The Dark Souls II Boss Review! (All the Spoilers)

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Sarumarine

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I defeated!

After 52 hours, 163 Soul Levels, and 141 deaths later, the Dark Souls II credits have rolled and I have achieved victory. I could do some kind write up about the whole experience and how FromSoftware are the biggest jerks (in a complimentary way) at what they do, but I've kind of done that before. Instead, I thought I'd focus on the real stars of this game. All those wonderful bosses.

Just to let you know played the game as a magician. I like casting magic because distance is my best friend. The farther away I can keep the enemy, the better I feel. So my thoughts and feelings on all the boss fights are coming from a direction where I'm probably backing away from something, and trying to find a good time to cast Great Heavy Soul Arrow into some abomination's face.

I'm doing them in the order I faced them. But if I've forgotten a boss, it's probably because I didn't find them. Feel free to ask though, because I could have straight up forgotten them also. I used my inventory of boss souls to make this list, and I tried to remember the ones I used to make spells or weapons.

-The Last Giant (Forest of Fallen Giants)

No sweat. Due to the handy nature of Soul Arrow, I never had to get close to the Last Giant. I also had Pate running interference, so I could blast away at the giant's legs with little concern. Although things got a little dicey when the giant ripped off his own arm to get some extra reach out of his swipes. But not a bad first boss. A good warmup.

-The Pursuer (Forest of Fallen Giants)

Man, fuck this guy! What a pain in the ass. A huge leap in difficulty from Last Giant. Maybe because I was a squishy magic man, I barely had the stamina (or enough strength to wield a decent shield) to deal with this guy's three hit combos. And due to my low soul level, my casting was so slow. He was my second boss, and looking back on it now I probably should have come back later. Every time I tried to juke (or roll) he had a wide swing to catch me on his backside. I must have fought him eight or nine times before finally killing him. It was basically a fight where I couldn't get hit once.

-Dragonrider (Heide's Tower of Flame)

I found a summon sign right outside his boss arena. I had also pulled a few switches so there was plenty of room to move around. With my magic and a beefy guy with a great sword holding things down, this guy was a speed bump. Probably one of the easiest bosses in the game. He probably felt super easy just coming from the Pursuer.

-Old Dragonslayer (Heide's Tower of Flame)

I used that same summon sign outside the Dragonrider fight and escorted my phantom buddy to handle this boss fight as well. It feels so good to double team Ornstein (or Ornstein's distant relative/ancestor) and go to town while he tries to body slam the ground and do tricks with his spear. Once again, I gave him wide berth while pelting him with some Heavy Soul Arrows. Take it Ornstein/whoever/whatever you are!

-Royal Rat Vanguard (Grave of Saints)

The weirdest fight in the whole game. At first I thought I just had to kill a mob of rats. Then it became a "Where's Waldo" fight where the boss is hidden amongst a bunch of lookalikes. I had to do a whole lot of dodging and running between rats while trying to find the real target. My Soul Arrows kept getting intercepted by the mob, and my melee weapon was a Fire Longsword which is a little hard to swing when there are five or six enemies creeping up on you. Luckily I beat it in one try, but it was the start of a disturbing trend. Bosses with mobs to help them out.

-Flexible Sentry (No Man's Wharf)

A funky looking boss. But a boss I had to take my time with. The water slowing your movement really sucks when you're trying to make space to cast magic. I had a summoned buddy follow me all the way to the ship, but for some reason they didn't follow me through the fog door to the boss fight. I really had to wait for a good time to cast magic because of the water, and because the guy could almost drain all of my stamina if I tried to tank his combos. That pillar in the middle was really handy though.

-Ruin Sentires (The Lost Bastille)

Fuck these guys. I actually tried to fight the Ruin Sentries right after the Pursuer, but had such a miserable time doing the two-on-one thing that I came back after beating a bunch of other bosses. I found a summon sign right outside their arena, and that really helped. Ruin Sentires suck because they have such wide sweeping attacks and sheer reach on every single swing. The spinning attack where they wind up like a top could wreck my shit because they can take all my stamina, break my guard, and still have enough spins to kill me. Luckily my summon buddy evened the odds. But I really hated fighting these guys.

-Skeleton Lords (Huntman's Copse)

What's harder than two-on-one? Three-on-one! And that's not all! When you kill one of them, they blow up and spawn lesser enemies to harass you while the other two still come after you! This was a fight I beat on my first try, but I'd be lying if I wasn't sweating bullets the whole time. I killed the middle Skeleton Lord first, spawning Wheel Skeletons (those assholes from the Catacombs in Dark Souls) within the first two minutes of the boss fight. I used pillars and piles of bones and every obstacle I could to make space while running for my life and casting all the magic I had. What a pain.

-The Rotten (Black Gulch)

At some point I explored the Gutter, found the Black Gulch and then met The Rotten who reminds me of an abomination from the Warcraft series. This guy actually has a bunch of attacks that are super easy to avoid. The main obstacle (and what killed me most of the time) were the random fire pits scattered around the room. When you lock on to The Rotten, the camera pulls in and you can't see behind you worth shit. I walked into fire and burnt to death before this guy could even touch me once. Not a bad boss fight all things considered, just full of stupid deaths of walking into fire while trying to keep my distance and cast my magic.

-Covetous Demon (Harvest Valley)

I beat this guy in one try. I don't think he hit me once, but I was really afraid to see what he'd do if he made contact or ate me. Every time I tried to strafe around him, he'd do this weird zigzag pattern and I had no idea what he was going to do. Probably would be one of the easiest bosses but definitely a step up from Dragonrider because of his sick mind games.

-Belfry Gargoyles (The Lost Bastille)

Another Dark Souls throwback made ten times more annoying because of adding three gargoyles instead of two. Holy shit. I fought these guys on accident when I found Belfry Luna and tried to explore it, then I came back way, way later when I had some better magic and more survivability. But these guys were such a fucking pain. That seems to be the Dark Souls 2 mantra. Fighting two guys at once is hard, so try to fight three or more at once and see how it goes. These guys are a bag of dicks and a half.

-The Lost Sinner (The Lost Bastille)

I think the run to the Lost Sinner through the waist high water and the guys with the exploding belly flops is harder than the actual boss fight. Due to beating the Gargoyles and finding an awesome key, I was able to light up the whole boss area and keep my eyes on the Lost Sinner throughout the whole fight. I died two or three times getting the pattern down. The other trick was finding good openings to cast magic. The Lost Sinner's jumping attack is usually the best time because of the third slash and long pause before she attacks again. That's right. Lost Sinner is a 'she'. Check her soul item information to confirm. That's my useless fun fact for the day.

-Scorpioness Najka (Shaded Ruin)

I beat this boss in one try, but not without coming close to death more times than I could count. Her burrowing attack, Soul Arrow aerial strike, and constant need to get in my face made this a pretty hectic fight for sure. I was all over the place with healing items and casting magic. Eventually I just had to stab her once to finish the fight.

-Royal Rat Authority (Doors of Pharros)

Holy shit, this one was a doozy. As a magic guy, I didn't have the strength for a really good shield, so I had to do a lot of dodging to beat it. The little diseased rats in the beginning weren't too much of a problem, because I could pick them off fairly quickly with my Soul Arrows. The problem was quickly turning to the Authority and avoiding those relentless paw swipes long enough to cast magic. Eventually I got a good rhythm where it kept trying to charge me. I could roll out of the way, cast magic, and be on my way. But this was a fight where it was super ugly in the beginning.

-Magus and the Congregation (Brightstone Cove Tseldora)

What a funny boss battle. I primarily targeted the guys in white with the lightning spears first off, then the Magus guy, then his undead congregation. I did a lot of running from corner to corner, but there wasn't really any pressure on me compared to other boss fights. I just kept casting Soul Arrow and stabbing zombies as they got close until the service was over.

-The Duke's Dear Freja (Brightstone Cove Tseldora)

One of the most annoying boss battles in the game. This is another one where the boss never killed me once, but all of the giant spider's little helpers did all the damage for it. Freja just kept spamming its death beam while I navigated around the arena and tried to fire Soul Arrows through it's legs. That's if the little spiders weren't blindsiding me like a linebacker when I stopped long enough to attack. They do so much damage and I have no idea if they have patrol routes, or just kind of hang out next to their mother. They didn't seem to make a beeline for me because I always felt they were sneaking up on me. So happy to beat this one in three or four tries.

-Mytha, the Baneful Queen (Earthen Peak)

I'm really tempted to call this the "Bed of Chaos" of Dark Souls II. Or at least give it the "Bed of Chaos" award for being a gimmick boss that is near impossible unless you discover the one stupid trick that makes it a joke. I tried to fight her a few times in a sea of poison while stupidly trying to cure myself and heal before she ran me through to blasted me with magic. It was so dumb that I knew there had to be something to it. And once I figured out what I had burn in order to make it happen, she's stupidly easy. It helps that there's a summon sign right outside her arena that calls in a fire spitting Jester who can wreck her shit in no time flat. This boss just made me feel dumb after it was all said and done.

