Demon’s Souls AI

I recently purchased the Witcher 3 on a PSN sale and while I am no trophy hunter, I have heard so much great things about the game that I couldn’t help but see if it’s even possible for me to get it. So, one of the first choices I had to do was starting at a difficulty that would ensure I get the proper trophies once the game is done… so I chose “Death March” – the hardest difficulty. It took me around 10 tries – TEN TRIES – to pass the game’s very first encounter: a fight against 5 or 6 Ghouls. 10 tries. I was constantly destroyed by the small yet nimble creatures. But I persevered and eventually realized this game has what I call “Demon’s Souls AI”.

Back when DS was a new thing I played it cautiously since, as most of you know by now, almost everything can kill you in one or two hits. During a particular section of a castle, I was facing a strong knight that had killed me several times. At one point I lost “control” of the battle so I instinctively rolled away from the enemy several times to try to give me room to breathe. The knight suddenly stopped following me and slowly walked backwards… all the way to his starting point. MMO players are familiar with this behavior but the big difference is that whereas in an MMO an enemy that breaks this “patrol area” immediately beelines to its spot and recovers its health to full, in DS the enemy never recovers. I trust you know where this is going. Battle then becomes a matter of staying on the edge, baiting the enemy and getting a quick hit or two, and then going out of the zone, prompting the enemy to return, hurt, to its spot while you can safely heal and prepare another round. Rinse and repeat.

I am not sure just how far this technique will take me. By the time I battled the first boss I was more accustomed to the game’s combat and knew a few tricks – such as having a Quen shield always up – but I must admit that while it wasn’t for long, I didn’t feel like the creature was letting up. I am not sure if it flying into the air was just a way to mask the DS AI. I am still not sure how I defeated it.

I just finished the game’s starting area of White Orchard and have now arrived at the first proper map. It’s a big world out there, and I’m looking forward to seeing and doing more… even if I have to cheat the AI to do it! The Witcher 3 looks and sounds fantastic, and the open world, RPG style is exactly my type of game. Wish I had more time to enjoy it!

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