Dark Souls 2 Review

“The matter is not in death, but in what it teaches.”

Dark Souls II Logo

As many of you know, the game Dark Souls stands out from other action RPGs not only because of its excessive difficulty, but also because of its oppressive atmosphere. The combination of the first with the second has already become the game’s trademark. In the sequel, the developers have kept everything that fans of the series loved and improved upon it, while also changing the enemies and the setting.

An ominous message

Your cursed path begins in a tattered cloak, unarmed and disfigured in the darkness of the Interworld. The road will lead the hero to a hut where three sisters dwell – the keepers of fire, with whose help you will create your character: choose a name, appearance, and class. The list of initially available classes has slightly changed since the first part. In Dark Souls 2, these are warrior, knight, swordsman, cleric, sorcerer, explorer, thief, and the beloved beggar. The choice of class doesn’t have much impact, except for the starting parameters and equipment. There are no specific limits for character development in the game: you can turn a cleric into a swordsman with two sabers, or a sorcerer into a knight with a two-handed sword.

The overall concept of the game has not changed. It is still difficult, still interesting, and initially unclear. However, Dark Souls 2 is in many ways more user-friendly than its predecessor, but this does not affect the game mechanics. At the beginning of the adventure, the hero’s goal is quite elusive, but closer to the end, the pieces of the story puzzle come together to form a clear and logical picture. But before reaching the credits, just like in the first part, you will spend hours exploring dungeons, crypts, villages, caves, and cities, encountering enemies and clever traps along the way.

Speaking of enemies, the bestiary of ordinary opponents has been enriched with new types of undead, more deadly and cunning. The player can equip the character with better armor, equip them with deadly weapons, and still face difficulties when encountering these enemies.

Settling a debt in blood

If we talk about bosses, then in Dark Souls 2 there are noticeably more of them, but the downside is that their battle tactics have become simpler compared to the original, and it is easier to adapt to them. A larger number of bosses can be easily defeated alone, but there are cases (see twentieth death in a row) when it is easier to summon the shadow of another player for help.

Multiplayer is closely intertwined with the single-player mode of the game. Almost on every corner, you can see hints left by other players, summon signs, with which you can summon a phantom, or bloodstains showing the last moments of its owner’s life. To draw a sign, the cursed one still uses white chalk, which he receives as a gift from the character he meets. Invading other worlds has not disappeared either, the only difference from the first part is that now you (or on you) can be attacked even if you are hollow.

The analogue of Humanity for restoring normal appearance is the Human Effigy, which is quite rare in the game and can also be purchased from some merchants.

It is worth separately discussing covenants. Covenants are in-game factions, guilds if you will, each of which is focused on PVP or PVE components. Joining a covenant allows you to earn ranks and receive rewards for it, as well as some advantages. For example, if you are a member of the Blue Sentinels, then in case of an attack by a dark phantom (an enemy player who has invaded your world), a player belonging to your covenant can come to your aid.

Battle in the dark

Let’s talk about the combat system. It hasn’t changed much since the first part, but there are still some things that you’ll have to get used to again. Rolling is no longer a panacea against all enemy attacks, as opponents have learned to use horizontal strikes. The character feels heavier, you can feel the weight of the armor and weapons, and the moment of weapon contact with the enemy’s body is noticeable. There is now the ability to fight with two weapons simultaneously and assume a Battle stance, which enhances and speeds up the character’s attacks.

Estus Flasks are no longer the only way to heal during your journey: other items have been introduced that gradually restore HP. Dark Souls fans may see this as a simplification and they may be partly right.

But if all these items don’t help and the character still dies, they will respawn in the form of a hollow at the last bonfire you visited. With each death, the character will become more undead-like, and the HP bar will decrease by a few percentage points. You can restore everything to its original state by using a Human Effigy.

The sorcerers of the Dark Souls 2 world have also had their lives made easier. Now there are items in the game that replenish spell charges in real-time, without requiring you to be near a bonfire.
Developers have previously stated that a lot of time and attention has been devoted to the design of locations, and they were not lying. The game world is worth exploring, it is full of secrets, illusions, and puzzles that await the traveler who will solve them or fall victim to them.

Another controversial innovation concerns the ability to move between locations using bonfires. To unlock fast travel, you first need to reach the desired location yourself and find a bonfire there. Perhaps the developers’ decision to add this feature is due to the fact that leveling up the character is now only possible with the character who will be in the first settlement we encounter throughout the game – Majula. This small village will be a kind of “quiet haven” where the characters you meet will gather, where you can buy new armor, repair weapons, and learn a couple of new spells.

Immersed in the shadows

As for the technical part of the game, it can confidently be said that the developers kept their word and did a great job optimizing Dark Souls 2 for PC. With improved graphics, lighting, and added HDR, the game runs at a steady 50-60 fps where the first part ran at 30. The only drawback is the controls. Playing with a mouse is impossible due to the delay, which is deadly in the world of Dark Souls. However, this problem can be fixed by installing Autohotkey macros.

It can be said that From Software decided not to reinvent the wheel. They know perfectly well what makes their game great, and in the second part, the developers only refined and improved it, eliminating all the shortcomings. It feels like this is exactly the Dark Souls that the developers originally planned.Author: Semplesh

Dark Souls II
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Action, RPG, Co-op, Multiplayer
Bandai Namco Games, From Software
From Software
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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