Dark Souls 2: Of Missing Monsters and Bustling Bases

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Dark Souls 2: Of Missing Monsters and Bustling Bases

From despawning monsters to the surprise plotlines that you've been inadvertently taking part in all along, Yahtzee takes an updated look at Dark Souls 2 now that he has finally finished the game.

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I'll just assume that the "Portal versus Portal 2" comparison is still valid. Still wasn't it nice to have a game be an interesting talking point? Thief, Strider and Castlevania: LoS 2 haven't exactly gotten much reaction from anyone. The only thing that comes close is Stick of Truth.

So Dark Souls 2 does the typical "you're going to do this regardless of your choice" story element. That's a shame, but I suppose it could've been a lot worse (like The Conduit's "You are the only one who can stop them").

In regards to the feeling of the game, something that's sort of become apparent is that there's a certain bitter-sweetness to the game that, on the reflection, actually seems much more gloomy than before. The game suggests for instance that it doesn't matter which ending you picked in Dark Souls 1, it would lead to this eventually. Want to keep the world maintained? Someone's going to come by and fuck it up. Want to make the world go through a drastic change? Someone's going to come by and return to the status quo. The game is essentially a tale of resurrection and rebirth, something that becomes a bit more telling in New Game Plus. It seems bitter-sweet, because even though things may fall, they'll inevitably pick themselves back up. It becomes a bit gloomy though when you realize this...not only has this happened before, it's happened too many times to count, and it happened in the exact same manner...there is no truly getting out of this is there?

It's kind of why the main protagonist sort of has their fate decided for them, and why many NPCs admit to not knowing why they're there...they're being relegated to roles beyond their control

Well, Armored Core 4 took place in a dying world yet Armored Core 5 takes place in the world that arose from the ashes of AC4's world (you can see wrecks of some large vessels from for Answer in Verdict Day and some of the bonus bosses you can face in online play are reactivated for Answer enemies, except now you're fighting them in a significantly smaller and less powerful mech). And in AC5 the world is dying again, especially after an AI digs up all the radioactive crap that caused the death of the AC4 civilization in the first place. From Software gonna From Software.

Yeah I feel much the same, my opinion is kind of slowly souring over time. It's still a great game, but it just doesn't feel perfect like the first game does to me. That said I disagree with one thing you said here, about the fact that this is set hundreds of years later undermining the plot; I don't think it does. Dark Souls didn't feel like it was set in a world that was ending any time soon to me. It felt like it was set in a world that was in a perpetual decline, but there never seemed to be any clear end in sight. If anyone's read/seen the play Endgame, that's pretty much the tone I think Dark Souls captured. Everything is ending but it's taking its time to do so. So the fact that the slow decline could drag on centuries more, into the time of Dark Souls 2, actually enhances that feeling if anything.

Other than that though, yeah. Fine sequel, but kind of makes me nostalgic for the first game more than anything else.

Currently still playing Dead Souls 1 Prepare to Die edition, which I bought about 2-3 weeks ago.
Got 41 hours in, mostly just grinding levels because that is nice and easy on the dying (L 104 atm).

Don't know if I'm gonna get this sequel though.
Feel like I'm ready for something much easier for awhile (Reaper of Souls, probably).

It does feel like a major step backwards on the design-department in comparisson to DS1. Particularly the ending felt kinda "cheap".

"Ooh I was destined to do this? Never-ending cycle-stuff? ... Lame."

What annoys me most however is how they kept yapping on about "the curse" in the trailers prior to the release. What did we actually learn about the curse? About being undead? What created the darksign?

Kind of annoying that we still know nothing about it. I like the mystery, but you could at least explain a little bit about...ooh I don't know... THE MAIN REASON WHY YOU'RE DOING THIS STUFF IN THE FIRST PLACE!

A lot of what you talk about here, you'll find was present in Demon's souls. Namely the central hub area where you accumulate npcs. In fact, there were many things in this game that harken back to demon's souls, but I digress.

Dark souls 2 is very much a game of giving you things and taking them away. Like you said in your video: Healing items but limited estus, automatic repair but faster degradation, etc. And Dark souls 2 as a whole could be described as "Better gameplay, but less atmosphere." They changed a lot of things mechanically, improved weapon move sets, online connectivity, etc etc, but at the cost of the game becoming a bit more bland. Most people who have played the souls games will tell you that Demon's is the height of atmosphere (Hi tower of Latria) while it is, while it isn't as polished as DS in terms of gameplay. DS, for the first half of the game, had good atmosphere and better gameplay, but the atmosphere sort of lessened in the second half. DS2 feels very much like that second half of DS1, except for the whole game. Areas are more varied and interesting, but we lose a feeling of inter-connectivity and the story and lore doesn't seem as tight. As a trade off, the gameplay part of the game works much better though.

