Deep Look: Dark Souls II- Playing The Wrong Way Never Felt So Right

Hey Duders,

Here is the latest Deep Look! Deep Looks are largely gameplay and commentary like a Giantbomb quicklook; however, I try to cover games that have been out for a while and I intend to use the videos to highlight moments and mechanics that I found particularly worthy of highlighting and exploring. Also I aim to keep the videos under 20 minutes.

In this Deep Look I show off my rather unique playstyle in Dark Souls II and explain how I came to find my style. I happen to use a character that is completely naked and runs around with a huge club and never blocks so its fair to say that my approach to the game is fairly different from the norm. Allow me to explain what made me stick to this unintuitive character build and why this non-standard setup made Dark Souls II a much more fun game for me. It turns out playing the game the wrong way can be the right choice sometimes.

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Aetheldod

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Aetheldod • 

A lot of people play like that ...... I personally dont. But yeah that is the beauty of these games ... so many ways to play them and be fun.

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thatpinguino

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thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@aetheldod: I've seen plenty of people go the no block/ hit hard route, but I haven't seen too many people combine that with running around naked. I see more people use the Vinny tactic from Dark Souls: get huge armor and then trade blows and hope you are the last one standing. Either way the adaptability of the combat in Dark Souls is pretty incredible for how clunky and poor it seems at first glance.

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Lukeweizer

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Lukeweizer • 

There is no wrong way to play Dark Souls.

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gamefreak9

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gamefreak9 • 

There's no wrong way to play DS. I'd even say they make the system in such a way that ALL playstyles have some kind of advantage(some more than others). Lots of people use this style btw.

How are you so high level and yet you seem to be in a low level playthrough (one hitting these guys)? Also I assumed you would dual wield the clubs in the beginning when you had that much strength because it really doesn't add much damage to have 78 strength with one club but dual wielding clubs PAYS! But later when you have more points you can afford to have some armor on without slowing you down(and you need it when all enemies one hit or two hit you).

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thatpinguino

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Edited By thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@gamefreak9: I finished the game and went back in to record this video. I am high level because I popped all of the boss souls and put all of those souls into leveling because I had no interest in using any boss weapons or armor. I didn't dual wield because I beat this game a week after it came out and I had no idea which of the systems would be worth while. So I am by no means a Dark Souls expert, I just stumbled into this playstlye by happenstance and found that it really suited me.

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The_Ruiner

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The_Ruiner • 

All fists all day. Fuck blocking.

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thatpinguino

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thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@the_ruiner: I agree that blocking is the worst, but have you ever considered using a huge club? Like a ludicrously big club.

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Descends

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Descends • 

A naked play through on your first attempt is a pretty ballsy move and I respect the complete disregard of the "beware of dark souls" attitude/legend.

Have you tried Lords of the Fallen? A lot of people dismissed it for understandable reasons. The performance was incredibly shitty for no reason and the variety of builds and play styles that were valid was way tighter than Dark Souls. Most people thought the only viable play style was the Vinny method of big armor big stick but really the only part you need is the big stick. If you just run through the game with the highest damage weapon you can possibly get it will end up working because you stagger everything as you bash them to bits. I'd say if you see it on sale, pick it up and give it a try because it fits your play style.

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thatpinguino

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thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@descends: Honestly after having done it I appreciate Dark Souls a lot more. Cutting out a bunch of the arcane nonsense that you need to look up about which armor, rings, and weapons to use made the game much more streamlined and enjoyable. I could pop boss souls and sell armor without worrying if I just threw away some essential tool that I would need. It was cathartic.

I haven't tried Lords of the Fallen because DS2 and Demon's Souls was enough for me. I don't really like the DS gameplay formula as much as I like the world and tone of the DS games. Playing a DS clone with a less interesting aesthetic doesn't seem like it would appeal to me.

