Great Moments in PC Gaming: Beating an Invader for the First Time in Dark Souls

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(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Developer: FromSoftware
Year 2012

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When I think back to my first game of Dark Souls, I feel a mixture of delight and abject terror. It is one of my favorite games, and it seems to me, one of the best games ever created. That’s partly due to the way I can navigate the entire map of Lordran in my head. But it’s also due to the generous handful of moments I remember vividly more than 10 years later (by contrast, I don’t remember anything about Far Cry 6, except that it had weapons and trees).

Chief among these cherished Dark Souls memories is being invaded for the first time. I was trying to summon a co-op partner to help me with Capra Demon. He was running to the boss from the Firelink Shrine, instead of the Upper Undead Burg bonfire, because he was an idiot. I think he had about three or four ‘humanities’ up his sleeve, an item required to summon co-op friends, and he had no interest in hoarding them anymore, because it was time to assassinate that demon bastard and his dog. .

I had already been invaded a few times, of course. In the weeks after Dark Souls was released, the servers were heating up. Let me explain to you the kind of Souls player I am. I spent most of my first game of Dark Souls on my athletes because I didn’t understand team load. I died to the Taurus Demon for at least a week straight. The first thing I did after finishing the tutorial was fight the Head Down Warrior (RIP: he fell off a cliff). I sucked, and frankly, I still kind of suck at these games.

That being the case, when someone invaded me, I basically gave up. Everyone in the entire world, I assumed, is better at Dark Souls than I am. Sure, I’d raise my shield and strafe them in circles for a while, but I’d do it resignedly, knowing I was only delaying the inevitable. Usually it was me, a total brood with a sword and board, against players with weapons and magic that I had no idea existed. I’d raise my greatsword (which I probably didn’t have the required stats for), and before I started to fall, the invader would have set me on fire, or electrocuted me to death, or stabbed me in the back, or something. .

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Ah, that cruel Souls twist of tying cooperative play to the possibility of an invasion. I remember it was the only thing I really didn’t like. But of course all that changed the moment I managed, somewhat by accident, to defeat an invader. The telltale signs of an invasion were present: walls of fog blocking my passage to other areas of the map, and then, of course, the notification confirming my worst fear.

I don’t really remember what structure my invading opponent had, but as the glowing red figure marched towards me, I don’t remember feeling particularly positive about my chances. Thanks to an online guide, I managed to acquire the dragon sword. Slightly emboldened by the sheer force of that weapon early in the game, and magically no longer rolling fat, I did my usual ritual of circular strafing and shield raising. I took the opponent to the middle of the road and then, extremely accidentally, probably as a result of a desperate button press, I made a parry that demolished the stupid red fool.

So many emotions followed. Happiness, hope, self-absorption. Somewhere between these feelings was the suspicion that he would never be able to defeat an invader again. And, of course, shortly after, the total demoralization returned, when the Capra Demon’s slimy pup tackled me for the umpteenth time. Back to Firelink Shrine we go. Aren’t we having too much fun?

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