Feature Article

Six Wild Theories That Emerged From the Dark Souls II Trailer

Some die just to live.

Do you want to know how to make me excited about Dark Souls II? Simply say the words "Dark Souls." Heck, even if you mouth it, I'm sure to get a shiver of fear and excitement. From Software went one step further in fueling my frothing demand by supplying a new trailer called Dark Souls II - Curse. Though offering little more than quick-cut glimpses at various monstrosities I will soon be facing, it was enough to get my mind racing at the possibilities.

Portal to a different world

Picture one kingdom that is simultaneously thriving during its glorious heyday while crumbling amid its desolate destruction. Such situations contradict one another, but as I see a knighted hero approach a glowing shaft, I imagine a portal that lets you see the rise and fall of an empire. Dark Souls has broached time travel before in its Artorias of the Abyss downloadable content, but what if leaping through history were built into the core structure? The labyrinthine paths that connect the world would twist and turn as you viewed Drangleic through different lenses, with monsters appearing in unexpected places or leaving entire areas completely uninhabited, adding a level of foreboding that would make the creepy atmosphere even more unsettling.

His creepy arms do distract from his unfortunate face.

Diverse fighting style

Many have argued that Dark Souls does have difficulty settings--playing as a mage is easy mode. I wouldn't know that from experience given that I prefer to fight steel to flesh, but it seems reasonable that attacking from afar would be safer than getting up close. Magic may be not just an option in Dark Souls II, but a necessity. As I examined the measurements of a long-armed beast that appears midway through the trailer, I realized how difficult it would be to fight by blocking and rolling, as was my customary style in Dark Souls. It would easily be able to reach around a simple shield, or interrupt my dodge with its extensive limbs. From Software may have realized that similar dodge-and-attack patterns could dispose of so many of Dark Souls' monsters and created something that demands more ingenuity, more creativity, if you're going to survive.

Sympathetic enemies

What do you think he looks like under those bandages?

Your quest in Dark Souls II is to find a cure from the agony you're suffering from, but what if others sought the very curse that's eating away at you? This monster towers over you, easily lifting you off the ground with its left hand. And yet, if you look past the mummy wrappings covering its body, through the slit in its mask, you see its eyes. Human eyes.

Could that curse have caused the citizens of Drangleic to grow much stronger than their meager human frames would have otherwise allowed? With so many demonic creatures scurrying about this world, to fight someone of your ilk would be chilling. What have they become? And is their fate yours as well? Just like in Artorias of the Abyss, in which you questioned your very humanity, such a curse would make you question whom you're fighting, and why.

Bosses everywhere

Dark Souls was almost too easy. After slaying beings whose sole existence was to end your life, you arrived at a door that let you catch your breath. Beyond the white fog lay a boss, so a wise player would reshuffle his or her inventory and heal. Such luxuries may not be possible in Dark Souls II. There is a brief flash of a horse-drawn carriage of death. Two horses that spent their time ferrying the dead in the pits of hell before arriving in Drangleic pull a warrior brandishing a deadly spear. And this trio will give chase outside of the tight arenas in which bosses usually rise. Dark Souls may have given us courage by letting us prepare; Dark Souls II will ensure that we're continually on edge. Our death could be speeding toward us right now.

Do dead horses still eat carrots and sugar cubes?

Surprise attacks

Imagine entering a quiet room in the courtyard of an empty castle. After fending off flesh-eating slugs or four-armed trolls or whatever monsters reside in Dark Souls II, you're happy for a second of respite. Scouting the area, you find a tomb with a shaft of light illuminating it. Whose could it be? Upon closer inspection, you see a name etched on it, though it's difficult to make out what it says. And then, as you make out the first couple of letters, a creature rises from the earth, the gravestone sticking out of its back. Such surprises would be rare in Dark Souls II, so rare that you would never anticipate when your next death would come. But once it happens that first time, gnawing doubt would haunt your every step, making you move with such extreme patience that any chance for violence would be a welcome release.

