Ranking the Dark Souls 3 Bosses – Hard to Soul-Crushing Part 4 – Halflight, Spear of the Church

Author: Liam Riker

Hey guys! The time has come to continue my Dark Souls 3 Boss Countdown. I’ve been playing a lot of the recently released “The Ringed City” DLC lately, which in my opinion has been a very satisfying and impressive concluding chapter to Dark Souls 3 and ultimately, the Dark Souls trilogy as a whole. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been able to fight all four of the bosses in the DLC area (still haven’t beaten the final boss though), so I’d be able to include them all in this countdown as planned. Perfect timing too, since one of those four bosses just so happens to fill the next spot in my countdown. Since I have a lot to say about this particular boss, I’ve decided to just dedicate a whole blog post to it, and continue the rest of my countdown on the next post in this series.

So without further ado, let’s get this ball rolling with number 16 on the countdown.

*Potential Spoilers Below*

16. Halflight, Spear of the Church

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Coming in at #16, is the first boss I’ve covered from Dark Souls 3‘s “The Ringed City” DLC, Halflight, Spear of the Church. The Spear of the Church boss fight is likely the hardest of the boss fights in my countdown to rank, as it’s a different fight nearly every time you face it, unless you happen to be in Offline Mode. The fight is also the most unique of all the bosses in my countdown and one of the reasons why it’s quickly become one of my new favorite bosses in the game. However, although the fight has high variability, once the player understands how the boss fight works, it can become fairly easy, even when up against the most skilled of the Spears of the Church. Thus, why the Spear of the Church boss fight comes in at only #16 on my countdown.

Before the player even opens the doors to the church, where the boss fight takes place in, they are greeted by the intimidating voice of Judicator Argo, warning the player that they must turn back now, in accordance to the King’s Decree that no one shall disturb the slumber of Princess Filianore. After proceeding through those church doors you were just told not to open, you are greeted by the incredibly towering presence of Judicator Argo at the opposite end of the church.

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Judicator Argo proceeds to scold you on your foolishness and claims that he will deliver justice to you. During this time, when Judicator Argo is monologuing about how you will pay for disrespecting the King’s Decree, the player is given a considerable opening, to hack away at his relatively small health pool. The player should either take advantage of this opening, or hang back and wait for Argo to finish monologuing, after which he’ll summon a Painting Guardian and shortly after that, the true boss of this fight, the Spear of the Church.

Depending on whether or not you’re in online mode or not, you’ll either get a randomly selected player who’s aligned themselves with the Spears of the Church covenant as the boss, or the NPC Halflight, who according to Dark Souls lore, is the last recorded Spear of the Church. (Halflight pictured above as the featured image for this boss) In case you didn’t catch that, yes the boss fight has the potential to be just another player online, explaining why ranking this boss fight is particularly difficult.

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While you may be lucky and get a player who is relatively unskilled at the game, or whose build is extremely advantageous for your’s, there’s an equally likely chance that you’ll get a player whose build is a hard counter to your’s or a veteran of the Souls series. If you don’t want to rely on chance, you can always do the fight in offline mode, but even then, Halflight is no pushover, with his Frayed Blade katana and White Birch bow. To see how the boss fight looks when Halflight is summoned as the Spear of the Church click here.

If the player was just fighting the Spear of the Church mano a mano, this boss fight would likely be near the bottom of my countdown as one of the easiest fights in the game. But, as I mentioned earlier, Judicator Argo first summons a Painting Guardian, a rather nasty NPC, who wields a fast Painting Guardian Curved Sword that’s able to land combos on the player easily and unlimited Church Guardian Shivs, illusory throwing knives that deal magic damage, forcing the player to either play agilely or aggressively. The Painting Guardian can also use a miracle to heal the Spear of the Church, prolonging the fight, if the player doesn’t act fast enough to interrupt the casting of the miracle. When the player brings the Spear of the Church’s health down to the halfway point, another Painting Guardian is summoned, and if the player hasn’t eliminated the other Painting Guardian by this point, they are going to be in a world of hurt! Even though the Painting Guardians don’t deal a lot of damage, they have the capability to easily stun and stagger the player with their move set, preventing the player from getting to the actual boss and making it possible for the player to be combo’d to death.

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Putting all of this into consideration, most of the difficulty in the Spear of the Church boss fight comes from the chance of getting a highly skilled player summoned through the Spears of the Church covenant, or from letting the fight prolong for too long and not taking care of the Painting Guardians fast enough. As many have attested, fighting a skilled Dark Souls player online in PvP, can be more difficult than fighting even the hardest of bosses in the game. So, due to the unpredictable nature of this boss fight, and how there is high potential, especially at later levels, to have a particularly skilled player summoned as the Spear of the Church, I’ve decided that slot #16 is a fair ranking of this very unique boss.

I absolutely love the concept of this fight, and while I’ve heard from some of my friends who have played the predecessor to the Dark Souls series, Demon Souls, that there is a similarly conceptualized boss fight in that game, I still find the concept of the Spear of the Church fight to be incredibly creative and exceptional in it’s singularity. “The Ringed City” DLC has included a system, where the player is able to reset the boss fight over and over again, at the cost of souls, as a way of engaging in this unique boss fight experience multiple times, and as a way to farm Filianore’s Spear Ornaments, which the player can turn in to upgrade their ranking in the Spears of the Church covenant.

