Critique of Critique for Matthew Matosis on DkS2

If you are reading this post in 2022 or later, please be aware this post was written *6 years ago*. I don’t care about Matthewmatosis. I haven’t commented on anything he’s done in the half-decade since I wrote this. I haven’t even watched it. He might have gotten better according to my weird-ass standard during that time!

I have been developing a critical theory of game design on this blog, all by myself, not involving criticism of other creators. Please read something else! I have written HUNDREDS of posts that are more interesting than this.

Matthew Matosis did a critique of Dark Souls 2. He normally calls his videos Reviews rather than Critiques. I think this is a fair example why, because when he tries to critique, it calls on something that isn’t normally exercised in a review, and he struggles with that. For the record, I think Dark Souls 2 is the weakest Souls game, but by no means a bad game. My replies are numbered more or less randomly. Replies ordered relative to time in the video, so if one of them doesn’t make sense.

1. Miyazaki never said that difficulty was never the point, he’s always taken the stance that he does not think of the games as difficult, he thinks of them as rewarding. You made up all this crap about the difficulty just being there to pull you into the world. Take your immersion ideology to a different series, this is not what the developers have stated. Miyazaki’s only statement on bringing characters into the world is how he writes the item descriptions himself, and how he more or less makes things up to make the world seem like there’s more to it. He also said that he made up so many ways to die because he’s a masochist and he imagines himself dying in those ways.

2. It doesn’t seem like they were asking how to make the fights harder, since most of the fights are very consistent with the difficulty curve present in dark souls 1. The only difference is that most of the “cheese” strategies for dealing with enemies were done away with or had specific counters built in for them. Even when multiple enemies are introduced for a boss fight, each individual enemy in those fights is given a lot more holes in their offensive pattern to allow the player opportunities to hit the other enemies present in the fight. The most obvious example of this is the dragon rider boss fights. In the first one, he has a very easy pattern to avoid and punish, and they compensate for that by making his boss arena so small so that the fight will be challenging, that way when there are two dragon riders they won’t be overbearing on the player and give the player opportunities to hit both of them.

3. “If you can’t make it good, make it difficult by adding more stuff” What is making it good? One of my favorite situations in the original dark souls was the rare times when a ton of enemies could get crowded around a player, like in the undead burg in some areas, or the opening room to the Duke’s Archives after going up the first elevator. Isn’t this indirectly saying that using multiple enemies is an illegitimate means of making an encounter interesting?

4. The Belfry Gargoyles have new models, new animation rigs, new weapons, new attack animations, and entirely new attacks, as well as being less aggressive, having a different HP mechanic than the originals, and having shorter ranged weapons. You might as well say the original maneater fight was lazy and call it a day if you’re going to call this fight or any other fight with multiple enemies lazy.

5. I disagree that the mechanics of the Souls games are built for one on one fights. Citing that the camera will lock onto whatever enemy is locked onto is a poor argument. It’s acting like there is a lock on system in some other free camera game that seriously doesn’t lock the camera onto whatever enemy is locked on (I can’t name any, can you?). By this metric, you might as well say that Bayonetta, DMC4, and Metal Gear Rising are not built for combat with multiple enemies because they all have free cameras that lock onto enemies when you are locking onto those enemies, and the Souls games have always had better cameras for dealing with many enemies than MGR and Bayonetta did.

6. The slow attack animations aren’t evidence for being built for one on one engagements, you have a variety of moves after all with large horizontal or forwards ranges capable of hitting multiple enemies. Neither is them being uninterruptable during their startup period, most games don’t allow you to cancel attack startup. They even let you change their direction on a dime with the heaviest weapons in the game right before you start to swing. If that’s not evidence they wanted you to change to slash other enemies around you, then I don’t know what is.

7. For the Prowling Magus fight, the caster enemies all have huge breaks between when they cast spells so that you have opportunities to hit the other enemies. Being aware of offscreen enemies is a common skill in the Souls games and 3d action games in general. Can the fight where the Channeler casts spells down at you while you fight the Gaping Dragon be considered a poor fight for the same reason? What about the opening of 4-1 in Demon’s Souls where you have to fight 1 or 2 silver skeletons up close while an archer shoots from a range? Or the part after that where you fight more silver skeletons with 2 archers? You have audio cues that the priests are casting, and even on a heavy melee character, your swings are faster than the caster’s spellcasts. The game is giving you fair opportunities to beat it, and all you want to do is complain because you can’t deal with being challenged a bit more in one skillset that they have already challenged you with before in the past.

8. For the Dragonrider fight, the first half of the battle is the easiest part. It’s a question of timing. The Archer Dragonrider fires at periodic intervals with a bit of variance. If you keep track of those intervals, you’ll know when he is going to fire. Additionally, the AI in dark souls 2 for archers got tuned up a lot with them firing a lot more predictively, and arrows no longer homing to hit the player anymore like in previous souls games, this tuned up AI was removed in the dragonrider fight, allowing the player to always avoid the arrows as long as they are moving around the archer when an arrow is fired. And again, you have sound cues that you can react to. I did that fight without EVER looking at the archer, and in the majority of my attempts to beat them, I had the archer at my back with the red dragonrider in the corners closest to the door. I made a video demonstrating this. You didn’t try to find a solution, and are blaming the game for it.