Covenant wars

Just thinking of phantom attacks makes me squirm in my chair. When a flash warns you that another player has invaded your world, your guard goes up, and you move even more deliberately so as not to spoil the successful run you were having. If phantoms exist to make your life even more miserable, then why would two invaders square off against one another? We see such a battle emerge briefly in this trailer, and I image that covenants are at the bottom of that feud. Imagine that you have an item that another covenant desires. If you can throw it in the lava lake, you are rewarded for your efforts, but others are striving to make it their own. When someone from that opposing group emerges in your world, they rush toward you. But they are halted by another. A phantom bursts through a portal to protect you, maybe for altruistic reasons, or just to get that item for itself.

No matter who wins, someone else loses. Yup, that's how fights work.

With only a taste at what's in store for us come March, I can only imagine what From Software has planned for those dedicated enough to brave the many dangers of Drangleic. I cannot wait to see how this adventure unfolds, and will spend the next two months letting my thoughts drift toward what could be, knowing that the truth will be even more shocking.

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Discussion

164 comments
zillaman101
zillaman101

I cannot wait for Dark Souls II. I had no idea what I've been missing out on. Here, Dark Souls II is almost here and I've just started Dark Souls and Demon's Souls, after they've been out for so long.

Conscrumptured
Conscrumptured

Demon's Souls definitely had an easy mode in the player's choice to use magic, but I don't know about Dark Souls. I've never explored the use of miracles or spells in the game and when I play against others who do, sometimes they're able to get me with a homing spell but most of the time they just end up dying too fast from being weak to the elemental weapon I'm using. 


I've always been meaning to try Dark Souls with a magic build but those builds have always just been too boring. 

vadagar1
vadagar1

maybe if they actualy make a PC version with actual PC controls I would try it 


first game was fucking unplayable the control and menu set up was horrifying

biokrysty
biokrysty

fantastic , can't wait to have that feeling when you play dark souls !!

Gabriel Ribeiro
Gabriel Ribeiro

1° You Died 2° You Died 3° You Died 4° You Died 5° You Died 6° You Died

quickshooterMk2
quickshooterMk2

i still hope they have good ideas for level design this time around 


a huge magma land filled with T-rex torso's maze in lost hellzolith 


a complete dark as shit stage called The Tomb of the Giants (turn off the lights.. who thought it was a good idea? you can just use the sunlight magot or go easy mode with cast light spell) 


and good god stop with the cheeseable bosses like ceaseless discharge 

don't make easy ways to cheese an epic boss fight. 

Sprock26
Sprock26

Just release the game already! And please no difficulty settings, Dark Souls should be challenging because its not a game for kids or people who just want to buttonmash through a game. If you die do something else!

GyroGate
GyroGate

They need give us the option of turning off the silly red light around invaders. I'd like to see how cool people look before they kill me.

Tetris_block69
Tetris_block69

I hope the "novice mode" is actually like a NG++++++ difficulty just to troll

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

For a game that only allows one save there sure is a lack of information and certain materials in the world of Dark Souls.  If I had known that, I would have bought a strategy guide.  And if I had known other things from the beginning I wouldn't have lashed out at From Software via email.

suppaphly42
suppaphly42

i never played demon souls but i did dark soul and i loved it. Playing a game that hard was a blast from the past when games were hard. battletoads e.g. got all the way to the end on a couple of play throughs just to die and have no continues ah the rage a 10 year old can have at a game. i am so looking forward to this, no more "take my hand and i will take you on a magic journey where u are the shit and can't lose" 

Chozn275
Chozn275

I never buy collectors editions for games, but I love Demon's Souls and Dark Souls I had to give props and lay out the extra cash for the collectors edition. 

