Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King Review Roundup

The first part of a DLC trilogy for Dark Souls II arrived, but does it deserve a look?

The first entry in a DLC trilogy for Dark Souls II, Crown of the Sunken King, has arrived. After not making much of an impression on us at E3, the DLC went live this week, and with it, the first reviews.

Crown of the Sunken King doesn't shy away from being difficult, and you won't be able to jump right into it without having played a good portion of the main game. Provided you've done enough to stand a chance against the new enemies the DLC introduces, you'll find an entrance to its new areas in the Black Gulch. Depending upon your approach (i.e. how many times you die), it may take anywhere from four to ten hours to complete.

Two more DLC packs are still to come: Crown of the Old Iron King on August 26 and Crown of the Ivory King on September 24. Each DLC pack is priced at $10, or you can get all three in a bundle for $25. As the names might suggest, the overall story entails players being tasked with recovering crowns, specifically those belonging to King Vendrick.

Check out a selection of Crown of the Sunken King reviews below. Let us know if you plan on picking it up or, if you already have, what you think about it in the comments below.

  • Game: Dark Souls II: Crown of the Sunken King DLC
  • Developer: From Software
  • Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
  • Release Date: July 22
  • Price: $9.99 (individually) or $24.99 (season pass)

GameSpot -- 8/10

"Dark Souls II by itself is so rich and robust in its challenges that I still feel the afterglow of having beaten it months ago. Yet that also comes with psychological scabs from the dozen replayed battles against the likes of the poison rat king and the smelter demon. As I began my eight-hour playthrough of Crown of the Sunken King, a line from The Shawshank Redemption echoed in my head: 'And if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further.' I was willing and, with every Souls playthrough to date, I have been rewarded accordingly. Crown of the Sunken King's standout exploratory design and abundance of engaging enemy encounters make it a terrific adventure, though a hair short of being essential. Equally significant is that it succeeds at raising the stakes for the next installment." [Full review]

Polygon -- 8.5

"Even when it's frustrating, Dark Souls II: Crown of the Sunken King balances out its rough patches with a sense of unbridled satisfaction. It's a perfect example of the interplay between tension and relief that the Souls series has become famous for. Crown of the Sunken King may be an optional expansion, but it transcends its own status. It ranks among the best Souls levels I've ever played--and damn near beaten." [Full review]

Eurogamer -- 8/10

"It's a strong start for this series of add-on chapters for Dark Souls II, then. There are no standout battles--save, perhaps, for the grim final encounter--but the cumulative effect of its fights, puzzles and secrets is memorable: Sanctum City and its offshoot areas lodge in the mind like so many of this series' locales. It's exciting to see the team return to the ingenious, interlocking layout of Demon's Souls and the first Dark Souls and there are enough novel ideas to be found in this shantytown of pillars, temples and chipped blocks to reassure you that this is a team that has run out of neither inspiration nor vigor." [Full review]

IGN -- 8/10

"Dark Souls II: Crown of the Sunken King is a brutal, but entertaining opening to a coming trilogy of DLC. Though I wasn't wild about some of the level design, the emphasis on puzzle solving added a welcome new layer to the already-deep Souls gameplay. Within its four hours, I played through a handful of encounters that were as tense, challenging, and rewarding as anything in the entire Souls series, and that's saying something." [Full review]

US Gamer -- 4.5/5

"From Software went above and beyond with their Crown of the Sunken King DLC: invest in its tiny asking price, and you may find yourself getting just as much time out of it as you would a $60 game. But it's more than just the amount of content that makes this DLC irresistible--it's what From did with it. The amount of surprises and fresh ideas Crown has to offer should make any Souls fan salivate over the prospect of two incoming DLC packages developed (hopefully) with the same amount of thoughtfulness." [Full review]

