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"Dark Souls II" Walkthrough, Forest of Fallen Giants: Cardinal Tower

Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.

Dark Souls II owned by Namco Bandai. Images used for educational purposes only.

Dark Souls II owned by Namco Bandai. Images used for educational purposes only.

Yeouch. Your first trip through a dungeon in Dark Souls II was probably a lonely, harrowing experience, and it only gets worse as you plumb the depths of this ancient castle's walls. Will there be any sweet relief waiting? Or are you about to go as extinct as the giants for whom this area is named...?

Cardinal Tower

  • Before going anywhere else, assuming you haven't already, speak with the merchant in this room. Amongst other things, she sells Lenigrast's Key. This is needed to pop open Blacksmith Lenigrast's shop in Majula, which I highly recommend. The Blacksmith will not only repair broken equipment, but can upgrade your existing equipment into newer, better forms. He also sells arms, which is handy in its own right.
  • To the right of the Bonfire is a pit with a ladder. Hop in and climb down.
  • You'll be on pathways above fire in the next room, and there's a patrolling Hollow nearby. Let it walk to you and take it out before following the course it set. Another Hollow is slumped against the wall, and it will rise up and attack as you try to pass. Best to fight one creature at a time.
  • The path ahead splits. Cross the bridge first to find a corpse carrying a Soul of a Lost Undead. Watch out for another corpse here, by the locked door, as it will come to life and attack.
  • Go back across the bridge and check the passage on the left. It leads to a misty portal. Beside it is a creature which will come to life; kill it, then head through.
  • You'll come out in a courtyard full of ramps. One soldier will immediately notify you and come searching across the ramps to get you. Let it come and kill it by the entrance...
  • ... as there are multiple archers in this next area that will happily take potshots at you. Quickly climb the first ramp ahead and get onto the ramparts.
  • The path splits. You can either continue to explore the section with the archers or continue ahead along the ramparts. We'll check out the ramps a bit longer.
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  • Turn back while on the tree and look down when you're not being sniped. There's a ramp you can leap onto. Do so, then charge ahead and take out the next soldier you see. If you have ranged weapons, go for the soldier attacking you from the adjacent ramparts.
  • Leap onto the red roof nearby and climb over it. Jump onto the next set of wooden platforms against the cliff wall, slaughtering the archer positioned on it.
  • Ahead is a ladder up to the ramparts. Ignore this and check the cliff to your left to find a cave. Go inside, but don't dash ahead. Wait for a rather large boulder to roll by first, then proceed forward. Directly ahead is a Human Effigy. Do NOT FOLLOW THE BOULDER. There's a pit down there. You will die. (On subsequent trips the boulder will not come down, so it's all the more important to remember to go left, not right.)
  • Go up the slope the boulder came from. You'll find a fellow at the top who loves to make maps. Keep talking to him four or five times over and he'll give you a House Key. Go up the tunnel near him to find an Amber Herb.
  • Turn back and go up the ladder outside the cave. You'll be on the ramparts. Defeat the archer ahead, assuming you didn't nail him before, and run to the opposite end. You'll find an easy path back to the beginning of this area.
  • Head up the gnarled wooden ramp to the top of the wall. There are arrow shields mounted atop the ramparts. Slide behind them and check out what's ahead: two soldiers, one with a pike, both with their backs to you. Slip up behind the closer soldier to one-shot him, then take on the guy with the pike.
  • To your right is a ladder leading up to a flat area. If you go up here, a giant eagle will drop a heavily-armored soldier to fight you, though you at least have a few seconds to react before it's dropped. If you don't want to fight it, simply drop off of the ledge, back to the ramparts, and it will disappear after a short while.
  • Get back up top either way and kill the fire bomb-lobbing soldier. It's mighty irritating.
  • Around the corner to the right is a flat area with two more guards. It's very easy to lure them at you one-at-a-time. Watch out with the guy for the spear - his jabs are fast and painful. Wait for him to swipe at you with his shield before attacking. Continue past their vigil to a ladder. If you can, lure one of them into swiping the barrels beside the stairs - there's a powder keg here which will blow open the wall, revealing a path to the Bonfire. Ooo!
  • You'll be back on the ground at the bottom of the ladder. Check beside the stairs that lead to the grass for a Green Blossom. You now have three choices: straight ahead, to your right, or to your left.
  • Start with the right. As soon as you step into the hole in the wall, a lineup of ballistas will prime themselves. Rollback and out of the way to avoid their volley, then retreat to the ladder. Three, possibly four soldiers will charge out. Standing at the top of the ladder you can safely assault them with ranged weapons, or wait for them to disperse and slide down to go at them one-by-one. I found Throwing Knives to be useful here.
