It's time to kindle the bonfire once again, brave knight: Dark Souls III has arrived to give you a timely blast of boss fight blues. But worry not, hardened warrior – we come wielding hints for all of the major fights in From Software's freshest foray. Seeing as you lot shouted at us for spamming the homepage with "spoiler-laden" guides for Bloodborne, we're doing things a little differently this time. Instead, we'll be compiling all of our secrets in a single article, which you can obviously choose to ignore if you so desire. We're still getting to grips with the game in many ways, so this piece will advance and evolve over time. Please feel free to help us out with your own tips in the comments section, though, as together we can make this a definitive resource.
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How to Beat Iudex Gundyr
We're going to assume, if you're reading this, that you've navigated the Cemetery of Ash and passed through the archway into the coliseum containing Iudex Gundyr. One quick point of note: if you're really struggling against this first boss fight, then it may be worth starting again and rolling a different, more armoured class while you don't have much time invested. If you've managed to defeat Iudex Gundyr but are finding the next areas tough, then we should also stress that the Cemetery of Ash is a decent location to grind – but obviously the rewards are low, so it's only really going to be useful in the opening hours.
But you want to know how to beat Iudex Gundyr, right? As a very early encounter, this fight is obviously designed to teach you the basics of Dark Souls III combat. If you're rolling a character class with a good shield such as the Knight, then you can block most of the boss' strikes – just be careful not to get up too close, as he can pick you up and deal some gigantic damage if you put your guard down. Most of his swings come in twos, so don't think that you've got off scot-free if you've dodged his first strike, as there's usually another coming. Also, be careful when retreating to sip your Estus Flask, as Iudex Gundyr has a deadly jump attack.
Your best bet is to block or dodge his strikes, try to circle around the rear, and deal damage from behind. Once his health has reached about the halfway point, he'll transform into a semi-serpent type creature. The same tactics apply here, but you need to be extra careful that he doesn't gobble you up and lay you to waste. Be vigilant, patient, and keep trying to hammer his rear, and you should come away from this fight relatively unscathed. If you're really struggling, one simple tactic is to maintain a large distance, and dodge just as he jumps towards you. He'll be vulnerable for a few seconds, giving you a short window to deal some damage.
Once you're done, kindle the bonfire and head unto the Firelink Shrine. Welcome to Dark Souls III.
How to Murder Vordt of the Boreal Valley
"Ice to see you!" is a phrase that you won't be using when you happen upon this fearsome, frostbitten dog. Vordt of the Boreal Valley is the first boss proper in Dark Souls III, and he's a real challenge if you're not quite ready. Remember, there's plenty to see at the High Wall of Lothric, so if you're feeling the heat (or, indeed, cold) it may be worth heading out into the world and farming some souls.
Pyromancers will be instantly at an advantage here, because you can spam the cunning canine with fireballs as it approaches. During the first phase of the fight, he'll want to get quite close to you, but can leap quite a distance to plug the gap. Watch for any signs of the chilly chump squatting or setting itself, and prepare to dodge the moment that he jumps.
As is often the case with big bosses like this, trying to get around the foe's rear and targeting his tushy is a top tactic. Just remember to play it safe and back away once you've got a few hits in. At about 50 per cent health, Vordt of the Boreal Valley will transform, adding icy breath to its arsenal. It's imperative that you avoid these attacks as they can cripple you, so hang right back.
Fortunately, his other moves don't change too much, so your tactics should remain the same – just remain vigilant, cautious, and pick your moments well. The boss will eventually fall, and you can revel in your sense of victory, before raising the banner and moving on.
How to Kill the Curse-rotted Greatwood
So, you've made your way through the Undead Settlement and all you've got to show for it is a battle with a butt-stomping tree? The Curse-rotted Greatwood can prove a right thorn in your side unless you know what you're doing, so sit tight while we dish out some evergreen tips that will be sure to prevent you from barking up the wrong tree. Gah, we'll stop.
The first thing that you want to be aware of is how you approach the murderous maple; try to approach towards the left of the arena to prevent waking too many villagers. Kill any that stand up, and then sprint right for the bothersome birch's groin. You should see some eggs attached to his body – they ain't scabies, but your primary target, so mutilate them until they pop.
When you're up so close, the only thing that you really need to be aware of is the Curse-rotted Greatwood's butt stomp. Stand a little further back and he'll swipe you, and if you hang really far away, he'll ball up and come at you with speed. But if you can stay quite close to him, digging away at his nether-regions, you shouldn't take too much damage. Just beware of the poisonous puddles that he excretes.
Once you've popped his cherry, the ground will collapse, ridding you of those bothersome villagers. In this new area, keep circling the tree and try to steer clear of its front for now. You're looking for more eggs: his bottom, his hand, and his back. The latter lumps are the hardest to reach, but sometimes he'll sit down and rock back, bringing them into reach. Remain behind him, and you should be able to take them out.
Finally, with his health seriously low now, you're going to want to brave the front. Keep out of reach of the hand protruding from his body Alien-style, and wait for him to slam it on the ground. Then, while he's still, rush forward and slash it before backing away again. Rinse and repeat until the ol' sap's dead.
How to Defeat the Crystal Sage
An easy boss in Dark Souls III? Finally. Alright, the Crystal Sage isn't exactly a walk in the park, but he is very beatable. As soon as you enter the arena, make a beeline for the hatted baddie, dodging any impending spells and using any walls for cover if you need to recover your stamina. Get right up close to the sage, and slash it as fast as you can to interrupt it. The Crystal Sage does have some physical attacks which it will use if you're slow, but if you don't hang around, you should be fine.
Of course, he'll disappear. Run to the rear of the stage and repeat the process when he re-appears. Keep doing this until his health is halved. Now, have you noticed those blue crystals he keeps creating? Roll through them if you can, because in phase two, additional wizards will appear out of them. They'll shoot blue spells at you, but attacking them will merely make them disappear; your attacks on these copycats will not damage the Crystal Sage proper.
So, you want to keep looking for the wizard firing purple spells and attack him as quick as you can. Use the walls for cover, and dodge regularly to avoid spells. As soon as you've forced the Crystal Sage to disappear, the blue wizards will fall into the ground too, so it's best to keep chipping away at the main antagonist's health bar as quick as you can, rather than divide your attention between the blue dudes.
Get a feel for the areas where the Crystal Sage appears, and you should finish this fight in no time at all. We're hesitant to describe this one as easy, but it's very doable – especially if you have the stamina to move quickly and attack in fast, short bursts.
[ Article in progress. Check back regularly for updates. ]