Souls-likes

greedostick

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About to fight Ornstein and Smoug today for the first time, went with a strength build using the Black Knight Sword mostly for it's speed and power. I'll probably be on this boss for the next week seeing how others reacted to them

O&S is definitely your first true test. The second is Four Kings.

I remember my 1st blind play though of DS, I entered the O&S fight thinking that it must be one of those parts in a game where you are expected to die, like the first boss. Boy was I wrong. My second thought was that this has to be the most epic fight in a game ever. Definitely mind-blowing for the time, and still is.

Oh, and I forgot to mention earlier mugenmonkey. Check it out! It has the top builds listed for each souls game, and build creators. Very nice tool!

 

SML

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Ringed City is still terrible. I would love to FINALLY beat Gael, but Christ are the ghost archers cheap. Was a bit stoked to beat the Demon Prince for the first time last night then bashed my head on the dumb summoner for about an hour today, killed him once and got the drop but died from a stray arrow so no progress.
Dude, skip the summoner and go around. There's a bonfire a little ways after him that you can come back from for a more manageable fight.
 
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sylvie

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Yeah they are embers, but you don't wanna do that if you are going straight dex. You want only titanite. Now you could +15 that katana with only titanite, and pump at least 30 in faith, and use buff spells like sunlight blade until you get darkmoon blade. Also think about a sword called Falchion. Its tits for faith dex builds.

Fire will also remove your dex scaling, and will upgrade further to Chaos. Which scales off of how many humanity you have popped (number in corner of screen).

Learn from any mistakes, and 3/4 of the way through the game you will start thinking about new builds, and how you can do it better next time. That's part of the fun.of the game. So take what I say with a grain of salt and have fun.

Sunlight medals are covenant items, you trade em.

Don't worry about the flask upgrade. Kinda sucks but you will survive.

Graveyard is 50 steps from firelink bonfire. Go in door where pool is, look left. Go in small door.

Buy pine resin for fire buffing for now. Save lightning resin for fore bases bosses.
I don't think I'm going "straight Dex" per se, but do you mean that if I use embers on the katana they will stop scaling w. Dex entirely ? I'm only concerned if my Dex stat suddenly becomes a complete waste if I take the katana on an elemental path . Cuz yeah I wanted to do Chaos because that shit sounds dope. I have not even gotten into understanding spells, or weapon spells . Chaos scaling sounds insane though seeing as Humanity seems like a bitch to get, and the stakes are high if you die and fail to recover humanity/souls.

I haven't strayed far from balancing Dex/Str, they are only a few points apart still but I don't want to skimp on Vit since I suck and I ruined my flask upgrade, so maybe I should balance Str and Dex? I kinda really dig katanas and wouldn't mind staying with them. But I also want to test out the Zwiehander, thanks for the tip on getting to the graveyard hahahah I'm so stupid.

I don't understand covenants. Or trading items to them.
 

greedostick

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I don't think I'm going "straight Dex" per se, but do you mean that if I use embers on the katana they will stop scaling w. Dex entirely ? I'm only concerned if my Dex stat suddenly becomes a complete waste if I take the katana on an elemental path . Cuz yeah I wanted to do Chaos because that shit sounds dope. I have not even gotten into understanding spells, or weapon spells . Chaos scaling sounds insane though seeing as Humanity seems like a bitch to get, and the stakes are high if you die and fail to recover humanity/souls.

I haven't strayed far from balancing Dex/Str, they are only a few points apart still but I don't want to skimp on Vit since I suck and I ruined my flask upgrade, so maybe I should balance Str and Dex? I kinda really dig katanas and wouldn't mind staying with them. But I also want to test out the Zwiehander, thanks for the tip on getting to the graveyard hahahah I'm so stupid.

I don't understand covenants. Or trading items to them.
I think you should be OK if you go Chaos then. Its been a few years since I played last, but I think Chaos weapons scale off whatever they scale off normally, and your soft humanity number in the corner of the screen. You might wanna research that deeper.

I would also locate the Estoc, Claymore, Falchion, Washing Pole, and Chaos Blade Just to test out the movesets and see if you like them. If you play again you can transfer that weapon to a friend, then back to a new character.

Honestly from what you are saying the Chaos Blade seems like what you would like. Its a Katana, and it's an amazing weapon for PVP, and a first run through in PVE. It loses effectiveness in NG+ and forward, but It's a super fun weapon. One of my favorites actually. It's definitely an intermediate to advanced weapon though. It chips damage from you as you use it, plus you cast Power Within for 40% more damage, which also chips your health, but you hit like a truck. Plus it looks bad ass.

