Part 35: - Archdragon Peak
A few of the missed opportunities
The fight against the Ancient Wyvern is a bit of a missed opportunity. It could have done so many things but instead it's essentially just a stage hazard that you are required to take out before progressing because it has a boss healthbar. Actually attacking the head will do a reasonable amount of damage, but most builds won't be able to do that reliably. Plus, it's easier to just walk through the area to land a plunging attack on him. I've seen people miss this in the past, so it's important to keep in mind that you can only hit the plunging attack if the dragon isn't doing anything else at the time, like breathing fire. He'll stay put for a bit after every action, so just wait for him to finish then go drop the beat into his face. I really want the Souls series to pull off a fight against an extremely huge boss at one point but Iron King was kinda meh, Ancient Dragon was just bad, Ceaseless Discharge wasn't especially good either. The huge bosses in Demon's Souls (Storm King and Dragon God) were more setpieces than fights. I mean, they are cool, but I really hope the final DLC will give us a huge opponent worth fighting.
Since I'm already being a negative Nancy here why don't I go over a few more missed opportunities. Obvously not all of them, just one from each game that pops to mind.
Bed of Chaos and Lost Izalith (Dark Souls): I mean, this one is kinda obvious. It's evidently unfinished and could have been really cool given some more time. Bed of Chaos also happens to be a huge boss and a notoriously bad one at that. the area itself is just bland. While some of the enemies are cool (Chaos Eaters, hell yeah) none of them are the kind of challenge I'd expect from an endgame area.
Frigid Outskirts (Dark Souls II): When people first described this area to me, cleverly omitting that it sucks, I imagined something actually cool. There's this big blizzard going on and if you go out into it bad things happen, so you'll have to go from building to building to stay safe. I thought you'd be in a small town going from house to house while trying to get somewhere, avoiding the outside whenever the blizzard comes back up, meanwhile the game incentivizes you actually going out in various ways (with treasure, shortcuts, w/e). Instead we got an area with three pieces of cover total that are relatively far from one another, you are forced to be outside while the blizzard is up and you'll get murdered by magical raindeers. The fact that this is one of the co-op areas means that they're not really holding back.
Smouldering Lake (Dark Souls III): So it's Lost Izalith again? See, it's much better than its original incarnation but it still is one of the worst areas in the game. It feels like a Chalice Dungeon from Bloodborne, a lot of samey corridors with a few lore relevant bits sprinkled here or there. But I liked the aesthetic of the original Izalith / Demon Ruins, it's just the encounters sucked. Now it's the other way around, the encounters are decent but the aesthetics suck. You know what would have worked really well as Lost Izalith if you just added a firey visual to it? Shulva from Dark Souls II. Or something like it anyway. While Dark Souls III is overall more consistent and has nothing as blatantly unfinished as Izalith from Dark Souls, this game's version of the area is still a bit of a stain on the game becuase it's below the standards it's set with the other areas.
Please don't read the following under any circumstances until someone explained the elevator to me, please: I actually know of the purpose of the elevator in Archdragon Peak. I mean, it's still pointless, just bringing you back and forth between two bonfires. It's just so pointless that I didn't even think to activate it for the LP. I could have mentioned it in commentary but I finally wanted to be called out for missing something in a Souls LP. It's the one still on my bucket list. I also missed a lightning infusion stone, that one I just completely forgot about even when doing commentary.