9. That’s not the only strategy. In the throne watcher/throne defender fights, both of them are programmed with lulls in their attack patterns that allow you to punish the other one’s attacks if you can read the situation well. The main challenge in MOST dark souls and souls game fights is not losing your cool and doing something risky and punishable before the end, even versus single enemy bosses. You taking the slow and boring way out doesn’t make the fights slow and boring, it’s symptomatic of your playstyle and inability to adapt.

10. The tracking from enemies isn’t an unnecessary degree, it’s enough to counter the ability of players to simply circle strafe bosses. It’s still possible to circlestrafe many bosses, ironically The Rotten, which you chose to show during this clip is hilariously¬† easy because of it’s poor tracking and the boss not having any answer to you simply going behind it. That and the tracking on enemy attacks existed in EVERY souls game. Additionally, the player can do the same bloody thing and has been able to in every souls game. This one even made it so you can do that during lockon with heavy weapons! You can do it to the same degree the bosses can, and it’s an important tactic for countering backstabbers in PvP and always has been.

Bosses SHOULD have movesets that rely on tracking the player in such a way, it’s only consistent with the rest of the goddamn series. Additionally, that you choose to show you lazily circle strafing around abjucator during this segment is pretty telling that you don’t want the bosses to be able to deal with circle strafing, you want to be able to repeat the strategies you’ve always used.

The turtle enemies aren’t a good example of this, they’re designed fine. The whole point of the tracking is to make it so that if you want to safely strafe to the side of the enemy instead of dodging their attacks, you will need to work harder to get a hit to their vulnerable flanks or backside. Meaning, you actually need to FIGHT THE ENEMIES more instead of relying on what has been the safest strategy in the previous souls games. They decided to make the timing tighter so you can’t get free backstabs or flank hits. That the turtles have an attack to counter attacks to the back isn’t the clincher, it’s just another part of making an interesting enemy instead of an easily abused one.

“The challenge here should have been this thing that I am making up” No, the challenge here is whatever the challenge is.

11. You’re conveniently ignoring the forest hunters, which were a group of 4 or so enemies all placed close together, and all difficult for that level. Also the cats in the forest, the giant stone soldiers, and the giant guards in and around Anor Londo, at least 4 of which you have to go directly past (groups of 2 smaller giants and 2 larger giants + an archer). Or the various silver knights in Anor Londo rooms that were grouped together. Or the white demons outside. Or the crystal skeletons in the duke’s archives, giant skeletons and skeleton dogs in tomb of the giants, T-Rex butts in Lost Izalith (though those were kind of bullshit), Crystal Golems and the Hydra in Dark Root Basin, the Anor Londo archers, and probably others I am overlooking. There are plenty of examples of Dark Souls 2 putting you into a situation with many enemies. You’re choosing to ignore them to slam what I think was one of the best level design philosophy changes in Dark Souls 2.

Even more irritating is how you say Dark Souls 2 haphazardly places strong enemies like that, when showing the mastodons outside Drangleic Castle, somehow ignoring that you could very well run past them, and that Anor Londo had almost exactly the same setup, except the giant enemies weren’t petrified when you first pass them. And you say it encourages players to use cheap tactics instead of playing fair, like there’s an implicit notion of fair play to begin with or like you can’t play fair in these situations too. That’s a load of bullshit, they have the multiple enemies there to discourage you from using different cheap tactics and to play fair by fighting them straight up rather than cheesing individual encounters. That you fell back on other cheap tactics (which are in the other Souls games and are even MORE viable in the other Souls games, because ranged attacks now cost stamina and enemies have further follow distances) isn’t a good critique of their multiple enemy policy. Backing off and firing at the AI from a range almost never happened in my playthroughs, that you had to resort to it is again more of a statement about you than about the game.

12. I don’t get how you can say that players were driven to Demon’s Souls by having to play the level over again when there was no shortcut because it was hard and fair, then point out the exact same thing in dark souls 2, like “and here are all these enemies here you have to fight to get back to the boss, why put these in if you know most players are going to skip it” Can’t you ask that question of Demon’s Souls? Dark Souls too? I did skip most of the enemies on second playthroughs of levels. In replaying Dark Souls, I skip most enemies on first playthroughs of levels. You make no effort here to explain what isn’t challenging or isn’t fair about the enemies before the Velstadt or Looking Glass Knight boss fights, nor do you explain how the same can’t be said about literally any demon’s souls level. Let me twist one of your sentences: “There is no sense of progress in Demon’s souls, slowly making your way through the level fighting the same enemies seven times, so you’re more likely to just run through it” In what way is this more applicable to Dark Souls 2 than Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls 1? They function near identically.

Then you advocate for sticking the bonfire right next to the damn fog door to “save everyone the hassle.” Come on, you just talked about how the runbacks were a big part of Demon’s Souls, isn’t this again advocating for a game where you have to play the game and deal with the gameplay challenges less?

“This isn’t level design, it’s tedious, lazy, and frustrating” Then it was in Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls too. In Dark Souls you have Runbacks of equal duration (including enemies) to the ones you listed for Artorias, Gargoyles, Taurus Demon, Moonlight Butterfly, Sif, Quelaag, Manus, Capra Demon, Iron Golem (if you don’t find the hidden bonfire), Ornstein and Smough, Seath, Nito, Pinwheel, Firesage demon, four kings, priscilla, and gwyn. The list of bosses where you don’t have a runback for is shorter.