The way you build a character in most instances, is all about your weapon. You find a weapon you like, then you think about how you will build your character exactly for that weapon.

You don't wanna use faith or sorcery, then you're gonna leave your Katana as a dex scaling weapon, and plot points in Dex all game.

You wanna be a full blown mage that weilds an uchigatana? Then you only plot the exact str and dex stats to weild the weapon, and ascend it later. Once you finally ascend it, it will do nice damage, just not god tier, but your magic will be. Perfectly viable, and often used route.

You wanna be a mage/dex hybrid? Then you put 40 in dex, and take weapon to +15. Then put maybe 30 in Faith so you can buff the hell out of the weapon. This route you sacrifice running around 24/7 with a super powerful weapon, in exchange for a decent weapon, that when buffed is God tier for 1-2 min.

So just keep that in mind for future playthroughs, and this game play it blind and learn from your mistakes. 100% research the Chaos Blade though. I think you will love it.

If you decide you wanna research it, here is the link: https://darksouls.wiki.fextralife.com/Chaos+Blade

It is a weapon you can miss permanently in a play through, so up to you if you wanna see how to get it.
 
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sylvie

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Cool, thx. Yeah Im super casual, like dumb bimbo level for real, so its usually a turn-off to think too much about a game for me. NG+ or 2nd play, maybe I'll start trying diff stuff but I'm kinda busy here and there, low attention span, etc.

So I'm focusing on fun :) I do want to avoid screwing myself or doing something retarded though
 

jro

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Dude, skip the summoner and go around. There's a bonfire a little ways after him that you can come back from for a more manageable fight.
OMG thank you, I somehow didn't think to try that. Got past it and now am getting my ass kicked repeatedly by Gael but quite happy about it!
 
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jro

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FINALLY finished off Gael and The Ringed City (ty @SML !). Cool level, I admit. Nasty bosses w huge HP. Now to get through Elden Ring. Oh yeah also beat Soul Cinder again, kind of easy to forget him compared to Gael.
 
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jro

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Stranger of Paradise is basically what we got instead of Nioh 3 and it's aggressively fucking terrible. Square sells their franchises and devs to buy NFTs I suppose this makes sense.

It's awful. Hard to believe Nioh and Nioh 2 led to this. Don't play it.

Edit... It's bizarre how ugly this is. Looks like an early 360 game at best, frame tanks often on performance mode on PS5. Bad game.
 
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jro

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OKAY! I put another 10 or so hours into Stranger of Paradise, figured I should be thorough.

It still completely sucks donkey balls. It's from the same dev team that made two of my, I dunno, top 10 or so favorite games of all time in Nioh and Nioh 2, and it's just complete and utter trash. I guess Squeenix's latter-day budgets generally mean zero QA, as is pretty clearly evidenced in this. Level design is beyond bad, copy-pasted rooms for miles and zero markers to tell where you've been or should go, and then completely pointless shortcuts that put a rest cube next to another fucking rest cube. The level design, more than anything, just consistently ruins the game, makes it completely unfun to play.

Difficulty balance, also terrible. SoP bases its difficulty curve on equipment, not player level, which makes the "recommended level" of missions a joke since you can level your gear to the mission's level in about three minutes if you can kill a couple guys. Then the rest of the level will be easy as shit, until you hit the boss, which will mash you very, very quickly, and you get set back to the surprisingly badly set checkpoints. And the bosses have at least two forms, with the second being very different than the first, so good luck learning the second form if you die on the first one a few times. Honestly, the difficulty on the bosses is just completely off, very easy to just blast through the main level than have zero chance on the boss.

So you can set the difficulty to Story Mode AKA you nutsac you. Makes almost every encounter retardedly easy, as it's supposed to I guess, but of course manages to rob the game of any sense of accomplishment and is just WILDLY off, in terms of balance, from the rest of the game. Like, you put the it on Story mode 'cause fuck this trash dev work, nothing else. And the levels aren't any better beforehand of course.

And also it runs like total shit. Performance mode on PS5 drops frames, absolutely cannot maintain 60 fps. Image quality mode or whatever seems to run at 30 fps pretty much, but seriously, Nioh 2 on PS4 Pro ran better.

So... SoP, which is made by the same team that made Nioh and Nioh 2, is one of the worst games I've played in a long time. I'm not sure if Sqeenix's tiny budget for it was mostly to blame, or just general incompetence from the devs, but it's really, really bad. I mean, like put the dev team out of business bad.