Oh and yeah, it's a souls game. Going to kill a legendary king who turns out to be only a hollow shadow of his former self and then having a lack luster final boss fight is pretty much a hallmark of the series. Play through Demon's, Dark and Dark 2 and you will see that they have so many similarities and carry overs and repeated ideas that it's a bit ridiculous.

In Search of Username:
Yeah I feel much the same, my opinion is kind of slowly souring over time. It's still a great game, but it just doesn't feel perfect like the first game does to me. That said I disagree with one thing you said here, about the fact that this is set hundreds of years later undermining the plot; I don't think it does. Dark Souls didn't feel like it was set in a world that was ending any time soon to me. It felt like it was set in a world that was in a perpetual decline, but there never seemed to be any clear end in sight. If anyone's read/seen the play Endgame, that's pretty much the tone I think Dark Souls captured. Everything is ending but it's taking its time to do so. So the fact that the slow decline could drag on centuries more, into the time of Dark Souls 2, actually enhances that feeling if anything.

Other than that though, yeah. Fine sequel, but kind of makes me nostalgic for the first game more than anything else.

Yeah, I think Yahtzee's a bit too hung up on the end of the world idea of the first DS and not really realizing that the world actually lives on. If you sacrifice yourself, then the flame keeps burning for a while longer, waiting (in keeping with what Eternal_Lament said) for the renewal of the cycle. If you ushered the age of man/dark, well, then I'd say we'd have what we see in DS2, which is its decline anyway, again perpetually locked in cycles.

It also helps that we've had 3 years of wild speculating over every tidbit of info of the first DS1 (And seemingly Yahtzee played the game already aware of much of its lore, since his interest was piqued by watching lets plays and lore videos) and as such the game seems retrospectively more coherent, though I do remember a time where we fumbled about for meaning and mechanics just as much as we do now.

Other than that, Portal syndrome does apply, and some of the bosses are objectively not as good. I still highlight, say, the Gaping Dragon in my list of gaming experiences not because it's all that grueling but because it's a fight I don't mind reliving and redoing. And don't get me started on Sif, which boasts not only memorable design but some actual emotional punch (especially post DLC) that made him a lot less of an obstacle and more a moment that kept you invested( Artorias could also apply here, though in the sense thatI felt it was charitable to end his misery). Bosses here don't quite have the same flashes of brilliance, and I think there is where Miyazaki's influence is most sorely missed. Couple that with the fact that though I am pretty convinced that the Oolacile DLC portion was actually content that was originally scraped from launch and then worked upon as an extra (Preliminary artwork for the Bloated Heads or the Manticore boss can be found in the artbook accompanying the launch special edition), the bosses there are some of the best in the whole series, from Artorias, to the game of patience that is Kalameet, to the mental exhaustion that was Manus' neverending agressiveness.

grimner:
Other than that, Portal syndrome does apply, and some of the bosses are objectively not as good. I still highlight, say, the Gaping Dragon in my list of experiences not because it's all that grueling but because it's a fight I don't mind reliving and redoing. And don't get me started on Sif, which boasts not only memorable design but some actual emotional punch (especially post DLC). Bosses here don't quite have the same flashes of brilliance, and I think there is where Miyazaki's influence is most sorely missed. Couple that with the fact that though I am pretty convinced that the Oolacile DLC portion was actually content that was originally scraped from launch and then worked upon as an extra (Preliminary artwork for the Bloated Heads or the Manticore boss can be found in the artbook accompanying the launch special edition), the bosses there are some of the best in the whole series, from Artorias, to the game of patience that is Kalameet, to the mental exhaustion that was Manus' neverending agressiveness.

There are definitely some good bosses in DS2 though! Demon of Song is pretty fucking creepy-looking without just being a gross-out. The Lost Sinner's pretty great too. And it's worth remembering that even in the first game, boss designs were recycled to an extent. The first boss in DS1 popped up in slightly altered form in the Demon Ruins, when you returned to the Asylum, and you could even argue Smough has a largely similar moveset, even if he doesn't look the same. But yeah, I'd agree that DS1 definitely wins overall.

My primary problem with 2, I think, is more the structure, the fact that the world doesn't seem to fit together as coherently and you rarely have a clear direction to go in. That bothered me a lot more than any of the bosses did.

Eternal_Lament:
In regards to the feeling of the game, something that's sort of become apparent is that there's a certain bitter-sweetness to the game that, on the reflection, actually seems much more gloomy than before. The game suggests for instance that it doesn't matter which ending you picked in Dark Souls 1, it would lead to this eventually. Want to keep the world maintained? Someone's going to come by and fuck it up. Want to make the world go through a drastic change? Someone's going to come by and return to the status quo. The game is essentially a tale of resurrection and rebirth, something that becomes a bit more telling in New Game Plus. It seems bitter-sweet, because even though things may fall, they'll inevitably pick themselves back up. It becomes a bit gloomy though when you realize this...not only has this happened before, it's happened too many times to count, and it happened in the exact same manner...there is no truly getting out of this is there?

