If you’ve played the original From Software’s Dark Souls, then you know that it’s a rough ride. I like to think of it as a D & D game run by Quentin Tarantino. It runs a pace that allows you to savior the world but also when it’s time to throw down, it delivers brutality and horror. Does Dark Souls II deliver on that original promise? Absolutely!
From the very beginning, the game is about story. Getting to know who you are and what you can do. Your mission is to search for a cure to the curse that makes you undead. Each ability is introduced to you as it becomes relevant which allows you to truly take in the various moves available. And trust me, you will need everything at your disposal. This game will kick your ass again and again no matter how seasoned a gamer you are. There are no safe paths in this game but there are less dangerous ones (but not by a lot). Dark Souls II takes advantage of its open world by giving you several different routes at every turn. Each with its own challenges and rewards. The decision to fight a boss or to bypass it is completely up to you, that is a game with confidence in itself. Fast Travel is available from the jump this time around so take advantage of it. It’s a huge world and you are definitely gonna want to cut down your travel time.
Combat works pretty much the same this time around as well. It’s very much about moves and counter moves. You could attempt to hack and slash your way through but it’s simply safer to learn your opponent and master your weapons. The game is unbelievably challenging so my advice to you is learn the nuances of combat, it will definitely save you a world of headaches.
Dark Souls II may be the most complex game I have ever played. It’s layered and rich at every turn and really shows off the beauty of what the last generation games systems are capable of. There is so much packed into this game that you can easily get a hour per dollar purchasing it. My feeling is that this will be a strong contender for game of the year. To use a film analogy, this is not the equivalent of a slasher movie but a well-crafted thriller that uses everything it has at its disposal to create something worth your time. If the average horror game is the equivalent of Conan the Barbarian, this is Game of Thrones (all four seasons!).
For all those waiting for this game, you will not be disappointed. If you have never played a Dark Souls game (or any medieval horror game), and are looking for a challenge, this is for you!