Dark Souls II Review - Dark Souls Refined

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Wait a darn tooting minute.
This is out already?

Out March 11, but they kinda got the wrong month in the review.

Edit: Now fixed.

Despite being a fan of Dark Souls, I haven't been following this too closely, so a lot of things will probably come as a surprise as I play it. I just want to know how consistent is the frame-rate in this one? At times, the original, particularly in Blighttown got pretty bad. The most interesting thing to me about this one is that it looked like the enemy have some more varied AI going on.

The ocean off Majula looks like it's made of plastic diarrhea. Just sayin'.

Glad to hear the game is just as good if not better than the original. Now to wait a month for the PC version...

Slycne:
Dark Souls II Review - Dark Souls Refined

Dark Souls II is Dark Souls refined.

Read Full Article

I read the entire article, even to the point of noticing this-

Lore junkies of Dark Souls will certainly get a kick out of tracking down the spiderweb of in-game information and trying to piece it all together.

I saw what you did there. I saw it! Don't lie, it was purposely stated because it relates to the Chaos Covenant and my favorite Lady.

OT: Your choice of wording throughout the review was splendid! It wasn't to hard to follow, yet had more depth then simple 'blunt phrases' like "Oh yeah you kill things and the game is very difficult. You will die a lot." Just dull statements like that. Luckily, you avoided all of that and spoke like a great reviewer.

I'm also seriously relieved hearing about the 'It's got smarter AI enemies who will make you go OH CRAP.' That gave me a good laugh lol. Overall, I appreciate this review and cannot wwaaaaiiitttt to play it!! Sadly, I must wait until Easter to get my hands on Dark Souls 2 despite picking it up tomorrow :'D

Caramel Frappe:

I read the entire article, even to the point of noticing this-

Lore junkies of Dark Souls will certainly get a kick out of tracking down the spiderweb of in-game information and trying to piece it all together.

I saw what you did there. I saw it! Don't lie, it was purposely stated because it relates to the Chaos Covenant and my favorite Lady.

I noticed that too. That makes me extremely excited since Chaos Servants is my covenant of choice :D

OT: Good review, my level of hype is only increasing the more I hear about this game. April 25th can't come soon enough!

So the PVP is forced no matter what you do? Ehhh, that killed Aion for me. I was thinking of picking up this one since I was intrigued enough by the first one to give it a shot but I think I'll wait it out.

My limited edition copy is in the mail now, needs to arrive, asap. However i just started study, so my time with it will be somewhat limited for a while :(

Sheo_Dagana:
So the PVP is forced no matter what you do? Ehhh, that killed Aion for me. I was thinking of picking up this one since I was intrigued enough by the first one to give it a shot but I think I'll wait it out.

The PVP in Dark Souls has always been one of the more unique elements to the game, but if you're deadset against it, you can always play the game offline. That said, if you reject the pvp by doing so, you'll also be rejecting the co-op.

I will say this though, if you intend on playing the game online but you're afraid of the PVP, then waiting to get the game later is the opposite of what you want to do. In the original Dark Souls, once the game had been out long enough (a couple months or so), the newbie starting areas of the game became absolutely FILLED with griefers who had managed to obtain gear and magic far beyond what the average player had at that level, and they would abuse this by invading the games of new and low-levelled players who would have virtually no way of defending themselves. To this day the newbie zones are still cesspools of trolls. I have no reason to believe Dark Souls 2 will be any different, and in fact it could be worse since now you can't even stay hollow to avoid it. So for those who are strongly adverse to pvp, either don't play online at all, or get the game as soon as possible so that the pvp will at least be somewhat fair when it happens.

Really happy to see that the game got overall very good reviews across the board.

The long arduous wait for the PC release begins..wish me luck!

I don't know if I like invasion being a constant threat now. There needs to be some room to breath and not be afraid of someone fucking your shit up. I'd rather they just did what Demon's Souls did and cut your health bar in half when in hollow form.

This just feels a bit too much. I guess I can always play offline, but that'll mean not getting the entire experience. I wish they handled this differently, because this one aspect is making me very stand offish whether or not I wanna get this game.

Sheo_Dagana:
So the PVP is forced no matter what you do? Ehhh, that killed Aion for me. I was thinking of picking up this one since I was intrigued enough by the first one to give it a shot but I think I'll wait it out.