Was trying to get loose ends tied up before Elden Ring but this is just sad. To think that this is one of the few franchises Square apparently kept.

edit: from what I can tell, I'm about half way through the second-to-last level. Usually fucking grit the teeth and all that, but this is just so bad that I don't think I will.
 
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jro

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Finished SoP. Still trash. Gonna blame Squeenix for this one given how much better Nioh is.
 

jro

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Currently trying and failing to get into Dolmen. Even by jank souls standards it's awful. Zero weight to moves, bad balance, terrible level design. Hellpoint of all things is vastly is superior.
 

Gentlegamer

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So what I gather is that no souls-like is actually any good. The only one I tried was Lords of the Fallen and it was quite meh. It seems like most devs miss the point, including some FROM devs like Tanimura.
 

HornheaDD

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I recently went through Blasphemous, I had actually forgotten I got it cheap on Steam, so I went through it. It was fun, but maybe I just don't really like 2D souls-level difficulty games.
 
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jro

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I recently went through Blasphemous, I had actually forgotten I got it cheap on Steam, so I went through it. It was fun, but maybe I just don't really like 2D souls-level difficulty games.
I find this to also be the case. I've finished a few 2D games in the genre, with, I dunno, probably Tails of Iron of all things my favorite, which also happens to (IMO at least) most closely replicate the intracies of the 3D games i.e. proper spacing, timing, tells, etc over twitch reflexes and platform elements.

I'm still sort of trying to get into Death's Gambit and Salt and Sacrifice and I've just now gotten started (too early to tell if I'll stay with it or not) in Lost Epic, but in general, I don't care for the 2D genre entries. Hollow Knight is the one that I think just missed it, gameplay is excellent but it leans far too much into the esoteric zero hints given exploration style and that gets annoying in a 2D game with a weird map system. Blasphemous, similar, I've started it up maybe four separate times and uninstalled before the second boss every time, mainly due to the annoying platforming.

Reminds me, oddly, a little bit of fighting games. I like playing 2D fighters fine, but I'm never actually good at them. 3D, though, different. There's just something about being able to use angles and spacing and timing in three dimensions that works better in my mind for whatever reason. Always been able to win a few matches in VF, Tekken, Soul Calibur, and the like.
 

jro

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Soooooooo... I've somehow managed to play two of the worst souls likes in succession, not recommended. Dolmen was just incredibly bad. No redeeming qualities at all, one of the very worst in the genre, which is saying something. It has zero weight to the gameplay and just bad balance in every part of it, it's hard to even know where to start how given how bad it is.

And I just finished playing Thymesia which was far more disappointing in is own way. Much better base gameplay, adequate if not good levels, and then floaty gameplay and horrid balance. Main levels are comically easy then bosses kill you in one combo or two proper hits, and the hitbox for the PC is absolutely not illustrated properly. Leveling for the player is exponentially raised to the point where you can't grind basically (I'm not kidding, one level is 9000 and the enemies in the area give around 90 each, not fun math).

Dolmen is incompetently made trash and Thymesia's balance ruins it, strong recommendation against bothering with either. Never thought I'd be like man, yes, give me Hellpoint plz over this shit.

So yeah, Remnant, Mortal Shell, Hellpoint, The Surge, The Surge 2, Remnant Before the Ashes, I could keep going, do not waste your $ on either of these (yes, these are all jank-souls. They suck, but they're better than Dolmen and Thymesia, not on the proper Souls/Nioh/Surge 2 tier guy).

edit: dunno why I suddenly remembered that The Surge 2 is pretty good. It is, though. Might finally get going on that NG+ playthrough.

edit: Thymesia is a better game overall than Dolmen is, but the bad balance relegates it to a very similar place, quality-wise, for me. Neither is worth bothering with.
 
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jro

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I beat Thymesia (all but one f'ing sub-boss, Urd can fuck herself), couple notes.

THE BAD, which is plentiful:
-It's not anywhere near the shit-tier realm that Dolmen exists on, my bad.
-It's still not good. There are a few really good aspects, i.e. the reaving mechanic, several of the bosses, nice graphics especially for a game by a small studio.
-However, the balance is bad. Various sub-bosses and mini-bosses are far harder than anything in the critical path, and it's not yeah that's cool difficulty ala the demon thing or the Ancient Wyvern in Dark Souls 2, just cheap.
-There's about 3.5 levels that are repeated over and over. Gets boring.
-Leveling is bad. There are three main stats, but only one (maybe two) are useful. Putting any points at all into main attack is pointless given how little damage it does compared to Plague weapons, so there's no reason to put points into saber over plague. To beat the final boss, I re-spec'ed to where I had zero upgrade points in basic attacks since he only takes any kind of damage from specials. Just, no, bad design.
-Leveling is worse. Points in HP plateaus so fast it's kinda hilarious. It's not worth getting into, but it's poorly done.
-Some bonkers hitboxes. You can be across the arena from a guy with his attack animation ending halfway to you and still take full hit damage.
-Very buggy. Crashes to desktop, enemies freezing in place and then dying randomly, one sub-mission boss turned invincible and then froze. Just, c'mon guys.
-Too many undercooked systems - the feather thing is just bad. It barely works and puts way too much risk on very little reward. I hated it and every playthrough I looked at ignored it.
-Deflects are also bad. It's trying to be like Sekiro, but the timing is so off unless you fully upgrade the tree that it doesn't work at all. The wonky hit boxes and weird tells don't help. The Urd fight is literally the only part of the game where this is useful, and even then it's so broken that it's not worth bothering.

