GB Feature: Dark Souls II: Crown of the Old Iron King Review

In the event that you're looking to procure another add-on for Dark Souls II, you should know that we've just conjured up a full three-page review for Crown of the Old Iron King, the second episode to From Software's "The Lost Crowns" series of DLC. A bit of what to expect:

Exploration is clearly staggered into two phases. A first descent through the mostly still central tower hints at possible blocked passageways and an interconnected system of elevators that only opens once a player has found and used a key item. Once the tower hums to life and its mechanical contraptions resume working, the way to the final area and a multitude of optional ones is open. Moreso than in Crown of the Sunken King, much of the content of this DLC is optional, and sometimes very well hidden. It might be argued that the titular crown is the final objective, but I certainly can't say I felt I'd exhausted what the DLC had to offer after finding it, and I immediately teleported back to a bonfire to start checking every nook and cranny I had previously ignored.

Speaking of bonfires, Dark Souls' iconic checkpoints have been placed more sparingly this time around, and in a way that feels rational and does not clumsily invalidate shortcuts like it did in Crown of the Sunken King. The number could have arguably been cut down further, but the few that could be deemed "unnecessary" were obviously placed to save the players from having to embark on uneventful runs through emptied environments, so I can't honestly say I mind. After all, Iron Passage is already annoying as it is, and not placing a bonfire at its entrance would have just been cruel on the developers' part.