It's kind of why the main protagonist sort of has their fate decided for them, and why many NPCs admit to not knowing why they're there...they're being relegated to roles beyond their control

Yeah but see that's the thing. There's rhyme, but no reason. Honestly, aside from a convenient excuse to retell the same story in a worse way, what is the point of the whole cycle of the world thing they have going on? You can use the cycle as an excuse for the four big baddies being similar to the old four big baddies, but that doesn't make it a good excuse. It adds nothing to the experience. The old lords aren't expanded upon, and the new ones get very little info because the game is too busy trying to show you how "Look! it's like that guy you thought was cool!". Outside of the Old Iron King, there's very little information on the old ones, which is pretty disappointing. The lore as a whole is just kind of unexplained (old dragonslayer being a prime example of this. The dude is practically a walking lore inconsistency). It just doesn't do anything for the sequel to constantly shove reminders of the first game down the players throat. Yes i do remember the fucking witch of izalith thank you very much! They were that interesting character who had a backstory unlink their reincarnation.

As time goes on, many people seem to be souring on the game. The reddit for example, is becoming devoid of lore. Every theory is shot down immediately because it has obvious flaws. The lore is for the most part, half-written. There's no backbone to the story.

And speaking of the story, the main plot basically makes next to no sense. The whole cycle thing does kinda diminish DS1 like yahtzee said, but sequels are gonna have shitty reasons to exist, that's what they do. The big problem with the cycle however, is that all it serves to do is make your whole quest seem pointless. If they cycle is going to repeat regardless of my actions, what is the point of them? Why am i following the orders of some random woman i just met instead of looking for the cure that the intro told me i was looking for? Surely given the knowledge that i can't have a lasting impact on the world i'd choose the path of an enjoyable life, not filled with hundreds of painful deaths.

The ending left me quite sour. I mean, the boss was kinda shitty, but more to the point, the ending cutscene bothered the fuck out of me. Essentially being told, "You can now choose to take the throne and be the next monarch, or you can refuse it" is pretty stupid when my character goes ahead and takes the throne regardless. Why am i told i have a choice in the same cutscene that my character chooses their own choice regardless of what i want? Some players have argued that the choice is there, it's just an off-screen thing, leaving the future ambiguous. But this isn't a movie. It's a game. Let me play the choice. The first game left you in a big empty room after killing the closest thing the world ever had to a god. Silence and only your own company, and the question "Is the light worth holding onto? Even if it is only for a little while?". It was a personal question more than anything, as the cutscene you got afterwards showed little. But that silence in that moment was something of beauty. You had finally come to the end of a long and difficult journey. You weren't about to just pick some choice at random because you had worked so hard for it. That tiny section of gameplay, with almost no content mattered massively. The removal of it hurt the ending significantly.

Truly, the cycle is the downfall of the game however. By essentially creating a plot device so that the first game can be remade with a new skin, there will be comparisons. The game won't be taken as a standalone, and dark souls 1 is not a game you want to be compared to at every angle. Demons souls and dark souls existed in harmony, they were different experiences with similar gameplay. They didn't try to be the same. Dark souls changed a lot from Demons souls. Dark souls 2 tries to be Dark souls 1 again, and it simply can't be. The world isn't the interconnected wonder the first game was, the bosses aren't as memorable ornstein and smough or artorias, and the lore is simply afraid to spread its own wings, but hangs to the coattails of the first game, to weak to even expand what it clings to.

I mean, it's a great game. Like has been said before, more dark souls is a good thing, but the sequel stood to close to the original, and became an inferior copy. It's a lot of fun, but i don't think there's really any chance of it having the same longevity of the first. I've played it through a few times, already, and that should speak for its quality, but I don't think it has the same charm that the first one did when replayed. It was so meticulously crafted that there was always a few new things you spotted. The sequel feels more like a generic fantasy game in its design, but still retains a lot of the great mechanics of the first.

I haven't heard about the "Kill an enemy 10 times" thing, sounds like something that would kinda ruin the game for me :/. It's like games that automatically adjusts difficulty, it doesn't feel right and it's frustrating that it doesn't give you a chance to try again. It just suddenly gets a whole lot easier and you just have to deal with it...

MrBaskerville:
I haven't heard about the "Kill an enemy 10 times" thing, sounds like something that would kinda ruin the game for me :/. It's like games that automatically adjusts difficulty, it doesn't feel right and it's frustrating that it doesn't give you a chance to try again. It just suddenly gets a whole lot easier and you just have to deal with it...

It's not that the game just becomes easier - it does, obviously, since there's less in your way, but it's not a "free" difficulty switch. It's also a farm cap. If you're trying to farm up souls to get beefy before fighting the next boss, well, there's a limit on how much you can powerlevel yourself in the content. It makes running that section easier, yes, but on the whole, it makes the game arguably harder.

