Dark Souls II Review (360)
Ryan is pleased with his expectations. Check his tips to surviving here
It all started with Demon Souls, a formidable and unforgiving beast, on the Playstation 3. Unfortunately it was a game I had very little exposure too but generated a lot of interest around the hardcore gaming water cooler. A few years later a spiritual successor eeked it’s way in to every facet of our gaming lives. Dark Souls built notoriety for punishing the inpatient and decimating the inexperienced. It was a test of memory, patience and skill that very few games have ever generated on modern consoles.
So what happens when a game like Dark Souls gets a sequel? Expectations are at an all time high and rightfully so. Dark Souls is definitely one of the best games on last gen consoles for the hardcore market. Well I am happy to say I have never been so excited by a game.
Dark Souls 2, although there is some pandering towards a more casual audience, is exactly what I had hoped for. I have found myself investing countless hours in a single covenant and finding the deal ways to troll and maximise my efficiency for PvP situations. It is everything I had hoped for and more.
The obvious question on everyone’s lips is “Is it still difficult?” To which I can respond with a resounding yes, although it has been toned down. Those of you who expected a completely unrelenting tour de force may be saddened to hear that enemies now have a spawn limit of 15 or 1 if they are special enemies. There is now a tutorial and bonfires can repair weapons simply by resting, which highlights the precautions taken to ensure new players don’t give up.
Thankfully these little niggles are based in one of the most well constructed and beautiful game worlds ever imagined. There are so many serene views in a dark and ominous world. After clearing areas of all the enemies it’s not uncommon to stop and bask in the setting sun. Players have even left signals to remind you to enjoy the scenery, and if that isn’t a testament to such an awe-inspiring game I don’t know what is.
The score equally compliments the ominous and sinister environment you fight your way through, often keeping you on edge. The astonishingly well devised music is brought to you by Motoi Sakuraba and the music resonates in boss battles giving the epic sense of struggle between you and the vast array of bosses that fall before you.
Personally I found Dark Souls 2 to be easier than its predecessor but this is due to previous experiences and an understanding of what to expect. While it is obvious the game has been aimed towards a slightly more casual audience. For the more experienced players there is still a great depth and countless NG+ possibilities, coupled with a far more realised PvP the difficulty is technically higher than it has ever been but it is found in an entirely different place.
Like the previous games Dark Souls 2 is all about discovery; Self discovery and in game discovery. I never knew I was so impatient until I got mashed by the Taurus in the first game. The learning curve is steep but greatly satisfying. With each new are you find yourself looking for hidden illusionary walls and you scour every ledge to see if there are shortcuts and hidden treasures. With the return of a hub like area, Majula to be exact, Dark Souls 2 has a metroidvania feel to it. Upon returning to new areas you can find yourself faced with new challenges and have the ability to open once locked doors to new and additional bosses.
These locked doors or additional bosses may sometimes protect covenants which really is where I found the meat of the game, defending the Belfry at all costs surely amounts to at least 50% of my play through and that is only one of the many covenants at your disposal. There are PvP arena covenants, invader covenants, the return of the infamous sun bros and a few others to occupy you while maxing out your stats.
Overall Dark Souls 2 fans the flames of hardcore players desire while allowing more people to participate appreciate the truly wonderful experience that everybody is talking about. There is a vast number of approaches to completing the game through your build lone, with more choices than ever. There are a few issues with regards to the hardcore elements of Dark Souls one that will disappoint the dedicated few who stuck with Dark Souls but it’s definitely not something to completely put you off the game, after all the tutorial is only the beginning. It’s definitely the best and most addictive game I have played in a while.
5 recovered souls out of 5Dark Souls II Review (360),