Other Take

Dark Souls 2 Review - A Newcomer in Drangleic

  • Game release: March 11, 2014
  • Reviewed: May 11, 2014
  • X360

Soul crushing.

by

Our Other Takes present alternative opinions on games from unique perspectives. Click here to read our Featured Review!

For this review, Justin spent 25 hours in the game, killed five bosses, reached level 65, and lit too many bonfires.

From Software's Souls games have been near the top of my games-I-should-play list for quite a while. I can't recall ever talking with someone who's spent time with Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, or Dark Souls II without hearing them gush over the series, and though the games have a reputation for brutal, unforgiving difficulty, I jumped at the chance to finally experience what makes this series so special. I'd heard a lot about the games over the years and seen countless gifs friends have shared with me of the game in action, so I felt prepared for the endless deaths and bleak setting. For their third entry, I figured developer From Software should have a streamlined system for getting players into their game (and dying) as efficiently as possible.

After spending over 20 hours with it, clearing out No Man's Wharf, and getting my character to level 65, it's clear that Dark Souls II has the seeds of what could be a fantastic game. But an adherence to only pleasing its most hardcore fans at the expense of approachability makes for an unapologetically obtuse experience. It's a game that too often sacrifices fun, replaces it with tedium, and tries to defend that choice by calling it a challenge.

Oh my God--how many of them are there?

A steep learning curve is one of the first obstacles that discourages newcomers. I dutifully went through the in-game tutorials, but I avoided using any guides or outside help at first. I wanted an unadulterated experience, the kind I'd have if I were actually reviewing the game or playing it when it first came out.

That ended up being a horrible mistake.

My progress early on as a sword- and shield-wielding knight was slow but steady. As expected, I died a lot as I got used to the combat and the idea that this is not a game made for taking on groups of enemies, at least not for a beginner. Where other action games have trained you to tear through the hordes of sword-fodder minions with reckless abandon, Dark Souls II demands a steady, patient rhythm. And it punishes you frequently with spectacular failure when you try to overextend your abilities. But that's also Dark Souls II's greatest strength: no matter how far you progress, those initial creatures still take skill and patience to dispatch. I never got to a point where I could roam thoughtlessly past any foe or just button-mash my way through combat. Whether it's against a boss or a dagger-wielding grunt, every battle is a thoughtful, life-and-death fight.

This isn't the time to rick the boat.

But eventually my progress stopped altogether. I was permanently at half health (a negative punishment for dying too often) and never found a place to get rid of the few thousand souls I'd racked up between deaths. I tried burning human effigies at bonfires to restore my humanity and get my health back, but it didn't seem to have any effect. And I really wanted to know when I'd learn to use the magic I'd bought from a merchant a while back.

It turned out that I'd completely missed talking to a character early on who increases your level and abilities in exchange for the game's currency, souls. Standing by a cliff at the edge of town, she was obvious once someone pointed out where to find her, but Dark Souls II didn't choose to highlight her in a notable way for our first meeting. After that, she always showed up right next to one of the first bonfires, but that's where I needed her to be in the first place.

And as for reversing the negative death effects, Dark Souls II seemed to be trying to purposefully mislead me. When the game writes that you should "use" an effigy to become human again, it means to use it as an item, despite making it something called an effigy and displaying it prominently as a thing you burn when you're sitting at a bonfire.

It's a game that too often sacrifices fun, replaces it with tedium, and tries to defend that choice by calling it a challenge.

Poring over information in guides and wikis and getting a much needed boost to my health and stamina from leveling up immediately made the game better. But that just makes it feel more nonsensical that so much information is left unexplained or unclear by the game itself. Items have colorful descriptions full of intriguing lore, and the game's stats page has an in-depth explanation of every minor facet of your character's abilities. But that sits in stark contrast to how the game explains how to summon other players and non-player characters to help out in your game, and you're left completely on your own in figuring out how to gain even a rudimentary spellcasting ability.

The game's simple stamina system makes sense, but it almost forces you to die to figure it out. Attacking, running, and pretty much every other action use some portion of stamina, but I expected that I'd be safe and able to recover while hiding behind my shield. Not only does defending make stamina refill more slowly, you also lose stamina when deflecting incoming blows. That's not a problem in itself, but it would've been more satisfying to have those facts clearly laid out instead of trying to figure out why I was still getting slaughtered by enemies despite having a sturdy shield to defend myself.