Game Informer -- 9/10

"The zones themselves are among the most labyrinthine in Dark Souls II and include a huge amount of dead drops and lethal traps, which are often served up under duress from unwavering foes. This creates an atmosphere of claustrophobia and keeps an uncomfortable pressure bearing down on the player throughout the entire DLC experience. The content of The Crown of the Sunken King seems small in comparison to the Artorias expansion for the original game, but with two other pieces coming to expand upon things (and the promise of additional secrets when all three have been cleared), I can't wait to die again." [Full review]

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
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Discussion

36 comments
Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

"In the Artorias of the Abyss downloadable content for the original Dark Souls, the first enemy you fight is the Sanctuary Garden, a wicked chimera out for blood. It spits lightning from its mouth, attempts to poison you with bites from a deadly snake tail, slashes at you with huge talons, and probably insults your mother in an incomprehensible language to human ears. It's an amazing fight that encompasses the best parts of the Souls series; brutal, measured combat and fantastic monster design. In the first piece of DLC for Dark Souls II, called Crown of the Sunken King, the game sends yet another humanoid enemy with a big mace to attack you, and then follows that up with some palette swap bosses from the main game. That should pretty much tell you everything about this first of three planned episodes from developer From Software."

-Rpgfan

That seems to be more honest than the stuff above.

Mabrry
Mabrry

I loved the dlc personally. It felt dark, very close quarters and the bosses were really fun. Looking back at it, I like the areas in the dlc more than the main game itself. Just a very fun dlc overall with some hard bosses in the game. Anyone try out the spear yet? Just got it and i'm looking for a new weapon besides this boring mastadon halberd :( 

wexorian
wexorian

finished dlc totaly not dissapointed, player 4-5 hour for 6.99$, died many many times, and bosses were way more hard than main bosses from main content, except vendrick and ancient dragon i hate em.

kindlewithcare
kindlewithcare

I was a bit skeptical of a three part DLC series, but after breaking down and buying it I am not disappointed. If you like Dark Souls 2 even a little, do yourself a favor and play something even better than the original game.

blackace
blackace

Dark Souls 2 is all about dodging, running and grabbing loot. don't even waste your time trying to fight all the over powered enemies, as you'll die just about everytime. Don't believe me, just watch the review video. Guy died about 20-25 times even with a one on one fight. You get hit once and loose 1/2 to 3/4 of you health. I love watching gamers try to play this game. I'm going to have to Youtube some gameplay just to get some laughs.

snacky_smorez
snacky_smorez

Who started the "season pass"? The only game that has a season is call of duty and that game hasn't been good since Modern Warfare. Why not just sell each DLC for a little less? They can afford it otherwise the "season pass" wouldn't be needed. If the DLC is good people will buy it.

Hellcanwait
Hellcanwait

Nice but very short, I just wish that there was some gear or useful spells for magicians in this dlc.

Focus souls is pointless and useless.


g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Definitely Dark Souls DLC, sounds like a nightmare, I love it!!!

Moegitto
Moegitto

Short and most of the weapons have tremendous downsides to using them but I still had fun. The Puzzle Stone Sword is a nice design and a step in the right direction as far as creativity is concerned. I liked that they made most of the DLC a huge puzzle, the difficulty came from finding out how to get into the temple and finding the keys rather than having insanely hard fights. And that "special" invader was a funny surprise, I hope the second DLC continues like this but is a little longer and has better boss soul weapons.

Tabarnaque
Tabarnaque

Artificial difficulty : The Game of the Movie DLC edition, Featuring The Chosen Undead from the popular Prepare to Die Series.

Suaron_x
Suaron_x

I remember an article published not to long ago (maybe around this time last year) by the producer saying Dark Souls 2 has no need for DLC or some such. BS  The commentators here a Gamespot cheered this announcement.  It was followed up quickly by a retraction...and now here you have it.  It's not just one DLC...it's three.  

psuedospike
psuedospike

This DLC is well worth the money IMO, you go from being totally lost and confused and dying all the time to knowing the levels and baddies backwards and forwards including the exploits and shortcuts that required all that perseverance to learn.  In short it's gratifying gameplay at its finest and a great addition to an already great game.

texasgoldrush
texasgoldrush

@Thanatos2k However, Artorias of the Abyss's level design is abysmal, easily the worst in the first game. The bosses were the only things good in that DLC.

