It’s summer, which means it’s (usually) a slower time, with fewer game releases and plenty of time to clean up our ever-growing backlogs. Earlier in the year, we were treated with the release of Dark Souls Remastered for PS4/XB1. As the name suggests, this is a port of the original version from last generation, with all the previously released add-on content, upscaled for modern consoles. Earlier in the year, I discussed if remastered games are a good thing which you should definitely check out. I’m still holding out for the Switch release, but in the meantime, Dark Souls has sucked out my soul (get it?), sending me spiraling down the path of perusing the Platinum trophy on PS4.
If you’re unfamiliar with Dark Souls, it has a deceptively simple trophy list; tasking the player with simply “collecting all miracles”, “collecting all weapons”, and “fully upgrading any weapon.” On the surface, these trophies seem simple, but require much skill, persistence, and luck.
Simply getting through Dark Souls is no easy task, so going for the Platinum trophy is maddening at times. I came in with a bit of an advantage, as I’d already achieved the Platinum on the PS3 version. Fortunately for me, the trophy list is identical, making it easy to use what I’d learned from last-gen. My goal for the initial run was to simply get through without trophies in mind. I wanted to enjoy Dark Souls at my own pace, without the worries of missing anything. This is a great way to experience games, because after all, isn’t the point to have fun? It shouldn’t feel like a chore.
After re-learning the mechanics and remembering the little nuances, I felt prepared enough to start my journey: The Platinum trophy. Following my first run, I had earned over half the trophies, with the remaining ones being easier to understand since there weren’t as many to sort through. Many of the trophies can be achieved by defeating bosses, joining covenants, and upgrading weapons; things you’d probably do anyway.
The annoying part is that a bulk of the items to collect can be missed, which means going through a whole new playthrough for a chance at collecting said items. Each new playthrough is harder than the last, though, due to New Game +. With that in mind, try to get through everything you can on your first run, even if you have to start a new character to do so. You have to finish the story multiple times for the Platinum anyway, but since each subsequent run is harder than the last, continuing to start a new game with the same character is ill-advised. I made the mistake of missing a few items on New Game +, so now I will have to attempt to collect those items on New Game ++, which is going to be a pain.
Arguably, the hardest trophy requires you to collect all rare weapons. Some of the weapons are simply dropped from certain enemies, while others are more difficult to find and require you to sever the tail of specific bosses to craft. In other words, if you accidentally kill a boss without severing the tail, you must finish that playthrough and start a new one to try again. Most of the tails aren’t too hard to cut off, but there is one in particular that has been giving us a lot of trouble, and thank God it’s not a Basilisk.
The hardest tail to sever, in my opinion, is that of Crossbreed Priscilla’s in the hidden Painted World of Ariamis. The issue is that she turns invisible so you can’t see her or her health bar. What happened on my last run is that I ended up killing her because I couldn’t see where her tail was. Making matters worse, her tail is such a small target that even if she were visible I’d still probably have a tough time making the cut. Since I killed her, I have to do a whole new playthrough just to get back to her. In hindsight, I should have created a backup cloud-save before the battle with her to revert back to in case of error. If I knew then what I know now…Take my advice and research the bosses that require a tail sever for the trophy.
An equally tiresome trophy involves fully upgrading weapons with specific elements. To fully upgrade a weapon, you need extremely rare items, some of which only appear once per playthrough. Again, creating backup saves is definitely a good idea with these. If you use the rare item that can only be found once, you *can* grind for another by killing certain enemies, however, these have a less than 1% chance of dropping, unfortunately. I am at the point with this where I’m contemplating starting a new run, just to avoid 10+ hours of grinding. The specific item giving me trouble is the Red Titanite Slab, an item used to fully upgrade a Flame weapon.
Alternatively, you can trade Snuggly the Crow a max level Pyromancy Flame, but that, too, takes grinding to earn. Bottom line: grab the Slab on your first run and make a backup save to get both the max Fire and Chaos weapon upgrades in the same playthrough.
One of the other trophies needed for the Platinum involves leveling up within a covenant. To do that, you must offer enough specific items to reach the desired rank. Receiving some of those items involve defeating other players online in PvP battle. You can imagine how complicated this can get, especially if you aren’t great at PvP like me.
If that isn’t bad enough, there are certain NPCs that have specific questlines that can be easily missed, so you must be on your toes and have everything planned to make sure you don’t miss anything. Having to use a guide can somewhat ruin the magic of Dark Souls since a lot of the appeal is in the discovery. It’s recommended to at least complete one playthrough before whipping out a guide.
Certain areas can be troublesome, like Tomb of Giants, or the infamous Blighttown. I don’t want to spoil what’s in store for you in these areas, but let’s just say that simply getting through them is a challenge, let alone collecting all the items to achieve all the trophies.
On top of all that, Dark Souls is tough as nails. The sheer diversity in enemy design, level structure, and mechanics make it hard to master. Simply learning one technique won’t get you far, but if you learn your way around the many intricacies, you might have a chance at getting through this rich experience.
As of writing this, I’m so close to earning the Platinum and I feel like, despite what I’ve discussed, earning the Platinum isn’t as bad as it seems. Once you find your play-style with Dark Souls, the rest will come. With a little perseverance, you, too, can earn the Platinum.
If anyone has any tips, please leave them in the comments below and remember to stay savvy!