Dark Souls 2 Review Roundup

Dark Souls 2 is out, and the reviewers have judged From Software's follow-up to one of the most beloved games of a generation. Is it a hit, or should we prepare to cry?

Dark Souls II is out! From Software's follow-up to cult hit Dark Souls launches for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 today, with a PC release coming on April 25.

Early Dark Souls II reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, suggesting that the latest instalment of challenging and atmospheric RPG series is a worthy investment of your valuable March time.

If you've picked up the game, how are you finding it? What's your best anecdote so far? I ended up having to club one boss to death with my shield because my sword broke during the fight, which was both terrifying and exhausting.

Here's what the critics are saying in their Dark Souls II reviews:

GameSpot -- 9/10

"Dark Souls II is loaded with secrets and surprises, and even though I have finished the game once, there are so many elements I am still uncovering. I may not have yet unveiled all there is to know about this beastly game, even after 80 hours of play, but I do know this: I will be adventuring through Drangleic for many months to come, sure to be haunted nightly by the disturbing gazes of the faceless titans that tenderize my flesh with their two-ton hammers." [Full review]

VideoGamer -- 10/10

"Dark Souls 2 is a refined, slicker version of what I consider to be the greatest video game ever made, and it is a title we’ll be finding more and more about post-release as its genius is fully uncovered." [Full review]

CVG -- 10/10

"Whether or not you come to believe that this is better than its predecessor will likely depend on how blindly you accepted the former game's faults. Dark Souls 2 irons out those flaws, and its world expands in ways that fans won't expect, but will undoubtedly appreciate. Its layers of depth, and colossal scope for challenge, community and discovery, is a gaming event of such impact it'll be referred to time and time again for years to come." [Full review]

Edge -- 9/10

"It is a game that asks everything of you and gives so much back, keeping its cards close to its chest, and revealing them only to those prepared to die and die again. It is made to be played for hundreds, if not thousands, of hours as you try new builds, explore PVP and experiment with covenants, all the while slowly peeling back the layers of its lore. Some of its ideas work better than others, and Drangleic is no match for Lordran’s intricate design, but Dark Souls II is, like its predecessors, brilliant, beautiful, and absolutely essential." [Full review]

IGN -- 9.0/10

"Dark Souls II is a smart, massive, and incredibly rewarding sequel. It’s crammed with deep systems, tense encounters, and enough clever multiplayer and New Game Plus elements to make me want to restart the second I saw the end credits. Not all of the tweaks and additions worked out for the best, but with such great enemies and levels to fight and explore, Dark Souls II made 60 hours of pain and agony so much fun they flew by in a heartbeat." [Full review]

Eurogamer -- 9/10

"Overall, Dark Souls 2 probably isn't quite the same masterpiece Dark Souls is, but then neither is anything else, and the fact it comes so close is remarkable. From Software has delivered on its goal of opening the game up a bit to more daunted players without breaking the heart of Souls, and Drangleic belongs in the same conversation as Lordran for any number of reasons - but this is still an iterative sequel, so many of the old routines and patterns of discovery inevitably sparkle a little less the second time around. Only a little, though, and when the worst you can say is that a game is only nearly as good as Dark Souls, that's still a pretty strong recommendation." [Full review]

The Guardian -- 5/5

"Dark Souls II is an extraordinary game. If it stops short of fulfilling something precious within the soul, it certainly has the heart, mind and fingers covered." [Full review]

For more Dark Souls II reviews, check out GameSpot sister site Metacritic.

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270 comments
gracek90
gracek90

I bought Dark Souls 2 at kinguin.net. Their prices are so low that When I saw them I couldn't believe it.

 

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

Sounds about right. GOTY for certain.

HipHopBeats
HipHopBeats

I like this new review round up feature. Good to see you guys aren't afraid of advertising other gaming site's opinions.
 One improvement you could make is to have links open up a new tab instead of automatically going to the site link. That way, you can still keep your gamespot tab open.

baldy40
baldy40

I know this isn't a place for a soapbox, but I sincerely hope that other people are enjoying DaS2 more than I am. I was a huge fan of Dark Souls for a lot of the reasons that From stripped from Dark Souls 2. The weightiness of combat, the deliberate nature of your in-game actions and a loosely-presented but tightly-woven lore were what drew me and many others in to the first game.


In DaS2 combat and movement are extremely floaty and imprecise and while they have still delivered a nonlinear game, they've taken out any semblance of motivation of what you're supposed to do. There was the "Chosen Undead" plot in the first, but it could be ignored almost completely and one could still had a cohesive, enjoyable experience. In DaS2, I feel compelled more by "What bosses haven't I killed yet?" moreso than "I wonder what happens next...?".

Apologies for the long post, and it's possible I'm in the minority, but I was really hoping for From to take the series forward, not suck it back into the worst parts of the past. It's still somewhat enjoyable to play, but I haven't felt anything yet in my first playthrough in terms of excitement and wonderment that I feel in my 15th playthrough of Dark Souls 1. 

rhenom
rhenom

Now time for Dark Souls 3 on PS4 and XBone.