In Demon’s souls, there are a large number of runbacks too, I’m not going to run down the list for all of them. You’re acting like a lot of your criticisms are uniquely applicable to Dark Souls 2 and not any other Souls game and not backing them with a reasoning that would apply universally.

13. I don’t mind the criticisms of the story. I agree with most of them. A lot of the game feels really purposeless, and the big characters in the mythology don’t fit together at all.

14. The answer to the lot of the whining about suspension of disbelief is, stop suspending your damn disbelief. This is part of the reason I was so skeptical of your Wonderful 101 review, and why I wouldn’t trust any review you did of Devil May Cry 3 or 4, or a fighting game. A lot of your critique comes from a useless perspective of suspension of disbelief over near everything else. Part of what I like so much about the souls series is how unconcerned it is with that compared to the western RPGs it was inspired by and how it places the emphasis on the gameplay systems.

15. Please tell me how on earth you got back up to the top of Stonefang Tunnel from the Flamelurker boss fight. I’m stumped.

16. WHAAAAT? Dark Souls did a worse job in building the world than Demon’s Souls? Are you kidding me? Dark Souls has huge incentives to go to all the alternate paths available at the start and allows access to almost the entire game world without killing any bosses. There are useful items, way more useful items, littered around everywhere and it lets players approach the world with a freedom that is unparalleled by demon’s souls’ five linear levels. Where Demon’s souls has 5 bosses open to you at the start, after the tutorial in dark souls you could fight any one of 9 different bosses without defeating even a single boss beforehand, and without picking the master key. I have issues with Dark Souls 2’s level structure, but claiming that Demon’s Souls did it remotely better than Dark Souls is insulting to Demon’s Souls, the same way you claim comparisons to dark souls 2 are insulting to Demon’s Souls. There is way more freedom in Dark Souls on subsequent playthroughs than demon’s souls ever had.

17. The largest issues with the grass were really that the grass had a super short use time, making it extremely safe to heal in combat situations, where in dark souls, taking a swig of estus or humanity was frequently as risky as outright attacking many bosses. Dark Souls 2 makes the various healing animations even longer, and has a clear balance of risk versus reward for them. The estus animation is over quicker, but in the walkup beforehand, you move much slower and are rooted in place while drinking. With the various life gems and other items, they take a lot longer before you can block or dodge, but can walk around slowly for their whole duration. That and humanity wasn’t uncommon in Dark Souls 1, you could farm it just as easily as grass in Demon’s Souls. Also the regeneration ring is horribly useless, are you kidding me by even bringing that up?

18. So wait, you have suspension of disbelief problems with tracking, but not with invincibility frames?

19. Your problem is that the covenants don’t explain themselves? My problem was that most covenants didn’t really offer any sane rewards or fit into the gameplay style of the game very well in Dark Souls 1. This was clearly revised and works a lot better in Dark Souls 2.

10 thoughts on “Critique of Critique for Matthew Matosis on DkS2

  1. UncannyOne June 27, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    “Miyazaki is fucking jacking off into my mouth and I hate Matthewmatosis for hating my perfect little game Dark Souls 2….”


    • Plutobone June 28, 2016 / 12:38 am

      How mature.

      He said it was the weakest of the souls series. He’s posted a huge list of problems with dark 1 which is often considered the best of the series so if he’ll point out the flaws of that one then how is he saying DS 2 is perfect? He’s just pointing out where he thinks Matt’s critique is wrong.

      Stop whining because someone criticized Matthew. He’s not as great as everyone hypes him up as.


  2. UncannyOne June 27, 2016 / 10:44 pm

    That’s you by the way.


  3. KRobins March 30, 2017 / 7:02 am

    whilst i feel like you are largely correct with your response to M’s work. I feel like some of your criticism is off. so im gonna respond to your response.

    1. with points i have nothing to say from now i am just gonna not include. i felt i should atleast mention this.

    2. your point seems inconsistent here. you start by mentioning how they remove cheese from most enemies but i’d honestly like to know which enemies (apart from the turtle knights mentioned later) that you can honestly say there is an anti cheese built into the enemy. in my experience with the game most of the anti cheese is built into the environment and forcing you to fight in chokes or risky positions, (see scorpioness najka’s sand, see the corridors in the sunken crown, see the tar/fire pits in the black gulch) and where they haven’t tried to counter with environment they have just added more enemies in order to make the ‘easy strats’ harder to execute. i cant even count the number of times that ill be hit by a bog standard hollow’s long chain attack simply because it interrupted an attack i swung on another bog standard hollow. Its not bad design in the sense that it doesnt work because it does. but it deduces from the game because the way that the AI functions means that unless you know the exact deadzones for each enemies action resolution scripts its really hard to get the ‘downtime’ to happen. leading to long extended boring fights across the board. the way they dealt with the player’s inbuilt ability to cheese 1v1 is fine. adding more enemies isnt ‘cheap’. its less interesting than building interesting enemies see turtle knights. but its not bullshit.

