Published on March 28th, 2014 | by IceCube
REVIEW: Dark Souls II
Summary: Renowned for its tantrum-inducing difficulty, the sequel to the infamous third-person, action RPG, follows the huge success of the previous two games. It’s no less forgiving this time around, but an all-new world, varied gameplay mechanics and rule changes brings a fresh take to the series.
Concept: It’s a familiar scenario: you are a scrawny undead guy stuck in a creepy new limbo world filled with sombre surroundings and brutally-tough monsters. If you kill them, you collect their souls, and if you can take those souls back home safely, you level up and get stronger. This sequel is filled with fresh new content including all new monsters, creative new gameplay concepts and big changes to the RPG rules, like the way in which you heal, level up and wield weapons.
“How to Train Your Dragon” tactics not recommended
Graphics: To the casual eye, the visuals are pretty on par with the previous two games, at least from a tech point of view. Character creation is still a bit shoddy. But in terms of visual depth and atmosphere, it is truly second to none. The world presents us (once again) with awe-inspiring scenery and we are surrounded in a dark and melancholy beauty. Enemies look nightmarishly good, with the artistic direction capturing dark and clever level designs.
Gameplay: One of the standout areas of this series is the combat depth. For example; choosing armour and weapons is not just a matter of which has the highest defense or attack. Every armoury item has deep variable stats that affect battles in different ways, and are tailored for various playing styles. Now, combat is even deeper with variations like, stamina-draining magic spells and the ability to fight with two-weapons. The refined battle logic is smart game design nailed to perfection.
Can you afford to risk it?
Sound: A moody game requires moody music and these tunes are present, but used minimally, like in rare cutscenes and intermissions. Between these moments, we’re listening out for natural sounds like subtle winds, crackling fires, splashing water, tunnel echoes and footsteps in the dark. It’s no crescendo, but the use of minimalism is perfectly appropriate.
Multiplayer: The online focus of the original Demon’s Souls was to leave warning messages on the floor for online gamers to read, whereas the online focus of Dark Souls gave players the opportunity to invade other gamers when they were in human form. This game inherits both those features and pushes them for mixed results. We despise the fact that players who have joined a Covenant can now invade your world whether you are in human form or not. This game needs a better opt-out option for these online shenanigans than just switching off the internet. However, the interesting balance here is that players from a rival Covenant can now be rewarded for protecting players who are invaded.
“Ahhh! Save me, blue guy!”
Awesomeness: Once again the creative team has re-captured the awe-inspiring atmosphere that made the first two games so impressive. While everyone goes on and on about the difficulty as a selling point – we’d rather tone it down just to appreciate the world that has been created before us. It is up there with Silent Hill as one of the most immersive game series we’ve ever played.
Final Word: We all know what to expect: frustrating fights and perhaps a few tantrums along the way, but just as before, there’s always a way through the brick wall you believe is in front of you. Everything great about before has made it back in, and there’s more than enough gameplay tweaks in this dark new world to give players a fresh experience and decent learning curve into the enhanced core structure. Overall, this game is another mind-blowing victory for the series.
Score out of 5 bugs
Summary: 1 = Poor, 2 = Average, 3 = Good, 4 = Great, 5 = Amazing