The new engine is rather lovely, as this time thereís no artificial resolution cap. Itís still not going to test even a modest PC, but at least on a nice monitor youíre not going to have to rely on a hack to get it looking any better than a smeary mess.
Minor tech improvements aside, the big stories with Dark Souls II include the decision to no longer offer prescribed character archetypes: From Software realised that players tended to spend their souls to essentially "multi-class.Ē Now players use a character generator, intended to allow players to instantly start tailoring their character to their play style.
Dark Souls II however offers some interesting twists for veterans looking to mix-up their play style. Characters can now carry up to three weapons and shields at one time, and may dual wield weapons ó no longer will a weapon held in the offhand be useless. Oh, and if you were bloody sick of only being able to warp between certain bonfires, you can now warp between any that youíve already found. So actually, it is getting a bit more accessible.
Namco Bandai are still holding their cards pretty close to their chest. While theyíve revealed that there will be multiplayer for up to four players, they havenít gone into detail with how it will work. Itís not likely to be too different from before, but they are having fun with it. Take the Mirror Knight, the enemy at the very end of the demo and which the QA man hadnít managed to beat once by the time of our appointment (and he didnít during it, either.) A huge lumbering, almost mechanical monstrosity (looking rather Greco-Roman, unusually) could slam his huge, ornate mirror shield down from which enemies could appear. Excitingly, however, when played online these enemies could take the form of other players who have chosen to invade your world.
Well, I say exciting: the Mirror Knight is hard enough without that twist.
If there was one big disappointment with Dark Souls II it was Namco Bandaiís lukewarm response given to questioning on how well theyíll respond to the stability of the PC version in the face of the original titleís struggles with hackers, paying merely lip-service to doing what they can. As a series that relies heavily on a sense of fairness, moreís the pity some players are never going to want to play fair. But I hope that Namco Bandai makes sure they do.