    3. like i implied above. 2 of the same enemy is more interesting than one of those enemies. but less interesting than 1 interestingly designed enemy. we can clearly see that the souls games thus far use multiple enemies when their enemy design is forced to be standard (see the hollows in the parish) but when we get interesting enemies we tend to fight 1v1.(the black mace knights in the undead parish, the bush headed things in the garden. the headless black statue things. the fire whip bug things from blighttown. (its at this point i would like to add that this information is not completely fresh in my mind. im commenting rather than writing a bog after all so if i am cherry picking feel free to point out what im missing and ill reevaluate.) but it feels as though dark souls 2 swapped out a lot of their really interesting enemies for more humanoid enemies and supplemented their ability to create interesting unexpected fight sequences buy adding in more enemies. thus making the range of things that could be happening at any one point increased because there are two enemies making actions.

    let’s face it any enemy that doesnt look humanoid is likely to have a far more interesting move-set and impact on a fight than a humanoid enemy. and having two guys swinging swords is not as interesting as fighting a basilisk or a titanite demon to name an example.

    3.5 its at this point that we need to make reference to the fact that all the games up to now have used the increasing the amount of things that the player has to deal with in order to augment difficulty method. you deal with the sparsely placed knights in the burg and parish and then multiple in anor londo and the exclusively the knights in the kiln. its a common thing and all my criticism is more to do with the range of enemies and the effect that has on the fights rather than the amount of them. and the effect that has on difficulty. i find no issue with having more stuff to deal with.

    5. i would argue that your attacks not being cancelable makes 1vmany fights less fair on the 1. as due to the methodical slow animations, the difficulty in retrieving health, and on top of that the new rolling system meant that most players will be playing with fewer iframes in their rolls meant that whilst the mechanics are not inherently bad for 1vmany the changes that were made were not necessarily in the direction of making them more manageable.

    m has a point in the idea that this version of the souls mechanics makes it harder to deal with 1vmany. but then the real question becomes… so? maybe that’s exactly what they should be because the game focuses more on multiple enemy encounters. the dark souls mechanics made it easier to fight 1vmany because the real challenge they were testing in dark souls was the players ability to deal with hard hitting single enemies with challenging move-sets. and the mechanics were more punishing on that. the quick heal doesnt really help if the enemy can do insane damage. the quick roll doesnt help if the main method of damage is punishing badly timed attacks or whatnot.

    but you also have a point that the things he points out are bullshit examples of what he’s saying.

    6. i fear i may have misunderstood something here. are you saying that you can change the direction of an attack after attacking? or are you saying that before you attack you have the option of doing something else. because the latter seems like a pretty pointless statement to make. before i got on the train i had the option of not being on the train. but apart from the clarification ive already voiced my opinion on your opinion of his opinion and point 6 is an extension of 5. so to the next one!

    7.yup. although again i would like to mention the idea that with multiple enemy fights. the fights are drawn out. so even though having another enemy doesnt mechanically make the fights any worse. it can 100% affect the way we play them and that is something that needs to be considered in design. there (in my opinion) is not much wrong with the throne defenders fight. i liked it. APART from how long i had to wait before i dice rolled a situation in which both enemies were in sync for long enough to have an opening.

    9. see above. all tactics take longer when there are multiple enemies and in a game where one mistake can and oft does mean death then its 100% expected that fighting multiple will take longer than fighting one and thus it can become tedious.

    11. yup. but also i dont think that the linearity of dark souls 2 is a great philosophy change. this can be argued and is opinion. but later on you go to exclaim how dark souls 1 is great because of the variety of stuff available to you on start. and comparing that to dark soul’s 2’s measly linear offerings. its clearly not a great change. but either way that is me straying off the point of this bullet point.

    12. yup but again the whole multiple fights can become tedious thing.

    16. i think you made an error in this paragraph because it doesnt entirely make sense. but yeah world and level design (if im understanding you correctly) comparisons of dark souls 2 to demons souls is insulting to demons souls. comparisons of dark souls to demons souls is insulting to dark souls. so effectively ds2<demons<dark. altho im not sure why this is relevant at all to dark souls 2. mat makes the comparison that dark souls 2's linearity is similar to demon's souls hub and level system. and to a point he's correct. whether or not this is worse again depends on who's opinion it is. but in my opinion becoming more linear in worse in games like this.

    17 see 5. also you dont get massive reward for the massive risk of healing in ds2. you get significantly less reward due to healing being an over time thing. HOWEVER you get way more healing available to you. so they are balancing effectiveness with availability not risk with reward.

    19 i believe his specific complaint was in regards to the champions covenant which was placed in a really stupid place. that should have been the spot for the sunbros or the way of the blue or something that isnt going to fuck with the gameplay right off the bat. the champs covenant should have been somewhere less obvious and clearly designed to get unwitting people to join it. maybe in a path off the rotunda or something. but yes covenants where better. but also yeah the champs covenant was placed really badly for the amount of impact it has on a new players game.


    • Chris Wagar March 30, 2017 / 10:14 am

      2. Most enemies turn faster in response to you circling around them. And instead of backstabs activating instantly, you have a startup where you need to punch them first. This means that you cannot circle strafe them and backstab as easily as in the first game. Enemies additionally had longer follow distances before they deaggro’d, making it harder to run past enemies. Also enemies were placed directly in your way using tight hallways to make running past them even more tough, and fog doors were given a vulnerability period before you pass through them, so that if you have enemies on your tail, you can’t just iframe through the fog door, now attempting to open fog doors is a significant commitment, requiring you to clear out the enemies around you first. And parrying was given a startup time to make it more difficult. Plus multiple enemy encounters made going for any of these strategies even less desirable over a straight up fight. All these things together helped to minimize a lot of the ways people cheesed enemies in the first game. These are all still viable tactics, just they’re no longer the one thing you can repeat over and over again to win any encounter.

