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Dark Souls II (360) Review: A Beautiful Yet Somewhat Sloppy Sequel

Dark Souls has its successor, but is the series defining difficulty there? Dark Souls II is far from being considered easy. We may be sans Hidetaka Miyazaki, director of the previous Souls games, but we have not lost the spirit that is the Dark/Demon’s Souls series. The problem is this game may be difficult for the sake of being difficult by using a few cheap tricks. The brow that bears the crown worn by Dark Souls II is a heavy one, yet lighter than the pile of slain player corpses found within.

Dark Souls II Warrior2

Dark Souls II contains true prowess within the environment and the atmosphere it creates. While you may not have wide open fields to stroll through, you can admire the living canvas around you. Dark castle interiors and creepy caves are offset by locations such as the cliff side town of Majula. The only downside to this setting is most areas feel too familiar. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, looks like a duck, then it’s an obvious trap containing near certain death.

The story is kept simple as to allow any person to understand what is going on and to proceed with the fulfilling your character’s goal. That goal being the acquisition of souls in hopes of curing your illness, if you consider being undead ill. You are one of the cursed and you have very minor direction as far as what to do. This lack of guidance is quite beneficial as the player is not only able but encouraged to explore and experience the world at their pace. Colorful and unique characters await to assist you in terms of spending those hard earned souls. Vendors aren’t the only way to spend souls, you can harness them to level up your character.

Dark Souls 2 fight

As with the guidance regarding your goal, you’re free to experiment with crafting your ideal avatar. You can wield giant weapons, fling spells, wear thick armor, but you need to make sure you’re able to do so. Requirements must be met if you are to wield deadly spells and swing steel through flesh and bone, or at least do so without looking like a wimp. You will find what you thought you needed was, in fact, wasted but that is Dark Souls II, trial and error where the error can result in repeated death.

There is only one true negative aspect to Dark Souls II, that being combat. DS2 still has that similar combat which relies more on timing and strategy than simple mindless hacking. However, it appears the enemies within have sacrificed quality for being a cheap challenge. Apparently, the surface of Dark Souls II is coated in teflon as it is quite prevalent to spot nearly any enemy sliding in order to keep you in their sight. While the window of rolling away from an attack is still possible, it is much smaller and ever more frustrating. Hit detection seems off as well. Some enemies appear to inflict splash damage or simply have a spectral extension to their attacks. While not debilitating, it is disappointing in that it feels sloppy as this serves to only maintain the Dark/Demon Souls level of difficulty. This is made abundantly clear regarding ranged combat. You feel greatly inhibited when attempting to lock on to a single target within a stone’s throw away as archers snipe you in the distance. Is that spec over a hundred yards away someone shooting arrows at me? The feathers sticking from my shoulder add evidence to prove that hypothesis to be true.

dark souls 2 chariot

It appears that the online side of Dark Souls II is still unchanged, for what is working needs not be repaired. Messages which can inform rookies of upcoming problems and perils also serve to troll others. “Hilarious” messages advise players to jump off cliffs are to be expected. The random invader is also a possible source of annoyance and death.

Prior personal gripes regarding an environment lacking interactivity, the game is quite good. Every enemy is a challenge, being one you can and must adapt your strategy in order to survive and progress. As the game advances, you find enemies using different weapons and, sometimes, the environment to keep you at a disadvantage. You will die, but your deaths are simply not a punishment but a lesson not yet learned. This game is not for those wanting to be introduced to the Action-RPG genre as it is best played by those wanting a true challenge which awards the player a sense of satisfaction.

Rating
7.9
Pros
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Same combat that needs no alteration
  • A simple story which is easily followed
  • You are free to create your character as you see fit
Cons
  • Enemies slide around the battlefield
  • Hit detection requires some attention

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