Especially if you're trying to farm specific drops. Getting titanite chunks is a pain compared to just farming the darkwraiths in New Londo for a few hours in Dark Souls, for instance.

I wonder if i Should tell Yahtzee that Siegmeyer, and Solaire have branching paths and can be saved...

MrBaskerville:
I haven't heard about the "Kill an enemy 10 times" thing, sounds like something that would kinda ruin the game for me :/. It's like games that automatically adjusts difficulty, it doesn't feel right and it's frustrating that it doesn't give you a chance to try again. It just suddenly gets a whole lot easier and you just have to deal with it...

It can work both ways, though. While it can make progression to a boss easier, it takes away the possibility to grind. Crafting materials needed to upgrade weapons are now more finite, unless you use an item that resets the area and increases the difficulty by basically turning that area into NG+. The only way to grind for souls now is through online play and trading the items you gain as a reweard for random objects. It's the whole give with one hand, take with the other thing again, to mixed results.

BooTsPs3:

Eternal_Lament:
In regards to the feeling of the game, something that's sort of become apparent is that there's a certain bitter-sweetness to the game that, on the reflection, actually seems much more gloomy than before. The game suggests for instance that it doesn't matter which ending you picked in Dark Souls 1, it would lead to this eventually. Want to keep the world maintained? Someone's going to come by and fuck it up. Want to make the world go through a drastic change? Someone's going to come by and return to the status quo. The game is essentially a tale of resurrection and rebirth, something that becomes a bit more telling in New Game Plus. It seems bitter-sweet, because even though things may fall, they'll inevitably pick themselves back up. It becomes a bit gloomy though when you realize this...not only has this happened before, it's happened too many times to count, and it happened in the exact same manner...there is no truly getting out of this is there?

It's kind of why the main protagonist sort of has their fate decided for them, and why many NPCs admit to not knowing why they're there...they're being relegated to roles beyond their control

Yeah but see that's the thing. There's rhyme, but no reason. Honestly, aside from a convenient excuse to retell the same story in a worse way, what is the point of the whole cycle of the world thing they have going on? You can use the cycle as an excuse for the four big baddies being similar to the old four big baddies, but that doesn't make it a good excuse. It adds nothing to the experience. The old lords aren't expanded upon, and the new ones get very little info because the game is too busy trying to show you how "Look! it's like that guy you thought was cool!". Outside of the Old Iron King, there's very little information on the old ones, which is pretty disappointing. The lore as a whole is just kind of unexplained (old dragonslayer being a prime example of this. The dude is practically a walking lore inconsistency). It just doesn't do anything for the sequel to constantly shove reminders of the first game down the players throat. Yes i do remember the fucking witch of izalith thank you very much! They were that interesting character who had a backstory unlink their reincarnation.

I wasn't really arguing if the cycle excused the story or not. Rather, I was referring more to the tone of the story, which is ultimately a bit more bleak. What's worse, knowing that you are on the brink of death, or knowing that you'll never escape the cycle of death? It's one thing to die and be over with it, it's another knowing that you're being rebuilt only to be destroyed.

Yes, at the moment it seems that Dark Souls 2 is a bit hampered by being a sequel rather than an entire other world. That said, it's only been three weeks so far--most of the crazy lore stuff for Dark Souls 1 didn't really start surfacing until a few months after the game came out, and that was only some of the stuff that Youtubers have been discussing for two years now.

In Search of Username:

grimner:
Other than that, Portal syndrome does apply, and some of the bosses are objectively not as good. I still highlight, say, the Gaping Dragon in my list of experiences not because it's all that grueling but because it's a fight I don't mind reliving and redoing. And don't get me started on Sif, which boasts not only memorable design but some actual emotional punch (especially post DLC). Bosses here don't quite have the same flashes of brilliance, and I think there is where Miyazaki's influence is most sorely missed. Couple that with the fact that though I am pretty convinced that the Oolacile DLC portion was actually content that was originally scraped from launch and then worked upon as an extra (Preliminary artwork for the Bloated Heads or the Manticore boss can be found in the artbook accompanying the launch special edition), the bosses there are some of the best in the whole series, from Artorias, to the game of patience that is Kalameet, to the mental exhaustion that was Manus' neverending agressiveness.

There are definitely some good bosses in DS2 though! Demon of Song is pretty fucking creepy-looking without just being a gross-out. The Lost Sinner's pretty great too. And it's worth remembering that even in the first game, boss designs were recycled to an extent. The first boss in DS1 popped up in slightly altered form in the Demon Ruins, when you returned to the Asylum, and you could even argue Smough has a largely similar moveset, even if he doesn't look the same. But yeah, I'd agree that DS1 definitely wins overall.

My primary problem with 2, I think, is more the structure, the fact that the world doesn't seem to fit together as coherently and you rarely have a clear direction to go in. That bothered me a lot more than any of the bosses did.

