Dark Souls II

9.6 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 10/10
Praise it: 10/10

Engaging gameplay | Fast Paced Fights | Amazing replay value | Praisin' ain't easy.

Sometimes bland graphics | Occasional derpy hit boxes in PVP

Lore Overview

Dark Souls II, much like it’s predecessors Dark Souls(1) and Demon Souls, gives very little direction as where to go or what to do. Starting you off as a masked man who had recently been marked as one of the bearers of the Curse and your mission is to gain greater souls in an attempt to either survive with the Curse, or cure it all together.


Gameplay

From Software (the developers of the Souls series) made the mechanic that being a Cursed one, whenever you die you lose all of the souls you had gathered and they are dropped to the floor. You can run back to them in an attempt to regain your hard earned souls but if you die again, those souls are lost forever.

A new mechanic that From Software added to Dark Souls II is that the more you die, the more your HP bar is capped, eventually stopping at half of your total HP. The lore behind this mechanic is that the less souls you have, the closer you come to becoming hollow. A hollow is a mindless that was taken over by the Curse.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the learning curve for Dark Souls II is similar to attempting to drive whilst blind folded, using plastic manikin arms to steer, on the side of a cliff. That is to say it’s ridiculously hard. A lot of the hardcore Souls players love this aspect of the game and welcome the challenge, the more casual gamers tend to get frustrated by this very aspect, often condemning the game for it. 

The boss fights are intense to say the least, each one is fairly hard to get to and you typically have to be cautious , slowly killing everything between you and the boss room in order to conserve your flasks/life gems/rouge water/etc. If you had to chug before you got to the boss the pressure was really on. Attempting to dodge a hand cuffed samurai who jumps out of the darkness attempting to skewer you every three seconds AND having no healing supplies for when you make a mistake (and you will make a mistake) is incredibly rough.

Graphics

Over all, Dark Souls II is a gorgeous game. There are sections of the game that are just bland walls, no real detail added to them. Then there are sections with fantastic sunsets over a harsh ocean spiked with jagged rocks. Typically the beautiful sun filled areas have several multiplayer messages that say something along the lines of “Praise the Sun!”.

The boss monsters are well designed, each one having it’s own feel and aura. The boss maps as well are not only incredibly put together (most of the time) but they are done so in such a way that you get very into the fight.

Sounds

The sound in Dark Souls II is fantastic, from the spells you shoot, to your sword slicing throughout the air, or the waves hitting the cliff side in Mejula. From Software did a magnificent job with the sounds of the enemies in the game as well, especially the dragons and statues. It really helps you immerse yourself into the role of Chosen Cursed One.

Multiplayer

The multiplayer in Dark Souls II is based around phantoms from other worlds(according to lore) invading your own world in an attempt to kill you. Then there are Soap Stones, the Red Soap Stone is used to get people to summon you to their world to fight. The White Soap Stone is used to summon/get summoned to aid each other in boss fights, or pvp.


You can also leave messages on the ground for other players to warn them of a bosses weakness, or perhaps convince them to jump off a cliff to their inevitable death. Or even make them smack a wall with a sword for three minutes because you told them it was an illusionary wall.

The pvp is fun, perhaps a little laggy, but fun. When a viking wearing only a dress and holding a club comes charging at you, you can’t help but laugh and be a little terrified when your HP bar is halted in one hit.

Game Summary

Dark Souls II is a very challenging game, with fantastic gameplay, incredible sound tracks, engaging enemies, and more often then not rage fueled boss fights. There are a ton of reasons to play this game, from the community, devoted players, intense game play, and of course how else are you going to Praise the Sun?

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