Dark Souls II's Best Early Joke

Dark Souls II's Best Early Joke

Everyone talks about how difficult Dark Souls II is. People rarely talk about how funny it is.

But the Souls games really are very funny. The developers at From Software are a very specific type of smart -- careful, calculated, and deliberately punishing, if never quite cruel. But all of their game's taut toughness is packaged with some delightfully twisted, subtle humour.

I began to play the PC version of Dark Souls II last weekend, and I'm fully hooked. I'll have a lot more about this game over the coming weeks, which should be fun since I know a lot of you have already played. For now, I wanted to share a joke from the early part of the game that made me laugh.

It happens in the small town of Majula, where your character arrives after fighting through the tutorial (or skipping it because it looked too scary). Majula is a safe haven, a place where NPCs you meet along the road gradually congregate to hang out in peace and peddle their wares. There's a blacksmith, an armour salesman, and a sad hooded woman who lets you level up. It's practically Club Med!

Dark Souls II's Best Early Joke

The first good joke about Majula: There's a huge pit in the middle of the town. If you fall into it, you die, even though there are some items on some planks midway down that you can eventually snag if you get the right piece of equipment. So right up front, Dark Souls II is saying, "Welcome to this nice safe haven! Mind the drop, it will literally kill you."

And then you meet the pigs.

Around the side of Cale the Cartographer's house, there are these three little pigs. They oink, but in a typically Dark Souls kind of way: Throaty and disturbing. The first time you see them, you're probably a low-level jerk who just arrived at Majula with some terrible sword and some really bad armour. And if you're like me, you probably think, "These pigs should be easy to kill!"

The joke of the pigs, of course, is that they actually aren't very easy to kill. Each one is a tiny little hitpoint sponge, at least for a low-level character. Worse, they do a fair bit of damage every time they hit you, and there are three of them. So of course, the curious player will immediately set about trying to kill them, just to see what happens. And what happens when you do defeat them? You get a measly 20 souls apiece, which hardly seems worth the trouble.

The joke works on a lot of different levels -- the obvious "Three Little Pigs" reference, the shitty reward for killing a pig, and the fact that they're as likely as not to humiliate a starting player. Really, the pigs seem almost like a riff on the sort of RPG enemy you never see in Dark Souls -- the easy-to-kill little beastie, the rats or bats or spiders in the basements of most other RPGs. In any other game, the Majula pigs would be a one-hit-kill that you can use to farm a tiny bit of extra XP, but not here. Dark Souls doesn't waste time with that kind of wimpy crap.

(Small spoiler) And then, the real punchline comes much later: Chris informs me that eventually, giant versions of these pigs turn up in the game, and they're much harder to kill than their wee counterparts. Ha. (End small spoiler.)

I'm enamoured of Dark Souls II's intricate design, but I'm just as enamoured of its humour. Those subtle, bitter jokes: The first appearance of The Pursuer, that jerk with the bow and arrow above the first area with the Heide Knight, these stupid killer pigs... Dark Souls II's jokes make you laugh, and then cry, and then laugh again. And then, on the eighth time, cry again.


Comments

    I dont mind admitting to dying to those bastards first time through. Then again I basically died to everything on my first time though.

    What about the ones in the tutorial? I attacked those ones and then shat myself when they swarmed me. Best tutorial trap ever.

      Yeah, the ones right at the start were hilarious. Thought to myself 'Time to punch some piggies! What's the worst that can happen?'
      YOU DIED

      I was about to post the same thing. I started the game, saw the little pygmy things in the grass, ignored the bones littered around the place, punched one and then immediately died as a hundred more showed up. All before I even had a name or class. To top it all off, that's when I got the "Welcome to Dark Souls" achievement.

      Last edited 11/04/14 9:30 am

    I was so waiting for him to roll back into the hole in the ground...

    I haven't played either Dark Souls games, only Demon's Souls from the PS3. All the attention Kotaku and everyone else is continually heaping upon them, has me thinking about buying both Dark Souls games for PC.

    So some quick questions before I leave would be, do both Dark Souls games share the same world as one another and are the stories directly related? I will research these questions on the "google" and see what I can find but help is always greatly appreciated.

    That was a good read by the way Kirk, thank you.

      So as far as story goes... without being spoiltacular yes they are related....

      But there's really no need to have played DS1 to enjoy DS2, they are both extraordinary games in their own right so you'd be pretty happy with either. Only thing I can think is that DS2 is probably more heavily populated at the moment so the amount of jolly cooperation you can engage in is quite high, also the matchmaking is MUCH improved.

      As I say though, either way you'll be happy.

    We fought these to begin with, our reaction was "WTF ARE THESE ASSHOLES!?!?!" sicne htey were so tiny.

    Luckily, we ran away ... but they followed! Luckily again, their AI is stupid and they prompty jumped into the pit. LAWLZ. Then we only had to kill one, and we barely made it.

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