The original Dark Souls was not for everyone. I found it a little difficult to get into at first, the difficulty getting from one bonfire (A hub/checkpoint with which the player can rest – although each time you rest ALL enemies re-spawn….) and to the next or even back again to pick something up you missed. The ease in which the enemies, even basic enemies, could kill you, causing you to lose all the souls you worked hard to collect and return to the previous bonfire. Really, really annoying if you find yourself close to the next bonfire. This caused a few tantrums and hurled controllers. But the difficulty aside this doesn’t take away how good of a game Dark Souls is.
I’m a massive RPG fan and will try any RPG out. I love Final Fantasy VII and have played the series up to Final Fantasy XIII, I enjoyed them all up to XII, but I struggled to get into XII & XIII. But I thoroughly enjoy Dark Souls; this is an RPG that is different from the usual. I still haven’t completed the game but I am in the process.
The original Dark Souls is dark, vast and extremely f*cking difficult! It has a minimal story, the gamer is left to interpretive the events and there importance. There are rare cut scenes and dialogue. The battles were made to seem real and every blow important to be laid on the opposing enemy, with little tricks that the player can pick up through hours and hours of grinding (Appealing yet?). You had a choice of how you would battle, sword & shield, broad sword, bow & arrow, magic, etc. I know this doesn’t sound like an appealing game, but I found it very, very enjoyable. Now enough about the original lets talk about the highly anticipated Dark Souls 2!
The new Dark Souls 2 looks to of kept the same style that made the original such a cool game, but worked on a few things that have improved the game and seems to of made it a Hell of a lot more difficult – even more appealing.
Now I am not going to talk about the story (maybe minimal maybe not) or various missions, but I am going to talk about a few of the improvements. From Software have looked at the little things for example the way you climb and fight on stairs has improved, both are more fluid and less frustrating. Another improvement is the lighting, like in the original game you have dark areas that require lighting up and in Dark Souls 2 you have to make a choice; you can pick up a torch which replaces your shield, or you can run through the dark and hope for the best. The torch can be used as a weapon to good effect though, so there is a slight plus.
Next is the combat. Like I’ve mentioned above, the combat in the original felt very heavy and very real, you felt that every blow had to land and cause the maximum amount of damage, or fear for the worse. The developer seems to have made note of the little tricks from the first game that you learned through hours of defeats and many wiped brow after success. The first noticeable change is the ‘side dodge roll’. Whereas in the first game you were temporarily invincible whilst carrying out a side dodge roll regardless of the attack being horizontal or vertical the developers have taken note of this and improved the mechanics. Now you have to execute the correct dodge roll for each attack; vertical slash – backwards dodge roll, horizontal slash – side dodge roll. This looks to add to the difficulty of the game (Yeah, like it wasn’t difficult enough). There are a few plus points though, the combos are more fluid in the previous game they were stiff. Another improvement is the back-stab, during Dark Souls if you executed the back-stab move you froze, sort of a gloating pose with your sword up to its hilt, now in Dark Souls 2 you do not freeze, the protagonist now senses the urgency of battle, impales, withdraws and carries on. This adds to the new slicker combat system in Dark Souls 2.
The last thing that I am going to talk about is the changes to healing. Fans of the previous game will remember that to heal you had to go to the scattered bonfires and your handy Estus Flask. In Dark Souls 2 the healing has changed, there are now collectable/expandable items that you can use to heal. The healing items regenerate your health at a slower rate to the Estus Flask, and to scare you even more the Estus Flask regenerative abilities have been slowed down compared to the first game. Even though there is an increase in healing methods, the game is still hard, it doesn’t make it easier, the enemy A.I has been tweaked to notice when you are in the process of healing and launch attacks more so than normal, it’s like they sense when you are at your weakest and go in for the kill. But, unlike in the original game, receiving damage doesn’t cancel the healing process, it takes the damage caused off your health and carries on healing. Another regenerative quality that has been changed is the stamina. There is now a slight lag in the stamina recharging. So you can’t drop your shield and the stamina bar instantly starts recharging (Feeling love for the developers yet?)
Like the original game Dark Souls 2 isn’t for everyone. If you loved or enjoyed the first one then this game will be for you. Another dark, dingy and excruciating journey of endless grinding, and I cannot wait! Goodbye love life!