Ranking Elden Ring and the Souls games by their poisonous swamps – Eurogamer.net
It’s no secret that Hidetaka Miyazaki loves poison swamps as much as we love his games. His avowed masochistic side obliges him to continue to add more. Even Dark Souls 2, which wasn’t directed by Miyazaki, gave us no respite from those muddy slimepits. If this is a Soulsborne: Ring Dies Twice game from From Software, it will contain at least one Poison Swamp.
It rattled the old cogs in the brain. If all of these games have poison swamps and the big man behind them thinks they’re really important, then obviously we can determine which is objectively the best game by rating the poison swamps! People always talk about objective game ratings, so this just gives them what they want. Awesome, right? No, I was not intensely sleep deprived from too much Elden Ring while working on this article, why you ask?
In order to accomplish this arduous and smelly task, I needed the right tools for the job. To that end, I designed the SWOMP system to rate a poison swamp every game. The highest score wins, it’s simple! How does SWOM work? Let me explain to you.
- Adhesion: The first hurdle of a poisonous swamp is how all that slime sucks up your boots and tenderly engulfs your legs, making movement more difficult. That’s what grip rates.
- Humidity: Related to Stickiness, but obviously different enough to require its own category for scientific reasons and not just to make the acronym work.
- Smell: How stinks on the scale of pleasantly flowery swamp meadow to Bog of Eternal Stench? We don’t have the Smellyvision technology yet, so we’re going to have to use our imaginations like kids did in the old days like the seventies. I tried very hard to think of a suitable word to do the acronym SWAMP, but there is none. I checked in the dictionary, but got bored and stopped at arolla.
- Murkness: It’s an absolutely real word for assessing visibility, or lack thereof, in the swamp. Being unable to perceive the correct path is a big part of the dastardly design of the poisonous swamp, so we have to take that into account. In addition to the actual low visibility, this also includes the difficulty of navigating the area in general.
- Power: A poison swamp must have poison, obv. Potency is a rating of the potency of this poison. How fast will it sap your health? How easily can you mitigate or overcome it?
With our objective and highly scientific system explained, let’s bring the swamps!
Dark Souls – Blighttown
For me, and for many others, the first taste of poison swamps. The remarkable feature here is not the swamp itself, but the area before it. The swamp is a huge sump at the bottom of a huge underground chamber (think Moria in Lord of the Rings, but with London’s sewage dumped there and you’re not too far away) and to reach it , you must navigate the a rickety slum that has been glued together and tied to the chamber’s massive supporting pillars. It’s a confusing three-dimensional maze of dead ends, drops, darkness, and hounds, topped by snipers armed with blowpipes that can inflict poison as well as toxin (poison’s bigger brother. C It’s an exhilarating nightmare that makes the soggy bottom feel like With a bit of poison resistance, jumping from island to island to avoid being poisoned isn’t too difficult and it helps that restriction effects Although the swamp’s movement wobbles can be entirely mitigated by wearing the rusty iron ring, the darkness, the enormous size of the chamber, and the lack of easily identifiable landmarks can make movement a pain.
S: 2 W: 4 O: 5 M: 4 P: 2
Dark Souls 2 – Harvest Valley
Ahh, Harvest Valley! Sounds like a lovely place, right? Maybe a brand name for organic granola bars or something. Judging by the name and the windmills, it was once a bountiful agricultural region, full of life and light, but now it’s just cold stone, deadly dangers and hostile inhabitants. Probably why this reminds me of Peterborough. Now technically it’s not a swamp, and it’s not full of mud impeding movement, but it’s horrible to navigate and very toxic, so that counts. I mean, Blighttown is considered THE poison swamp of Soulsborne and it’s just one big pool of poo. I’m here to objectively rank the games, not to get into arguments about wetlands. There are clouds of noxious vapor that will quickly poison you, as well as puddles of slime that will coat you in poison, continuing to accumulate even after you leave them. The icing on the cake is that the poison in DS2 is considerably meaner than in other Soulsborne titles. Rather than being an easily manageable annoyance, it quickly eats away at your health.
