E3 2014: Dark Souls II's First DLC Demo Doesn't Leave Much of an Impression

Road to nowhere.

A bridge stretches across a black abyss. After felling armed demons intent on my demise, striking cowardly archers too scared to fight in close, I reached my final destination. I crept slowly across its uneven surface, carefully stepping over swollen corpses as I approached an imposing stone wall standing before me. My next step into the unknown would soon commence. I needed only to find the switch that would move the obstacle blocking my path. I searched the tiny alcove at the end of the bridge, struggling to find anything to interact with. After admitting defeat, I lashed out at the door, crossing my fingers that a hidden path would appear. No luck. I backtracked, scurrying across that lengthy bridge once more, and then entered nearby crypts. Did I miss a key the first time through? Empty-handed, I ran back and forth, trying in vain to find a way to continue onward, until I accidentally plummeted off a ledge.

The Crown of the Sunken King is the first piece of downloadable content for Dark Souls II, part one of a trilogy called The Lost Crown. Normally, if I encounter an abrupt ending in a prerelease demo, I shrug it off. If the game isn't finished yet, why would I care if it's impossible to reach the end? But Dark Souls demands a different thought process. This is a series known for being evasive about even basic information, so it made sense that I would have to perform some feat of daring to unbar my path. However, I don't know if that's the case. The Namco representative nearby had no answer to give, so I can only wonder if that was a mistake or something the Souls community will have to come together in July to solve.

My other major takeaway was how difficult Dark Souls II is when you're given a build that you're not familiar with. I love lithe characters who can strike multiple times and then roll away before an enemy can retaliate. Shields aren't even necessary with such a tactic because I'm so hard to hit. But in this demo, I was stuck with a slow-moving beast of a man with a zweihander and an equally large mace. My long sword and shield were broken (without a blacksmith in sight), so I was unprepared for the dangers that I would soon face. I don't know how people play Dark Souls with the slow, powerful types, and I'm glad I have the option to make something more to my liking.

Sadly, there wasn't much to the demo that was worth talking about. Unlike Artorias of the Abyss (Dark Souls' lone DLC), which thrust you into a hectic boss fight from the beginning, then pushed you through a forest teeming with monsters to another intense battle, Sunken King is little more than a typical stretch of Souls action. Now, that's a good thing, because Dark Souls is one of my favorite franchises in existence. However, fighting one enemy type along narrow crevices was hardly noteworthy. I'm crossing my fingers that something fascinating will emerge if I get deeper into the adventure, but in my short time with the game, I left feeling slightly deflated.

See more coverage of E3 2014 →

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

39 comments
Ghidoran
Ghidoran

I think splitting the DLC into 3 parts was a bad idea. It's going to make the content seem less interesting and/or cohesive as a result. AotA was cool because it felt like an expansion of the game. Imagine if they'd split it into 3 parts for $5 each. It would've seemed lame. 


I'm hoping the actual content of the DLC's is up to par. I doubt it's going to be as memorable as AotA but as long as it maintains the quality of the rest of the game, I'm happy. 

zeca04
zeca04

Dark souls 2 sucks so no surprise the demo sucks as well (And to add with that, more of the stupid difficulty that the new team is good for). Seriously, bring myazaki back. They are murdering the series.

Rombeau
Rombeau

Oooh I would of loved to try it out with that kind of build :D Can't wait for the DLC

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Damn people are you not entertained?! What does this DLC have to do to grab your attention?!?!?!?!

prats93
prats93

Meh, couldn't care less, I'm waiting for Bloodborne on PS4.

berserker66666
berserker66666

Dark Souls II was a shell of it's formal glory which was Dark Souls. Of course Dark Souls II wasn't directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki so....yea.

Barighm
Barighm

I loved Dark Souls but these are the kinds of games best bought with some kind of GotY edition.

DragonessAthena
DragonessAthena

How did you "break" the sword and shield when to get durability back, you just sit down at a bonfire?...

jharring
jharring

I love Dark Souls II a ton and enjoyed a thrilling 91 hours during my playthrough.  But I basically just said "meh" to this DLC announcement.  It just seems kind of cashgrabby, like Bamco is meddling and said "hold back some unremarkable content so we can have our season pass".  Perhaps I will be proven otherwise, but I'm not holding my breath.

Erebus
Erebus

Well, that makes sense. Here's hoping...

mundus
mundus

@Ghidoran Aota was short, i am pretty sure that all these DLC will be about the same length individually.

