I’ve spent all day playing Dark Souls II and I’m finally at my wits end. I’ve just started my New Game Plus runthrough today and it was going pretty well.

Lost Sinner? No problem.

The Rotten? Childs play.

Duke’s Dear Freja? Easy.

Then we arrive in the hell on Drangleic that is Iron Keep.

I’ve spent about three hours easily beating three Great Soul bosses and all that’s left in the first section of the game is the Old Iron King. Problem is, I just can’t get to him.

It would seem that the Alonne Knights that populate the zone are my kryptonite. They plagued me in my first runthrough too but never quite to this extent; they don’t stagger, they dish out loads of damage and there’s loads of them. Like a human bull, the red phantom versions incite something in me and I die and die and die again.

“Of course you died, it’s Dark Souls!” I hear you cry. Believe me, I’m well aware of Dark Souls’ bloodlust but Iron Keep is on a whole new level for me. The two red phantom captains in the furnace? They’ve probably killed me more than any other enemy in either Dark Souls game and it’s frustrating me to no end. Their attacks are, quite frankly, impossible to judge; seemingly inch-perfect dodges still result in me getting clattered around the back of the head. It’s infuriating.

Yet I keep going. I can feel blisters on my left hand from aiming the bow endlessly yet I just can’t stop playing. Not until I finally make it to the Egyil’s Idol bonfire, from which I can finally make my assault on the final Primal Bonfire. I was mere inches from it too, only for the game to stick a massive middle finger up at me and put a surprise red phantom in between the two ladders who promptly beat me mercilessly with his hammer.

It’s really quite amazing that I can be failing so hard at a game yet all I want to do is keep playing; to conquer that which is proving to be my downfall.

Does this mean I can call myself ‘persistent’ on my CV?