      Versus multiple enemies, you can make your own dead zones by attacking pre-emptively, by spacing yourself so that some enemies are further from you than others, and their comrades are blocking their path to you, so you sandwich the enemy you want to hit between the enemy trying to attack you, and hit them with the edge of your weapon.

      “2 of the same enemy is more interesting than one of those enemies. but less interesting than 1 interestingly designed enemy.”

      Okay, so why not pair up 2 interesting enemies? Which Dark Souls 2 did, a lot. It paired up amana sorceresses with creepy crawly things, and with humanoid defenders. It paired up tons of ghosts. It paired up a platoon of soldiers in the undead crypt. It paired up mastodons and a ton of royal knights outside drangleic castle. It paired up enemies all over the place. It paired up enemies of different types, of different specialties, with different environments. There were ranged enemies mixed with melee, different types of melee mixed together, etc.

      And Dark Souls 1 did this too. The very first time you encounter manserpents in Sen’s Fortress, there’s two of them. The only time in the entire game you encounter the cat enemy, there’s 3 of them, same for the frograys. There’s a bunch of enemies piled on top of each other all over the DLC. At the bottom of blighttown, you fight a group of fire bugs just as you exit the plank area, plus as you fight assorted firebugs throughout the poison swamp, there’s giant mosquitos that come after you.

      I mean, are you complaining about a lack of enemy diversity here? Like dark souls 2 didn’t have enough enemy types so they just used multiple a lot? Dark Souls 2 had 130 different enemy types. Dark Souls 1 had 89. Bloodborne had 66. Demon’s Souls had 39.

      Are you saying that multiple enemies should never be used? That multiple enemies should only ever be used on the most basic enemy types?

      “thus making the range of things that could be happening at any one point increased because there are two enemies making actions.”
      This is why fighting two enemies is fun. Because there’s a much bigger range of things that can happen, and your easy cheese strategies don’t work anymore. You need to think in terms of fighting both enemies at once, which means spacing yourself so you can hit them, and they can’t hit you. So you either find the dead zones and attack them after they attack, or you attack pre-emptively to try to put the stun on them before they can fuck you up. You can try to separate them so they’re less effective, or group them so you can hit them all at once. You can use one of them to block the path of another. Multiple enemy combat opens up all these possibilities, but you’re arguing that it should only be used in the most basic of situations.

      5. If it were cancellable, then timing your attacks would be trivial. Think about it, the whole concept of souls is you need to commit to your attacks. If you could cancel your attacks mid-swing, then you could mash the button and press dodge as soon as an enemy raises their weapon up and be safe. In multiple enemy combat, the trick is finding where you can swing and still be safe. The trick is being aware of all around you, remembering where enemies are, and when they will swing.

      Souls is suited perfectly find to multiple enemy encounters. There is no lack of fairness. You cannot be hit unless you make a mistake, same as in single enemy encounters. You choose when to attack, you choose when to dodge. You choose which enemy to focus and direction to block. Unfairness implies that you are not given enough information to make the correct choice, or that things can happen in which there is no correct choice, and you will always take damage. Neither of these things happen in multi-enemy combat. Multi-enemy combat is not unfair.

      6. When your character is doing the windup for an attack, you can actually spin your character in place before they attack. In Dark Souls 1, you were not allowed to do this while locked on (though you could just lock off and aim freely). In Dark Souls 2, they coded it so even while locked on you’re allowed to redirect your attack before you actually swung

      You can see this at 0:44 in this video, and many other times too.

      7. “there (in my opinion) is not much wrong with the throne defenders fight. i liked it. APART from how long i had to wait before i dice rolled a situation in which both enemies were in sync for long enough to have an opening.”

      Make an opening. Speedrunners fight 2v1 boss fights and kill them fast. You don’t have to wait wait wait until both of them are recovering from an attack. This is literally a case of git gud.

      16. Shrug. I wrote it weird. Not really important.

      19. It warns you that the covenant may set you on a harder path. And it means that repeat players like me don’t need to do anything else to get to it. I did covenant of champions my entire first playthrough and it was awesome. He still missed an opportunity to criticize something that was legitimately at fault.


      • KRobins March 30, 2017 / 8:22 pm

        the only real thing i have to say in return is that when the only option the game gives you is back up so you dont take damage. sure you can wait some more. but what kind of design is that shit. you are correct in the sense that not swinging and just backing up is always an option. and im even willing to admit that in the 1000 or so hours ive played of ds2 that there is a small margin of git gud with the throne defenders boss fight that i may have missed. But when a multi enemy fight constantly only gives me a ‘backup so you dont take damage’ choice then that’s just shitty design.

        i think it was stanley parable that made the point that not playing the game is always a choice within the game. And they have the ‘cupboard’ ending where you just choose to never leave the cupboard. and in dark souls we have the run backwards and dont take damage option. but what kind of a game is that? its fair becuse you always have an option. but that doesnt make it good design. you are too attatched to the idea that im telling you in some way that the combat is bad. Its good combat. its just not well tuned to the situations the game puts you in. and if we just take a fleeting glance at the other games we can see how this exact situation can be handled 10x better.

        like i said the hours ive spent in ds2 are quite a long time behind me. so yeah i just straight up didnt properly think through the enemy variation argument. although i stand by the argument that most of the enemy types are boring humanoids with similar patterns and that that wasnt particularily interesting. But basically yeah fair enough.