THE GOOD, which is less so but not non-existent:
-The good boss fights are really good. Mutated Odur is awesome, Varg is a cool ripoff of Artorias, final boss is pretty cool, the puzzle bosses are generally better than the ones in Dark Souls.
-Minute-to-minute gameplay is good. Feels snappy and weighty most of the time, but occasionally there's an attack that has zero of either and feels unfinished.
-Nice graphic work for a small studio.
-Cheap price tag. Launched at $24, now it's $30. Can't complain at either.

Overall... it's fine. Not something I'd really recommend unless you're a fan of the genre and you have literally nothing else to play right now, but it's also not all terrible.
 
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jro

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Goddamnit I think a game is going to be good and then it's Steelrising. Basic gameplay is good, solid leveling system, aesthetics, hit feedback, got it all right.

But then there's the level design.

Utterly fucking terrible. I supposed I shouldn't be surprised that Spiders, who never in their lives made a game that wasn't a jank wannabe, would make a bad Bloodborne jank, but, man, so close. I mean, really, the gameplay is really solid.

But the levels are fucking awful. It's not just weird like in Thymesia where every third enemy is a miniboss that will wreck you if you breathe sideways, no, in this it's fourteen different paths, then another twelve after that with exactly one being the correct way to go and the rest running you into dead ends or minibosses that give you way fewer souls than they ought to.

I put about 12 hours into this. According to howlongtobeat I'm around halfway or a little more, but I'm just fucking sick of running into the same badly designed walls over and over again.

Gonna head back to Elden Ring NG+. Spiders still suck (shocking!). Don't play this.
 

jro

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As is tradition, I went back on my previous soulsbitchness and finished up Steelrising. Notes:
-the graphics/style are very well done. The PC and enemies both actually move like automatons with gears moving, limbs wrenching into place, etc. Honestly goes a long way toward establishing a uniqueness to the game.
-It's one of the easiest games in the genre. Ice builds apparently completely break the game, but even without trying one I think I may have died a total of five times with one, max, to bosses (I'd estimate I fell to death three times due to unclear level design, died to enemies, I'm not kidding, once). I spec'ed strength and used a halberd, maxed out about 2/3 through and then just poked everything to death with charged power attacks or threw elemental grenades at all the bosses. Final boss was the only thing in the game remotely challenging but still was down to maybe 15% of her HP after I hit her with all my grenades so that was maybe 2 charged R2's to finish her off.
-The level design was really bad, as noted in previous post. Horrible wayfinding that actually breaks at various points due to the checkpoint display only showing the end goal and no points along the way like it's supposed to (wandered around for about 3 hours due to this as have quite a few others, thanks devs!) and just bad levels in general. Samey looking, dumb shortcuts, hardly any visual cues. Up there with Dolmen for the worst level design in the entire genre.
-Way too much platforming. It's a Souls-like, not Mario Galaxy. Again, get the priorities right.

Overall... no. Bad game. I don't regret playing through it, but I wouldn't actually recommend it to anyone unless, maybe, you've already played everything else in the genre that's any good three separate times like I may have by now.
 
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terry.330

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Started playing Bloodborne over the weekend. It took me about 6 hours to get to grips with the gameplay style and controls. I still haven't made much progress but it's enjoyable enough. I hadn't really played a Fromsoft game before and now I get why they're so loved. I don't love it as much as I was hoping to but I get it. I'm using the spear saw w/pistol and have around 15 hours in so far.

It's still confusing as shit though, I'm not much of a modern rpg guy in the first place so even stuff like paying attention stats/attributes and understanding how to use a lot of the items is quite foreign to me. Looking at guide videos is beyond infuriating as aside from some real basic stuff everyone has wildly different opinions on just about everything else.
 