Crown of the Sunken King has vastly superior level design, probably some of the best in the series.

And the bosses are fine...sure Sinh was a more fair Kalameet, but Elana is NOTHING like her "sister" Nashandra outside of looks. That boss fight was completely unique in the series, who can summon skeletons, pigs, a boss from the main game, and even other players....and in unpredictable fashion.

jeffgost
jeffgost

@Thanatos2k well, this is fair enough...As much as i like the franchise, DS 2 was a big letdown... The lack of creativity is astonishing.

Jooj
Jooj

@Thanatos2k To be fair this is just 1/3 of the DLC. It annoys me a bit that they didn't take time to iron out some of the glaring map errors in DS2 with this and the fact that you teleport to the new area seems lazy but overall it is very good. Price wise this is 2/3 of the Dark Souls DLC and it already seems as big, but we will see what comes in the next instalment.

eternal_napalm
eternal_napalm

@wexorian The Lost Sinner NG+ and beyond is hard as heck...at least for melee builds. Halfway through phantom pyromancers jump in from alcoves in the wall and while semi docile, they lob various pyromancies at you that throw off your focus, hit you in the back, block you from exploiting attack opportunities and can cause serious damage :P. 


Lol yeah Vendrick has tons of HP, even my Magic Zweihander +10 was doing minor damage. I circled right and rolled under his swings, he gives a half second delay so rolled early a few times :P

kindlewithcare
kindlewithcare

@blackace If you don't fight enemies you won't get too far or that much loot for that matter. There are plenty of let's plays on there that are quite entertaining. Epicnamebro and davecontrol are two good ones.

jellyman68
jellyman68

@Tabarnaque While the difficulty is artificial, I pretty much button mashed my way through Dark Souls 2. It's not very difficult at all. I've had way more problems with the remake of Abe's Oddysee. That is a genuinely difficult game.

kindlewithcare
kindlewithcare

@Suaron_x The game sold well and fans wanted more so they decided to make more content and more money. I don't see the problem. As a consumer, I am happy with good extra content.

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

@Suaron_x And so far it's the best DLC I've seen in a long time.  Who cares who said what when.  Whatever.

Moegitto
Moegitto

@Suaron_x He also said in December that he changed his mind about DLC and it was up to the fans if DLC would be made or not. But you don't have to buy it, it's not story DLC. Just extra stuff if you want it.

Deadlysyns87
Deadlysyns87

@Suaron_x It's DLC that is worth it 10 dollars for what most companies would charge 20 for. Sign me up

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Wow, that is a great injustice. Oh, no wait, it's just dlc that no one put a gun to your head to buy, and takes nothing away from the core game itself. It's just something extra for fans that want more dark souls 2. Also, no such article exists.

snacky_smorez
snacky_smorez

@raterorsoniu13 his comment doesn't make any sense.

Tabarnaque
Tabarnaque

@rasterorsoniu13 You are still saying this while having seen in the video a guy hits you through his friend while his friend was performing the exact same animation and then one-shotting you?

Oh I'm sorry mr hardcur playerbase, don't hit me while I'm performing the binocular glitch to run away from the darkness of your soul!

strrckshn
strrckshn

@kindlewithcare @Suaron_x  It was being made or cut from the game  When they said there will be no DLC considered.  They also said if the fans wanted.  But was no petition so how would they know if fans wanted DLC?


Dark Souls 2 DLC 'not really being considered'  I wonder what happened, since 2 months before release the producer said there wont be any DLC since its a complete game. So they were already developing it.  So lies it is then.


source; http://www.joystiq.com/2013/12/19/no-dlc-for-dark-souls-2-producer-hopes-to-deliver-a-full-game/

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

@Tabarnaque @rasterorsoniu13 Have you even played the game?  Or is your expertise acquired solely from watching videos.  Cause you come across as someone who is justifying their fear of trying it.