A Review of Dark Souls 2

Dark Souls 2. The third in the up and coming ‘Souls’ series looks to be the most nail biting, controller slamming, abuse yelling game yet. But don’t get me wrong: I think that’s what we look for in a Souls game.

I managed to get a few sessions in with the demo at MCM, being a Souls fan myself I could see that Namco Bandai have changed more than a few things but without meddling too much in what the other Souls games have been.

There are six classes available: Soldier, Warrior, Temple Knight, Hunter, or Dual Swordsman. I went Warrior, just to get the feel of the game.

The controls are pretty much the same, a little more aiming is required for larger weapons but it still has that ‘Souls’ feel. It’s easy for new people to pick up as well. The major big thing I notice is the lighting, lighting is a very important access to the game, going into caves, unlit tombs now seems ever more daunting, coupled with that fact that you can carry a torch, which means ditching your shield or do you progress with your shield and no light.

After working my way through the demo, dispatching undead without too much hassle, I bumped with a slightly heavier tortoise knight with a large ‘I’m gonna squish you into paste’ hammer – who greeted me in the friendliest way possible which was to hammer me into the floor.

I proceeded victorious after a gruelling battle and worked my way through the rest of the level without too much trouble… until I was greeted by another curve ball which was spawning 3 Black Phantoms into my personable space. To which in my panic and foolishness proceeded in carving me a new set of holes.

Player getting a 'You Died' screen on the game demo at Expo

Respawning, I noticed my health bar had been decreased, a new concept to Dark Souls, players dying in the original became hollow, where they then used a humanity to become ‘whole’ again, which opened options so you could summon help and be invaded. Dark Souls 2 now punishes you further but cutting your life bar down every time you die to the total of -50%. Also you now can be invaded regardless of your state, which will keep people on their toes a lot more.

Well with refilled vigour and a fresh pair of pants I was off to finish the demo with what little time I had left, this time went a lot better as I realised I had legs. Legs that can be used for running away: you may call this cowardly but I wasn’t going to… yeah I was a coward. But! A coward that makes it to the boss!

The Mirror Knight placed me into a new world of hurt; with a wide amount of attacks and the ability to summon help through his shield, I was a little in over my head. I was told later that an invader that comes through the shield could be a player who is trying to invade you, which will ultimately make this fight a lot harder.

Through my efforts I only managed to bring him down to a quarter life then my time was up. Defeated I vowed revenge and stood in line again on the Sunday to which I cleared it; playing a mage has its perks.

Overall I was impressed with the changes that had been made, the new lighting element for one, combined with fresh look on the combat. With the game still in the pipe line no doubt changes will still be made and new info with be released in time. The game is due for release next year on the Xbox 360 and PS3 11th March in the US and the 14th March in the UK. For PC players we have been told that the release will come later in March and no date has been given.

Keep your eyes out for this one guys and girls and prepare to go beyond death.

Dark Souls characters head to head



photography © Jojo Yap and Scott Sanderson

This article was posted in Games


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