Oh, agreed, and ultimately, it is a bit of hair splitting since I know that the game will be on my top 5, and even more mundane design choices in the souls series are head and shoulders above most anything else in fantasy games. If I spent 130 hours of my life and am still coming back, there's a lot they still did well. But maybe my gripe with bosses has to do with, paradoxically, there being more of them, which lead to some variants of "dude with armor". The Prepare to Die edition just kind of spoiled for choice by presenting 4 very different bosses.

Designwise, it's a return to the Demon's structure, and while that's not a bad thing, it's at the very least an odd choice since the open ended, intertwined design which still somehow never left you clueless on how to progress is one of the things I see being praised the most in the first game. I don't know how hard that is to accomplish technically, but going back on what was an improvement is at the very least an odd choice.

Eternal_Lament:

BooTsPs3:

Eternal_Lament:
In regards to the feeling of the game, something that's sort of become apparent is that there's a certain bitter-sweetness to the game that, on the reflection, actually seems much more gloomy than before. The game suggests for instance that it doesn't matter which ending you picked in Dark Souls 1, it would lead to this eventually. Want to keep the world maintained? Someone's going to come by and fuck it up. Want to make the world go through a drastic change? Someone's going to come by and return to the status quo. The game is essentially a tale of resurrection and rebirth, something that becomes a bit more telling in New Game Plus. It seems bitter-sweet, because even though things may fall, they'll inevitably pick themselves back up. It becomes a bit gloomy though when you realize this...not only has this happened before, it's happened too many times to count, and it happened in the exact same manner...there is no truly getting out of this is there?

It's kind of why the main protagonist sort of has their fate decided for them, and why many NPCs admit to not knowing why they're there...they're being relegated to roles beyond their control

Yeah but see that's the thing. There's rhyme, but no reason. Honestly, aside from a convenient excuse to retell the same story in a worse way, what is the point of the whole cycle of the world thing they have going on? You can use the cycle as an excuse for the four big baddies being similar to the old four big baddies, but that doesn't make it a good excuse. It adds nothing to the experience. The old lords aren't expanded upon, and the new ones get very little info because the game is too busy trying to show you how "Look! it's like that guy you thought was cool!". Outside of the Old Iron King, there's very little information on the old ones, which is pretty disappointing. The lore as a whole is just kind of unexplained (old dragonslayer being a prime example of this. The dude is practically a walking lore inconsistency). It just doesn't do anything for the sequel to constantly shove reminders of the first game down the players throat. Yes i do remember the fucking witch of izalith thank you very much! They were that interesting character who had a backstory unlink their reincarnation.

I wasn't really arguing if the cycle excused the story or not. Rather, I was referring more to the tone of the story, which is ultimately a bit more bleak. What's worse, knowing that you are on the brink of death, or knowing that you'll never escape the cycle of death? It's one thing to die and be over with it, it's another knowing that you're being rebuilt only to be destroyed.

Yes, at the moment it seems that Dark Souls 2 is a bit hampered by being a sequel rather than an entire other world. That said, it's only been three weeks so far--most of the crazy lore stuff for Dark Souls 1 didn't really start surfacing until a few months after the game came out, and that was only some of the stuff that Youtubers have been discussing for two years now.

The thing about discovering new things is, the guide removed most of the discovery from the game. We know pretty much everything, and without miyazaki the level design simply doesn't have the same detail as before, that was always a given. Dark souls 1 also was pretty small community wise upon release. That isn't the case with DS2. Hell, even with the lore videos out there you can see problems. ENB, who worked on the guide and even had access to internal documents seems to say very little about the lore when doing his lets play, and it's clear from vaati's heide video that he has no clue how ornstein got there.

A lot of people seem to think dark souls 1 was like this at launch. It wasn't. There was basic story structure, and it was always hinted that there was more. Kaathe being on of the best examples of this, ceaseless discharge being another. It's clear that dark souls 2 is more videogamey in design. Little things seem to have little importance this time around, again, without miyazaki, a ton of the subtle detail is out the window. That was confirmed by the new director from the beginning, he said himself he wasn't a fan of subtle storytelling.

Regarding the cycle of death, i'd call it more harsh in the original. In the sequel the journey became pointless. With this knowledge of the cycle, there is literally zero reason for my character to keep doing what the herald tells him. Yet it's the only thing i can do. It's a journey that feels pointless because you can't affect the outcome.
In the first game, it had the harsh reality of the inevitable age of dark, but you had the chance to postpone that if you chose. You could fight against inevitability. Leave your mark, if even just for a little while. Make the ultimate sacrifice to prolong life just a little longer.
Being flat out told that your journey will affect nothing kinda diminishes the hell out of it. It's not bleak and depressing. There's no sense of inevitability, no sense of futility, just an air of pointlessness and a lack of motivation. It's just confusing as to why they would do something like this. I find it particularly annoying after the intro and the section with the witches focusing on you as an individual, only to be forced down this path even though you know how pointless it is.