I'm 90% on this, perhaps someone could confirm - but I'd assume the game is not online-only? You can just play offline and avoid the invasions altogether if you want. Moreover, you can't really wait out the PvP in a game like this. The more you wait, the more you'll just have people who focus solely on PvP, among which you'll have your fair share of griefers. They're some of the most enduring players.

I can't say I don't share a bit of your skepticism though. The old systems, both in Demon's and Dark Souls worked just fine and it was easy to switch from invade-able and back on the fly and there were certainly times when I'd be pissed not to have the option not to be invaded. My first time in Anor Londo, invasions were literally less than 10 seconds apart - I've overcome ridiculous odds and defeated 3 invasions, but unlike the invaders, I actually lose shit even if I win, so the fourth got me. Now, I'm all for that feeling of being hunted, but there's a difference between feeling like there's a danger of being invaded and there being a motherfucking factory line of assholes at my world's doorstep waiting their turn.

Moreover, they've brought back the Demon's Souls thing of losing up to half your max health when you die. This was manageable in PvE and created a distinct choice between going with your full health, but risking an invasion, or having a lot harder time not dying. But Dark Souls takes that health off AND lets invaders come after you. So, someone who is clearly intent on killing me, not only has the advantage of not giving a shit about the world, its monsters (I hear there's a way to change that though) and likely a PvP optimised gearset and build, but now I could be fighting that same dude with half my health. That's just beyond brutal, even for the DS games.

Very important question, in case anyone knows the answer - if you can be invaded while Hollowed, does that mean you can summon too?

Just breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Now I just want to know about the preorder bonuses: will they give people an advantage, or will they just be reskinned longswords? If the former, I'll be pretty mad.

I absolutely hated invasions in Dark Souls but I'm not that bothered with it for this game.
I think maybe because it's pretty much non-optional now short of playing offline it's somehow making the idea of invasions okay for me for some reason.

......

Yeah I don't really get it either.

Gizen:

Sheo_Dagana:
So the PVP is forced no matter what you do? Ehhh, that killed Aion for me. I was thinking of picking up this one since I was intrigued enough by the first one to give it a shot but I think I'll wait it out.

The PVP in Dark Souls has always been one of the more unique elements to the game, but if you're deadset against it, you can always play the game offline. That said, if you reject the pvp by doing so, you'll also be rejecting the co-op.

I will say this though, if you intend on playing the game online but you're afraid of the PVP, then waiting to get the game later is the opposite of what you want to do. In the original Dark Souls, once the game had been out long enough (a couple months or so), the newbie starting areas of the game became absolutely FILLED with griefers who had managed to obtain gear and magic far beyond what the average player had at that level, and they would abuse this by invading the games of new and low-levelled players who would have virtually no way of defending themselves. To this day the newbie zones are still cesspools of trolls. I have no reason to believe Dark Souls 2 will be any different, and in fact it could be worse since now you can't even stay hollow to avoid it. So for those who are strongly adverse to pvp, either don't play online at all, or get the game as soon as possible so that the pvp will at least be somewhat fair when it happens.

This apparently won't happen anymore. According to From Soft, there are now Checks in place that compare your equipment and PVP stats with players. If someone has found a lot of equipment in his playtime or killed many other players, your unlikely to get grouped with him unless you have similar stats.

Another thing is that if you've been invaded it's going to be unlikely that your invaded again, and there are Convenants you can join that help in PVP very early.

This is obviously all just hearsay, and we'll have to see if the system actually works. It's also likely we'll see a lot of tweaking and adjustments to balance out some issues.

I also really disliked the PVP in the first Game at first, I started Dark Souls pretty late and was confronted with a lot of griefers.
But at a certain point in the game (about the time you reach Anor Londo) your pretty much as well equipped as anyone else who'd be able to invade you and it becomes a lot more fun to have a nice little challenge match with someone.

Well this is looking positive, everyone is giving this game very good scores. Unfortunately it comes out on Friday here, at least it is only a couple of days away.

Sheo_Dagana:
So the PVP is forced no matter what you do? Ehhh, that killed Aion for me. I was thinking of picking up this one since I was intrigued enough by the first one to give it a shot but I think I'll wait it out.

Simply play it off-line. Problem solved.

Vrach:

Very important question, in case anyone knows the answer - if you can be invaded while Hollowed, does that mean you can summon too?

I think so. In fact, there's a covenant that is supposed to be dedicated to being summoned to the world of people who have been invaded and helping them out.