GameFan1983
GameFan1983

and why did GS "round up" reviews for Dark Souls 2 and not every other games?

SamuraiSeven
SamuraiSeven

I love this game but I HATE that I cant pause the game. Who has time to turn their phone off, sedate the kids, muzzle the wife, and play uninterrupted for long enough to explore this beautiful world?

GameFan1983
GameFan1983

waaaaa!!! we PC gamers are still waiting. says what??!! 4/25???!!  me crying waaaa!!    (kind wanna grab ps3 version now)

hystavito
hystavito

I really gotta try Dark Souls, so many people raved about it.  But then again I'm not sure it's for me.  I don't like repeating segments over and over to complete them, and it seems like the challenge in this game is mostly "mechanical", like timing your attacks, which isn't really the kind of difficulty I usually enjoy.

Vodoo
Vodoo

I've wanted to like these games in the worst way. I liked Demons Souls on the PS3 but couldn't figure out what to do not even halfway into it. I bought the digital version of Dark Souls on my 360, when it was on sale for $10, but just couldn't get into it that much. Plus, it looked like it suffered a significant graphical decrease from Demons. 


For those that have been playing DS2... does it look like any improvements were made? Or is it just a new game with the same old look & feel? 


I'm holding out hope that they release a next gen version in the next few months along with the pc version. XB1 or PS4, I don't care, as long as it's next gen.

everson_rm
everson_rm

Does anyone have any problem getting the pre order item on PSN? Damm, i cant get thoose weapons...

Oogazi
Oogazi

are these review roundups going to be a thing now?

Dordledum
Dordledum

I somehow still believe (and hope) they will announce a next-gen version of this game within a month or two.

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

Praise the Sun!!!

angeloti83
angeloti83

I so gotta play this game! first dark souls was soo addictive and awesome! and guys, trust me on this, it´s not as hard as it may seem, once you get a grip on this game it becomes much easier and satisfying. Give it a try!

DarkJedi8_basic
DarkJedi8_basic

Anyone know which version is better (PC version, notwithstanding)?  I've read articles that say the 360 version is 30-40 FPS, but suffers from jaggies, while the PS3 version is smoother, but has FPS that dips to low 20's at times?

I'll be honest, Ive seen comparasons, and I cant tell which version looks better.  So I guess that answers my question. 

GrendelSP
GrendelSP

I want this game so bad... but I am worried I am not good enough of a player to not get mad and rage quit. I barely got out of the intro zone of Dark Souls 1... Someone give me some comfort or motivation.

Aries1331
Aries1331

@HipHopBeats Firefox has a addon called Cool Previews that will help, check it out if u use that browser. Also, what GarGx1 said lol :)

martingaston
martingaston moderator

@HipHopBeats  Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not actually sure if our CMS can handle doing links like that, though, but that might just be me being incompetent. I'll look into it!

Charona23
Charona23

@baldy40  You're not alone.


I, too, am madly in love with Dark Souls and I completely agree with the imprecision and sluggish nature of the combat in the sequel.


But, you have to remember, compared to a lot of stuff coming out these days, the game is still great. It's just that if you played it to death, like I'm sure we both did, you're more susceptible to seeing DaS II's flaws.


That's not to say DaS didn't have any, but the world, the lore, the combat and the atmosphere trumps the sequel.


I knew from the moment they announced that the sequel would not be directed by Hitedaka Miyazakin, the game director of the DeS and DaS, the game wouldn't have that same seal of quality.


My biggest complaint so far is that none of the bosses are memorable in comparison to the greats in DaS. While that may change in the coming days (considering I've only lit 3 primal bonfires so far), I'm just not immediately impressed like I was in DaS and DeS (Taurus Demon and Tower Knight). While they all fight with the same intimidating techniques, their aesthetic design is lagging behind in terms of creativity and color palette.


I believe the new game-director has done the best he could and still managed to turn out a game that is marvelous, but unfortunately he doesn't have the ability to channel From Software's ability quite like Miyazaki could.

martingaston
martingaston moderator

@GameFan1983  It's a new-ish thing, but we've been rounding up all of the big games lately -- there's ones for Titanfall and South Park, too. It's something we're trying out at the moment! 

nbf4548
nbf4548

@SamuraiSeven  I agree, sometimes real life demands your attention, so every game should have a pause.  It's just realistic.  Even turn-based strategy can be tense if designed well, like XCOM, which is essentially pausing you all the time.  

Paoksis
Paoksis

@SamuraiSeven  


you should'nt be playing games ig you actually have a wife and kids..man the new generation of families are really doomed

GameFan1983
GameFan1983

@SamuraiSeven DS is suppose to be an online or mini MMO experience, pause destroy the immersion of the game it give you too much response time or even down a potion which can be easily exploited by bad and cheap players

DeKuip
DeKuip

@hystavito  You should really try it. The internet is full of tips and tricks to master DS in early game. They're also a couple of walkthroughs that show you every secret their is. Believe me after finishing it once you never want to stop playing the game no matter how you beat it the first time.



