelter Demon until a little later. I still have to decide if I want to use any elements for my pair of Caestus or not. Some of the tricky parts leading up to the Bastille involves the smaller enemies like dogs and rats. Sometimes my punches miss because they're so small and they get a good hit on me. I find that the right light attack button is pretty good making contact, even if it only strikes once.

But I managed to kill the Ruin Sentries by punching them to death and it was so good. For some reason, the Caestus destroy them. I was hitting harder with my metal gloves than I ever did with swords or magic. It reminds me of the time Brad was crushing skeletons in Demons' Souls just by using his fists. Stuff I never would have thought of.

#17 Edited by Edmundus (257 posts) -
#18 Posted by Sarumarine (2181 posts) -

@edmundus: Yessssss. Both excellent choices. I imagine when the PC version comes out you could probably switch around some audio files or so. That would work pretty excellent going through the game with nothing but your fists.

#19 Posted by Turambar (6677 posts) -

@karkarov: I think it was 12 or so. I actually had a lot of practice dodging the Pursuer as a magic man because I couldn't equip a decent shield worth anything. And yeah, the Smelter Demon fight with fists is something I'm looking forward/dreading at the moment.

@mezmero said:

You know if you get at least some pyromancy or sorcery you can pretend you're throwing Hadokens. Dark Souls 2 Street Fighter is basically what I'm saying.

Dark Souls 2 Street Fighter sounds amazing. I'm actually making pretty good progress with just fists, but I'll keep that in mind if I hit a roadblock.

@eujin said:

Also, backstabbing with the Caestus is great. The animation is obviously meant to be the same as the thrust sword stab-through-the-back, but instead it just looks like you punch them so hard in the back you shattered their spine.

Backstabbing with the Caestus is indeed one of the greatest things in the game. It looks like you're giving enemies the One Inch Punch right to their spinal column.

Also I'm making pretty good progress. I'm all the way to the Iron Keep again, but I think I'll hold off challenging the Smelter Demon until a little later. I still have to decide if I want to use any elements for my pair of Caestus or not. Some of the tricky parts leading up to the Bastille involves the smaller enemies like dogs and rats. Sometimes my punches miss because they're so small and they get a good hit on me. I find that the right light attack button is pretty good making contact, even if it only strikes once.

But I managed to kill the Ruin Sentries by punching them to death and it was so good. For some reason, the Caestus destroy them. I was hitting harder with my metal gloves than I ever did with swords or magic. It reminds me of the time Brad was crushing skeletons in Demons' Souls just by using his fists. Stuff I never would have thought of.

Caestuses do strike damage, just like clubs and maces. As a result, they get a bonus against armored foes.

#20 Posted by pyrodactyl (1890 posts) -

There is a ring you can get that increases the damage of bare fists by a lot. You need to kill 30 invaders while in the champion covenant though.

#21 Edited by Sarumarine (2181 posts) -

Recently I punched The Rotten to death along with Scorpioness Najka. I actually got hit by the Rotten a few times since I wasn't used to his dodges or tells with his cleaver. I can confirm that if you're using blunt (or anything that isn't slash) he doesn't take any damage to his limbs and will be fighting fit throughout the whole fight. I remember in the boss topic that someone was telling me that The Rotten kind of degrades as you attack him. I guess you need a sword or sharp object to make that happen.

Najka wasn't too bad, although I was pretty sure she'd kill me at least once. I was really surprised to find those tiny pincers of her do insane amounts of damage. Two hits from those things and I was almost dead. Luckly, you can bait her into doing her tail sting at almost any time in the fight, so you can deal damage without worrying that she'll cast magic at some point.

I tried to fight the Smelter Demon a few times. That guy is still a bastard and I still think he's the hardest fight in the game. I'm kinda working my way through Brightstone Cove at the moment. Kinda curious how the Freja fight will go with no range and a mob of little guys to deal with. We'll see.

@pyrodactyl said:

There is a ring you can get that increases the damage of bare fists by a lot. You need to kill 30 invaders while in the champion covenant though.

Someone mentioned that earlier. That will probably never happen with me though. Champion Covenant is too rich for my blood and I'm terrible at the PvP parts of Souls game. They still don't seem very balanced as the one or two guys who invaded slaughter me almost instantly. Invasions are an interesting idea, too bad FromSoftware don't have the design chops to balance it properly. That's just me though. I'm not bitter at all. What are you talking about? No salt here at all.

#22 Posted by development (2090 posts) -

@sarumarine: You're not wrong. Champions would be more fun if invasions were a regular thing. I seem to get invaded at the start of new areas, but if I fuck it up and die I don't get invaded again until the next area. Kill 30 dudes like that seems like a chore. Like you said, it's just really unbalanced right now. Either the game doesn't want you to get invaded enough or there just aren't enough invaders. That would make the covenant more impressive, too: tackling relentless real human enemies on top of a slightly harder main game.

