This time in the 5 & 1 Review, we prepare to die plenty more times as we review Dark Souls 2 for the 360.
Dark Souls 2
What is the game:Dark Souls 2 is the newest entry in the tough-as-nails series. You can make your own character and class before being dropped in to explore five huge areas and the main hub. Each area features multiple paths, secrets and, of course, enemies and bosses ready to take you down a peg.
How does it work: For those that don’t know, Dark Souls 2 is an action-RPG that tasks players with trying to find a cure for their curse, killing the Four Grand Souls and numerous other bosses and enemies along the way.
If you’ve never heard of the series before, the first thing to realize is that it is that the game is difficult. Even the tutorial shows plenty of traps and ambushes that will await you during the game. I won’t focus too much on this, but just prepare yourself for a challenge you probably haven’t had in a long time.
What I will focus on, though, are the new features in the game as compared to Dark Souls. While the game does bring back Hollow form, it makes dying as a Hollow more of a pain. Every time you die as a Hollow, your health reduces by 10 percent, down to 50 percent. The only way to get full health back is to use a human effigy to turn human. The problem, though, is that they are rare drops and stores, which have a limited number of them, sell them for a huge amount.
Another change that gamers will be polarized about is that enemies de-spawn after killing them 10 times in an area. Sure, this means that you can basically force your way through areas, killing enemies enough so they disappear and you can move on. However, this also limits the amount of grinding of souls that can be done for leveling. So, no more overpowering characters with soul grinding.
Speaking of leveling, it is no longer done at campfires like the last game. Now, you have to go to the hub world each time you get ready to spend souls to become stronger. It’s not too bad, but can stop your flow in a world to fast travel back and get stronger.
There really isn’t much new to speak on, besides the fact that players can invade a Hollow’s world now. The rest of the multiplayer is the same as it’s been in the past. Players can either help or hinder other players by going into their worlds, and messages can be left to warn or troll players as well.
After exploring everything and beating the game, you can continue to explore your current world or start up New Game+, giving you plenty of reasons to keep coming back to the game.
Why should you care: The team behind Dark Souls 2, From Software, made the game a bit easier by breaking down what stat numbers mean and giving more menu detail. They’ve also added a fast-travel system, which is great to go between the huge areas in the game.
At the same time, quite a few aspects were made more difficult as well. Enemies can stun-lock you with hits quickly, and one small step in the wrong direction can spell even quicker doom for you.
The pros and cons balance out, though, and make the game another great entry in the series.
Who should buy it: Those that can get frustrated with a game and still keep playing. There are going to be deaths you may feel are unfair. There are going to be traps that slaughter you. There are going to be bosses that have a field day with your body. However, if you’re ready to rise above the deaths and face each challenge again and again, then you’re ready to play this game.
Or, in other words, those that liked the first two games and are ready for more of the same deaths will love this game.
When should you get it: When you’re ready for a challenge and to die again and again. Dark Souls 2 will frustrate you and may even push you to your limits. However, you’ll always have a sense of accomplishment when you finally clear a problematic area or take down a boss. Given a bit of a lull in games during April, it may be worth checking out now before releases pick up again.
Where is it available: Dark Souls 2 can be picked up at retail stores for $59.99, on the PlayStation Network and on the Xbox Live Marketplace, as well as on Steam.