        ” If it were cancellable, then timing your attacks would be trivial. Think about it, the whole concept of souls is you need to commit to your attacks. If you could cancel your attacks mid-swing, then you could mash the button and press dodge as soon as an enemy raises their weapon up and be safe. In multiple enemy combat, the trick is finding where you can swing and still be safe. The trick is being aware of all around you, remembering where enemies are, and when they will swing.”

        you’re explaining this to me like i have never played a game before. I understand the ethos and how to do these things. I am not saying the game makes it impossible. see above. not impossible the design choices were just poor ones when paired with a game that has largely multi enemy combat.

        yeah okiedokes. That’s what i thought you meant i just wasnt too sure.

        again like i said earlier. i am completely willing to admit im not the best player. and definitely not the best boss fighter. but the boss isnt hard. i like the design. I like the enemy design i actually liked the boss then straight into another boss dealio. But the throne defenders rng and moveset is designed in such a way as that they often overlap. (obviously so that its hard) but they also do not have great sync points as to where i can exploit their moveset. which is effectively what dark souls combat is about. now dont get me wrong. its good that the AI covers the other boss. its however not well designed in the sense that the player could sit there for fucking ages because one boss is defending the other boss whilst his attack is on “cooldown”.

        another good example of this is the ruin sentinels. where basically every single guide and experienced player will tell you dont go into the main room. its do-able but its far more effective for the player to sit on the shelf and individually kill each sentinel ina 1v1. because that’s what the mechanics allow the player to do best. sometimes you cant get near a paused sentinel because a second or 3rd one will start the zoning spinning attack. which is good design. until it happens every time one has the down time.

        and again here i just wanna outline how stupid it is to point at speedrunning strats because again most of the strats revolve around exploiting and breaking the game to boost your damage and not ever fighting a multiple fight by just avoiding them and luring and fighting 1v1 instead. the game slowed the player down. made it harder to land reaction parries, made it harder to heal the constant chip damage you will take from the multiple enemies youll fight, they added more ambushes, more enemies in clusters, more puzzles which have you juking a group of enemies until they are weak enough to fight, made it harder to dodge due to lower i frames, made it harder to carry enough equipment to make sure you have every tool you need due to separating the stats out, they made it more punishing on death even though the rng nature of overwhelming fights means that more deaths will occur. Its pushing you to take the fights slower and more methodical and yet is barraging you with group after group of enemy, which have all had their weaknesses programmed out and all have increased aggro and chase abilities, it surrounds you with guys, pelts you with ranged, in an area with traps and then points at the healing crystal as your source of health. like yeah okay.” designed towards multiple enemy fights” with the state that its in. and the way ive watched so many people play it. the design forces you to disengage and reengage constantly giving you this really stunted sense of flow and balance and progress OR it forces you to glass cannon and hope the shit you wanna kill dies first. and then we look at bloodborne where the healing is quick, the rallying allows you to never have to disengage, the weapons have HUGE arcs allowing for crowd control, you move quickly meaning that you are mobile and able to create those oppurtunities to attack by outspacing your opponents, the parry is hard to hit, but QUICK and able to be performed reactionarily in order to allow you to reclaim control in an overwhelming situation. dark souls 2 doesnt give you these options. the dark souls 1 mechanics would have fared much better with dark souls 2’s enemy and encounter design. they tuned the players options to be more 1v1 whilst tuning the world to be more 1vmany.

        that is the point i’m trying to clumsily make.


        • Chris Wagar March 30, 2017 / 10:24 pm

          You do not always have to play the waiting game. You can weave through enemy formations and attack them directly. They leave openings and as I said, You can attack while they are attacking without getting hurt, if you position yourself well. I even gave an example of such a scenario. Backing up is not your only option. I mentioned speedrunners largely because they don’t have huge exploits for bosses in the dark souls series, they usually have to play it straight, just they run builds with huge amounts of damage, because gotta go fast. You can play the bosses by backing up forever until there’s a perfectly safe time to attack and just attacking once, but that’s not the only way to play. You do not need to wait forever. There are a lot of opportunities you are not taking advantage of because you’re waiting for the perfect time to counter attack. You can fight even single bosses this way and it is boring.

          People did not complain about Ornstein and Smough in Dark Souls 1. They were considered a highlight of the game. People do not complain about the Shadows of Yharnum. People don’t complain about all sorts of multiple boss and enemy fights all over the series, because they’ve always been there, but people seemingly only decided they were a bad thing in Dark Souls 2, where you’re given more tools to fight back against them, like attacking and dodging in any direction while locked on. You say, “They’re not REALLY hard” because you’re comparing multiple bosses to only 1 boss, and because you’re using only the most basic strategy against them. They tell you not to fight all 3 ruin sentinels at once because it’s harder. Wow. What a shocker. Lanchester’s laws work.

          The bosses are not going through perfectly timed cycles here where one attacks, the other covers the recovery, then back and forth. They leave plenty of gaps, and it’s entirely possible to be aggressive and kill them quickly.

