I’ve technically been playing Dark Souls for a couple weeks.

I’m really… not very good at this kind of game. But fresh from Dragon’s Dogma, and on the recommendation of several different media sources which are pretty much the only places I take recommendations — I’m playing Dark Souls.

I love to hate this game.

A week ago, I was stuck on the minotaur boss. One of the guys in my D&D group said I was making things too hard for myself playing the cleric so I started over with a sorcerer. Vast improvement. He may also have suggested that I suck.

But! After beating the minotaur I got stuck just beyond “the wyvern detour” because I couldn’t beat the caped knights before they turned me to a pulp.

Then! I managed to outmaneuver one of the knights by drawing him far enough back that I could pass the point he was guarding — and pushed all the way to a new bonfire. After grinding a bit to improve my soul missiles, I could take down knights. Then I decided to play a warrior for a while.

Playing as a warrior gave me the opportunity to focus primarily on building up Strength and hitting things. I got a fair bit of melee practice. (Not dying.)

Then! Quite by accident, I found Old Londo beneath the Fire Shrine. Right about this time, our PS3 was able to maintain an Internet connection long enough for me to get player messages. And to get killed by an invader.

Now that I had found Old Londo though, I returned with my sorcerer and bought the Soul Missile upgrade (now with 60 missiles!) and the Greater Soul Missile. Seriously, the game got quite a bit easier for a while after that.

When I first picked up the game… I had tried to learn the parry-riposte timing. Because I suck at timing in games. I mean, I’m not-quite-but-nearly-hopeless.

I’m just not used to “block” being useful in games. I must have been playing the wrong games before, because blocking Dark Souls actually works. You have to manage your stamina but at least it works. You can count on it.

Well, I apparently learned the game’s defensive maneuvers in reverse-order of difficulty. I started with parrying, then learned blocking, then dodging. But maybe this will work out for me because I’m used to getting hit a lot.

I’m getting pretty good at dodging, in part because I know how far enemies can reach, right? From getting hit a lot? Plus, parrying awards you more souls.

So! After exploring a big into the forest-y place, and grinding statues — forget golems though, they’re too much work for a sorcerer — I summoned my first phantom to help me in the rooftop gargoyle battle and rang the first bell!

Now! I’m stuck dealing with toxin in Blight Town, but I’ll figure it out.