Hello again, readers and followers alike! ThatLady here with my thoughts on NAMCO‘s Dark Souls II.
As a huge fan of the Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls franchise, you can bet your sweet, supple ass that I was hyped for the release of their newest baby. With such high expectations would it even be possible to reach a higher cloud? Allow me to clear your thoughts of any doubts if you happened to answer “no”, these are my first hour’s worth of play:
Let’s begin with a small comparison. Dark Souls gave you a tasty opening cinematic explaining the world you live in and a brief and totally metal history lesson. Honestly, couldn’t you see Nito with a bone guitar on top of the Bed of Chaos with the Sisters of Chaos behind him on the keyboard, Lord Gwyn on vocals, and Seeth The Scaleless in charge of the lights and pyrotechnics? After the lesson is over, you’re thrown into the world of Dark Souls, you are one of the many cursed locked away at the Asylum when a momentarily competent knight throws down a lifesaving key and soon the game throws you into the tutorial. Now in Dark Souls II they seemed to come to the conclusion that maybe those picking up this game are veterans and allow you to blow past the tutorial after you choose your class and physical appearance. This being my first point of interest, the game gives you the intro which explains in a little more detail what it means to be a Hollow. A small taste and then you’re thrown into a character yet untouched by the powers of choice. Leaving you unarmed and armored in tattered rags covering nearly every inch of your body, you can explore the very beginning and gauge yourself in exploratory skills, get used to how the game feels and when you’re ready you may proceed to the next clip leading up to what character you choose to begin with powdered with a bit more story.
See, the way they’re going about this so far is really smart. Before, you were thrown into this world with whatever you chose for yourself and there would be hours before you see another cinematic that wasn’t just for transportation. Past the intro you rarely get story unless you went and sought it out, talked to everyone, picked up everything, read small bits of information left behind by a mysterious who-knows-what. Information you have to fight and claw for while Dark Souls II allows information to flow smoothly since this story is about you or your character, your fight to stay somewhat human and the eternity that lies ahead. What I love so much about just the first 30-45 minutes of this game is focused on how you feel, the struggle you face as a hollow as well as the struggle of others who share your fate. Not only is this a part of the story but it effects your experience through the game, the more you die and become hollow the more your life depletes. Your character even appears more hollow the more you die. This alone made Dark Souls II instantly stand out to me.
Let’s talk about difficulty. I am quite certain that the grand majority of all our readers will be quite experienced in the ways of Dark Souls so let me not share my various levels of fail during my first run of the various paths this game starts you off with. My first path lead me to giant stone knights, with some patience they were easy enough to take down. How unfortunate for me that I decided to start off as a Wanderer who begins with a simple dagger and a limited variable stash. So being the genius I am, I ran past the stone knights and flew up stairs, pulled levers, and past through the fog barrier! Quick as a snake, quiet as a shadow! And… I ran into my first boss fight. A thick armored spearman who handled both a halberd and a large round shield. Suffice to say, I lost a bit of my humanity. Oh, don’t worry, my first death fell into the honorable hands of falling off the map. Another infamous death of mine was looking through my items when I thought I was alone. Those damn zombies are sneaky bastards.
Overall, this game so far has been keeping me on my toes. The Estus Flask doesn’t give a damn if you started the last game with 20 uses, this game doesn’t start you with any. Once you finally find the flask you’re only given one use. Hurray? I’m gonna go… cry alone… in my dark room.
Well, I’m not gonna give too much away. There are various paths, various enemies who will jump out from the nooks and crannies, plenty of opportunities to die. No rush, guys. Dark Souls II is worth the wait.