I, for one, do not welcome our skeletal overlords.

I never grew to love it, but I at least grew to respect the game's combat. However, contrary to what I'd have expected, leveling up in Dark Souls II only made me less inclined to continue. While I appreciate the care that goes into defining every minor stat you can change on your character, that amount of tedious detail also meant that, even after more than 20 hours in the game, I still needed to constantly review the in-game help menus to understand what most of the symbols meant. And even after reading them, I still don't quite understand the benefit of trying to get points in poise versus having higher agility. But more damning is that the further you get in the game, the more trivial and meaningless each incremental increase feels; gaining levels in Dark Souls II just doesn't carry the same satisfying weight that I get from other RPGs.

Part of that dissatisfaction comes from the feeling that I was only leveling up to be able to equip better equipment, which would be OK if the equipment itself felt like an upgrade. At one point early on, after finding some particularly powerful weapons and armor (thanks to the walkthroughs), I patiently dumped upgrades into strength and dexterity in order to use them. Except for health, each level lets you upgrade stats by only a couple of points at most, and leveling up lacks the immediate stat boost that you tend to get in other RPGs, so it's a process that requires patience with little gain in the short term. I didn't feel more powerful as I approached my goal ratings, but I knew that it would pay off with a more dramatic boost as soon as I equipped that shiny new sword and thicker armor.

Time for a rest.

However, on donning all these new great accoutrements, I became a slow-moving rock who suddenly couldn't roll out of the way of attacks anymore. And I didn't notice any significant difference in how much damage I could take or deal out. Dozens of levels and significant equipment upgrades later, and the enemies who formerly took three blows to kill still took three blows to kill. And there is yet another stat that demands tribute in order for you to actually move around with the weapons and gear you collect. The Elder Scrolls games have a similar system that requires you to upgrade the amount of weight you can carry to be effective with heavier armor, but there it's binary: when you're holding too much, you either have to dump equipment and items, or you cannot move. In Dark Souls II, I couldn't even equip what seemed like mid-tier weapons and armor without taking a significant mobility hit. My compromise, since the armor didn't seem to have much effect at protecting me anyway, was to run around naked and carry a bigger sword until I earned enough points to level up. It didn't do much more damage than my other weapons, but even those few extra points in damage could mean the difference between life and death against a boss.

Still, it's frustrating to put so much game time into a goal (being able to equip better equipment) and not earn a noticeable boost. If I spend time leveling up to wear armor that both inhibits my ability to play and doesn't make a huge stat difference anyway, what's the point? When I dump points into strength, it doesn't seem illogical to want to be stronger, but it's disappointing when, 20 or 30 strength points later, you're still roughly in the same place.

Dozens of levels and significant equipment upgrades later, and the enemies who formerly took three blows to kill still took three blows to kill.

Since stat boosts are so incremental, it took me hours to make even minor character level progress. The initial areas go by quickly, and for a while, I didn't even consciously realize I was grinding; I finally got to the point where I could survive most encounters and generally improvise past new situations. But losing souls, especially when you drop them in an inescapable boss room, feels like a needlessly risky waste of resources. So I'd run through a level to right before the boss, leaving me with two unsatisfying choices: either walk back out of the stage, return to the game's hub world to level up, then work my way all the way back to the boss, or go into the boss room and get frustrated by losing all of my hard-earned souls as try to learn the bosses patterns and weakness. Invariably, I'd err on the side of caution, playing through a level over and over until the enemies stopped respawning or I didn't earn enough souls to feel like I'd be losing progress.

Eventually, the surprise and fun of discovering new nightmare creatures or finding some sun-drenched vista in the midst of ruin was replaced by fatigue. I'd run through a stage and perform the same actions on enemies waiting in the same places over and over again, either learning by dying over and over or leveling up to equip slightly better equipment. Dark Souls II, in that sense, feels like an old-school platforming game where you memorize the timing and button presses exactly to make it through to the boss at the end--an unfriendly cycle that demands nothing short of perfection if you want the reward of moving on to something potentially fun and new.

Despite the repetition, wanting to explore new areas for the first time drove me forward--an attempt to capture the tension and excitement of revealing the unknown. Trepidation that I would get placed up against some overpowered obstacle was eventually replaced with the confidence that I could overcome any situation through patience, caution, and sheer force of will. Enemies might not fall fast, but when I could corner them one-on-one, they all eventually fall.

These walls could really use a coat of paint.

