- Mon Apr 24, 2023 6:12 pm
Honestly, this game has some of the weakest and forgettable lineup for bosses of any of the souls games. Many of them are just knights, an a lot of the enemy types are also reskins with minor changes here and there (more noticeable in DLC's).
This game, out of any Fromsoft game, even the old titles of DS1 and Demon Souls, have the worst enemy placement, and artificial difficulty spikes I've ever experienced. Very basic enemies will be able to out damage the player, out run, stun-lock, and have a ridiculously accurate and magnetized attack on the player, where even if you rolled clear out of the weapons visual range it WILL still tag you which more often than not leads to you being tagged again right after, or killed.
Almost every single enemy is capable of this, the most notable ones are the Alonne kights who are able to just stab the player during the mid of the role at the exact frame that doesn't have I frames any longer.
This game also does what I refer to as "swarming" far to often. Every other area will just have enemies, who are all capable of what i mentioned above, all at varying degrees of damage and speed (but all still stronger and faster than the player) swarm the player relentlessly, and because of this there is not really a way to time an attack in melee because even if they manage to hit 1 or 2 of them the 3rd, 4th, and so on will land hits on the player, and at times box them in, and outright slaughter them.
This is VERY noticeable in the Aged Smelter Demon area where the enemies are in tight corridor-like spaces, they physically block the players movement, every hit staggers, and stun locks all but the heaviest and tank specific builds, and there is a mix of ranged enemies who endlessly hit players with a barrage of multi hitting spells or miracles (one of them uses Great heal to full heal themselves and the other ranged user should the player think they're clever with hitting them from afar, but are a bit too slow to kill them) all the while the melee units in the room can corner the player, and melt them in very few hits, not to mention the annoying spell that instantly over-encumbers the player.
That would be a good example of artificially inflating the difficulty by placing too many overlapping enemies in a small area to overwhelm the player, and while the Aged Smelter Demon is a "co-op area" there are still other parts of the game that still do this exact thing; Shrine of Amana is notorious pre SotFS edition, but post SotFS it was made "easy" in 1 way, and more difficult in many others- Case in point mages there no longer shoot spells like they have it on automatic, it still shoots relatively quick, but is a bit more manageable, yet they dump the lizard guys who inflict bleed (which inhibits max health and stamina + stamina regen) hidden amongst the deeper pockets of water which you are bound to run through while being assaulted by the mages, heavier hitting enemies off to the side here or there like the one random old knights you fought originally in Heides Tower location, then by the boss location the overload the area with multiple knights, castors, some lizard men in the waist high water (significantly reduced movement in it), and a invader NPC who can just outright mow the player down with a barrage of spells once approaching the spawn zone, or one-shot the player, even if you manage to kill them the knights behind you and mages will be right on your heals if you were so unfortunate enough to walk close enough to aggro them.
now some areas have been given more Npc summons, great, that's wonderful, somethign to potentially help you traverse the more terrible areas right? Wrong, NPC ai is very awful for attack priority, and pathing. Most of the actual NPc's they give are so laughably bad their only use is to literally eat damage, and HOPEFULLY last long enough for you to have managed enough hits to either kill the boss, or almost gotten them to a manageable level of health before they ultimately die; the NPC's do just horrible damage, and i'm talking specifically the new additions they added to the game, i wont sneer or Jab at Jester Thomas, mans does work even if his health pool kinda sucks, but then you get this other NPC name Steelheart or Stalwart Ellie and she has a decent hp pool, but god damn does she do no friggin damage, like it's so negligible they might as well have given her negative damage stats.
Bosses often are capable of turning on a dime too mid attack leaving the player frustrated, and confused as to how that can be considered "fair" when it essentially is a way for the AI of the bosses to cheat. Some bosses are more easily observed doing it, Sir Alonne is one of them, he is capable of raising his blade for an overhead or underhand slash, and midway through the animation he can randomly lock onto the player behind him, and complete the attack with added distance and speed potentially killing the player unfairly despite the attack aimed at a cooperator or NPC. He can do this with his incredible fast jump attacks, long ranged underhand slash/stab, and at times he does it with his powered up stab attack which is... quite frustrating to say the least.
I just think overall enemy/boss design, placement, and balance is an utter mess in this game, and can severely kill the enjoyment for the player especially because the difficulty spikes are not gradual, and come and go randomly, making some encounters feeling effortless, and some more down the line torturous, and frustrating.