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jro

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Started playing Bloodborne over the weekend. It took me about 6 hours to get to grips with the gameplay style and controls. I still haven't made much progress but it's enjoyable enough. I hadn't really played a Fromsoft game before and now I get why they're so loved. I don't love it as much as I was hoping to but I get it. I'm using the spear saw w/pistol and have around 15 hours in so far.

It's still confusing as shit though, I'm not much of a modern rpg guy in the first place so even stuff like paying attention stats/attributes and understanding how to use a lot of the items is quite foreign to me. Looking at guide videos is beyond infuriating as aside from some real basic stuff everyone has wildly different opinions on just about everything else.
I still love Bloodborne, still my personal favorite in the entire genre. Where are you at? The speed of the gameplay and the aggression level of the enemies makes it one of the harder From games in general I think, but it has a few mechanics that make it substantially easier as you learn them.

The rally system is really helpful. It's not easy to get a lot of use out of at first since it takes a while to learn where the safe openings are after you take hits, but it can go a long way to keeping your health up if you start to get the hang of it and don't forget to use it like I almost always did my first time through the game.

Another big one is farming blood vials. It's sort of a weird choice how From went back to no auto-refills on healing items, but it also means that you can get a whole lot of them if you want (I'd suggest spending any extra Blood Echoes you have on them whenever you level up, it's pretty easy to keep a solid supply that way).

And parrying is very useful in BB, more so than other Souls games IMO because it feels a little more forgiving on the timing in BB. It's a good way to one-shot a lot of common enemies and it is also immensely helpful against many of the bosses. Took me until late in my NG+ playthrough to finally bother to use the mechanic and then I kicked myself for not doing it sooner.

One other thing that's helpful is that the game is so limited in how you can build your character and approach things. The enemies, areas, encounters, player abilities are all geared toward one style and speed of combat so it can be a little easier to keep track of things in some ways.

Build-wise, strength/endurance/vitality is very reliable and a lot more straightforward than leaning on Arcane or Bloodtinge or even Skill (though there are some weapons that may need a few points in some of those later on). Any of the three starting weapons is completely viable for the entire game if it's upgraded, though I'd suggest switching to the Tonitrus once you find it, the L1 buff is super easy to use and makes it do a ton of damage. The Whirligig Saw is probably my favorite weapon overall, though it's found in the DLC so it takes at least half or more of the game before you can find it.

Speaking of, the DLC is awesome. Each one of the bosses is very challenging, but they all also feel very fair, though Orphan can be a bit of a slog to get through sometimes.
 

terry.330

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I'm only at Old Yarnham or wherever it is that the guy has a gatling gun. I got stuck on Father Gascoigne for what seemed like an unusual amount of time and decided to take a break for a couple days but started again yesterday and made some progress. I'm playing really slowly and taking my time to explore and learn the enemy placement/patterns. I still don't like the checkpoint system, I get that it forces you to really learn the level layout and find all the short cuts but it still sucks having to go back through a huge portion of the level because you accidentally got stuck in the environment or the camera went haywire during a busy fight. Especially when you die and it takes 10 minutes just to get back to a boss that you know you're going to have to fight multiple more times.

Also this game has some of the worst "platforming" in anything ever. I don't know why they insist on putting it in there when the game engine isn't made for it. Blindly dropping off ledges and trying to land on beams is bad enough but there have been a couple parts where I'm pretty sure you're supposed to jump by sprinting and then hitting dodge at the last second. Just stupid.

Overall though I'm enjoying it and it feels like now that I've gotten the hang of it the difficulty at least for the levels themselves has kind of evened out as long as you play smart.
 
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jro

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@terry.330 , good to hear ma man, good to hear. Honestly, I tried to get into Bloodborne like, I dunno, at least three times, plenty of hours each time, when I was first getting into the genre, and I bounced off if every time. Then it clicked. Like, just, BAM clicked. The chick that healed was annoying until I hit her with anti-heal, but man, that was a great playthrough. And it's great over and over again since. Honestly, IMO BB is a really good way to get good at the genre, the skills it forces you to learn translate well to everything else in Souls, Nioh, whatever. I'm sure you got it but if you ever would like lemme know and I'll co-op.

edit: Asterigos is fucking awful, up there with Dolmen for worst level design in the genre. Plays better by magnitudes but it doesn't matter if the game design around that is terrible.
 
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terry.330

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Made it to the Forbidden Forrest, fuck this area is big.

I was watching FightinCowboy's play through and he went to the prison area first, not sure if I should do that. I was already there quite awhile ago when I got snatched by a Wraith and just figured it was a later part of the game.
 
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