OT: I think I could always afford to play offline if I really didn't want to get invaded. The only perk to playing online was the messages and the summoning, the summoning made you vulnerable to invasion anyway, and the messages weren't exactly helpful to begin with.

"It's the best RPG released this year."

Right now that award goes to Bravely Default. But this could be a close second once I dig in

erttheking:

Vrach:

Very important question, in case anyone knows the answer - if you can be invaded while Hollowed, does that mean you can summon too?

I think so. In fact, there's a covenant that is supposed to be dedicated to being summoned to the world of people who have been invaded and helping them out.

Which is something I'll have a really strong love/hate relationship with, leaning far towards the latter - awesome idea on paper, but when you think about all the gankers waiting in groups of 2/3 to farm invaders in PvP zones, this literally just piles that onto literally every situation but actual enclosed PvP arenas (I mean something like the stuff right behind Artorias in the DLC). And that could really completely ruin PvP for me unless they actively made it possible to team up for invasions (something I'd love to see, but not in a gangbang scenario where 3 invaders invade one poor soul, but where the game sets up the number of invaders appropriately to the number of people in the host's world)

However, it's not much proof to anything. That covenant perk itself may demand you to be Human and it still says nothing of what you can do as Hollowed. Thing is, if it's less likely that you'll see invaders while Hollowed (though I maintain that's likely worth fuck all unless it involves some kind of giant timer between invasions) and you can still summon people to help, there'd be little reason to be Human... aside from any required areas/events like in the first Dark Souls (if they exist) or if you were actively going for PvP.

Vrach:
I'm 90% on this, perhaps someone could confirm - but I'd assume the game is not online-only?

Now, I'm all for that feeling of being hunted, but there's a difference between feeling like there's a danger of being invaded and there being a motherfucking factory line of assholes at my world's doorstep waiting their turn.

Very important question, in case anyone knows the answer - if you can be invaded while Hollowed, does that mean you can summon too?

I'll just answer the Questions in your Post:

The Game is not online only, thought it requires steam so you'll definitely need to initially be connected to the internet on the PC Version.
PS 3 and Xbox360 do not require an online connection in any form.

Apparently you can only be invaded a certain amount of times before it should generally decrease or stop all together, but also as everybody can be invaded the pool of users should be enough from preventing a constant invasion in only your world. Unless your specifically asking for it (certain Items raise your chance of being invaded or Convenants can do similar things) you shouldn't be invaded as much as you were in human form in Dark Souls.

The hollow system is still quite important in Dark Souls 2. If your hollow your chance of invading, or summoning/seeing summon signs and seeing player messages decreases. The more hollow you are the more this chance decreases, the ingame explanation is that your becoming more distant to connecting worlds the more you hollow. So yes you can summon and be invaded while hollow, it's just less likely.

Also some Convenants summon other Members to protect you, this works without signs (a sort of auto summon) there we're convenants for this in Dark Souls aswell but they we're restricted to certain areas or hidden in high level areas where you just wouldn't need protection as much. It seems like all of this has been balanced a lot better this time, so I'm guessing most people won't find being invaded quite so annoying anymore.

and now ill have to wait here a month for the PC version...

I'm glad they are sticking to similar story-telling elements as Dark Souls. I think some people complain that there was no "story" in Dark Souls, but I think it was better than Skyrim in terms of it's world-building. By limiting the dialogue/text everything is presented as a mystery. Allowing the player to search for clues about the story of the world is much more interesting than hearing character after character babble on or reading a book on a screen. I felt the same way about Shadow of the Colossus.

Will i be able to play the PC version with a controller?

How can anyone review this game without the full online being operational.

Me? If I cave and buy it (not at all convinced yet) I will probably need to play the whole thing offline.

Because it gets annoying. And I know. Because I am that guy. Six pack in front of me and taking a break from the campaign invading folks. Lagstabbing them all night long. But I'm also the other guy. The one who doesn't need another firestorm spamming invader right now while he is dealing with a brand new level.

Will be looking forward to a review that actually looks at the online dynamics.
[And the first boss battle that actually intrigues me ...]

So it begins... The long wait for the PC release whilst avoiding all spoilers.

Recommendation: It's the best RPG released this year.

Ho ho, my friend, we still have a lot of this year to go.
I shall respect your opinion, but I do think The Witcher: Wild Hunt will certainly be a contender as well, possibly Bravely Default as well, but I still need to play that one, so I shall not confirm it.

