It’s a hard game, with a hard final boss, and watching video of people defeating it is so, so sweet.
I’m gonna talk about Dark Souls lore here. I’m gonna talk about the final boss battle. If you don’t want to know more than you already know, then stop reading.
Throughout Dark Souls, you hear quite a bit about Gwyn. If you’re paying attention to the things that characters are telling you (and the descriptions on items), then you figure out that he has travelled to the Kiln of the First Flame in order to maintain the Age of Fire. In other words, he’s gone to the final boss arena to protect the source of his godlike power like some kind of Gollum. The player has to go fight him.
And it’s hard. To legit go toe-to-toe with Gwyn is really difficult. It takes preparation and practice. When I did it the first time, I eventually had to give up entirely, level up a bit, get different equipment, and learn how to properly parry and riposte (more on that in a second).
So it is unbelievably satisfying to watch YouTube user Zombie0fun one-shot Gwyn.
According to a reddit post and the comments in the video, Zombie0fun is using Power Within, a spell which increases damage dealt and stamina regeneration at the cost of life, and also the Red Tearstone Ring, which increases damage dealt when a player is below 20% of their total health. Wielding the Demon’s Greataxe and using the Hornet Ring, which increases damage from ripostes, all it takes is a little big of a strength boost from the Dragon Torso Stone to make Zombie0fun a Gwyn-destroying machine.
All of this is complicated, but it makes for the most satisfying parry and riposte combo. Technically I guess you might call this a two-hit scenario if you’re a stickler, but I am not, and the parry-riposte are two sides of the same boss-killing coin for me.
Zombie0fun gets the parry, which is a specific timed block that stops the attack and knocks Gwyn back for a moment, and then the punishing riposte where he gets a damage-boosted animated attack (basically what Bloodborne later called “visceral attacks”).
This isn’t all that unique. People have been defeating Gwyn this way for years, but damn if it isn’t great to watch every single time.
And another one.
And hey, why not, one more.
Look, it could just be how frustrating I found this enemy the first time I fought him, but watching people plan and build their characters to defeat this boss in such a fast and easy way is so, so excellent, and it really does demonstrate how deep the combat systems of Dark Souls go.
In a similar vein, it’s worth checking out vageta311's One Shot Boss Challenge run in which they, well, one-shot a whole lot of bosses using very strange tactics and spells that I never really dealt with in my time playing the game.
It’s amazing to me that Dark Souls just keeps serving up interesting modes of interaction that are fun and fulfilling to watch.