Dark Souls 2 is the sequel to possibly the most popular action role-playing video game of all time; Dark Souls. A whole new world has opened for you to explore on your Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or PC. So how does the long-awaited sequel stack up to its forerunner?
Namco Bandai games have a very positive reputation for publishing polished and enjoyable games. That’s exactly the case for Dark Souls 2. The very first cut-scene you come across upon starting the game has some amazing visuals that set the dark theme of the game. The same can be said for the soundtrack. Each track has been individually composed to suit the theme of the area or the boss encounter.
The almost perfect combat system from the original Dark Souls makes a return with several improvements. Estus flasks are no longer an instant effect; they now take several seconds to restore health. Some people weren’t sure about this change but it works well with the changes made to poise. Still, the combat is unforgiving and if you don’t quickly adapt to the new enemies and their patterns you’ll find yourself constantly dying.
The invasion mechanic is also similar to the original game but with 1 small yet devastating change; you can be invaded by any player at any time, whether you are hollow or not. Making an already punishing game even more punishing is exactly what sets Dark Souls 2 above any other game in its genre. The game’s difficulty might be unattractive to gamers unfamiliar with Dark Souls but once you overcome the initial learning curve it becomes a very rewarding experience.
At first, the game can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never played a souls game before. The character information and stats screen is cluttered with different categories and numbers, often leaving out a thorough description of their purposes. The lack of a proper tutorial may drive players away, but at the same time, it also reaffirms to the target audience how hard the game is going to be.
Namco Bandai Games decided to delay the PC release of Dark Souls 2 in order to ensure that it runs flawlessly, especially after the botched release of the original Dark Souls. While their intentions were good, it does leave a large portion of the fanbase in the dark while console gamers get to play the game up to a month before them.
With the new lighting system comes a new atmosphere. Unfortunately, the lighting system doesn’t look appealing on all TVs. Depending on what TV you have, your game could look very washed out and plain while on others it looks simply amazing.
Dark Souls 2 delivers exactly what fans of the series expects of it. A very challenging game with an amazing soundtrack combined with the original Dark Souls mechanics makes Dark Souls 2 a game that’s hard to dislike. Despite the few flaws, this games is awarded a 9/10 score.