But exploration only takes you so far, I also want to know why I'm exploring this world, and there the game falls short. Dark Souls II uses excellent voice actors and creates wonderfully frightful enemies, but that feels wasted when the story lacks direction. What was I doing in this place and where was I going? All I was able to surmise about the story was: I'm dead--or kind of dead, since I can still die and bring myself back to human form--and I'm trying to cure that by slaughtering everything that doesn't talk to me. Also, I should find the king. As someone who actively seeks out the lore and and backstory in games, Dark Souls II offers almost nothing in game to explain what's going on.

Even combat, with its satisfying skill requirement, has curious hiccups, particularly with targeting. If an enemy is hiding, even if that hiding spot is in plain sight right around a corner, they're untargetable until you pass an invisible point where you're allowed to lock on. It's an annoyance when you want to carefully dispatch some creature without alerting and aggroing other nearby enemies. Or, since attacking also forces your character to step toward your target, not being able to lock on consistently can cause you to inadvertently plunge to your death in more treacherous areas. In one part of the game, you can clearly see some enemies hanging off the edge of a pier waiting to ambush you, and you can walk right up next to them without getting a reaction. But if you want to use a magic attack that doesn't allow for manual targeting to knock them off, you're out of luck; they're untargetable until you walk to some hidden trigger on the pier and the game arbitrarily decides the monsters are ready to get up and start attacking.

Scales too dry? They make a cream for that.

Maybe some of my complaints would have been nullified if I'd started the game with a different class or had distributed my stats differently. It took me 20 hours to be able to branch out and use my first offensive spell, and almost as long to feel like any of my ranged attacks were remotely effective. Regardless, if I'd started over, I'd probably pick the same character class, but even being able to experiment with different abilities earlier on before committing so completely to a specific build would've made the process of leveling up more enjoyable. Is using ranged magic or a bow and arrow better? Rather than giving you quick and early access to lower level abilities, or making leveling up faster, you only have a long and tedious process of trial and error to figure out what works well and what's fun.

I haven't completely given up on Dark Souls II, but as someone who only tends to have time to play games a couple of hours a night, I expect it will be many, many months before I'm even close to finishing the game. And my curiosity is piqued for the earlier games in the series--will I feel more positive about them since I'll already have some level of understanding and skill going in? Dark Souls II seems like a brilliant idea, but the plodding pace of the esoteric narrative and the disappointing leveling system make it feel more like a chore to be overcome than a grand adventure to experience.


The Good
Frightening, imaginative monsters
Skill-based combat that rewards patience
The Bad
A leveling-up system that's equal parts unsatisfying and confusing
Obscure (or non-existent) explanations for key gameplay elements
Molasses-like skill progression
Indecipherable story
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Dark Souls II

About the Author

/ Staff

For this review, Justin spent 25 hours in the game, killed five bosses, reached level 65, and lit too many bonfires.

Discussion

2524 comments
spectralmerc
spectralmerc

The thing with leveling is that it's never meant to give you a boost. The whole idea of the game is that you are one of the damned, trying to get rid of a curse. As such, you are never meant to rise above your enemies as a destroyer of fates. You level up just to stand in equal footing. Your progress in the leveling system is not about making you more powerful, is simply to give you a fighting chance. And even then, the leveling is there in order to give you a way to play, since the game is completely feasible (if really difficult) to finish without leveling a single thing.


Also, that "mediocrity" you say  can be interpreted as such when you sort this game in the same tier as all the other games that are very aware of their game condition. Dark Souls tries to immerse you thoroughly in the role of the Bearer of the Curse. Therefore, if your character doesn't know squat about anything, neither should you. The fact that every minutiae of the character stats are explained is because that's the only thing you actually know in this game: yourself. You're a stranger in a strange land (and that is hammered in your head in the intro), so, as a proper RPG, it throws you in a condition where absolutely no hand holding will be had. Is only logical that one has to explore everything. That makes the game unique: it's the only game truly consequent with the predicament of your character.

zyxahn
zyxahn

PC role playing games way back in the day were a pain too.  Having to understand everything.  Might and Magic 2.  Man I die so much it wasn't funny.  Eventually beat the game and loved it. I remember when I first encountered Gregor I think his name is, in Wizardry 8.  With this game it's like MMO's when they first started out.  You had to buy the hint guide.  Same here, you really need to buy the guide or get online and watch some let's plays to help you out.  I really hate that the game is getting blasted because it's to hard.  Megaman 9 & 10 got great reviews and they are tough and frustrating in the same way.  Same enemies in the same place and having to learn how to beat them by repetition.  Go into the forums with like minded players and whine about it to each other.  If you truely don't like something then why hang around and talk about it ???

