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The inventory system itself is currently implemented in only its most basic form. It still takes up most of the screen but is offset to give you a view of your character. While this affords a vanity view of your avatar as you swap armour and equipment it has the more important function of allowing you to see if you're about to be attacked; it's unknown at this stage whether you're able to pause the game.
Aesthetically, Dark Souls 2 shares the ruined beauty of its predecessors. The art direction once again lends personality to crumbling grandiose structures and harsh natural landscapes. A new engine has been developed in order to address the frame rate issues of Dark Souls and with the new engine come a handful of new tricks. The lighting effects are excellent and also serve a gameplay function.
It's now possible to carry a torch to illuminate those dark corners but doing so deprives you of the ability to equip a shield and so it may be a case of sacrificing the ability to effectively defend against that which is trying to kill you for the relative luxury of being able to see it.
Outside, wind rustles clothing and, in one dangerous sequence, slows movement across a bridge to a crawl as dragons circle overhead. It looks likely that we'll see more varied weather conditions that we have before.
At the cost of being a bit repetitive, people who want a first look at how the game plays should first check the footage that has been released so far.