Soulsborne: 5 Ways to ‘Git Gud’ | Column from the Editor

From Software games, particularly the Soulsborne franchise, have developed a reputation for being quite difficult. Indeed, these games demand more precision and typically quite a bit more patience than games on average, but the extent to how sheerly challenging they are has been overhyped by quite a bit. In 2017, Time Magazine published an article showcasing that the attention span on human beings has declined dramatically since the turn of the century. Given that a good deal of actual challenging content in Soulsborne is quite complex and demands critical thought to overcome, this report suggests that modern video gamers at large don’t have the ability to deal with this as easily. Today’s piece will provide five quick, concise tips on how to succeed in these games.

Analyze Your Foes’ Telegraphs

Logarius’ Scythe wielding hand indicates he’s about to make a move

Every single opponent in every one of these games has a series of distinct telegraphs that can give the player a heads up as to the attack they’re about to use. Sometimes, telegraphs aren’t dead giveaways, but at the very least, you can conclude your target is about to do something when they take an action other than basic movement. Connecting these telegraphs to certain actions can help you prepare a proper reaction ahead of time.

In the above picture, Martyr Logarius has quickly wound up his scythe wielding arm. He has a few different attacks that begin with this telegraph, but since we know all of his first phase attacks are projectiles, we can confidently prepare to dodge towards them and get closer to him. Using the telegraph of his weapon arm moving gives us that information ahead of time, as opposed to reacting on the fly and being vulnerable to making a mistake.

Be Flexible, Come Prepared

Midir’s status as an abyssal dragon makes the Wolf Knight Greatsword a good weapon of choice

It’s not cheating to know that the challenge waiting ahead had some exploitable weaknesses. If anything, taking advantage of this should be viewed as common sense. On the other hand, going to fight Nameless King with a series of Miracles and a lightning infused weapon is pretty stupid, and you’re probably going to lose that fight. There are countless third party resources that can be used to easily identify a given boss fight’s weaknesses or resistances. Alternatively, if you prefer doing it the hard way, you can test a handful of different strategies, see what works, and stick with it. If you took the Wolf Knight Greatsword into a fight with Darkeater Midir, and compared it to a litany of other great swords, you would quickly realize that Wolf Knight is clearly the way to go. You’d know this because Midir is an abyssal dragon, and the Wolf Knight Greatsword’s power is greatly amplified against abyssal beings. However, since this sword is far from the best in the game, it’s understandable if it might not be your favored armament throughout your entire playthrough. Still, keeping it to hand for this specific fight is a good idea due to its unique properties.

This doesn’t just apply to boss fights. If you know you’re about to venture into one of From Software’s infamous poison swamp areas, such as Demon’s Souls’ Valley of Defilement or Dark Souls 3’s Farron Keep, bringing items to remove poison would be a logical decision to make. Macro-gaming like this can really provide an edge against some of the harder challenges in this game.

Be Careful With Level Ups, Especially HP Related Ones

Fume Knight’s heavy hitting attacks easily blow through uninvested health bars

Determining a general direction for your ‘build’ early on is paramount. Sprinkling a few level ups here and there and turning your character into a jack of all trades is a recipe for disaster. For newer players, investing in Vigor (or Vitality in Bloodborne) and Endurance alongside one attacking skill of choice, such as Strength, is typically the way to go. A couple level ups into something like Intelligence to be able to wield a specific weapon could be in order, but too many cooks in the level up kitchen will absolutely spoil your character’s soup. The emphasis of being careful with level ups goes double for your health bar. Simply put, your build won’t work if your character ends up dead in two hits because they’ve got 800 health by end game.

Adapt Your Playstyle To The Challenge

Mergo’s Wet Nurse is much slower and tankier than other bosses in Bloodborne and needs a unique approach to be dealt with

As the player, you need to adapt to fit the challenge. The challenge will never adapt to fit you, or it wouldn’t be much of a challenge now would it? That doesn’t mean your 50 Strength character should start picking up sorceries because Darkeater Midir is weak to Pestilent Mist. It instead means that, while most big enemies are best approached by flanking, Midir’s unique mechanics make flanking a terrible idea, and demand a frontal approach. In Dark Souls 1, Manus, Father of the Abyss is notorious for being immensely aggressive. Instead of trying to match that aggression (you can’t) and pointlessly try and trade blows with him, it’s better to take a step back and wait for Manus to swing and miss, giving you a potential opening. Likewise, the Four Kings are a DPS test, so this level of patience won’t work; you’ll want pure aggression to dictate your flow of gameplay lest you be overwhelmed.

The Biggest Opponent Is Your Own Patience

If at first, you don’t succeed…

Part of what makes Soulsborne such a well done franchise is how rewarding and euphoric overcoming certain challenges feels. Simply put, in the average playthrough, you are eventually going to meet your match. Whether a given map or a boss fight trips you up, it’s going to happen. And that’s completely okay. Even the most grizzled Soulsborne players have at least one weakness that something out there is capable of exploiting. The thing is, this isn’t the arcade, and you’re not running out of quarters anytime soon. You can try as many times as you’d like with no real repercussion. These tries can also be as simple as figuring out and learning to react appropriately to a boss’ telegraphs. This could be trying to find that pesky shortcut at Nightmare Frontier because you hate dealing with Winter Lanterns and Amygdala is giving you trouble. Simply put, the only way you can truly and utterly be defeated in a Soulsborne game is if you run out of patience. Otherwise, take as long as you need to overcome a particular challenge. When you finally climb that mountain, the feeling of triumph is going to be great and you’ll come out a vastly better player at the end of it all.

Don’t forget to emote!

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