If you've played the whole Dark Souls series, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't played Dark Souls 3 yet, there are huge spoilers ahead. Again, I'm about to spoil a huge reveal in Dark Souls 3. Reader beware!
Pontiff Sulyvahn proved to be one of the toughest fights for me in all of Dark Souls 3. Though it was undeniably satisfying to learn his moveset and learn to crush him, it took me a while to figure things out. (I wasn't lucky enough to realise how you could kill him with one hit!) Upon leaving his area, I was ready for Dark Souls 3 to give me a break; I needed a breather.
As is usually the case with Dark Souls, that wasn't the case. I tried to make it last as long as possible by slowly pelting giants with arrows.
Soon, my eyes gazed towards the sky...
At the time, I was only admiring the beautiful, haunting architecture, a staple for the series. I should have been paying attention to that structure on the left. I should have been wondering if there was something familiar.
But nothing clicked, and I moved forward. Step by step, enemy by enemy.
Even when I began waltzing up a set of stairs, dodging huge arrows...
Still, nothing. Every fibre of my being was focused on survival.
Things got weirder when I found this hidden passage:
Is that...? Naw. Dark Souls doesn't do stuff like this. I'm seeing things! As I approached the item waiting in front of me, though, my eyebrow raised.
Hmm. That... looks... like...! Skipping the descriptions, as I tend to do, I pushed these thoughts to the back of my mind and kept on trucking.
Then, I found a lever. THE LEVER. What's so important about a lever? It's because of what that lever does, what these particular levers do in Dark Souls.
My heart started beating faster now. None of this made any sense! "You can't be doing what I think you're doing, Dark Souls 3," I thought. Yes, the games have referenced one another in item descriptions, but it's always a lore thing. They have never done what I thought they were doing right then.
And then, it really does it. It really f'ing does it.
Holy shit. Anor Londo, the most infamous location in all of Dark Souls, the home of Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough, the game's dastardly boss duo. Dark Souls 3 was really taking you back to that place.
You can actually see my mouth widen in excitement when it happens.
I'm not one to pay close attention to Dark Souls lore, and it's not much different in Dark Souls 3. I'm sure there are important reasons Anor Londo is being revisited in Dark Souls 3, but that's not what made it so powerful for me. Returning to Anor Londo represented a full-circle appreciation of having played this series the past few years, and how far I've come as a player. When I reached Anor Londo in the original Dark Souls, I was struggling to understand how to play the game. Now, we're on equal terms. As I said in my review of Dark Souls 3, we're sparring partners.
It was bittersweet, one of Dark Souls 3's late highlights, and helped give closure to the hundreds of hours I've poured into these games.
I'll leave you with this wonderful tribute to Anor Londo by Justin McElroy.