willasguru
willasguru

Eu admito que levei umas 30 horas pra pegar a manha do jogo, mas depois foi só muito sofrimento e mortes... ah, e diversão também. A série Souls te ensina a jogar, não com um monte de tutoriais de jogos que acham que o jogador é idiota, mas através da tentativa/erro/aprendizado. Na moral, volta pro CoD!

artiebuco
artiebuco

I agree with the reviewer.  I've been playing games for 30 years, but this is one of the worst games I've ever played.  Frustrating, not engaging and too gamey.  Respawning enemies is the worst trick in the cheap shot gaming book.  The only reason I keep playing it is to try to get some value of the 50 bucks I stupidly plunked down for this piece of sh*t.   At least I learned a lesson about Kevin reviews.   Flame away, I really couldn't care less what you think about my opinion.

Lotus-Edge
Lotus-Edge

So... you didn't like the game because it didn't hold your hand and tell you about every single facet of its design or point a giant arrow at where you're suppose to like Skyrim? That's kind of the point of the game...

hemanth_47
hemanth_47

What is this!? Shame on you human.

Talldude80
Talldude80

"It's a game that too often sacrifices fun, replaces it with tedium, and tries to defend that choice by calling it a challenge."  That's how I feel about the first Dark Souls.  I bought it on xboxlive when it was on sale. I've never died so many times.  It's a quality game, but it could use a difficulty setting adjustment.  Some of us like to progress through a game at a reasonable pace, but this game is a grind, and save points are way too far between.  I have NO urge to get this game, and I'm glad to see a review from a point of view that's closer to what I would see.

JC_AEK4ever
JC_AEK4ever

"It's a game that too often sacrifices fun, replaces it with tedium, and tries to defend that choice by calling it a challenge."


That sums it up. Thank you for this great review. You are a much better reviewer than Kevin. Please make a review for the PC version which is even worse.

pateuvasiliu
pateuvasiliu

Awful review.


You're just mad you can't vidya, mate.


'' killed 5 bosses ''


That means nothing.

DarkDirtyDwarf
DarkDirtyDwarf

Fair review, if not somewhat biased by the short and negative experience (this game requires more than 25 hours to be understood).

I had a similar experience with Demon Souls, but then I understood the game system (after 10-15 hours) and went on smoothly, of course dying like crazy even in the exact moment when the Platinum trophy popped up, when I made a run for it to get the last ring I was missing among a number of enemies who then slaughtered me.

I then played Dark Souls and the game felt almost "easy", given the previous experience. I can't recall being stuck anywhere for long like I did in the first game. I still have to try Dark Souls II (I have a kid now and much less time to play games) but if there is one critique I agree on, is the thin storyline. Other than that, yes, it's not a game for everyone, but this doesn't mean it's not a good game.

strrckshn
strrckshn

This review is what Dark Souls 2 should have been.  But we got nothing but hype review from Kevin.

The worst of the series.  How could it get a 9 with it's bland level design uninspiring bosses.  

Dark Souls 2 is a Excellent disappointment.

CiTizenMaSSaKre
CiTizenMaSSaKre

It seems like all these "other take" reviews are written by the dumb asses of the GameSpot website.

AzureDreams
AzureDreams

This review could've just said "I was very bad at this game and didn't enjoy that."

Fatbeaverlol
Fatbeaverlol

hahaha Dark souls 2 gets a 5? dont make me laugh! man your one bad reviewer. I bet your the type of guy that gives CoD a 10 

greshloc
greshloc

So, this reviewer couldn't figure anything out, and couldn't cope with a game that doesn't spell everything out for him or hold his hand, and required actual thought, and then he gave it a 5.
I'm in no way a hardcore souls fanboy, I just enjoy the challenge and exploration, but I feel like this review is just a huge complaint over his inability to learn how to play an rpg.
Seriously, just trust Kevin's review, it's much more accurate.

spacedog1973
spacedog1973

Oh dear, someone dared to have an opinion about a game. So many skirts blown up, so much gnashing of the fanboy teeth.

It's not a game for everyone, no game is. Sometimes people who don't enjoy a game express why.