CatPuncher
CatPuncher

NG+ is the only difficulty mode they can realistically apply, or else invading/defending phantoms become a lot more difficult to process (between difficulty levels) - it would also restrict the pool of invadable/defendable worlds, & after 6 months beyond release almost nobody would use the proposed 'novice' mode, but it would still tie up servers unnecessarily. I prefer the idea that From will dedicate all server resources to one core mode so we can all enjoy a lag-stab-free experience.

DamnILoveGames
DamnILoveGames

With each trailer and snippet of gameplay I see I want this more and more, but the last one was so time consuming and rage inducing that I feel I should give it a miss for fear of giving up on it.

JensKDK
JensKDK

What a stupid remark. Millions love this game.

rsj2
rsj2

@Conscrumptured They struggle at the start of the game (especially against bosses), when your intelligence is low and you don't have access to the stronger spells and catalysts.  Ornstein and Smough was a nightmare with my mage.  Homing Soulmass makes things easier, then when you get Soul Spear and Logan's Catalyst you can relax.  When you get Crystal Soul Spear/Soulmass and the Tin Crystallisation Catalyst, it actually makes things a bit of a joke.

Conscrumptured
Conscrumptured

@vadagar1 Not defending From Soft because the port was just terrible, but they've mentioned on numerous occasions that they realized their mistakes of that port and are determined to provide a much more finished product for the PC version of II. Only time will tell but I think it's worth expecting at least something better than the first's catastrophe.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@Tetris_block69 I have not heard of this. I was reading earlier that there are no difficulty settings. I know they want to make the game more accessible, but it just wouldn't be right. If some other games don't have difficulty settings, the Dark Souls definitely shouldn't.

jetxski
jetxski

A game that only allows one save? I have five characters saved on Dark Souls right now...

tightwad34
tightwad34

@suppaphly42 Since you loved Dark Souls, you must give Demon's Souls a run. You will not regret it one bit.

Aaronp2k
Aaronp2k

@suppaphly42 demons souls is a very good game, but you are not missing much tbh. dark souls was much better.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@CatPuncher Yes, get rid of lag stabs. That really was my main complaint among very few with Dark Souls.

Goron24
Goron24

@DamnILoveGames My suggestion would go on the darksouls II wiki for help if you ever get stuck, the souls community is super helpful.

mishdogg
mishdogg

@JensKDK Do you like everything other people like?  I think that's stupid.

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

@rsj2 @Conscrumptured

Using magic primarily definitely is easy mode.  I did a lot of grinding to get high intelligence even before Ornstein/Smough, and even those guys were cake with soul mass and soul spear, let alone the crystal versions of those spells.  And if you get white dragon breath... well... it's useless for PvP, but rocks at PvE.

In fact, Conscrumptured, you're right to say that magic isn't necessarily the best choice for PvP.  But for PvE sorcery was pretty broken.  I'm actually hoping the effectiveness of sorcery gets toned down in Dark Souls 2.

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@jetxski Do you have the PC version?  On consoles you get three save slots, one for each character you create.  The point I was making is that whatever decision you make in the game is permanent, no resetting, reloading, or separate save files per character.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@Aaronp2k I do agree that Dark Souls is better, but Demon's Souls is easily still one of the best games this or any gen. If one has the opportunity, they should get it. Basically, if you like Dark Souls there's no reason to not give Demon's Souls a go. It gives you a totally different world with the same basic greatness.

DamnILoveGames
DamnILoveGames

@Goron24@DamnILoveGames I did from time to time, but it's one of those games that you have to put quite a bit of time into if you want a chance of getting anywhere, and with my impatience I can only die so much before I just put the controller down and say 'it's not worth it'.

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

@vadagar1 @Conscrumptured

The simple fact is that Dark Souls is probably always going to control better using a gamepad rather than keyboard and mouse.  I've heard people who've said they got the keyboard+mouse controls down fine, but most will tell you that getting a gamepad is the path of least resistance.  I can't imagine playing it without a gamepad, myself.  This and Monster Hunter.