Wait, what? Did we ever properly talk about this? I'm cool with not taking the throne, I'd just, you know, like to stop looking like someone crafted me from beef jerky and string.

Only a true monarch denies his monarchy!

grimner:

MrBaskerville:
I haven't heard about the "Kill an enemy 10 times" thing, sounds like something that would kinda ruin the game for me :/. It's like games that automatically adjusts difficulty, it doesn't feel right and it's frustrating that it doesn't give you a chance to try again. It just suddenly gets a whole lot easier and you just have to deal with it...

It can work both ways, though. While it can make progression to a boss easier, it takes away the possibility to grind. Crafting materials needed to upgrade weapons are now more finite, unless you use an item that resets the area and increases the difficulty by basically turning that area into NG+. The only way to grind for souls now is through online play and trading the items you gain as a reweard for random objects. It's the whole give with one hand, take with the other thing again, to mixed results.

It does make sense if you view it that way, unfortunately i don't grind, so to my experience it just means that i can abuse the hell out of it (Whether i want to or not), since i'm probably going to die a lot, it will impact my experience and it will cause frustration. I can see it as being any different than the Vita chambers in Bioshock, something that ruined the game for me until they gave you the ability to switch them off.

Obviously i will play the game, but i have a feelng that i'm going to be very dissapointed.

I don't know... I don't feel it's a worse game than Dark Souls. I feel in a lot of ways it improves on the formula. Bigger world, more things to find. In some ways it's the same, the combat is improved in some ways, but it's ultimately the same, so just as good. The enemies despawning complaints feels forced to me. I have not spent enough time in an area for enemies to stop spawning. I have not run into dead empty areas because of this. I love how their are more bosses, some of which I don't feel like can be effectively taken solo. It's possible, but ultimately really really hard. But, that is my opinion. One thing I really like is the ability to respec with an item. I think that is just incredible. No more new playthroughs just to switch classes. You can effectively fix a build gone wrong without replaying the same areas time and time again.

Chris Slime:
I wonder if i Should tell Yahtzee that Siegmeyer, and Solaire have branching paths and can be saved...

DS is one of the only games I've played where I quit out of depression. Playing without a guide, pretty much everyone died, even the firekeeper girl. The atmosphere is soul-crushing, and I got stuck down in Blight town and I just couldn't go on anymore. I read most of a guide and played again and beat it about a year later. Even though I didn't finish that first playthrough, it was a very memorable and unique experience.

Jaysus. This game sounds like it doesn't reward you for overcoming challenges so much as punishes you for failing them. I find the whole "world is doomed and there's nothing you can do about it" setup crushes incentive to play it. "Well, game, there's one thing I can do: stop playing this, and pick another where my character's action at least feel like they have some bearing in the story."

captcha: CHUTZPA
I guess you need a lot of that to even think of getting into any "Souls" game.

Yeah the ds2 ending was weird.

I had no idea why the queen suddenly wants to slice me up and why she's the grim reaper now and... why did I go to that dragon again?
It was kind of a confusing mess where dark souls at least has frampt tell you wtf is going on (kinda sorta) so you know why that final boss is there at least and you know why you are murdering all the things you saw in the intro video while it's just wishy washy "Bearer of blah blah, seek bigger souls because souls. Souls. Oh you want to level up quickly, let me repeat the same shit some more." nonsense in dark souls 2.

I was fine with vague directions of "there are 2 bells, something will happen if they both ring" in dark souls because it gives you an actual goal to work towards even if you're not exactly sure why.
Dark souls 2 did it wrong and that emerald herald can take a long walk off a short cliff for all I care.

MrBaskerville:

It does make sense if you view it that way, unfortunately i don't grind, so to my experience it just means that i can abuse the hell out of it (Whether i want to or not), since i'm probably going to die a lot, it will impact my experience and it will cause frustration. I can see it as being any different than the Vita chambers in Bioshock, something that ruined the game for me until they gave you the ability to switch them off.

Obviously i will play the game, but i have a feelng that i'm going to be very dissapointed.

I actually never ever ran into this and had to sit down and systematically murder a level over and over for it to happen.
You're probably underestimating just how much 10 times is given the size of some of the levels and how little souls matter later on.
You just get them thrown at you and can easily reach level 100 with no multiplayer involvement.

I feel like it's important to point out that there was a change of director between Dark souls and Dark souls 2. Dark souls and demon's souls were directed by the same guy but Dark souls 2 is directed by two different new guys. This might explain why the game feels a little more "phoned in" in the design department.

It's still a very good game though, I have already put 60 hours into it, and I still plan on buying it for PC.

Chris Slime:
I wonder if i Should tell Yahtzee that Siegmeyer, and Solaire have branching paths and can be saved...

