Dark Souls II Editorials

We've been seeing less articles about Dark Souls II recently which is fairly understandable considering the game has been out for three months and the first DLC pack isn't out yet, but that doesn't mean we haven't seen any at all recently.

As a matter of fact, Polygon opines that the game doesn't need more content via DLC, as it's already too big and uneven for its own good:

This is one of the zillions of ways that games are more like music than they are like story-based entertainment. Musical performances, whether recorded to an album or organized as a concert program, try to finesse a sequence, duration, and level of variety that will thrill the audience and satisfy them without wearing them out.

There is no "perfect" way to do this. Take Chopin's 24 Preludes (Op. 28): I couldn't give you a concrete reason why the stately, melancholy No. 15 is followed by the frenzied No. 16 and the grand, nostalgic No. 17, but they work, a chaotic piece followed by a sentimental mood, slow numbers butting up against fast ones, the way a normal day can take you from hassle and distraction to a quiet that just waits to be interrupted.

Dark Souls had that magic in its sequencing, that knack that isn't a matter of design so much as taste, gut feeling and luck. Dark Souls 2 didn't; it was "more Dark Souls," and that's fine, but how much more do we need? The new levels may be fun for their own sake, but the original didn't leave an opening for them.

While VG247 argues that, despite being inferior to the original, the fantasy action-RPG sequel still "ruined gaming" by making the rest of the recent AAA offerings pale in comparison, and offers some reasons. I'm just going to quote one for space reasons:

Dark Souls doesn't tell you where to go

Entering the worlds of Lordran and Drangleic for the first time is incredibly daunting, because neither Dark Souls or its sequel tells you where to go. You get a simple task ring two bells, seek the king and wherever you go next is up to you. There are no HUD markers or crumb-trail mechanics. There isn't even a radar or map. You have to memorise where everything is, and bore it into your skull so whenever you need to back-track you can find your way.

Does this mean you'll get lost? Undoubtedly, and I understand why some gamers find this frustrating. What frustrates me more since playing these games is having to dutifully follow big, intrusive arrows telling me where my next mission is. This is worse when said game offers little deviation from the one true path. I like to explore in games, to seek out secrets and go it at my own pace. From Software lets me scratch that itch well.

This exploration isn't possible in corridor shooters and other narrowed experiences, as it probably wouldn't sit well in terms of pacing, but where possible, I'd love to just turn off the HUD, remove all my mission markers and just do whatever the hell I want. Aimless meandering in Dark Souls can lead to the discovery of brilliant secrets and loot drops that are massively beneficial, so it pays to wander, but I just feel stunted or intruded-upon in some new games.