Dark Souls II Gameplay Footage, Beta Impressions, Stats Breakdown

The Japanese beta for Dark Souls II has already started, which means that a wealth of new information about the action-RPG from From Software is starting to pop up.

First of all, you might want to check the five gameplay footage videos the folks at NeoGAF have rounded up (links here in case NeoGAF stops working: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, be aware they contain spoilers about the final title's level design and bosses).

After watching them, you might want to read these beta impression from the Demon's Souls wikia forum. Here's a snippet:
Lore - A woman merchant speaks "Dranglake's been a pile of rubble since the war fought long long ago....When the giants crossed the sea!" "Seemed like the battles would never end. Poor folk like myself with nary a place to sleep!" "You may travel light but me thinks you bare a burden of your own!"

Regarding PVE -
PVE - I will try and stay away from what was already said, you can take my word for it that everything said about the game so far is on point. Interaction with the enemies is good but the new heavier (Slightly delayed) feeling to the attacks and rolls takes time to get used to in comparison to both souls games before it unless your a duel swordsman in which the speed feels right at home. Targeting is odd with some spells but it might be intentional as some blasted an aoe off target but still hit. Same with weapons, heavy weapons are the same (Mostly, I will explain later) slow but strong and fast weapons are fast with less dmg. Spamming attacks with a slower weapon (Halberd) doesn't seem great since the weapon targets the last area you were facing even when an enemy moves around you, might be changed at the end or kept this way.

Regarding items -
Items some consumables have new animations like humanity. Flasks are slower to heal while enemies are more aggressive. Confirmed magic item grass that recharges the spell casts count completely.

Dark Souls II's sub-reddit also has a list of known info and a handy stats breakdown image. Here's an excerpt of the list:
  • Movement speed is increased.
  • Sprinting speed is now close to charging speed.
  • Estus restoration is now slower than Dark Souls I.
  • Action speed is dependent on Agility (More explained in the stats section).
  • Getting hit with plated armor makes a "clank" sound rather than a fleshy sound.
  • Humanity is now replaced with "Human Effigies".
  • Bonfire is no longer needed to turn human, just Human Effigies to turn human instantly.
  • Human Effigies don't restore health.
  • Healing stones are a new healing item.
  • Healing stones can be used when moving, but restoration speed (and/or amount) is dependent on stone type.
  • Three items in each hand.
  • Hollowed players can now get invaded.
  • Dedicated servers for better connections.
  • Enemies are more tenacious.
  • Enemies ambush around items.
  • Enemies switch from ranged to melee frequently.
  • More types of soapstones (Or different styles of soapstones).
  • Ranged weapons can be used while moving.
  • The more times died while hollow, the more your base health is reduced, similar to curse (Restored once humanity is restored).
  • Many previous sets from Dark Souls I will make an appearance in Dark Souls II.
  • Rings and arrows will give burden instead of being weightless, different from Dark Souls I.

Finally, while I personally don't really recommend it, you might also want to check some texture assets and translated text from the beta (credit goes, again, to NeoGAF).