-Smelter Demon (Iron Keep)

Here it is. Easily the hardest boss in the entire game. The chip damage king! And he's totally skippable. Unfortunately I didn't know that until after I beat him. The reason he's so hard? You can't tank him. Once he sets his sword on fire, he'll just keep swinging until his fire damage does you in. He's all over you, so there's no time to heal. And he hits like a truck. You want to hate him, but you can't. You want to stop him, but you can't do that either. He's too good. Even with a summon buddy right outside his arena, he'll set her on fire, kill her before he's lost half of his health, and then go to work on you.

However, my friend told me about a shield found in the Doors of Pharros that can block 100% fire damage. I managed to get one. Unfortunately, it's a great shield that I couldn't use unless I held it with two hands. So I had to develop this awkward and weird strategy where I held the shield with both hands until I had an opening, switch to my catalyst, cast magic, and then quickly switch back and doublehand the great shield to block all the fire damage. This guy murdered me so hard. He gets the Capra Demon award as an extremely tough boss for no reason. And he's totally skippable! What a fucking asshole. Smelter Demon, you're the boss.

-Old Iron King (Iron Keep)

The Old Iron King wishes he was as cool as the Smelter Demon. He's not even good enough to clean Smelter Demon's shoes. The Old Iron King is some chump of a boss that I could drain half of his health with a Soul Vortex spell before he could spit fire. His hand beam attack and fire spit is so easy to sidestep. And there's a nice little corner you can retreat to if he spits from left to right. To be fair, the Old Iron King did kill me once. But only because I didn't know his hand beam attack would clip through an entire corner of a building to hit me on the other side even though I was clearly hidden. He's still a dumb chump. At least if you've got magic.

-Double Dragonriders (Drangelic Castle)

Smough and Ornstein these guys are not. The guy with the bow and arrow takes insane amounts of damage from magic. And once he's dead, it's just a matter of cleaning up the guy on the ground with some well placed magic shots. I also had a cool Halberd at the time, so I poked him a few times just for good measure. I'll admit, I could see this fight going really bad if you don't stay on top of it. I'm just super disappointed to have to fight Dragonriders again. They aren't cool or memorable or anything. Go home Dragonriders.

-Looking Glass Knight (King's Passage)

What an annoying fight. Oh man, what an annoying fight. The guy just summons phantoms to harass you while he swings his sword and calls down lightning? I must have killed four of his helpers while trying to find a good opening to blast him with magic. That one move where he fires electric balls in a fan pattern sucks.

-Demon of Song (Shrine of Amana)

I wasn't initially impressed with this fight. The boss has a neat design as some Frog/Contra hybrid with great range. It has some easily avoidable attacks and lazy sweeps with its face arms. And then it finally made contact with some sliding charge attack and almost killed me in one hit. Needless to say I had more respect for it after that. I managed to beat in one try, but I ran out of magic halfway through (didn't realize you could only hurt it with the face out) and had to poke it with my halberd to finish it off.

-Velstadt (Undead Crypt)

This guy has potential to be the runner up to Smelter Demon for difficulty. My main problem was his dark magic attack which could kill me in one hit. Velstadt also packs a hard enough punch to break my guard with one hit, and can make short work of the summon buddy right outside his arena. I had to do some planning for this one, an managed to find a shield in my item box that could block dark attacks pretty well. Still damn near killed me with every block. One tough cookie.

-Guardian Dragon (Aldia's Keep)

Magic does so much damage to this thing. Either that or it has very low health. The Guardian Dragon wasn't much of a problem. I even got torched a few times throughout the fight, but managed to pull through. If I was thinking ahead, I should have kept that fireproof shield in my inventory. It would have made this fight way easier.

-Throne Defender and Throne Watcher (Throne of Want)

I hate the concept behind these guys. Any fight where a boss can be revived to full health is a load of shit. And these guys have all of the shit. They are so annoying. They took some real work and the runback for each fight is such a pain. You have to wait for a slow door, and then run down a narrow path, and then you have to fight these two assholes. Basically the trick is that you have to whittle down their health at the same rate. So when they go to revive each other, they're near death. I got so close like three times in a row. The only reason a magic guy like my stood a chance was the two summon buddies right outside the room.

I guess I do have to give it to FromSoftware. They found a way to make a really hard right without resorting to mob enemies.

-Giant Lord (Memory of Jeigh)

So this guy has a really easy pattern, provided you live long enough to figure it out. I died three times before I could actually fight the guy properly. I got hit by a fire barrage and then by his shockwave. I did a terrible dodge and got smashed. The last time I walked backwards into a fire pit that slowed me down long enough to get smashed again. But once I got to the high ground without getting smashed or set on fire, I did a bunch of easy dodges while pelting him with Soul Spears.

-Nashandra (Throne of Want)

FromSoftware's trend of really easy final bosses continues with Nashandra. Who is an evil queen? Or a queen of death? Or just death? I don't know what her deal is story wise, but she can curse me all she wants. It's not going to stop my rain of magic death while I dodge her slow short range hand laser. It's pretty easy to keep distance from her, and she doesn't have sweeping range attacks like Velstadt or Duke's Dear Freja. I actually used the same summon buddies from the Throne fight, but they died so damn fast I shouldn't have bothered. A fight like this only reinforces the notion that the final boss should be some kind of two-on-one fight like the Maneaters or Smough and Ornstein. Or maybe the Smelter Demon.

But that does it for the Dark Souls II boss review. I'm sure everyone's experience will differ especially depending on what build they went through and how good they are at dodging and dealing with Souls shenanigans. I can't say I'm a fan of the bosses with little mobs. FromSoftware seem determined not to mess with group combat or giving you a camera that lets you see what other guys are doing in your immediate area. At this rate Dark Souls 3 will just have four-on-ones for bosses and expect you to deal with all of it.

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omniscientcajun

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It's interesting how different your experience was from mine. I started out as a swordman (swordslady really), dual-wielding, but that eventually gave way to my standard Souls style of sword-and-shield, with bow for range. I used the Drangleic sword and shield for the majority of the game, along with the Dragonslayer bow, keeping my equip-load between 50-65%. I finished today too (42 hours, SL 135ish, didn't check deaths).

Skimming through, some jump out at me as vastly different. I had way more difficulty with the Rotten, the Lost Sinner, Scorpioness Najka, Old Iron King, and Demon of Song. But conversely, I had little trouble with the Skeleton Lords, Royal Rat Authority, Mytha (didn't even know there was a gimmick, just beat her on the first try), Looking Glass Knight, and Velstadt (another first try boss for me). I 100% agree with you on the Smelter Demon though, fuck that guy.

I ran through a list of the bosses after I finished and did a little mental tally and it broke down roughly into thirds: one third I beat on my first try, one third I beat on my own but not on the first attempt (so with some amount of real learning or difficulty), and the final third I found so difficult/annoying that I brought in aid (either the game's NPCs or other players).

Fantastic write-up, duder. Loved reading about your experience and how much it varied from mine. I fucking loved my playthrough and it's so engaging to hear about someone else's played so differently.

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Haruko

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#3  Edited By Haruko

There's two missing in the main story

King Vendrick and The Ancient Dragon. Both of which are huge assholes to fight.

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Sarumarine

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@omniscientcajun: Man, the thought of killing Mytha while walking around in that poison seems unreal to me. On your first try too! I died so fast in that junk. I didn't think it was impossible, but I knew you'd probably have to be doing some pretty serious damage to kill her before you lost all of your health. Probably insanely hard to do with magic considering all the time you're standing around casting. But yeah, there's a thing you can do that drains the poison from the center of her boss area. That way you can just fight her normally. There's still some poison around the edges, but it's not really a big deal.

The bosses you mentioned having trouble with were all bosses I wondered how I would deal with if I was a melee dude. I could see the Old Iron King getting way tougher considering you have to be right next to him, and one wrong swing could carry you right into the lava. I have real trouble judging distance from melee, so that's why I tend to play builds with some range.

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Sarumarine

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#5  Edited By Sarumarine

@haruko said:

There's two missing in the main story

King Vendrick and The Ancient Dragon. Both of which are huge assholes to fight.

Oh wow, you can fight them? When I found Vendrick, I fired a few Soul Spears at him but nothing happened. I grabbed the ring and I was out of there. I met the dragon at the top of the shrine. I didn't think about attacking him.

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Gantrathor

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#6  Edited By Gantrathor

It's really crazy how experiences can differ wildly from person to person in this game.