It's called life folks. Try it.

*some of the lengthy retorts to this review are hilarious in their total ignorance of what a review is and the misplaced level of seriousness with which they take themselves.

prokiller7896
prokiller7896

Spot on. the only thing these fanboys yell about is difficulty and call those who prefer fun, creative, interesting games quitters.

andrelias
andrelias

This thread became a battle between Souls series fanboys and haters. I played Demons Sous and the first Dark Souls, and I am playing this one now. They are good games, but overhyped, since they carry (and share) several flaws. These games are hard but manageable. Hardest than any boss for me are the need to kill over and over the same enemies (boring); the awful target lock system (mandatory since it's hard to hit the enemy even if you are right in front of him without it) that make fights suck some times, specially when you are facing more than one enemy, and it changes from the one you are engaging to another for no reason (irritating); when the camera inexplicably moves by itself in the worst moments, like when you are crossing a narrow bridge or ledge where it is easy to fall and die (cheap); or when you are facing a one hit kill enemy and you try to lock on him and you end up spinning like a f..ing roulette (cheaper). And, of course, the repetition from one game to another (for example the Maneater battle from Demons Souls and the Bell Gargoyles from Dark Souls are absolutely identical, like many others). In the other hand, the open world is varied and very well designed, so as the enemies and bosses, who are really challenging, being very rewarding when you defeat them. Even though, the game deserves more than 5, 7 fits better.

strrckshn
strrckshn

I think nit-picking is a valid part of criticism, especially if the game it's supposed to be succeeding didn't have those relatively minor problems. I enjoyed Dark Souls II a lot, and one of my biggest complaints is that it doesn't succeed elements of the first, it repeats them. It's like going to see a movie sequel and instead of shooting a new action scene, they just play a scene from the last movie with maybe a different filter and some CGI composting.


The overwhelming majority of my complaints stemmed from how they used the lore and nostalgia-baiting writing to attempt to excuse serving up the exact same bosses, items, character archetypes, and various other setpieces we've already seen before in the last two games. Repetition IS fine, but Dark Souls II repeats the first Dark Souls way more than Dark Souls repeated Demon's Souls, which ultimately feels lazy. 

strrckshn
strrckshn

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 installment 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. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy Dark Souls II for what it is rather than what it isn't

weakboson
weakboson

Wow so Gamespot's main review praises the game unconditionally despite it not being anything like as cleverly designed as the first game, and the alternative take just whines about things that don't matter. To be fair if you were expecting a game in which you could grind to victory you could well be disappointed with Dark Souls. 

The blind gushing praise annoys me much more, though. I approve strongly of blind gushing praise for the other two games, but this one is less imaginative, spread thinner and the narrative, however well you think it's executed, is kind of unnecessary given the completeness of scope that was offered before. 

It's still a damn good game, it has its strengths and weaknesses, but you do the others a disservice by putting it on the same level - or rather, you make it look like you have a complete inability to evaluate the benefits of design decisions or assess how well executed they are despite it being your job.

Newcomers should start in Lordran!

BlindHorse
BlindHorse

The fact that this game gets a 5 and garbage like CoD: Ghosts and BF4 get an 8 sums up everything that is wrong with the modern games industry and its peripheries (such as reviewers).


The author of this review has obviously failed to take even the most basic steps towards learning how to actually play the game, and then goes on to project his total inability to grasp its mechanics as a flaw on the designers' side. Or perhaps he is just outraged that there are still games that dare to actually pose a real challenge, rather than just holding your hand through a series of pretty, high-res quicktime events at the end of which you get a cookie and a pat on the back for "trying your hardest", whether or not you actually got it right or not.

Same goes for a whole lot of the negative comments in this section. Don't get me wrong - everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I'm not saying that no one should be allowed to dislike this game. But if a game is bad simply because it doesn't give you a "Press-X-to-kill-everything-in-sight-without-any-effort-or-skill" button, then maybe it's not really the game that's at fault.


Personally, I found it deeply refreshing to come across a game like this in an era where everything seems to be moving towards "maximum graphics, zero challenge". So to anyone out there sitting on the fence as to whether or not to buy this game: disregard this review and some of the other negative comments, most of which have probably come from people who dipped their left foot in Dark Souls for all of three seconds before concluding that the water was too cold and they'd rather go back to playing CoD, where the rules are simple ("point and click at all the non-white people to kill them"), and minds of the players even simpler.

mrbraindown
mrbraindown

I suck at these types of game, games that involve patience, technique and understanding. I play my PS3 at lot, I love GTA V, the Fallout series, Far Cry etc. 

