Dark Souls 2 review, easier or harder?


Miqo'te Bard
Oct 25, 2009
Dark Souls 2 Review

Welcome back to the world of Dark Souls. Dark Souls 2 looks to add to the unique gameplay that is the Soul series. Upon its announcement many where hyped for this game. Learning how massive the world was fueled the fire. When learning Souls father Hidetaka Miyazaki would not be involved many had their doubts. With learning that the game would be more accessible people fear their Soul series would go the casual way. After being a fan of the Souls series starting with Demon Souls, and diving over 80 hours into the world I am here to give you an in depth review of the game and to put your fears and worries aside…or perhaps fuel them.

Is Dark Souls 2 easier than Dark Souls?

Yes and no. Dark Souls 2 is like if Demon Souls and Dark Souls got together had a baby and that baby was Dark Souls 2. You have lifegems which serve as extra healing items, however these slowly replenish health and I mean slowly. The estus no longer instant restores health is just regens it very fast. Humanity is gone paving the way for human effigy. Both lifegem and human effigy you can find in abundance in the world. Because of this it gives the impression of the game being easy. In Demons Souls you had healing items as well, yet people still say the game is hard. This inflation of human effigy and lifegems is something that a person who has only played Dark Souls will be turned off a bit by because they feel it makes the game easier. When you die you lose a portion of health, and not go to automatic 50%, you stop losing health at 50%.There is a Covent to join that will make the game harder right off the bat.

Now let’s talk bosses. DS2 has plenty of bosses and they will kill you….well not all. In fact many bosses have some predictable move set. If you pay attention you can predict their moves and plan accordingly…but wait that is exactly what you are supposed to do in the Soul series. You are not supposed to spam attack you are supposed to take your time. The bosses are great, and many will remind you of bosses from previous Soul games. This game is a giant hug to the fans of the Soul series.

So wait is it easier then or harder I am confused?

Ask yourself this, how often you played the Soul series, any of them. How many hours did you spend diving into their worlds, playing different specs, getting all armor? There you have your answer, the game is easier in some ways but the main component in making the game easier is YOU. You have become a better player at these games. Does this mean that for some bosses that move set is copy and paste from DS1 is acceptable? No it does not, but the game developer can only do things so much until it is just not fair at all to you. In fact the original DS2 bosses where fresh, and felt like they did have a bigger advantage than you. Also ask yourself this, for DS2 did you do a blind play through or did you look at guides and videos? That is also a factor.

So let’s get into the actual review

Gameplay: 7/10

DS2 plays the exact same as DS1 with a few differences. DS2 allows you to have three weapons per hand, four different types of arrows, and a bigger inventory selection for fast use. The invincible backstab animation is gone, you want to backstab you better hope another mob does not attack you because they will and it will cancel your backstab. The invincible going through a fog gate is gone, better not train mobs there because while you try to go they will wack on you and hey when you beat the boss many will still be chasing you. The backstab angel in mobs have been slightly reduced. But these are not why the gameplay has a 7, it is all the bugs.

First the lock on has a smaller range, and I mean smaller. You will notice it as a caster and will hate it as often times when you can actually lock on to a mob you will be close enough to where it comes after you. Speaking of mobs their range….my god their range is farther than you can ever dream. See that sorcerer in the distant, all the way across the screen where you’re magic and arrows can’t reach, take three more steps, yep they can fire at you. Because of this you will find yourself using the environment to your advantage with hiding to block arrows and spells.

The buttons are unresponsive many times. DS1 had it down, you press r1 you attack, often I was pressing a button and nothing was happening. I have even seen streams of people using an estus and the game saying “nope you didn’t.” For a game this brutal button response has to be perfect. The number of times I died because I hit l1 to bring up shield and game said nope is too many to count. Then we have the clipping, my god the clipping. You think you are far away, and indeed you are, but because of the clipping you will still get hits. I saw this the most on chariot boss.

I know what you’re thinking, hey man you just suck, and indeed and I am not very good, but in DS1 and Demon Souls when I died I never blamed the game, it was my own fault. Many deaths where my fault in DS2, but many were also because of the unresponsive controls and clipping. This is something I hope they patch.

Graphics: N/A

I will first say yes the graphics are a downgrade from what we saw. They released a statement saying because with those graphics the game was not playable and I believe them. PC is lead this time and I defiantly look forward to the PC version. Now the reason I did not rate graphics is because I have been playing PS4/PC games and I cannot judge in fairness this games graphics because most ps3 games look like dirt to me now.

Replayablity: 10/10

This game wants you to replay it, a minimum of twice in fact. In the new games there is more armor, weapons, and enemies. Yes it is hard. They hit you with a 50% damage nerf, and mobs hit 50% harder. You can try different specs, and I found that becoming a sort of jack of all trades while accelerating in magic make the journey less painful.

Final Verdict: 8/10

Dark Souls 2 is great, and fans of the series this is a must buy. Even with the bugs I enjoyed all of my time in the world. What stops Dark Souls 2 from being a 10/10 is the bugs mentioned in gameplay, and the bosses. There where to many that had same move set from previous Soul game. The few unique ones where great, but if there were more it would have bumped score up. If you got some games to play hold off on this till a new patch hits addressing some bugs. If you got nothing to play go out and buy it, even with bugs you can still beat the game and have fun doing so, just be aware, and as always in the Souls series Keep Calm, and prepare to die!!
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