To me, the Smelter Demon was one of the easiest fights in the whole game. I didn't summon for it and I hadn't lost even a quarter of my health by the time I killed him, so it's really strange to see that people are having trouble with him. I think the boss I had the most trouble with was the Royal Rat Vanguard. It took me forever to figure out the trick to killing it, and I felt like an idiot once I got it.

Also, I didn't find out about the Pursuer until way later in the game, so he ended up being one of the easier boss fights for me. I'm curious about trying to fight him earlier on with my next character and finding out what that fight is intended to be.

Anyways, nice write up!

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Haruko

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#7  Edited By Haruko

@sarumarine: Vendrick is a spam attacking fiend as a heavy high faith high strength character I didnt actually beat him but for a tank the best thing to do is to actually move close and just live in between his legs as he just spams attacks faster than you can deal with.

As for the Dragon hes not really that much harder than guardian dragon hes just an HP sponge and hits way WAY harder. Stay by his midsection 5-10 yards out and he cant really do much. But when hes in the air you better pray you have fire protection his breath is deadly. Also theres the postgame area in the undead crypt that essentially just an boss rush mode of sorts. (Down by the weird old guy in the red leather throne.)

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Sarumarine

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@gantrathor: Like OmnicentCajun talking about fighting Mytha without draining the poison out of her room, hearing someone breezing past the Smelter Demon sounds crazy. I guess you were on that guy's wavelength at the time, or something. Haha. Drastically different experiences. For me, I just couldn't get away from him. That fire sword was too strong. He'd just eat away at me.

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@gantrathor: What was your strategy for the Smelter Demon?

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Gantrathor

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@adamwd: For starters I was playing as the standard sword and shield type character. Basically, all I did was roll sideways under his attacks until I got behind him. After getting behind him I would get in one or two quick attacks before backing away as far as possible. And when he would jump into the air to use his AOE I would sprint away from it as fast as I could. I guess I sort of fought him the same way I fought the Old Knights in Heide's Tower of Flame. Just get behind him, get a hit in and walk away. Not much of a strategy, but it worked. I'm starting to think that I had a huge stroke of luck or something after seeing the way people are talking about that boss. Maybe I didn't see some of his attacks or something? Although, I could see how that fight would be tough if I were a spellcaster trying to get attacks out while he's swinging wildly. I really want to try fighting him again, maybe with a different type of character, to see if it plays out the same way. This game is cool.

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sub_o

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#11  Edited By sub_o

How did you guys manage to beat Ancient Dragon ? It one shot me with its flame breath, and I was wearing Flame Quartz + 2 ring, and pretty good fire resistant armour from the captain knight in iron keep.

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@gantrathor:

The Pursuer actually shows up in the smelter demon room if you go back there, so you can try fighting him there. I feel like he's got a lot more health in that version, pretty sure he does.

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#13  Edited By Seikenfreak

Just completed. Around 100 hours I think and SL 142. Hmm.

As I wrote somewhere else, somewhere around halfway or 2/3rds through the game I started using summons just because it was fun and I was almost guaranteed to win the fight.

I had a decent amount of trouble on The Rotten for a bit. I ran a tank-ish build at that point in the game, didn't have any spells or whatever yet. I think I wasn't able to block his attacks with my greatshield? So I tried dodging but I kept getting hit anyway. I don't usually use evasion tactics in these games. Eventually I just stripped naked and kept trying until I murdered his face(s?) Did this solo.

Pursuer was a bitch for a bit. Eventually figured out the ballista thing and I nearly one shot him with it. That was still early game though so I think I sucked because when I went and fought him again in the Iron Keep it was easy. Did these solo

Old Iron King was a little annoying because I had just watched a dude streaming and he went through that fight like it was nothing on his first try. I went in and he was doing all kinds of other moves lol and I kept dying to bullshit. Solo.

Runic Knights was maybe the most frustrating one. Dying over and over again and doing that stupid runback. Even using the shortcut jump it was annoying. After plenty of practice I was able to do it. I actually took the fight to the lower floor after the first Knight. It was fairly easy just keeping both of them in front of me at all times and doing hit and run tactics. Solo.

Killing Licia (miracle merchant) was super annoying. Solo obviously.

Smelter Demon was annoying for a bit. Had multiple summon groups to get past this lol.

Well its 6 AM so time for bed. So many bosses it's hard to remember. I'll check back on this when I wake up.

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shirogane

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Oh right, the Covetous Demon thing. You want to know what it does when it eats you? It's super messed up. If you get eaten, all of your items get unequipped. ALL of them. Weapons, rings and armor.

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Fredchuckdave

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#15  Edited By Fredchuckdave

No Darklurker, sadface.

Ancient Dragon is just a guy swatting flies pretty much.

Smelter is beatable without the cheesy shield, you just have to dodge almost everything. And of course you'll eventually realize you have to beat him in 45 seconds to get one of the trophies. Smelter and Darklurker are the hardest bosses in the series; Ancient Dragon is more like an exercise in committing suicide than a boss. Vendrick is relatively easy it just takes a while and you can't screw up more than once or twice (I did it with 3 Giant Souls, didn't know where the 4th one was at the time, not getting the fifth one for a while); and of course his soul lets you get the best shield in the game.

Also Gwyn is extremely difficult if you just fight him straight up with a melee character without parrying/Iron Flesh, he might not quite be Smelter hard but he's relatively close; he's top 5 in the series easily.

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Seikenfreak

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I remembered two more.

Skeleton Lords was frustrating for a little bit. Its easy to slaughter the three of them quickly but the stupid pinwheels would get me every time. Eventually I started just killing the Skeleton Lords one at a time. Doing the pinwheel guy first, and then killing all the pinwheels before moving on. Doing it that way was easier for me.

You forgot the uh Skeleton Chariot dude. Can't remember name. I got super frustrated on that because its a pretty straight forward boss and I did it in the beta so I knew what to do. But I kept getting killed by stupid bs like the skeletons would gang up on me in one of the hiding spots but one would always manage to jam his way in close enough to not get hit by the chariot. So they'd all break my stamina and stagger me, most of them would die, and then one would get the last shot on me before I could do anything. The most frustrating part for me though was the runback. Dealing with like 6 of those super assholes in a row was agonizing. Pulling them one at a time and just one backstab wasn't enough. I did this run to the boss enough times that the stuff finally stopped spawning.

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Fredchuckdave

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Seikenfreak

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@fredchuckdave: What makes you say that? I've got 17 at the moment. Is that a lot? I have no interest in PvP so I'll probably sell them. I am looking for a bunch of Skeptic's Spice though (let me know where I can farm this lol)

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Sarumarine

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@seikenfreak: Oh wow. I don't think I fought that boss. A skeleton chariot? Yeah, definitely doesn't ring a bell. I guess that' something to look for on a second playthrough.

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Fredchuckdave

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@seikenfreak: Those enemies have a very high chance to drop them, and in general they're pretty scarce. My other character had 11 when he finished the game for example.

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#21  Edited By donchipotle

I feel like my experience with The Pursuer was different than most. I parried his first thrust attack and shot him with the ballista. It took off so much of his health that all I had to do was hit him with my sword.

I mean...the ballista are there for a reason, right? It totally counts. But he has been tied for Skeleton Lords for 'easiest boss thus far' for me.

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#22  Edited By swimbuff

@seikenfreak: I have to agree, the run back to the Executioner's Chariot was a huge pain having to deal with those agile dudes in between. Eventually I learned that running across the bridge and jumping onto the platform at the end on either side will make them lose aggro. This after learning those motherfuckers will chase you right up to the fog door and wreck your shit if you don't deal with them. Ugh.

Anyway, this was a good write-up Sarumarine. I played a melee character so while the Duke's Dear Freja and Looking Glass Knight were never problems for me, I felt the Lost Sinner and Royal Rat Authority were the toughest bosses in the game. I only went to Belfry Luna much later so I had to fight the Sinner in the dark but with patience I eventually won out fair. But man, the mobs in Rat Authority were so annoying I almost threw my controller at the wall. By the time I had finished meleeing the rats, the boss was on me and I'd die from the combination of its attack and the toxicity from the rats. Eventually after a dozen tries I pumped points into DEX to be able to kill a rat in one shot of the bow and the fight was won. The boss itself was very easy to deal with. Man, fuck this boss fight.

While I was pissed that the boss forced me to put points into DEX, I sure did appreciate the damage boost on the bow later on in Shrine of Amana...

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@donchipotle said:

I feel like my experience with The Pursuer was different than most. I parried his first thrust attack and shot him with the ballista. It took off so much of his health that all I had to do was hit him with my sword.

I mean...the ballista are there for a reason, right? It totally counts. But he has been tied for Skeleton Lords for 'easiest boss thus far' for me.