#23 Edited by Sarumarine (2181 posts) -

So I beat the game with nothing but punches. As I suspected, the Smelter Demon was a real bastard. I got his pattern down after a few deaths. The main thing I had to get used to is his jumping attack. With magic I was always at a good distance to get away, but when you're using fists, you're always on top of him and I got speared quite a few times. But man, killing that asshole with nothing but a good 1-2 felt so good. So fucking satisfying. Definitely the hardest boss in the game, at least for me. The one thing I've noticed the makes Smelter stand out is pressure. He's always right on top of you and swinging to kill. And as soon as he sets himself on fire he has chip damage on top of it. He's like the Capra Demon, he never lets up and he never gives you time to think, unlike a bunch of other bosses.

A few bosses that changed by fighting them with fists included the Lost Sinner. She's actually really hard to get a bead on when you're going melee. Couple that with practically no range and the way she jumps around made it really tricky to get hits in. The nice thing is that when she does her running stab attack, you can dodge roll forward and go right into a quick attack. It doesn't do tons of damage, but you can wear her down with some patience. Otherwise she's jumping all over the place. Velstadt was still a pain in the ass. That guy hits really, really hard. And when he adds dark magic to his mace he doesn't even have to hit you directly to do damage.

The Giant Lord was also pretty dumb, mostly because I was fighting the camera more than him. But probably the most pleasant surprise was Nashandra, who actually killed me a few times on account of me not used to her curse fountains. I thought they just lowered your maximum health, but if you stand too long it just starts draining your health period. Also had to get her scythe dodges down.

But I'm glad I was actually able to pull it off. I think Dark Souls II gets that leg up on Dark Souls and Demon's Souls. Fist weapons are actually viable and fun to use.

#24 Posted by ChronosBane (4 posts) -

Man, I found the Caestus earlier today on my first play through. I'm pretty damn excited to drop everything and just fisticuff all of drangleic. Incidentally, I also found thus forum today, and have literally been scanning it to find pretty much this exact post. Glad I found something so entertaining amongst all of the, "you're playing it wrong", arguments. I hope I can beat the game with the caestus as well!

#25 Posted by Demoskinos (14578 posts) -

@sarumarine: Nice. I was going to say I felt she was actually going to be your secret bane on this run. Using Range/Magic on her is a yawn fest going in for melee on her takes a little bit of doing. Obviously she isn't super hard but the fact that she curses you AND drains your health AND hits you with her scythe makes her a bit more tricky for melee.

#26 Edited by TrafalgarLaw (1042 posts) -

I think this would fit better with your dark souls run of punching and uppercutting bosses. You in the Company of Champions yet?

#27 Posted by Mezmero (1805 posts) -

Very cool to hear how viable punching shit is in this game. Maybe I'll roll a monk at some point. How awesome would it be if starting New Game+ included a scene of your dude in a pink track suit running as Doc Louis rides next to you, only instead of a bicycle he's riding the Executioner's Chariot.

#28 Posted by The_Ruiner (1018 posts) -

I started a boxer character the other night. Getting to the merchant in The Forest of Fallen Giants with all my souls in tact was a bit of a headache. But once leveled up enough to power stance, you can be really aggressive. And the attacks expend so little stamina too! Big improvement over the DS 1 caestus.

#29 Edited by Shirogane (3563 posts) -

I don't think you can use claws, apparantly the caestus is the only fist weapon in the game, because claws are now claw type weapons. Thgouh the difference might as well not be there, probably. It's probably similar to how they seperated katanas into their own class as well instead of keeping them as curved swords. It's really up to you to decide whether claws count or not, but i have a feeling they're more slashing then punching.

#30 Edited by YI_Orange (1133 posts) -

@sarumarine: This sounds awesome and I kind of want to try it. I'm playing through as a melee character currently so I don't think it'll be as much of a learning curve for me, and considering I'm cruising through NG+(except for the sinner, fuck those pyromancers) I think it'll just be a fun run through more than a real challenge for me. Still seems incredibly badass, though I wish the strong attack was a headbutt.

And yeah, sinner is a giant pain in the ass as a melee character. I use a curved greatsword, which swings kind of slow, so getting hits in is really difficult sometimes.

#31 Posted by Sarumarine (2181 posts) -

@yi_orange: A headbutt would be awesome. I'd love to give all the bosses in the game a good headbutt. Haha. Either that or one of those punches you jump into and thrust forward.

