The five Dark Souls series locations I definitely won’t miss

Last Updated July 5th, 2021

Reminding myself that From Software’s Souls series has essentially come to an end now that all of Dark Souls III’s DLC is out in the wild fills me with feelings of bot sadness and a sort of subtle relief. Sadness because the Souls series has come to occupy a special place in my heart over the years, and I know that such sentiments are shared by thousands of other gamers, but also relief because it means, at least for the time being, I can focus on less intense gaming pursuits.

There’s a lot about the Souls series I will absolutely miss, such as the grim beauty of each game’s locales or the thrill I felt whenever I defeated a tough boss, but there are admittedly things about the series I won’t miss as well, such as the below five locations from Dark Souls, Dark Souls II, and Dark Souls III. Seriously, if I never have to set foot in any of the five below locations again, it will be too soon, and I’m sure many other Souls fans will agree with me.

The Tomb of Giants (Dark Souls)

Dark Souls players who triumphed over the boss of The Catacombs, Pinwheel, likely expected a worthy reward for their victory, and they actually got one in the form of the Rite of Kindling, a powerful item which allowed them to further empower the various bonfires they found in their journeys. However, whatever elation they felt at gaining the Rite of Kindling quickly gave way to dread as they entered the area immidiatly after Pinwheel: The Tomb of Giants.

Unlike virtually every other area in Dark Souls, The Tomb of Giants is pitch black, which means the player needs access to some sort of light source in order to make any progress in the area, and even then they can only ever see a few feet ahead of them. Of course, since this is Dark Souls we’re talking about here, the persistent darkness was the least of the dangers players could find in the tomb.

The Tomb of Giants quickly managed to live up to its name by having players encounter both standard and giant skeletons, the latter of which could easily knock the player off a ledge or into a trap if they weren’t careful.

The area’s boss, Gravelord Nito, was no pushover either, and he was one of several bosses players were required to defeat in order to beat the game, so venturing into The Tomb of Giants was something that couldn’t be avoided. In short, The Tomb of Giants is a place that will forever fill even experienced Souls players with a sense of dread, mainly because it gives credence to the old belief that there are many things to fear in the dark.   

The Iron Passage (Dark Souls II)

Technically, The Iron Passage is an area from Dark Souls II that not every player likely experienced first-hand since it was added into the game via the Crown of the Old Iron King DLC, and even then it’s an optional area that doesn’t need to be completed in order to reach the DLC’s final boss. That is all well and good because it is without a doubt one of the most frustrating areas in any of the Souls games, so much so that when I first visited it, I didn’t think it was optional and I wound up metaphorically slamming my head against it so much that I swore off finishing the DLC entirely (I later realized my mistake and went back to beat the DLC, but my point still stands).

You see, the thing about The Iron Passage is that it’s basically a gauntlet of sorts where you’re pretty much constantly being harassed by enemies, and there are several points from which you cannot simply run back to the nearest bonfire, which means the only way of escaping is either pushing on ahead to the area’s boss, warping out using an item, or dying.

Should the player somehow survive the gauntlet of enemies, they then have to face down one of the DLC’s toughest bosses: The Smelter Demon. Since the player has likely used up a fair amount of resources just to reach The Smelter Demon, managing to best the monster in combat often goes from “hard” to “insanely, utterly, laughably unfair.”

I never did manage to take down The Smelter Demon, and you know what, I am perfectly ok with that if it means I never have to brave The Iron Passage ever again.

The Irithyll Dungeon (Dark Souls III)

Just thinking about The Irithyll Dungeon, a late-game area in Dark Souls III, gives me shivers, and not because it embodies the essence of a dank, creepy dungeon aesthetic. Almost all of the enemies you encounter in The Irithyll Dungeon will unnerve you as much as they try to kill you, from the tall, hooded jailers who can shorten your health bar with their magic before moving in for the kill with their heated brands, to the giant rats and basilisks which infest the area’s sewers, to the horrendous abomination creatures that are sure to give you real-life nightmares.

Even though the area technically doesn’t have an actual boss encounter, braving The Irithyll Dungeon can be considered one of the truest victories in Dark Souls III since it will prove that a player’s resolve is just as strong as their combat skill. If anything, the horrors found in the dungeon prove that the development team at From Software will forever be known as undisputed masters of creating enemies that make even grown men (like yours truly) afraid to find out what’s around the next corner.

The Dreg Heap (Dark Souls III)

I made the rookie mistake of diving right into Dark Souls III’s second DLC expansion, The Ringed City, after having not played the game for a good long while, and boy did the expansion’s first area, The Dreg Heap, make me pay for my foolishness. Never mind the smaller Murkman enemies who can quickly swarm you if you’re not careful and/or surprise you with blasts of magic from long range, or the large, hulking Harald Legion Soldiers that basically act like mini-boss encounters (wait until you get to fight several at once), no, there is one big reason why I quickly came to hate The Dreg Heap: the Angels. These annoying things will constantly assail you with laser fire, forcing you to make mad dashes from cover in-between their salvos.

Worse, if you take the time to whittle an Angel’s health down using long-range weaponry, your victory will quickly give way to  a groan of frustration as they instantly respawn (I swear I could hear the From Software team laughing at me the first time I tried this). Turns out, you have to search around, find each Angel’s corresponding tether (a husk jutting out of the ground) that’s hidden somewhere in the level, and kill it in order to permanently defeat the Angels.

In hindsight, it was actually a pretty clever environmental puzzle, and one that was certainly appropriate for the Dark Souls series, but boy did it make my blood boil when I was in the thick of it. 

Blighttown (Dark Souls)

I’m sure any Dark Souls fan worth their salt knew this was coming, but no list of Dark Souls series locations I won’t miss would be complete without mentioning the infamous Blighttown. While I don’t have any hard data to back up my claim, I would say that Blighttown is definitely the part of Dark Souls where the greatest number of players wound up quitting the game forever, and I most assuredly wouldn’t blame them.

First off, the player is likely already worn down after having just survived The Depths, and now they have to navigate a labyrinthine series of precious walkways and ladders, dealing with the various foes who ambush them all while knowing that the slightest misstep will send them plummeting to their doom.

If the player does finally manage to make it to the bottom, they’re rewarded with the realization that they now have to navigate a large poisonous swamp that’s home to giant mosquitoes, giant fire bugs, and giant leeches. Sure sounds like an ideal vacation spot, doesn’t it?

I don’t think I have ever felt any greater sense of relief while playing a video game as when I finally managed to conquer Blighttown and ring the first of two bells that need to be rung in order to open up the game’s second act. Naturally that relief quickly evaporated when I realized there was no other way to exit Blighttown than to backtrack through the same exact route I had taken to reach the end (there are technically two ways into and out of Blighttown, but one can only be accessed using a key that I didn’t have at the time).

I look back on my victory over Blighttown with fondness, as I’m sure many Dark Souls fans do, but I also know that my time spent actually making my way into and out of it probably shaved years off my life what with the amount of constant stress I felt. Ah memories….