I'm not a fan of dragons, dungeons, blimin' Elves and Orcs - any old-world beast mythology really. So I was surprised how much I enjoyed Skyrim - an irresistible bargain bucket impulse buy. I have now plowed hundreds of hours into the game. I spent a stupidly unsociable amount of time into crafting armour, weapons and jewelry (jewelry! Yes, freaking jewelry!) My character now rocks, and can destroy worlds with a well timed stare.

I agonized over purchasing Dark Souls, it was really hard apparently, but eventually I did - and guess what? It was effing hard! Really hard, stupidly hard, mind boggling hard, controller-throwingly hard (it landed in my neighbors garden once.) But I loved it, the sense of achievement was immense! 

Oh, as a alluded to earlier, I did totally suck at the game - it took me almost three weeks to get out of the Undead Burg for chrissakes. But the grinding was fun, the combat mechanic was very satisfying and I wouldn't think twice about going round and round an area several times boosting my character. 

I finished the game eventually, it took a time frame too embarrassingly big to reveal here. But the 'completion satisfaction' sensation was warmer than anything I had ever felt from a game previously - you know, the kinda games which you save seconds before the final encounter and repeat until eventually you ground out the desired result.

I sympathize with the reviewer, he didn't like it, he didn't get it and that's fine - if we all liked the same things the world would be a dull place. But I am converted - to swords and beasts as well as to games that simply love to boot you repeatedly in the testes.

I've only just started DS2, but I'm reveling in the detail and my painstaking preparation. I still suck at it, but I do it with style now, oh and the controller still gets launched across the room - my dog has the bruises to prove it.

cashile
cashile

You are what you play.

This game is clearly made to please players or people with short attention spans; those who's brains gets bored so easily they just wanna kill and wreck things. Not very different from those games little kids play, a hacks-n-slash, point-n-click kind of game. Gamers who hasnt evolved yet. Those who dont get the real essence of Role-Playing Games. 

I applaud the combat design, yet everything else, is a stick in the mud.

cashile
cashile

If your looking for an RPG that just gives you that thrill in combat, this is for you.

Though the graphics needs a face lift.


If your looking for an RPG with a rich, open world...

(Unless you consider narrow pathways, trails, rooms, and small areas with a bit of backdrop a "world")

Interesting characters...

(Unless you consider those few dull, lifeless NPC's "interesting")

Deep story and intriguing lore...

(Unless you consider this combat-centric, area-clearing, puzzle solving game, a great adventure and journey)

Then its not for you.

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

This was the first "souls" game I have ever played.  I didn't find it that challenging to be honest ('cept for those 3 sentinels).  And since I'm being honest I will admit to restarting the game after putting 60hrs in.  That's because I'd made a bad character and since I'd killed those 3 old ladies at the start....


Anyway, my "second" playthrough was a breeze.  I accomplished in 17 hrs what had previously taken 60.  Oh, and my best tip for this game is:


Play as Knight.  Spend first 50 levels in VIGOR, ie HEALTH.  Only use the Broadsword, and upgrade it to +10.  Also, stick with the Dranleic armor you find early in the game, and keep that upgraded.


Even though you can enter the pit with a decent 1800ish health pool and the ring you get from the cat which slows falling, you may feel foolish later on when you meet an NPC who will give you a ladder..


Finally, on your second playthrough, be more careful than I was and DO NOT stand near NPC's while you have the Butterfly armor on, or like me you may end up angering an important character like say the BLACKSMITH and having to start your 3rd playthrough (which I have.)


Oh, one more thing, remember the "1, 2 punch" from BIOSHOCK?  Well, that works in this game too, kind of.  What I mean is you want to use your quick attack and immediately follow up with the strong attack, and you can do this in reverse order as well.  A lot of bosses it's only safe to attack twice, and this combo will net you a bonus on the second hit which is quite valuable - and that health pool I mentioned above (50 levels in vigor) will mean if you do accidentally take a boss hit it's not going to be as big of a deal (percent wise) on your health bar.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

And personally, I'd be embarrassed to post a review like this proclaiming how incompetent I am at games.  Probably would have just kept this tale to myself.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

This could be one of the worst reviews of all time.  Missed the person who levels you up, burned all his human effigies in fires instead of USING THEM, then complains he can't progress.  Slaps a 5 at the end, but really, the grade applies to his quality as a player.  The review literally reads as "I sucked at the game, so the game is bad."