But reading the review, it certainly sounds good.
Mostly for a fan or someone who knows and likes what they are getting into.
I'm not someone who likes this kind of RPG (I've played Dark Souls and I didn't like it) so I'm not really going to play it.

Now The Witcher: Wild Hunt ... I am sure as poop that I am getting that one.
Also possibly Dragon Age: Inquisition, but like many people, I am highly sceptical about that one and will wait for a review first.

EDIT: One thing I will say is that I will watch a Lets Play of it.

I'd be really interested in an update on this when the PC version releases. I never could get my PC copy of Dark Souls 1 to function properly. I'm apparently not even hardcore enough of a gamer to start the game and not have it either crash or encounter serious graphics errors.

I will echo the sentiment of bloodstain ganking, especially with cumulative penalties. I expect that this weekend some ass is already stalking the hub world for any poor souls unfortunate enough to fire up the game and literally die the second they spawn.

vipLink:
The Game is not online only, thought it requires steam so you'll definitely need to initially be connected to the internet on the PC Version.
PS 3 and Xbox360 do not require an online connection in any form.

Yeah, I figured as much, just you know... never 100% without my hands on the actual thing :)

vipLink:
Apparently you can only be invaded a certain amount of times before it should generally decrease or stop all together, but also as everybody can be invaded the pool of users should be enough from preventing a constant invasion in only your world. Unless your specifically asking for it (certain Items raise your chance of being invaded or Convenants can do similar things) you shouldn't be invaded as much as you were in human form in Dark Souls.

Well, if you say so, but I'll have to see for myself. There was talk of some timer in the original Dark Souls as well, but as I've mentioned above, I shit you not, I just had invasions lining up one after another. As for the size of the pool, the size of the pool is irrelevant, what matters is a ratio of invaders to non-invaders. If they're 50/50, you're always gonna have an invader and after a while, certain areas become more filled with invaders than actual players going through the content. So once it gets to 50/50, all those "reduced chances" are flushed down the toilet because the situation is a bunch of invaders on one side and not enough actual live Humans for them to hunt. Add onto it the fact that if someone's playing the content, they're a lot more commonly gonna be Hollow. So it's either gonna be several invaders on one Human, or the odds of getting invaded in Hollow form are quite real.

vipLink:
The hollow system is still quite important in Dark Souls 2. If your hollow your chance of invading, or summoning/seeing summon signs and seeing player messages decreases. The more hollow you are the more this chance decreases, the ingame explanation is that your becoming more distant to connecting worlds the more you hollow. So yes you can summon and be invaded while hollow, it's just less likely.

Cool, I figured it works this way, would be truly evil of them to make it you can be invaded, but not actually summon for help with the content. I like that explanation too, it makes sense within the world, which is always a nice plus :)

vipLink:
Also some Convenants summon other Members to protect you, this works without signs (a sort of auto summon) there we're convenants for this in Dark Souls aswell but they we're restricted to certain areas or hidden in high level areas where you just wouldn't need protection as much. It seems like all of this has been balanced a lot better this time, so I'm guessing most people won't find being invaded quite so annoying anymore.

There's no such thing that I'm aware of in Dark Souls. You never get auto summoned to help someone fend off an invader. In fact, the closest thing to an "auto" summon is the invader kind, the Cat Covenant Ring and the Darkmoon one. But if someone wanted your help AGAINST an invader, they'd need to summon you manually.

Falterfire:
I'd be really interested in an update on this when the PC version releases. I never could get my PC copy of Dark Souls 1 to function properly. I'm apparently not even hardcore enough of a gamer to start the game and not have it either crash or encounter serious graphics errors.

April 25th, I think it's stated at the end? It's a confirmed date anyway :)
And don't feel bad, I spent 6 straight hours getting it to work on my brother's PC. It's what you get with a GFWL game >.>

Well, good to see this game is good. I enjoyed the first Dark Souls and I'll pick this one up sometime in the future.

Sheo_Dagana:
So the PVP is forced no matter what you do? Ehhh, that killed Aion for me. I was thinking of picking up this one since I was intrigued enough by the first one to give it a shot but I think I'll wait it out.

I agree. That's a step down for me too. Thankfully you can still play offline. Much less convenient, sure, but it at least makes it playable for the guys who don't want to be constantly assaulted by OP player killers.

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