HipHopBeats
HipHopBeats

@dark-soul-343 I don't see why everyone would sell there PS3 / 360 knowing that both next gen consoles have weak launch titles.

xSagez
xSagez

@dark-soul-343 Dude, don't you think they were already planning on it? Wait a couple months. If they don't announce it's re-release in next-gen consoles I'd be stunned.

nhwilber
nhwilber

@dark-soul-343 While we're at it - go for a re-mastered souls series combo pack. 3 in 1.  

lildozer74
lildozer74

@dark-soul-343 you know what... i wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this actually worked. from software has one of the best values of any game company out there. remember when the CEO almost resigned because blight town in the original dark souls was stuttery (cant find the link at the moment)? yeah, that says it all. On the other hand, am i the only one who thinks the graphics are beautiful as they are? i don't see an issue here. maybe if you only had a ps4 or xbone. i love the game so far though and im pullin for GOTY.

deion_sandals
deion_sandals

@Vodoo  These games are not about graphics, they're about art direction and gameplay and both are top-notch.  There are plenty of improvements that have been made, I could list them for you if you like but it would take a while.  The most noticeable improvements are the increased size (the game is MASSIVE) and the fact you can warp to any bonfire.  You'll never get stuck like you did in Demon's/DS1 because if you get stuck on one area, you simply warp to another.

dpclark
dpclark

@Vodoo

"it looked like it suffered a significant graphical decrease from Demons."

Dark Souls 2 seems to lack character shadows except in bright sunlight and torchlight.  Ambient inside lighting should cast a slight shadow, but it doesn't.  I always prefer shadows even if the light source is ambiguous because it grounds the characters.  I'm hoping next-gen Souls games vastly improve lighting and shadows.  However, the best thing about the series is that it is not first person.


Also, unfortunately the PC version has been hijacked by a third party advertisement and spyware virus called, Steam.

martingaston
martingaston moderator

@Oogazi  It's something we're experimenting with at the moment. Do *you* think they should be a thing now? 

lildozer74
lildozer74

@angeloti83 yup thats what i keep telling my friends. watch the enemy first. see how they attack. shield up, dont waste a swing, and keep an eye on that stamina. once you do that, your good to go (until those bastards ornstein and smough)

Vodoo
Vodoo

@DarkJedi8_basic  Consistent frame rate is more important than some jaggies here & there. You don't wanna be in the middle of a big battle and the game starts to chug along. The low 20's is pretty bad. If it dropped from 60 to 50, that's acceptable, but below 30 starts to affect your gameplay.

baldy40
baldy40

@DarkJedi8_basic  The Community is better on PS3. :)   

I rather lose a few frame rates. Than 360 screen tearing.  But that's me.

franzito
franzito

@GrendelSP  Play online and you can get some help from other players, makes things a lot easier at first! Also, before you start, get the Master Key from the character's gift screen, you can open many important doors later.

Rheinmetal
Rheinmetal

@GrendelSP Everyone had a hard time at the beginning don't worry. Firstly, do not go towards the cemetery with the skeletons. It's a trap, these foes are for lv.30 at least, and you are lv.1. instead explore the rest of the area, except the cemetery. Eventually you will find your way to Undead Burg. Secondly, do not go anywhere without having your shield up. Third, if you feel underpowered gather some souls killing the same enemies again and again and level up until you feel comfortable enough.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

I felt the same when I started. If you want to make it a little easier on yourself just do some research. Knowing the right build for your style, and the right weapons for your build, make all the difference. Not to mention knowing the good progression of advancing through the game. It may make you rage quit, but five minutes later you'll want to get right back into it to triumph over the challenge. We're all in this together.

Syndicalist
Syndicalist

@Charona23 @baldy40

The combat was changed to make it even more realistic, and also to get rid of the annoying exploits that existed in DS such as lagstabbing. If you don't want to feel sluggish, level up your ADAPTABILITY, it makes you more agile! You only feel sluggish because your character is a nub.

xdluffy
xdluffy

So i csnt be a gamer and have a family? Id hate to be ur wife

blejk2
blejk2

@Paoksis Yeah thats true, espessialy if you live in a country with a troubled economy and corrupted politicians. gough...Greece...gough

Oogazi
Oogazi

@martingaston @Oogazi  Honestly, not so much. I come to this site to find out what *you* guys think about a game, not what others think. 

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@franzito @GrendelSPNever get the Master Key on your first playthrough.  If you don't know what you're doing you'll end up in the wrong places.

GrendelSP
GrendelSP

@franzito @Rheinmetal @canuckbiker Followup question. Should I go back and retry Dark Souls 1? I have it on 360 and PC. And then try Dark Souls 2 after? Or ust I just dive into Dark Souls 2 now?

Freedomination
Freedomination

@Rheinmetal @GrendelSP  I made my way to tomb of giants before i discovered the path to undead burg. Though the game was still hard it was a relief to find out the game wasn't mainly about memorising the way to run past enemies

Paoksis
Paoksis

@blejk2  http://www.usdebtclock.org/   troubled economy say? Such an ignorant nation where media and Mc donalds govern the place.Could'nt expect anything more from you.



and your argument could'nt be more irrelevant in the first place.