It’s April 2014, I sense a great disturbance in the force. As if a thousand voices cry out in frustration, and continue to do so. With its-no-hands-held policy, I expect just as many gamers to become baptised in tears of sorrow, before finding the gratifying sense of accomplishment that comes from defeating this game. So, dear readers, before we begin, are you a gaming sadist?
Dark Souls II is the newest installment in the ‘Souls’ action RPG series, (coming to Xbox360, PS3 and PC), and is not for those lacking in patience. You will die, and you will rage. There are no ifs and buts, only a matter of when.
Monsters may appear gormless, but do not underestimate them. Or they’ll eat your face.
The Dark Soul franchise practices the method, ‘play it mean to keep them keen’, and as such it has seen it rise to a certain infamy, and Dark Souls II seems to follow in it’s predecessors footsteps. In fact at a preview event, Tom Morgan stated that Dark Souls II was even harder than those that came before it. So those of you who wept to the brutality of Dark Souls can look forward to more frustration.
Despite the general air of negativity surrounding its difficulty curve, I for one revel in the challenge. I find nothing better than a hard-won victory. The sweet, sweet feeling of crushing one’s enemies is all the more potent when you’ve really earned it. Like an addict craving more, I keep coming back for that next hit, the next big notch in my list of challenges. And by god- it feels good. One can only hope that Dark Souls II continues the same vein of elitist and infuriating scenarios that made Dark Souls so dirtily roguish.
Despite the intensely enjoyable feeling you can get from traversing the deadly environs alone, I desperately wanted to be able to share the experience with a friend wholly, not just summoning them for a short periods of time. Local co-op would be a great plus for me, enabling the more thick-skinned players to chaperone those who find Dark Souls’ charms too rough, or introduce new-blood into this hostile battleground. From Software have promised an advanced multiplayer experience, one that will deepen co-operative and competitive play between players online. Whether they live up to their promise, only time will tell.
No self-respecting RPG would be without dragons right?
I don’t know about you, but I could spend hours of my time sat on character creation. The fact that From Software will only be expanding their customisation options fills me with a great glee, add this to improved graphics and a vastly expanded suite of characters, you can zip me up in a kigurumi and call me a happy bunny. In terms of how it performs visually, just watch the teaser trailer and that should be enough to set up some pants-tinglingly good feelings. And any of you who have witnessed the scenic beauty of Dark Souls will know what to expect. Who can forget such moments as the Moonlight Butterfly gliding gracefully about glowing flowers, firing death lasers out of its face at you whilst you run about below its vicious, yet beautiful advances. Thrilling times.
Musically Dark Souls was a strong performer, not to be underestimated. With deep, and oft-times unnerving orchestral pieces, you can expect Dark Souls II to continue the high quality original soundtrack. With memorable boss tracks, and with a fantastic overall score, I can only hope that Dark Souls II can improve on what is already a strong performance, that often found me sitting at the daughter of chaos bonfire, just to bask in the ethereal and haunting melodies that accumulated around me.
If you’re not one for up close encounters, there’s always magic. Then again…
Story wise, you can expect Dark Souls to be just as ambiguous as its predecessors. Which can lend to part of its charm. Dragons, undead and souls will undoubtedly play a big part, however it is not a direct continuation of the story we witnessed in Dark Souls.
With only a few days left before release, I’m girding myself for the upcoming lashing that I’m about to be handed. Even if Dark Souls II doesn’t raise the bar from prior series installments, if it manages to engage me for as long as the other Souls games, then it’ll be well worth the wait. I just hope Domhnall the merchant doesn’t make a second appearance….
Itching to get my hands on the next can of whoop-ass. Now if only we could harness the tears of scorned Souls players, we could be onto some new source of energy. For those amongst you who don’t fear a bit of grinding.