Confession: I beat Dark Souls 3 by summoning in every boss fight and I'm not sorry | PCGamesN

Confession: I beat Dark Souls 3 by summoning in every boss fight and I'm not sorry

Dark Souls 3 co-op

I don’t care about your ridiculous Barbarian build. You can run around punching pregnant trees and sentient suits of armour to death wearing only a loin cloth and dodging every attack with scripted precision - sod off into NG+ or kindly leave a summon sign, just don’t look down on me for wanting to finish the game with my sanity intact.

For more gaming confessions, check out Phil’s tedious roleplaying tendencies.

I was once like you, a Dark Souls purist who graduated from the infuriatingly stoic Demon's Souls and felt they could eke even more challenge out of Miyazaki’s imaginings. Summons were for the weak, and only those who could complete the game on their own could truly fathom the transitory thrill of a victorious boss fight. How could they even say they beat a boss when all they did was just stand back and let someone better than them do the dirty deed? It was an insult to all of my hard work.

Dark souls 3 deprived build

But then along comes Dark Souls III, and after three equally obtuse From Software games, the thought of spending another hundred hours on the same four boss fights is simply too much to bear. So, instead of gritting my teeth and getting on with it, steadfast in the belief that the difficulty and frustration would deliver a worthwhile reward, I… well, I summoned, and kept summoning until the credits rolled.

Have I lost out? Not really. The game’s bosses are still a challenge, you still have to learn the choreography of each one, pitching in with attacks wherever the opportunity presents itself and making sure you’re at least holding your own. Likewise, victory is still marked with elation, which is made more enjoyable by the fact that you get to share it with those that helped you.

And really, why should I apologise for that? As much as I love the Souls franchise, it requires an insulting amount of time and commitment from prospective players in order to see it through to its end. Summoning is a tool for circumventing some of that anguish, letting you experience all a Dark Souls game has to offer without pushing yourself to and often over the brink of despair posed by many of the game’s boss battles.

Dark Souls boss summons

It’s not an entirely selfish endeavour either. There’s not a single boss in the game who I didn’t return to in order to throw down my summon sign so that I could help someone else progress through the game. Knowing there are players out there waiting around for an opportunity to help out someone else gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling in my belly. Dying over twenty times to a surprise, one-hit kill attack gave my belly no such feeling.

Dark Souls evangelists and forumites somehow convinced me that summoning was gaming’s cardinal sin long before I’d even set foot in Northern Undead Asylum. These, presumably, are the same people who I unfortunately summoned ahead of the Aldrich, Devourer of Gods boss fight. Upon appearing they made some taunting gestures, sprinted to the fog wall and got themselves killed as quickly as possible so as to leave me facing a boss with HP scaled up to reflect the fact that I summoned two players for help. This is Dark Souls III’s equivalent of having your mate crouch behind someone and pushing the person over them, and it happened a further two times before I finished the game “That’ll learn you,” they surely jeered as their phantoms dissolved.

Problem is though, Dark Souls III is a game. If you’re not having fun with it because it’s become that little bit too sapping, what’s wrong with calling in some help and rejoicing in jolly cooperation? I’ve had more fun with the game by using summons than I had trying to tackle the series’ other entries solo.

Dark Souls 3 summon covents

Instead of every encounter being one of David against Goliath, they’re instead three Davids and one supercharged Goliath duking it out - and that’s a much more exciting billing. Summoning makes each battle that bit more operatic, with players hurling lightning bolts, charging in with ultra greatswords or simply tanking everything the boss has to throw at them. Watching a boss maraud one of your companions while you frantically plan out your own attack is more cinematic than going solo, where you’re always stuck rolling and dodging at the feet of your hulking adversary.

Yes, it’s a bit easier, but more importantly it’s a lot more fun. Call it cheating or tell me to git gud all you want, frankly I had a blast with Dark Souls III, and I’m not sorry for that.

Disagree? Have at me in the comments below.

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Shriven avatarGnien.TheNose™ avatarCmike avatarneongreen avatar
Shriven Avatar
1 Year ago

Want to get into it. Scared. Love reading the lore and watching LP's though.

Cmike Avatar
1 Year ago

You should totally do it. It's really not that hard. Lore is pretty vague, but hunting for item descriptions and reading about them to put together the story is rewarding. Only issue is, after you get used to playing the game and "you get it", it's hard to go back to other action rugs. The combat is carried, lots of different builds to choose from, and weapons are awesome. Then after you beat the game, try your hand at co op, invasions, or duels. These games are addicting just don't get discouraged, it's only as hard as you make it.

Gnien.TheNose™ Avatar
1 Year ago

I've never commented here before. But I felt the need to now. The Souls series is my favorite game series, with Dark Souls being on my top. I personally love the challenge and learning the bosses to fight them. Overcoming that challenge is one of the things I love about those games.

But that's how I like to play them. And I wont have at you in these comments. I actually wanted to thank you. Thank you for not complain about the games being too hard and make an uproar about the games not having an easy mode. And instead, actually use the mechanics of the game that is implemented to help players like you to get through the game. Jolly co-operation is there to help you out. And as long as you have fun doing it, who cares how you get through it? Just enjoy the game the way you want.

neongreen Avatar
1 Year ago

Good article.

I picked up Dark Souls 2 ages ago and am only just getting into it after butting my head against brick walls on the first and second try. This is after completing and maxing achievements / trophies on Dark Souls (1) and BloodBorne both entirely, proudly solo.

Why did I opt for the easier route of DS2? Time, which I don't have in abundance at the moment. Also, I'm not terribly attached/invested into the world/lore of DS2, which makes a difference.

But let me tell you one story.

Some time ago I split up from my wife. It was messy and there was a child custody dispute involved. Like many men on the end of a raw deal, up against an indifferent system almost casually aligned against them (let's not debate that here), I was very low. The mundanity of every day life in the aftermath of this became a heavy, dark weariness. Then one day, the Bloodborne DLC came out. My character was already on NG++, and Ludwig was handing my a$$ to me on every attempt. At the time I didn't even have an internet connection to summon help, which I vowed to never do on BB.

I had a choice: do choose the path of least resistance, start a new character / summon help and beat the DLC by making things much easier... or, like Batman, do I rise to the challenge?

I chose the latter. I studied the moves, learnt to zig and zag, and then finally, Ludwig lay in ruin.

I carried on, all the way to the Orphan of Kos. There, finally, after at least twenty attempts. it lay slain on NG++, defeated by my skill, determination. That final attempt was not a frantic effort - I was cool, calm, focused.

At that moment I remembered that even though this was just a game (albeit a great one), I had learnt something deeply profound about myself. I actually cried. I picked myself up and have slowly rebuilt myself piece by piece. Life is still very challenging, but you know what? I'll slay the nightmare.