Welcome to See Drangleic, an episodic playthrough journal exploring the world of Dark Souls II. Be sure to check out the introduction post first if you haven’t already, otherwise continue reading for Part 7 which explores Belfry Sol & Belfry Luna.
“The twin bells symbolize the love between two lovers who could never be united. The bell keepers are their eternal guardians. For that is their love, that is their curse.”
Belfry Sol and Belfry Luna are two optional areas that connect to more substantial locations within Drangleic. Belfry Sol is the smaller and more austere of the two zones – almost to the point of worthlessness – so I’ll primarily be talking about Belfry Luna here despite both towers being highly similar in their content and construction.
These zones are built primarily with PvP gameplay in mind and during the earlier years of Dark Souls II you’d find them to be very reliable places to witness player invasions. Even a quick dash from A to B in the belfries could result in multiple invasions as members of the Bell Keepers looked to add precious kills to their tallies. Those who join the related covenant aren’t immune from attack either, which gives this area a chaotic and stressful feel where things can get out of hand very quickly for those who are just hoping to explore.
Belfry Luna is reached via a secret passage in the centre of the Lost Bastille and as such the tower shares the Bastille’s bland brickwork and gloomy skybox. The rest of the area is similarly unattractive with the flat-shaded enemies and angular corridors adding nothing particularly exciting to our travelogue thus far.
The Bell Keepers also expose a weakness of flavour in the game’s new covenants. This one is a straightforward ‘kill other players to advance in rank’ sort of deal and aside from a distant story about star-crossed lovers adorning certain item descriptions, the Bell Keeper marionettes don’t offer any convincing reason for why your character would even care about joining. This criticism certainly isn’t unique to this one game in the series, but it could have used some improvement all the same.
As it stands, these areas are a callback to Dark Souls’ own iconic belfry which housed that game’s first major boss battle. The feeling of déjà vu only gets stronger when approaching Belfry Luna’s one and only fog door because behind it players will discover a new cadre of Belfry Gargoyles ready to eliminate those who would trespass upon their domain.
This boss battle isn’t a pure copy-paste of the same encounter in Dark Souls, but its overall design and aura is deliberately reminiscent. The boss music by Motoi Sakuraba has been reappropriated for one and like before players will find themselves fighting an increasing number of hostiles as the battle develops. The Belfry Gargoyles are likely among the least popular bosses in Dark Souls II because of this repetition with bonus criticism coming in for their samey character models and team-orientated design.
Whereas Dark Souls had you fighting up to two gargoyles at once, this Dark Souls II variant puts you up against a pack of six that each enter the skirmish at preset moments. As it was with the Ruin Sentinels, this makes things very tough on a solo player whilst potentially being more entertaining for a group. Defeating the Belfry Gargoyles doesn’t grant you access to anything essential though, so whilst they’re an OK diversion in their own right, they and the painfully small area they occupy end up feeling kind of meaningless.
Returning to the main path we finally come to the end of the Lost Bastille via a flooded passageway that will lead us towards our first Great Soul.
Continue to Part 8 »