          The design choices they made were limiting your ability to backstab, parry, circlestrafe, and run away. Notably, all the changes they made to the design were kept in Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3. Backstabs are even worse in Bloodborne, and they used better animation blending to make the high turn speeds on enemies less noticeable in dark souls 3, while keeping it the same as dark souls 2. If you have a problem with the design changes they made in Dark Souls 2, why not complain about them in Dark Souls 3 or Bloodborne? I mean, given the design changes they made to the core system, the only thing that’s significantly being nerfed here is your ability to backstab enemies or riposte enemies for iframes to ignore other enemy attacks. This isn’t necessary to fighting multiple enemies.

          In Dark Souls 1, you were invincible for honestly a ludicrous amount of time. 11 frames. In a 30FPS game. That’s 22 frames at 60fps. In Dark Souls 2, you’re slightly less invincible, and you can buy back the disparity in invincibility with stats. Plus in Dark Souls 2, you move a lot further during your roll than in dark souls 2, which can help you move further out of the way of attacks. And you are not constrained to rolling in 4 directions while locked on, instead you will roll in any direction.

          The healing in Bloodborne being quick was in my opinion a terrible idea compared to what all the Dark Souls games did.

          Weapons in Bloodborne do not have a significantly wider arc than in any other game in the series. You can pick weapons with a wide arc in Dark Souls 2. They exist and you can use them. I used the zweihander, which has a wider arc than any weapon in bloodborne for my entire first and second playthroughs. The startup on your gun parry in bloodborne takes just as long as parries do to start up in Dark Souls 2 and 3. I was just playing the game, you can’t bullshit me on that. Gunshots do not start instantly. Also you can “reaction parry” in every souls game. This isn’t a fighting game. No attack starts up in less than 10 frames (assuming 30fps). You always have enough time to react to an attack and time a parry. A few attacks have a startup of like 8-9 frames, which is the border of human reaction time, where you can only really dodge on reaction, but these are like, 1-3 attacks in the entire series (bloodborne has one of these on the giant axe enemies, he bashes you with his head super fast). About the only thing I can give you is that bloodborne is faster.

          You can deal with it. You have every tool you need. You do not need to play by only backing up forever until RNGesus gives you an opening.


  4. williamsallaway April 11, 2017 / 7:19 am

    2. dragonrider fight 2 wasnt as hard as those skinny gold knights, which is a better example of a bs mob boss

    3. multiple enemy fights would be fun if they are well structured (like how matthew describes in the video) or if ds2 didnt control like shit. control like shit means rolls feel sluggish, the invincibilty frames during roll are connected to a stat (but not expressed through he visuals of the roll) and weapon animations are too slow and short range to handle mobs.

    4. they are still a rehash of an old boss, and mob the player faster than in ds1 so being less aggressive was a necessity. If i versed the asylum demon in ds3 but he had a sword and did a slash combo i would still call it a rehash.

    6. if attacks are slow and interruptable by enemies, then it clearly feels terrible to fight multiple enemies, especially a group of swordsmen that can quickly attack you.

    10. watched a boss battle of the rotten recently and the boss seems to turn on axis during attacks, like a lot of ds2 bosses. if the player can just strafe around them, add elements to the battle to prevent that or add attack patterns to counter that. To compare, Nito had a huge area to strafe around him, but had attacks to counter that and a skeleton mob that the player would have to deal with before fighting him 1 on 1. The player should be allowed to circle strafe, but the bosses should be designed to counter that or at least move in a way that prevents strafing (or interrupts it)

    11. alot of the multiple fights described here from ds1 (forest hunters, the trees, the anor londo enemies) were far better than, say ds2. theforest hunters were meant to be overwhelming, you fucked with a covenant on their home turf, the game wants to punish you for being an idiot. the tree enemies arent that hard, the giants were slow and had large gaps between attacks, crystal golems were grouped so that you could kill them with the hydra blast (extremely obvious), besides that one pit filled with giant skeletons i feel you are exaggerating how hard nitos area was. cant remember the rest so will take your word on them.

    17. Just because it is harder to heal in ds2, the fact that you have almost limitless healing items makes it less of a risk to make mistakes. Even if you get hit while healing or before healing, if you survive you will have more chances to heal than you would have in ds1

    19. covenants don’t explain themselves, and stand out like a sore thumb in ds2. the devs knew we expected the covenants would be in the game and didnt care about how they were introduced.

    I think you are trying to defend a game that doesn’t really deserve to be defended. The bosses feel shallow and are far too easy, and can only challenge this by copy and pasting the boss and shoving the player in a small area (dragonrider boss, the three golden knights) and the final fight with the throne watchers is more punishing depending on your character (obviously) so i dont think its fair for example to tell a player using two hander swords that they should quickly attack in the lulls in attacks. Not really possible and will take forever. The spider boss is a semi decent mob fight but the little spiders could be more aggressive (the spider itself isnt much of a challenge)


    • Chris Wagar April 12, 2017 / 12:42 am

      2. In the Ruin Sentinels fight (skinny gold knights), you are given a chance to fight one of them all by themselves on the top platform before you drop down to fight the other two. Even after you drop down, there’s only one that drops down immediately, giving you a chance to weaken him before facing the last one. You don’t need to fight all 3 and you are given an introduction to the first one by itself so you can learn how it fights. There is nothing that is BS about this boss. I have beaten this boss on a no bonfires run using dual maces. They are hard. They are not “BS”. They are not unfair. Being hard is not a bad thing. If you think it is, then the souls games are not for you. If you think they are unfair, you will need a better argument.