Man, I have no idea where you found the time to use a Ballista. The Pursuer was always on top of me and I had no time before he went through the Ballistas to get to me. Of course, I fought him solo. I'm sure if you had people baiting him in front of those things, you could shoot him up real good.

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donchipotle

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@donchipotle said:

I feel like my experience with The Pursuer was different than most. I parried his first thrust attack and shot him with the ballista. It took off so much of his health that all I had to do was hit him with my sword.

I mean...the ballista are there for a reason, right? It totally counts. But he has been tied for Skeleton Lords for 'easiest boss thus far' for me.

Man, I have no idea where you found the time to use a Ballista. The Pursuer was always on top of me and I had no time before he went through the Ballistas to get to me. Of course, I fought him solo. I'm sure if you had people baiting him in front of those things, you could shoot him up real good.

The Pursuer ALWAYS opens with his dashing attack. You can parry that. Parrying that attack leaves him stunned for long enough to get to a ballista and shoot him. I soloed him and then spent an hour helping other people take him out.

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#25  Edited By TheBlue

I beat Mytha without draining the poison. I don't know if I should be proud or feel dumb for not figuring out you could drain it. Sure took me a hell of a lot of tries though.

Screw the Darklurker though. I have three effigies left. I'm scared to just wait and try him again in NG+.

Undead Chariot, Covetous Demon, Throne Watcher/Defender, and Demon of Song were dumb enough to let me kill them on the first try. Let's not talk about the Congregation. I didn't see the lightning come at me, okay?

Smelter Demon is OP. Thank god for the Gyrm Greatshield.

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I guess the difficulty of bosses has a lot to do with the type of build you're going with. I'm running with a 2 handed club and had little trouble with the smelter demon while the royal rat authority destroyed me probably 15+ times before I beat it.

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@theblue: It's so hard for me to see how people beat Mytha without draining the poison. By the time I cured myself, I was poisoned again. Not to mention she's coming at you with spear attacks or magic blasts. Maybe you took the hard route, but you still pulled it off. That's some determination and perseverance, for sure.

@sarumarine said:

@donchipotle said:

I feel like my experience with The Pursuer was different than most. I parried his first thrust attack and shot him with the ballista. It took off so much of his health that all I had to do was hit him with my sword.

I mean...the ballista are there for a reason, right? It totally counts. But he has been tied for Skeleton Lords for 'easiest boss thus far' for me.

Man, I have no idea where you found the time to use a Ballista. The Pursuer was always on top of me and I had no time before he went through the Ballistas to get to me. Of course, I fought him solo. I'm sure if you had people baiting him in front of those things, you could shoot him up real good.

The Pursuer ALWAYS opens with his dashing attack. You can parry that. Parrying that attack leaves him stunned for long enough to get to a ballista and shoot him. I soloed him and then spent an hour helping other people take him out.

Parry the Pursuer? And it leaves him stunned? Never would have tried that. His sword looks way too big, I figured it'd just ignore your parry attempt and just crush you. I wonder how many other bosses can be parried and left stunned?

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#28  Edited By silversaint

I also played a pure sorcerer (dex at most 9, faith left at 4, focus on magic to kill enemies). Here are my impressions on the bosses and the order I defeated them in. Also whether I used magic, melee, both, or summoned phantoms for the fight, and an estimate of the number of tries. I never looked up anything on bosses beforehand, though I did look up stuff (had no clue there were friendly phantoms for most of the game) after attempting a boss > 5 times. Was never human unless a summon was specifically mentioned.

-The Last Giant (Forest of Fallen Giants)

Used magic and melee. Took 4? attempts. Fairly easy, my biggest fault was I remade a sorcerer after killing this guy on my warrior and wasn't used to his arm range.

-Dragonrider (Heide's Tower of Flame)

Used melee only. Took 2 attempts. I thought this guy was sorta hard at first with the charge at range, then I realized you simply strafe to his right.

-Flexible Sentry (No Man's Wharf)

Magic only. 1 attempt. Just strafed around the middle pillar and pelted with magic...was the easiest boss in the game for me.

-The Pursuer (Forest of Fallen Giants)

Used only magic. Many attempts. Massive pain, caused me to beat the dragonrider and flexile sentry before going back to attempt him.

-Old Dragonslayer (Heide's Tower of Flame)

Used magic only. Took <10 attempts. Was pretty hard and simply took using my range

-Ruin Sentires (The Lost Bastille)

Melee on the first one, magic on the two. Took >10 attempts. Had to summon the phantom. 2nd hardest fight in entire game. This fight is really unfriendly to low poise/stam builds, let alone magic damage is like 1/2 that compared to when I saw melee builds doing.

-Belfry Gargoyles (The Lost Bastille)

Magic only. Took ~5 attempts. This fight was really frustrating, much like the sentries before it. In the end I simply cast a spell, moved to a corner, then ran across the entire roof to the diagonal corner and repeated.

-The Lost Sinner (The Lost Bastille)

Melee only. Took 5-10 attempts. I tried using magic for this fight pre-torches and it always ended up horrible as she dodged or hit me with every attempt. Eventually I did this slow and steady as melee only and it wasn't that bad.

-Executioners Chariot (Undead Purgatory)

Magic on boss only, melee on adds. Took 2 attempts. I originally tried to hit the boss on the chariot, failed, then made my way to the switch and died to the charge (unblockable with shield). After that I simply kited the boss and it was simple.

-Skeleton Lords (Huntman's Copse)

Melee and magic. 1 attempt. This fight was interesting, I simply got through it because I was clearly overleveled for it.

-Covetous Demon (Harvest Valley)

Magic only. 1 attempt. This boss was pretty easy as ranged, the weird worm it did made it harder to predict. Once again just ran from side to side and used spells.

-Mytha, the Baneful Queen (Earthen Peak)

Magic only. 2 attempts. One attempt she had poison...the next she didn't and was simple after that.

-Royal Rat Vanguard (Grave of Saints)

Melee and magic. 2-3 attempts. Relatively simple once I realized what was going on, was also grossly overleveled as I did this after farming all the knights on the way to the smelter demon til they didn't respawn.

-Old Iron King (Iron Keep)

Magic only. 4 attempts. Pretty easy and used the wall to block his flame breath. Got cocky a few times and got knocked into lava or didn't realize that beam he does went through the wall.

-Scorpioness Najka (Shaded Ruin)

Magic only. 5-10 attempts. This boss was...easy? I had no clue about standing on the stone until after (though I suspected it). I simply took every underground attack and healed after. Got her low a lot, but died a few times to the mass spell attack until I switched to the shield from the knights before mytha for the 80% MR as i never took physical attacks from her.

-Magus and the Congregation (Brightstone Cove Tseldora)

Melee and magic. 4 attempts. Actually had some trouble as the mages did so much damage to me and I killed them so slowly.

-The Rotten (Black Gulch)

Magic only. 2 attempts. Pretty easy to kite, died to the fire once.

-The Duke's Dear Freja (Brightstone Cove Tseldora)

Magic and melee. >10 attempts. This fight...I had the boss to <10% health like 5 times and would randomly die to the laser or the little spiders. I mostly stayed at ranged, dodged the laser and a lot of times when I didn't and the little spiders came I died. Eventually ran in a circle so both heads were getting hit and had to melee the boss at the end as the last head was facing a wall (like 2ft away) and the boss kept sitting in 1 spot doing melee attacks invulnerable from all sides to ranged.

-Double Dragonriders (Drangelic Castle)

Magic then melee. 5 attempts. Relatively simple fight, kill the arrow guy with magic first, then melee'd the melee one to death.

-Looking Glass Knight (King's Passage)

Magic only. 2 attempts. Really really easy for me. I simply stayed at range to this boss and moved to the side for his lightning attacks. When he summoned guys I killed them instantly with spells. Died first attempt with boss almost dead as I was wondering if you were behind him when he did his mirror summon, if the guy wouldn't come...he still does and their dual attacks killed me.

-Demon of Song (Shrine of Amana)

Magic only. 3 attempts. Simple boss once you learn you can't shield its charge and the rest of the patterns. Simply move towards it, eye thing opens to melee you, back up cast spell and repeat.

-Smelter Demon (Iron Keep)

Magic only. >10 attempts. Hardest boss in game that I attempted. Found out on pure accident he was optional. Got him to <20% health a few times without the gyrm shield, but ultimately would die each time. Eventually respec'd to 32 str just to use the gyrm shield, found out there was a summon, and killed the boss ez mode thanks to the shield, summon was mostly worthless.

-Velstadt (Undead Crypt)

Magic for first 1/2 melee for 2nd half as I ran out of spells. 1 attempt. I had few spells when i got to this boss, but he didn't seem to hard. Having the gyrm shield made this way easier as I lost way less stam from his attacks.