Even so its not necessarily a happy end for them, they will eventually go hollow Solaire in particular seems really close to it the last time you talk to him, you've only helped them continue a little longer. Which is really cool since in a way it ties to the endings, with link the fire being choosing to make things continue a little longer. And yes I know Solaire is said to link the fire in his world if you summon him for Gwyn, but its up to your interpretation of the ending whether that is good or bad.

As for this article itself I do find myself agreeing with Yahtzee a lot, the lore feels sort of missing and it was vague in the first game but it was also everywhere. Dark Souls 2 doesn't really present much of its own lore instead it just rehashes the lore of the first game. And yes I get that the souls series and even the king's field series have had recurring elements, but making 'recurring elements' your entire lore really detracts from the experience more than it adds to it. That said I did feel that there was some cool lore that started to crop up near the end, the war with the giants and the throne of want both intrigued me.

As for other changes the gameplay was overall improved in a lot of cool ways, the online features especially, I used to dread pvp in Dark Souls 1, but in 2 I've actually sought it out a number of times. It actually feels fair and fun now, and I've only hit lag a few times. The bosses feel lackluster in a lot of ways, a few are cool (Lost Sinner, Demon of Song, Smelter Demon) but they are still fun to fight. There are a few too many greatswords among the boss soul weapons as well, and I say that as someone who likes greatswords. Really I think some of the problem is that so few of them have names like the ones in the first game. Just giving for example the throne watcher and defender names would have added some layer of lore to them as we could identify them better, we could look for mention of them elsewhere, etc. For standard gameplay they did tend to throw lots of enemies at you a bit too often, and the new explody-flop enemies are just annoying (except the fire ones who die on flopping, I don't mind those guys). A lot of the areas feel too linear (and too small, with not enough interconnection within or between the level(s)) as well, the manor in particular is mostly just one big hallway, instead of the new version of Latria/Archives that it was looking to be. Some areas are still really cool though, in particular I like the Forest of Fallen Giants, The Dragon Aerie, and the wharf, as most of those are big pretty areas with some interesting paths to explore.

Finally on the subject of the enemies ceasing to spawn I have mixed feelings about it, I don't like that it prevents grinding of certain items (especially since high level upgrade materials are just annoyingly hard to come by, which limits experimentation). On the other hand I don't mind that it can make things easier, since its mostly the enemies you are getting past that stop appearing, so its not so much pitying you as it is going 'okay you've proven you can handle this guy, so lets make it faster for you to get to the schmuck who is giving you trouble' that said it does feel like they relied on it too much instead of having more of the miniboss one time spawning enemies like they had in Dark Souls 1. For example in the Dragon Shrine there is a priest who bombards you from afar with lightning balls for a chunk of the early level, and he respawns as any other enemy does, when it really (to me at least) felt like he should have been like the poison blowdart guys in Blighttown that peppered you your first time in, but once you killed them they stopped appearing.

I'm going to start NG+ soon, after wrapping a few more things up, so hopefully some of the stuff there will improve on my complaints, but if it does then more of it probably should have just been in the first playthrough. Even with all the things I've stated here though its still an excellent game that I highly recommend, and one I intend to play a lot more of.

Darth_Payn:
Jaysus. This game sounds like it doesn't reward you for overcoming challenges so much as punishes you for failing them. I find the whole "world is doomed and there's nothing you can do about it" setup crushes incentive to play it. "Well, game, there's one thing I can do: stop playing this, and pick another where my character's action at least feel like they have some bearing in the story."

captcha: CHUTZPA
I guess you need a lot of that to even think of getting into any "Souls" game.

The game rewards you for overcoming the challenge by actually overcoming the challenge. That's the point. It doesn't feel like it needs to pat you on the head like a good boy

Other than that, one thing taht a lot of people miss usually in soul games is to simply look at item description. There is sometimes a lot you can learn just by looking at item desc, even for the most humble stuff. That was the case in Dark Souls 1 at least. I've start playing through 2 and there are already signs of it

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Dark Souls 2: Of Missing Monsters and Bustling Bases

From despawning monsters to the surprise plotlines that you've been inadvertently taking part in all along, Yahtzee takes an updated look at Dark Souls 2 now that he has finally finished the game.

Read Full Article

You actually do get to find out the answer to curing the curse in the game

[SPOILER]When you finally meet vendrick that is the end of the quest that you originally set out for, to find the cure to curse. But what you find is that it can't be cured, Vendrick found all of the power in the world and even that was no match for the curse. Realizing this he locked himself away so that his wife couldn't find another chosen undead and take the throne. The part after vendrick is basically just saying that everything repeats and no matter what you do the world can't be changed. You were given the illusion of choice in the first game as to whether or not you had any impact on the world at the end. But in Dark Souls 2 you can only take the throne, which is basically them saying that someone will always light the fire, and the fire will always fade afterwards, and the cycle repeats. The curse is too powerful and even with all the power in the world it can't be stopped. [/spoiler]

In my opinion Dark souls one is the more memorable game, better atmosphere, more unique bosses, and a more coherent story. I think at it's best Dark Souls is better but at it's worst Dark Souls 2 never gets as bad as some of the areas in Dark Souls, the first game ran out of steam a bit post Anor Londo and the 4 kings imo. Both solid games though and I'm looking forward to any dlc that may come.