      3. The multi-enemy fights in Dark Souls 2 are well structured. They mix enemy types. They use enemies with long range and close range attacks. They mix enemies that work well together, and place them effectively relative to the terrain. The roll has the same framedata that the roll in Dark Souls 1 does. The weapons have similar framedata to their dark souls 1 counterparts, most of the weapons are actually faster than Dark Souls 1 weapons, especially because many of the ultragreatswords in dark souls 1 had their speed nerfed in patch 1.17. (or earlier, I’m going from memory here). The weapons are not slow, they are not short range. You can use them perfectly fine. Most animations, including the walk speed of the character, are actually faster in dark souls 2 than dark souls 1.

      4. Who gives a shit? Does this mean the belfry gargoyles were a bad boss? Does this mean the maneaters were a bad boss? I don’t care if it’s a rehash. It’s somewhat disappointing from a presentation perspective, but it’s still a good boss. Also, Dark Souls 1 rehashed the asylum demon 3 times in the same game. Why is it okay when dark souls 1 copies the same boss 3 times (2 of them are perfectly identical), but horrible when dark souls 2 changes the fight significantly, including the attacks of the enemies, the number of them, and their healthbar mechanic? It’s a rehash, but it’s not a bad fight. It’s an interesting and fun fight in its own right, even if it’s a copy of an older interesting and fun fight, which itself was a copy of an even older interesting and fun fight.

      6. Every enemy in the game has slower attacks than the player. Almost every weapon is intentionally designed so it’s slightly faster than enemy attacks. Also, weapons in dark souls 2 are faster than they are in dark souls 1 on average. You can space your attacks, you can attack pre-emptively and almost always win by interrupting their attacks, and you have poise to armor through enemy attacks. Your attacks being slow and interruptible makes this harder, but the game being hard is not a bad thing. These constraints make it feel amazing to triumph over a group of enemies because of how carefully you need to think about each situation, unless you run away and kite like a pussy.

      10. Every boss in every single souls game turns on their axis. It’s literally how enemies in the souls engine work. Some have animations to cover it up better than others. Dark Souls 1 and Demon’s Souls had slower turning speeds than every later game in the series. Dark Souls 2 just has the problems of having animations that are still on par with Dark Souls 1. Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne have enemies turn just as fast as Dark Souls 2, but they cover it up better with animations thanks to an engine with more sophisticated animation blending. The Rotten, like every other enemy in the game, has a reduced turn speed while he is attacking. It is possible to get behind him. The player is allowed to circle strafe around enemies in dark souls 2, it’s just not as broken as it is in Dark Souls 1.

      11. I don’t understand why you don’t have a problem with the forest hunters here. Isn’t your problem that multiple enemies are overwhelming? Why grant them this special exception? Also, the mammoth enemies in dark souls 2 are slow and have large gaps between attacks, but Matthew criticized them for being grouped.

      Look at all the enemies at the entrance to the duke’s archives. There’s an archer, then a caster behind the archer, and you fight 2-3 enemies at all times through this hallway, and as you move forward, there’s more and more enemies that keep assaulting you.

      17. Yeah, having unlimited healing items in dark souls 2 was a fuckup. I totally agree. It was an even worse screwup in Demon’s Souls, where the healing items were unlimited, fast to use, and healed you quickly too. So you had all this full moon grass that could heal you to full instantly that you could just keep spamming. Dark souls 2 has the dignity to at least make it take a long time to use your unlimited healing item, and to make it take a long time for that healing item to actually heal you.

      19. They didn’t explain themselves in Dark Souls 1 either, and they continue to not explain themselves in dark souls 3. At least in Dark Souls 2 more than half the covenants actually work for a change, where dark souls 1, the majority of them were pointless and half baked (like princess guardian), having no interaction with the broader game (like chaos servant). And they fixed that annoying issue where you needed to watch the same animation like 30 to 80 times in a row to level up the covenant.

      I’m defending the game because people seem to think Dark Souls 2 is a bad game. It was a disappointing game, it made a ton of mistakes up and down the board, but it was by no fucking stretch of the imagination a bad game. It’s a game with great melee combat, a great variety of weapons and spells, a great variety of enemies, and level design that places enemies effectively, mixing them in groups that work well with each other.

      I think it’s COMPLETELY fair to tell that to people using two-hander swords. My first playthrough in every dark souls game I ALWAYS go for the heaviest ultragreatsword in the game, starting from a deprived. I played with the dragon bone smasher in Demon’s Souls. I played with the Greatsword in Dark Souls 2. I played with Ludwig’s Holy Sword in Bloodborne. I played with the cleaver, then the Greatsword again in Dark Souls 3. These weapons are great for fighting multiple enemies because of their massive range and high poise damage.

      I’ve done this in every souls game from the beginning, it’s the first way I play every game. You can do it. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible, and more importantly, it’s not unfair.

      If you want to seriously argue this, you’re going to need to make a case for why this is bad design, rather than just calling bosses “BS” because they’re too hard for you. Go back and fight the Capra Demon. You have every tool you need to succeed. You’re mad because the game being too hard for you is an insult to you as a person, and demanding the game be made easier for everyone, even though other people are up to that level of challenge. The game being hard is not a bad thing.

      In short, git gud.


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