-Throne Defender and Throne Watcher (Throne of Want)

Magic only. 2 attempts. I thought this fight was really easy with magic constantly blocking and then after they attacked and the watcher jumped back shooting the watcher until I killed the Watcher and had the Defender at 3/4, got him to 1/4, he then revived the watcher and got some of the watchers skills. Ran out of spells after this and messed up in melee and died. Decided to try this as a human at full health and there were randomly 2 summons...suffice it to say this became a complete joke as I had almost solo'd it on my first attempt.

-Guardian Dragon (Aldia's Keep)

Melee only. 1 attempt. Super easy, had gyrm shield, but it didn't matter. I would just move around when it was in the air and when it was on the ground it would flamebreath while I meleed 1/4 of its health each time.

-Giant Lord (Memory of Jeigh)

Magic only. 4 attempts. I spent the first 2 attempts figuring out where to stand. On my 4th I tried running at him and going up the stairs. Fight was simply strafing and magic after each boss attack after that.

-Nashandra (Throne of Want)

Magic only. Once again there were those 2 summons outside her area...fight was a complete joke as curse doesn't kill you and she only killed 1 phantom before death.

-Didn't Kill

-Royal Rat Authority (Doors of Pharros)

Tried a few times early on, realized after a few attempts my stam was getting drained too quickly. Found out there was another path and went on that path planning to come back and never did.

-Vendrick (Undead Crypt)

Tried once, 1 great heavy soul arrow did slightly more then 1/20th of his health. The stam from his attacks wrecked me though and I died from stagger. Realizing I didn't want to kill the enemies outside of his area each time decided to move on and simply never came back.

-Ancient Dragon (Dragon Aerie)

Never attempted. The enemies on the stairs before his room were...really hard and after my original clear I had no desire to clear all the way back to try and kill him.

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@silversaint: Nice summary there! I kind of walked the line between a sorcerer and melee as I put a bunch of points into strength and dexterity until I could wield the Dragonrider Halberd. I was always really afraid of using the spell replenishment items because I had no idea how many there would be in the game.

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@sarumarine: I actually never used the spell replenishment or lower stat requirement stuff ever. Like you I wasn't sure if I would get anymore. Infact the only consumables I used were the souls of knight n stuff and human effigies and I ended the game with ~30 and never bought any.

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i got swallowed by the covetous demon , it made alllll my gear unequip itself (had to maouver for long enough to equip another weapon , one shot boss fight but it was still fun

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@envane said:

i got swallowed by the covetous demon , it made alllll my gear unequip itself (had to maouver for long enough to equip another weapon , one shot boss fight but it was still fun

Oh that's what happens. But let's be real. That boss was pretty terrible. Design-wise and difficulty-wise. He didn't touch me. So far I've been disappointed with all the bosses I've fought. They have been super uninteresting compared to the other 2 games.

Hoping they get better. Didn't read all of the OP since I haven't beat it, but the Last Giant (tree monster thing) has been the coolest looking boss but super easy as well. The Skeleton Lords were the most annoying just because of all the bad guys they summon that you must kill in order to beat them.

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#33  Edited By VeggiesBro

My first play through was with a standard tanky/shield kind of build. I think for me the toughest bosses I found are as follows:

1. Darklurker - FUCK this boss. It's super easy, till he splits in two but after that everything goes straight to hell real fast. I ended up running out of effigies and will try again on my second character (dual wielder)

2. Smelter - A hard fight for sure. Very close in difficulty to Darklurker, but as I beat Smelter, he's number 2. Like someone else said, key is to dodge everything, strike and move away.

3. Gargoyles - Just difficult to have to deal with upwards of 4 if you're not careful. Super annoying more than anything.

4. Pursuer - Difficult only because I dodged all of his attacks rather than block.

I beat the sentinels first try last go around. And can regularly beat them with no shield now. Though that whirlwind attack is certainly lame. I am currently at the lost sinner again on NG+ with that character, but am focusing on a dual wield character just to experience how different it actually is without a shield... and MAN is it difficult...

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#34  Edited By Sarumarine

@veggiesbro: Yeah, I thought about dual wielders. But I don't think I could ever play a Souls game without a shield. I never have a good idea just where the hit boxes on some enemies attacks are. And I'm super terrible at dodging too.

@handlas said:

@envane said:

i got swallowed by the covetous demon , it made alllll my gear unequip itself (had to maouver for long enough to equip another weapon , one shot boss fight but it was still fun

Oh that's what happens. But let's be real. That boss was pretty terrible. Design-wise and difficulty-wise. He didn't touch me. So far I've been disappointed with all the bosses I've fought. They have been super uninteresting compared to the other 2 games.

Hoping they get better. Didn't read all of the OP since I haven't beat it, but the Last Giant (tree monster thing) has been the coolest looking boss but super easy as well. The Skeleton Lords were the most annoying just because of all the bad guys they summon that you must kill in order to beat them.

After beating it, I'm thinking the boss designs in Dark Souls II don't quite stack up to Dark Souls. Dark Souls bosses were super weird and twisted in a lot of cases. You'll have to see how things shake out when you get there, but it feels more restrained in this, maybe to do with the setting that is less 'realm of the gods' and more like a 'forgotten kingdom.'

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#35  Edited By hatking

Jesus Christ. I still haven't gotten to the first boss. Fuck me.

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I had a tricky time with the Smelter Demon too.

I also hated fighting that medusa in the poison and had no idea there was a puzzle to get rid of the poison. The other 'puzzle' type thing I had a problem with was in the crypt where that undead who kept ringing that bell in the run up to the boss. I had no idea where to find him and kept gettin swarmed by ghost pyromancers over and over. I think my online connection went away so there were no messages showing where he was which would have helped.

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#37  Edited By Fredchuckdave

@veggiesbro: Darklurker is tough if you're not aggressive, not too bad otherwise; you certainly took the most difficult approach. It's certainly a really cool idea/covenant though.

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You're missing one of the coolest boss fights in the game. Go kill that Ancient Dragon.

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Sarumarine

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You're missing one of the coolest boss fights in the game. Go kill that Ancient Dragon.

Haha. I didn't even know he was a boss. The last ancient dragon I met (in Dark Souls) didn't do anything when you attacked him. Besides, climbing those steps for a magic user really sucked with all the big knights and the little guys that run right at you. Wacky hit boxes when characters are both on different levels. Sometimes they'd miss me, but sometimes they'd nail me. Maybe on another playthrough, not that I'm looking forward to provoking a dragon for no good reason.

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Anyone having trouble with with darklurker, I spent 25 effigies on that fight as a great sword user. Just horrendous once it splits.

And then I put on the ritual band, attuned firestorm, cast it 4 times and fight over. Firestorm man, shit. While you cast it, you're below the swing of the sword.

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Heh it's quite funny to hear about it from a magic casters perspective, meanwhile in greatshield using melee town (note that unless I specifically state I used summons, the bosses were done solo without NPCs or player help).

-Last Giant:

I think everyone can agree this is the boss designed to ease new players in to Dark Souls, easily avoided and very telegraphed attacks, looks intimidating but is far from it.

-The Pursuer:

At this point I was using the Twin Dragon Greatshield bought from the vendor, with its massive stability and 95% damage reduction it turned the fight into somewhat of a joke, just kept circling to the right to avoid his attacks, had enough stability to soak the shield bash and he was dead.

-Dragon Rider:

I'm assuming he is meant to be an alternative first boss to the Last giant and as such the 'circle to the right, get behind him and attack' made him a complete joke definitely one of the easiest bosses in the game, even more so than the Last Giant.

-Old Dragonslayer:

All the fun of Ornstein without any of the difficulty, being a Dark souls 1 veteran with Super Orns attack pattern beaten into me like some wayward child and lacking his much larger reach than he did in Super mode the fight was once again, a bit of a joke. Good to see you're still getting work though Ornstein. At this point I obtained the Tower shield and had enough strength to use it.

-Flexile Sentry:

The Tower shield made this fight much, much easier, just bait out the attacks from the mace using side of him and attack in pauses, by now I had upgraded to the Greatsword +4 as my main weapon and was shaving off vast chunks of his health on each swing.

-The Ruin Sentinels:

First boss to truly give me trouble, had to resort to the old Smough and Ornstein fighting method of just waiting and picking attacks, took me a good couple of trys to get it down but definitely a big step-up in the world of Dark Souls.

-Belfry Gargoyles:

Man fuck this fight, took me more attempts then I think any other boss in the game. Managed to do it after I just went hog wild on the first Gargoyle with the Greatsword and removed him from the fight as quickly as possible. I rank thee second on my hardest boss list Gargoyles, nice going, you've gone up in the world.

