Category: News ArchiveHits: 2021
We have rounded up another batch of reviews for Dark Souls II, which so far is earned accolades in the same way its two predecessors did.
A carefully considered sequel that avoids upsetting existing fans and offers an olive branch to newcomers all the while retaining its position as one of the most challenging, and rewarding, video games of modern times.
What, then, of the infamous claim that Dark Souls II would be more accessible? Well, friendlier bonfire placement helps and, after a couple of spikes, the difficulty curve is a good deal smoother early on. The ability to respec your build using a rare item will help those who unwittingly level themselves into a corner. Yet for all its little tweaks, Dark Souls II is, foremost, a game made for Souls players. It is a game that asks everything of you and gives so much back, keeping its cards close to its chest, and revealing them only to those prepared to die and die again. It is made to be played for hundreds, if not thousands, of hours as you try new builds, explore PVP and experiment with covenants, all the while slowly peeling back the layers of its lore. Some of its ideas work better than others, and Drangleic is no match for Lordran's intricate design, but Dark Souls II is, like its predecessors, brilliant, beautiful, and absolutely essential.
Computer and Videogames, 10/10.
Whether or not you come to believe that this is better than its predecessor will likely depend on how blindly you accepted the former game's faults. Dark Souls 2 irons out those flaws, and its world expands in ways that fans won't expect, but will undoubtedly appreciate. Its layers of depth, and colossal scope for challenge, community and discovery, is a gaming event of such impact it'll be referred to time and time again for years to come.
PlayStation Universe, 8.5/10.
Dark Souls 2 can be a stressful affair, providing frustration and fun in equal measures. The trial-and-error battles aren't for everyone but for those who played and enjoyed the first game in the series there's an enticing world out there ready to test you to your limits once again. Dark Souls 2 is no ordinary RPG; it consumes you right from the outset. It invites you to explore it and then makes you pay the price. It gives you an item of hope in one hand and then takes it away with the other, yet it's immensely rewarding when you reach the next bonfire, or beat the next boss. Dark Souls 2 may be the toughest game since Dark Souls, but it's also one of the most satisfying for those who remain calm enough to persist.
The online, like the rest of the game, is a dangerous whirlpool that will swallow up your time as well as your attention. Dark Souls 2 may not be what came before, but it is its own game, with its own hilarious deaths, ridiculous traps, haunting melodies, and foreboding bosses, and it still stands out with ease. That punch to the ribs may not wind as hard, but you'll still want to get up and explore this dark, devious world, over and over again.
The Observer, 4/5.
"You will lose everything" warns Dark Souls II in its opening scene. What it omits is that you won't care. Indeed, you'll gladly sacrifice at the altar of this addictive gothic adventure. Beyond the endless deaths, there is always a hunger to explore further, and a thrilling sense that next time you can do better. A unique, if demanding, title.
The Telegraph, 5/5.
While playing the game in its default state may seem a little less of a challenge than usual to veteran Souls players, the balance here is fantastic. It's more accessible without compromising itself, the sheer wealth of content and variety of boss fights more than makes up for the slightly easier time you'll have of it, and the rich world of Drangleic is comfortably the best in the series yet.
It's Dark Souls. Did you like the original? Did you like spiritual predecessor Demon's Souls? Then I feel confident in saying you'll enjoy this entry also. It's still incredibly unfriendly and utterly addicting in a marvelously difficult way. In a nutshell, Dark Souls II is everything you'd expect.
Your only question, if you're planning to play, is whether to wait for the PC version or not. I haven't played it yet, as all preview events so far took place on consoles, but based on my time with the 360 version I'd advise waiting.
April 25 can't come soon enough. Maybe I'll turn on my ailing 360 just one more time tonight...
Dark Souls II doesn't surpass its elder brother, but it succeeds in retaining that ability to suck you in, chew you up, spit you out and then suck you back in again. Drangleic is another eerie and wholly absorbing world courtesy of From, the secrets of which will take many months yet to be fully unveiled. Good work, From Software. Victory Achieved.
A ruthless challenge, excellent gameplay and wonderful design are just some of the things that make Dark Souls 2 a truly superb game and an early contender for game of the year. Don't be put off by the difficulty.
Trusted Reviews, 9/10.
Dark Souls 2 takes baby steps towards accessibility, but deep down it's the same bleak, uncompromising game. It's as brutal as it is beautiful, but it's hard to think of another series that can drag you so deep into a distinctive fantasy world, or of another series that makes every new area discovered and every battle won feel like such an achievement. You might love Dark Souls 2 or you might hate it, but you won't be able to forget it.
Digital Spy, 5/5.
Sound and silence also do strange things to your imagination. Hearing something horrid growling or squelching in the distance is almost better than hearing nothing at all in the pitch black.
Any game that is able to mess with body and mind in the same way as Dark Souls 2 is worthy of the highest praise.
It's a hardcore, heart-pounding adventure that's more accessible to newcomers, without sacrificing the series' sense of mystery, awe and wonder.
Bloody Disgusting!, 9.5/10.Don't let its last-gen exclusivity fool you Dark Souls II is a masterpiece. It's beautiful, horrifying, unforgiving, and is easily one of the most rewarding experiences I've had during my gaming career. Just make sure you know going in that this is going to hurt.
Paste Magazine, 8.0/10.
Above all it's the purity of the idea, combined with the precise cycles of grace and terror that whir within. It sounded like bunk when Lou Reed bragged about the microtones buried within Metal Machine Music, but they're definitely there, at least according to my ears, and the microtones within Dark Souls II are the sweetly stunning notes that make cracking its monolithic exterior so rewarding.
Tom's Guide, 4.5/5.
"Dark Souls II" will appeal to a very specific kind of player: patient, thorough and perhaps with a slight masochistic streak. The game is about as opaque as they come. Gameplay, beyond the most basic mechanics, is not clear. The storyline is not clear. How to reach the next area is not clear. However, all of this information is available, if you're willing to find it for yourself.
If "Dark Souls II" sounds frustrating and obtuse, that's because it is. But it's also beautiful, rewarding and unforgettable. If you fall for "Dark Souls II," you'll fall hard. Just don't be surprised if every other game seems a bit too easy for a few months afterward.
Digital Trends, 4.5/5.
Dark Souls II is the most accessible the series has ever been, but only insofar as new players should have an easier time getting into it at the beginning. If they make it to the end, they'll be just as hardened as the rest of us; and thus, we learn that (accessibility) doesn't need to be a dirty word after all. As the third game in the series, Dark Souls II doesn't feel as novel as its predecessors, but instead possesses a warm familiarity and unshakable confidence. You will explore, and fight, and laugh, and cry but you'll never forget that this is Dark Souls, and you had better be prepared to die.
The Register, 5/5.
I had loads of fun on the Titanfall beta. The fast and frenetic pace is thrilling and engaging, like falling in lust, but Dark Souls II is like meeting the love of your life. South Park: Stick of Truth was a hilarious distraction and Destiny is calling, but FromSoftware's Dark Souls II a homage to hardcore gaming has carved a bleeding niche in my heart.
Dark Souls 2 is fuelled by an unending desire for progression and improvement. And that's what keeps you pushing ever forward: for those brief spells of empowerment, earned more honestly here than in any other game. Victory achieved. Uncompromising in its challenge, this supremely balanced slasher destroys your fingers and delights your soul with its unrivalled sense of triumph through trial.