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@AtheistPreacher @Shadowdanc3r@RAD_RADIOI actually enjoyed writing about them, feels good to vent.  I think I've heard of this Yurt, he has a brother named Ernie, right?  No wait, that's Sesame Street, Yurt probably lives on Elm Street.

I bought a 12 GB PS3 on the cheap during Black Friday so I could play the copy of Dragon's Crown I bought months before that.  I've been thinking about buying Demon's Soul to get my gamer pride back so I'm glad you told me about this.  I imagine I would have been pissed at From if you hadn't.

I could still be a little mad though, I think games are supposed to be hand-crafted for our enjoyment and not for developers to play cruel tricks on us.  Dark Souls felt more like life than a game and to me that does not equal escapism.  I don't know if From broke rules, it's more like they didn't put any in.

To make matters worse the game runs at around 30 fps on consoles, that should be inexcusable in a game where reaction time is the difference between life and death, and to make matters even worse the framerate dips can make your inputs not register at all, though I'm not sure if that has to do with whether you install the game or not.


Thanks I'll try and make time to check out that article.

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

@Shadowdanc3r @RAD_RADIO 

I actually enjoyed reading about your frustrations.  They're a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, it's easy to see why some of the stuff you went through is frustrating.  On the other hand, I really appreciate From Software's sadistic side in a lot of ways.  It contributes to the feeling that this is a hostile world you're exploring, not one hand-crafted for your enjoyment.  Unlike other games that lead you along gently by the hand and make you the center of the universe, From Software's games don't seem to care that you're playing them because they make so few concessions to the player's ease, enjoyment, or even understanding.  And sometimes their games do flat-out messed up stuff to you that couldn't be avoided without either precognitive abilities or a careful read-through of the wiki before you even entered the game.

Demon's Souls was actually worse in this respect.  Have you heard about Yurt in that game (Google "Yurt, the Silent Chief" if you haven't)?  He's an NPC that -- if you release him and let him return to the Nexus -- will start murdering NPCs, including merchants.  And the murdered NPCs don't respawn until you hit New Game+.  On the one hand, this was kind of an insane thing for From Software to do.  Even granting that Yurt exerted a pretty strong "evil" vibe when you first met him, that doesn't mean that everyone is going to understand that you should kill him as soon as possible.  On the other hand, it's jaw-droppingly amazing that they went ahead and did this anyway.  No other game company is insane enough to do something like that.  They sort of broke the rules of games like this by not telling you directly that Yurt was an enemy, and instead forced you to figure it out for yourself, with dire consequences if you missed the signals.

You might enjoy this article, which is still my favorite article about either Demon's Souls or Dark Souls.  It really conveys both the frustration and the greatness of these games really well, and helps you to understand why they're such intertwined aspects of the experience.

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@RAD_RADIO@Shadowdanc3r Yes, that game is like a full time job.  It's like the game doesn't care if people get fired from their real jobs because of it.  I experienced fits of rage and almost cried.  To this day I don't know if I can forgive From, if I could I doubt I could forget.

I ditched the game the year it came out even though I had the Lordvessel and a pre-patch Crystal Ring Shield.  I downloaded the game around Dec. 2013 not knowing I could delete the patch so I got my shield nerfed and it got stuck in my save file.  I also downloaded the Artorias of the Abyss DLC thinking it would bring back Dusk, but not even Elizabeth showed up.


So, I had to beat the game the way Satan...I mean From intended.  I tried to make my way up to Gwynevere again in NG+, and I got to Anor Londo very quickly thanks to some shortcuts provided by the YouTube community, but even at my new high level Smough and Ornstein were able to c block me for days.  Eventually I was able to stand victorious but not how I wanted to.  

I wish I would have tackled the game as a new type of RPG and not the ones I was used to.  Oh well, if I want a do-over there's always Demon's Souls and the upcoming Dark Souls II.



Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@tightwad34@Shadowdanc3r After supporting the game at retail and investing a hundred hours I was pissed that I wouldn't be able to see all the game had to offer because of a dead merchant that I didn't know could die.  

I wanted to vent my anger and let them know I was hurting so they would correct this atrocity or at least never commit it again.  I was being optimistic and hoped they would respond to me or address my concern in a patch.  Instead they patched the Crystal Ring Shield converting it from a boss mower to a waste of Demon Titanite.  >:(  But I had already sold my copy of the game by then.


I don't know if emails like mine affected the changes in development or not of Dark Souls 2.

Recently I picked the game up again and finished what I started.  It was another infuriating experience but it wasn't all negative.  If I knew then and recently what I know now I would have enjoyed the game more and spent less time than I wanted.  Still, the game is unique.  I like to be challenged and hate giving up forever so I'll consider the sequel, but there are some questions I want answered first.

RAD_RADIO
RAD_RADIO

@Shadowdanc3r In order to enjoy Dark Souls, you really have to get used to the fact that the game hates you, it's a heartless wench without contempt of your time or mental well being.

After I realized that, I went to my closet and pulled out my extra thick skin suit I used to wear as a kid playing Contra or Battle Toads. Not everyone has that kinda skin, so I can totally understand how you feel and why you feel that way.

Just out of curiosity, did you manage to get through the game? I sincerely hope you did, because that game is a gorgeous experience.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@Shadowdanc3r I can tell you are a good person, so I assume the email wasn't all that bad. I guess I want to know why you feel the need to bother with it. They aren't going to tell you anything that will make you feel better. With a game like that you just have to deal with it and try and persevere. That's what it's all about. And I gotta LOL at your last sentence, not at you, but in general.

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@tightwad34@Shadowdanc3r I never played Demon's Souls, so I didn't know that's the way it's always been.  

It was an angry email but I wouldn't say it was nasty since I didn't use any bad words.  Before you email them they let you know not to expect a response so they probably know some emails are going to be angry ones.  

Whoever made Dark Souls can't be that nice, that game is sadistic.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@Shadowdanc3r Yes, that's the way it's always been. No pause, no loading for do overs. You deal with what happened, although you can correct your sins like if you piss off an NPC you can get them back to normal. Why you gotta write a nasty email to From, or anyone fro that matter? They are nothing but a nice, very respectable company.  

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@realguitarhero5@Shadowdanc3  The game doesn't do a good a job at telling you the rules or that it has any.  :)  I thought for sure since enemies didn't attack the Undead Merchant in Undead Burg when I was engaging them that they wouldn't attack the optional merchant, Dusk of Oolacile in Darkroot Basin.  

That inconsistency in the "rules" lulled me into a false sense of security and because of it I lost access to one of the best and only ways to light up Gwynevere's breasts...I mean, uh, The Tomb of the Giants.  Yeah.  


So after braving my fears and defeating a hydra and shattering the golden crystal golem my reward is taken away because merchants indeed can be killed by enemies but the game never bothered to tell me.  I wasn't the only gamer upset by Dusk's vulnerability and death at the crystal hands of the enemy either.


I could give more examples but instead I'll just say that the game isn't perfect.  It's a game I kinda sorta like that I want to love but I don't because I can't and I won't look past its glaring flaws.  Here's hoping part two addresses the issues I had with part one.

realguitarhero5
realguitarhero5

@Shadowdanc3r @jetxski That's what makes the game great.  Aside from killing NPCs and leveling your character, there isn't anything you can do to royally  screw up your character.  What it DOES mean is that you must abide by the game's rules of souls and invasions and death.

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@jetxski Wait, I just noticed there are more than three, all this time I've been so anxious to exact revenge I just pushed the button as quickly as possible.  Still, it's one save per character and whatever decision or mistake you make you usually have to live with the entire playthrough.