The Dark Souls II team is clearly prioritizing gameplay fun and accessibility over a coherent world and a mysterious storyline. It doesn't actually make any thematic sense that Majula becomes a bustling, welcoming village, that you become functionally immortal after collecting all the magic rings, or that you are mysteriously upgraded to Destined Future King halfway through. It does make for a cracking good time though - I was never worried that I would torpedo my character by picking objectively bad gear, or that I'd miss out on huge chunks of content and have to re-do the entire game like Demon's Souls, or that I wouldn't be ready for PVP, or that I'd spend 15 minutes just walking to and from merchants to get the correct upgrades.

Honestly, Demon's Souls had incredible atmosphere, but it made me put up with a lot of nonsense that I wouldn't tolerate from any other franchise. Dark Souls was a master class in level design, but it was so opaque I had to read the wiki to properly enjoy myself and experience the storyline. Dark Souls 2 takes the archaic level design and thin plot of Demon's Souls and combines it with combat, RPG and multiplayer systems that are better than they've ever been, and a tutorial that actually explains the game to you.

Remember when you had to make a 20-minute linear run through three identical towers and a poison swamp to get to the ambush that killed you last time? Remember when two of the five Major Bosses were defeated in minigames? Remember when the free weapon drop from the second area you could visit was better than anything you could equip for the next ten hours? Remember when the most exciting plot point in the game was delivered in an item description from an optional boss that the online server would randomly make you unable to visit? Be careful not to see the Souls games with rose-tinted glasses.

MrDumpkins:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Dark Souls 2: Of Missing Monsters and Bustling Bases

From despawning monsters to the surprise plotlines that you've been inadvertently taking part in all along, Yahtzee takes an updated look at Dark Souls 2 now that he has finally finished the game.

Read Full Article

You actually do get to find out the answer to curing the curse in the game

[SPOILER]When you finally meet vendrick that is the end of the quest that you originally set out for, to find the cure to curse. But what you find is that it can't be cured, Vendrick found all of the power in the world and even that was no match for the curse. Realizing this he locked himself away so that his wife couldn't find another chosen undead and take the throne. The part after vendrick is basically just saying that everything repeats and no matter what you do the world can't be changed. You were given the illusion of choice in the first game as to whether or not you had any impact on the world at the end. But in Dark Souls 2 you can only take the throne, which is basically them saying that someone will always light the fire, and the fire will always fade afterwards, and the cycle repeats. The curse is too powerful and even with all the power in the world it can't be stopped. [/spoiler]

I'm enjoying this game more than I did Dark Souls. People are actually helping me, explaining stuff to me (both in-game and real life) and it seems slightly easier. I believe I will try Dark Souls again after I complete this game, although the two endings kind of suck the enjoyment out of the game for me. Not because they're both rather depressing, but because they are so damn short. All that work, and that's all you get? Was it really too much to make another cutscene like that intro?

Anyway, so the game never explains how the world is still working huh? I guess we're going with the Flame ending from the first game then?
I feel that the world, and especially the town, are rather empty and depressing. I feel very lonely wandering around, even in the town. I get the feeling that all these people here are all waiting for death/Hollow (don't spoil anything for me, please) and a sense of hopelessness hangs over the people there. I still have no idea what I'm doing though, short of curing the curse. Not sure how gathering these souls helps with that, but okay. And I guess Yahtzee just explained what the final point of the game is.
Anyway, I'm having fun with it. :-)

Why does no one ever mention the Bonfire Aesthetics? they not only respawn enemies in the area you use them, but also knock that area up to Ng+, meaning more enemies and slightly harder ones.

Also, regardless of the ending you chose in DS 1, it seems as though the gradual decay of the world is just that, gradual. Just like our world will not simply end tomorrow, but will take thousands of years.

lol that everyone is so hung up on the story like some uptight bards arguing over the interpretation of music and trying to out do each other with steadily more complicated melodies that in the end sound like shit.

The story wasn't that bad, you could take it or leave it. Which is good, I'm sick of having my hand held story wise. The game play however, same as demon souls and dark souls. All they did was add a couple of move sets and complicate the humanity/item mechanic. Did they fix the woeful level design? No! Did they fix the lack lustre mechanics that are about as natural as trying to mosh in a neck brace? no! Did they fix the camera that seemed like it was being worked by the bag from american beauty? No! Did they even fix the hit boxes so the attacks or defences would at least be consistent? No!

The game was a novelty, it appears the novelty hasn't warn off because people are still smug from the first DS. But face facts, this is a poor evolution of dark souls if you could even call it that at all. I'm surprised everyone remains ignorant of that.

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