Karlinel
Karlinel

@Ghidoran Agreed, but since the season pass it's 25$, Im sure it would be 10$ a piece.


narayami
narayami

@zeca04 Agreed. it seems in this game only cared about de difficulty. Worst game on the series, as a fan if ds i think this is sh*t

EXxile
EXxile

@zeca04 To each their own. I personally loved Dark Souls 2, and found it to be more perfected than Dark Souls. Now, mind you; I loved Dark Souls and Demon's Souls, but Dark Souls 2 is (personally) my favorite of the Souls series.

prats93
prats93

@berserker66666 Objectively, Dark Souls 2 was a good game, but people were spoiled with the original Dark Souls greatness so it appeared pale in comparison. 

Erebus
Erebus

@berserker66666 I strongly disagree. Dark Souls II was the best in the series.. and yes I played the original Demon's Souls many years ago...

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@DragonessAthena Also, I didn't break them. Everything was broken when I picked up the controller.

c_rakestraw
c_rakestraw moderator moderator

@DragonessAthena Because they were completely broken. They're durability had hit zero. The only way we could have repaired them (I was there when Tom was playing; even played through the level myself) was to find a blacksmith, which wasn't available. I don't know how all the equipment we were given -- armor included -- was broken, but boy did it sure make things extra challenging.

zeca04
zeca04

@narayami @zeca04 I feel you, bro. The game didnt give me the reward feeling from previous titles

jagdedge124
jagdedge124

@prats93 @berserker66666  I have to agree with Berserker. DS 2 is just WAAAY to fast. I mean i played it a couple of hours on the lowest camera sensitivity, and my character (the biggest fattest option) no matter how much armor, was so quick it was like trying to control a ball in a pinball machine (my age lol). 

I mean on DS 1 i was " weighed down" by armor and moved much more slower. This game, not at all. I'm jumping all around nobody can touch me, including the Bosses. It's just to "whiffy". 

You just don't get that genuine feel you got on DS1. Game was a miss in my view, not to mention the Armor options are terrible. DS 1 had great armor.

strrckshn
strrckshn

@Erebus @berserker66666 In spite of the new project leadership's sincerest and most genuine effort to produce a game worthy of the series' reputation, it seems the absence of Miyazaki's vision and insight have left the final product in a state that falls short of the expectations of a considerable portion of the community. I find it interesting that the majority of the community members who take issue with Dark Souls II are those with extensive experience in the previous games, whereas those new to the series seem to be expressing much more enjoyment of this instalment overall. I can't help but wonder if this is the result of their campaign of accessibility... to me, many of the changes in Dark Souls II have a very distinct feel of having been intended to make the game appealing to those unaccustomed to the series. Dark Souls II for me was a terrible experience. Regardless of some minor improvements. Yes Dark Souls had faults. Dark II is no exception. It as no Soul and forgettable.

zeca04
zeca04

@Erebus @berserker66666 Broken hitboxes, heat-seeking attacks, copy paste bosses, weak lore and ost, bad level design, bad geography, soul memory, bonfire everywhere= best of the series?...

EXxile
EXxile

@zeca04 @EXxile I just felt the combat felt more fluid, and everything with the online functionality were basically perfected this time around (IMO). I just really love the idea of covenants and PVP, and I think DS2 did it the best out of the three. The game also moves at a faster pace as far as movements go, and I for one am a fan of the speed it is now. The slower movements from the older titles were still great, but I just prefer this speed. The one thing I will say was disappointing to me with DS2 was some of the rehash bosses, and I will agree that DS2 is the easiest of the three (but it was still tough as nails, for sure). A lot of people complained about the life protection rings etc, making the game too easy, but the answer to that is simple: DON'T USE THEM. I don't use them for that exact reason, because I still want to feel the danger around every corner, and take the game in stride rather than feeling like I have nothing to lose. I still felt the rewarding experience throughout this game just like I did when I played DES and DS. I also personally liked having fast travel from the get-go, and liked the hub of Majula and leveling through the Emerald Herald, which felt like Demon's Souls Nexus and The Maiden in Black.

Erebus
Erebus

@zeca04 More bosses, larger world, deeper covenants, more balanced PvP, more effective and diverse character builds, soul memory, better controls, better matchmaking, better anti-cheat measures (still sucks), are just stuff that comes off the top of my head.

The ONLY thing I'll give you is Dark Souls 1 had slightly better environments and level design. All your other arguments are fed through a nostalgia filter or are just copy/pasted options from other questionable sources and not actually opinions formed on your own.