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The_Ruiner

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Edited By The_Ruiner • 

@thatpinguino said:

@the_ruiner: I agree that blocking is the worst, but have you ever considered using a huge club? Like a ludicrously big club.

I have a fist that lets me throw Street Fighter Hadokens... And a dragon punch....so I'm good.

...The anvil on a stick is pretty great though...

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thatpinguino

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thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@the_ruiner: Is that a special set of fists or do you just eventually unlock those moves from the regular fist weapons?

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Slag

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Slag • 

@thatpinguino said:

..

I haven't tried Lords of the Fallen because DS2 and Demon's Souls was enough for me. I don't really like the DS gameplay formula as much as I like the world and tone of the DS games. Playing a DS clone with a less interesting aesthetic doesn't seem like it would appeal to me.

playing LotF right now, I'd say you made the definite right choice then. The game is incredibly deliberately creatively derivative of Dark Souls (they even have estus flasks) and where it isn't their changes are dramatically for the worse (especially the characters , goodness gracious are they bad).

Deck 13 makes games I enjoy despite perhaps the absolute worst writing in modern games. I don't think it's just a translation issue, their plots and dialogue are really a special kind of terrible.

So the appeal of the game is exactly what you didn't like about Dark Souls. The poke and prod, methodical combat and exploration. That LotF does reasonably well.

Man you've got a knack for finding ways to cheese games. You ever try your mental approach with multiplayer games like Starcraft?

Neat video man! Didn't figure you for a DS player.

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thatpinguino

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thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@slag: I guess i'll stay away from Lords of the Fallen then. Thanks for the heads up.

I have taken it to Starcraft before, but the Zerg Rush is a pretty well known strategy unfortunately. My personal favorite cheese strategy that I've found is in Magic the Gathering. I have a pet deck that is capable of effectively winning on turn 1 in a format where turn 3 is considered the fastest possible win. The deck is basically a cardboard fabrege egg, but when it works its glorious.

I'm not much of a DS player truth be told. I just consider myself a student of game design and there are a bunch of good game design lessons in the Souls games. Almost everything about those games seem antithetical to mainstream success, but they clearly have some secret sauce that makes them attractive.

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imsh_pl

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imsh_pl • 

Yeah, that's not actually that uncommon of a build :p Basically when you play a no shield melee character you rely on dodging anyway as armor isn't really that good in the game and you can use the stats you would've put into equip load for other things.

Also, putting your points into strength at very high levels has very diminishing returns (like single digit damage per hit), I would say there is little reason to go over 60.

I also noticed you have your agility at 98. You should really put like two levels into adaptibility since 100 agility is a sweet spot because you get additional invincibility frames when you dodge.

Have you had any luck with this build in PvP (player versus player) or is it strictly PvE (player versus engine)?

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thatpinguino

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thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@imsh_pl: I made this build when the game just came out and this was my only run through DS 2 so I wasn't sure what each of the stats actually did. I think there was still debate about what adaptability did for you and how much you needed back then. I just kept forcing strength because, like I said in the video, I found the difference between a 2 hit kill and a 3 hit kill to be huge for me. So since I knew no other way to increase my damage output I just kept dumping points into strength.

I had a lot of success in PvP because everyone I encountered underestimated me. I could 2-3 shot players and could stagger them with one full heavy combo so they would get to close and then die before they knew what hit them. Also my character was fast enough to just play cat and mouse with just about anyone. The hit area on the heavy spin on the club is just huge and my explody ring prevented people from standing over me after hitting me.

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49th

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49th • 

I love using characters like this. I've never gone quite so extreme with it but I definately prefer to focus on rolling and mobility over tanking damage. I played Dark Souls 1 with the Zweihander which was a slow but powerful weapon, using a shield at first but I eventually just ended up 2-handing all the time once I got good at dodging. In DS 2 I wanted to use faster weapons so ended up using dual katanas. I realised that armour is really not that useful in this game, so pretty much just used whatever armour looked cooler and only used a shield for the first few tries of a new enemy or boss to figure out their attacks.

