Dark Souls 2 Review
Genre: Action RPG, Open world exploration
Released for/Reviewed on: Released on Playstation 3, X-Box 360 and soon-to-be PC (April 25th), reviewed on PS3
Publisher/Developer: Namco Bandai Games (Tekken, lots of Japanese ported games)/From Software (Souls saga, Tenchu series)
Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Nobody that stood out to us
Alluring Element: True Next-Gen visuals combined with genre leading stealth and action gameplay
Check it out if you liked: MGS series, Splinter Cell series, having two thumbs connected to a brain
SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):Storyline – 8 Gameplay – 10 Animation – 7 Replay Value – 10 Entertainment Value – 10 Captivity – 9 Variety – 9 Originality/Creativity – 8 Soundtrack – 8 Overall awesomeness – 9
The Souls video-game series have been known to cause the destruction of many a-controller since their release a few years back, and Dark Souls 2 is no different. Dark Souls 2 is set in the same universe as the first one but isn’t supposed to be directly related to it in any way. If you don’t really take the time to search it out, however, you won’t be finding much of a story anyways. There are plenty of websites and wikis dedicated to the collection and retelling of the Souls series lore. All you really need to know is that you are an undead who is afflicted with a curse that – only by killing tons of undead enemies and bosses – can you hope to cure it. Fortunately, the game focuses entirely on the gameplay so searching out the story can only help to enhance your experience.
The real meat of the game is in the ridiculously hard enemies and even more grueling bosses. Add to that the ability to customize you characters stats to play any way you want and the game has almost infinite replayability. The basic builds are still present but this time around the finishing stat-cap will be higher this time around which will open up all sorts of interesting combinations. You can be a massive hammer-wielding mage or a katana-slashing monk with any type of variation in-between. The gameplay itself hasn’t changed too much since the first Dark Souls but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The controls have been more refined and a few things like an actual jump button and a power stance have been added. Tack on more equipment from the previous list and you have a pretty full game to play around with as you please. Once you have found the build that you like, you are able to put it to the test in one of the many co-op or PvP type game modes. There is nothing more fun in this game than the thrill of pitting your character against someone else.
My main complaint with the game isn’t so much in the game itself as it is the hardware that From Software chose to run it on. This is a very ambitious project and, unfortunately, it has only proven to show the age of the previous-gen consoles. Even the PS3 has some frame rate dips in some of the busier places and the graphics can take a major dip in certain places. There are rumors that it will be ported to next gen but there hasn’t been anything to substantiate those rumors yet. The other main gripe I have with this game is that the difficulty compared to other games feels off. While it is noticeably more difficult, it feels like some of the bosses are only arbitrarily harder because they will put three on the screen instead of one. It does make it more strategic for co-op play-through, but I don’t feel like it takes away from the enjoyment of the single player experience.
The good thing is there will always be someone to help you out due to the very dedicated community that plays this game – and while there are plenty of scumbags playing, I can attest to having met many friendly people that are more than willing to help people learn the game and enjoy it even more. While this game isn’t for everyone, I strongly urge that everyone at least give it a try once. If you don’t start with this one, the first Dark Souls and Demon Souls are both under $20 and give you a great idea of what to expect with Dark Souls 2.
All media credited to From Software and Namco Bandai Games