Have you gone back and played through Dark Souls 1 after Dark Souls 2? I have. You should do so but leave the nostalgia goggles off. Dark Souls 1 and Demon's Souls are great games, but Dark Souls 2 is the best of all three.

zeca04
zeca04

@EXxile @zeca04 Heh, glad someone actually argued politely about it. Good  you like it but there are some issues i didn't like in this game. Such as the hitbox of enemies. I think it's ridiculous to die or to take a hard hit even when it's obviously you're out of the enemy's visible reach. Just like Smelter demon, last giant and giant lord, the latter being the worse because of the broken camera. And along with that, i didn't like how the enemy's attacks tracks you, like, they start their animation but they can rotate 360 just to hit you. This kinda of thing was so bad that it turned their "back stab counter attack" useless. Like those turtle knights ( i don't know their name) and cyclops. Both of them won't let you backstab because they'll attack from behind. I was really looking for this implementation but it became rather useless for me because of what i said. Add that to monster having almost no stun lock while they can stunlock you even with smelter armor +5, that was kinda unfair imo. As meele, these changes made combat boring to me, because i didn't want to roll, which they took some invicible frames, to avoid their attacks since i could still get hit anyway, even if the screen shows that it didn't reach me, and without you being able to stun lock enemies, the safest move you could do is wait for the enemy stop attacking and then you attack and roll away. It looked more of a turn based combat for me. And that h urted a lot build variety imo, because you have a whole lot more of advantages being range than being meele. About the rings, i agree, i didn't use them as well. But i don't mean that as "bad difficulty". What i meant is what i explained before. It was unrewarding and boring combat for me, and i'll add that they even had the idea to just increase the enemy's numbers trying to raise the difficulty, what made it worse for me. But still, other thing i didn't like was you being able to hold 99+ recovery itens as well, excluding estus, which made the game easier and not giving me that feeling i had in the first about saving estus just for when it was completly necessary. About the backtracking, i agree it could be tedious. But i think ds 2 made it wrong with so much bonfires in the game, adding lots of checkpoints and making me lose that feeling of "Oh, god, i finally reached a bonfire!". About the maiden in black, i don't really like the change to be honest, but it isn't something that i'll say that makes the game more bad to me. 

push88
push88

@Erebus The bosses in Dark Souls 2 are absolute garbage and so is the level design and the lore.  I do enjoy PVP a bit more in Dark Souls 2.  However, Dark Souls 1 is far and away a better game.  

Karlinel
Karlinel

@Erebus PvP is as broken as ever, now you can't even ignore it by playing hollowed because it simply won't allow you to play your way. The environments are a disaster, the story is a pitiful parody/homage of DS1... And the bosses are carbon copies of DS, just uninspired and with added mobs because that's the only way they can add challenge. 


zeca04
zeca04

@Erebus And to break even more your stupid "nostalgia" argument. wanna know the part of the game i possibly liked more than the rest? Artorias dlc. Yeah, came after the original game and i liked it more than the whole game. So, don't come with bs of trying to ignore my arguments talking i'm "nostalgia". Fanboy. I even got the black knight editon of the game. I wanted to like the game, i was expecting it to surpass Dark souls 1, as the latter surpassed Demon's souls in every way for me. But no, they ruined the game. So yeah. Give better arguments and be more honest (if you ignore the obvious flaws of the game, then you are dishonest) or i'll ignore you like the fanboy you showed to be.

zeca04
zeca04

@Erebus  more effective and diverse character builds" HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Take off your fanboy goggles. I really hate people with nostalgia argument, since i liked dark souls way more than demon's souls. Besides, more bosses,most are boring copy and paste (Sif, garlf, ornstein, gargoyle, nito, dragon rider, giant lord and last giant) and no boss fight was interesting (most of them are just "Let's put more enemies to fight, wooooh" when they aren't using similar movesets from bosses from Dark souls 1). Isn't that right? Rat vanguard, sentinels? Larger world indeed but less interesting one too. Or are you one of those guys of "quantity over quality"? Broken hitboxes are questionable source? Do yourselfa favor and look at youtube "Dark souls 2 hitboxe" and you'll see. Are you going to say it doesnt have a bad geography with iron keep being on sky? A lava sinking castle in the sky? Are you going to deny that the enemies attacks track you even when you make a roll? Way more bonfire? I can go on and on, fanboy.. And yes, i have come back to dark souls 1. Way better. Cry more. Fanboy, say it was nostalgia again and i'll just make you look how much of a dishonest fanboy you are. Questionable sources and copy and paste? That's your best argument? No wonder you think Ds 2 is the best of the series... Take off your fanboy goglles off then we can talk. 

mundus
mundus

@zeca04 @Erebus Everybody has their own opinion personally, my list goes Dark Souls 1 then Demon's Souls and then Dark Souls 2, but i still think Dark Souls 2 was awesome. I just preferred the old games more. I think this got more to do with a thing can only stay fresh so many times than the fact that Dark Souls 2 is flawed.

