The moment has come for another round of tribulations, failures, falls, and little ups and downs, all of which are rapidly crushed by successive opponents. Dark Souls 2 is the right blend of thrill and frustration. The official announcement’s words are rarely true: It’s not about death, but about the lesson we learn from it. It appears to be the designers’ admission that their new game outperforms its predecessor in every way. The game begins with a lovely prologue that tells the narrative of our hero’s fall prey to an undead curse. We are one of many individuals who cannot die and must feed on the souls of others to keep mankind alive. According to the great prophesy, you can break the curse by journeying to the ancient region of Drangleic, where the knowledge of disenchanting the charm is hidden. The narrative is austere, like it was in the previous section and early in Demon’s Souls, but it appears more fascinating this time.
After a lovely introduction, we transport our tired traveler to the mysterious Vestibule. Here, we meet three elderly seers who serve as character designers. We proceed after producing the appropriate picture and selecting a class, which differs only in other starting facts. The trail leading to Drangleic’s shore serves as an introduction to mobility and fighting mechanics. We learn fundamental moves, shield blocking, torches, and other vital features. Torches are a whole new addition to Dark Souls. We may disclose gloomy chambers and light standing hearths, which will permanently enlighten the region, thanks to them. The torch, on the other hand, only burns for a brief period of time, therefore we must handle it with caution. The ability to pick your combat style broadens the use of both hands. Offensive players can now dash about with two swords in hand, swinging them at any threat. This technique takes a lot of practice since we are vulnerable to all types of attacks without a barrier. Majula – the remnants of a seaside city from which several pathways branch out into this mythical area – is the major starting point for our tours. We have the primary bonfire that must be lit in order to regenerate later, as well as vital, autonomous characters. The enigmatic woman standing by the flames provides us counsel, the first healing estus flask, and, most significantly, can level up our character after we collect the requisite number of souls. We also have a blacksmith and dealers that are prepared to assist us. Bonfires have also been upgraded, and they now give options that were progressively triggered in the previous section from the start. We can use the chest here to discard any superfluous stuff gathered along the journey, or we can proceed to any other bonfire that we have kindled. So no more needless multiple traversals of long pathways. Furthermore, we may intensify the embers on the fire by tossing things that have different benefits. As a result, we will be able to defend ourselves against invaders from other planets, who are other players, or we will permanently enhance the adversaries in a certain region. Already in the opening, you can tell how much passion the designers at From Software put into the game. The preceding section’s gray and boring sights have been decreased, and their place has been taken with stunning, diversified landscapes. Majula, although being an old town ruin, gives the impression of security owing to the warm warmth of the setting sun. The number of inhabitants who can even say anything significant is also increasing, which makes you want to return and chat to the supporting characters on occasion. Furthermore, they prove to be useful in the subsequent adventure.
It is up to us to decide which direction we will travel after we begin our adventure into the depths of the country. Some pathways are still closed, and we will have to check to see if they have been reopened, but the amount of alternative paths can be daunting at first. The narrative of Drangleic’s collapse is murky at first; some talk of a great conflict that began with the advent of giants from across the sea, while others speak of something sinister that lay latent in the land’s heart. Along with exploring, we learn about the kingdom’s past. Meanwhile, Hollow zombies who have lost most of their souls and become crazy lurk around every corner. They now travel the world looking for what they have lost, assaulting anybody who gets in their way. As we go over the wide areas, we come across bosses who obstruct our progress. These battles are the most significant aspect of Dark Souls; they will mercilessly knock us down to earth and act as a sequence of losses. Big and powerful opponents are quite different, and each fight necessitates knowledge of their methods, assaults, and weak places. It’s a never-ending cycle of trial and error that culminates in our death and return to the last lighted campfire. Success is determined not only by increased statistics as a result of souls acquired, but also by equipment obtained or purchased. We should tailor the weapon not just to our own tastes, but also to the specifics of each opponent. We shall have a horrible life if we do not learn to adjust to changing circumstances. The punishment for frequent death raises the already high difficulty level even higher. With each loss, the maximum amount of our health is depleted. A continuous sequence of death can thus be deadly, because we will only have half of our health to use, and different healing medicines will not last forever. The only way to reverse this process is to utilize an object that looks like a human puppet, which restores your character back to life and grants you access to a full health bar.
However, keep in mind that more deaths will diminish our vitality until we use the puppet again or locate goods that eliminate the penalty for many failures. Each successful fight against a new adversary or boss leaves a big sense of accomplishment, but also the impression that the tip of the iceberg has been touched, and there is much more to come. Drangleic is massive: exploring the entire globe will take at least fifty hours of playtime, if not more. Collecting souls, on the other hand, stimulates ongoing exploration because you can no longer forage in the places we know, constantly returning to the campfire and reviving all killed opponents. When we destroy an adversary multiple times in Dark Souls 2, there is a strong probability that it will vanish permanently. This allows you to “clear” the road to the nearest boss, saving your life before the real fight. This serves as both a help and a hindrance to the game. I am astounded by the variety and design of all the regions. They are not only full of breathtaking sights that will take your breath away, but they are also not overly melancholy and dismal. The designers ultimately succeeded in depicting the demise of huge regions by highlighting elements other than gloomy alleyways and omnipresent grey. The remnants of several strongholds and fortifications varied in appearance, employed traps, and colors, implying that each of these locations conceals an entirely distinct narrative of its demise. We witness many woodlands in the amber light of the sun, in complete darkness, and occasionally in a forest enveloped in a thick and horrible fog. There are many explored regions, and many of them, after some time or satisfying specified conditions such as killing a guard or obtaining a key – open up new routes going to even deeper recesses of this enigmatic, gorgeous world. The plot that is eventually disclosed appears to be much more “tangible” than in earlier portions. This is owing to the increased number of NPCs roaming the realm. Conversations with them not only give insight on the mysteries that obstruct progress, but also frequently recount stories from the past. The same can be said about the enemy; they appear to be more at home in their surroundings, and their presence is more credible. The stately walls are guarded by great guardians, skeletons walk the tombs, the king’s previous guard roams the fallen rooms, and dragons. From a purely technical standpoint, it is worth noting that the game has only gotten better. The fighting model appears smoother, the animations more developed, and the opponents’ strikes are rich in combinations and unexpected ripostes. The diversity and amount of weaponry stimulates frequent weapon mixing and upgrading, as well as evaluating each strike. Casting learnt spells or touring several ruins has no effect on animation quality. When we recollect the unplayable Blighttown from the first section of Dark Souls, we are pleasantly surprised – in two cases, such problems do not occur, and the game runs quite nicely.
Dark Souls 2 is an excellent example of how to improve on an already challenging and enjoyable game. In fact, it’s difficult to point out any obvious defects or serious mistakes. It is a demanding and often frustrating experience that requires you to continually improve, adapt, and resuscitate your fighting spirit. Every achievement, no matter how modest, is worth its weight in gold here. We must not let go of the blade for even a second, for death is close behind our backs.