-Lost Sinner:

Tower shield once again turns this fight from something that is bloody hard without it (I've tried on non-strength characters and the constant assault drains stamina relentlessly) into something that is basicaly "block, block, swing, back off, block". Do note though that this fight goes from 'somewhat of a joke' to 'completely evil' in NG+ when the Lost Sinner loses 30% of her life 2 red phantom pyromancers spawn in and constantly spam fireballs. Only beaten with the help of a phantom and by far the hardest bossfight in the entire game in NG+, which is just kind of odd.

-Executioners Chariot:

By far the worst gimmcky boss in the game and only hard thanks to Fromsoft being gits and removing the Divine upgrade path, if Divine was still in, this fight would have been a joke but alas while it is a 'cinematic' boss fight, just felt far too gimmcky for me to enjoy. Took the worst part of the Nito fight and made it the whole shtick.

-Skeleton Lords:

If you don't know what your doing this fight can turn into a clusterfuck real quick, as I did first time through, I just assumed it was ye olde shared healthbar and killed all three pretty quickly, only to be mobbed to death by bastard wheelskeletons. Second go around cleared it without hastle, a one trick pony of a boss.

-Covetous Demon:

If you want to know what happens when he eats you, he spits you back out stripped completely of all your gear, forcing you to have to equip stuff in an emergency, caught me offguard with it once and never again, died twice, once to the "oh god, I need to equip stuff, damn it killed in menu screen" and once because Java the hutt rolled ontop of me.

-Mythra:

Or as I like to call it "guide dangit boss". Seriously how the hell are you meant to know about burning the windmill, the game never even points to that as a thing and thanks to the removal of the lightning system they wanted to use making torches near pointless in all but a few places, you're not going to be carrying one around. The only boss I looked up a guide on how to beat and the NPC summon turns this fight into a complete freaking joke, he can shave off like a quarter of her health in one attack. Turning this into the Moonlight Butterfly with Beatrice of a boss.

-Smelter Demon (without gyrm greatshield):

As you can tell I went to this route second, thus did not have access to the Doors of Pharaos and the 'Shield of making the smelter demon fight a joke'. I was forced to switch from a purely tanking stance to a dodge rolling mother-trucker and took a lot of deaths to get the dodge timing right especially without a summon to distract him. Smelter Demon, I dub thee the hardest boss (if you don't have the greatshield, with the greatshield he is beyond easy as I learned on a later character who took a different path).

-Old Iron King:

Schmuck of a boss, as said in the original post, the actual area and the miniboss are faarrr harder than he is, caught me out once by knocking me into a lava pool right by the entrance and never again after that.

-Scorpioness Najka:

Ok this fight took me by surprise and infact forced me to strip down and use my equipment load to equip two greatshields, The Rebel greatshield for when she had magic and Tower Shield for when she was using melee. Also found out a little interesting fact, much like the graboids in tremors she can not burrow through the little patch of stone that is in her area, meaning if you make a dash for it once she goes under, you're safe. Loved the design of the boss and the fact I was forced to think outside the box.

-Royal Rat Authority:

You can tell a boss is easy that when you manage to kill off the minions before he closes in on you, you can just fight him like you would Sif. Seriously though the only reason that fight is hard is because of the pack of four little toxifying goits that are in there with him and personally think that is just bad boss design.

-Churchgoers:

Bit of a joke really, wide sweeping arcs of the Greatsword cleave through pretty much everything in their path, slightly harder than Dragonrider but not by much.

-Duke's Dear Frejia:

All my hate for these types of bosses, they move from 'difficult but rewarding' into 'insanely annoying' territory. Both Frejia and Royal Rat authority get together, have spider dog babies and get lost. Both boss fights are about removing the annoyances before dealing with the bigger threat. I will admit that I sort of let out a laugh at the laser beam attack, something about that turned this monstrosity from something horrifying and terrible to something utterly ridiculous. It's like "Giant spider = pretty terrifying, Two giant spiders fused together = one step up the scale of terrifying, Two giants spiders fused together that shoot lasers = frankly absurd. It just crosses that thin line between horror and absurdity for me.Frejia you are the Evil Dead 2 of bosses, a horror comedy.

-The Rotten:

Easy boss, like a breather after the annoyance that is Frejia and something of a welcome one at that, the areas leading up to him are just much harder than he is, a common trend with Dark Souls 2.

-Twin Dragonriders:

Nope still just a joke.

-The Mirror knight:

Tough boss but could kill the summons in three hits with a now +10 Greatsword, great design and can see why they used it for the demo, his movements look really fluid, almost like he was the only motion captured boss in the entire game.

The Demon of Song:

Area much harder than boss again..lets move on.

-Velstadt:

Once again a fight that is hard for magic users becomes a bit of a cakewalk for greatshield users, sticking close to him means he almost never does a magic attack, same statergy as The Lost Sinner of blocking, hitting and then backing off to recover stamina.

Guardian Dragon:

Again area much more difficult than boss.

-Giant Lord:

Bit troublesome and much more interesting than the last giant, died more trying to get to him, would often eat an unblockable overhead smash which would OHKO me since I was fat rolling, once inbetween his legs however, he becomes a bit tougher version of the Last Giant.

-Vendrick:

Tough until you learn that if you keep circling to the right, almost all of his attacks will miss you and he has horrible tracking, much like the Dragonrider boss, defeated with only four Giant Souls in inventory.

-Throne Watcher/Throne defender:

Nowhere even close to tough as Smough and Ornstein, the player summon I had for the second go around meant would could use the old tactic of splitting them up and coordinarting their health drop. Their gimmick caught me off guard the first time I attempted this fight solo and lead to a death, a theme with Dark souls 2 bosses once more, die once to a gimmick, learn gimmick, boss becomes easier.

-Nashandra:

Considering that the fight takes place straight after Throne Watcher/Throne defender might cause people some difficulty due to the unexpected nature of "surprise, boss fight time!". If you leave defeating the previous two until last. A weak final boss not helped by the fact my summon was clearly a Strength/Faith build and was hurling lightning spears and Great lightning spears like they were going to explode if they didn't use ALL of them in a short space of time (he'd clearly been saving them during the Throne twins fight). All I had to do was sit back and distract her. But even in Melee and solo she is still something of a joke as I learned on a later character.

Boss not fought first time through:

Royal Rat Vanguard:

Ancient Dragon.

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@drmechano: Yeah, that's why I'm really looking forward to playing a tank next time through. There were a bunch of bosses I just knew would be way more manageable if I had a good shield and enough stamina to absorb hits. I was really curious how you handled the Royal Rat Vanguard as a melee guy, but that fight is kind of hidden away.

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I went through most of the game as a more well-rounded knight with a halberd and miracles, and didn't reallocate points to focus primarily on strength and faith until maybe three-fourths of the way through. So, I had a fairly easy time with most of the multiple enemy boss fights like the belfry gargoyles and the skeleton lord, being able to hit things from a distance or hit multiple things at once, but I also didn't have the damage potential or stamina for quickly dispatching or tanking certain bosses that ended up being difficult for me, like the Pursuer, the Lost Sinner, and the Smelter Demon.

I did get a lot better at dodging than I have been in the previous games because of my build, so if anyone wants a more challenging playthrough, just sort of spread your points around, and don't put almost any into health.

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#44  Edited By DrMechano

@sarumarine: The key to that fight was an item I grew to love...The Heavy Crossbow, all the fun of ranged combat, none of the dexterity required (drops off of the crossbow using guys in Sinner's Rise). Since you can now fire it like you can with bows if you two-hand it, I was able to pick off three of the four rat/wolf things at range before the boss closed in on me and managed to kill the last one while dodging the boss, after that the fight was much more manageable.

Ah you meant Vanguard not Authority, with vanguard it was just a case of running around, smacking rats with a Great sword, two handing it turns its moveset from a side to side motion to a donward swing motion and the thing has beastly range and once the Vanguard spawned it was a case of hitting him four times and killing him.

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I helped several people with Freja before diving in myself. We would always go in with a group of 3. I thought it would be a really difficult fight and since I had assisted a couple of times I was sitting on over 140k souls so the prospect of going to kill her in my world and dying wasn't that exciting since it's a fairly long runback.

Well I couldn't find any summon signs and decided to just go at it alone. Turns out she is a lot more difficult to fight with more people than by yourself. When I was alone all I had to do was bait her into the laser beam then run around and hit the other head. Rinse and repeat. She never charges you or anything so you don't even need a shield. Two hand your most powerful weapon and after you've disposed of the spiders just mock her until the front paws come up.

Smelter Demon was a boss I was going to come back to with the Wyrm shield and tank the shit out of but I got stubborn and decided to kill him then and there. After numerous tries I finally got the rhythm down. Two handed my weapon and put on extremely light armor since getting hit wasn't an option. You simply roll into all his attacks and attack him twice from the back. The only trick was recognizing the sword stab and backing off in time.