But PVP is much more diverse than Dark Souls 1 ever was and matchmaking is really good,so if you are mostly into that thing you probably like this game the most.

Only thing i really don't like about this game is soul memory, everything else is a step in the right direction. Obviously people will complain about level and boss design and i agree that both the 2 old games had better of those well at least the level design, boss design might have been cooler, but overall this has the most satisfying battles for me. Still super easy if you caster, but its not like thats something new, it was like that in the old games also (dark bead anyone?). Personally i play pure melee builds for the most part. And NG+ lost sinner is probably the hardest encounter in any souls game, i also really like king vendrick and dark lurker. Ancient Dragon was pretty easy tbh, but the first few times i struggled not because he was hard, but because when you eventually died the corpse run was annoying as hell.

Erebus
Erebus

@zeca04 Responding to a "nostalgia argument" with blatant ad hominem is never a way to make your point. Even if my argument is subjectively wrong, yours, by definition, is objectively false.

Keep talking. You're not fooling anyone.

I never said Dark Souls 2 was perfect, it's just the best in the series. You can take that to mean whatever you want. You can call me a fanboy till your keyboard fails and it will never be true. I have a right to my opinion. Having said opinion does not make me stupid, nor would I have to be crazy or wrong to hold said opinion.

We could agree to disagree if your ego would permit it.

EXxile
EXxile

@mundus @zeca04 @Erebus Agreed (with the exception that Dark Souls 2 is my personal favorite of the three). Funny though, because I'm the opposite of you with Vendrick and AD. I thought Vendrick was pretty easy with the 5 Giant souls. I'm on NG++ and have killed him each play through, and he has only killed me a total of 3 times altogether (two times first play through, one time on NG+, and no deaths on NG++). I'm primarily a Strength/Dex build with Faith, but I don't use any miracles on him, just heavy weapons. I had a lot more problems with Velstadt to be honest. Now, the Ancient Dragon is a different story. I have yet to kill him, and he continuously just kicks my ass.

zeca04
zeca04

@Erebus You say my argument is wrong by ad hominem but you use the scarecrow falacy, which makes you wrong from the beggining. Deal with it, fantoyboy.

zeca04
zeca04

@Erebus You are free to say the game is the best as i am to say it isnt. And i said why and all you do is saying it isn't true. You did n't even try to counter argument me besides calling me a liar... So yeah, fanboy. Congrats being one.  :)

Erebus
Erebus

@zeca04 I don't think you understand the meaning of the words you are using... and you should really collect your thoughts into a single reply before your ego lets you go and make a mess of things.

When you get put on blast, you just start swinging wildly. hoping something will hit. Dark Sousl 2 is a better game, and a smart person thinks that and has good reason to think that, and that just drives you insane because anyone who disagrees with you is wrong.

I'm sorry, but I think you truly don't even know what an argument is.

Erebus
Erebus

@zeca04 Fanboy is not an argument, it's a personal attack. I'm I'm a fanboy, you're a weak-minded coward with poor taste in games.

Hopefully that makes you see why personal attacks have no place in an argument -- either that or I just made your ego freak out. :p

...probably the latter.

zeca04
zeca04

@Erebus @zeca04 "All your other arguments are fed through a nostalgia filter or are just copy/pasted options from other questionable sources and not actually opinions formed on your own." Best argument ever. No ad hominem :). And i never said who disagrees with me is wrong, i just pointed some flaws that imo doesnt make it a better game. But you got all mad and attacked me, wasn't it?.And use your own advice, all you are doing is ad hominem. :) You still didn't counter argument a single flaw i stated before while i counter argument what you think it makes the game better. BTW, you said like i play the game like hack and slash, which isnt true since i already beated the previous 2 games... So... Prove it, then. Prove that's how i play the game. :) And i just called you fanboy after your first argument, which insulted me, since you sounded like i was a mindless liar AND ONLY after that i called you a fanboy. Funny thing. Do you consider fanboy ad hominem? Ohh, but you can call other people liar or incapable to think and it isn't ad hominem? Hypocrite. That's what you are. A hypocrite dishonest fanboy. Never said you couldn't like the game nor i said you have poor taste for game. Have fun.