Jesus christ.

TheGreatGhoul
TheGreatGhoul

I agree with this review.


I finished both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls 1 with some kind of interest and to challenge myself but I hate Dark Souls 2 because it just suck.

The fighting engine, the multiplayer system, the lock/aiming system and the camera view were bad in the first two but in ds2 its even worst.

The only things better are the animations but that doesn't change the fact that like in the 2 previous games, the story is very empty and boring, a child could have tough about a better story than what these games are offering.


Its even more buggy, glitched, punishing and frustrating than the others two.

The director in charge of the programmation of the game is so proud to say that more than 2 millions peoples died in his game, what a joke.

That make me think he must be playing with his stick while thinking about the dying players.


To all the (duh! go back to call of duty dude) dark souls fanatics out there, you are a bunch of hollow because you have lost your gamer soul to this crappy serie of overrated games...

Kasheall
Kasheall

This score should not be posted in any list. Put the 'other take' reviews somewhere else where the casual/unskilled gamers can go and join the casual/unskilled reviewers and discuss why they should all stick to call of duty. It sucks if someone passed up on this amazing game because they saw this disgusting 5

redtailx99
redtailx99

The title for this "review" should had been "Casuals should stay with Call of Duty".

Zevvion
Zevvion

Pretty much all of the 'Other Take' reviews so far have been utterly useless.

jb4langer
jb4langer

First off i want to start by saying i have never ever posted any kind of comment for this or any site. But when i read this review i was speechless and disappointed in how gamespot let this review on their site. This is someone who grew frustrated at the difficulty of dark souls (and even worse only played a mere 25hrs) and took it out on the "NEW" review. This is not professional this is by far the worst review i have ever stumbled upon. 

jnb58
jnb58

This review is aimed at gamers that haven't played the game. The barrier to entry is very high. People come to the game with high expectations and can't grasp the controls. I have no problem with the score.

strrckshn
strrckshn

@greshloc This review is what Dark Souls 2 should have been.  But we got nothing but hype review from Kevin.

The worst of the series.  How could it get a 9 with it's bland level design uninspiring bosses.  

Dark Souls 2 is a Excellent disappointment.

strrckshn
strrckshn

@BlindHorse This review is what Dark Souls 2 should have been.  But we got nothing but hype review from Kevin.

The worst of the series.  How could it get a 9 with it's bland level design uninspiring bosses.  

Dark Souls 2 is a Excellent disappointment.

waahahah
waahahah

@BlindHorse  The game isn't challenging, its just completely obscure, If you've never played any of the dark souls games there is no basic steps to learning the game, they aren't really provided in game except for button actions. Your supposed to discover the mechanics. The fact that learning is the difficult part of the game means any new comers that don't know the basics by heart are going to be learning the hard way through 3/4's of the game. The other part of the difficult is memorizing patterns and waiting for a moment to strike.


Once you know the game... the game is generally pretty easy and what made the original dark souls so great is the atmosphere, fear of death, and discovering the lore and story. Dks2 failed to really add to the story, and barely tried to explain any characters motivations. All the item descriptions set up lore and back story but I eventually had to look online to figure out what was going on... only to find tons of theories. Now to some extent that's fun but dark souls 2 has a lot more to fill in than its predecessors.


The game has an absurd learning curve and is no very approachable by new comers. Most people don't even get through the souls games without having to do some research and reroll once they hit that 3/4 mark and realize they're character sucks, they missed some really good items... There is a huge pattern that no one seems to notice... but the souls series doesn't click with people until their second time playing. Know how to play? Great now you may enjoy your game.

CiTizenMaSSaKre
CiTizenMaSSaKre

@mrbraindown How the hell did it take you three weeks to get out of Undead Burg? All the enemies are one or two hitters. Stop playing this game like a stupid hack n slash because it isn't that.

suppaphly42
suppaphly42

@mrbraindown that was awesome i personally cracked a controller right down the middle because of dark souls so i know your pain 

BlindHorse
BlindHorse

@cashile It is quite clear from your comments that you either (a) never actually played this game for more than five minutes or (b) tried playing right after dropping three hundred hours on Skyrim, at which point any game-world that isn't a vast grassy meadow stretching as far as the eye can see will seem small and constrictive, and any combat mechanic that involves more than just pressing the "attack" button until everything on your screen has stopped moving will seem like too big a challenge.