The Rotten was fairly easy and I tanked him with some light evasion. What I really liked was the way his arms get chopped off in the end so by the time his lifebar is almost down he's not even a threat anymore, just this sad heap of flesh swinging stumps around. I thought that was sort of neat and wish more bosses would get similarly "worn down" by the end of the fight.

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@sarumarine I meant to ask how you found out how many times you died. I only know of the global death counter.

Also, this is as a good a place to ask as any: how did people feel the bosses in Dark Souls II compared to those in the first Dark Souls as a whole? I've seen plenty of people say things weren't quite as hard as they were expecting, and I think I probably died to the bosses fewer times than I did in either of the previous souls games, but then again, I had the experience of two souls games prior to this. I feel like the bosses were overall more challenging than in Dark Souls I before the DLC at least, and I definitely liked the variety of battles.

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#47  Edited By emfromthesea

I've been meaning to give my own overview on the bosses, and now that I've pulled myself away from the game, that time is now!

(I've beat the game twice, but I'll just talk about my first, solo run of the game)
My first playthrough was that of a shield and sword character, though near the end I adapted pyromancy into the build.
(this is the order that I tackled them in)

-Last Giant:

An easy boss to start with, but it still managed to kill me. I was so awestruck by the size of the thing, that I let myself get stomped. Then I came back and chopped at its feet until it fell over.

-The Pursuer:

I was still using a pretty crappy shield when I tackled the Pursuer, and I quickly regretted it. This guy took me quite a few tries, but after I learned his patterns, it was an easy enough fight.

-Dragon Rider:

A total pushover. I'd raised the platforms without ever realizing what I'd done, so there wasn't even the concern of falling. This boss fell to the blade very quickly.

-Old Dragonslayer:

A super cool boss. I'd saw a glimpse of what looked like Ornstein in a trailer, but I didn't expect him to be a boss. Despite my giddy excitement, I managed to take him down rather easily. Fighting this guy multiple times in the original game definitely gave me the leg-up.

-The Ruin Sentinels:

Oh god. What a nightmare this boss was. I didn't have a greatshield, I had a sword with a crappy range, and I was underleveled for the fight. Not to mention I was also doing it alone, which made managing the two sentinels hell. I eventually pulled through, after a long and stressful fight.

-Lost Sinner:

I think by this point I had gotten a 100% block shield, so I didn't have any trouble with this fight. Her attacks were fairly easy to dodge, and by that point I had leveled to a more appropriate SL. I think I beat her in the first go.

-Flexile Sentry:

I probably should have done this boss before the Lost Sinner, because by that point it was rather easy. Still, a cool fight nonetheless.

-Scorpioness Najka:

Loved this boss. Loved the whole area, in fact. It wasn't a hard fight, I just baited her into the tail attack and made a run to the stone platform whenever she went under. Beat her the first go.

Royal Rat Vanguard:

This fight took me way longer than it should have. Because I'm a dumb, I didn't notice the boss health bar appear after a while, and spent about 10 minutes killing the respawing rats over and over. I actually had to use my repair powder in this fight. But as soon as I figured out that the boss was right there, the fight became a joke.

-The Rotten:

Looked more menacing than it actually was. Died once, when I was knocked into the flaming tar pit. Got him on the second try.

-Executioners Chariot:

This was the boss that made me get the tower shield. Those skeletons were a nightmare for keeping at bay, and it took me several tries until I could beat the actual boss. The chariot itself wasn't too hard, just had to be wary of its dark magic attacks.

-Skeleton Lords:

I got very lucky in this fight. I didn't realize that I'd unleashed something like 20 skeletons when I went straight to murdering the lords, but surprisingly, I managed to survive the onslaught of the bonewheel nightmares.

-Covetous Demon:

I had been messing around with the Halbred previously, but I ended up making the switch in this area. Lucky for me, this boss was a cakewalk with it. Took him down before he could mess me up with his grab move.

-Mythra the Baneful Queen:

As soon as I died the first time to this boss, I knew that there would be a way to get rid of the poison. After an hour of searching, I googled it and burned the windmill. The boss went down quite easily after that.

-Royal Rat Authority:

This boss taught me to use pyromancy. I'd throw down a couple of mines to deal with the small rats, and then taking down the boss was fairly easy. I learned that it was better to block some of his moves than try and learn how to dodge them.

-Prowling Magus and Congregation:

Very easy fight. Didn't even realize what I was fighting before they were already dead. Pyromancy made short work of them.

-Belfry Gargoyles:

I didn't even realize there was a boss here! I happened to do some backtracking, and discovered the belfry tower. The boss fight looked a lot more scary than it actually turned out to be. By that point I was dealing a lot of damage, and I had a lot of healing items, so after a small marathon, all the gargoyles were defeated.

-Smelter Demon:

Man, fuck this guy. The hardest boss of the game. Took me about 50 deaths of varying strategies until I decided to wear no armour and dodge all his attacks. The most annoying thing was that he'd occasionally glitch me into a way when I'd dodge into his piercing attack. After several more attempts, he was finally defeated. All for a stupid pig shield.

-Old Iron King:

Surprisingly easy. A combination of the halberd, and the "warmth" pyromancy (for healing without an animation), made this guy a walk in the park. Cool fight though.

-Duke's Dear Frejia:

Again, not too bad. Died a couple of time trying to figure out if I could block the laser. I couldn't. So I ran around it and murdered it.

-Dragonriders:

Died once, but a very easy fight overall. Basically the same as the original Dragonrider, except you deal way more damage.

-The Mirror knight:

Gave me some trouble. Ended up undressing like I did for the Smelter Demon, which made the fight much less difficult.

The Demon of Song:

Took me one death to figure out it would only attack once before hiding it's face, at which point the fight became very easy.

-Velstadt:

A tough boss. I didn't want to try and dodge, which made for a long fight of waiting for the opportunity to attack.

Guardian Dragon:

Once I figured out I could camp out next to it's feet, this fight became quite easy.

-Throne Watcher/Throne defender:

Don't believe I died on this fight, but it was real annoying when I found out they could revive each other.

-Giant Lord:

Daunting at first, but not all the different from the Last Giant. I just stuck to its feet, and the rest is history.

-Nashandra:

A fairly easy fight, for what some would consider the "last" boss. A mix of pyromancy and halberd slashing took her down fairly quickly. Died twice, all due to stepping off the ledge by accident.

-Vendrick:

Personally, I consider this more as the "last" boss fight. I see it as laying him to rest, after all is done. It was a tough fight, and took me several tries..until I realized I could circle around to the right and avoid his attacks easily. It still took a while, but manageable either way.

-Darklurker:

A very frustrating and difficult fight, considering I was losing an effigy every time I failed. Still, several deaths, I learned that pyromancy is extremely effective on the boss. Taking him down in just a few hits.

-Ancient Dragon:

Ha! As far as I'm concerned, this is an NPC that I won't be fighting. Not for a while, at least.

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@humanity: About the Rotten, that's interesting! As a magic man, I never got that effect. I just kept blasting him and he never changed form or lost any limbs. That sounds fun though, considering he's made of bodies, just chopping him down until he can hardly hit you.

@sarumarine I meant to ask how you found out how many times you died. I only know of the global death counter.

Also, this is as a good a place to ask as any: how did people feel the bosses in Dark Souls II compared to those in the first Dark Souls as a whole? I've seen plenty of people say things weren't quite as hard as they were expecting, and I think I probably died to the bosses fewer times than I did in either of the previous souls games, but then again, I had the experience of two souls games prior to this. I feel like the bosses were overall more challenging than in Dark Souls I before the DLC at least, and I definitely liked the variety of battles.

My first playthrough was offline. I'm not sure if the global death counter changes back if you decide not to log on or anything. Also, I'm not sure if it takes into account multiple character file deaths even if you are offline. I've heard various rumors that the backside of the monument may give you your individual death count or something, but I don't know for sure.

As for the quality of the boss fights, I find it super hard to know for sure. This is my third time out with one of these games, so I know the score and how it plays. Maybe it took a few times to adjust to the changes to the systems, but I feel like Dark Souls 2 kind of goes back and forth from easy to hard. The Pursuer really made me work for it, The Smelter Demon was giving me Capra Demon flashbacks, but stuff like the Dragonriders, Covetous Demon are total jokes and the Old Iron King is probably one of the easiest Souls bosses I've ever seen. Not to mention that last boss.

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This are really interesting lists, lemme throw something together. This is the order I fought them in. I was a strength/faith build, smashing with my mace or club and once I got access to Lightning Spear, I pretty much used that as my go-to for murder. I also didn't find the Darklurker my first time through, and probably won't for awhile.