I'm glad Bloodborne is focusing more on the dodging aspect and I feel pretty well equipped to be good at the game from the start.

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thatpinguino

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@49th: Yeah I used the Zweihander when I played a bit of DS. It seems like the run around and whack stuff approach works a bit better in DS2 from my experience. Though it might just be my increased skill level.

I don't know what to think of Bloodborne. I don't really like the gameplay of DS all that much, but the level design, enemy design, and tone are top notch. If Bloodborne carries those elements over I might need to check it out.

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Justin258

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Edited By Justin258  Online • 

@aetheldod: I've seen plenty of people go the no block/ hit hard route, but I haven't seen too many people combine that with running around naked. I see more people use the Vinny tactic from Dark Souls: get huge armor and then trade blows and hope you are the last one standing. Either way the adaptability of the combat in Dark Souls is pretty incredible for how clunky and poor it seems at first glance.

I actually played a decent chunk of Dark Souls II with naught but my skivvies and two Greatswords. Eventually I did put some clothes on, but I never let my equip load go above seventy percent. Gotta have that roll.

I'm playing through it again and leaving the shield equipped.

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bceagles128

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Edited By bceagles128 • 

I have the platinum and something like 300 hours in DS2 at this point and I think my favorite build is the glass cannon caster, with hexes as primary and sorceries and miracles as secondary. No shield, dual wielding catalysts with hexer's hood with lion mage set, aesthetic the Skeleton Lords and the Scorpioness for the +2 casting rings. Blocking and armor are pointless if you put enough points into adaptability that you have sufficient iframes to roll through any attack. Meanwhile, you can kill the majority of bosses in like 10-20 seconds. I three hit killed the Darklurker the other night by simply soul geysering her as soon as she starts to split. Also, if you want the sunlight spear, I always find it amusing to kill the host's boss in a couple of seconds.

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thatpinguino

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thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@bceagles128: That build sounds fun, but it sounds like it requires a lot more knowledge than I possess. I prefer club magic.

@believer258: I tried two handing a greatsword, but the scaling was only c or b with strength and the heavy attack was very finicky for me. Plus the greatsword heavy combo is only 2 hits instead of 3. I can't imagine what dual wielding greatswords naked looks like though. That sounds like the gimmick for a Naruto villain or something.

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Justin258

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Justin258  Online • 

@thatpinguino: It looks fucking ridiculous, which is exactly why I wanted to play that way.

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Jazz_Lafayette

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Edited By Jazz_Lafayette • 

I went with a sword 'n' staff combo for the back half of the game. There was a decent light shield equipped, too, but it was just too much of a hassle for my lazy ass to swap around every time I needed to cast a hex. The build necessitated lighter armor for the added evasion, which meant that I ended up being fairly fragile. It definitely keeps you on your toes to play that way.

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thatpinguino

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@jack_lafayette: I think being light really highlights some of the dumber aspects of the Dark Souls AI. If you are light enough to outrun all of the enemies then you can always kite enemies to their max range and then kill then as they back-peddle back to their spawn point. If you actually go toe to toe with an enemy then you are definitely on edge with a light character.

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Justin258

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Edited By Justin258  Online • 

@thatpinguino said:

@bceagles128: That build sounds fun, but it sounds like it requires a lot more knowledge than I possess. I prefer club magic.

@believer258: I tried two handing a greatsword, but the scaling was only c or b with strength and the heavy attack was very finicky for me. Plus the greatsword heavy combo is only 2 hits instead of 3. I can't imagine what dual wielding greatswords naked looks like though. That sounds like the gimmick for a Naruto villain or something.

I know this post is from a little while ago, but I just checked on Dark Souls II and the Greatsword had an S next to the strength scaling.

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Savage

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Savage • 

@thatpinguino said:

@bceagles128: That build sounds fun, but it sounds like it requires a lot more knowledge than I possess. I prefer club magic.

