Prepare To Try

Rory displays a skill level which is to be envied. Techniques such as back-stabbing and parrying are mastered
I've been listening to the IGN UK Podcast for about 5 years now and have read the site since I was young but never have I enjoyed any of its content as much as Prepare To Try. This brilliant series saw Rory Powers (Dark Souls virgin) inching his way to the game's completion before the release of Dark Souls III. While giving an excellent run through of the mysterious and evocative world, guided by Daniel Krupa and Gav Murphy, Prepare To Try gave us not only a comprehensive look at the world of Dark Souls, but also into a clear friendship shared by the trio. Through frustration, determination, elation and encouragement (not forgetting a touch of grumpiness...), Rory, Gav and Daniel generated seventeen episodes of sheer delight as we progressed through Lordran with them.

Dark Souls is probably the best game I've ever played and to the newcomers, presents a seemingly insurmountable rabble of enemies and dares the player to fare through its world, casting unforgiving obstacles and downright evil combat situations. Once the player begins to form an understanding of the game's mechanics, progression, whilst admittedly slow to begin with, creates a feeling of satisfaction once the nuances are mastered.

Enter Rory 'Parry' Powers.

The team frequently refer to Powers as the 'loose cannon' of the group, citing his plans in multiplayer sessions of Grand Theft Auto V and his 'all-guns-a-blazing' tactics. Surely then, this loveable rogue's gameplay style could not reach the finesse necessary to succeed in Dark Souls? No. The answer turns out to be Powers Can Parry. 

Whilst even in the penultimate episode, Krupa, often exasperatedly, reminds Rory to keep his 'Shield up!' Rory displays a skill level which is to be envied. Techniques such as back-stabbing and parrying are mastered- best displayed in Rory's final fight against Gwyn, Lord Of Cinder. Some of his dodge-rolling is executed with the grace and speed of a ballerina. These exhibitions usually result in a beaming smile of pride on Daniel's face as he realises his friend is learning how Dark Souls works.

Then he falls off a cliff. Enter Gavin Murphy.

Throughout his adventure in Lordran, Rory faces off against Darkwraiths, Drakes and Demons but arguably his biggest boss fight is against the Welsh Dragon. Constantly barraged by the bearded-one's banter, Rory ripostes and deflects as best he can whilst trying to maintain composure against his on-screen opponent. Gav's cheeky insults and provocations (best displayed against the Titanite Demon in Lost Izalith) are some of Rory's biggest defeats. Perhaps to a spectator from a nation different to the UK would complain of Gav's bullying of Rory, but it seems that Gav (and indeed Krupa and Rory) subscribes to the world view of ragging on the friends you like best. Having followed Gav's other works (Regular Features, appearances on Daft Souls), it's clear that he absolutely means the very best when he describes the appearance of 'your mam' when a particularly abhorrent creature rears its ugly head.

This is the emotional lynchpin of Prepare To Try for me. Yes, the boys proved that a Dark Souls noob could complete the game within a predetermined time frame, but it was also a study into a close friendship, which comes across on-screen right from the first minute. Even something as silly as wearing the same hoodie for the final stretch shows a unity and sheer willing for Rory to succeed. The three of them are clearly absolutely ecstatic when Rory delivers the final blow of the game and their joint celebration in the rewards of all of Rory's efforts is incredibly touching. I freely admit that I shed a little tear when Rory emerged victorious.

With excellent commentary and lore description, Krupa, Gav and Rory's adventure through Dark Souls has finally come to an end. It has been an absolute joy to share in the camaraderie, desperation and simple beauty in three friends just hanging out, playing a game together. 

Well done, boys.

Praise the Sun.
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