-Last Giant: Quick and easy, same as most everybody else

-Pursuer: This one was kind of funny, I got summoned my first time fighting him and took a ballista spear in the face from the other summon, who apparently didn't care if I lived or died. Summoned someone in my fight with it, and pretty much the same thing happened, except I was the one manning the ballista. WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?

- Ruin Sentinels: This one was tough. I was hollow at the time, and for some godawful reason, I didn't realize that using an effigy was how you became human, so I went in with progressively less and less health. Soloed it after several tries, with nearly all my lifegems exhausted. I thought this was a hellish boss, until...

-Belfry Gargoyles: Holy motherfucking shit. I'll be completely honest, I spent 3 hours on this fight. Remember my aforementioned lack of knowledge about being able to become human, and summon help? Yeah, I eventually beat these fuckers, completely hollow, without taking a hit, that's how ridiculous my knowledge of their patterns became. It doesn't help that I a) was a str/faith build and was attempting to use the large club as a weapon and b) hadn't found that miracle lady, so no lightning spears for me. Damn, this one sucked.

-Lost Sinner: I don't know if it was my extensive Gargoyle training or what, but the Sinner wasn't too bad at all. I died a couple times learning the attack patterns, but eventually soloed it.

-Dragonrider: Summoned somebody outside the gate, went in, cleaned house. Don't remember getting hit, to be honest.

-Old Dragonslayer: I went in alone in this fight, smiled, and went to work. A fun fight and a nice reference, but my hundreds of hours in Dark Souls made short work of him, even alone.

-Flexile Sentry: I spent some time while in the Tower area to farm the old knights for armor and blue eye orbs, so this guy posed little to no threat. Fun fact, I actually explored into the Shaded Woods region beforehand and fought the regular one there, so this was a cakewalk.

-Royal Rat Vanguard: I did die once in this fight until I figured out what was going on, but my second time in was more successful. Still hectic, because my poison and petrify resistance was nonexistent, but not bad.

-The Rotten: The Black Gulch was far more troublesome than this weirdo, summoned help but because I wanted some Sunbro medals, not because of difficulty.

-Executioner's Chariot: Took me a long while to find Huntsman's Copse, but the walk up to this fight through those assholes and across the bridge was no joke. Died until I figured out what to do, tried summoning help but wasn't a fan of having them die on the way to the fight and then getting mauled by a superstrong horse, so I soloed it.

-Skeleton Lords: Almost the easiest fight I had, my Large Club made short work of all the mobs that spawned afterwards, although the sheer presence of those bonewheels made me clench my teeth (and butthole) in dread.

-Covetous Demon: Also pretty easy, he did fat roll me to death once but I learned my lesson and chucked lightning at him until he croaked.

-Mytha, the Baneful Queen: I was apparently a lucky one, because I read a couple messages next to the windmill, put 2 and 2 together, and burned that sucker down. I summoned help, but honestly I did it just to (potentially) show people that you could fight her without poison, because I was summoned a couple times and died almost immediately.

-Smelter Demon: Yeah, this guy sucks. I tried going the melee route, but you know, fuck that. I summoned two guys for help, and stood in a corner throwing all the lightning spears in the world until we persevered.

-Old Iron King: So, you remember how I summoned help in an earlier fight, died when they croaked and I had to fight a supertough, meant-for-3-people boss by my lonesome? Yeah, repeat that here. I got access to Great Lightning Spears just before this fight and left this sucker in the dust.

-Twin Dragonriders: Whaat, you're saying to yourself, how'd he skip to the castle without getting the four souls? Well, I looked it up, and apparently, that gate will also open once you get 1 million soul memory. My farming methods for that snazzy Alonne armor in Old Iron Keep apparently put me over the edge. Also, I walked into the ghost-filled area of the woods, tried hitting them, apparently missed because I did no damage, and died. I figured (like Dark Souls) I was missing something to be able to physically touch them, left the area and didn't come back. So I made it all the way through Drangleic Castle without knowing that Brightstone Cove existed :D

Protip: they don't like having lightning spears thrown at them, much less ones that are great in nature. Soloed it.

-Looking Glass Knight: The fight itself wasn't terribly hard, I only had to fight one summon I was dropping his HP so fast. The run up to it, with those horse-soldier-guys aggroing you all at once, was tougher.

-Demon of Song: Not a terribly difficult fight, the toughest thing about it was waiting till it showed its ugly mug to throw lightning. The run up to it, in my heavy non-magic-resistant armor, was waaay harder.

-Velstadt, the Royal Aegis: Now I've heard, and this may be true, that if you summon two lunkheads with greatshields to keep a boss's attention and then stand in the back, throwing Great Lightning Spears and laughing, that most bosses in this game become a cakewalk? Weird, huh?

-Scorpioness Najka: I looked up how to make it through those woods, facepalmed, and went to work. The lion guys are apparently resistant to lightning, which made my shiny lightning mace and spears less effective, balancing the Shaded Ruins area somewhat. It didn't balance the boss, though. She died in short order.

-Royal Rat Authority: Again, status effects are my bane. I couldn't throw lightning fast enough to kill all the little bastards before the big one came, so I had to improvise a bit and died a few times. A challenge, but not insurmountable.

-Prowling Magus and Congregation: Lol

-Duke's Dear Freja: I summoned an NPC for help just to see what this boss was about, and he damn near soloed it. Never will I look down upon a rapier-wielding man again.

-Guardian Dragon: Dragons still do not like lightning. I think I died once trying to cut off the tail (old habits die hard) and then said "screw it" and murdered it pretty quickly.

-Ancient Dragon: I attacked a body part on a whim -it's claw, maybe- and it did no damage, so I ran over to smack its tail (again, old habits die hard). Imagine my surprise when I got face-stomped by a pissed-off dragon the size of a goddamn mountain. This one took a few tries, to be sure. I had a Gyrm Greatshield lying around from my rampage through the Doors of Pharros, so I leveled my strength up to use it on the tough enemies leading up to the dragon. After 4 or 5 tries me and my divine faith in electro-javelins pulled off a win, but it was a tough fight, if only because the dragon is a health sponge that does stupid amounts of damage with that AOE fire blast.

-Giant Lord: Not terribly difficult, died a couple times because I forgot about the firebombs, but ye olde pointy sticks of thunder paved the way to victory.

-King Vendrick: This fight was nerve-wracking, and I died a fair share of times. I looked up online what the hell the deal with this fight was, because I was doing single-digit damage my first time through, and once I got my 5 Giant Souls in order I paid old Venny a visit. Tough, because of his massive damage and his somewhat erratic attack patterns, but I stuck to his left leg long enough to shove lightning up his ass.

-Throne Watcher & Defender: I summoned the two NPCs for shits and giggles, figuring that I wouldn't waste anybody's time by dying to the final boss really quickly and so that I could learn their attack patterns, and...yeah. They died on the first attempt. Hooray for Benhart and Vengarl?

-Nashandra: She killed my weakened NPCs my first time through, and I was stuck being cursed to death by an angry deathy-witch-queen. I gave it a second go, this time with player summons, and Great Lightning Speared my way to victory.

My +10 sacred chime and Lightning Spear miracles pretty well dominated any boss that I couldn't club to death, and summons, either NPC or player, made challenging fights either trivial or bearable, depending. Coming from Dark Souls also helped more than it hindered, as well. Still, all told, I had fun.

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#50  Edited By Humanity

@sarumarine: That's strange but in a way it makes sense. I thought it was a scripted part of the boss fight. I'm a strength build so I've been using a mace for most of the game but I thought since he's flesh maybe he'd be more susceptible to slashing damage and changed to the Drangleic sword. Now I'm curious if using a blunt weapon would also chop both his arms off?

As for difficulty I would agree that it swings from left to right a lot. Some of the bosses they throw at you early on are overly aggressive. Even the white knight in Forest of Giants is a really tough encounter early on in the game. There are too many bosses with regular mobs mixed in that artificially inflate the difficulty of the encounter. They've made small steps in the right direction but the targeting is still pretty awful most of the time and the camera doesn't help. Fighting any more than 1 enemy is hard and more than 2 is tiring. I can't count how many lizards have evaporated in front of me as I swing my weapon every which way and it's just not making contact - something that drove me mad.

After having played both of the previous games I'm also getting an uncomfortable sensation of deja-vu way too often. The Gutter seems to have art assets lifted directly from Valley of Defilement. A lot of the bosses are similar. The Rotten is basically Adjudicator for instance.

I really hope that they decide on a new setting when they make the next gen sequel and it's not Dark Souls 3 with bonfires again and so forth. They could for instance flip it and make it all about ice, have levels with snowstorms, have bonfires be crystals that freeze over the rooms you're in. Instead of building flames be the harbinger of frost. With next gen hardware they would have the power to fuel some really stunning visual effects with reflections and crystalizing.. One can dream.

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