@believer258: I tried two handing a greatsword, but the scaling was only c or b with strength and the heavy attack was very finicky for me. Plus the greatsword heavy combo is only 2 hits instead of 3. I can't imagine what dual wielding greatswords naked looks like though. That sounds like the gimmick for a Naruto villain or something.

I know this post is from a little while ago, but I just checked on Dark Souls II and the Greatsword had an S next to the strength scaling.

To be precise, the Greatsword starts out at C scaling with strength when unupgraded and improves up to S scaling once upgraded to +9 or higher.

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thatpinguino

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Edited By thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 
@savage said:
@believer258 said:

@thatpinguino said:

@bceagles128: That build sounds fun, but it sounds like it requires a lot more knowledge than I possess. I prefer club magic.

@believer258: I tried two handing a greatsword, but the scaling was only c or b with strength and the heavy attack was very finicky for me. Plus the greatsword heavy combo is only 2 hits instead of 3. I can't imagine what dual wielding greatswords naked looks like though. That sounds like the gimmick for a Naruto villain or something.

I know this post is from a little while ago, but I just checked on Dark Souls II and the Greatsword had an S next to the strength scaling.

To be precise, the Greatsword starts out at C scaling with strength when unupgraded and improves up to S scaling once upgraded to +9 or higher.

I gave up on the greatsword before I could upgrade it to the point where it's scaling was worth it. Plus I hated the heavy two handed animations on that thing. I found it really hard to hit with consistently.

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Justin258

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Justin258  Online • 

@thatpinguino: Fair enough, I didn't know it started at c.

I can understand disliking the way it handles, though I got used to it and am fine with it. I've been using bows more on this playthrough, though.

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The_Ruiner

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Edited By The_Ruiner • 

@the_ruiner: Is that a special set of fists or do you just eventually unlock those moves from the regular fist weapons?

Special fist in the Ivory King DLC

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thatpinguino

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thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@the_ruiner: Well I guess I'll never see those then. I have a hankering to playthrough the game again with no weapons and no armor to see if that is possible. I could see the multi-enemy bosses being a real problem though with how slow the punch animations are.

@believer258: Trust me, I wanted to use the giant stupid sword pretty darn bad. I just had too many deaths from the heavy missing in increasingly infuriating ways.

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The_Ruiner

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Edited By The_Ruiner • 

@thatpinguino said:

@the_ruiner: Well I guess I'll never see those then. I have a hankering to playthrough the game again with no weapons and no armor to see if that is possible. I could see the multi-enemy bosses being a real problem though with how slow the punch animations are.

Join the covenant of champions. there's a ring that makes your fists behave like a fist weapon and they're really strong. Be sure to use the power stance though.

http://darksouls2.wiki.fextralife.com/Company+of+Champions

I was on my way to getting that. But then i'd have to give up my Hadouken...

Also the DLC is really good.

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thatpinguino

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thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@the_ruiner: That sounds too much like a conventional way to play. I wanna see if you can win without anything. No rings. No armor. No weapons. Just items and wit and anger.

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imsh_pl

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Edited By imsh_pl • 

I did remember I had that great club and picked it up again for my STR build, it's been pretty fun. Right now I'm alternating between it and the mastodon halberd (spin2win).

I also really love playing as a naked dude with naught but a giant weapon but I've found that my difficulties with DS are never not dodging, they are always dying in a confined space. So I usually sword and board (or club and board) in PvP but I do enjoy my magic Havel shield+halberd for PvE.

@thatpinguino said:

@the_ruiner: That sounds too much like a conventional way to play. I wanna see if you can win without anything. No rings. No armor. No weapons. Just items and wit and anger.

If you've fought about it, Lobos has done it:

Loading Video...

(he technically has the robes but they are pretty much exclusively for more souls)

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thatpinguino

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thatpinguino  Staff  Online • 

@imsh_pl: Well damn that's impressive. It also looks super tedious so no thanks to that.