By the way, Dark Souls actually has a deep, rich, and intriguing lore, but you have to do a bit of work to dig it up... Yep. Sorry. It's not just sitting in the middle of the road waiting for you to stumble over it. And even then it requires some piecing together.

TheKrustaceox
TheKrustaceox

@TheGreatGhoul


1- Calls the Souls franchise a crappy serie of overrated games


2- Says that finished both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls (at least 120 hours spent)



Seems legit

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

@TheGreatGhoul "to all the (duh! go back to call of duty dude) dark souls fanatics out there, you are a bunch of hollow because you have lost your gamer soul to this crappy serie of overrated games..."


It's also worth pointing out that Call of Duty is a WAY harder game than Dark Souls (2) when difficulty is set to Veteran.  I still haven't gotten THAT achievement from COD4, and I probably never will.  It's too damn hard.

BoxOfPocky
BoxOfPocky

@redtailx99


So if a casual plays CoD. How do you define a "hardcore" player? Someone who sits around the house 24/7, provide nothing productive to society, and never socialize with a real person? I like this game of "Jumping to Conclusions".

TheGreatGhoul
TheGreatGhoul

@redtailx99 

Are you that retarded?

Its like you are saying that some peoples shouldn't play some games too hard for them.

Maybe its because they are not some no-life virgins gamers or some addicted retarded sellout fanatics like you may be.

Ho yeah im so cool and bad-ass cause I like dark souls 2...muh..

Just so you know I finished both Demon and Dark Souls 1 and I hate dark Souls 2 cause it suck.

strrckshn
strrckshn

@BlindHorse @cashile This review is what Dark Souls 2 should have been.  But we got nothing but hype review from Kevin.

The worst of the series.  How could it get a 9 with it's bland level design uninspiring bosses.  

Dark Souls 2 is a Excellent disappointment.

TheGreatGhoul
TheGreatGhoul

@TheKrustaceox @TheGreatGhoul 

Didn't take 120 hours to finish both.

Yes I decided to finish them both even if I found them to be overrated.

I never said they are very bad games.

OVERRATED

You can still have fun with a game even if its not a 10/10

Yes its Legit.

BlindHorse
BlindHorse

@SnuffDaddyNZ @TheGreatGhoul CoD on Veteran is really not that bad. The only parts where I died consistently was when the game periodically decided that all of this cover-based-combat was getting too fun for me, and that perhaps I'd rather be forced to sit on top of a tank/helicopter/boat/whatever in a semi-quicktime state where I can't take cover, can't switch weapons, can't do ANYTHING but shoot an seemingy-endless tide of homogenous, AK-47-wielding dudes who hate freedom and democracy...

Anyway, though, the main point here is that when I died in CoD, 99% of the time it seemed to be because of forces entirely outside of my control. Kind of like playing roulette. With Dark Souls it's all down to you. If you die, it's because you did something wrong, not because the game thought it might be fun to sit you in an open-top Humvee while the entire local militia uses you as target practice.

P.S. Not meaning to be too harsh to poor old CoD... the original Modern Warfare was and remains one of my favourite games of all time - a shining example of what a really good modern shooter is capable of doing. Shame about those sequels though... 

TheGreatGhoul
TheGreatGhoul

@SnuffDaddyNZ @TheGreatGhoul 

I can't say, I don't play games like Call of Duty, I don't enjoy that kind of game.

I was just making fun of some peoples here who are saying that empty quote.

;-)

TheGreatGhoul
TheGreatGhoul

@BoxOfPocky @redtailx99 


We call a dog, a dog.

How would you call someone that can fit your explanation then?

To me a no-life is more like a parasite with bad intentions toward the others people instead of been useful and helpful.

Not exactly a complexe and relative state of life that may be productive to society in some ways.

Dark Souls II More Info

First Release on Mar 11, 2014
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
Dark Souls II is a sequel to From Software's critically acclaimed title Dark Souls. The game with feature a new hero, a fresh storyline, and an "unfamiliar" setting.
8
Average User RatingOut of 806 User Ratings
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Developed by:
From Software, Namco Bandai Games
Published by:
Namco Bandai Games, Bandai Namco Games, From Software
Genres:
Action, Role-Playing
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Teen
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