  • Slip into the hole they vacated, where the ballistas wait. You'll find a Large Soul of a Lost Undead, a Blue Wooden Shield, and a Great Soul Arrow on the bodies within. In the rear of the room you'll find a ladder; go down.
  • The ladder leads to a chest. Inside is a poison gas trap, so back off quickly once it's open. After the gas dissipates, check the chest for a Titanite Shard. Also down here is a spooky wall plate requiring a Pharros' Lockstone, one of which you can buy from the old woman by the Bonfire for 4,000 souls. Using it on this spot will create a phantasmal face further down the wall. Bash through this to find two chests: one contains a Titanite Slab, the other a Chloranthy Ring.
  • Back to the crossroads. Straight ahead is a man. He fears what lies beyond the portcullis beside him, and waits for you to check it out. Rightly so, perhaps, as it will shut if you move too far past it. Edge inside, get the attention of two guards within and lure them to the portcullis to kill them in a single file. Then enter and take out the archer waiting beyond (Return to this man later to receive a White Sign Soapstone.)
  • There's a hallway ahead and at the end of it a corpse. This is a trap of sorts, since two guards will charge towards you for edging up to the corpse. There's a third in here, and a fourth and fifth lingering at the top of the stairs near the corpse. Lure these gents into the courtyard in as small numbers as you can manage.
  • Assuming you survived all that, the corpse carries an Aromatic Ooze.
  • At the top of the stairs? Another one! Yikes! If you manage to get past him you'll wind up on the walls, and you can jump back down to the soldier to escape. If not... well, hopefully, you didn't like those souls you had, 'cause you aren't getting them back.
  • Back to the crossroads. To the left is a series of small, walled courtyards. In the first you'll see a bunch of barrels, watched over by a beefy dude in armour. Be careful coming in here, as a soldier above will hurl firebombs. If you slip past him and over two courts, you'll find a gnarled scarecrow of sorts. (You can do something with it, but I don't know what just yet.) Behind it is a Large Soul of a Lost Undead. Turn here, as a spear-wielder will charge in at you.
  • Return to the previous court and look to your right for a ladder. It leads up onto a wall. Ahead you'll find a body carrying a Light Crossbow; if you're so inclined, you can use it on the two soldiers watching over the courtyard below from holes in the walls. You can also use it on the armoured guy in the courtyard, assuming you didn't try to fight him normally, though Firebombs and the like will chew through his armour much more handily.
  • (If you do attack him normally, lure him out of the courtyard and pick away at his armour while dodging his slow attacks. Attack once, dodge, weave in and hit again dodge. Repeat until he's dead. He's actually not that hard, so long as you don't try to block his attacks. Doesn't really work.)
  • Enter the door ahead. You're now in a darkened hallway. There's a hole in the wall to your right; it leads down to the guys you were just targeting, as well as another, hidden soldier. Try to lure them out of hiding from your ledge before jumping down so you know what you're fighting. If you aim carefully at the very tips of their helmets, you can also knock the two visible soldiers (assuming you didn't kill them before) out of their niches and down into the courtyard. Jump down here either way and you'll find a chest containing a Mail Breaker and an Infantry Helm. You'll have to jump down into the courtyard to escape, which is admittedly not optimal.
  • Beyond the armoured dude is a hallway, and there are two soldiers to your left. Go right and up the stairs first to find a Lifegem and a Homeward Bone on a body. Lure the soldiers one-by-one towards the stairs to take them out.
  • The soldiers are guarding a misty door. Continue past the door to find a corpse carrying an Amber Herb. Watch a body nearby, as it will come to life and attack with a rapier. Swifter jabs, but not that different from fighting dudes with spears.
  • Near this corpse is the long blade of a stone sword, jutting out of the wall. A guard stands near the pommel. Move forward to attract his attention, but get back in the room below quickly, as a second guard will fall down from above. Take them both out, then check the body at the end of the blade for a Halberd and a Soul of a Nameless Soldier.
  • Head back and enter the mist. Beyond is the room with the fire. Ahead and to the left is a door leading back to the Bonfire; trigger this before doing anything else. Near it is a corpse with a Fire Arrow.
  • Return to the door what was once made of mist and go right. You'll see a corpse on your left when you enter the small room beyond; this thing will get up and attack if given a chance. Slice it up. In this room is a small staircase; at the bottom is a corpse bearing a Large Leather Shield and a Lifegem. Outside this room you'll likely see a little blue creature that will attempt to flee; kill or ignore it as you see fit, though if you do kill the thing you'll receive two Titanite Shards.
  • There's an elevator by the door leading back to the Bonfire. Step on it and you'll descend far into the earth. There's a soldier in the tunnel ahead, on your left; kill him and keep going forward.
  • There's a mist portal ahead. You don't have much choice; step on through. Get ready, as you're about to face the game's first boss - The Last Giant!

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