@sarumarine: Nice. I was going to say I felt she was actually going to be your secret bane on this run. Using Range/Magic on her is a yawn fest going in for melee on her takes a little bit of doing. Obviously she isn't super hard but the fact that she curses you AND drains your health AND hits you with her scythe makes her a bit more tricky for melee.

She was definitely much harder than with magic and range, haha. But she doesn't move very fast and the fight was more of waiting for her to come to me and away from her curse fountains. I usually ran in when she was casting her hand beam or more curse fountains and wailed on her until my health got low. One thing Nashandra can't give you is pressure. You always have time to run away and heal up.

I don't think you can use claws, apparantly the caestus is the only fist weapon in the game, because claws are now claw type weapons. Thgouh the difference might as well not be there, probably. It's probably similar to how they seperated katanas into their own class as well instead of keeping them as curved swords. It's really up to you to decide whether claws count or not, but i have a feeling they're more slashing then punching.

When I found the claw weapons, I tried them out, but they didn't hit near as hard as the Caestus (even though the stats said otherwise). They have just about the same moveset, but it doesn't quite have the same feel. But yeah, I don't know if I would consider them fist weapons.

#32 Posted by championfetus (245 posts) -

I just started my second play through with a new character and I currently I'm at the Bastille. Character is a caster/boxer. All I can say is that the Caestus absolutely trivializes the first three areas. Just stun locking everything in sight. And the enemies that don't get stunned... weak to strike!

Believe in the fist

#33 Edited by Sarumarine (2181 posts) -

@trafalgarlaw: Man, I don't think I've heard that rendition before. Awesome song though. And no, I haven't worked up the courage to try Covenant of Champions. It sounds pretty brutal.

I just started my second play through with a new character and I currently I'm at the Bastille. Character is a caster/boxer. All I can say is that the Caestus absolutely trivializes the first three areas. Just stun locking everything in sight. And the enemies that don't get stunned... weak to strike!

Believe in the fist

Yeah, that was probably the most pleasant surprise is finding out how many enemies get stunlocked with a good punch. And any enemy with armor gets pounded by the Caestus. Always believe in the fist!

#34 Edited by pyrodactyl (1890 posts) -

I invaded a guy that was rolling both caestus and naked from the waist up just before the duke fight. Was that you? He had a friend in havel armor and I almost killed them both with flame swath.

#35 Posted by Sarumarine (2181 posts) -

@pyrodactyl: No no, I'm pretty terrible at PvP. The only time I invaded or got invaded was playing my dual wielding character. But I'm not surprised to hear that. The Caestus was extremely good at stunlocking human NPC invaders. I could almost kill them in one long combo if I had a long enough stamina bar. I imagine those things will be seeing a lot of use in invasions.

#36 Posted by Leadfoot77 (1 posts) -

I just started my second play through with a new character and I currently I'm at the Bastille. Character is a caster/boxer. All I can say is that the Caestus absolutely trivializes the first three areas. Just stun locking everything in sight. And the enemies that don't get stunned... weak to strike!

Believe in the fist

Hi, I'm about to do the same thing and am wondering which starting class is best? Seems like it's a bit tough to get the starting stats to do both magic and dual caestus - anybody have any advice here? Appreciate it!

#37 Posted by Capum15 (4820 posts) -

@championfetus said:

I just started my second play through with a new character and I currently I'm at the Bastille. Character is a caster/boxer. All I can say is that the Caestus absolutely trivializes the first three areas. Just stun locking everything in sight. And the enemies that don't get stunned... weak to strike!

Believe in the fist

Hi, I'm about to do the same thing and am wondering which starting class is best? Seems like it's a bit tough to get the starting stats to do both magic and dual caestus - anybody have any advice here? Appreciate it!

My first character was a Dual Caesti build who then started using Miracles / Pyromancy as I got tired of punching things. I just chose the merchant class for the extra starting items and focused my levels into Strength and Dex. Doing co-op made leveling trivial, I was easily able to get Str/Dex to 20 then go all out 50/50 Attune/Faith and even get Int up to 20.

I don't know if there's one class that could cover both right off the bat though, I'd pick what you want to do more and start with that class, and then just level for the other combat style.

...I should really finish this game.

#38 Posted by dudeglove (7688 posts) -

@sarumarine: Is it more fun to punch dragons in this game than in Skyrim?

#39 Posted by Sarumarine (2181 posts) -

@sarumarine: Is it more fun to punch dragons in this game than in Skyrim?

While I like Souls combat way more than anything Elder Scrolls have done in the last two games, I will say that punching dragons in Dark Souls II is way more difficult because you have to target legs. Whereas in Skyrim getting the dragon's hit box is no big deal.

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