S: 1 W: 1 O: 4 M: 4 P: 5
Dark Souls 3 – Farron Dungeon
Now it’s a swamp! Smelly, sprawling and maze-like, DS3’s Farron Keep is the real deal. While Poison has dropped back down to DS1 boredom levels, the game has no equivalent to the Rusty Iron Ring, so there’s no way to avoid getting bogged down. It has horribly tough enemies that really take advantage of your lack of mobility. I’ve played in the zone so many times and I always get lost and fight in a dark corner. To really increase the pleasure/frustration (funstration?), you must light three ritual fires in order to move on to the next area. Instead of just sneaking around as quickly as possible, you need to explore every nook and cranny of this disgusting bog. Okay.
S: 5 W: 4 O: 3 M: 5 P: 3
Bloodborne – Nightmarish Frontier
One of the few Poison Swamps in Bloodborne, this one is literally a nightmare. It shares a lot of DNA with Harvest Valley, in that it’s a barren, rocky maze that frequently forces you into toxic areas, rather than, say, Blighttown Swamp, a permanent approach. It has rock-hard enemies that will literally throw giant boulders at you, as well as nasty squeaky slug things. Nightmare Frontier is also home to a Chime Maiden, a monster that summons other players into your game to assassinate you. Usually this only happens under certain circumstances, like having summoned a companion to help you, but Nightmare Frontier is one of the two areas where invasions will happen automatically! On the plus side, I don’t feel it smells as bad as some of the other poison swamps. Can you even smell things in dreams?
S: 3 W: 3 O: 2 M: 4 P: 3
Sekiro – Depths of Ashina
Is it a poison swamp area if you can pretty much avoid the poison entirely? This is the enigma posed by Ashina Depths. Despite having all the hallmarks of a classic From Software poison swamp, Dave Sekiro avoids dragging himself through all that “horrible mud” with the use of a grappling hook and the ability to jump! Who would have thought to jump into a video game! While it’s possible to take a little sticky dip and poison yourself, it’s fairly easy to jump and cling from dry land to dry land, jumping quickly if you fall in the mud. Even if you are poisoned, your antidotes and healing items will go much further. At this point, there are only the twisting paths, secret passages, and angry monkeys left to contend with. So easy he might as well play on his own!
S: 1 W: 2 O: 3 M: 4 P: 2
Elden Ring – Aeonia Swamp
Elden Ring is huge. I was completely unprepared for the sheer scale of the game and how even until the end of the game it keeps adding more things to the map. Of course, that means more room for poison swamps, so there’s a whole bunch of them in the game. Swamp of Aeonia is the star, being a large bright red area in the middle of one of the big chunks of land in the game. It’s a big visual departure from a typical poison swamp, but somehow the red manages to be even more noxious than the usual green or brown. Additionally, Aeonia doesn’t afflict you with simple poison, but rather Scarlet Rot, a disease that features prominently in many parts of the game’s plot. Mechanically, it functions as a nastier poison, a much like the DS1 toxin. Much like Sekiro, the sting of the swamp is greatly mitigated by how easy it is to traverse compared to comparable areas in other Soulsborne titles. Simply mounting your horse allows you to avoid poison buildup altogether, and since it’s a relatively open outdoor space, you can gallop through it in no time. The other relevant tool at your disposal is an actual in-game map, so it’s possible to get a good idea of Aeonia’s twists before setting foot there, should you need to disassemble in the gooey bits.
S: 1 W: 4 O: 4 M: 1 P: 5
Demon’s Souls: Valley of Filth
I missed Demon’s Souls the first time around. I had a PS3, but lived in London and had to sell it to rent the studio cupboard I shared with five other students at the time. I was looking forward to the remake, but EG HQ wouldn’t let me spend a PS5, so it’s over. Therefore, I declare the Poison Swamp in Demon’s Souls to be the worst, as I cannot play it. So the.
S: 0 W: 0 O: 0 M: 0 P: 0
Looking at the scores, which I promise I didn’t add up until I wrote it all down, it looks like the winner is Farron Keep, making Dark Souls 3 the official and objectively best Soulsborne title from From Software.
Next time: We’re looking at Ryu’s eyebrow game to determine the best entry objectively into the Street Fighter series.