As you could’ve guessed, as a member of the Spears of the Church covenant, which you can join after defeating an incredibly difficult boss in this DLC, Darkeater Midir (I’ll be covering him way later in my countdown), you will occasionally be summoned to fight as the Spear of the Church against a player who has dared to disturb Princess Filianore’s slumber. And there is nothing quite as badass as being summoned to be a boss in a game like Dark Souls 3!

Well that’s all for this post ya’ll. I will try and get the next episode in my Dark Souls 3 Boss Countdown series out to you guys as soon as possible, where I’ll go into depth on the next set of bosses in my countdown as usual. Thanks for taking the time to read one of my posts and for dropping in to visit The Gamer’s Smorgasbord! Until next time!

Nioh: How Similar is it to Dark Souls?

Author: Liam Riker 

I had the rare treat of starting Nioh this past week, and while many were comparing this game to the Dark Souls trilogy, long before the game was released, I couldn’t help but notice some of those noted similarities as I played through the beginning of the game.

Nioh is an ARPG developed by Team Ninja for the PS4, in which you play as William, an Irish sailor, who is trained in the art of the samurai, and travels to Feudal Japan, in pursuit of an enemy, the game’s main antagonist: Edward Kelley. Going off of this description, you’d think that this game couldn’t be farther from a Dark Souls game, but once you gain control of William, as the opening cinematic comes to a close, you realize how similar they actually are. I unfortunately, wasn’t able to get that far in the game, as one of my friends was just letting me play his copy for a couple hours this past week. However, it’s not necessary to even get past the game’s Prologue, to be able to notice how much Nioh has in common with the Souls games.

From the second the game starts you are already given the impression that you could be playing a Souls game. The player is dropped suddenly into the game world, without much of an explanation as to where they are, and given the sole objective of trying to escape from their current prison. This sort of sudden, dropping the player into the middle of action, that every single Souls game, including Bloodborne, is known for, is exhibited here in Nioh as well. The element of safety and complete control is immediately ripped from the hands of the player, and they’ll need to quickly adapt to the game as they play, or they’ll die. There is no tutorial, well there is but it comes later, or relative “safespace”, for the player to practice their controls on inanimate test dummies or weak grunts that could only kill the player if they were AFK. Just as in the Dark Souls games, every single enemy can and, if given the chance, will kill you. So, unforgiving enemies and the lack of any sign of holding-your-hand on the part of the game developers? Check.

So, how about a punishing combat system, that the player actually has to use strategically and carefully in order to survive? Nioh‘s got another check for that one as well, with its version of the stamina game system from the Souls games, where nearly every single action the player takes, costs stamina, and if the player runs out of stamina they will be unable to do anything. However, in Nioh, the punishment for a player running out of the stamina they’re allotted is even more severe than what it is in the Souls games, as the player is left stunned, unable to even move for a few frames. This nearly guarantees, that if a player runs out of stamina in the middle of combat, that they’re going to take a few nasty, and indefensible, hits.

Along with the Stamina Game System, Nioh also has its own version of the Souls System from Dark Souls, where if a player dies, the EXP units they had on them, in Nioh this takes the form of the mystical golden mineral Amrita , are lost at the place of death. If the player is unable to recover their dropped Amrita before dying a second time, they lose that Amrita permanently, a sadistically addictive game system that players of the Dark Souls games are very familiar with. If the player dies, they’ll respawn at small prayer shrines, this game’s version of bonfires, which look like these:

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One striking similarity to the original Dark Souls, that Nioh had, was the Prologue/Tuturial location of the Tower of London. William starts the game inside a cell in the Tower of London, and must find a way to break out of not only his cell, but the entire prison-like fortress. This design choice is very similar to the area in which the player wakes in the first Dark Souls, The Undead Asylum.

 

Even the bosses for these introductory locations have some resemblance to one another.

While the environments in Nioh, for the most part, seem very different from those in Dark Souls they still embody that dark aesthetic and atmosphere. For as far as I got in the game, these were the notable similarities that I was able to find between Nioh and the Souls game franchis. While the games have a number of differences between them, for instance, the gameplay of Nioh is much more fast paced than the Dark Souls games, or even Bloodborne, which stands out from the other From Software Souls games, partially because of its speed of gameplay. There is also no character customization in Nioh and the plot points of the story of the game seem to be handed to the player more freely than they are in any of the Souls games.

Overall, Nioh, from what I can tell so far, is a fantastic game, that feels like a much-needed spiritual successor to the Dark Souls trilogy. Especially, with the last Dark Souls 3 DLC, “The Ringed City”, marking the official end of the Dark Souls franchise with it’s release this upcoming March 28th, Dark Souls fans will be in desperate need of a punishing ARPG with brilliantly designed real-time combat to fill the whole left. And Nioh certainly fits the bill. blog-post-5-pic1